After descending Mount Hua and arriving at Hua-Um, Chung Myung and his party headed to the Eunha branch there.
Hwang Jongi, who was waiting, politely said.
Baek Cheon looked at the large carriage and smiled bitterly.
“We’ll be riding this one?”
With two sets of horses in front of the carriage, he first felt skeptical about whether he could really enjoy such luxury.
“It seems a bit too much.”
Hwang Jongi said with a humble face.
“This is because of our failure. If we can help, we should do it properly.”
Hwang Jongi straightened himself. This happened because the Eunha Guild could not procure the ingredients requested by Mount Hua.
Of course, it wasn’t their fault, but since they benefited much from Mount Hua, they couldn’t help but acknowledge it.
Hwang Mun-Yak also gave special instructions to support Mount Hua’s disciples and ensure they didn’t feel inconvenienced.
“Oh. Young Master, you seem to have spent some money.”
Chung Myung said while shrugging his shoulders.
“But I don’t think this will be of much use. It’ll be faster for us to run.”
“Wha–what are you saying!?”
“How can a person run faster than a horse!?”
Although his sahyungs protested, Chung Myung just smiled and gently continued.
“It’s possible. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. There’s nothing a person can’t do with effort!”
“No! You idiot! You need to think with some common sense!”
“Huh. Breaking that common sense is what martial artists are all about. If we run like dogs, then we can run faster than a horse!”
“… he’s gone crazy.”
Hwang Mun-Yak laughed at Chung Myung’s words.
“Of course, that would be possible for young disciple Chung Myung, and it shouldn’t be much different for the other disciples of Mount Hua. But saving a bit of energy on your journey would be better. Think of it that way.’
“On the road to Sichuan, the merchants of our guild will keep additional horses prepared. When the horses get tired, they can be changed along the way. If the horses can keep going without a break, wouldn’t it be possible to shorten the time to Yunnan by a lot?”
Baek Cheon, who had been listening silently till now, asked in shock.
“You’re giving us such precious horses?”
“Even if they are precious, wouldn’t it serve a greater purpose if Mount Hua’s disciples made use of them? Don’t worry about such things.”
Baek Cheok quickly closed the distance to Hwang Jongi.
“Thank you so much for the kindness and hospitality Eunha is showing.”
This was something he was truly grateful and appreciative of.
However, the real reason he felt such gratitude was because he was afraid that Chung Myung would run them to death.
Chung Myung was already sticking his mouth out as if he didn’t like it.
‘Don’t use your mouth to show displeasure!’
“It wouldn’t be polite to refuse the Eunha Guild’s favor.”
“You’ll ride it then?”
“Everyone, get on!”
Baek Cheon quickly jumped into the carriage and took the lead.
The others also rushed onto the carriage without looking back. Soon after, Chung Myung dragged himself onto the carriage as if he had no choice but to go along with their whims.
Chung Myung looked at everyone.
All at once, as if they had discussed it beforehand, everyone lowered their heads and avoided eye contact with Chung Myung.
Chung Myung nodded.
“Well, fine. This might be better.”
‘He accepted it so easily?’
‘What is with him?’
Everyone was terrified and nervous, but Hwang Jongi, unaware of the situation, smiled at the sight. It would look like a friendly relationship to those who didn’t know.
Hwang Jongi, standing right in front of the door, spoke.
“This is something I should have done in the first place, but I don’t think I will be able to accompany you all the way to Yunnan since the other ingredients requested by Mount Hua are still hard to find.”
“Eh, of course. It is a hard job.”
When Chung Myung waved his hand, Hwang Jongi smiled as though his mind felt at ease.
“Instead, someone accustomed with traveling to Yunnan will drive the carriage and serve you.”
A man came forward and bowed to them.
“This is Lee Bo of the Eunha Merchant Guild! I will take you all the way to Yunnan.”
“Take good care of us.”
“Take good care of us, please.”
Lee Bo smiled as he looked at the disciples of Mount Hua, who greeted him politely.
‘Contrary to what the master said, they seem so polite.’
Since they were supposed to be strict Taoists, this much should be expected.
So why had his master told him to be careful? There was a clear difference between being told to serve and take care of them compared to being careful.
“Then, we should leave.”
Lee Bo carefully closed the carriage door and looked at Hwang Jongi.
“I am leaving, young master.”
“I don’t feel comfortable putting this huge burden onto you. Please do your best, thinking that the name of Eunha is at stake.”
“Of course, young master!”
Lee Bo nodded and climbed onto the carriage; without delay, he pulled the reins and started the carriage.
Hwang Jongi’s expression softened as he watched the carriage disappear.
‘Even if it’s young disciple Chung Myung, Nanman Beast Palace is not an easy place to deal with.’
He refrained from saying such things because he thought it would be nothing more than nagging. But he was inevitably worried regardless.
The carriage moved without rest.
As Hwang Jongi said, by the time the horses got tired of running, new horses were prepared by the branches of Eunha. This made it quick to swap the horses and continue moving.
Of course, this resulted in the carriage developing some damage and erosion, but no one complained. That was because everyone knew how important this trip to Yunnan was for Mount Hua.
“Sasuk. What kind of place is the Nanman Beast Palace?”
Baek Cheon let out a low voice in response to Yoon Jong’s question.
“Actually, I don’t know much about the palace, so I plan on stopping by the Beggars Union branch in Sichuan to get some information.”
“Beggars Union branch?”
“Right. Our time in Nanyang gave us a chance to create a good relationship with them, so we should be able to get that much information.”
He definitely thought that the relationship with Beggars Union played a big help. In the past, it would have been difficult to get information.
“But from what I’ve heard, there doesn’t seem to be much information about Nanman Beast palace. Not even from the Beggars Union, since our connection with them was severed.”
“I feel like they mainly use physical strength, and just like their name as a beast’s palace, they act like beasts… but that’s all old information.”
At that moment, Chung Myung, who was quietly listening from the side, said.
“It doesn’t really matter what kind of place the Nanman Beast palace is.”
“Whether they control animals, or cast ghosts onto us, what’s important isn’t what kind of people they are, but how strong they are.”
Unable to see anything wrong with what was said, Baek Cheon nodded.
Jo Gul carefully looked at Baek Cheon’s eyes and spoke.
“From what I heard, each of the Five Palaces is as strong as the Nine Great Sects.”
“I’ve also heard that many times.”
“Then, Nanman Beast Palace too….”
Baek Cheon shook his head.
“In the past, that evaluation wouldn’t be wrong. But they won’t be the same now as they were in the past. Weren’t all of the Five Palaces Beyond the Great Wall damaged by the Demonic Sect?”
“Except for the North Sea Ice Palace.”
In the past, the Demonic Sect didn’t just go after the sects in the Central Plains. Fearing that their actions would soon spread and make others unite against them, the Demonic Sect began to go after the other sects one by one. The assaults began with the Five Palaces Beyond the Great Wall.
Except for the North Sea Ice Palace, which was in the far north and out of reach from the Demonic Sect, everyone else fell to their knees after being crushed by them.
It was said that countless people died in the process, so it shouldn’t be possible for the sects to regain their former power in one short hundred-year period.
“Then…things might be easier.”
“That would be nice, but….”
Chung Myung, listening silently till then, opened the carriage window and stuck his head out.
“Coach Lee Bo!”
“Yes, disciple Chung Myung!?”
“Let’s stop and eat! Let’s eat!”
“We’ll arrive at a village in a little while. Wouldn’t it be better to have some food there?”
“No. This place looks good.”
“Yes. I understand.”
Lee Bo stopped the carriage on the side. Everyone looked at Chung Myung, unable to understand why he did this.
“Why did you suddenly stop the carriage?’
“I have work to do.”
Chung Myung chuckled.
“Everyone, get down.”
The others were all anxious as they looked at Chung Myung and gulped. But with an innocent smile on his face, Chung Myung simply pointed to the door.
“What? You won’t get down?”
Something didn’t feel right.
Something felt disturbing.
Everyone packed their things and got off the carriage. But Jo Gul left his luggage in the carriage.
Yoon Jong asked quietly.
“Why are you leaving your things behind?”
“What if he just goes crazy and takes the carriage? He wouldn’t do that if I left my luggage behind.”
“… you think that…if your luggage is in there, he won’t take the carriage?”
“Wouldn’t your things just disappear?”
Jo Gul lifted his luggage without another word.
Once again, he realized what kind of person Chung Myung was.
When they all got off the carriage, Chung Myung tilted his head.
“Why did you bring your luggage out?”
“Wha-what do you mean?”
When Baek Cheon asked, Chung Myung simply shrugged.
“I told you. You just had to do what I told you.”
Chung Myung cut off Baek Cheon’s words and asked.
“How helpful was Sasuk in the Sword Tomb?”
Baek Cheon’s face went stiff.
How helpful was he to Chung Myung?
Baek Cheon bit his lip. His self-esteem was hurt, but he knew the answer.
“I was just a burden.”
In his mind, he would deny it a thousand times. But Baek Cheon knew very well that it would be unsightly to deny facts that even he knew.
He didn’t mean to disgrace his sasuks and sahyungs, but the truth had to be laid out.
Chung Myung was getting stronger quickly, and the work he had to do was slowly becoming more and more dangerous. However, those who were moving together with Chung Myung could not keep up with his pace.
In the past, Chung Myung would have abandoned them and run away alone, but he wasn’t going to do that now.
Chung Myung clearly recognized what he had to do after suffering through the Sword Tomb and experiencing Yak Seon’s tomb. The path forward was meaningless if these people weren’t with him.
“Yunnan could be a more dangerous place than the Sword Tomb. But at everyone’s current level, your lives are at risk.”
Baek Cheon bit his lip.
“It’s not as though we’re unaware of that. But there’s no way we can increase our skills in a short period.”
Chung Myung smiled bitterly.
“Sasuk already consumed the Soul Vitality Pill. If you digest it well enough, you’ll be twice as strong as you are now.
Baek Cheon nodded.
The power of the Soul Vitality Pill was beyond imagination. Thanks to that, he couldn’t even absorb most of the qi within and needed to push it into his dantian for later.
The problem was….
“No matter how hard I try, it will take at least several years to make that mine completely. Even if it is used for the short term, it will only work for a short time.”
“Oh, don’t worry. One month will be enough.”
“… O-One month?”
Baek Cheon was shocked.
“Do you think I would lie?”
The atmosphere grew a bit awkward.
“Right. I could lie. But not this time.”
“I hope that’s true. But how the hell can we absorb the qi quickly? Do you have some way to help us?”
Chung Myung clapped his hands.
Baek Cheon’s face changed as his sense of expectation rose.
‘Is that possible?’
If someone else had said this, then he would have chucked and dismissed it. Because Baek Cheon understood just how difficult it would be to meddle with someone else’s qi.
But this was Chung Myung who spoke. Baek Cheon knew that Chung Myung never lied or made empty boasts, at least not when it came to martial arts.
Hadn’t he already experienced enough with Chung Myung to know that?
“How? Are you going to help us with absorbing it?”
“Uh… not like that. There’s a much easier way.”
“A much easier way!?”
‘This monstrous bastard!’
Baek Cheon clenched his fist. If he could absorb the concentrated lump of qi from the Soul Vitality Pill stored in his dantian, then his strength would be incomparable to now. What the disciples of Mount Hua lacked the most right now was a steady accumulation of qi.
But unlike Baek Cheon, who was trembling in excitement, there were two more trembling in anxiety.
‘Sahyung, that guy is up to something again.’
‘What is he going to do this time? There, see that smile!? He’s definitely up to something!’
Jo Gul and Yoon Jong, who had been harassed by Chung Myung for the longest time, were anxious and afraid. They knew that something bad always followed when Chung Myung acted gently.
“How can you help?”
Baek Cheon, who didn’t notice the feelings of his juniors, asked excitedly.
“It isn’t anything complex. It’ll just be a little tough.”
“I can handle it! Anything, if it means becoming stronger!”
“Are those words true?”
“Are you confident that you can go through anything to get stronger?”
‘I feel a bit… taken aback; why?’
Chung Myung walked toward Baek Cheon with a smile.
“Yes. Right. I love this attitude of yours where you look to the future. I felt bad when Sasuk lost… it was a bit weird, but I feel at ease seeing Sasuk come forward like this.”
‘Why do I feel like I said something I shouldn’t have?’
“Have you ever heard the term ‘Pushing Past the Blood Points?’ before”
‘Pushing past the blood points?’
“How could I not know? When the qi is clogged or blocked, the location is hit or kneaded to release the qi….”
‘But why are you talking about this now?’
‘No? It can’t be what I am thinking, right?’
While cracking his neck, Chung Myung approached Baek Cheon, who began to step back without realizing it.
And slowly, Chung Myung clenched his fists.
“This is definitely not because I have ill feelings towards you. No, no! This is purely emotional! But!”
Chung Myung’s eyes shone.
He shouted while raising his fist.
“I hope you understand these fists carry nothing but the pure power of love!”
Baek Cheon looked up at the sky with tears in his eyes.
‘Oh, Holy Heavenly God.’
‘Please, punish this bastard.’
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