“Did you just say Yunnan?”
Jo Pyung’s voice seemed slightly angered.
Jo Gul shut his eyes slightly as he heard that voice. His father, with his unfamiliar grey hair, was looking at him after a long time.
“You are asking this after you know what Yunnan is like?”
“Despite knowing that!”
Jo Pyung’s face trembled.
“Is this what you say after you come back after 5 years? That you want to go to Yunnan? So this doesn’t mean that you are coming home then?”
Jo Pyung looked at Jo Gul with anger.
“The time you had promised to come back home has already passed. You come back home so late and then you tell me that you aren’t here for the sake of the promise? And you are talking about all these things?”
His voice was clearly filled with anger.
However, he wasn’t a child who did not know about the worries and regrets of his father.
‘This is why I didn’t want to come.’
Jo Gul sighed as he turned his head. It was a situation he would have had to face one day.
“Right. Give me the full story.”
“Going to Yunnan is something I must do.”
“What you must do is come back home and succeed the family business.”
“Isn’t brother here for that?”
“Have you forgotten about our family tradition? It is the law of this family to have our entire business run by the whole family!”
Jo Gul sighed.
“I promised the sect leader that this trip to Yunnan will would be a success.”
“Then the promise you made to me wasn’t a promise?”
“Don’t say anything else!”
Their thoughts were already in different directions.
“I even allowed you to enter the fallen Mount Hua Sect because you wanted to test yourself at a place that wasn’t under the influence of our family. Was it because you believed that you could grow through the suffering in that declining place? And you are saying that you want to give all this up and stay in that Mount Hua?”
“Mount Hua is no longer a fallen sect. Soon the name of Mount Hua will resound throughout the world.”
Jo Pyung looked at Jo Gul.
“… if you say that, it could be true.”
He didn’t deny or ignore the words of his son.
“But that is something Mount Hua will handle. The place where you need to be is none other than this place, our family merchant chamber!”
Jo Pyung took a deep breath.
“I am your father. How can you not understand the feelings of your father who sent his son to a faraway place?”
Jo Gul bit his lip. The whole conversation made him feel like he was being pulled into their advances. And he was even aware of his mistakes.
“I need to find a way to get to Yunnan.”
“Till the end…!”
“I hope we can talk after that.”
His father looked at him and Jo Gul spoke without taking his eyes off him.
“This is something I must do as a man and a disciple of Mount Hua. I cannot do anything else without getting this task done. Please allow me to do this my way one more time.”
Jo Pyung let out a hoarse sigh.
“Are you aware of how dangerous Yunnan is?”
“Yes. And I am prepared.”
“I understand what you mean. However, I do not know of the way to go to Yunnan.”
Jo Gul looked at his father and said.
“I have confirmed that there is a path in the Yunnan Mountain which runs from Chengdu.”
“And with our family’s name we can make it possible. But without some form of believable excuse, passing through the place wouldn’t be possible. Besides, no matter how much the Nanman Beast Palace blocks it, there would be at least a few people there or maybe even trade happening, right?”
Jo Pyung bit his lip.
From what he knew Jo Gul had only arrived today. And in that very short time, he was able to tour the city. However, the fact that he had already planned out how to get there meant that he was already figuring things out in his own way.
‘This is a good sign.’
To be immersed in the path of the sword like a child. That was the only thing that he couldn’t understand that.
“What do you want to say?”
“There is a company travelling to Yunnan.”
Jo Pyung’s eyes lit up.
“Whether it is for smuggling, or a formal trade with the palace, regardless of whether it was a small group or a large one, there is something going on… a viable trade route. Let us accompany them. We are even fine being porters.”
It wasn’t Jo Pyung who said it, but rather Jo Gul’s mother. Hwa Yeonbi who was silently listening to the conversation until then, spoke up.
“Yunnan is a dangerous place. And the fact that you want to enter Yunnan by lying about your identity means that your task is even more dangerous right?”
Jo Gul bowed his head without answering. It was impossible to lie to his parents whom he had met after 5 years.
“What kind of parents would send their child knowing that? No. Never.”
Jo Gul called her firmly.
“Wasn’t it you who told me that leading a merchant chamber is a risky job?”
“How can someone who cannot even go to Yunnan be a good merchant? So please send me.”
“You don’t even want to be a merchant!”
At that time, Jo Pyung spoke in a displeased tone.
“Do you really have to go?”
“What if I don’t allow you?”
Jo Gul spoke with determined eyes.
“I will enter Yunnan on foot wearing this plum blossom robe.”
In the end, Jo Pyung couldn’t calm his anger and jumped up from his seat and locked eyes with his son.
Jo Gul stared back into the eyes of his father calmly. After the brief eye fight, his father sat back down.
‘He is growing up.’
As a merchant who had done numerous trades, he knew a lot of things. In this situation, he knew that neither beating nor objecting to his decision would change the path of the man who had set his mind on it.
Jo Pyung bit his lip wondering if he would lose his child if he tried to catch him by the ankle.
“Then let’s do this.”
“You are not going to Yunnan right now, are you? Aren’t you going to do it with Mount Hua?”
“So you will do it with the disciples of Mount Hua?”
Jo Gul answered in a wavering voice.
This wasn’t supposed to go like this.
“Then the people who came with you will accompany you to Yunnan?”
Jo Pyung didn’t wait for the answer.
“Then I will meet them and decide. They are people whom I have to trust so that I can entrust you to them. This is my best offer. What do you think?”
The light disappeared in Jo Gul’s eyes.
Wondering about what was going on in his father’s head, Jo Gul, trying to control his trembling eyes, said.
“Have one person excluded maybe?”
Jo Pyung looked at his son with a confused expression.
“That is why I brought you.”
Baek Cheon lightly moved.
“I am late to greet you. I am Baek Cheon, a second-class disciple of Mount Hua. We unexpectedly visited our sajil’s home, so please understand since we were unable to prepare anything on our way here.”
“Think of it as your home and stay comfortably. If you are Gul’s sasuk, then you are family to me.”
“Thank you for the hospitality.”
Baek Cheon smiled brightly and said.
“But there is one thing that we need to solve, and I will speak about it to you.”
“What if I spoke about the promise made?”
Baek Cheon looked at Jo Gul and then said.
“Mount Hua did not know about the promise sajil Jo Gul made with the Lord. If we had known, the sect leader would have sent Jo Gul back right away.”
“Ah, of course. This kid wouldn’t have said anything.”
“Thank you for understanding.”
Seeing Baek Cheon stand his ground, Jo Pyung was happy.
‘He seems like he is from the Heavens.’
The appearance of Baek Cheon in his white robe and the words from his mouth would make anyone admire him. How could one not admire the person who gave out such courtesy and dignity?
The same went for those who were on either side of Baek Cheon. The person on the right didn’t stand out, but it was obvious that he was a man with deep thoughts from his calm demeanor.
And the woman on his left with the off-white color robe. The softness and modest look on her face and her versatile gestures were all amazing.
‘Mount Hua is overflowing with great disciples.’
He could understand why Jo Gul wanted to stay with Mount Hua.
Next to her.
Right. Next to her.
The youngest disciple of Mount Hua is a bit… right, he’s strange.
Ever since he came in, he was unable to take the eyes of the disciple with a bottle in front of him. The disciple was also looking at the bottle with eyes as if he was getting drunk just by looking at it.
“… but that person…”
Baek Cheon waved his hand.
“Don’t worry about it.”
“It is okay. That is how it is. I was drinking before but now I am not feeling well since I was stopped in the middle of drinking.”
Chung Myung looked at the bottle and licked his lips.
“I said I wouldn’t come here…”
Baek Cheon stopped him from talking and Yu Yiseol stabbed him in the side with her finger. As if he felt bad, Chung Myung went silent.
Seeing this, Jo Pyung knew whom Jo Gul was trying to get rid of.
‘Right. Not everyone can be perfect.’
‘But why was child sent with this group?’
It was something he couldn’t know.
“Did you say that you needed to go to Yunnan for business?”
Jo Pyung sighed.
“It is difficult for me to see my son, who finally returned after 5 years and now he insists on going to Yunnan.”
Baek Cheon looked at Jo Gul and Jo Gul bowed his head.
‘Look at this?’
When Jo Pyung was scolding him, he looked at his father right in the eye, but in front of Baek Cheon he bowed down. This showed how much Jo Gul respected Baek Cheon.
“What can we do to help?”
“Actually, rather than helping… I wanted to make sure that I was sending my child with people I could trust to the dangerous Yunnan.”
Baek Cheon then said.
“You don’t have to send him.”
Baek Cheon said it firmly again.
“No parent would want to send their child to such a place. I will not take Jo Gul to Yunnan. So, the lord can simply help us get to Yunnan…”
“I am coming, sasuk!”
Jo Gul jumped up from his seat.
“I will never let you go without me! Even if you break my legs, I will come there crawling with what I have left! Don’t even think of not taking me with you!”
“I said sit down.”
Jo Gul bit his lip as he sat down.
In the meantime, Chung Myung retrieved his hand that was reaching out for the bottle.
‘Tch, if only they had faught a little more.’
Then he could take another sip.
“Sasuk. I told the sect leader that I would go to Yunnan and come back after succeeding. No matter how young I am, nothing is going to stop me.”
“Do you really thing that?”
“If sect leader knew about your promise, would he have told you to go to Yunnan?”
Baek Cheon continued.
“The sect is important. But so is family. Is it really your path to be doing something your parents don’t want you to?’
“You stay here….”
At that time.
Chung Myung who only paid attention to the bottle spoke.
“Just do what you want to!”
Baek Cheon looked at Chung Myung with an expression which said he was done.
“No. This isn’t right, sasuk!”
“… what isn’t right?”
“Does it make sense to leave sahyung and go to Yunnan in a comfortable way? I’d rather have a hard time together.”
Baek Cheon’s face hardened at it.
“This is Jo Gul’s family matter.”
“And what we are doing is our sect’s matter.”
Chung Myung’s voice wasn’t serious, but it wasn’t playful either. Because of that, Baek Cheon looked at him with a serious face.
“It isn’t up to sasuk to decide if the family or the sect is important for another person. The one who has the right to decide is Jo Gul sahyung.”
“Even if sasuk is higher than sahyung in seniority, you cannot force him to do that. It is a matter of heart and mind. Right, heart.”
They were strangely poignant words.
And when Baek Cheon went silent, Chung Myung turned to Jo Gul.
“Sahyung, what do you plan on doing?”
“…are you saying I can decide?”
“Isn’t that natural?”
“But to go to Yunnan we need my family’s help…”
Chung Myung cut off Jo Gul’s words and without hesitation he grabbed the bottle this time and gulped it down.
And once he was done…
Chung Myung wiped his mouth and spoke with a smile.
“You are worried about everything. Who am I! Even if we don’t go through with this, we can go break the heads of the Nanman Beast Palace bastards! Don’t worry about any of that and do what you want to!”
Chung Myung was twisting his hands as if trying to portray that he would crush them. Seeing that, Jo Gul couldn’t stop smiling.
‘It’s strange to see him do things like this to make me feel at ease.’
Jo Gul had a brighter expression and said.
It was then.
A high-pitched voice came from behind the door along with a few knocks.
“… what is it?”
“A-A guest has come.”
This late at night?
Jo Pyung’s face went cold.
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