This was the Four Seas Merchant chamber.
In Chengdu, it could be said that the name of this place touched the sky.
And it was rude for someone to knock on the doors of a closed merchant place at night.
There were only two kinds of people who would commit such disrespect.
One was a trader who had something urgent to relay despite knowing it was rude. And the other one…
‘They are those who don’t care about the fact that it is a rude act.’
The former could be anyone, but the latter, there was only one group bold enough to do it in Sichuan.
“Who is it?”
Jo Pyung could guess who the guests were from the servant’s manner of speaking.
It was then.
Suddenly, it started to get noisy.
“You must not come in.”
“Please wait. You are not allowed to get in there,”
Jo Pyung’s face hardened.
It seemed his guess was right.
Sensing that things were going differently from how he wanted them to, he jumped up from his seat.
“Bring the guests to my office.”
Jo Pyung quickly walked over and opened the door.
Unsurprisingly, he saw the servants gathered in a hurry and a few people pushing them.
Just three people.
The three people weren’t that old and were walking leisurely through the halls.
They wore green robes.
And had slightly clenched hands.
And looking at these two things, it wasn’t difficult to guess what their affiliation was.
Only then did the servants open up the path for the guests in green. As the path opened, the three people approached him with a relaxed face.
“Four Seas Merchant Chamber Lord, we greet you.”
When the leader of the group bowed, Jo Pyung looked in the other direction and then his eyes widened.
“Aren’t you from the Tang Family?”
The one who took the lead was Tang Zhan, one of the minor lords in the Sichuan Tang family.
‘Tang Zhan. The fifth son of the Lord.’
If he was the fifth son of the Lord, then he wasn’t a person who wielded much power.
But when it came to the Tang family things were different. In the Tang family, where blood came first… everything was inherited by blood and the fifth son also had power.
Although he was young now and couldn’t hold any key positions, there was a high chance that he could become the backbone of a party in a couple years.
And such a person was openly invading his home at night.
Jo Pyung’s face darkened.
‘It seems like he didn’t come here to do anything good.’
When there was no response from the other side, Jo Pyung moved.
“It is an honor to meet the people of the Tang family. But I am very concerned about the fact that you have come to neglect the custom that night times aren’t when guests come knocking on doors.”
Jo Pyung was trying to subtly say that they were disregarding the rules.
But Tang Zhan just smiled and said.
“It is rude only because you didn’t feel good about it. So please, the Lord shouldn’t blame us too much.”
“…I didn’t feel good?”
Tang Zhan looked behind Jo Pyung. When Jo Pyung noticed that Tang Zhan was looking into the room he had come from, he turned away.
“For now, let’s head to the office, we can have a cup of tea….”
“I heard from a scholar of your merchant chamber that the second young lord who went to a distant place to study has returned.”
Jo Pyung bit his lip at those words.
‘Has the news already reached the Tang family?’
Just half a day had passed since Jo Gul had returned.
Even though this place was the core of the Tang family, he didn’t expect that this news would reach them so fast. And this showed that the Tang family had complete control over Chengdu.
“Am I wrong?”
Jo Pyung’s eyes twitched at it, and he replied.
“Yes, yes. My son did return home.”
Jo Pyung didn’t speak anything else regarding the subject and waited for Tang Zhan to speak. He had to know for what intentions he had come here.
“Haha, the second young lord Jo Gul is someone that even our Tang family has coveted. So when the Lord sent away the young lord to another place, our family head was very heartbroken.”
As soon as he heard the words ‘sent away’, Jo Pyung’s shoulders shuddered.
Because of Tang Zhan’s mention of their family head, he knew that they hadn’t come here for a simple event. And despite not saying it out loud, it meant that they had come here on the order of the Tang family head.
“So, we came to check.”
Tang Zhan smiled brightly.
“As far as I know, the second young lord Jo Gul went to Mount Hua, right?”
“… he did.”
“That is why we want to check it out. He refused to come to the Tang family to learn martial arts but then went to Mount Hua. So, what did he get from them that he couldn’t get from us? Wouldn’t our disappointment go away even a little bit if we see that the second young lord Jo Gul come back with greater skills?”
Jo Pyung bit his lip.
‘I knew that this was bound to happen one day, but this is too sudden…’
Most of the children of all influential families in Chengdu would learn the martial arts of the Tang family.
Of course, they never taught them the essential family techniques or methods. Because those were things only someone with the Tang bloodline could learn. They didn’t even allow girls of the Tang family to learn it since they were scared the girl would give it up once she gets married.
So only boys of the family could learn it.
In other words, it meant that the sons of the families could also learn their martial arts.
Through this, the Tang family made it impossible for the sons of the famous people in Chengdu to concentrate on other martial arts through their cheap game. In this way, it made other families depend on them and at the same time, instilled a sense of belonging on their children as a Tang family member.
As this process continued for over a hundred years, the Tang family completely took over Chengdu city.
But Jo Gul refused to go along with it.
‘Why do I have to be their puppet?’
And Jo Pyung supported it. He wanted to prevent his son from becoming a puppet of the Tang family.
However, it was obvious that if he sent Jo Gul to another sect outside Sichuan, the Tang family would be angry. And so, he decided to send him to Mount Hua.
There was nothing the Tang family could do against a fallen sect, and since it had a huge name in the past, he believed that his son could learn something there. Above all, it was a place far away from Chengdu.
A place perfect for Jo Gul.
“As you know, the place where my child went to is Mount Hua. Mount Hua is a sect which has collapsed both in name and reality. I just sent him there because he liked swords so much.”
“Haha. I know. We all do. But…”
Tang Zhan’s face went cold.
“Isn’t it a little misleading to say that Mount Hua has fallen? Isn’t the name of Mount Hua now echoing all around the four seas?
“… Uh? What do you…”
“My my. This merchant is quite behind with his information. Now, the reputation of Mount Hua is resounding throughout the Central Plains. Among them, the names of the third-class disciples Jo Gul and Yoon Jong and the second-class disciples Baek Cheon and Yu Yiseol keep popping up. It has been going around for quite a while now.” 1
Ju Pyung’s eyes widened.
It had to be an exaggeration. But now the Tang family had come to pressure him.
But didn’t the names which had come up now, perfectly match with the people who had come with his son?
‘Even if it is the Tang family, it wouldn’t be possible to figure out the identities of everyone who came here in such a short time.’
Then, it would mean that it was true to an extent that his son’s name was already spreading through the mouths of the people in Kangho.
Tang Zhan’s eyes were showing interest and vigilance at the same time.
“I heard that Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon, who is known to be one of the closest beings close to perfection in the world, has come here. I couldn’t dare to compare with that reputation, but I heard that someone who is strong has come to Chengdu, so how could we not visit despite it being late?”
‘Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon?’
‘Such a grand name.’
Jo Pyung also knew that those with such grand names were strong people. And he thought of only one person who could deserve such a name.
“Are you talking about disciple Baek Cheon?”
Tang Zhang laughed at it.
“Lord? Are you really going to do this?”
“… what are you saying?”
“I don’t know if you have been ignoring the information from the Central Plains or if you are trying to deceive me.”
“Deceive? Would I even do that?”
Tang Zhan looked at Jo Pyung and nodded. He couldn’t see this man trying to deceive him.
“Well, that is fine. It isn’t important. So…”
And he continued,
“As a Tang family member, I would like to meet the disciples of Mount Hua who came to visit Chengdu, so could you call them? Of course, including your son.”
Jo Pyung’s eyes turned to his back.
‘What do I do?’
He knew that the request from the Tang family couldn’t be ignored.
However, the disciples of Mount Hua were here as his guests. And it was unacceptable to ask such precious guests to appear in front of the Tang family who were baring their teeth at them.
They wouldn’t harass his son since he was a merchant family member, but the others, he couldn’t imagine it.
And Jo Pyung, who knew to fear the anger of the Tang family, worried and replied
“I understand what you mean, but it is kind of late today, so how about you come back tomorrow since the guests have headed to bed?”
“Hahaha. Headed to bed? The disciples of Mount Hua must be lazy.”
“They travelled a long distance so the exhaustion…”
Tang Zhan spoke in a low voice
“This is a request from the Tang family. Are you going to continue to intervene with this?”
“Why would I?”
Jo Pyung’s face turned pale.
Anyone knew what it meant to go against the word of Tang, and Jo Pyung would be the last one to do that.
Tang Zhan smiled brightly.
“This has unintentionally turned into a form of us persecuting our merchant chamber Lord. I apologize.”
Tang Zhang looked at Jo Pyung and said.
“The disciples of Mount Hua don’t seem to have any pride. I am sure they heard my voice, but they still hide in the room till the very…”
It was then.
“Ah! Wait! I said wait!”
“This is Sichuan, you brat! The sect leader told us to not make any…!”
“Ahhhh! Just that one!”
Suddenly from within, a loud shouting and sounds of struggle could be heard.
The door rose into the sky with a thundering noise.
Seeing the door fall right next to him, Tang Zhan’s eyes went wide.
He saw a crooked shape.
A young man with a bottle of alcohol in one hand, and wiping his lips with the other came out.
‘Is he drunk?’
‘Is this drunk behavior?’
Meanwhile, Tang Zhan didn’t miss the plum blossom pattern on his robe.
It was the moment he tried to speak with a puzzled face.
“Who are you, coming here at night for a fight?”
“Do you want a beating?”
It was the most absurd question he had ever heard in his life.
We have decided to rename ‘Midfield’ into ‘Central Plains’. Previous Uses of the word ‘midfield’ will be replaced as well. ↩️
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