Great Sichuan Tang family.
A cold voice came from the head of the family, the one who led Sichuan, which had a hundred years of history, and played a part among the Five Great Families.
The head of the Sichuan Tang family, Tang Gunak, spoke in a low voice devoid of emotions.
“You were defeated by Mount Hua and came back without doing anything?”
“You lost to neither Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon nor the Righteous Sword of Hua, which are famous these days. Instead, you were defeated by the second son of the Four Seas Merchants?”
Tang Gunak’s eyes were ablaze with anger.
“Do you know what this means?”
Tang Pae, who was next in line for the position of the family head, sat beside Tang Gunak and spoke.
“Your knees are quite stiff for someone in your position.”
Tang Zhan looked at Tang Pae once and then re-affixed his gaze back to the lord.
But, as if not having any intention of letting this go easily, Tang Pae spoke again in a cold voice.
“You are a direct descendant of the main family, the lord’s own progeny by blood.”
“But you return here so shamefully after being beaten by Jo Gul. Do you know what will happen once the people of Sichuan hear about this?”
“Everyone will mock and demean us. There will be people who implicitly believe that the Sichuan Tang family has lost its prestige, that our family is insignificant now. Then, there will inevitably be people who rebel against the family and try to collude with other factions.”
Tang Zhan bowed his head.
“One small thing can cause a lot of trouble. You aren’t so idiotic as to be oblivious to this, are you?”
“… Of course not, Hyung.”
“This is an official post.”
Tang Pae spoke coldly.
“How are you going to take responsibility for this? With one mistake, the reputation of the Sichuan Tang family could be destroyed; in a big way, it could shake the family’s dominion. It’s not something that can be solved by simply offering your life either.”
“I will take any punishment.”
When Tang Pae was ready to speak.
Tang Gunak spoke.
Tang Gunak looked at his son with cold eyes and slowly asked.
“Did you say you were prepared?”
“Does that mean you know how great this mistake of yours is?”
“Then why does your face look so at peace?”
This was what Tang Gunak really wanted to know.
The Tang Zhan that he knew was the physical embodiment of the pursuit of victory. None of his sons were more competitive or ambitious than Tang Zhan.
Tang Zhan had endured the family’s harsh training, the same training that caused his other siblings to cry or run away; he preserved without ever uttering a complaint through his strong determination.
Considering that even Tang Gunak had escaped from home three times before he became an adult, Tang Zhan’s desire was terrifying.
For that reason, he was particularly loved by Tang Gunak among all his children.
But that same child looked content, even after suffering defeat.
Tang Gunak thought that perhaps his reasoning would be more important than what happened at the merchant’s chamber.
Tang Zhan spoke.
“Because I found it.”
“… found it?”
“I found the way I need to progress, and I know the world is wide. Knowing that so many people are stronger than me, I now have the motivation to work harder. Why would I be afraid of punishment then?”
Tang GUnak frowned.
“There are many who are stronger than you? Are you referring to the second child of the Four Seas Merchant Chamber?”
“It’s clear that I lost my fight with him. But if we battle again, the outcome would be different. But… not against the others.”
“The Righteous Sword of Hua and Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon.”
“The Righteous Sword of Hua is definitely stronger than Jo Gul. And Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon…”
Tang Zhan, who was speaking, went silent.
Tang Gunak didn’t rush and waited for his son to process his thoughts and speak.
“I don’t know.”
But the answer that came after a long silence was beyond his expectations.
“You don’t know?”
“Yes. I don’t know whether he is weak or strong. No, more than that….”
Tang Zhan sighed.
“No, as expected, I know nothing about him. I cannot figure him out.”
Tang Pae, who was listening, spoke with a faint smile.
“You couldn’t figure it out because you are weak.”
“… that could be the case.”
“Lord, there is no need to listen to him anymore. Please punish him and send me to the Four Seas. I’ll take care of this and return.”
Tang Gunak turned and looked at Tang Pae. Tang Pae flinched when he met eyes with the lord and bowed his head.
Tang Gunak, who suppressed Tang Pae with just a look, changed his expression and looked at Tang Zhan with interest.
This was the first time Tang Zhan had judged someone like this.
“Listening to what you said, it seems like his strength wasn’t that outstanding, right?”
“… in my opinion, yes.”
“But you seem the most conscious of Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon among them.”
Tang Gunak’s eyes lit up.
“What is the reason? You wouldn’t put any weight on the meaningless titles or fame he’s acquired in Kangho, so what was special about him?”
After contemplating for a moment, Tang Zhan spoke.
“He said that I should add another dagger to our technique.”
Tang Gunak jumped up from his seat.
This was unlike how he had protected his image and maintained his composure until now. A terrifying qi rose from his entire body.
Tang Pae and Tang Zhan both trembled at the aura the family’s lord exuded.
To behave like this in front of his children, one could tell just how surprised he was.
“What did you say?”
“… he mentioned adding the twelfth dagger.”
“And you’re sure about this?”
Tang Zhan frowned.
‘Does he know of the Twelve Daggers?’
This was a technique of the Sichuan Tang family, a secret technique that only a few people knew about. Those who master handling eleven are the only ones taught about this.
That was the twelfth.
It was a vision that could be considered the culmination of Sichuan Tang’s abilities.
When people speak about the Tang family, they think only of hidden daggers and unseen poisons, but the twelve daggers were another vision that didn’t fall behind the other two.
It was difficult, so difficult that it all but faded away in recent times.
“What’s the probability that the child knew about this in advance?”
“No, never mind. It’s impossible. Those who know the existence of the twelfth dagger no longer exist in Kangho.”
Even in the Sichuan Tang family, this was extremely confidential.
Could an outsider have known?
It could happen. Nothing in the world can be perfectly hidden. But such a fact could not be known by a child. Moreover, wasn’t he a disciple of the fallen Mount Hua sect?
Tang Gunak’s eyes went cold.
“Speak from the start.”
After some time, Tang Gunak heard the entire retelling and spoke in a heavy voice.
“You used the Hidden Explosion dagger?”
“And he still avoided it….”
Of course, this was shocking, but it wasn’t the outcome of the match that was important now.
“That’s not enough to give a clue about the twelve daggers. The completed Hidden Explosion dagger secretly paves the way to the twelfth dagger. It’s a norm to aim for it.”
“So then, does that mean that he witnessed your technique and determined that it would be complete if you added another dagger after only seeing you use it once?”
“Not possible. It is impossible.”
Tang Gunak mumbled, forgetting his children were there.
“If that is possible, then his understanding of martial arts surpasses mine. No, no, perhaps he didn’t calculate that with his mind. Maybe it was just a sense. But even knowing it with sense alone….”
A terrifying genius.
Even that would be enough.
“There is a terrifying genius, a monster, in Mount Hua?”
Tang Gunak’s face went cold.
Making up his mind, he approached Tang Zhan.
“I need to see for myself.”
Tang Pae looked shocked and spoke.
“Lord! That cannot happen! This isn’t worthy of you going….”
Tang Gunak glared at Tang Pae with a fearsome expression, causing him to flinch.
“… how was the Tang family able to establish itself as the head of Sichuan for a hundred years? Do you remember?”
Tang Pae gulped and responded.
“Because our ancestors have risked their lives to develop the family.”
Tang Gunak spoke in a hoarse voice.
“Our Tang family isn’t the only one who risked their lives for their family. Even now, many families and sects are risking everything they have for their development. Nevertheless, the one reason why the Tang family has achieved this incomparable status is because….!”
Tang Gunak looked his son in the eyes and then whispered as if speaking a secret.
“Because we are tenacious.”
“There is no small work or big work. It is the tenacity to do anything that created a family like ours. Perseverance that doesn’t miss a thing! Perseverance to track down any danger that could harm our family! The persistence to pursue any potential benefit.”
Tang Gunak looked at Tang Pae and spoke.
“You want to be a noble?”
“Keep in mind. There’s no need for nobles in the Tang family. Those who worry about their pride and saving face have no right to lead this family. Even if everyone in the world points their fingers, this family will only benefit from those who are willing to do anything for the family. Do you understand what I mean?”
“I-I will keep it in mind. Lord.”
Tang Gunak gave a cold glance and moved.
“I will go to the merchant’s chamber and see with my own eyes whether that child is a genius or just a blabbering nonsense.”
Tang Zhan sighed with his eyes closed.
Things were quickly escalating out of control.
“Why won’t you come!?”
“Oh, I just don’t want to.”
“Why is this idiot suddenly acting like this!?”
Yoon Jong pounded on his chest in frustration; this guy was really unpredictable.
“Really? You aren’t going to go?”
In the end, Yoon Jong burst into anger.
“Then stay here! We are going to Yunnan! You can stay here!”
Yoon Jong scratched his head; right when he was about to say something more…
Yu Yiseol called for Baek Cheon.
“Will the Tang family stand still?”
Baek Cheon sighed.
“How could they stay still? Of course, they’ll try to find us. So why don’t we head over to Yunnan as soon as possible? We don’t know what will happen to us if we stay here.”
“Then what about the merchant chamber?”
“The Tang family must be enraged by now. What if we aren’t here? What happens to the merchant chamber?”
The anger of the Tang family would be directed here. Baek Cheon glanced at Jo Pyung.
Jo Pyung smiled and shook his head.
“You don’t have to worry about that. We’ve maintained a good relationship with the Tang family for a long time….”
“The Sichuan Tang family?”
Jo Pyung went silent.
He couldn’t speak. Because he knew that, despite having long-standing relations, the Tang family was capable of incredible persistence and cruelty.
“I am a bit worried.”
Yoon Jong spoke with a heavy voice.
“The fact that they came here last night clearly shows that they believe it’s important to lower Jo Gul’s position. However, instead of achieving that goal, they were humiliated instead. Their anger is sure to be great.
Baek Cheon frowned.
‘Does that mean leaving this place quickly won’t be enough to solve the problem?’
Baek Cheon looked at Jo Pyung again.
A slightly embarrassed smile emerged on his face.
Only then did Baek Cheon understand.
‘He was trying to let us go.’
Perhaps Jo Pyung had already thought of this, so he decided to let the disciples of Mount Hua leave for Yunnan before the Tang family arrived.
No matter how strong the Tang family was, they wouldn’t dare pursue them into Yunnan.
And then the anger of the Tang family would all be directed toward the merchant chamber.
‘I can’t believe I overlooked this.’
Baek Cheon’s face flushed red. He was so excited that Jo Gul took down Tang Zhan, and they found a way to Yunnan that he missed something this simple.
He looked to the side.
Chung Myung’s behavior of not wanting to go to Yunnan made sense. Perhaps, Chung Myung already knew this. However, he couldn’t say it as it would seem like he was disregarding the favor of the Four Seas Merchant Chamber Lord.
“Does this mean we have to deal with more trouble, idiot?”
Baek Cheon sighed.
“Yes, disciple Baek Cheon.”
“It seems like the trip to Yunnan will need to be delayed for a while.”
Baek Cheon shook his head.
“This happened because of us. We will deal with it.”
“Why is it us? This time it was entirely because of Sasuk.”
Baek Cheon controlled his expression and continued.
“We will not leave this place. Even if we leave, we will go after sorting out the matter with the Tang family.”
Jo Pyung’s face, which was struggling to fake a calm demeanor, grew slightly distorted until it eventually collapsed.
“Are you saying this even after knowing how frightening the Tang family is? Indeed, they walked in, and Tang Zhen was defeated. But compared to the strength of the family, that child is nothing! Get out of here now! Right now! If not….”
“Oh. It’s all fine now.”
Jo Pyung tilted his head at Chung Myung’s sudden interruption.
Chung Myung smiled.
“They’ve come much sooner than I thought. Looks like they’re already here.”
As soon as he finished speaking, the outside began to buzz with a sudden clamor.
Jo Pyung jumped up from his seat and prepared to run away, hoping the others could escape…
At that moment, an urgent voice broke into the atmosphere.
“The head of the Sichuan Tang family has come to visit!”
Blood drained from Jo Pyung’s face.
‘This is the end.’
Jo Pyung lost any strength in his legs and sat down on the spot.
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