“If you look at the Central Plains as if it were a checkers board, the place where you have to make a path to escape from this siege that is tightening at you from all directions… both inside and outside.”
“Do you think Mount Hua is worth that much? Mount Hua isn’t even in the Nine Great Sects anymore.”
“If it wasn’t worth all that because we aren’t part of the Nine Great Sects, would we join hands with the Tang family if we were? We would be the same as the other sects.”
Tang Gunak looked at Chung Myung with a bewildered face.
Even if that was true, people don’t usually say such things, especially in front of the Lord of Tang family.
“Let’s talk without pretense. Because I don’t have the hobby of talking in circles for nothing. The Tang Lord is trying to hold back the other sects from besieging the Tang family by taking the hand of Mount Hua. That is your true purpose.”
“If the rumors spread that the Tang family formed an alliance with Mount Hua, of course they will start to become conscious of our sect. That will ease the scrutiny on your family.”
Tang Gunak let out a low sigh.
Tang Gunak eased his form and sat tall as he looked at Chung Myung with a slightly serious face.
“I think you misunderstood.”
“That I am a young brat who just knows martial arts.”
“I am going to correct you.”
‘Tang Bo you bastard.’
‘Look at this this, I will come see you later. Why didn’t you take care of your descendants, you stupid bastard!’
Not knowing what was going on in Chung Myung’s head, Tang Gunak simply looked at him and said nothing.
‘What is this…’
Tang Gunak hadn’t had much experience with people being so direct with him. In particular, he had never felt so thoroughly exposed, and that too, to a child who hadn’t lived half his life.
‘With such helplessness in heart.’
In Tang Gunak’s head, the evaluation of Mount Hua and Chung Myung were spot on. And the change in these plans were also right.
“I admit it. I wanted that.”
Tang Gunak simply acknowledged Chung Myung’s words.
It wasn’t a good idea to lie around someone who so clearly saw through him. Negotiations would only become more difficult if the two sides couldn’t trust each other. It was better to admit it from the start.
“So, does Mount Hua have other thoughts?”
“No. it isn’t different. But…”
“In our alliance, the Tang Family mostly gains a number of liberties while Mount Hua has too many constraints, so it is unfair.”
“I want a fair price. A fair price… it is not something that is to be given out in a condescending manner.”
Chung Myung looked at Tang Gunak with calm eyes.
“That will be the right deal.”
“Um. True. Then I…”
Before Tang Gunak could finish his words, Chung Myung cut Tang Gunak’s words.
Chung Myung’s smile had vanished.
“Let us make one thing certain. Here, the Tang family is not helping out Mount Hua, but Mount Hua is helping out the Tang family.”
“So, get rid of the thought of looking down on us. I am representing Mount Hua now.”
At Chung Myung’s words, Tang Gunak’s face went stiff.
In that brief moment, Tang Gunak’s expression changed several times. And the words which came after those changes didn’t carry much power.
“I made a mistake.”
Tang Gunak got up from his seat and bowed to Chung Myung.
“Tang Gunak of the Sichuan Tang family apologizes to Chung Myung the disciple of Mount Hua.”
“I accept it.”
Chung Myung smiled.
The two of them then sat down in their seats without another word.
Although the outer appearance hadn’t changed from the first time, their feelings had changed.
“What will the Tang Family have to do for Mount Hua to hold hands with us?”
“There are three conditions.”
“The first is weapons.”
Tang Gunak’s face went stiff.
“The poison and needle techniques of the Tang family will not go outside this family under any circumstance. If you want the Tang family’s techniques, assume that this negotiation will not go through.”
“It is not that. What good will your needles and poison do for Mount Hua?”
Chung Myung, without another word, pulled out his sword from the waist.
It was very rude to draw a sword at the Lord of the Tang family without permission, but Tang Gunak assumed that there was an intention for it and watched silently.
Chung Myung’s plum blossom sword was broken from the middle.
“It isn’t of good quality.”
“Well, that is too much, but it wasn’t a very good sword in the first place. This was bound to happen. There was no money in Mount Hua. Now we have money but we have a hard time finding people who make good swords in bulk.”
“Because the other sects have already taken them.”
“Right. But here we have some of the best makers. And making swords can be done like steaming dumplings.”
“Hmm. But the maker family will not simply give it to us, right?”
“Nonsense. If the most famous family goes and asks them, they will dig out a lot more and give them to you.”
Tang Gunak nodded his head.
It was true that the Tang family had craftsmen who were the best in the world and that they spared no investment in making good weapons. So, he didn’t hate the words of Chung Myung who understood the importance of weapons.
“The fact that I can show off my skills even if the sword is bad means that I can show off my skills in full power if I get my hands on a very good sword. I have heard that the smelting technique of the Tang family is the best. And I would be grateful if our plum blossom swords could be made by your family.”
“I will accept this. It isn’t too difficult.”
Considering the power of the Tang family, making swords for Mount Hua was nothing huge.
So, that meant that the next two conditions would be a bigger ones.
“Give us one skill.”
Tang Gunak frowned.
“You seem to know well and yet keep asking unreasonable things. The techniques and legacy of the Tang family cannot be passed on unless they are of blood.”
“You keep saying the same thing. I wasn’t speaking about the legacy.”
Not the legacy of the Tang family? Was there anything more in the family?
Chung Myung who received the curious gaze of Tang Gunak, took off his shirt.
And he began to untie the bandage which had been wrapped around his stomach.
Now there was only a bit of redness left in the place where the wound had been. In just three days, the stab wound had been healed completely.
“It has recovered well.”
“The medicine is good.”
“Yes. I want the skills of the medical practitioner of the Tang family.”
Tang Gunak’s expression darkened.
The medicine of the Tang family?
Of course, it couldn’t be called the Tang family’s legacy. Because the real legacy of the Tang family were their daggers, poison and needles.
But this wasn’t something that could be easily passed on. Because there was no origin.
“Why are you interested in that? No one has ever wanted to learn it.”
“Because I need it.”
Chung Myung shrugged.
As Tang Gunak said, the medicine wasn’t of much value to the family. It was because it was impossible to open a practitioner centre for the Tang family with just these skills.
It was simple. Because diseases couldn’t be cured. And the skills of the Tang Family mainly focused on body trauma and internal injuries.
It was clear if one thought about it.
Unless one was a warrior, who else would get traumatized, poisoned or injured? Even still, if a centre was opened just for that, people would assume that the person opened it hoping for people to get hurt.
‘Mount Hua needs it.’
In his dream, Tang Bo had informed him.
How important medicine was.
He didn’t even listen to Tang Bo then. He thought that if he could get stronger than anyone, he wouldn’t have to consider getting injuries. The stronger one was, the less chances they had of getting hurt.
But what was the reality that Chung Myung had faced?
Everyone had died.
If Chung Myung had known or learned the medicine skills of the Tang family, he might have been able to save a few people. But at the time, all Chung Myung knew was to become more stronger.
‘Could internal organs that had been slashed with internal qi be reattached again?’
It sounded like nonsense.
But if Chung Myung had known about it, then he could have saved Tang Bo. He couldn’t forget the face of Tang Bo, who was holding his hand around the knife in his heart even now.
He didn’t want the disciples of Mount Hua to go through that.
Because the helplessness and sadness were too much for just one person to bear.
“Please pass the medicine skills of the Tang family to Mount Hua. And that will lead to people visiting the Tang family which would naturally help to grow our friendship.”
“Um. It isn’t easy. I will have to convince the family.”
“Which is why I picked it as a condition.”
Tang Gunak frowned.
This wasn’t easy. Definitely not…
“I’ll try to get it done.”
If that was the price for bringing over Mount Hua to their side, he would give it away. No, he had to get Mount Hua on his side.
“Up to this, I can somehow get it done. But after hearing this, I am afraid to know the third and final one. It is probably the biggest one right.”
“Yes. It is the biggest.”
“What is that?”
Chung Myung took deep breath and looked straight at Tang Gunak and said it. This wasn’t a request from Mount Hua, but a request from Chung Myung.
“Think of Mount Hua as a friend.”
“Isn’t that natural? We have an alliance…”
“Not as an alliance, but as a friend.”
Chung Myung spoke resolutely.
“It isn’t an alliance that you can abandon when you want depending on the situation and circumstances. But rather think of us as a friend you can reach out to when you are in trouble. That is what I want.”
This meant nothing.
This wasn’t something which could be promised, and it wasn’t something which would be followed just because it was promised. And Chung Myung knew it as well.
Still, I can’t help but talk about it.
“I don’t understand.”
Tang Gunak said frankly.
“Everything you asked so far had a reason. But I don’t see a reason for this one. Am I missing something in the picture?”
“Then why are you saying this?”
“I don’t know.”
Chung Myung closed his eyes.
‘Don’t make that face.’
Chung Myung opened his eyes as he shrugged.
“Let’s just call it my whim.”
Tang Gunak opened his mouth with a stiff face.
“Do you know?”
“There are countless people who want to be with the Tang family.’
Because the Sicuan Tang family is that good.
“But no one has ever said that they wanted to be friends with us. This is interesting.”
“And the answer?”
“The answer is…”
Tang Gunak smiled.
“We don’t know how to treat close friends.”
“So, it would be good if Mount Hua could tell us. What it means to be friends.”
Chung Myung chuckled.
“It isn’t that difficult.”
“Then that’s good.”
Tang Gunak smiled and nodded his head.
‘Friend. A friend?’
It was something he hadn’t imagined at all.
But this childish term tickled Tang Gunak’s heart. It was even more so because these words had come from the strangest person he had ever seen.
“I accept the three conditions.”
“I understand that the alliance between the Tang family and Mount Hua has been established. The question now is whether Mount Hua will accept this.’
“Write a letter, send it to Mount Hua with my seal and it will work out.”
“Is your influence in Mount Hua that huge?”
Chung Myung spoke.
“The sect leader and the elders are people who had been ignored all this time… if they know the Tang family’s situation, they will shed tears and ask whether you guys are happy with these conditions.”
Tang Gunak’s cheeks trembled.
‘To be treated like pitiful people…’
“Well. I understand. Then with this…”
“Where are you going?”
Tang Gunak, who flinched at Chung Myung’s question, looked at him.
“Is there anything left? I need to go and get things done.”
“We have to negotiate.”
“Didn’t we do that a while ago?”
“Ah. That was with Mount Hua’s representative.”
Chung Myung poked his finger somewhere.
It was at the wound.
Now Chung Myung’s finger was in contact with the red scar.
Tang Gunak’s eyes trembled.
“D-Didn’t we give you the pill!’
“Ehhh! This is a huge woung! You are trying to get one up over a man who had barely escaped death with just one pill? One pill for a life that had almost been lost?”
“I survived just because it was me. But if it was someone else in my place? If it was anyone else, they would have died! But you just want to throw a pill at the wounded man and wipe his blood off your hands?”
“Kuak. The way the Tang family deals with their friends is really cold. They act like they will give anything but tch tch. This isn’t what a friend is! A person must have faith.”
Tang Gunak’s face turned bright red.
“What do you want?”
“Can I just say it?”
“I cannot bear to hear you say that the Tang family has no faith! Tell me what it is! What do you want?”
Chung Myung blinked his eyes.
“It isn’t easy…”
“Just say it.”
Chung Myung searched the robe he took off.
“Let’s see. It was here… ah! Here.”
Chung Myung smiled as he held that book to Tang Gunak.
“It would be too long to put it into words, so I wrote it in advance.”
“Hehe. You don’t have to praise me for being prepared. This is basic. We are both comfortable here.”
Tang Gunak realized then.
The anger which was forming in his mouth… he realized that it was something that happens only when a person meets a devil.
After a while.
The members of the Tang family, who saw Tang Gunak coming out of his office, walking around, were all talking about how their Lord has been walking around with a crazy face they had never seen before.
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