“Uh? You want me to wear this?”
Baek Cheon looked at the clothes in front of him with a frown.
“This is… the merchant group’s clothes?”
“Yes, these are the clothes of the group.”
“Then why do we have to wear them?”
“Oh my, warrior. The place we are heading to is Yunnan. If you enter Yunnan wearing the clothes you have on now, it will cause a huge commotion. We have to enter quietly without problems.”
“Ah, I see.”
Baek Cheon nodded.
‘First, Chung Myung has to be persuaded…’
Baek Cheon shuddered as he saw Chung Myung, who had already changed out of his sect robes.
“You are wearing it?”
“No… I just thought you wouldn’t.”
The robe with Mount Hua’s plum blossom engraved on it was in his hands. Chung Myung might or might not have respect for other people, but his respect for Mount Hua had always been overflowing. Because of this, Baek Cheon thought that he would have to force Chung Myung to change his clothes.
“No, those clothes…”
Chung Myung shoved the robes of Mount Hua into a bag.
“Clothes are clothes.”
“Sasuk. Change your clothes. Let’s head into Yunnan.”
Baek Cheon took the robes from the merchant group member. After that, all the disciples of Mount Hua gathered in one place and laughed as they looked at each other.
Each day they looked at each other wearing the uniform of Mount Hua, so seeing them dressed as porters was awkward in their eyes.
“Doesn’t this look custom-made for Jo Gul?”
“Kuak, as expected. It looks perfect because of the bastard who’s wearing it.”
“D-Don’t make fun of me, sasuk!”
Jo Gul’s face was dyed red.
At that time, Kwak Gyung, the leader of the group, approached them and requested.
“As you know, Yunnan is a dangerous place. You must not accompany anyone other than authorized people.”
“So, I earnestly ask you to not do anything that may reveal your identity. Please, I will say it again! Please.”
Seeing the head ask this of them repeatedly, Baek Cheon, who became curious, said.
“It looks like Yunnan is under strict control.”
“Yunnan has multitudes of people living in it; this much is certain. But Yunnan isn’t just simply under the ‘influence’ of the Nanman Beast Palace. It is said that they control even the entry of people into Yunnan. And their tyranny is even worse.”
“Why leave the power in their hands?”
“Yunnan is a barren land. There is nothing there for others to gain by fighting or defeating them. Therefore, the officials have no intention of restoring power there. As a result, only the tea traders in Yunnan get harmed.”
If it hadn’t been for the material that they required to make the pills, they wouldn’t have ever come to Yunnan.
“So, I will say it again. If this goes wrong, we will be unable to set foot into Yunnan ever again. And then we will be left to ruin.”
“Don’t worry. No such accide…”
Baek Cheon looked at Chung Myung without realizing it.
“…nts will happen.”
‘We’ll at least put some effort into making sure it doesn’t happen.’
‘But we cannot promise it.’
“I request of you.”
Kwak Gyung said it again and went back to his place.
Baek Cheon, who listened to all this, once again realized just how absolute the power of the Nanman Beast Palace was in Yunnan.
“I think they have more power than the Tang family?”
“Doesn’t it seem like that? There are sects in Sichuan that can at least keep the Tang family in check, but there are no such sects in Yunnan.”
At Yoon Jong’s words, Baek Cheon tilted his head.
“Um? But aren’t there any other sects in Yunnan?”
“…Uh, seems like it…”
When Yoon Jong hesitated, Chung Myung, who was listening to them, spoke as if it was no big deal.
“There is a sect called Diancang that doesn’t care about these things.”
“What do you mean?”
“As I said. It is a sect that has no interest in things like increasing its power or influence. It is a place where people gather together deep inside the mountains to practice Tao and learn martial arts.”
“Aren’t we the same?”
“Ehh. If we thought about it like that, then compared to the Diancang Sect in the Kunlun mountains, Mount Hua and the Wudang Sect wouldn’t even be called Taoists. The Diancang Sect members only go after Tao.”
‘No, this bastard changes his clothes and now even makes fun of his clan.’
“Taoists are the same everywhere.”
“No, I am telling the truth. The Diancang Sect in Kunlun… they don’t care what kind of opinion the world has of them.”
“Even if they get kicked out of the Nine Great Sects One Union?”
“Does that make any sense?”
“Think about it. If they had such an interest, why would they set up their sect in such a distant place like Yunnan? They could have been treated way better even in Sichuan, which is considered to be a countryside. But what can they even do in Yunnan?”
Baek Cheon nodded his head as if he understood.
“From the point of view of the Tao, they are a respectable sect. Because they do not want to get involved in matters only to increase their fame. From the point of view of their sect, they wouldn’t even have to care about what happens outside because of that, right?”
“They indeed are great.”
Baek Cheon shook his head. If he was asked to live like that, he was sure he would run away.
“So don’t worry about the Diancang sect. The important thing is the Nanman Beast Palace.”
“…how do you know this all so well?”
“I am a beggar. I grew up hearing all kinds of rumors.”
Chung Myung responded naturally and turned away before they could say anything further.
“We have wasted a lot of time in Sichuan, so let’s not do that here. First, we need to get into Yunnan as soon as possible, so let’s cooperate with the merchant group and move.”
Baek Cheon’s mouth went wide as he heard that.
‘No, who is telling whom to work?’
“We are running out of time! If we had moved a little faster, we could have been there already!”
“You! Seriously?! Think of what you did!”
Baek Cheon forced himself to calm down and sighed.
“Anyway, I understand. Let’s cooperate with them and move as fast as we can.”
What remained to be seen now was if the one who asked them to work would even do anything. The disciples of Mount Hua then started walking around the carriage with their luggage.
Since it was a horse-drawn carriage, the horses had to be changed frequently, and their speed was slow. Because of that, they couldn’t help but feel frustrated.
But there was no other way.
They couldn’t obtain spare horses in these mountain areas, so they had to be considerate of the animals they had.
“Ugh. So, when do we reach Yunnan?” Chung Myung asked.
This was his first time to Yunnan too. And it felt like his body was cramping up in anticipation.
“I think we can go faster if the path was cleared a little bit.”
He frowned as he looked at the messy path.
Even though they were further away from Chengdu and closer to Yunnan, the road was an absolute mess.
A path turned into a road if it was maintained consistently. And if it wasn’t, it was just a path with all kinds of trees, stones, and other obstacles blocking the way.
Usually, the management of roads was done by the officials under the royal family, but since Yunnan wasn’t under their control, the management wasn’t carried out.
Kwak Gyung, who listened to it, said,
“This is still the land of Sichuan.”
“Ah, is that so?”
“Yes. But since this is the road to Yunnan, no one feels the need to get close to it and repair it.”
“Then the road will worsen with time?”
“Yes. But that isn’t the only problem. The closer we get to the border of Yunnan, the more bandits and robbers we will come across. This is a journey that risks our lives.”
Kwak Gyung sighed.
“Even the warriors of the Central Plains are reluctant to collide with the Nanman Beast Palace, so the officials don’t even show up. Therefore, the border of Sichuan and Yunnan is a lawless zone.”
Baek Cheon looked at the guards near the carriage.
He had initially wondered why there were so many guards with them, and it was now revealed that it was because of the bandit attacks.
“We have reached the border, so everyone should be careful from now. If there is anything that seems strange, let us know right away.”
“We are doing our best to speed up, so I would appreciate it if you could be a little more patient despite it being frustrating.”
“Ah, not at all. Merchant Head, we are sorry for the trouble we have caused you. There is no need to overwork your people because of us.”
Baek Cheon bowed, but the man didn’t seem relaxed.
“We are late… late! This is too late!”
“…what is it with you again!?”
Chung Myung spoke with puffed-up cheeks.
“When will we reach Yunnan if we move like this!”
“We cannot help it! Since the horses are pulling the carriage, the speed is bound to be slow. People cannot pull this carriage, right?!”
“But this is too slow! If we go to Yunnan at this pace, seasons will change. No! Years will pass! On our way home, we’ll have to pray for the Sect Leader to still be alive!”
“Yah, you fucking idiot! Don’t say that!”
“This is freaking frustrating!”
Chung Myung frowned.
“Why don’t we lead the wagon ourselves?”
“…first, aside from the fact that people who can pull a wagon stand out, the people of Yunnan will know that we have learned martial arts. How do you plan on handling that?”
Chung Myung scratched his head.
‘But this is too slow.’
He was prepared for this to some extent, but this was much slower than what he had thought. And it felt like it would take them months to reach Yunnan at this pace.
‘Which season should I bet on?’
Chung Myung sighed.
“But what kind of camping preparations take this long?”
They stopped and were preparing the camp for the night.
“Jo Gul sahyung. Does it take this much time to prepare for the camp?”
“It doesn’t usually take this much, but…”
Jo Gul scratched his head.
“Still, there are not enough guards and people from the merchant group, and it seems like their people are doing all the work.”
Chung Myung clicked his tongue.
“Then it is taking so long because there aren’t enough people to do all the work?”
“Seems like it.”
“Ah! Then they should have asked us for help right from the start! We would have gotten this over with much sooner! Why didn’t they tell me?! Ahhhh!”
Chung Myung jumped up from his seat.
“It must have been because we are the guests of the Tang family.”
“It is way better to help them out now so we can get to bed early and then leave early too!”
“We can look at it like that, but…”
Baek Cheon heard it.
‘Certainly, this guy is really funny when he’s like this.’
It is a name that now shone only for Mount Hua, but the name of Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon would soon shake the whole Central Fields. The phrase ‘The Best in the World’ couldn’t apply to anyone and everyone.
And naturally, for such people, it was normal for their egos to rise with their name, but Chung Myung had always remained the same…
‘He is disgusting till the end.’
‘Ah, isn’t this a good thing?’
“What are you doing? We should help them now. Those men need to sleep early so that they can move early.”
It was when Baek Cheon got up from his seat with a smile on his face.
The disciples of Mount Hua all turned their gazes at once. They could see the dark bushes swaying.
Dozens of people appeared from the bushes with sly laughter.
“Who are they!”
The guards who were escorting the merchant group up drew their weapons and stood in front.
“Hehehehe. It is a good thing we camped here. You didn’t think that this would be the front yard of our Occlude Tiger Village, right?”
“Leave your things, and your lives will be spared.”
“If not, your lives will be at risk.”
The disciples of Mount Hua, who were looking at the people, opened their mouths wide.
And then a few groaning voices were heard.
“No, since this is the Central Plains, shouldn’t they be called barbarians?”
“Anyways, they are robbers.”
“Yes, that works too.”
Baek Cheon smiled.
“To meet a robber in this life.”
“Do you want me to deal with them?”
It was the moment when Jo Gul took a step ahead.
A voice of disapproval was heard from behind them. A voice that seemed to give the impression that the others shouldn’t move. The disciples of Mount Hua looked back in anxiety.
They saw Chung Myung smiling like he was the incarnation of Buddha.
“What did you say they are? Robbers? They don’t look like robbers to me, though?”
“…what do they look like?”
“They aren’t robbers but horses.”
Chung Myung smiled.
“These are horses… powerful ones that will take us to Yunnan. Oh my, we are so lucky!”
“What are you doing? Catch them before they run away!”
Baek Cheon felt pity for the bandits who tried to rob them but were getting robbed in return.
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