“Look! That vast land! This will all be our land!”
Loud laughter ensued.
“There are no officials who will bother us here, and nobody else will come between our goals either. Now and here, we can do our very best!”
“Of course, hyung!”
“Hahahah! Before this year is done… Everyone will know the name of our Occlude Tiger Village! Come on! Let’s go! In the future, we will create history!”
And hot ambition…
*Tak! * “Kuak!”
The bandit grabbed his head.
“This makes me think differently. Does it feel comfortable now?”
“No! Not at all! Disciple! You must think we have gone crazy!”
“It isn’t that! I just think your mind is drifting elsewhere.”
“No! Not at all!”
Tears welled up in Bangyo’s eyes.
‘I just want to go to my hometown and live by working on some land.’
‘What? Rule the world?’
‘I might as well just freeze to death. Right, death would sound better.’
“Pull like a cow! Like a cow!”
“Yes, disciple! Like a cow! Moooo!”
Sad tears welled up in Bangyo’s eyes.
A sharp cry of pain and an immediate groan escaped from his mouth.
After being captured by Chung Myung, their routine was simple. From morning to dawn, they would literally just pull the carriage like they were horses. In the evenings, when the group paused their journey, the bandits would help the others prepare for camp and were given a short break later.
“Chief. It is too hard.”
“Uh. I really feel like I am going to die.”
“I’d rather just die.”
Tears welled up in the eyes of Bangyo as he heard his subordinates.
‘Why did I get caught by these men….’
They were bandits.
They were the most notorious bandit group at the border of Sichuan. However, Bangyo, the head of the bandits, had desperately realized that the world was wide and that there were real ‘reapers’ out there.
“…the youngest is still lost?”
“…it doesn’t seem like he will turn sane any moment.”
Bangyo closed his eyes tightly as he looked at their youngest member, who now had his eyes wide open with saliva dripping down the corner of his mouth.
“…he will spend the rest of his time like that?”
Being the youngest meant having courage. However, the youngest one, Gongso, had gone against Chung Myung, and the cost of that mistake was too great.
Seeing Gongso, who was arguing with the others, Chung Myung smiled and said.
“Haha. The calf is talking.”
And it seemed like Bangyo would never forget those words.
As he said that, Chung Myung moved from the carriage and hit the man on the head like before. Since then, Gongso hadn’t spoken.
For the rest of his life, he would probably be the same unable to do anything else.
After Gongso turned out like that, no one dared to say anything more, even though their feet were swollen and limbs were broken.
The real trouble wasn’t theirs.
Bangyo looked at the disciples of Mount Hua, who were collapsing from exhaustion with tired faces. He couldn’t even dare to think about how difficult it must have been for their clothes to turn into rags with just one training.
At that moment, one figure entered Bangyo’s view.
“If you practice, you need to increase your stamina! Why is there no difference in your stamina? You are all worthless!”
Bangyo’s gaze lowered to the floor and saw Jo Gul twitching.
The first time he saw this man, he had thought he would be a good fit if he joined the bandits.
But now, Jo Gul was being hit by a younger man called Chung Myung.
‘What? Take over the central plains?’
As he recalled his hyung’s words in the past, his blood boiled.
‘The Central Plains?’
‘THE CENTRAL PLAINS??’
‘That disgusting bastard!’
By what means could they even enter there anymore? They had gotten their asses handed to them before they could even properly take a step in!
At that moment, Chung Myung turned his head.
“Oh? You seem to have some energy in you?”
The bandits all bowed their heads.
“Tch tch. Look at them acting like babies.”
Chung Myung clicked his tongue and walked somewhere. When he disappeared from their sight, the disciples of Mount Hua, who had fallen on the floor, struggled to get up.
Jo Gul’s body was shaking.
“What is that bastard doing!”
“…even ghosts have something they are scared of.”
Jo Gul sighed as he tried to get Yoon Jong up.
“Sahyung. Get yourself together.”
“W-where am I?”
“No… forget it, just sleep.”
In the meantime, Jo Gul took care of sahyungs.
Baek Cheon sighed and spoke.
“Let’s clean up and then get some sleep.”
“We need to understand the training we did today a little more.”
“Will you be fine?”
“I can sleep in the carriage during the day, so it is fine. I am sorry but not sorry for the bandits at the same time.”
“Um. They must have heard it.”
Mount Hua’s disciples looked at the bandits.
Bangyo, who received their gaze, closed his eyes tightly without realizing it.
‘Even dogs wouldn’t have to go through this.’
The disciples of Mount Hua were moving away as they talked amongst themselves. The bandits watched it and sighed.
“If we get out of this alive, let’s not go to the Central Plains.”
“…let’s make sure we never make a mistake again.”
Even now, those who are younger and stronger than them are fighting and training to the point of coughing blood, so how could they have a chance?
‘Are the Central Plains full of such monsters?’
The actions and strength of the disciples of Mount Hua were giving birth to a misunderstanding.
The man-drawn carriage went down the road without stopping. Anyone who saw it would turn their heads and look at it.
“What, why are people pulling the carriage? Why are the horses following them?”
“Huh. I think I’ve seen everything in this life now.”
“Looks like a merchant carriage from Sichuan?”
Bangyo closed his eyes. The more they crossed the border of Yunnan, the more they ran into people. And the people who saw them would be curious.
‘Is this so funny?’
Bangyo felt tears in his eyes. In the past, people would tremble and back away from them, but now they gathered towards them to see the strange sight. He couldn’t help but feel angry.
And, of course.
Chung Myung… he was constantly hitting them.
Bangyo’s eyes went wide as the sword with its sheath still on flew into his face.
“How dare this cow think of acting as a human?”
“Tch. I have become so kind. In the old days, I would have shredded you the moment I saw you.”
The problem was that it didn’t sound like a joke.
Baek Cheon, who was sitting behind Chung Myung in the carriage, suddenly said.
“Now we are completely inside Yunnan.”
Chung Myung nodded his head.
“There are so many mountains here.”
The first thing the people who came to Yunnan would see was barren land.
“All I see are mountains and fields; I don’t understand why the officials don’t care about it.”
Baek Cheon rolled his eyes.
“We haven’t seen the Nanman Beast Palace guards yet.”
“Even if the entire Shaolin sect comes, they cannot protect Yunnan.”
Baek Cheon nodded. Ever since he heard that Yunnan was ruled by the Nanman Beast palace, he had thought that the guards of the Nanman Beast Palace would be there checking people.
But when one thought about it further, it wasn’t likely for the palace in the depths of Yunnan to send guards to protect their territory in this far-off border.
Kwak Gyung, who was listening to them, spoke.
“They manage it directly from the Kunming side, where the tea trade happens. Other than that, there are occasional patrols, but not too often.”
“Then aren’t we being too alert for no reason?”
“We have to be.”
Kwak Gyung lowered his voice.
“The Nanman Beast Palace has influence in Yunnan that exceeds that of the Tang family in Sichuan. In other words, anyone you meet now could be an informant of the Nanman Beast Palace…”
Baek Cheon frowned as he heard it.
To think everyone here could possibly be the eyes and ears of the Nanman Beast Palace made caution grow within him.
“The people’s attitude doesn’t look that good, right?”
Chung Myung added to Baek Cheon’s words.
‘No, it wasn’t that… everyone was staring at them. Their clothes looked shabby, their bodies were exposed, and they could even see their bones.’
“Originally, Yunnan’s yield wasn’t very good. Basically, there isn’t much land to farm. Do you remember seeing any rice fields on our way here?”
“There isn’t much farmland, so there aren’t many places to farm. But the recent drought situation has made things even worse.”
Kwak Gyung shook his head.
“In the past, the money that was earned from the trade in Yunnan helped the residents make a living… but now it is banned. And if what they farm doesn’t go well, everyone will starve to death.”
Baek Cheon titled his head at that.
“Wasn’t the business supposed to be going well?”
“Actually, the westerners don’t enjoy tea that much. There are no other places than the Central Plains that need so much tea. Besides, the type of tea which the westerners want isn’t the one we get from Yunnan.”
Baek Cheon nodded his head as if he understood.
“In the end, it means that breaking the trade is not helping Yunnan.”
“Is it just Yunnan? Sichuan is also having trouble. The merchant groups of Sichuan that used to be on par with the ones of the Central Plains are now unable to use their resources effectively. And fortunately, the people here don’t eat tea, so they won’t starve from it.”
Baek Cheon felt complicated.
“We will arrive at Kunming soon. If we can get there without problems, our mission has been accomplished.”
Baek Cheon bowed to Kwak Gyung.
“Thank you again.”
“Your gratitude will be accepted after we drop you safely.”
Kwak Gyung smiled. Even so, as the journey continued, the disciples of Mount Hua began to get tensed.
All they could see were rough roads, barren land, and starved people.
And thanks to the human-drawn carriage, the party was able to arrive three times faster than expected.
“There is Kunming.”
Chung Myung frowned as he looked at the old fortress wall.
“Looks more like a village than a fort town.”
“In Yunnan, the concept of high fortress walls do not exist because of the scarcity of food and land to live in.”
Chung Myung nodded his head.
“Well, thank you. Thank you for bringing us.”
“Not at all.”
Mount Hua’s disciples said their goodbyes to the merchant group.
Chung Myung turned and mumbled.
“Now the problem is these people.”
As soon as their eyes met his, the bandits flinched and bowed their heads.
‘Make a kind face! Kind face!’
‘Make the most pitiful face!’
Chung Myung looked at Baek Cheon, and Baek Chen answered.
“Isn’t it better to release them?”
“Uh? Release them?”
“Yes. It is true that they committed a crime, but they did suffer while coming here… and they seem to be reflecting on their actions, so release them.”
Chung Myung nodded.
“Ugh. Showing mercy. This is why I like sasuk.”
“…don’t spew weird stuff.”
Chung Myung smiled brightly and turned to the bandits.
“I will release them.”
“Thank you! Thank you so very much!”
“I will live a decent life! Hehehe!”
“We will never try to rob again.”
Chung Myung smiled.
“But did you know?”
“That I always do the opposite of what I am asked to do?”
In an instant, Chung Myung’s hands moved.
His hand smashed apart the dantians of the bandits.
The bandits who were hit on their lower abdomen collapsed to the floor. Chung Myung smiled as he looked at them.
“I will release you. Have a good time here. There is no way you can get back to working on your martial arts unless you wait for me to come back.”
“Or you can run away and live as normal people. Do what you want.”
Chung Myung turned back and walked to Kunming without another thought.
Yoon Jong followed him.
“Why are you holding on to them?”
“Who will pull the carriage on our way back?”
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Chung Myung shrugged his shoulders.
“And on the way home, we need to rob the things those bastards have robbed. I think they might have saved up a good amount of money.”
It was then that Yoon Jong vowed to never get caught by Chung Myung.
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