“Everyone keep this in mind. We are not the disciples of Mount Hua. We are just merchants under the Peace Merchant group, and we came to buy the purple wood grass.”
“You must not do anything that might reveal that we are the disciples of Mount Hua. This is a paramount secret.”
“Did everyone hear that?”
“So, no matter what happens, think repeatedly before you act!”
In the end, Baek Cheon shouted at Chung Myung who kept repeating himself.
“You, you brat! I am talking about you, not the others!”
Chung Myung’s eyes widened.
“Right! You are the one who needs to hear this the most among us! Other than you who else creates accidents for us?”
“Tch. Sasuk, have you always held such prejudice?”
Baek Cheon took a deep breathe.
‘I feel so anxious.’
They did manage to get here somehow, but he felt like his legs were giving out at the thought of entering Kunming.
‘But I cannot let him go alone.’
If he was someone who listened to reason maybe he would say something, but it was unreasonable for Chung Myung to listen to other people.
“Stay close to Chung Myung and keep an eye on him so that he doesn’t cause an accident.”
Yu Yiseol’s eyes went to Chung Myung. Seeing that, he opened his mouth with a face of dissatisfaction.
“What do you all think of me? Do I look like someone who is going to cause trouble?”
“You always do that.”
“It isn’t that weird to think that way.”
Chung Myung twisted his body in injustice, but his sahyungs didn’t blink an eye.
‘At least Yu samae is a bit more careful at controlling him.’
However, this isn’t the fundamental solution. Baek Cheon didn’t think for a moment Yu Yiseol could stop him, but he had to do something to at least slow him down.
‘The best way to get to Kunming is to move faster and get hold of the information we need before Chung Myung creates trouble.’
Baek Cheon, Yoon Jong and Jo Gul looked at each other. As if they were all having the same thoughts, they had determined faces.
The disciples of Mount Hua confidently entered the gates of Kunming. There were no guards at the gate and no other form of security either.
In the slightly weird atmosphere, Baek Cheon passed through the gate.
“…what is this?”
“Why is it like this?”
Even inside the gate everyone frowned at the unexpected sight.
“…has a plague struck the place?”
“I don’t think so…?”
To put it bluntly… there was a huge lack of life.
There were hardly any signs of people on the road in front of them. Very rarely, they could see people leaning on the wall and breathing heavily.
“…this looks serious?”
Baek Cheon looked around.
A city like this should have been full of life. Money should have been moving around in such a huge place and so should people… it couldn’ts be this quiet.
But right now, Kunming seemed like a totally dead city.
Even Chung Myung couldn’t hide his disappointment.
At the same time, Yoon Jong who was looking at this said,
“The place didn’t look good when we entered but I thought Kunming would be different… this looks even worse than on the outside.”
Baek Cheon quietly nodded his head and Jo Gul added.
“I heard that the situation in Yunnan is getting more worse with every passing day since they quit the trade union, but I hadn’t expected it to be this bad.”
“Is that the only reason? It is said that there is a drought here as well, so that probably has had a stronger effect.”
“Yes, that could be one of the reasons too.”
Chung Myung scratched his head.
“Anyway, that isn’t important, so start with gathering the information.”
Baek Cheon nodded.
“Let’s split up and inquire about it and then we’ll rendezvous here at dusk.”
As the sahyungs moved to do their respective tasks, Chung Myung looked ahead with a smile.
“Okay, now I need to ask about the whereabouts of the purple wood grass!”
His will was overflowing and burning. If there was a problem, it was just one.
“…but whom and how should I ask?”
Yu Yiseol looked at Chung Myung.
Chung Myung clasped his hands.
“This is Yunnan.”
Chung Myung had no knowledge of Yunnan or tea. This place is different from the Central Plains.
Regardless of whether it was for better or worse, it felt different to him.
“I need to meet influential people.”
Chung Myung smiled. However, there was someone who didn’t like his appearance which clearly screamed that he was taking this lightly.
“Purple wood grass.”
Yu Yiseol looked at Chung Myung.
Her intention was clear in her brief words and gaze.
‘_Now, some people are dying down there wandering in the sun to get information, but the youngest one is stuck, not sure where to go and is probably thinking of heading to a tea house.’_
That was what it said.
But who is Chung Myung? Someone on whom such things don’t work.
“Then, I will go?”
“I’ll look around then? Can I even do anything here?”
There was conflict on her face. She couldn’t let this man go.
‘Never let Chung Myung cause trouble.’
‘But this place has nothing.’
These two thoughts were colliding in her mind.
Yu Yiseol, who titled on a more important side, stared at Chung Myung as she made up her mind.
“I will have a cup of tea as well.”
Something felt off.
Chung Myung smiled. And looked at the tea house in Kunming.
‘This looks ruined beyond help.’
The city looked like it lacked life. From what he knew Kunming as supposed to be the Chengdu of this place. This city was supposed to be the center of Yunnan.
And if this place was barren, it meant that the entirety of Yunnan was like this. Chung Myung frowned.
‘It is like seeing Mount Hua in the past.’
Once, that too was a place of life and vitality. And Yunnan was the same… it was bustling with life until the Demonic Sect had attacked and caused its collapse. And due to the wrong handling, its former glory couldn’t be brought back.
Fortunately Mount Hua had the blessing of Chung Myung. If Chung Myung hadn’t been revived for some unknown reason, what would be the difference between Mount Hua and this place?
Chung Myung lightly clicked his tongue.
‘Yunnan is Yunnan. Mount Hua is Mount Hua.’
It wasn’t that he didn’t have sympathy for the situation, but Chung Myung simply wasn’t someone who would care about this.
But what he had to pay attention to now was…
The owner of the tea house, who was staring to the side, ran towards Chung Myung as he heard the call.
“Yes! What do you want?”
“Give me something to bite on first.”
“Yes! Sure! What kind?”
“Please bring me anything you can give. And a kettle of cold tea.”
“Yes! Yes! I will bring it right away!”
The owner was excited as he turned around to get the tea. And Chung Myung said,
The owner quickly turned his body and quickly adjusted his form into a light bow.
Recently in Kunming, money wasn’t going around, so the operation of the tea house was terrible. In the midst of that, a man had come in and asked for tea… since a precious customer who would pay had arrived, how could he not lower his body?
“It is about the tea leaves. Have you ever heard of purple wood grass?”
“Hm. Purple wood grass?”
The owner titled his head.
“Well. I’ve made tea with all the tea leaves that come and go, but I haven’t heard of that.’
“Then, do you know whether it is a herb?”
“A herb… Medicine…”
The owner nodded.
“There is a person who is a medical practitioner.”
“Ah, yes? Where is that person?”
“Ah. Sir! Why bother going there? I will call them here.”
“…will that be alright?”
“Hahaha. Of course. But… it will take some time for them to come…”
Seeing how the man was speaking, Chung Myung smiled and took out a silver coin from his sleeve and placed it on the table.
“Are the dishes going to come soon?’
The owner took the silver coin and went back quickly.
“The tea will be brought right away! Please wait just a little bit. I will call the person right away!”
Chung Myung smiled at the intense reaction of the owner.
As the owner ran to the kitchen, Yu Yiseol had a strange expression.
“You were thinking of this from the start?”
“Wandering around here to get things? What will we get?”
Chung Myung smiled bitterly.
“The problems of this town need to be left to the people of this town. If they are good people they will answer if we ask them, but could that be comparable to an answer when money comes into the picture?”
Yu Yiseol nodded.
“It doesn’t fit you.”
“Just drink the tea.”
Chung Myung sipped his tea. And Yu Yiseol looked at him with new eyes.
This was one of the biggest misconceptions people had about Chung Myung. People always thought that he was someone who always used his fists regardless of the situation and had no thoughts.
‘He just looks like this.’
After watching Chung Myung, Yu Yiseol was convinced that he wasn’t like that.
If someone looked at him calmly and without prejudice, Chung Myung was the most astout disciple of Mount Hua. Even what seems like random things he jumped onto, are things he does after huge thoughts and contemplation.
‘And that is why we’ve come this far.’
“You won’t drink?”
At Chung Myung’s question, Yu Yiseol grabbed her teacup.
In any case, it was true that she felt sorry for her sahyungs who were out in the sun, so she drank the tea very slowly.
Jo Gul sighed.
They had been asking around about the purple wood grass, but no one seemed to know much about it. Someone should have known about it in Kunming, but it was strange that there was little information on it here.
‘Should we have asked more questions in Sichuan itself?’
Since it is said the grass grows in Yunnan, they thought the information on it could only be gotten here. But it didn’t seem like it.
All they were left with was regret. But they simply had insufficient information to move on with their objective.
“But the information is…”
Jo Gul frowned.
In retrospect, he knew that the situation in Kunming wasn’t good the moment he came here. Most of the shops they had come across had their doors closed and people seemed to be starving on the road. Sometimes they would grab the hem of the clothes and beg him.
No proper information could be obtained in such a situation and environment.
‘We need to find another…’
It was then.
Jo Gul titled his head.
He saw Yoon Jong standing in front of him.
This wasn’t surprising. Despite Kunming being huge it was natural to walk into each other several times since this was their first time here. What was strange wasn’t the encounter but the state of Yoon Jong.
There were small children all around him.
Jo Gul titled his head and approached him.
“Sahyung? What are you doing?”
“… Ah! J-Jo Gul?”
Yoon Jong looked back with an awkward expression.
“Why are you with the kid… uh?”
Jo Gul narrowed his eyes.
Yoon Jong’s hand held a bag of grain along with a few dumplings.
“I know… I know that this isn’t the time for this, that we need to get information. But… ha…”
Yoon Jong looked at the children with a humble face. When he gave the children dumplings, the children would drool and eat them eagerly.
“My younger sibling is starving too! Just give me one more!”
Yoon Jong bit his lip.
“I will buy you more when this runs out, so calm down. Don’t rush in and get hurt!”
He handed out dumplings with one hand and gently pushed apart the kids who were bumping into each other.
All the children who were looking weak now had a little hope in their eyes. And when the dumplings in his hand were gone, the children looked at Yoon Jong in shock.
“Eat it first, take care of your family. I will buy food and then come back here soon!”
The children nodded their heads and walked away without saying thanks.
Jo Gul who watched the scene and frowned.
“…they should be thankful if they were helped.”
Yoon Jong turned to him with a slightly stiff expression.
“There is no room for it.”
“Things like morals work only when one has everything. How can a child who is on the verge of collapsing from hunger remember to thank their benefactor? They might have younger siblings at home or parents who have collapsed. Don’t blame them!”
“…Yes, sahyung. I am sorry.”
At the sight of Yoon Jong who looked angry, Jo Gul felt scared. Although they had been together for so long, it was Jo Gul’s first time seeing him this angry.
“By any chance…”
It was then.
“Aaack! No! It isn’t that!”
“How dare you steal something! Come here! I am going to teach you a lesson!”
“I didn’t steal it! ack! Aack! It hurts!”
The faces of Yoon Jong and Jo Gul went stiff.
The two hurried to where they heard the screams come from.
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