“You! How dare you steal something! Take it out right now!”
“No! Someone gave it to me earlier! I didn’t steal it!”
“How dare this bastard lie! Who will hand out food to others in Kunming? Won’t you let go of it?”
The merchant was beating up a child for a single dumpling.
“Come! Give it to me! Won’t you give it even if your hands are cut off!”
In the end, he pulled out the dumpling tied to his waist. It was the moment when he held the child’s hand and lifted it up.
“What are you doing!”
Yoon Jong, who heard the child screaming, ran towards the place quickly. He grabbed the hand of the merchant who was beating the child.
“What is this…!”
The merchant who was angry at the unexpected interruption, quickly closed his mouth as he felt an unstoppable force tightening his hand. In an instant, his tone softened.
“Ah, no it isn’t like I’m harassing him for no reason… this child stole the dumpling…”
“Stole? I gave it to him a while ago!”
“…you mean you gave it to him?”
Yoon Jong’s eyes went wild.
“Shouting at a child without realizing the situation! What kind of person are you!?”
“Aigoo! I am sorry. Sorry! W-we didn’t… Kunming doesn’t have any food that can be shared with others, so I thought he stole it.”
Yoon Jong’s face went stiff.
“But no matter what. Trying to cut off a child’s hand for stealing something. How can a person be like that!”
“Ugh! I was just trying to scare him!”
Yoon Jong, who had been staring at the merchant for a long time, let go of the hand he was holding on to and asked in a serious tone.
“Why don’t the people here help others?”
The merchant caressed his hand in tears and looked at the man.
“H-How could I give someone else something to eat? We have nothing to eat here ourselves.”
“Everyone here is starving to death. Didn’t you see it on the way?”
Yoon Jong sighed.
“I understand the situation, but it is wrong to recklessly hurt the child!”
He spoke firmly and turned his gaze to the child who was on his butt.
“Are you fine?”
“… I, I am fine, but…”
His lips were cracked, his hand seemed gashed, but the child didn’t care. He only looked at his hands. Tears welled up in his eyes as he looked at the dumpling which had been crushed by the force of the altercation with mud all over it.
“I wanted to give it to my sibling…”
Yoon Jong smiled sadly and tapped the child’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry. I will buy new dumplings again.”
Seeing the scene, Jo Gul nodded his head.
‘As expected of our great sahyung.’
Even in this situation you looked at the most disadvantaged person. Jo Gul felt embarrassed for not seeing this and being too focused on the purple wood grass.
‘How can we do this…’
Jo Gul answered right away.
Yoon Jong slightly cocked his head and looked at Jo Gul with innocence.
“I spent all my spare money.”
“Look in your pockets.”
‘Why is that compassionate sahyung not showing that compassion to me?’
Not only the money in his pocket, but the money in his sleeves were also gone… even the last emergency fund he had tucked hidden in his socks were robbed!
‘Chung Myung, he learned all these strange things from you!’
‘How could a person be stripped of money with nothing left like this?’
“…sahyung. If you take it all away, what will we eat when we return?”
“What nonsense are you saying? We have sasuk with us, right?”
“…that is true, but we need to have money too….”
“Where will we spend the money? Is there anywhere good to spend money in Yunnan?”
‘There was no such place.’
His words were indeed right. They hadn’t even seen a decent town on their way from Sichuan to here. All they had seen were barren lands and mountains.
“When we head back to Sichuan, you can go home and get more money so that you can spend. You are the son of a rich family, what is with you?”
Yoon Jong’s head slowly turned back to Jo Gul.
Seeing the craziness of Chung Myung in Yoon Jong’s eyes, Jo Gul closed his mouth.
‘No, what is with his eyes…’
He knew that if he accidently said something wrong, his head would fly.
‘Everyone is weird!’
Where did the compassionate Yoon Jong go?
Jo Gul felt engulfed in sorrow and sighed.
In the meantime, Yoon Jong bought the dumplings with the money he stole from Jo Gul and gave them to the child.
No matter how much they shared, the number of children that were coming didn’t slow down at all.
“O-One more please.”
“Can I have this? Can we really have this?”
“Have a lot. If you are hungry, come tomorrow too. I will give it to you.”
“…thank you. Thank you very much.”
Yoon Jong bit his lip. He could see their exposed ribs through the rags they wore. As soon as the child grabbed hold of the dumplings, he hurriedly shoved them into his mouth and began to cough.
“What are you doing! Go and get water!”
Jo Gul ran to the well without a word.
Regardless of whether it was when Chung Myung was beating his sahyungs or when the idiot turned Mount Hua upside down, Yoon Jong would never shout. He would sigh but he would never shout.
When he was angry, he looked completely different from the Yoon Jong who would stop Chung Myung.
‘For now, I’ll just do what I am told!’ Jo Gul’s survival instinct whispered to him.
Jo Gul, who brought water from the well, gave it to the children immediately. They had bought so many dumplings that he couldn’t lift them with both his hands, and yet, they had run out in an instant. Yoon Jong let out a sigh as he looked at the empty cover.
The children’s eyes seemed to dim a little when they realized that they were out of food. Yoon Jong bit his lip.
Usually, children didn’t remember such stuff. When something happened, they weren’t mature to think about why it had happened.
And if the other children didn’t get dumplings, they would get angry and release this anger onto the ones who had already received it. Rhey wouldn’t care about Yoon Jong’s situation.
However, as if they were used to this kind of thing. They just cried and didn’t seem angry.
And that hurt Yoon Jong even more. He shook his head and looked at Jo Gul.
“Sahyung… didn’t you rob me of everything? I have no money left.”
“Do you not have anything else hidden?”
“Didn’t you take away my emergency funds too? Now even we might die from hunger.”
“…is that so?”
Yoon Jong looked at the children with a contorted face. The children were crying with their faces cast down.
“It is fine. We are not that hungry.”
Yoon Jong’s forehead wrinkled.
He pulled out his sword along with its sheath and the children who saw that became frightened.
However, Yoon Jong held it to Jo Gul and said.
“Go, sell this and buy some more.”
Jo Gul’s face went stiff.
“Sahyung, this is a plum blossom sword!”
“I have eyes as well.”
“Sahyung! This is a present the sect gave us because we are its warriors! We will be punished! Why are you doing this?”
“You mean the Sect Leader will be angry because we sold the sword to feed children?”
‘He isn’t that kind of a person.’
Again, he would be angry with Jo Gul for selling the sword, but Yoon Jong would be angry if he didn’t sell it.
“It is needless to mention I am a swordsman. But I am a Taoist before I am a swordsman. I cannot watch children starve in order protect a sword that kills people. Go and bring the food.”
Despite his stubborn words, Jo Gul hesitated, unable to follow through and Yoon Jong shouted.
At that moment, a savior appeared for the sake of helpless Jo Gul.
“What is happening?”
Jo Gul and Yoon Jong, who discovered Baek Cheon, bowed. Baek Cheon frowned as he saw the sack in Yoon Jong’s hand and children around him.
“I need to know what is happening here.”
Yoon Jong gulped and calmly spoke.
After a while.
Hearing everything that had transpired, Baek Cheon frowned.
Yoon Jong bowed his head.
“I understand your feelings, but even if you drop a few drops of water into dried fields, nothing will change. Do you understand what I mean?”
“… Yes, I do sasuk.”
“Baek Cheon sighed and looked into Yoon Jong’s eyes and said.
“You understand, but you have no intention of changing your mind.”
Yoon Jong knew what he was doing. Having good intentions had a time and place. Their purpose here was to inquire about the purple wood grass in Kunming.
However, if he kept doing this kind of work here, people would begin to notice them. Even if Baek Cheon was angry at Yoon Jong, he couldn’t do anything to him in a crowded place.
Baek Cheon nodded his head.
“Okay. Then hurry up.”
Baek Cheon took out his pouch and gave it to Jo Gul. And Jo Gul who saw it became confused.
“There might not be many food shops here. Buy everything you can.”
“W-Will that be fine?”
“The mission is important.”
Baek Cheon continued.
“However, if we turned away from the needy to accomplish our mission, what would the elders say?”
He paused and then said.
“It would be wrong. I wish for the glory of Mount Hua. If we abandon what makes us a disciple of Mount Hua, then why would Mount Hua be any different from other sects?”
Jo Gul nodded his head.
“Of course, that doesn’t mean we have to show kindness without knowing the time and place for it. But it seems like it will not be a problem for now. So, hurry up.”
You don’t think it will be a problem?
As Jo Gul looked at him, Baek Cheon frowned and whispered.
“Before Chung Myung knows, get it!”
“…I will be right back!”
Jo Gul ran. And the others too looked at each other anxiously to see if Chung Myung was coming.
“We are here!
“There is still a lot left, so don’t push!”
With a large sack in the centre, Yoon Jong, Jo Gul and Baek Cheon distributed the food. It was obvious that the children would gathered, but somehow word spread, and many more children flocked towards the location.
“Are there so many kids here?”
“Kunming is a huge city. It is just that everyone around who is starving is here.”
“It seems that there isn’t enough grain…”
Baek Cheon let out a low sigh.
“We can only give as much as we have.”
He bit his lip slightly as he watched the hundreds of children flock to him. He wasn’t usually someone who prided himself on being merciful, but seeing the children there, he couldn’t stand it.
From his point of view as the leader of this group of people, he had to blame Yoon Jong for drawing so much unexpected attention onto them. But he also felt grateful for Yoon Jong who was doing something nice.
“Let’s finish this quickly.”
Yoon Jong distributed dumplings and stroked the childrens’ heads.
“Eat a lot.”
The big eyes looking at him seemed frightened. Even though they are handing out food, the kids couldn’t let their guard down. That could only mean that they had suffered too much.
“Doesn’t it seem like even more people are coming?”
“Now, even the adults seem to be coming…”
Baek Cheon frowned slightly. This was going to draw attention.
‘I’d rather leave the food here…’
But that couldn’t be done.
That would lead to fights and accidents. And it would become a disaster and people might even get killed for food.
It was then…
“Who is it!”
The three people looked up at the same time.
Baek Cheon’s face went stiff.
He saw people clad in white robes with half-covered tops and animal skin draped over their shoulders.
‘The Nanman Beast Palace…’
Suddenly, the guards of the Nanman Beast Palace were walking up to them.
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