A spacious hall spread out in front of the central hall.
The guards of the Beast Palace were lined up to the left and right. It was daunting to see the warriors with their copper-colored muscles and stiff faces lined up so obediently.
Among those who were lined up stood the disciples of Mount Hua with awkward expressions on their faces.
“…what is this now?”
The disciples of Mount Hua, who didn’t know what was happening, all looked at Chung Myung with eyes full of doubt and worry. But the man just shrugged his shoulders and fanned himself with the white feather fan.
“Ah, it is nothing. It will end soon, so just bear with it.”
‘Chung Myung, what you say doesn’t give us confidence at all.’
‘So, don’t surprise us later. Why not just explain it to us now?’
Unfortunately, Baek Cheon’s wishes didn’t come true. Before Chung Myung could speak, the Beast Palace Lord appeared in front of them.
And Baek Cheon became a bit perplexed when he saw the Lord.
It wasn’t a completely different look. He still had those thundering steps, but the feeling the man gave… it was the momentum the man had, the one that made it heavy and tough to stand.
Entering the hall with his daunting walk, the Lord sat on a huge chair at the top of the stairs and looked down.
All the guards and people present there knelt down.
“Long live the Beast Palace Lord!”
“Long live our Lord!”
And then, Meng So greeted them in a polite manner.
‘I’m sick of this.’
‘I can never get used to this.’
The disciples of Mount Hua trembled.
Actually, it was quite difficult for someone to see so many guards and soldiers at the same time in the Central Fields. To see something like this there, one had to visit the Imperial Palace.
And the Lord, who looked down with a slightly arrogant expression, said,
His low voice echoed around the room.
“Why did you ask to see me? Disciple of Mount Hua.”
Chung Myung stepped ahead. And then, at once, he fell flat.
“To the great Beast Palace Lord, I have a request. Please do not bite down on this request of mine… Please have mercy on this disciple!”
As soon as the disciples of Mount Hua heard that, their eyes went wide.
‘What was that?’
‘What is he saying? This insane bastard.’
‘Did he eat something wrong? What is with him?’
It wasn’t what to say or not say, but… no, Chung Myung was saying the things he would normally never even utter in his dreams.
‘Chung Myung is showing such a low-lying attitude?’
‘Something is definitely up!’
Baek Cheon looked at Chung Myung’s back as he lay on the ground face down with anxiety and worry.
The Beast Palace Lord looked at Chung Myung with serious eyes. It was a gaze that lacked the easiness he had in the past few days.
Now, he literally looked like the King of the Beast palace, the ruler of the South!
“If you are the descendant of Plum Blossom Sword Saint, you have the right to make a request. So, speak! Descent of the Plum Blossom Sword Saint and disciple of Mount Hua… I will listen to your request and then decide if I will or will not do it.”
“I am touched at the sentiment, Beast Palace Lord!”
Chung Myung banged his head on the floor.
“…what is with him?”
“I don’t know. Just leave it.”
Baek Cheon and Jo Gul whispered. It was hard to keep track of what was happening in front of their eyes.
Either way, Chung Myung continued to speak in a loud voice so that everyone could hear him.
“I dare to ask the great lord of the Nanman Beast Palace to have mercy on us who have come this far and grant us permission to trade with Yunnan!”
The Lord got up from his seat with a shout. And with blazing eyes, he looked at Chung Myung like he wanted to kill him.
“Don’t you realize that the trade between the two places is prohibited! No matter the fact that you are the guests at the Beast Palace, do you think you can head back safely if you try to violate the rules handed down to us by our ancestors?”
The voice of the Palace Lord echoed all around.
At the strong voice, not just the soldiers but even the disciples of Mount Hua trembled.
But Chung Myung banged his head to the ground and said.
“Lord! Aren’t the merchants of the Central Plains already coming to Yunnan?”
“Are you saying that you are going to point out the carelessness of the Palace by bringing that up?”
“I would never. But isn’t it better to keep the legacy of your ancestors strong by doing trade with just one place instead of with so many merchants?”
The man snorted.
The soldiers all looked around at each other. Clearly, they, too, had realized that the words weren’t wrong.
“We respect the Beast Palace more than anyone in the Central Plains, and we can follow the rules here as well.”
“How can you say that for sure?”
“We are the descendants of Plum Blossom Sword Saint. And we are the disciples of Mount Hua who lost their home and name due to the forces of the Central Plains who have ignored us. If we cannot understand the situation of Yunnan, then who could?”
The Beast Palace Lord looked at Chung Myung with wide eyes.
“But we cannot believe in the Central Plains!”
“Plum Blossom Sword Saint is also from the Central Plains!”
“Can you even be compared to him?”
“Obviously, we cannot, but we can follow in his footsteps. If he wanted to protect Yunnan, then, of course, as his descendants, we would protect Yunnan as well. Isn’t that the responsibility of Mount Hua, as people who worship the Plum Blossom Sword Saint as our ancestor?”
This was clearly out for everyone.
Baek Cheon, who was watching this unfold, was shocked.
‘Was he always this eloquent?’
Of course, there was no reason to not admit that Chung Myung could speak. However, there was a difference between speaking well and speaking logically.
‘But right now, isn’t that guy speaking like he has the ability to mesmerize people?’
‘If someone who didn’t know him listens, they would think of him as some scholar.’
‘Then does that mean that we haven’t seen his full colors yet?’
That was the moment when Baek Cheon started looking at Chung Myung in a new light.
“So, our Mount Hua… Mount Hua… Uh. What was next… uh?”
The face of the Lord changed.
‘Yah, brat! I told you to memorize it well!’
‘Ah! Wait! I am unable to think!’
As if something was wrong, Chung Myung swung his sleeves as if calming his face and then began to speak as if nothing had happened.
Baek Cheon didn’t miss that exchange with his hawk eyes.
‘I think there is something in that sleeve he moved.’
‘Something like paper…’
‘This bastard! He is reciting stuff!’
‘Then! Obviously, he can speak this well!’
“So please understand the true nature of Mount Hua, my Lord! In the end, a relationship is just a coincidence if humans decide to not connect it. If our ancestors hadn’t intended for this, would we have ever been able to come to this land and be taken care of like this by the Beast Palace Lord?”
“Our ancestors have opened the path to Yunnan. Do you understand it?”
“We think the same!”
The Lord closed his eyes with a serious expression. The expression on his face made it look like he was thinking.
‘Is this enough?’
Of course, Chung Myung and the Lord had already gone through this.
However, this show was needed to make the trade. It was the law of the Nanman Beast Palace that there always needed to be a justification for everything. And now it was given.
And from the Lord’s view, it felt like Chung Myung taking the lower position, asking for the trade to happen with him accepting the offer would be better than the reverse.
Each of these little things would show the authority of the Lord.
And the fact that the descendants of the Plum Blossom Sword Saint, who were different from the rest of the Central Plains, had a lot of respect for their Lord would show their trust to others.
“What do you think?”
The Lord looked around and asked the people in front of him. An old man in the front opened his mouth.
“Lord. The man’s words aren’t wrong. However, the will of the ancestors has to be maintained.”
“They are the descendants of the Plum Blossom Sword Saint… someone whom we are so grateful to. Are we saying we cannot grant them help?”
“It would’ve been different if it was the Plum Blossom Sword Saint himself. But they are just disciples. We cannot treat them the same way just because they belong to the same sect, right?”
As he heard such words come out, the Lord frowned.
“The legacy of one’s predecessor is important. Lord, this cannot be accepted.”
“Lord. Do not forget the disgrace we suffered because of the Central Plains. The Beast Palace should never put its pride aside.”
“Sometimes pride is more important than life! Protect our pride!”
“Hold onto our pride!”
The people kneeling, were yelling in unison. Seeing that, the Lord closed his eyes.
‘It won’t work despite all this?’
The play had been created because the Palace Lord feared this. He wanted to publicly make a show about the trade, but nothing had changed.
Everyone seemed to agree with the old men.
‘Is it this deep?’
The rift between the two places… No matter how much one tries, it cannot be healed.
It was at the moment when he sighed.
Chung Myung, who was lying down, got up. He looked at the old men who spoke.
‘Now it is a mess!’
‘Stop! Stop him! From opening that mouth!’
Baek Cheon and Yoon Jong exchanged glances.
Chung Myung pushed off the two who rushed towards him.
Yoon Jong and Baek Cheon were shocked at how he had slipped away from them. Of course, this wasn’t the first time he had slipped away but wasn’t Chung Myung someone who would push them or throw them?
However, right now, Chung Myung used martial arts to push them away.
Baek Cheon called for him, but Chung Myung didn’t even glance back at them.
“Pride, was it?”
Chung Myung continued speaking in a low voice.
“What is this pride?”
“W-what is with you!”
“I asked what pride is…”
The old man took a step back and looked at Chung Myung.
“Our ancestors have told us to never mingle with the people of the Central Plains. Those who violate that rule will be punished with death.”
“Then everyone here should be dead.”
“Why should we…?”
“Why is the Peace Merchant in Kunming? What are you people doing, not stopping the people of the Central Plains who are coming into Yunnan like you said earlier?”
The old man’s face went red. However, Chung Myung didn’t stop.
“Of course, I understand. It is a matter of making a living. But it is used to cover the issue of simply living.”
“Are you insulting the Beast Palace?”
“No, I am insulting you, not the Palace. Don’t use the Beast Palace as a shield.”
“Keep the legacy? Is that really the only legacy your ancestors left you?”
The old man was a bit embarrassed at it.
“…what does that mean?”
“Didn’t your ancestors leave behind the legacy of the people? Didn’t they want you to take good care of the people of Yunnan?”
The old man shut his mouth.
Chung Myung, who looked at him, then turned to the Lord.
“Didn’t they leave that behind?”
The Lord sighed and said,
“No. There was definitely a lesson like that. It is a natural one to know too.”
“Then which legacy will be upheld?”
Chung Myung looked at everyone and shouted.
“If your ancestors saw Yunnan right now, they would be happy. They will applaud the people of Yunnan for following the legacy to the extent that people are starving to death. Change your position! Do you think your descendants would like this kind of place!?”
All their faces went red.
“Only those who cannot make decisions for themselves keep talking about ancestors. Did your ancestors really want their descendants to do this? No parent wants their child to be turned into a helpless puppet because of rules they cannot change!”
Chung Myung stretched out his hand.
Yoon Jong, who was listening to his words, saw something. Unconsciously, he stood there with a blank expression.
“As soon as my Sahyung Yoon Jong arrived in Kunming. He took out all the things he had and even sold his sword to help the people of Yunnan.”
“…thank you, idiot.”
‘But why bring that up now?’
“Then I ask you!”
Chung Myung growled.
“Who is more helpful for the people of Yunnan in the eyes of your ancestors? Is it my sahyung who wanted to do anything he could to fill the stomachs of the people who were starving, or is it the ones who ignore them and their deaths?”
No one answered, making Chung Myung angry.
‘Legacy, my ass.’
What kind of bastard would use the word legacy when people are dying? Even from the point of view of an ancestor of a collapsed sect, Chung Myung couldn’t understand these people.
Legacy was just legacy. It was a lesson that could be learned… not a rule.
‘The world is changing so quickly… How long would they be able to keep using ‘legacy’ as an excuse?’
Chung Myung glared at the people in front of him. There was no need to talk anymore.
“I wasted my time here. Let’s go!”
Chung Myung turned without another thought, and at that moment…
Chung Myung turned back with an angry look.
The Lord looked at Yoon Jong.
“Yoon Jong, was it?”
“I want to ask you something.”
Yoon Jong nodded with a slightly nervous expression.
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