Chapter 237 - This Is Hell (2)

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“…and that happened.”

“… oh my,”

Kwak Gyung, the party leader of the Peace Merchant Group, was shocked.

“Are you saying that you won over the co-operation of the Beast Palace?”

“Yes.”

Baek Cheon’s calm reply made Kwak Gyung almost lose his mind.

‘I don’t think it is a lie.’

But that didn’t change the fact that it was absolutely unbelievable.

It had been over a hundred years since the Nanman Beast Palace banned trade with the Central Plains. Because such a huge money pot was at stake, the merchants of Sichuan had been trying to change the mind of the people of Yunnan for decades.

However, despite all their efforts that had persisted for a long time, they couldn’t overcome the stubborn decision of the Beast Palace.

‘But these young Taoists had done it?’

“Well, then… what about the tea trade?”

“From now on, all trade with Yunnan will happen only through Mount Hua.”

“Now, wait! Please wait for a moment, then we…!”

Baek Cheon glanced at Jo Gul. Jo Gul put on a smile and said.

“We haven’t forgotten the grace of the Peace merchants who brought us here. Any merchant group under the banner of Mount Hua can freely come and go from Yunnan.”

“Ah…”

A look of relief appeared on Kwak Gyung’s face.

‘This is definitely not normal.’

Those who bore the name of Mount Hua could now freely move in and out of Yunnan. This meant that Mount Hua would have complete control of the Yunnan-Central Plains trade in the future.

In other words, in the future, Mount Hua could take advantage of their exclusive rights with Yunnan and control the trade in the Central Plains as they wished.

The Yunnan Tea Trade generated huge profits, and the merchants who couldn’t participate in it would obviously be pushed out of the competition.

‘Now isn’t the time to talk back.’

He had to notify their Merchant Group Head so that he would be able to take suitable action.

‘More than anything else…’

Kwak Gyung looked at Jo Gul.

’The second son of a merchant who is based in Sichuan.

It wouldn’t look good for Mount Hua to move directly into Sichuan, so they would employ an agent. And that agent was more than likely to be Jo Gul’s father.

Kwak Gyung, who had finally composed his thoughts, lost his complexion.

“Congratulations. You have obtained a huge deal.”

“It was nothing.”

“So… we need to head back to Sichuan. When were you thinking of heading back?”

“But our work here isn’t done…”

“It is fine then. We can go back from here ourselves.”

Kwak Gyung’s head was spinning.

He knew that it was important to build relationships with Mount Hua.

‘It would be great if I could take them directly to the Head.’

If the Peace Merchant Group Head himself came out and made a close relationship with these disciples, it would be much better.

However, the answer that had come out of Baek Cheon’s mouth shattered his expectations.

“Thank you for your consideration, but I think we can head back separately. We’re in a hurry.”

“The road from Sichuan will be difficult. It would be fastest for us to head back together. Moreover, it is hard for us to find horses here as well.”

“Ah, that…”

Baek Cheon scratched his head. As he was thinking of a reply, he saw a cloud of dust forming on the road a bit away from him.

“…looks like he is coming?”

“Uh?”

Kwak Gyung turned his head and looked in that direction.

“Ahhhhh!”

“Run! Run!”

“Ehhhhheeeee!”

The bandits who had been pulling the carriage stopped and desperately gasped for breath. As Kwak Gyung saw their chests rise and fall, he felt true compassion for them.

“W-what is this…”

Kwak Gyung looked at the now-fallen bandits.

“Why does everyone have hay in their mouths?”

It was just something that he just couldn’t understand.

At that moment, the group heard someone click their tongue in annoyance. The person in question poked their head out of the carriage.

“You seem too weak; can we really reach Sichuan like this?”

As soon as they heard those words, the bandits on the ground raised their heads.

“W-we can go…!”

“Don’t worry! We are not tired… we are not exhausted! It is true!’

“Save us!”

Chung Myung shook his head and sighed.

“Ugh. If only I weren’t a Taoist!”

Tears welled up in their eyes.

‘Is any of this what a Taoist does?’

‘Since when did Taoists and bandits start sharing the same meaning? When did the world become so hard?’

‘Mother, I miss you.’

Either way, Chung Myung jumped off the carriage and moved to Baek Cheon.

“I brought the horses.”

“…why is there hay in their mouths?”

Chung Myung shrugged.

“They seemed hungry. They are all horses, and they have to go a long way. So I fed them.”

“…”

Baek Cheon’s eyes trembled.

“Chung Myung.”

“Uh?”

“It is true that they sinned and that they are sinners… but shouldn’t they be treated like humans?”

“Uh?”

At those words, Chung Myung turned his head around and looked at the bandits.

“Hear that? Do you guys want to be treated like humans?”

They all waved their hands in denial.

“No! We are horses! What can horses even say! Just treat us like dogs and cows!”

“I am not human at all! I’d rather die than turn into a human!”

“Omooooo! Ommoooo!”

“…”

Looking at them, Baek Cheon touched his forehead with his finger.

“See?”

Chung Myung smiled

‘What did he do to make a person like that?’

Even Baek Cheon couldn’t comprehend his actions.

Chung Myung soon opened his mouth again and said, “Don’t worry… If we are able to reach Sichuan very quickly, I will release you.”

“Ah? Is that true?”

“Yes. You just have to run twice as fast as you were when you brought us here… If you can do that, I will let you go alive.”

“…and if we can’t?”

“Umm. That…”

Chung Myung tilted his head in confusion. Seeing his unexpected reaction, Baek Cheon asked.

“Why?”

“No. I was wondering if talking about this out loud would help the morale of the sahyungs. Do you really want to hear it?”

“No… I’d rather not.”

There were some things better left unknown.

Baek Cheon was about to speak but then decided not to. In any case, even if they were beheaded, it was something that they deserved.

Baek Cheon turned his head and looked at Kwak Gyung.

“Anyway, that’s it. Please wait for more details if you want to come under Mount Hua.”

“Ah… if you go…”

Kwak Gyung, who had wanted to speak until then, decided not to say anything else. He understood that there was no reason to hold onto them.

When all the disciples got on the carriage, Chung Myung raised his voice again.

“Now, go….!”

“Excuse me….”

“Uh?”

At that moment, he heard a small sound next to him. When he turned his head, he saw a small child holding his hand out.

“Uh?”

“Ah, You…”

Yoon Jong, who had also been in the carriage, saw the child and jumped out. He then approached the child without hesitation.

As Yoon Jong went closer, the child bowed.

“T-thank you.”

“…”

“Thanks to you, my brother was able to sleep with his stomach full. Thank you very much.”

Yoon Jong looked at the child and then nodded.

“I am glad.”

“I will never forget this. Thank you.”

Seeing that, Chung Myung glanced around.

He could see that children were sticking out their heads and moving towards them from all corners of the street. Some of the children were looking up as if they were saying thank you, while others bowed.

One child clung to Yoon Jong’s hand and the other to the hem of his robe.

Just looking at them, he could feel how touched the children were. Chung Myung slowly turned his head and looked up at the sky.

“Great.”

-Sahyung

-Well…

-I won’t be able to become the person sahyung wanted me to be, but… there seems to be a disciple who will follow that path.

-Are you happy?

Chung Myung thought that it somehow looked like his sahyung was smiling at him from the sky.

“Sahyung! Let’s go!’

“Um. Okay.”

“We need to head back to Sichuan and send back rice to this place! Hurry up! We cannot stay here anymore.”

“Right.”

Yoon Jong had a stiff face.

Stroking the heads of the children surrounding him, he spoke in a low voice.

“Be patient. You will not starve anymore.”

“…right.”

What he saw were faces that had no expectations. They probably had heard this too many times. But this was fine for now. This was all he could do to comfort them.

Yoon Jong ruffled their hair and then went into the carriage and spoke in an angry voice.

“Let’s go! This is urgent!”

“…”

“What are you doing!”

“Y-yes!”

Chung Myung smiled and yelled at the bandits immediately.

“Move already!’

“Yes!”

As soon as Chung Myung’s voice was heard, the bandits jumped onto their feet and ran despite being exhausted. There were four of them pulling from the front and four of them pushing from the back. There was also one person each on either side.

“Push until your legs break! Okay?”

“Yes, Taoist!”

The carriage moved, and Chung Myung glanced at the children.

“Move!”

“Ughhhhhh!”

“Yihaaaaa!”

And the bandits began to pull the carriage with all their might. Soon, the carriage began to move at a huge speed… it was so high that the name ‘carriage’ didn’t fit well anymore.

The children all looked shocked as the carriage moved at such a high speed. There was dirt rising around them, and Kwak Gyung, who saw it, nodded his head.

“They really are like a storm.”

“Leader, what do we do now?”

“What?”

“Shouldn’t we report this to the Lord?’

“We should.”

“Things have become a mess now.”

Kwak Gyung shook his head.

“No… make a report and send it back.”

“Will that do?”

“Yes.”

Kwak Gyung’s heart felt more comfortable than before.

‘Maybe this is for our good.’

No matter which merchant group took the initiative now, the fact that they would lose out was inevitable. So, Mount Hua taking over the trade was right.

“Goodbye.”

“Thanks.”

Watching the children wave their hands, he felt more convinced.

‘Return safely.’

Kwak Gyung smiled.

‘I shouldn’t smile.’

How many times had these people suffered because of the hypocrisy around them? Weren’t they terrified of the people who barged into their hometowns trying to sell something?

‘But now, things are finally changing…’

Kwak Gyung shook his head.

The disciples of Mount Hua couldn’t be judged by Kwak Gyung alone since he had only been with them for less than a month. Maybe, even they would soon show their true colors and try to suck the blood out of the people of Yunnan.

‘But…’

Kwak Gyung slowly turned his head and looked at all the children who were waving at the carriage. His heart swelled at this sight.

‘Maybe they are a bit different.’

Yoon Jong’s act of trying to feed the children by selling his sword… The image of him stroking their hair before his departure…

These two actions alone were above Kwak Gyung’s expectations. And he looked at this as a human rather than with the eyes of a merchant.

Kwak Gyung smiled and looked at the path the carriage had taken.

“Please take good care of yourselves.”

‘Mount Hua’s warriors.’

“Run! Run, you idiots! Have some strength in your legs! I will gouge your eyes out!”

“…”

“If we don’t arrive in Sichuan on time, you will all die!”

“…Kuak!”

The bandits were biting their tongues as they dragged the carriage forward.

And a person sitting behind them was threatening them with their lives. The disciples of Mount Hua were all puzzled.

“What is with him?”

“…the idea of buying food for the children seems to have been a decisive blow to his personality.”

“…that much?”

Right.

It was Yoon Jong and not Chung Myung who was beating them.

Rather, the disciples of Mount Hua shook their heads as they saw Yoon Jong represent Chung Myung.

‘What?’

‘The relationship between Tao and qi?’

‘Haha.’

‘Hahahaha!’

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