Kyak! Kyak! Kyak! Kyak!
Hyun Jong frowned.
‘From the morning, the crows…’
Of course, it wasn’t like he hated crows. How could a Taoist think that the color on the outside was what defined a being? The crow was just another bird.
The only problem was that the cries of the crows today seemed ominous.
‘Haha. Am I just letting my heart go wild?’
The sound of a bird couldn’t be too different from usual. If it sounded ominous to someone, it could only mean that the listener wasn’t in a good mood.
Hyun Jong quietly closed his eyes and controlled his mind….
Hyun Jong’s gaze lowered. There was a crack in the old teacup he was holding in his hand.
‘Is this also a coincidence?’
‘Right. There are days when crows are just crows and teacups crack. Today is just the day when the two overlapped…’
Hyun Jong’s eyes trembled.
A scroll with the words, ‘The highest good is like water,’ that had been hanging on the wall, fell to the floor.
At this point, there was no escaping the fact that today was strange.
‘It feels so weird?’
‘What exactly is going on for all these ominous things to keep happening?’
Hyun Jong put down the teacup he was holding and took a deep breath.
‘It is up to the heart. Everything depends on the heart…’
Kyak! Kyak! Kyak! Kyak!
Hyun Jong, who failed to control his heart and mind, got up in anger.
“From the morning, you constantly!”
Hyun Jong walked out the door and proceeded to yell at the crows until he felt a gaze on him. He then lowered his hand and looked in front of him.
Hyun Young was standing in the yard shaking his head.
“What are you doing?”
“…what about you?”
“Well, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to come out early to do some cleaning.”
Hyun Jong coughed a couple of times and turned back.
“I am just…”
“Why does it look like your face is turning red?”
Hyun Jong’s face changed.
As people who walked on the path of the Tao got older, they would start to speak softer than others.
Hyun Jong just sighed and was about to say something when…
“Sect leader! Sect leader!”
Hyun Jong turned his head with a sullen expression. From the other side, Hyun Sang came running in.
“What is the fuss right from the morning!”
Hyun Sang came closer, took a deep breath, and shouted.
“We got a message from Hua-Um village! The children have arrived in the village and are now climbing up!”
Hyun Jong was shocked.
“They should take a little time to climb, but they will arrive soon!”
Hyun Jong, who had been losing his mind until then, was now back to normal.
“I shouldn’t be like this!”
After thinking that, he began to sprint to the main gate of Mount Hua. Hyun Young also threw away the broom in his hand and followed Hyun Jong.
“L-let’s go together, Sect Leader!”
Hyun Sang also followed Hyun Young.
Hyun Jong reached the gate and pushed the wooden door open. He then slowly walked out and stood in front of the gates, looking at the ascent to Mount Hua.
He caught his breath.
How many times had he been this excited and had run like this? His heart felt excited now. His heart wasn’t as calm as when he first entered Mount Hua.
“They will come.”
“They are coming.”
The gentle words of Hyun Young and Hyun Sang were heard.
‘They are coming now.’
Hyun Jong looked at the hill.
‘They have become strong.’
‘If you had given us a message, we wouldn’t have been waiting this impatiently.’
“There must’ve been some troubles.”
“Ah! How is Yunnan? How hard must it have been to travel to that distant place?”
“In the meantime, didn’t they even make an alliance with the Sichuan Tang family? Those savage idiots!”
Their tones were a bit violent, but they were all filled with gratitude.
‘I am sorry for entrusting you with a task that should’ve been done by us. And I am proud of the fact that you went through with it and above all… I am happy.’
Hyun Jong looked at the mountain peaks.
‘Still, now I get to say something to my ancestors.’
‘I couldn’t lead Mount Hua.’
‘But Mount Hua found children who could lead it.’
Wouldn’t that be what he can say?
“Sect leader. The kids are coming.”
“Um… Um… yes.”
Hyun Jong slightly touched his eyes. It was said that one would become more sentimental the older they get.
‘This has to be that.’
The children were coming home after a long time, so he had to welcome them with a smile.
Shortly after, footsteps could be heard. The sound of the footsteps wasn’t fast, but they were loud enough to be heard clearly.
Hyun Jong clenched his fists.
Now he could see them.
The dignified children of Mount Hua.
‘The people who will lead Mount Hua like a rock…’
Hyun Jong’s eyes trembled when he laid eyes on the children who were climbing up.
The robes of Mount Hua had almost turned into rags.
They were like ghosts…
‘Didn’t they go to Yunnan?’
‘Why do they look like they have been to Hell?’
Watching the children climbing up the mountain with murderous faces, a chill ran down his spine.
“It is Mount Hua…”
“Mount Hua…. Ah! Mount Hua.”
The elders saw the disciples rub their eyes. Surprised, they took a step back, flinching.
“Damn it. Leaving home is truly hard work.”
“I won’t step out of Mount Hua anymore.”
“At least I will not go out with him!”
“Kuak! Kuak! I need to take a bath!”
Yu Yiseol was screaming, frustrated because she had been unable to clean herself.
Seeing the terrifying sight, the faces of the elders changed.
‘No. What happened to the kids on the journey? When they went out, they felt so fresh…’
Baek Cheon, who always stood at the forefront with a bright face, now had his gaze lowered.
‘Yah, what is with the terrifying expressions…’
Baek Cheon walked to the Sect Leader, clasped his hands with a sound, and said.
“Second class disciple Baek Cheon, who left for the mission, has came back!”
“Uh… um… right.”
‘This isn’t right.’
‘Normally, we should be welcoming the kids with violent tears. How did the atmosphere become like this?’
Seeing the Sect Leader a bit embarrassed, Baek Cheon seemed to remember something!
“The purple wood grass! We found it! The one we went after! Chung Myung…”
Chung Myung slapped Baek Cheon’s excited hands, which reached for the bag containing the grass.
“Don’t touch it! I will cut your finger!”
“The medical practitioner! We need to head there!”
Chung Myung ran inside without even greeting the Sect Leader.
“Ah, a bath. I need to wash right now.”
“Food… is there any food left for me to eat? I think I will die. I haven’t had anything in the last three days.”
It felt like the baby tigers were meowing even though they had left the cave and come back as beasts with cuts on their bodies.
At that time, Hyun Young took a step forward with a determined expression.
“Right! Wash up and eat as well! What happened in Yunnan is important, but not now! You must be exhausted.”
“We still have to report…”
Baek Cheon was the only one who had a little bit of reasoning left in him. However, Hyun Young just snorted.
“Seriously! What if it succeeded, and what if it failed! What is important is that you went there and suffered hardships and still returned in one piece!”
“No… it was a success…”
“Okay! Okay! Head in!”
Hyun Young pushed Baek Cheon inside.
“Ah, no. This…”
“Enough bastard! Eat and then talk! Does that sound good, Sect Leader?”
“Uh? Uh… yes. Right. Food is important.”
“Hurry up and wash too. I will ask our chefs to prepare the food right away!”
At those words, Jo Gul and Yoon Jong’s eyes widened.
“Ugh! I kept eating dry food on our way from Yunnan…”
“Isn’t that still better than hay?”
‘Why is that being spoken about here?’
Hyun Jong looked at the disciples walking in, and he had a puzzled expression on his face.
“Do you think the kids are getting a little weird?”
Hyun Jong looked at the disciples of Mount Hua with a blank expression.
Seeing them come back clean, they looked like their disciples, but…
‘Something about them…’
‘It is like a person who didn’t exist before has seeped inside them…’
‘Or was it because they were more relaxed?’
It was difficult for him to put his finger on it, but if he had to say it in one word…
It seemed like what people said about children growing rapidly out in the world was true.
But the problem was something else…
“Ughhhhh. My waist.”
Chung Myung was lying with his back against the wall like a puppy sleeping in a warm place.
‘Isn’t it closer to growing old rather than growth for this brat?’
Apart from that, they also kept reciting the weirdest chants.
Of course, they must have been through a lot, but now they were calling elders ‘hyung’.
“Y-yes. Did everyone have a good time?”
“Yes, Sect Leader!”
Yes! Baek Cheon is being Baek Cheon!
He restored his original face before the others could respond.
“Thanks to your concern, we managed to safely bring back the grass from Yunnan. There have been several incidents…”
And then he suddenly fell flat on the spot.
“No, why are you doing this?”
“I ask to be punished for abusing the authority given to me without asking the Sect Leader for permission.”
“But, Sect Leader.”
“Why did I entrust the authority to you? Outside of here, you are the one looking after them. Your choice is mine, so you don’t need to seek punishment.”
“Stop kneeling and sit down.”
At those words, Baek Cheon got up. Hyun Jong, who sternly asked him to get up, showed a gentle face again.
“Right. Can I hear what happened now?”
“Yes. But before that, I would like to ask one thing. Has the head of the Tang family visited Mount Hua?”
“Yes. I did hear about the situation from the Tang Lord, but I would like to hear it from your point of view.”
“Yes, I will explain what happened.”
He began to calmly describe their journey to the Elders and Sect Leader. In the middle, Jo Gul, Yoon Jong, and Yu Yiseol came forward to speak about whatever he had forgotten.
Of course, Chung Myung started to doze off, but no one paid attention to him because of this exciting story.
And as the story continued, Hyun Jong opened his mouth further and further.
And when Baek Cheon finished speaking, even the elders and the Un disciples couldn’t take their eyes off the disciples.
“…to obtain an alliance from the Tang family in Sichuan.”
“In the meantime, you knocked out the elder of the Tang family?”
“Chung Myung did it.”
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung, who was sleeping.
“H-he took the bandits and went to Yunnan to form an alliance with the Beast Palace?”
“An alliance… you can think of it as an alliance, but it is a bit different. Still, it has the same meaning. Now the disciples of Mount Hua will be treated without bias in Yunnan.”
‘Uh. There… uh.’
“And you also received the monopoly rights of the Yunnan tea?”
There was someone better than Baek Cheon who could answer that question, and Baek Cheon looked at Jo Gul. As soon as he saw that, Jo Gul bowed his head and answered.
“The situation in Yunnan is too bad. Without asking permission, I ended up using my family as the agent who represents us to trade the tea. The transport will be made under the name of Mount Hua. I beg you to punish me.”
‘What for? You idiot?’
Hyun Jong stuttered, unable to believe all that he had heard.
“You did this in just a month’s time? All this?”
‘Can this even happen?’
At this point, Hyun Jong thought it was more ridiculous than happy.
He had to speak, but he couldn’t respond. Hyun Young grabbed Hyun Jong by the shoulder as the man was unable to speak in this situation and said out loud.
Hyun Young opened his mouth with a serious face.
“Do we have no work in the north or the south side?”
“Uh? What is that….”
And then Hyun Young glanced at Chung Myung as he whispered.
“Let’s send them outside one more time, Sect Leader. We never know. Maybe this time they will come across a phoenix.”
For a second, Hyun Jong wanted to follow that advice.
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