As soon as the monk who was standing in front of the gate of Mount Hua found Hae Bang, he asked.
“Did you finish the work, teacher?”
Hae Bang nodded his head lightly.
“Um, yes. Let’s go.”
The two men moved from their position and began to descend the steep mountain.
“How was Mount Hua?”
Hae Bang mumbled a prayer and stayed silent with a subtle expression. And then closed his eyes as he said.
“I don’t know what to say.”
The novice monk looked at his teacher’s expression and asked.
“Is there anything ambiguous about them, teacher?’
“I am a human too; how can I understand everything clearly?”
“Does that mean Mount Hua is a strange place that even teacher couldn’t figure out?”
Hae Bang said,
“It is strange… well. It is different from what I heard. The atmosphere of the mountain and the energy that I felt from within is different. Not a single thing seemed to indicate that Mount Hua is a declining sect.”
“Then the opinion of the public that Mount Hua is reviving isn’t wrong.”
“Yes and no.”
It was an odd answer.
Hae Bang stayed silent and said.
“It is true that the force of Mount Hua is higher than expected, but it will take a long time for them to restore their former glory. But it isn’t impossible.”
“Can I ask why?”
“Um. I can give three reasons.”
As if organizing his thoughts, he stayed silent and said.
“First, the martial arts of the sect. Those who had mastered the martial art of the sect and those who had not was clear. The elders of the sect did not seem well-versed in martial arts.”
“That is fatal.”
It could definitely be called fatal because the biggest condition for a prestigious sect was their martial arts.
The martial arts of the sect was what made a sect prestigious, and Mount Hua didn’t have that.
“Second. There is no literacy in martial arts. The seniors cannot stand upright, so they cannot achieve anything, and thus, the students have nobody to follow. Although self-discipline and learning are important, when it comes to martial arts, there is a need to have someone who can guide and teach a disciple.”
The novice monk nodded.
“And third. Mount Hua may be regaining its name and power, but it seems like the strict discipline they followed in the past wasn’t restored. If a hierarchy doesn’t stand, the disciples of the sect cannot establish anything, and the name of the Plum Blossom Sword Saint, who was once the best in the world, will never be recovered.”
After saying that, Hae Bang had a sad expression on his face.
No matter how much he thought, he couldn’t find a specific answer.
Hae Bang turned his head slightly and looked at the novice monk.
“If Mount Hua can solve all its problems, can it establish itself again as a prestigious sect?”
“Solve their problems?”
“Yes. If they can get back the martial arts…”
“Still, it will be impossible.”
Hae Bang shook his head quietly.
“Even if Mount Hua retrieves the lost martial arts of the past, there is no one left in Mount Hua to understand and pass on those martial arts.”
“Can a genius like our sahyung maybe exist in Mount Hua?”
“There is no way that there can be two geniuses like him. Even if there is one, how long do you think it will take for the genius to understand all the martial arts of Mount Hua and reach a point where he can explain it to someone? By the time that happens, Mount Hua would have lost it all already.”
The novice lamented. It truly was a pity.
“Then it means Mount Hua will never regain its former glory.”
“There is a glimmer of hope if an expert who has mastered all the martial arts of Mount Hua suddenly appears. However, it is impossible since Mount Hua has long lost all those who had been able to carry its spirit.”
“It is really unfortunate.”
Hae Bang stared into the sky.
“The rise and fall of such things cannot be overcome with human power. It is said that the current Shaolin Sect has a lot of power… but just like the sun sets and the moon rises, there will come a day when even our Shaolin Sect will decline. Everything is only happening according to the law of nature.”
Hae Bang, who said that, shook his head.
“Let’s stop now.”
Hae Bang, who was walking, glanced back at Mount Hua.
‘The rise and fall…’
Now, the time of Mount Hua was unique… it was something Hae Bang hadn’t seen before.
He wondered how far they could go if a great martial arts could be harnessed…
But he shook his head.
‘Just a fleeting thought.’
Although there was someone in that sect which had the fate to rise, there would come a time when he would not be able to rise too high.
Clearing his mind of the thoughts of Mount Hua, he slowly walked down the mountain.
After Hae Bang left, those who remained in the residence of the Sect Leader kept silent.
Hyun Jong sat in his seat and mumbled softly as he fiddled with the letter in his hand.
“Worldly Murim Competition…”
His eyes were dark.
“What do you think, Sect Leader?”
Hearing Hyun Young’s question, Hyun Jong closed his eyes and thought for a while. He had a face that looked very concerned. And Hyun Jong opened his eyes and looked at the others.
“What do the elders think? Will participating in this be a boon or a bane for Mount Hua?”
Hyun Sang had a troubled face as he said.
“I cannot dare guess something like this.”
It was indeed a very heavy issue.
This competition they were speaking about would have sects from all over gathering there. And naturally, there would be spars as well.
‘It must indicate that to be verified by the prestigious sects in the world, they would have to show their skills.’
It was a huge opportunity.
But it was also a crisis. If they were disgraced there, then Mount Hua would never be able to reclaim its former glory.
“Hyun Young, what do you think?”
Hyun Young shut his mouth. It was clear he had a troubled expression. Even the Un disciples couldn’t say anything.
Hyun Sang decided to speak up.
“Doesn’t this already mean that we are recognized by the other sects?”
Hyun Young, who was silently listening, frowned.
“It is different from recognition. This is them analyzing us.”
“Right. That would be the more accurate word. Anyway, is there any reason to not participate in it?”
Hyun Jong nodded his head.
“Now is the time for Mount Hua to proudly declare its resurrection. If it is the Worldly Murim Conference, it will be the best place.”
Hyun Jong nodded, but Hyun Young didn’t seem to agree with it.
“I have a different thought.”
And he continued in a cold voice.
“It could be us showing off. Now that Mount Hu has come this far, we might be able to put a little more burden on our shoulders.”
“But what do we gain from that? Now isn’t the time for Mount Hua to make a name. It is the time for us to build stability. Do we really need to participate in such a place and set ourselves up for other sects to see? So that they can keep checks on us?”
Hyun Young glanced at Chung Myung as he said that.
“Even now, I’d rather that we go to train… this time can…”
The end of his words turned blurred, and Chung Myung’s body was trembling. He had eyes that had the determination to pull out someone’s bone.
“Hmm. Opinions may differ. Speaking of this, Chung Myung. What do you think?”
Chung Myung, who turned away from Hyun Young’s gaze, answered with a sullen face.
“I don’t think there is any reason to not participate.”
Chung Myung shrugged his shoulders.
“If things go well, it is good, even if we get embarrassed…”
He raised his head and looked around as he growled out.
“Does Mount Hua have anything to lose?”
At that shameless question, everyone went silent.
“When a person has nothing to lose, he has nothing to be afraid of. But when he starts to gain something, he turns terrified and is afraid of losing what little he has.”
Chung Myung lowered his voice and looked at Hyun Jong.
“Of course, the Sect Leader might want to make a decision after careful thought, but I think that we need to be bold.”
“Did you mean that I was afraid of losing what we have?”
“I didn’t mean that. I just want to ask you what you are hesitating for?”
“Hehe. Why am I hesitating…?”
Hyun Jong smiled brightly. And then looked at Un Am.
“Call the disciples.”
All the disciples of Mount Hua were gathered in the training hall.
“I don’t know.”
They were shocked by the sudden call, and a few mumbled, glancing around.
“Someone was said to have come to the sect; is that why?”
“Well. Then the Sect Leader must have something to say.”
’Shh. They are here!“
Three people walked out in front of the disciples of Mount Hua.
Hyun Jong, Hyun Sang, and Hyun Young where there.
Hyun Jong looked at everyone evenly and said.
“Is everyone here?”
“Yes, Sect Leader!”
Hyun Jong nodded his head lightly.
“We had a monk from the Shaolin Sect visit us a while ago. We have been informed that the Worldly Murim Competition is being held in Mount Song in the near future.”
All the disciples were shocked at it. Hyun Jong noticed their reactions.
“There will be spars conducted for the sect’s disciples. Anyone under the sect can participate. So, 15 people from Mount Hua will be able to participate.”
Whisper. Whisper. Whisper
As soon as he finished saying those words, there was commotion everywhere.
Hyun Jong did not try to stop their whispers and waited for the children to finish talking.
After it subsided, he continued.
“It will be a place where not just the Nine Great Sects and the Five Great families would be present, but all the influential people of the sects will be participating. Since it is hosted by the Shaolin Sect, there will not be many who can refuse it. You have to prove yourself in the presence of everyone watching.”
The gaze of the disciples was filled with warmth.
The Un disciples looked at all the disciples.
If this was asked of the first-class disciples, then they would have to answer.
At that time, Baek Cheon, who could be said to be their representative, took a step forward and said.
“I will prove to the world that plum blossoms still bloom in Mount Hua.”
It was a soft voice.
But it was believable.
Hyun Jong smiled and nodded his head.
“Right. Hearing those words put my mind at ease. There are some who are anxious, but do not be. I don’t know if you have heard it yet, but we recovered the old martial arts of Mount Hua. If you can master the 24-Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique in the remaining time, we have left… No one in the world can ignore us anymore.”
“Yes, Sect Leader!”
A strange heat filled the eyes of the disciples.
The 24-Movement Plum Blossom Sword technique of the Plum Blossom Sword Saint.
No one was surprised as rumors had already spread, but when they heard it directly from the Sect Leader, it amplified the impact of its authenticity.
“There will be six more months before the competition begins. So, all you have to do in the coming time is to train. We will take the fifteen most outstanding disciples to Mount Song. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Sect Leader!”
Hyun Jong nodded his head with a happy look.
“Teach the 24-Movement Plum Blossom Sword before any other martial arts.”
“Yes, Sect Leader.”
Hyun Jong nodded with a proud face.
‘Heavens are making us show off the sword of Mount Hua.’
The competition was being held at the right time.
As Chun Myung said, Mount Hua had nothing to lose. The world’s perspective would change if they knew that Mount Hua had regained their lost technique.
“Your shoulders will be burdened. The Elders and I will do our best to help you, so deal with it with all your heart!”
The Elders declared readily as if they had been waiting for it. The first-class disciples who didn’t regret not participating, and the third-class disciples who were burning with enthusiasm.
It was a beautiful picture…
“Then go and practice!”
Hyun Jong and the Elders left.
And the Un disciples followed them out. However, the Baek disciples and Chung disciples were unable to leave and stayed silent.
At that time, Baek Cheon walked out and pointed at the direction of their boarding house.
And the eyes of the disciples changed.
Their eyes, which had been like the eyes of beasts and were burning with passion, changed to tearful cows that were being dragged to a slaughterhouse.
And they rushed to the darkest place in Mount Hua, the White Plum Blossom Boarding House, where someone was waiting for them.
Chung Myung, who was squatting and chewing on something, frowned as he looked at the people in front of him.
It looked like an old man had gathered the children who had been playing in the neighborhood to tell them a story.
“Did you hear the situation?”
Spitting the stick from his mouth, he shook his head and got up.
“The Worldly Murim Competition…”
The chill voice spoke. And those who heard it, trembled.
“Of course, Sect Leader will think about what is best for us…”
Chung Myung shook his head.
“But I think differently.”
His eyes were normally maddened, but now they looked bloody.
“Experience? Experience can be gained in other places. Competitions aren’t about gaining experience. It is a place to prove how strong we are! This is a competition! And we will win! Overwhelmingly!”
“Is there anyone here who doesn’t know what those rotten bastards did to our Mount Hua?”
“I was thinking about breaking their heads, and they conveniently laid out the path for us. In this competition, I have to unconditionally win the top place and let everyone know about the revival of Mount Hua. Is everyone ready?”
Chung Myung nodded.
Baek Sang, who was silent, raised his hand.
“I am asking just in case… just in case.”
“Ask! Don’t waste time.”
He gulped and then said.
“W-what if we lose to another sect there?”
It was a question everyone wanted to ask but couldn’t. Hearing it felt like cold water had been poured on their heads.
And Chung Myung smiled.
“Do you want to know?”
“Ah-no, I didn’t mean we would lose….”
Chung Myung spoke in a gloomy voice.
He bent his head strangely as if to relax it.
“…want to know?”
‘It is better to not know.’
The Baek and Chung disciples looked at the sky at the same time.
‘The sky looks so clear once in a while.’
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