“… even though we knew there would be a crowd, isn’t this too much?”
“I feel like I will get motion sickness from this.”
The disciples of Mount Hua looked tired. That said, the more they walked, the more the people around them felt.
“We are on a village path; stop whining with that mouth!”
The Baek disciples pouted at Baek Cheon’s words.
“But isn’t this a village? If Hua-Um is a village, then this is one too.”
“Hua-Um can be called a city.”
“You didn’t see Luoyang at all, did you?”
“…it cannot be compared with Luoyang.”
Baek Cheon shook his head. But his actions didn’t mean that he didn’t understand the reactions of his sajaes.
‘It must be interesting.’
Most of them, regardless of whether they were Baek or Chung disciples, entered Mount Hua at a very young age and lived in the mountains all their lives. Where could they have seen so many people?
“I thought it would be a temple-like place because it is called the Shaolin Sect. What is this…”
In response to Baek Sang’s words, Jo Gul smiled bitterly.
“This is the most famous temple in the world. It is a place that can claim to be the wealthiest Sect in the world with just the money that they get for their incense and prayers. How can this place be quiet?”
“Famous Sects make money even if they sit still. This means that it isn’t just martial arts that they prove their strength with…”
Hyun Jong, who was listening to Jo Gul, nodded in approval.
It was true.
Even when Mount Hua won against the Southern Edge Sect, they weren’t completely freed from their financial difficulties.
If the Mount Hua Sect was like that, then shouldn’t the Shaolin Sect be flooding with money?
‘That is why they are holding this competition.’
It was true that there was a limit to the number of people they could welcome. That was probably why they came up with the different invitation letters. Regardless of that, how many people could be brought here?
At the very least, the number of people who would come to participate here would be close to a thousand.
Even if people came to visit the village or this flooded city, they would have to arrange their own meals and accommodation. The Mount Hua Sect definitely wouldn’t be able to call them and say they would feed and give the people places to stay.
The Shaolin Sect was doing things that Mount Hua could never dream of.
“Once again, I can see how great this competition is. Just seeing so many people going up to see the place is shocking.”
“It has been here for a hundred years, right?”
“Still, it is like this because of the competition.”
“We can do nothing, but to come first like this means they want to get a good spot.”
Gossip could be heard from the people who were climbing.
“Where? If they have been invited, they have to be quite famous.”
“Well… was there any sect that used the symbol of a plum blossom?”
“Plum? Ah! Mount Hua!”
“You know the Sect that used to be good.”
Baek Cheon’s face twisted.
‘Used to be good?’
‘It is doing good now, too, you idiots!’
He wanted to say something, but he knew that nothing good would come from talking with such onlookers.
And fortunately, he could hear some good things as well.
“People say that they are in good condition these days? There are rumors they won against the Wudang Sect.”
“Rumors are rumors. But the rumors in Kangho cannot be baseless.”
“Isn’t it true that there is nothing we cannot believe when it comes to rumors in Kangho?”
Baek Cheon smiled a little.
“But anyway, how will they be an opponent for the Nine Great Sects and the Five Great families? This time they will be at a level where they can just participate.”
They were all whispering, but their words could be clearly understood. After all, the disciples of Mount Hua had senses that had been heightened to a vicious level by Chung Myung under the guise of training.
The furious Beak disciples turned their heads as they heard those words.
“What are you doing? Don’t you want to go up?”
Chung Myung, who was carrying his luggage, asked them.
And looking at that, the Beak disciples, who couldn’t say anything and grinned.
“You want to fight those jerks?”
This was enough.
Evaluation depended on how one looked at something.
It was only necessary to prove the power of Mount Hua during the competition spars after all.
“Hurry up now.”
“Yes, Sect Leader.”
Hyun Jong walked fast.
Time wasn’t tight. There was still plenty of time to arrive. However, it wasn’t a good thing for the disciples to be looked at by so many people.
It seemed best to get to the Shaolin Sect quickly and unpack their things rather than letting these people lose control around him.
However, Hyun Jong’s choice didn’t please the others. As they climbed the busy mountain, he looked up and frowned.
Hyun Sang also spoke in a bit of a bewildered voice as he saw the crowd in front of him.
It was because he saw the people he didn’t want to see the most, climbing the mountain.
“…It is the Southern Edge sect.”
Hyun Jong slowed his steps.
The Southern Edge was also participating in this competition, and Hyun Jong knew that they would have to meet at one point. But he also wanted to avoid meeting them before the competition started.
But, as always, things do not always go the way one wants them to.
The Southern Edge Sect’s disciples, who were at the back of the group, looked back for a moment and then quickly looked forward.
“It seems like they already knew it.”
Hyun Jong frowned.
In the end, he couldn’t change the fact that the Southern Edge Sect’s disciples were there.
‘This is hard.’
It was both absurd and funny that the first people they met from the world of Martial Arts after coming here were them.
Of course, they, too, would be uncomfortable with this situation, but as long as it continued like this, they would have to greet each other.
They seemed to think so, too, because, at that moment, a man walked through the disciples and greeted Hyun Jong.
“I am so happy to meet you here in this distant land. Have you been without troubles, Sect Leader?”
It was an old man with an impressive appearance and pure white hair who had spoken.
Hyun Jong struggled to capture this look.
He knew the person in front of him too well. He was a person who had lived a life completely different from Hyun Jong. He was the person who had raised the Southern Edge Sect, he was the one who was the pillar to the Sect, and he was the one who had suppressed Mount Hua in the past but led his own Sect into becoming a strong one.
The Sect Leader of the Southern Edge Sect, The Worldly Sword1, Jong Rigok.
When Hyun Young poked him from the side, Hyun Jong flinched and noticed it.
“Nice to see you again, Sect Leader.”
And the people around all showed nice smiles.
Were they in a position to smile despite all that had happened?
“It seems like ten years have passed.”
“Right. We were so busy with some things, so we didn’t have enough time to travel out before this.”
Jong Rigok smiled softly.
“Despite being close, we aren’t close enough to meet. That is the relationship between Mount Hua and the Southern Edge Sect. But it isn’t as good as it used to be. Wouldn’t it be great if we could strengthen our friendship with this opportunity?”
Hyun Jong looked at Jong Rigok with strange eyes.
‘He is strange.’
Even though they were both Sect Leaders, they didn’t see each other often due to the situation.
But since both of their Sects had been located in Shaanxi, they had occasionally met. Whenever that happened, Hyun Jong always felt suffocated.
This was because this was during the time when he was the Sect Leader of Mount Hua that was losing everything. Compared to Jong Rigok, who was in a sect that was developing each day, it was the difference between Heaven and earth.
Every time he returned from such a meeting, Hyun Jong would take a sip of alcohol to soothe this sore feeling.
But strangely, he felt comfortable now.
Wasn’t this Jong Rigok, who had always looked relaxed, now looking at him with a face that had lost its pride?
“But you seem to have changed a lot?”
“It is nice to have something to feel at ease about. Heheh.”
Jong Rigok looked at Hyun Jong and then lowered his eyes.
“Hahah. That is a good thing. A good thing. That is right. I am indebted to you for the previous Southern Edge-Mount Hua Conference. I should have guessed that Mount Hua had developed so much… congratulations again, Sect Leader.”
Hyun Jong smiled.
Celebrating progress was usually something a superior said to a subordinate. Jong Rigok’s words only implied that the Southern Edge Sect still didn’t look up to Mount Hua despite their suffering.
“We were lucky.”
Jong Rigok smiled.
“If such luck repeats itself, it gets called something else.”
Hyun Jong looked at him and said,
“Well, I don’t know…’
And he glanced at the disciples standing behind Jong Rigok.
The Southern Edge Sect.
For the disciples of Mount Hua, this was a name that made knots in their stomachs. In the past, the disciples of Mount Hua used to get discouraged with the very name of this Sect.
But what about now?
They could look at the Southern Edge Sect with calm eyes… they could look at them with absolutely no emotions on their sleeve.
‘It must be because they feel that these people aren’t a hurdle to them.’
The disciples might think so, but he couldn’t do that as a Sect Leader.
“We will do our best.”
Seeing Hyun Jong answering calmly, Jong Rigok’s lips twitched.
“Haha. It is said that a position makes a person, but the Sect Leader has changed a lot.”
Yoon Jong, who had been listening to the conversation between the two Sect Leaders from a distance, whispered.
“In the past, there were a lot of people who couldn’t raise their heads in front of me.”
“…yah, he’s saying that to our Sect Leader?”
“You asked me to interpret it.”
At the interpretation of Chung Myung, the disciples all stared at Jong Rigok in unison. However, Hyun Jong, who received this insult, was calm.
“Hehehe. What can I be proud of? I just followed the guidance of the ancestors of Mount Hua.”
“If you look at our history, Mount Hua has been existing from generation to generation because of our kind mouths.”
“…our sect leader is no easy one.”
The disciples all looked at Hyun Jong with new eyes.
‘Oh my, our Sect Leader was someone who had such an intelligent mind!’
Jong Rigok opened his eyes as if he understood Hyun Jong’s meaning.
“Furthermore, there is evidence for the confidence of Mount Hua. The defeat of the Southern Edge Sect was painful to our children. But thanks to this, our arrogant children were able to be reborn. Haha. This time, Mount Hua will not have it easy.”
“That is a good thing.”
Jong Rigok smiled.
“So, it wouldn’t be too bad for Mount Hua to experience the same thing.”
“Should we consider it a good thing? For the Southern Edge Sect to yield.”
Jong Rigok thought without a smile.
‘He doesn’t let a single thing pass. This would have been unimaginable in the past.’
‘Unable to hide the displeasure, he would always try to end the conversation.’
“Indeed, indeed. Sect Leader is right. Isn’t this a place that shows the result to all of Kangho? I hope Mount Hua does well this time too.”
“I hope the Southern Edge Sect gets good results too.”
The two had the right to fight each other.
Yoon Jong asked.
“So, who won?”
“Our Sect Leader beat that man.”
Yoon Jong had a proud smile. He clearly engraved in his eyes the image of Jong Rigok returning back to his place.
With a loud voice, the Southern Edge Sect’s disciples, who had been staring at them, turned around.
Only three people were still looking at this side.
One was Jin Geum-Ryong. He couldn’t take his gaze away from Chung Myung from the start.
Chung Myung, who received that gaze, smiled.
‘Well. You will die for sure.’
‘People should know their place!’
The second one was Lee Song-Baek.
Lee Song-Baek was also paying attention to Chung Myung, but it was with a different meaning.
If Jin Geum-Ryong wanted to eat him, then Lee Song-Baek was in awe of him.
Looking at the eyes full of admiration…
‘Ah, it tickles.’
Chung Myung thought for a moment that Jin Geum-Ryong’s gaze was less burdensome.
Anyway, these two faces were familiar. But the problem was the third.
A middle-aged man with a clean impression was staring at them from the side. But his gaze didn’t reach Chung Myung. Rather it was on Baek Cheon, who was in front of Chung Myung.
Chung Myung, who sneaked to the side of Baek Cheon, looked at the middle-aged man.
“Is that your father?”
“Be happy. Dong-Ryong.”
“…don’t call me that.”
Chung Myung tapped Baek Cheon on the shoulder.
“You must be in a position where words don’t work, and the only thing you can show yourself with is the sword, right?”
When a calm reply came, Chung Myung looked at Baek Cheon.
Not even the slightest agitation could be seen on his face.
‘You grew up so much.’
In the past, Baek Cheon wasn’t able to control his emotions even in front of his brother. So, this could definitely be called growth.
Chung Myung nodded, feeling proud.
As the Southern Edge Sect moved away, Baek Cheon looked at the disciples of Mount Hua and said.
“It is good to see them.”
“Those people still look down on us. What should we do with those who cannot come to their senses despite being beaten?”
“Beat them until they come to their senses!”
Baek Cheon smiled.
‘I am sorry, but you are no longer our opponent.’
Even if that opponent was his own brother, Jin Geum-Ryong.
The disciples of Mount Hua, who began to climb the mountain again, reached the gate of the Shaolin Sect after a while.
They saw a huge board in front of them that said ‘Great Shaolin Temple.’ After pausing for just a moment, they quickly took their steps inside with determined faces.
Now was their time to prove things.
PR/N: Previously Tled as “Heaven’s Sword” ↩️
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