Drip. Drip. Drip.
A mild, non-irritating scent spread through the room as the tea was poured into the cups.
The scent of the tea seemed to pair well with the air within the Shaolin Sect.
The Abbot of the Shaolin Sect, smiling, held a cup in front of him and said,
“I don’t know if this tea will suit your palate.”
Hyun Jong bowed at those words,
“If it is the tea the Abbot has directly made, it doesn’t matter if we like it or not. Just receiving it is a luxury.”
The man smiled and shook his head as he heard that,
“Tea is just tea. Regardless of whether it is the emperor that makes it or whether it is someone else, it is still the same tea. Please enjoy it.”
“Yes, thank you.”
Hyun Jong took the cup and looked around.
Contrary to the jaw-dropping scenery on the outside of the Shaolin Sect, where the abbot stayed was shabby and not that great.
The man didn’t seem too extravagant either.
Contrary to the title of the Shaolin Sect’s Abbot, the person in front of him didn’t have a particularly special aura.
Apart from the embroidery on his robe, he looked like an ordinary old monk. Just one among the many that could be seen around the Shaolin Sect.
But that was exactly why Hyun Jong appreciated this man.
The Abbot held a very high position, but he maintained his dignity in his own way.
‘He is truly a person worthy of the position of Abbot of the Shaolin Sect.’
Hyun Jong looked at the Abbot in admiration. The Abbot put down his teacup and said,
“You all have worked so hard to come such a long way.”
There was tenderness in each of his words.
“Compared to those who have come from really far away, how can we say that we have worked hard to come if it’s just from the province of Shaanxi? Thank you for accepting our sudden request for a greeting.”
The Abbot looked at Hyun Jong and smiled. The wrinkles around his eyes could be seen.
“Once again, I am thankful. I knew that I would have to meet the Sect Leaders when they arrived, but strangely no one came to see me or wanted to meet me either. Sect leader, you have saved my face.”
Hyun Jong smiled bitterly.
‘How is it possible that nobody came to meet the Abbot of the Shaolin Sect?’
He was too shocked to even speak out loud.
Hyun Jong also hadn’t been expecting much, but this was taking it too far.
The Abbot looked at Hyun Jong and continued,
“I heard that Mount Hua has been able to get back its momentum recently. Even Hae Bang, who visited Mount Hua a while ago, said so.”
It must have been quite a shock for the Abbot. Hyun Jong thought of Chung Myung for some reason.
“It is a good thing. I used to be heartbroken at the fact that the Mount Hua Sect, the world’s most prestigious Sect, was losing its power. But seeing the Sect Leader here and now… I think the Mount Hua Sect has a bright future. Amitabha.”
The Abbot chanted a prayer and bowed his head, and the shocked Hyun Jong also joined his hands together to return the greeting.
“I heard about the good results you achieved from the conference with the Southern Edge Sect as well. The Sect Leader must have suffered so much.”
“I feel ashamed. How can that be my achievement? It is all thanks to the children who worked hard.”
The eyes of the Abbot went to Hyun Jong instantly,
“Yes, Abbot. Please tell me.”
“If there is competition, then the momentum of Mount Hua will definitely rise.”
“I do hope that happens.”
“But be careful.”
Hyun Jong looked at the man with a slightly questioning expression. And the man sighed as he said,
“Humans are truly pitiful beings. There are only a few people in this world who can fully accept the pleasures and happiness of others as their own. Most of us are envious and jealous of others.”
“Mount Hua can be the target of such envy… so be careful, please.”
Hyun Jong let out a low cough. And with a soft smile, he looked at the Abbot,
“Thank you very much for your kind words. However, Mount Hua hasn’t risen enough to receive the envy of the others.”
“And it is honestly a concern that I can keep for a later time, so I will focus on getting good results in this competition.”
“Amitabha Buddha. I think I was worrying a bit too much.”
Watching the man chant again, Hyun Jong straightened his form.
‘It is to make others put down their guards.’
Whatever he saw might not be a complete truth.
The Abbot of the Shaolin Sect, who led the entire temple… It was a position that no ordinary person would be able to handle. Perhaps, even at this moment, he was deconstructing and evaluating Hyun Jong.
He wasn’t sure what grade he would be given.
‘At least I hope it is a good one.’
That way, he could be comfortable when doing his job in the future. Hyun Jong was about to say something when a noise interrupted them.
Hyun Jong and the Abbot heard the noise from the outside and turned their heads.
But contrary to Hyun Jong’s frown, the Abbot had a calm face,
“When people gather like this, big and small accidents happen. Most of the time, it is no big deal, so you don’t have to worry about it.”
But the second he heard those words, Hyun Jong’s face turned white.
‘Big and small?’
The Abbot tilted his head and asked,
“What is it?”
“Ha… Haha. That…”
Hyun Jong was good at self-objectification. And that didn’t stop with just him, he often included Mount Hua in it as well.
‘No matter how many people come here…’
‘When it comes to creating accidents, Mount Hua can be said to be in first place, right?’
‘Which other idiots would cause an accident in the middle of the Shaolin Sect’s territory?’
‘There is no way.’
Hyun Jong jumped from his seat.
Looking at the confused Abbot, Hyun Jong flinched and said,
“I-I’m sorry. I was curious about what is happening outside…”
“Ah, if that is the case.”
The Abbot looked towards the door and said,
A cautious voice came from outside the door.
“Yes, Sect Leader.”
“What happened outside?”
“The disciples of the sects who are visiting seem to be fighting.”
The Abbot had a bitter smile.
From the time these bloody people had gathered, he knew that various troubles would begin to happen. But this was still the very first day of their arrival.
“Which sects are fighting?”
“It is the Southern Island Sect and the Mount Hua Sect.”
“Right. The Southern Island Sect…”
“Southern Island and Mount Hua.”
“Ah. Mount Hua. Right. Mount Hua…. If it is Mount Hua…”
And then he slowly turned his head,
Hyun Jong flinched as their eyes met.
There was a very awkward atmosphere between them now. Even the Abbot of the Shaolin Sect was at a loss for words.
“I-I guess I need to go.”
Hyun Jong had already escaped from the place.
The Abbot stretched out his hand and grinned as he pulled it back.
‘Aren’t they the bloody ones?’
“I need to get out of here as well.”
The Abbot felt that he had to take a look as well.
With a smile, he cheerfully left the room.
“…what was that, you bastard?”
‘Make us crawl back to the Southern Island Sect?’
Kwak Hwan-So, the great disciple of the Southern Island Sect, looked at Baek Cheon, unable to hide his shock.
When he saw Baek Cheon throw his sword to the floor and cross his arms, he felt something hot run through his stomach.
This action was more than enough to make him angry. But what made Kwak Hwan-So infuriated was Baek Cheon’s relaxed appearance with his arms folded.
‘This skinny-looking bastard!’
As a dignified disciple of the Southern Island Sect, it was unacceptable for someone to look down on him. Right, he’d rather see the end…
“…was it you?”
“What did you say?”
Kwak Hwan-So tilted his head in thought, ‘Why is this man with such a rough scent of the sea talking to me?’
Just then, a voice urged him from behind.
Kwak Hwan-So, who finally came to his senses, raised his voice again,
“The clothes of a ruined sect are looking quite bright. Normally, they shouldn’t be like that, but this time…”
At that moment, Baek Cheon raised his hand and stopped him.
“…what is it?” Kwak Hwan-So, who had been interrupted suddenly, frowned and asked. Baek Cheon continued to speak.
“The Southern Island Sect’s disciples seem to fight with their mouths, but we from Mount Hua fight with our swords. If you are going to attack and run, just leave now. I have no hobby or interest in chasing after a runner and hitting them in the back.”
“…what was that?”
Kwak Hwan-So, who was now furious, jumped forward immediately and reached out. But both of his arms were grabbed by his fellow disciples.
“Don’t forget where you are.”
Kwak Hwan-So glared at Baek Cheon.
‘Damn it. If only this wasn’t the Shaolin Sect.’
Even though they were the disciples of the Southern Island Sect, they didn’t have the courage to use swords on the grounds of the Shaolin Sect.
“You are lucky. If this place wasn’t part of the Shaolin Sect, you would’ve died today.”
“Ah. Are you going to run away now? Well, okay… all right.”
Kwak Hwan-So’s anger soared higher and higher as he heard Baek Cheon’s words, and he couldn’t help trembling.
Then he ground his teeth and growled,
“These bastards do not even know the concept of strength!”
Seeing him roar like a wild boar, Yoon Jong and Jo Gul sighed.
‘Sasuk is also able to get under the skin of people now.’
‘He learned from that idiot; what can we say?’
All the disciples were amazed at the sight of Baek Cheon, who kept shattering Kwak Hwan-So’s words.
‘Right. When you become a disciple of Mount Hua, you cannot lose when it comes to words.’
On the other hand, Kwak Hwan-So, who was losing the verbal battle, was extremely angry.
The Mount Hua Sect.
A sect that used to be in the Nine Great Sects once upon a time. Now it had fallen, and it was the Southern Island Sect that had taken their place.
‘And now such bastards are provoking the Southern Island Sect?’
He was having a hard time holding back his anger. He heard the voice of his sajae behind him,
“Be patient, Sahyung. They are going to be humiliated at one point anyway. We don’t need to get our hands dirty. Won’t the Sect Leader get angry if we do something wrong in the Shaolin Sect’s territory?”
As he heard the words of his sajae, Kwak Hwan-So nodded and then sighed.
It was true that he was angry, but he wouldn’t let it control him here.
“Uh, right. Let’s just leave it. But you guys should be careful now. If anyone among you happen to meet us in a spar, be prepared to get your bones broken. Get ready to experience the sword of the Southern Island Sect.”
The moment Kwak Hwan-So was about to turn away after giving Baek Cheon a warning and glaring at him, he heard a voice from behind him.
“Who sent you?”
He tilted his head slightly.
A grumpy-faced guy who had been standing behind the Mount Hua disciples came forward. And standing up in a crooked manner, he said,
“Kids these days have no respect, right? I didn’t do such things back in my day. Once we got ourselves into an argument, the only way we used to walk out was if we were the last man standing. Flapping your mouth and walking away to get rid of that… Is this what your Sect teaches you?”
Kwak Hwan-So looked at Chung Myung with a frown.
‘He seems to be a third-class disciple?’
‘How could a third-class disciple even speak in this situation?’
“What are you doing?”
“You don’t need to know, bastard.”
Kwak Hwan-So’s eyes widened at the unexpected words he had just heard.
Seeing the reaction, Chung Myung smiled and threw his sword to the ground,
“What? You do not want to fight with your swords because this is the Shaolin Sect? Then use your fists. Come on. I will turn your face upside down.”
“Ah, you were already scared, and that is why you were running back with just your garments on you? right?”
Kwak Hwan-So’s cheeks trembled.
His eyes, which had still not lost their reasoning, looked forward.
“I am well aware that this is the Shaolin Sect. But what will the world think of us if we continue to receive such insults?”
At those words, Kwak Hwan-So’s sajae glanced around.
People were already gathering around, and it was already a bit embarrassing. But now, it was too late to back off. The spectators who were now present wouldn’t accept the sight of the Southern Island Sect walking away from the Mount Hua Sect.
“Come! You said fists?”
Kwak Hwan-So rolled his eyes.
“Since you people cannot beat us with your swords, you seem to be resorting to using your bare hands now. Let me tell you something… nothing you do will matter. Just go back quietly and never forget that you were kicked out of the Nine Great Sects.”
The other disciples of the Southern Island Sect pulled out their swords and put them on the ground as well. Seeing that, Jo Gul looked at Yoon Jong.
“How do we do this?”
“How do we do what?”
Yoon Jong laughed and pulled out his sword, and put it on the ground.
“You should think about crushing their jaws first. Mount Hua and the Nine Great Sects? I will take care of those bastards.”
Seeing Yoon Jong’s eyes clearly itching for a fight, Jo Gul smiled.
‘Now, everyone is gone.’
‘There are no more rational people around.’
‘There is nothing that can be done anymore.’
Ultimately, Jo Gul also chose to throw himself to the flow.
Tension rose between the disciples of the Southern Island Sect and the Mount Hua Sect as they glared at each other.
Chung Myung also cracked his neck to relax a couple of times.
“It is important to lay low, but!”
Chung Myung said,
“It is more important to defeat the jerks who have bad-mouthed our Mount Hua! If we cannot do this to such jerks, we are not fit to bear the name of the Sect that has fed and nurtured us so much!”
It was quite an effective sentence. There was a gleam of madness within the eyes of the disciples of Mount Hua.
“Ahhhh! Let’s break some heads!”
Chung Myung… no, the disciples of Mount Hua ran towards the Southern Island Sect’s disciples with shouts and cheers.
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