Chapter 292 - I Will Always Be Your Wall (2)

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“There can be no defeat.”

Jong Rigok spoke with cold eyes.

The Southern Edge Sect’s disciples all nodded with tense expressions.

“I don’t want you to win the competition. If you can, that would be good, but if you cannot, it is just an unfortunate outcome. However, losing to Mount Hua is a different matter entirely.”

When the words ‘defeat’ and ‘Mount Hua’ were mentioned, Jong Seo-Han, who was in the corner, flinched.

Jong Rigok glared at the poor child,

“It doesn’t matter if you lose to another sect. But you can’t lose to Mount Hua anymore. The audience will inflate the results and talk. If we lose to Mount Hua again, the Southern Edge Sect will be known as a sect that has fallen short of Mount Hua. And if we lose again, all we can do is just accept that. Can you endure that humiliation?”

“No!”

Satisfied with Jin Geum-Ryong’s cold face, the sect leader took him at his word.

“Jin Geum-Ryong.”

“Yes, Sect Leader.”

“You, especially, cannot lose.”

“I will remember that.”

Jong Rigok’s gaze fell on Jin Geum-Ryong and Jin Cho-Baek.

“… I know that will not happen. But make sure not to get swept away by your personal feelings.”

“That will never happen. I will defeat them and restore the honor of the Southern Edge Sect.”

“Good.”

Jong Rigok nodded and looked at Lee Song-Baek.

“Lee Song-Baek, you too.”

“Yes, Sect Leader.”

“I do not expect much from you. But make sure not to lose.”

The expectations between the two seemed different.

The others didn’t know why, but Lee Song-Baek knew.

He was learning the old Southern Edge Sect martial arts, which meant many people had no expectations of him.

It was strange, the situation of someone who could be considered the best. The situation of Lee Song-Baek.

Yet he responded calmly, “I will not tarnish the reputation of the Southern Edge Sect.”

With that, Jong Rigok no longer looked at Lee Song-Baek,

“Those who extol honor will be given a worthy reward, and those who bring dishonor will be punished for it. Prove yourselves and never bring shame onto the name of the Southern Edge Sect.”

“We will keep that in mind, Sect Leader!”

Jong Rigok glanced over everyone one last time and then turned and left. The remaining disciples all let out sighs of relief at the same time.

Lee Song-Baek, who was watching this from behind, closed his eyes.

‘How did all this happen?’

Their bleak form.

The cold air.

In the past, it wasn’t like this.

But after only one defeat to Mount Hua in one conference, his sect had transformed into this… different one.

“Lee Song-Baek.”

Lee Song-Baek turned his head,

“Elder Sama.”

Sama Seung, who led Southern Edge to the conference with Mount Hua in the past, was looking at him. After the devastating defeat, Sama Seung had a dull face as if he had aged ten years in one day. Wasn’t it said that the face was the window to the heart?

Sama Seung was a strict and cold person, but he embraced his disciples. But now he felt foreign.

“Follow me.”

“… Yes.”

Lee Song-Baek nodded and followed him.

After leaving their residence and walking through the forest for some time, Sama Seung looked at Lee Song-Baek after confirming no one was around them,

“You must know who your opponent is.”

“Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon”

“Don’t speak of that cursed name in front of me.”

“… Yes.”

There was anger on his face.

Chung Myung’s title was earned after he had defeated Southern Edge’s second-class disciples during the Southern Edge-Mount Hua conference.

In other words, that title was earnt through their humiliation.

“Right, that Chung Myung is your opponent. Are you confident in defeating him?”

Lee Song-baek didn’t answer.

Win over Chung Myung?

“…I will do my best.”

“There is no need for such a short answer. Answer me. Are you confident?”

Lee Song-baek sighed,

“… I am not.”

“Right.”

As if he got the answer he was looking for, the elder didn’t shout.

“You might also know, but now there is no one in our sect who can stop him.”

“…”

“Not just you, but even Jin Geum-Ryong cannot. You know this, right?”

“… Yes.”

Lee Song-Baek answered in a low voice.

“But we have to defeat him. No, winning is important, but he must also be killed.”

“E-Elder.”

“Listen first!”

“… Yes.”

Sama Seung’s eyes were scary.

“Mount Hua and us, when one rises, the other declines. Mount Hua rages, and Southern Edge falls. During our best day, Mount Hua was on the verge of dying. You know that?”

“… it doesn’t…”

“There is no use denying the truth. If you cannot accept reality, you cannot do anything.”

Sama Seung clenched his teeth,

“You know it too. And now our sect is losing its force. After that damned conference, the light and life of our sect began to fade. On the other hand, Mount Hua is coming from the brink of collapse, recovering its strength. This is our reality.”

Lee Song-Baek bowed his eyes.

Even if this was true, he didn’t understand why the elder called him out to say this.

At that time, the elder looked into his eyes and said,

“How far can you go for the sake of The Southern Edge Sect?”

“… what do you mean?”

“I meant what I said. Would you be able to lay down your life for Southern Edge?”

Lee Song-Baek looked at his elder and said,

“I will.”

“To give up your honor for it?”

“I will.”

“Then can you lay down everything for Southern Edge? Even enduring years of humiliation?”

“I will not hesitate.”

A smile formed on his lips, a weird sly smile.

“Right. A Southern Edge disciple should be like this.”

Sama Seung shoved something out from his sleeve, a vial,

“Take this.”

Lee Song-Baek didn’t reach for it, so the elder shoved it to him.

“This?”

“You don’t need to know. Take it.”

Hesitating, Lee Song-Baek reached out for the vial and accepted it. Sama Seung looked at him and said,

“Before you go up to the stage, rub that onto your sword.”

“… Elder?”

“Don’t ask.”

He said so firmly, but his eyes were glistening weirdly.

“A secret is better when few people know it. You don’t have to know what it is. If there is a problem and you are asked to answer, not knowing is better.”

“Elder, this is…”

“Didn’t I tell you? Give up on knowing what it is.”

Lee Song-Baek bit his lip.

He didn’t mind dying for the sake of his sect.

But wasn’t that different from what was being asked of him now?

“Elder, poison doesn’t work on Mount Hua’s Divine Dragon. And to use poison in an official spar will bring dishonor to Southern…”

“It isn’t poison.”

“… Uh?”

Sama Seung smiled,

“Did I say it was? No one will ever know. But it is something that can kill him. You just need to put that onto your sword and make sure to scratch his body with your sword.”

Lee Song-Baek looked at Sama Seung with a stiff face.

‘Is this what we have reached?’

This was the fall.

How could such ignorant moves come from the elders who once spoke of righteousness?

“Elder, I…”

“Lee Song-Baek.”

Sama Seung spoke coldly,

“Are you going to disobey my orders?”

“…”

“You cannot become Jin Geum-Ryong. You expect to move ahead, but you have taken the road to the back. If you really want to repay the favor we are showing you, don’t hesitate to jump into shit.”

An ominous voice,

“You aren’t thinking about betraying those who raised and taught you, right?”

Lee Song-Baek’s eyes were wide.

“Do what you are told. Everything will work out.”

Just as Lee Song-Baek was about to say something,

“Will that be the solution?”

A cold voice came from behind.

The two turned back in shock to see a familiar face.

“Jin-Jin Geum-Ryong!”

“Sahyung?”

He approached them with a cold expression, almost as if his face was made from plates of armor, and reached out to Lee Song-Baek.

“Give it here.”

“Sahyung?”

“Did you not hear me?”

Lee Song-Baek silently handed the vial in his hand to him, and as soon as Jin Geum-Ryong took it, he trampled it.

Shhh!

The bottle shattered, and the liquid seeped into the ground.

“W-what did you do!”

Sama Seung was angry, but the response that came back was cold,

“Sect leader recently began to distance himself far from Elder Sama. It looks like you are turning old. You are now doing such things in front of everyone, and when you get caught, you will take the Southern Edge Sect down with you.”

“You will not get caught!”

“Elder”

Jin Geum-Ryong stared at the man,

“Didn’t you say that even one hit should be repaid back?”

“Yes! Why?! If you act like thi…”

“Go ahead and use that sword to fight Chung Myung.”

“…w-what?”

Jin Geum-Ryong looked angry.

“If you want to do it, do it yourself. Even if Elder uses a poisoned sword to attack Chung Myung, I will not stop you. Instead…”

With a stiff face, he said,

“…do not touch my sajae.”

“…”

Sama Seung’s face turned red in anger. However, Jin Geum-Ryong didn’t back down. He just looked at the man straight in his eyes,

“… bastard.”

In the end, the elder backed down and turned around, walking away without looking back.

Jin Geum-Ryong, who watched this, mumbled,

“Stupid…”

And looked at Lee Song-Baek,

“Sahyung”

“Don’t think about putting the blame onto Elder.”

“…”

“A man’s leisure comes from the place he is, and a martial artist’s leisure comes from their martial arts. How many people maintain their sanity when the sect they believed in all their life is shaken?”

“… I wasn’t going to blame…”

“Then good.”

Jin Geum-Ryong turned and walked as Lee Song-Baek called,

“S-sahyung.”

“…”

Jin geum-Ryong stopped.

“For helping…”

“Don’t get me wrong.”

He looked back and snarled,

“I cannot stand the sect taking such an absurd route. I will break him down with my own hands, I don’t need your help.”

“… Yes.”

“And.”

Jin Geum-Ryeong hesitated and said,

“Lee Song-Baek”

“Yes, sahyung.”

“I hate you.”

“…”

“But even if I hate you, you are my sajae, and I am your great sahyung. It is my duty to prevent my sajae from going down the wrong path. Whether I like it or not, if you are in danger, I will protect you. That is the mindset you should have as a person who is the oldest of the disciples in the Southern Edge Sect.”

“Sahyung.”

Jin Geum-Ryong, who glanced at Lee Song-baek, interrupted,

“Chung Myung is a wall you cannot overcome.”

“… I know.”

“So get crushed. I will take revenge for you.”

“…”

With that, he walked away, and Lee Song-Baek just continued to watch the man leave and sighed.

‘Sahyung.’

The person who changed the most was Jin Geum-Ryong.

His obsession was frightening to watch, and now even the younger ones didn’t take him seriously.

But.

‘Sahyung is sahyung.’

Lee Song-Baek closed his eyes.

‘Can I bring it back?’

Could this all be changed back to the past?

He didn’t know yet.

But the answer could be found tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

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