The disciples of the Southern Edge Sect looked toward the stage with trembling eyes.
‘Was he that strong?’
They had thought that they had seen the end of Chung Myung’s power. Even though their Jin Geum-Ryong was taken down by that man, they thought they had seen the true extent of his powers.
But what Chung Myung showed them now was much different from what they had seen previously. He now looked like a wall… no, it was really a cliff that could never be climbed. A cliff so incredibly tall it would be impossible to see the ledge as it was covered by clouds.
That was what Chung Myung represented for the disciples of the Southern Edge Sect.
Yet there he was.
A person who had attempted to climb this cliff, something that most people wouldn’t have even dared to consider. The disciples couldn’t take their eyes off Lee Song-Baek.
‘We ignored you too much.’
Jong Seohan bit his lip.
He ridiculed this child, saying he didn’t want to accept his new obsession with that old form.
Previously, they had thought that this man, who was acknowledged as one of the strongest disciples of the sect, had found a comfortable excuse just because he had stumbled once. But they now knew that they were wrong.
Lee Song-Baek was just walking on his own path, despite them all looking at him with contempt.
“The Winner is Mount Hua’s Chung Myung!”
The results were announced, but it was a voice filled with fear, which changed nothing. The Southern Edge, Mount Hua, and even the audience were all silent as they looked at the stage.
Chung Myung carried the fallen Lee Song-Baek on his shoulders and walked to the side of the Southern Edge Sect.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Seeing him approach, the eyes of the Southern Edge disciples shined with confusion. Chung Myung finally stopped and asked,
“What are you all doing?”
“You don’t want him?”
Shaken out of their stupor, the disciples all ran forward to take care of Lee Song-Baek.
All their faces were contorted at the sight of the wounds, which looked more serious than they had expected.
Jong Seohan clenched his fist.
Normally he would have yelled at Chung Myung. He would have shouted at the guy for acting this cruelly, but he couldn’t do that now.
Because that would be an insult to Lee Song-Baek.
“Take Sajae inside! Hurry!”
The disciples carefully gathered up Lee Song-Baek and headed inside as Jong Seohan looked at Chung Myung,
Jin Geum-Ryong was still unconscious. This was also a situation where their elders would step out. In that case, he should take up their role.
But what was he supposed to say?
Jong Seohan hesitated, unable to organize his thoughts, but Chung Myung spoke first,
“Grow up well.”
With that, Chung Myung turned and left like there was nothing more to be said.
Jong Seohan bit his lip and shouted back,
Without turning around, Chung Myung only turned his head slightly, looking back.
“… no matter how much worse my eyes might be at seeing things, why teach the sajae of an opposing sect?”
Chung Myung shrugged his shoulders and replied,
He stayed silent for a moment and continued,
“Let’s call it a whim.”
And he quickly walked toward Mount Hua.
The eyes of the younger disciples, filled with countless emotions, glared at him. Most with hatred, anger, hostility,
Knowing that there was awe and fear for Chung Myung in the eyes of the sahyungs and sajaes, Jong Seohan closed his eyes.
Southern Edge could never cross Mount Hua as long as that man was alive. And the long winter Mount Hua endured would now come to an end.
All Jong Seohan could do was stare blankly.
His sahyungs and sajaes rushed around Lee Song-Baek, trying to stop the bleeding.
But what caught his eye wasn’t Lee Song-Baek, but Jin Geum-Ryong.
The man was still lying down, but he didn’t miss the trembling fist of Jin Geum-Ryong.
Jong Seohan clenched his fist.
“Amitabha. Amazing,” quietly mumbled the Abbot.
“The image Disciple Lee Song-Baek showed was so impressive.”
“I want the kids of our sects to remember that image clearly. It has been a while since we’ve seen a true warrior!”
Heo Do Jinin looked at Jong Rigok and smiled,
“With the Southern Edge Sect having such talent, I cannot help but say that your future is bright.”
There was a warm atmosphere until…
However, the moment Jong Rigok opened his mouth, the atmosphere turned cold.
This cold voice and the anger which could be felt within it.
“What future could there be for losers?”
“… Sect Leader?”
Jong Rigok looked at everyone with cold eyes.
“The only reason why so many elders can say such good things is because that child is weak. If that child were strong, over half of these compliments would never be said.”
While the Abbot agreed,
“Amitabha. Sect Leader of Southern Edge, please calm down. I understand you are…”
But Jong Rigok cut his words short,
“But I don’t understand how the Abbot of Shaolin can understand me? With the other half of your words, which go unsaid, your minds are all judging the skills of Mount Hua.”
“Sect Leader. You are turning this into a place that only judges skills. The will of…”
Jong Rigok smirked at this word,
“It has been a hundred years since that will disappeared from Kangho. Is there anyone here who doesn’t know what happened to those who believed in their will and practiced hard and then threw themselves into horrible situations without hesitation?”
All the sect leaders went silent. A heavy silence fell.
The story they were the most reluctant to talk about had come up.
“Skill is the important thing here. It isn’t will or morale. It would be polite for a defeated dog to curl its tail and shut its snout.”
Jong Rigok, who spoke so coldly to them, looked at Hyun Jong. His eyes changed from hostility to killing intent.
“Congratulations to the Sect Leader of Mount Hua. Mount Hua will soon reclaim its glory. As a neighbor and a friend with bad relations, we have shared a lot of history. I congratulate Mount Hua in advance.”
Jong Rigok glanced at all of them and said,
“I apologize for disturbing the minds of many due to a moment’s lapse of judgment. However, as the head of a sect that has not a single disciple left in this competition, it is difficult for me to sit here. I hope it ends well for you all.”
And without another word, he walked down the podium.
The others looked at him with a bit of shock.
Jong Rigok left the podium while saying something to Hyun Jong,
“Do not think of this as done.”
He glared at Hyun Jong with angry eyes and continued down.
“Isn’t someone supposed to stop him?”
“Leave him alone. Is there anyone here who doesn’t understand how he feels?”
At the words of Heo Do Jinin, the other sect leaders went silent.
They wouldn’t have handled it differently if they were in a similar situation. If all their disciples were eliminated, could they really applaud the disciples of Mount Hua?
It must be torture for the Southern Edge’s Sect Leader.
Soon, they looked at Hyun Jong, who smiled awkwardly.
‘Kuak. He left me in trouble.’
They were all sect leaders who were watching Mount Hua very carefully. And with Jong Rigok walking out like this, everyone was bound to pay more attention to Mount Hua now.
There was a subtle discomfort in their eyes, yet Hyun Jong accepted it with a calm expression.
‘It means we are closing in on their boundaries.’
It meant that even the strongest people could not help but be wary of Mount Hua. All because of what Chung Myung had shown them.
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung, who was heading back to his seat.
‘We can never know.’
Normally, looking at the guy made his stomach hurt and heart pound like he was in danger, almost as if his life was being shortened. That was how messed up he was.
But that same kid… acted all different once in a while.
Hyun Jong closed his eyes and thought about what Chung Myung had shown him.
‘Go the way your will shows.’
And Hyun Jong decided to support him on that path. Hyun Jong would clean the path for Chung Myung and all the other different paths the rest of the disciples from Mount Hua wanted to take. He would give them support from behind.
“Infinite light illuminating all.”
Hyun Jong looked at Chung Myung with the warmest eyes.
Baek Cheon, who watched Chung Myung sit down with curious eyes, made Chung Myung ask,
Baek Cheon paused for a moment as he stared at Chung Myung and then said,
“I don’t know if I know anything about you.”
Baek Cheon seemed to hesitate, so Jo Gul helped him out,
“Don’t you hate Southern Edge?”
“Uh, I hate it. I want to run to them and pour oil on their sect and then set it on fire. I want to go to the offices which hold the records of Murim and scratch off its name with a knife till no book mentions them.”
“… are you even human?”
Jo Gul flinched and said,
“Then why did you do that to Lee Song-Baek?”
Chung Myung smiled and stared forward, it felt like these people understood that he was teaching Lee Song-Baek.
If he thought about it, they should have figured it out since they were beaten in the same way on their way to Yunnan.
“If you want to ruin Southern Edge, you shouldn’t be teaching that guy!”
“Well… that is right.”
Baek Cheon spoke with a slightly serious face,
“If you taught my hyung, I wouldn’t have said anything, but Lee Song-Baek…”
He went silent. The possibility seemed too small.
And it was annoying. The Southern Edge, which should have collapsed, would now instead be rebuilt by the hands of Lee Song-Baek, who was on the right path.
Of course, calling the Southern Edge a collapsed sect just because of this loss was a bit too funny.
Chung Myung, who listened to them, scratched his chin.
“It wasn’t like me.”
“Right, it wasn’t like you.”
“I thought you would break every limb in his body.”
“I even thought you killed him by cracking his head.”
Chung Myung was shocked. These reactions around him… it was like they sincerely expected that these things would happen.
“You do such things on a daily basis.”
“I expected that you would do that much with people watching you. Imagine all the things you would even do when there aren’t people watching… ugh, so terrifying to even think about that.”
Chung Myung was taken aback by this.
‘There is no use raising kids.’
Look at these kids, Sect Leader sahyung!
-I guess you came to understand.
“Ugh! Rotten idiots!”
Chung Myung groaned as he got up and then sat back down, looking upset. But regardless of that, Jo Gul asked,
“So why did you do that?”
“To break the head of sahyung, sasuks.”
“I meant it?”
Baek Cheon looked at Chung Myung.
His face was saying that he was being honest, even with its sarcastic tone.
“… what is that supposed to mean?”
“Southern Edge will fall.”
Chung Myung spoke sternly,
“The feeling of defeat isn’t something which will go away so easily, and the perception of people of this world is too cold. And there is nothing scarier than falling down after climbing up to an amazing height. The Southern Edge Sect will be ruined to its core.”
Baek Cheon nodded his head.
It was hard to imagine such a mighty sect getting destroyed like that, but until everything that Chung Myung said happens…
‘First of all, they aren’t the disciples of the old Southern Edge Sect.’
Those confident and easygoing people acted impatiently like they were being chased by something. It could not be easy to regain that lost confidence.
“And Mount Hua will become stronger than now. Maybe a lot more stronger as time goes on. Maybe even hold enormous power in the future.”
“… I just feel like I heard something strange.”
“What? You think it is hell either way?”
‘You saying enormous power is what scares me!’
The disciples of Mount Hua knew that there was no happy life when the term ‘enormous power’ was mentioned, as the burden of training fell onto them.
Chung Myung, who was smiling, spoke with a stiff face.
“But how long will it last?”
“I told you. The strong will decline one day, and the weak will get stronger someday. The strength of Mount Hua will not last forever.”
“Can’t we try to make it last?”
“What about after we die? Who will lead Mount Hua then?”
Chung Myung shook his head,
“If a sword is pointed at our backs, we will struggle and work hard. But those who prosper most of the time with no one chasing after them will turn sluggish. In a way like Shaolin and Wudang now.”
Baek Cheon understood what this meant.
“You mean that Southern Edge should be the sword that aims at Mount Hua’s back?”
“… and what happens if we collapse at their hands again?”
“That cannot be helped.”
Baek Cheon’s eyes trembled.
It could not be helped?
At that time, Chung Myung spoke with a cold face,
“If Mount Hua cannot advance and stays idle, then it is better to burn it to ashes. A martial arts sect that has no one to be conscious of eventually becomes trapped in its own small world. It means that the destruction and fall of Southern Edge isn’t a good deal for Mount Hua.”
Chung Myung smiled,
“It is a hundred times harder to hold onto unseen hope and crumble slowly than it is to perish.”
“They will go through the same thing which Mount Hua went through! How dare they pretend like they were having a hard time these few years! Now they will have to fall a few more times! Until then, I won’t let them rise! I will never let that happen!”
Baek Cheon smiled, looking at Chung Myung, who had gone crazy.
‘This is right.’
Baek Cheon felt his stomach feel refreshed, looking at the Chung Myung he knew.
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