“I can’t do this anymore.”
The third-class disciples groaned and passed through Mount Hua’s gate.
It was impossible for them to do business in Hua-Um. These Taoists needed to achieve peace through meditation; they couldn’t relate to those obsessed with worldliness and fleeting desires.
“Everything is fine, but….”
It was understandable.
They also understood how important money was and how hard it was to earn. Until recently, weren’t they forced to endure by surviving off only porridge due to a shortage of money?
Even if they were Taoists, it was impossible to live off the bark of trees and cultivation alone. Whether it was a mountain, a field, or a city, people needed money.
So, they had no complaints there.
The problem was…
“Can’t we just get a dorm in Hua-Um? What kind of treatment is this?”
“If we have to go up and down Mount Hua each day and night, I really might die. Sahyung…”
Yoon Jong closed his eyes tightly.
Usually, he would have yelled at the children to stop their whining, but he didn’t say anything because even he was out of breath now.
“… think of this as training….”
“What kind of training….”
“If not, go to sasuk directly and ask him.”
Everyone shut up immediately at that.
It wasn’t because they were afraid. It was because their suffering was insignificant compared to the hardships of their elders.
They only did it today, but the elders had been going up and down the mountain every day for the businesses.
“Sahyung. I have no time to train these days.”
“We are here to learn martial arts, not do business. If it was going to be like this, I’d rather have stayed home and not joined Mount Hua at all.”
Yoon Jong sighed as the whining kept going.
“I know what you are trying to say. But things don’t always work the way you want them to, right? That’s just how it is, so endure for now.”
“… Yes, sahyung.”
Still, everyone nodded their heads. Yoon Jong sighed once more in secret.
‘That’s what I said, but when will this situation get better?’
He couldn’t imagine.
No, it wasn’t that he couldn’t. In Yoon Jong’s eyes, things wouldn’t get better; rather, they would worsen.
Fortunately, the merchants who sided with Mount Hua came to their aid. Otherwise, they would have already experienced dramatic losses.
For things to get better, the path to improvement must be visible. But Yoon Jong could only see bad things.
‘Sect leader must have a plan.’
As Yoon Jong continued his thoughts, he flinched.
‘I’m worried about Mount Hua.’
Until recently, that was rarely the case. Although he was one of the third-class disciples, he barely worried about Mount Hua. It was because he had always thought that even if Mount Hua collapsed, he could simply go elsewhere.
But before he knew it, he had grown seriously concerned for it.
This is all part of the change that occurred after he showed up…
Yoon Jong closed his eyes tightly.
‘Everything has been changing for the better, but why does that guy keep getting more and more immature each day?’
Yoon Jong looked at Jo Gul, who was running towards him.
“Sahyung! Sahyung! We are in trouble!”
“Calm down. You are Taoist so don’t rush and be—”
The moment that name came out of Jo Gul’s mouth, Yoon Jong’s face turned a ghastly pale.
It was truly amazing how one name was enough to shake another to their core.
“No! You need to see this! Hurry!”
As Jo Gul started to run ahead, Yoon Jong followed behind without saying a word.
‘What is he up to this time?’
Yoon Jong didn’t have time to think. He ran with all his strength and followed Jo Gul into the dorms, swiftly rushing into Chung Myung’s room.
An empty room.
“Is he out?”
“No, that isn’t it! Look at this!”
Yoon Jong narrowed his eyes and looked at where Jo Gul pointed.
‘A sheet of paper?’
A sheet of paper was left on the bed with a message written on it.
Something came up, so I will be away at work for a few days. You can handle it. Also, if you skip training, I will fold your spine backward, so don’t even think of skipping out!
“… this crazy bastard.”
Yoon Jong’s hand trembled.
What? A few days?
Did that mad man think that he could run around anywhere he wanted?
“W-what do we do, Sahyung?”
Yoon Jong sighed.
“First, we need to make sure the others stay silent about this.”
“… but if he gets caught…”
“Even if we go and tell them, it won’t change anything. He said he’ll be back in a few days, so we need to try and hide his absence until then.”
Unless it was the same as today, when someone came searching for him specifically, nobody would notice if Chung Myung went missing for a short while.
“What will happen if we get caught?”
“Are you worried about that?”
“Yes, aren’t you worried about it?”
“… I’m worried about something other than that?”
Yoon Jong sighed and spoke.
“I’m worried about how many days he will be gone and what new mess he is going to cause this time.”
Jo Gul, at a loss for words, agreed in his mind.
“Huak! Huak! Huak! I need to take a breather!”
Chung Myung sat down on the tree trunk next to him to catch his breath. He ran a great distance straight from Mount Hua without resting and was out of breath. It seemed like he would die.
“Oh! How far have I fallen from my prime!?”
He could jump from one mountain to another in one step. He could even jump from one side of a river to another in two jumps!
If it had been him in the past, it would have taken less than two hours to reach Xian city from Mount Hua. It would have been like taking a leisurely walk.
However, Chung Myung couldn’t do it at his current level, so he had to run like a crazy dog, sweating until his body hurt.
“Oh my… If I could have just one glass of cold water, life would be worth living.”
Each time this happened, he would think of the past. Taking a deep breath, Chung Myung raised his head and looked at Xian.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.”
Although Hua-Um developed quite a bit, it cannot be compared to Xian city.
Xian was the largest city near Mount Hua. As a result, whenever there was a need to visit a big city, the first place anyone would consider was Xian.
Chung Myung, feeling alive and rested, stood up while reminiscing.
“Quite a lot used to happen here.”
Ordinarily, the disciples of Mount Hua wouldn’t come here.
The reason was simple. The closest faction to this city was actually the Southern Edge sect.
Southern Edge Mountain, home of the Southern Edge sect, was only a few kilometers away from here. So, their disciples would often come here when they were bored.
What would happen if the disciples of both Mount Hua and Southern Edge met?
‘One of the two will be destroyed.’
Southern Edge Sect and Mount Hua weren’t on good terms.
No, it’s not enough to say they simply weren’t on good terms. They just couldn’t bear being close to each other; they were closer to being enemies.
Why do we have such a bad relationship?
It has to be asked the other way around… what reason do we have to get along?
Like neighboring nations don’t have good relations, the big sects never liked getting along with their neighbors. First, there are always border disputes and interests to be contested. Not to mention a constant competition to recruit local disciples with talent.
Above all, when asked who’s mightier, swords are drawn and wielded before the question finishes escaping their lips. It’s a matter of pride.
Moreover, both Mount Hua and Southern Edge were from the same province, and they even had the same kind of teaching, which focused on swordplay.
‘Haha. The ancestors must have had similar personalities. Maybe they thought that if they settled their clans near one another their descendants would get along.’
Well, that may be what they thought, but the successors came to regard each other as enemies.
As a result, Mount Hua had no choice but to reluctantly get along with the Southern Edge Sect.
At least, until Chung Myung appeared.
As everyone knows, Chung Myung has quite a temper and is more than a little rebellious. The more his Sahyung tried to stop him, the more he wanted to come to Xian.
Were there disputes?
‘I hit them a lot.’
Chung Myung wasn’t such a boor that he would visit the city just to pick fights. At that time, he only focused on eating one more piece of meat and drinking one more glass of alcohol.
He couldn’t enjoy himself and indulge in drinking and dancing within Mount Hua because of his ever-present Sahyung’s watchful eyes keeping him tied down. But, he could avoid his Sahyung’s nagging by hiding in the city.
However, those Southern Edge fools seemed to enjoy fighting rather than drinking and dancing. After being beaten by Chung Myung once or twice, whenever they found out that Chung Myung was in town, they would come rushing after him.
Chung Myung acknowledged the Southern Edge sect’s tenacity as well. Regardless of how many times they were beaten to a pulp, they would always come back, chasing after Chung Myung in greater and greater numbers whenever he showed his face.
Even when Mount Hua was in the midst of collapse, weren’t they still trying to drag Mount Hua down tenaciously?
Chung Myung glanced at his clothes. He couldn’t take off his uniform because he was in a hurry. The plum blossom symbol embroidered on the chest stood out brilliantly.
Should he get a change of clothes?
Chung Myung was a little worried.
He doubted that he would run into those damn bastards in this wide city. It isn’t like they would be searching for him as they did in the past.
“It’s not like anything will happen.”
Once he got to the Eunha Guild, he wouldn’t have to worry about this sort of thing.
“And then I can get my money!”
With a sinister smile, Chung Myung crossed into Xian.
Completely unaware of the storm he was about to create.
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