Hwang Jongi couldn’t hold back his disappointment.
‘So, you’re saying that it can’t be helped?’
Hwang Mun-Yak was Eunha Merchant Guild’s prominent leader and Hwang Jongi’s father. With every passing day, Hwang Mun-Yak’s health continued to deteriorate. Until recently, he was at least conscious, but a couple days ago, he ceased even waking up as the severity of his symptoms increased.
An unconscious man couldn’t even eat food to nourish his body.
If this continued, it was clear that his breathing would end within a few days.
In a hurry, Hwang Jongi had invited influential people the world over. Now he had even begun to seek help from prominent Taoists, whom he had a relationship with, but not a single answer had come back yet.
Today, he had a glimmer of hope when a figure of the Sichuan Tang family, who boasts about their knowledge in poisons, came to him. However, what happened had left Hwang Jongi wallowing in disappointment.
“It is difficult.”
Unsurprisingly, Hwang Jongi sighed at the negative comment he heard.
“Are you saying that even the sect known as the ‘master of poisons’ is unable to help my father?”
“It is true that we pride ourselves as the foremost experts on poison in this world. We can assist in matters related to any poison.”
“But, your father’s malady isn’t caused by poison.”
Hwang Jongi narrowed his eyes at this statement.
“Even after seeing these symptoms, you’re saying that?”
Tang Myung, the elder of the Tang Sect, shook his head.
“Although the symptoms are similar, this hasn’t been done by poison. There seems to be a fundamentally different cause.”
Hwang Jongi’s complexion darkened to the point where it couldn’t get much darker.
Even though he invited the best and most influential people in their fields and wielded his financial power to promise the greatest compensation he could, he still couldn’t find someone to cure his father’s illness.
“Are you certain that this isn’t simply his age catching up to him?”
“These symptoms aren’t natural.”
“Then, then what the hell is going on?”
Tang Myung slightly lowered his gaze, visibly troubled.
Seeing that, Hwang Jongi sighed.
“I am sorry. I know that you did your best, I am just a little frustrated.”
“I am sorry for being unable to help.”
“Not at all. Forgive me for not seeing you off.”
Tang Myung got up and left outside with a bitter expression.
“What am I supposed to do?”
Hwang Jongi held his head as he mumbled.
His father’s illness was getting worse day by day. How could he stop this? Despite having so much money, was he unable to do anything for his father?
‘What sin did my father commit for this to happen?’
Hwang Mun-Yak had devoted his life to helping the poor. He knew that Heaven’s will is not necessarily executed in retribution, but wasn’t this too harsh?
To die after suffering from an unknown disease for over a year…
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.
“May I come in?”
“Ah… yes. Elder.”
The door opened, and a man came in. It was a white-haired man in an impressive white uniform.
“I just saw Elder Tang Myung leave.”
“Young master, I am embarrassed to keep saying the same thing, but now is the time to admit it. The only way to save Elder Hwang is through Taoist Ritual.”
Hwang Jongi’s face grew bleak upon hearing what was said.
“I understand what the elder is saying, but I don’t want to rely on it just yet.”
“Young master. Didn’t I tell you? The elderly’s symptoms are because he went against the flow. He collected too much negative qi and twisted his foundation. If you can make the decision to let us handle it, there might be a chance.”
Hwang Jongi turned his head and looked at the man.
The man nonchalantly continued as if the gaze piercing him wasn’t burdensome at all.
“It isn’t common for the sect leader of the Great Southern Edge Sect to personally offer help. This privilege is only being extended to you because he is Elder Hwang of the Eunha Merchant’s Guild. Time is running out. Please, don’t do anything you will regret.”
“… I wish to wait longer.”
The man clicked his tongue. It was as if he considered Hwang Jongi’s actions to be pathetic.
Hwang Jongi bit his lower lip.
The reason he ignored this man’s rude remarks was simple. This man here was the Southern Edge Sects’ Elder, Ki Mok-Seung.
The Southern Edge Sect has been famous as one of the Ten Great Sects for a long time, and in recent years, their name has soared to even greater heights throughout the world. He wasn’t sure about this generation, but Hwang Jongi was sure that this sect would occupy the highest peak at the top of the world within the next few generations.
Besides, Xian is a place that has been under the influence of the Southern Edge Sect since ancient times. With the elder of such a sect offering to help them, Hwang Jongi couldn’t afford to sever their ties and had no choice but to refuse politely.
‘They will probably ask for a fortune in return.’
Giving money wasn’t the issue.
If they could really save his father, he was willing to give up all his possessions. However, if they had the confidence to save his father, they wouldn’t have asked for the payment in advance but would ask for it later after truly saving him.
Having lived his life with his father as a merchant, Hwang Jongi knew what the other party would aim for in this situation.
“We haven’t yet received replies for the letters I sent out. I will make a decision after receiving the responses.”
“This is really frustrating. How could they cure this disease when all those doctors and healers you’ve already invited failed? Did you not hear a word the Tang sect elder said?”
Hwang Jongi’s eyes twitched.
This man spoke as if he had heard the conversation between Hwang Jongi and Tang Myung. He might not have realized, but didn’t this man just admit to eavesdropping on them?
Hwang Jongi sighed deeply.
Unfortunately, he lacked the confidence and strength to the point that out now. If Hwang Mun-Yak’s condition deteriorates further, his role in the Eunha Merchants will shrink. Then, it would be necessary to maintain a relationship with the Southern Edge sect, which holds great influence within the city.
Even if that meant that he would have to use a lot of money.
“I ask for a little more time. It isn’t that I lack faith in the Southern Edge Sect. It’s because, as a son, I hope to do something more for my father.”
“There isn’t much time left. If he dies, you shouldn’t forget that it was the result of the young master’s vain obsession.”
Hwang Jongi clenched his fist.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
It was then.
An urgent voice came from outside.
“What’s going on?”
“Mount Hua! A man has come from Mount Hua.”
“Yes! From Mount Hua!”
Hwang Jongi’s eyes trembled.
He did send a letter to Mount Hua. However, since there wasn’t much to expect from a sect on the verge of ruin, he sent the letter rather late.
Judging by the time, the letter must have only reached them one or two days ago. Yet, they already sent someone here?
Did they know something about Hwang Mun-Yak’s symptoms and decided to send a person rather than a letter?
Hwang Jongi, who saw a ray of hope, was about to get up from his seat when he heard a cold voice.
Ki Mok-Seung’s eyes opened wide. His expression hardened by the word Mount Hua and then let loose a harsh voice.
“They’re merely a ruined mess, what can they even do! How dare they come here!”
Hwang Jongi bit his lip.
He knew that Ki Mok-Seung was speaking with his sect in mind, but Hwang Jongi had the impression that this man was speaking as if the Southern Edge Sect was already in control of the Eunha Merchants.
“Young master. There’s no need to meet such people. What does Mount Hua know that would allow them to cure this?”
Hwang Jongi’s face hardened.
“Even so, they traveled here after receiving my call for help. Do you think that I would send them away without even properly greeting them?”
“You need to listen to me—”
Hwang Jongi cut him off.
“This is the Eunha Merchants Guild. Don’t forget that this isn’t the Southern Edge Sect.”
Ki Mok-Seung tried to hide his discomfort, but Hwang Jongi ignored it and got up. He hurriedly opened the door and went outside.
‘We never know.’
No one in the world could even name the disease; even famous sects had given up on helping them. Then, maybe, just maybe, the answer would come from an unexpected place.
Hwang Jongi came out and looked around.
“Where are the guests from Mount Hua?”
Hwang Jongi’s subordinate deeply bowed while responding.
“At the entrance.”
“Are you saying that you left visitors who traveled from afar at the gate? What sort of disrespect is that! No matter how horrible the situation within is, such rudeness is unacceptable!”
Hwang Jongi yelled with a fierce bellow; the subordinate didn’t ask for forgiveness and simply looked at the gate.
“I was going to ask him to come… but I couldn’t understand that situation at all….”
“Move. I will go there myself.”
“Young master. But…”
Hwang Jongi’s face hardened as he moved. He didn’t like his subordinate’s awkward attitude.
‘Since when did the Eunha Merchants Guild divide their guests according to status?’
If his father was conscious, he would have scolded everyone involved.
Those who do business should treat everyone equally. Elder Hwang’s theory was that those who divided customers by their names and status weren’t qualified to do business.
People might say that the might of Mount Hua had weakened, but it was rude to ask them to wait at the gate when they came to help!
‘Um! I need to set things straight!’
Hwang Jongi resolutely moved to the entrance.
Soon, a small child, leaning with his weight on one leg, came into his sight at the entrance.
‘Well, it is Mount Hua.’
The pure white robe and the plum blossom pattern on the chest. This kid was undoubtedly a disciple from Mount Hua.
Hwang Jongi looked at Chung Myung and spoke.
“We have been rude.”
The young man raised his head slightly.
“No, well, you were.”
“I am Hwang Jongi of the Eunha Merchants Guild. It was my negligence for not properly educating my subordinates, so please hold me responsible.”
“It’s fine. I didn’t come here hoping to be treated well.”
Wasn’t this answer a bit too old-like?
Hwang Jongi continued, maintaining his expression.
“Thank you for understanding. But what about the others in your party?”
“I came alone.”
“Ah, I see. The party… sorry?”
Hwang Jongi shook his head.
“What are you saying?”
“I said that I came alone.”
The young man shrugged his shoulders, smiled mischievously, and spoke.
“I have a way to cure Elder Hwang, so please guide me in. Oh, and I’d like to check out the huge reward that you mentioned. Is that fine?”
Hwang Jongi’s eyes trembled.
Who the hell was this little bastard?
This was the first meeting between Hwang Jongi of the Eunha Merchant Guild and Chung Myung.
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