Hwang Mun-Yak opened the door and nodded slightly, looking at Hwang Jongi as he entered.
“Is your body alright now?”
“Hm. It’s hard to believe, but my body feels so light that I could fly away. I feel ten years younger.”
“That is quite… strange.”
“I’m not sure how to put it into words, but I feel as lively as I did in my youth.”
Hwang Jongi looked confused.
The fact that his father, who was sick in bed for a year, had recovered was something to celebrate. However, it was strange that his sickly father’s body had recovered so quickly after lying in bed for so long. Even more bizarre was that it had grown stronger and livelier with no side-effects from the moment he recovered.
“Anyway, I am fine, for now.”
“Stop saying such things.”
Hwang Mun-Yak waved his hand,
“That young man’s ability is so amazing. It’s like I have received his grace.”
Hwang Mun-Yak remembered the first words Chung Myung said to him.
‘It isn’t something I misheard.’
If Divine Taoist was a term used to refer to those who follow the Dao and can do things that normal humans cannot, then there was nothing more fitting to call this child aside from that.
Wasn’t he living proof?
“So, what is it? You probably aren’t here just to check my health, are you?”
“It might not be what you expect, but I am still your filial son. Isn’t it natural for children to take care of their parents’ well-being?”
“Don’t say such childish lines and get to the point. We don’t have much time.”
Hwang Jongi bowed his head.
Although Hwang Mun-Yak had only recently gotten out of bed, he still had a merchant’s insight.
‘Indeed, he is my father.’
Discussing his concerns would resolve his worries.
“Father. No, Guild Master.”
“Do tell me, young master.”
By changing their titles, the conversation would no longer be bound by personal feelings between family members but rather fellow guild members.
“I heard that you have issued an order to cut back on our dealings with the Southern Edge Sect?”
“And haven’t you promised quite a bit of compensation to Mount Hua too?”
“Father, The Southern Edge Sect is still a powerful sect in Shaanxi and Xian. It is dangerous for us to cut back our dealings with them and join hands with Mount Hua, which could collapse at any moment.”
Hwang Mun-Yak nodded his head without answering.
“I understand that it is only natural for the Guild Master to feel grateful to the young Taoist. However, the promised reward is excessive, and it’s dangerous for us to deepen our relationship with a crumbling sect. Please allow the businesses to continue as before.”
Hwang Mun-Yak lifted his teacup and looked into it with deep eyes.
Taking a sip of tea, he closed his eyes as if wanting to slowly savor the aroma wafting from his cup.
How long was it?
Hwang Mun-Yak quietly put the cup down and opened his mouth with a slightly more serious voice than before.
“Yes, Guild Master.”
“What is the duty of a merchant?”
Hwang Jongi thought for a bit and opened his mouth.
“It is a duty of a merchant to run a business that is upright and just, to make trades and contribute to the nation and the world.”
Hwang Mun-Yak nodded his head with a satisfied smile.
“You have such a silver tongue. That sounds fine.”
Hwang Mun-Yak firmly said.
“A merchant’s duty is to make money. Sometimes, it is fine for a merchant to violate the law and even morality in order to pursue wealth, isn’t that right?
Hwang Jongi bowed his head.
“If you want to do the right thing, do it with the money you earned. If you want to help others, you can help them with that money. There is no rule or morality in the act of a merchant making money. There is only efficiency.”
“Then what are we doing?”
With that said, wasn’t Hwang Mun-Yak’s current choice strange? Anyone could see that he was reducing their dealings with the Southern Edge Sect who was climbing to new heights while leveraging aid to Mount Hua, which was collapsing.
It wasn’t strange that if the Southern Edge Sect finds out about this, they will also cut off their relations with the guild.
“Did you forget how I made all this money?”
“I do remember. But…”
Hwang Mun-Yak’s method of making money was simple.
To find the value of items that others ignore and distribute them, or to find and support the most undervalued products.
Whether it is a sect, a union, or a group.
Hwang Mun-Yak had grown Eunha using that methodology, and now it was the best in Shaanxi.
“You mean to say that you’re investing in Mount Hua this time?”
“Guild Master, there has been a clear reason for every investment so far. But, I don’t understand this move with Mount Hua.”
“Haven’t you seen it for yourself?”
“… are you speaking about that child?”
Hwang Jongi bit his lip slightly.
Chung Myung is great. There was no denying it, but only Chung Myung was good. The ability of one person doesn’t lead to greatness for the entire sect, and even more so if it’s a kid.
“With that child, I can foresee that Mount Hua will evolve. Maybe we will see them become stronger than expected. But Guild Master, no matter how much I think about it, I don’t think that one child will be able to grow Mount Hua strong enough to compete with the Southern Edge Sect. Doesn’t this seem a bit meaningless?”
Hwang Mun-Yak smiled brightly.
“Do you think so? I beg to differ.”
“… Guild Master.”
“Young master. Merchants must always look behind the scenes and not at the picture that is shown upfront. Eunha may have once been the most important alliance to the Southern Edge sect, but now we are just one of their aides. How much longer do you think this will last?”
Hwang Jongi looked blankly at Hwang Mun-Yak.
He hadn’t thought of it until now, but looking back, wasn’t Ki Mok-Seung’s attitude too oppressive and overbearing?
Even if the Guild Master was lying sick in bed, how could he dare to act so recklessly if he had any respect for the guild?
“The Southern Edge Sect has no room to grow now. Of course, they will continue to grow, but it will be at a slow pace. Though, that isn’t the case for Mount Hua. Mount Hua will experience explosive growth; if we can maintain a good relationship with them, then the benefits we can reap will be unimaginably large.”
“However, Guild Master, I don’t think there is any guarantee that Mount Hua will make it big.”
Hwang Mun-Yak narrowed his eyes.
Their way of addressing each other changed again.
“You sound like a child. A merchant does not wait for a reason to move. We need to create a reason.”
“We don’t have to wait for Mount Hua to grow. We need to make it grow. If we can succeed, we will be able to leap to become one of the top five Guilds of the land, not just of Shaanxi.”
“That is a difficult task. If we fail, there is no going back.”
“hehe. When the body becomes healthy, the mind becomes younger. So, what if we fail? Then we’ll just have to start over again. You don’t want to waste the wealth we have?”
“It is scary and unfortunate too. But I will be more ashamed if I’m unable to make more money than what we have.”
Hwang Jongi nodded his head.
His father had made up his mind, so any conversation would be meaningless.
“I’m still skeptical. However, if my father thinks so, then I will trust and follow you. I will help Mount Hua grow so that I can clear these doubts I have.”
“It feels good to hear that.”
Hwang Mun-Yak chuckled. Though, Hwang Jongi’s words didn’t end there.
Hwang Jongi frowned and asked.
“Aren’t the wealth and rewards you’ve given the young disciple a bit excessive?”
“There’s a reason.”
Hwang Jongi looked at his father suspiciously.
To which his father answered with a question and a bright smile.
“What do you think about that young disciple?”
“Are you asking about his growth?”
Hwang Jongi pondered over and over and then opened his mouth.
“Considering his heart and determination, he will, of course, have an important position in Mount Hua in the coming future….’
Hwang Jongi spoke carefully.
This wasn’t something that could be said lightly.
“Anyway, he will play a key role.”
“No. He is already playing a key role.”
Hwang Mun-Yak shook his head and continued.
“I have lived my whole life as a merchant. I have met many great merchants and warriors, but he is the only one who has embarrassed and left me in awe like this. Why should we waste our time searching for an Imoogi hoping to rise when there’s a dragon preparing to ascend right in front of us? There is no way we can let him go.”
“Is he that good?”
“You will find out soon. This sort of genius can’t be understood by an ordinary person’s reasoning. Don’t try to understand; just watch. There will come a time when you will end up accepting it naturally.”
Hwang Jongi nodded.
He still couldn’t understand, but since his father said it, he decided to accept it.
But one question remained.
“Then why did you give such excessive rewards?”
“He is normally the disciple of a sect, and he has his own reasons for coming here after learning that someone is sick. Of course, he didn’t come here solely out of sympathy for the sick. But his nature is good; there is no need to doubt that.”
Hwang Mun-Yak spoke with a subtle smile, different from before.
“The wealth and rewards he has received now will become an indelible burden on his heart. Especially as he is young, the burden will be more intense. If his feelings of gratitude become shackles that bind us together, then this is a cheap investment to make.
“… actually, he took five times more than I expected. He was like a viper.”
Hwang Mun-Yak’s face flushed with irritation.
“No, how can someone so young want so much!? Damn it, if I knew that I would be ripped off like this, I’d rather pretend to be sick and send him back! He tore me apart! That young boy, he doesn’t even know to ask in moderation. Just because I asked him what he wanted, I ended up nearly crying my weary heart out….”
“Father, calm down. Someone might overhear.”
Hwang Mun-Yak pushed down his true feelings and sighed a couple times.
“Anyway, if he appreciates and accepts us as close allies who live and die together, we’ll have nothing to lose.
“I understand. A close alliance like friends.”
“Right, of course. He’s a good friend.”
Hwang Mun-Yak and his son smiled at each other.
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