Chapter 92 - If you lose to those bastards, you lose everything! (2)

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Sama Seung sat across from Mount Hua’s sect leader, Hyun Jong, and carefully observed him.

‘Hyun Jong.’

Hyun Jong was the one who somehow managed to hold together the crumbling fragments of Mount Hua and prevent a total collapse of the sect. The sect leader of the Southern Edge Sect had evaluated Hyun Jong as a man who would have excelled in his position if only the circumstances hadn’t been so disastrous.

‘It’s an over-evaluation.’

Hyun Jong had never once shown excellence befitting his title. Anyone willing to sacrifice themselves for their responsibilities would receive a good evaluation.

‘However, a person’s greatness isn’t judged by their character, but by their achievements.’

Sama Seung turned his head and looked around.

To the left and right of Hyun Jong, there were the martial arts head and the finance heads. The Un disciples, including Un Am and Un Geom, were also seated here.

All of Mount Hua’s major figures gathered to welcome him. This wasn’t the first time he had seen this…

‘Definitely.’

It felt a little different than before.

At the previous conference, everyone he had seen looked tired of their lives and depressed.

But now, it felt like there was no pressure binding them, and a subtle relaxation was felt around them.

‘I don’t like this.’

Sama Seung narrowed his eyes.

It didn’t matter what the source of their confidence was. Whether it was money or martial arts, it would just be groundless bravado. There was no way for Mount Hua to do anything except fall.

Sama Seung was dissatisfied with the confident atmosphere the elders of Mount Hua exuded.

“I’m not sure if you’ll enjoy the tea.”

When Hyun Jong spoke, Sama Seung lightly nodded his head.

“It has a deep fragrance.”

“I am glad you like it.”

Sama Seung smiled.

“It indeed has a deep fragrance, but I don’t enjoy the scent of plum blossoms.”

Hyun Jong’s eyes widened a little. However, he soon regained his composure and spoke in a soft tone.

“Is there a reason?”

“There are many scents in the forest. The scent of soil, trees, and even the dew on the leaves. But when the plum blossoms are in full bloom, their scent is the only one around. It is so thick that it obscures everything around them.”

Just like Mount Hua in the past.

“The world is a place where we exist together to live in harmony. That is why I prefer the subtle scent of green tea over the plum blossom, which breaks down that harmony.”

Sama Seung spoke calmly, but the Un disciples couldn’t hide their flushed faces. This was no different from openly talking back to the sect leader and criticizing the difference in authority.

However, the Hyun elders took Sama Seung’s words differently.

‘Does he mean that back when Mount Hua had dominance, we refused to live harmoniously with others?’

Bringing this subject up at such a moment must mean that the Southern Edge Sect still hasn’t forgotten their past grudges.

This wasn’t something the elder would dare to say in front of any other sect’s elders. However, no one pointed out Sama Seung’s actions.

As Sama Seung said, respect depends on the one who has power. The moment one becomes unable to punish disrespect and rudeness, their authority slips into an illusion.

With only a few words, Sama Seung managed to create the atmosphere he wanted and spoke with a smile.

“Sect leader.”

“Speak.”

“We in the Southern Edge Sect have no intention of continuing this tradition and holding any more conferences after this one.”

Hyun Jong frowned.

“Can I know the reason?”

“Simple.”

Sama Seung smiled and spoke.

“It is because the exchange with Mount Hua doesn’t help the Southern Edge Sect develop in any way. Isn’t the gap between us already too wide to bridge?”

Hyun Jong closed his eyes.

It was such a disgrace to hear this and to see that smug look on his face. Even elders sitting beside him struggled to contain their anger.

‘This bastard…’

Hyun Young’s beard trembled.

This was intentional. How could someone say such a thing in front of their Sect Leader?

Hyun Jong slowly opened his eyes.

“The conference isn’t just a ceremony to help with development. In the first place, this was done to help foster friendship between our two sects and grow closer—”

“Isn’t that just a façade?”

Sama Seung cut off Hyun Jong’s words.

“This…”

Hyun Young was boiling past the point of no return when Hyun Sang pressed his knee down, begging him not to act out of line.

Hyun Young looked at Hyun Sang and then at Hyun Jong as he bit his lower lip.

‘Isn’t he overdoing this?’

Who didn’t know that the two sects were as incompatible as oil and water? Even Mount Hua was keenly aware of that fact.

Mount Hua is a sect that boasts its history and tradition. Although it’s no longer there, Mount Hua’s name proudly stood alongside the Nine Great Sects and had aimed to be the greatest of them all.

Even if it wasn’t Mount Hua, but some lesser sect instead, it was impolite to behave like this to their face. Sama Seung couldn’t be ignorant of what a wicked deed he was committing.

Sama Seung glanced at Hyun Young and smiled.

Despite understanding the deeper meaning behind that smirk, Hyun Young couldn’t do anything but tighten his grip and endure.

Martial arts sects are ruthless.

Those who lack strength have no choice but to endure humiliation from the powerful.

After glancing at each of the people gathered in the room, Sama Seung continued.

“The Southern Edge Sect and Mount Hua have never had a good relationship. To be honest, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that we are closer to being enemies? I’m sure that those in this room likely want to eat me alive and chew me down to the bone.”

“… It’s not that bad.”

“Then, is there anyone here who has good feelings towards me? No, does anyone have any good feelings towards the Southern Edge Sect itself?”

No one answered.

It wasn’t difficult to answer ‘yes,’ but why should they lie? They knew the truth, and so did Sama Seung.

“There is nothing more futile than trying to reconnect a thread which is already severed.”

Sama Seung’s voice was firm.

As if everything had been decided, and this was just a notice.

When an elder speaks with such confidence, it usually means that the decision has already been settled, and they’re simply relaying the message. So, this wasn’t just Sama Seung’s will, but that of the entire Southern Edge Sect.

Furthermore, the Southern Edge Sect was officially saying that they would stand atop Mount Hua and put them under their feet.

A declaration that they would no longer regard Mount Hua as competition in the future.

It was disgraceful.

Completely humiliating.

And when no one dared to speak, Un Am spoke up.

“Isn’t this a bit too sudden?”

“It should have been done already.”

“Elder.”

Seeing that Un Am didn’t back down, Sama Seung glanced at him as if looking down on him.

“Then, do you think Mount Hua has the qualifications to compete with the Southern Edge Sect?”

Un Am went silent. He couldn’t answer that.

With a smile, Sama Seung continued.

“I think the Southern Edge Sect has done everything we could to treat Mount Hua with utmost kindness until now.”

“Utmost kindness? You are acting too much!”

As Un Am raised his voice, Sama Seung laughed.

“What is too much?”

“…”

“The Southern Edge Sect has forgotten the grudges of the past and helped Mount Hua till now. In fact, isn’t it unfair for us to continue like this with Mount Hua? The conference has always been held in Mount Hua, and we’ve even provided a certain degree of wealth whenever we travel here for the event. Yet, despite our kindness, you still choose to blame us?”

This wasn’t right.

Un Am ground his teeth.

The reason why the conference was held in Mount Hua was obvious.

Southern Edge did it to come and ridicule the crumbling Mount Hua and to show off their own martial arts.

The wealth they provided as ‘support’ to Mount Hua was just a pretense of keeping the sect from refusing to hold the conference.

“Sect leader.”

Sama Seung spoke resolutely.

“It might be hard to understand but allow me to simplify it. Once you see the results of this conference, you will be the first to ask that this never happens to Mount Hua again. Think carefully about this if you don’t want to ruin the children.”

Sama Seung got up from his seat. Then left the room without letting his mood be affected by the change of atmosphere.

While everyone else was too shocked and didn’t know what to do, Hyun Jong asked a question.

“Is this path the final one which the Southern Edge Sect has chosen?”

Sama Seung stopped walking and slowly turned his head to look back. Hyun Jong’s expressionless face left Sama Seung unable to discern the intentions behind his question.

“That isn’t up to me to decide.”

With that, the foreign elder opened the door and left the room.

Anguish filled the faces of those who were left behind.

“How can they say such a thing!?”

Hyun Young couldn’t hold back his anger and slammed the table. Cracks appeared on the table.

But no one thought of blaming him.

Un Geom opened his mouth with a heavy feeling.

“Every time the conference is held, they’ve always been aggressive, but this is the first time they’ve acted so viciously.”

“That’s right. This is over the line!”

“How can a mere elder speak like that to the sect leader!?”

“Isn’t the Southern Edge Sect supposed to come and relay this directly?”

No one could hold back their anger and continued adding to each other’s grievances.

Among them, only Hyun Jong quietly shook his head with a sad face.

“… leave it alone.”

“But sect leader!”

“Words are sometimes spoken in vain. Would our words have any meaning now?”

Un Am bowed his head. The others also bowed, their faces shifting between expressions of anguish and fury.

Hyun Jong said.

“I can tolerate any amount of disgrace. Even if they spit in my face, I can smile back at them. That isn’t what I’m worried about right now.”

“… then?”

“I’m worried about the children.”

Ah…”

Un Am’s eyes trembled.

“Looking at how he said it directly, surely, the conference will be extremely daunting this time. I can endure the insults they cast on me, but what should I do if our children are going to suffer too?”

Hyun Jong’s face turned bitter. As a sect leader of a weak sect, the burden he had to endure was too heavy.

“Then, even now….”

Un Am kept his mouth shut.

He wanted to say ‘Then we should stop the conference now!’, but before he could even finish speaking, he realized what situation they were in.

It was a disgrace worse than death for those learning martial arts to give up in fear of an opponent.

Moreover, the children can understand the situation well enough. If they are asked to surrender without a proper match, this will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

“My sins are too great.”

Hyun Jong sighed deeply. Nobody could find any words to comfort him, and so everyone decided to remain silent.

Un Geom, who was quietly listening to the conversation, spoke up at that moment.

“Sect leader. There is no need to think like that.”

Hyun Jong’s eyes turned to Un Geom.

“They want to show a clear gap between Mount Hua and themselves in order to spread the news that we’re no longer worthy of being a prestigious sect within Shaanxi. It would be a decisive blow for our sect, which has already fallen so far from our peak. Isn’t that what they’re aiming for?

“True, but we’ve run out of tricks up our sleeve.”

“We don’t need any tricks. Wouldn’t it be enough as long as we don’t let them win so easily?”

“…”

“Sect leader.”

Seeing Hyun Jong at a loss of words, Un Geom slightly smiled as he spoke.

“Trust the children. Maybe we’ll receive some good news.”

“…”

Un Geom smiled as he received everyone’s gazes filled with suspicion.

‘Now it’s your turn to prove yourself. Chung Myung.’

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