Episode 1

Crazy Artist In Murim (DemonicGodJAMN)
8 months ago
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“Deep into night in a sleeping province, under the silver gleam of the full moon

By an unknown martial artist I was saved

Under the midsummer moonlight, I am reborn. Given life by the True One

By colors I gain strength, by the moon is my revenge fruitful

Each line of paint, a mark on the canvas of my life

Each life taken, a mark on the Murim

Sought by fiends of the southern mountains

Chased by saints of the eastern provinces

Rebuked by the west, relations torn by revenge

I am

The Crazy Artist“

By: DemonicGodJAMN

Prologue: First Mark Upon an Empty Canvas

Our world is colorful, despite how bleak you and I might see it to be.

Each blade of grass, leaf on a tree, plant stalk, and bush petal bristle across hundreds of shades of green. The sky and each river, lake, and ocean flow through various hues of blue. Fire and magma burn across numerous shades of red.

Regardless of how bleak we may see the world or how dark a specific place might seem, these colors are always there, giving life and meaning to even the most inanimate objects.

Yet one ‘place’ I know of, that very few people choose to enter and even fewer get out alive, disregards the importance of these colors and is truly ‘bleak.’

And that ‘place’… Is Jianghu.

The Jianghu is not a ‘place’ as you might think it to be, it has no borders and is only defined by its inhabitants, who are known as martial artists. Like all things the Jianghu was once very colorful; however, its inhabitants drained those beautiful colors and turned the land cruel and bleak.

These power-hungry martial artists who drain the color from the land with every step they take, spread themselves far and wide, creating martial sects to pass down their teachings to the next generations. Allowing them to live how they wanted without other martial artists interfering with them.

However, their hypocrisy was so overbearing that they divided themselves by their intentions, Orthodox being for those whose intentions were to help the world and its people, and Unorthodox for those who choose to live as they please, reaping death and destruction wherever they want.

Yet regardless of the faction, the path of a martial artist becomes drenched black with blood with every step they take. Their martial arts may embody the colors of the world, but the destructive use of the colors is completely opposed to their very purpose.

So how did a young boy who goes by the name of Chang-Woo, who brings forth the purpose of the colors, end up within the Jianghu that is truly bleak? Well, that story starts many, many years ago under the silver light of a full moon.

In the outskirts of Henan province, a young couple were running up and down the city streets and alleys.

“Quickly! Don’t let them escape!”

The two were exhausted with shallow breaths. Their clothes were ragged and their skin was dyed red with the blood leaking from their scrapes and bruises. Amounting to the suffering they had been put through.

“Where did they go!?”

Resting in the arms of the young woman was a sleeping child, wrapped in a brown cloth leaving only its head to be seen.

“They went this way!”

The young man placed his hand over the young woman’s shoulder, guiding her down another alley to escape their pursuers.

“Su-Jin, this way.”

A dim light flashed down the alley the two had just been running down, and soon after the voices of their pursuers grew.

“There’s a trail of blood! Follow it, they’re nearby!”

The two continued to run down the new alley leading to the main street. Occasionally stumbling over a loose stone brick peeking out from the tile alley road.

“We’re almost out of the city dear, we just need to get past the main road.”

The two paused at the end of the alley and peered down the main road as the voices chasing them grew louder. Only to swallow in dismay at the dozens of guards patrolling the main road.

“Damn! The whole city is searching for us. We need to move now or else we’ll be caught.”

The young man took a step out onto the main road, only to be pulled back by Su-Jin.

“Sung-Hoon, please. Let’s just give ourselves up…”

The man stared into the young woman’s eyes in disbelief.

“Su-Jin, what are you talking about?! We have to escape so our son can live a good life; not be tortured as a servant to the lord!”

The woman shifted her eyes from the young man to the infant resting in her arms and ran her finger along his face.

“I know! But we can’t escape the city… The more we resist the harsher the punishment will be…”

The young man grabbed Su-Jin’s shoulders and stared deep into her eyes.

“That’s exactly why we have to keep moving! We’ve already pissed off the lord enough, if we give up now, we’ll all be killed for sure.”

Su-Jin and Sung-Hoon stared into each other’s eyes, only interrupted by a guard appearing at the other end of the alley.

“I’ve found them! Everyone this way!”

Without hesitation, Sung-Hoon grabbed Su-Jin’s hand and began to flee from the alley, only to be stopped dead in his tracks once more by his unwavering wife.

“Su-Jin! We need to move!”

A single tear began to slide down Su-Jin’s face as she stared into Sung-Hoon’s eyes, and the corners of her lips quivered as she stammered.

“I can’t…”

The guard at the other end of the alley yelled as he unsheathed his sword and began approaching the two.

“You two! Quit resisting and surrender peacefully!”

A faint smile crept over Su-Jin’s face as she extended her arms toward Sung-Hoon, holding their sleeping child out for the man to take.

“Take Chang-Woo dear, I can’t continue anymore…”

Sung-Hoon closed his eyes.

He knew that if none of them escaped the lord, everything they had done for their son would be in vain.

Sung-Hoon wiped the tears out of his eyes and softly took his sleeping son out of Su-Jin’s arms. Whispering in his wife’s ear before running out of the alley and stopping in the middle of the main street.



An arrow flew past Sung-Hoon’s head, only missing his right ear by a few millimeters, and landing promptly on the door of a shop in front of him.

“One of them is trying to escape! You three chase after him while I restrain the other one.”

The three heavily armored guards behind the man immediately dashed after Sung-Hoon, leaving only one option of escape from the guards chasing him from both directions, the Inner District.

The Inner District had been the place where Sung-Hoon grew up, as it was a place where those with a moderate sense of wealth and business skills had gathered within Henan Province.

Sung-Hoon tucked the sleeping Chang-Woo into his arms and ran toward the Inner District, moving his arms as little as possible to keep his sleeping son asleep.

“He’s going to the Inner District! Notify the other guards!” A guard behind Sung-Hoon yelled as the clatter of armor echoed across the nearby buildings.

Only a moment later, the sound of a firework exploding behind Sung-Hoon rang out throughout Henan Province. Causing the sleeping Chang-Woo in Sung-Hoon’s arms to wake.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaah!” Chang-Woo cried out as Sung-Hoon continued to run while cursing under his ragged breath.

However, as Sung-Hoon continued to run while trying to soothe Chang-Woo back to sleep, the sound of clattering armor, which was louder than Chang-Woo’s cries, began to fade until it ceased to exist.

‘Are they not chasing me anymore?’

Sung-Hoon slowed down and looked back at the guards.

“Who is that?” He questioned, staring at the back of a pale-faced man dressed in black and red robes with long black hair.

The man held a grey and white spear with hundreds of metal fold marks and a glowing yellow hue in his right arm, relentlessly pointing it at the guards giving chase to Sung-Hoon.

A thought coursed through Sung-Hoon’s mind.

‘This is my chance to escape!’

Sung-Hoon turned back toward the Inner District and began running once more, despite a sudden agonizing scream blurting from behind him.

An hour later, after arriving in the Inner District.

The sounds of armor clattering toward the Inner District wall could be heard, as four more fireworks had been set off while Sung-Hoon made his escape.

‘Who was that man…?’ Sung-Hoon thought, hiding in an alley near the home he once grew up in.

However, Sung-Hoon put that thought aside for later, as it mattered little at the moment. For now, he had to find a safe place that could take care of Chang-Woo.

Sung-Hoon sat down on a wooden crate within the alley.

He didn’t want to continue to run away from the guards because of his pride, but he knew if he didn’t get Chang-Woo somewhere safe he would end up being captured alongside him.

“It was stupid of us to even try and escape in the first place…” Sung-Hoon uttered to himself as he stared up into the starry night sky, recalling the time in his life when he lived in the Inner District.

However, Sung-Hoon quickly snapped back to reality as he remembered the inn he used to visit every day as a kid.

‘Jung-Su and his wife haven’t been able to have a kid yet, they might be able to take Chang-Woo in as their own!’

Sung-Hoon adjusted his grip on Chang-Woo and took a deep breath. Only to run out of the alley and back toward the inn he used to love as a child, the Gentle Leaf Inn.

A few moments later, outside the Gentle Leaf Inn.

Thud! Thud! Thud!

“Jung-Su! It’s me, Sung-Hoon! Please open the door!”

Sung-Hoon continued to knock on the restaurant door.

Thud! Thud!

Until a man, dressed in plain blue nightwear, opened the restaurant door and stepped out to see who had disturbed his sleep.

“Yah! I told you for the last time, we’re not open after midnight, so go awa-”

Sung-Hoon’s third knock on the door had landed squarely on Jung-Su’s nose.


“Arghhh! What was that for you bastard?!”

“Jung-Su! I’m sorry, I wasn’t expecting you to walk out like that.”

“Sung-Hoon? Why are you here? I thought you were working in the lord’s palace because of your crimes.”

Sung-Hoon shifted Chang-Woo to one arm and extended it to Jung-Su.

“Now isn’t the time for that, will you let me inside so I can explain?”

Jung-Su slowly stood up off the restaurant floor and dusted off his clothes. Replying, “Sure,” as he led Sung-Hoon into the dark restaurant.

“Alright, we’re inside. Now tell me what’s going on.” Jung-Su asked as he sat down at a table.

“Su-Jin and I broke out of the lord’s palace after he discovered that we had a child, she gave herself up so I could escape with our child…”

“Wait, you two had a kid?!”

“Yes, and that’s what I wanted to talk to you about…”


Sung-Hoon paused and wiped the tears out of his eyes.

“I want you to raise mine and Su-Jin’s child…”

Jung-Su stared into Sung-Hoon’s eyes, completely flabbergasted at his request.


“I intend on returning to the lord and asking him to take my life to spare Su-Jin’s, so that way Chang-Woo will still have the chance to meet his mother.”

Sigh… You do realize how stupid that is? Even if the lord accepted your request, there would be no way she’d be able to leave the lord’s palace ever again.”

“But will you do it?”

“Yeah, yeah. I, Ryon Jung-Su, will care for your kid while you get yourself killed.”

Ryon Jung-Su extended his arms toward Sung-Hoon.

“Thank you, Jung-Su.” Sung-Hoon replied as he handed the sleeping Chang-Woo over to Jung-Su. “Now, I should get going. Goodbye Jung-Su, goodbye Chang-Woo…”

Sung-Hoon took one last look at his sleeping child’s face before getting up from the table and walking out of the restaurant with a solemn grimace as tears flowed down his face.

Chapter 1: Ryon Chang-Woo

Seven years would pass after that fateful night.

At first, Jung-Su thought he would hate raising Sung-Hoon’s son, as he and his wife, Ryon Mi-Kyung, hadn’t raised a child before.

However, as the years passed Jung-Su and Mi-Kyung began to love Chang-Woo as if he were their own son.

Jung-Su would often allow Chang-Woo to play in the restaurant after he had reached four years of age, as the customers often enjoyed the lighthearted mood the child seemed to bring to the restaurant.

Yet when the child turned seven years of age, he caused the biggest shock of Jung-Su’s life.

“I want to cook too, Dad!”

Jung-Su was at a loss, he had never expected Chang-Woo to want to cook.

“Why do you want to cook, Son?”

“You’re always cooking for me and Mama, I want to help you.”

Jung-Su set his knife down and knelt to Chang-Woo.

“That’s very kind of you, Chang-Woo, but I should warn you. Cooking isn’t easy in any way, are you sure you want to do this?”

Without a moment of hesitation, Chang-Woo blurted out.


Jung-Su stood up.

“Good, I will begin teaching you tomorrow morning. But today you will help me with serving the food to customers.”

Chang-Woo tightly hugged Jung-Su’s leg and spoke.

“Thank you, Dad!”

Jung-Su set his knife down once more and lightly patted the top of Chang-Woo’s head.

“You’re welcome, Son. Now, roll up your sleeves and bring that bowl on the counter over to the Mister at the table near the door.”

“Yes sir,” Chang-Woo replied, rolling up his sleeves and walking over to the counter where the steaming bowl of noodles lay.

‘The perks of being a father are so nice…’ Jung-Su thought, as he slid the sliced chunks of chicken into a metal wok resting over a wood-lit fire.

Three more years would pass after that day, in which Jung-Su spent only a year teaching Chang-Woo everything he knew about cooking.

Because Chang-Woo had devoted himself entirely to cooking, he only needed one year to master everything Jung-Su had taught him.

He had gotten so good at cooking in the three years that passed, that he had even taken over the kitchen for Jung-Su, who was getting old.

However, one day after a hard day of cooking for customers, for no explainable reason Chang-Woo’s passion for cooking vanished and was replaced by something abnormal for a child his age.

“Father, when I go to the market tomorrow to collect our produce for the day, can I buy a scroll and some brushes for myself?”

“A scroll and brushes? Why do you want those?” Jung-Su asked as he counted how much money they had made that day.

Chang-Woo placed a freshly scrubbed pot onto a shelf and turned to face Jung-Su.

“I want to draw.”

Jung-Su stopped counting the Nyangs and stared at Chang-Woo.

“You want… to draw?”

“Yes.” Chang-Woo replied, grabbing a dirty wok and beginning to clean it.

Jung-Su was perplexed, he knew his son would occasionally try to learn things because they were interesting or fun. But a boy of his age learning art? He couldn’t believe it.

“Why do you want to draw, Son?”

“It seems fun.”

“You do realize none of the other boys your age like to draw right?”

“I want to do it, Dad.”

“Son, if I let you get a scroll and some brushes, will you continue to cook in the kitchen?”

“Of course Dad.”

“What will you do with the drawings you make? If you’re just going to waste them then I’m not going to buy them for you.”

Chang-Woo went silent for a moment while scrubbing a wok, only to place it on the counter and turn toward Jung-Su.

“If I get good enough, we could sell them or hang them in the shop.”

Jung-Su smiled. In the two years his son had been running the kitchen in his place he had become very greedy for money.

“I like that idea, you can buy as many scrolls and brushes as you think you’ll need Chang-Woo.”

Chang-Woo smiled.

“Thank you, Dad!” He exclaimed, giving Jung-Su a strong hug.

“Yah, you’re squeezing me too tight Chang-Woo!”

Inadvertently, cooking had made Chang-Woo quite strong for his age.

“Ah, sorry.” Chang-Woo replied, letting go of his father.

“It’s fine, though it is getting late. So go ahead and get some sleep, I’ll finish cleaning up for you.”

“Really! Thank you, Dad.” Chang-Woo replied, practically running to the stairs leading to his room.

The next morning at dawn, the doors to the Spicy Leaf Noodle Shop flung open with an unusual sense of urgency.

‘I get to buy my scroll and brushes today!’ A gleeful Chang-Woo thought as he tossed the pouch of coins in the air and caught it.

Despite how sudden his request to buy art materials was to his father, Chang-Woo had wanted to try his hand at art for over a year.

However, at the time he was originally going to ask for the art supplies, his father had entered a greedy phase and refused to spend any money that wasn’t necessary.

Chang-Woo practically skipped his way to the market with a gleeful smile across his face, only stopping to wave at the other shop owners who were opening their doors for the day.

It would be another ten minutes before Chang-Woo arrived at the market where he usually bought the restaurant’s produce.

“Morning Chang-Woo!” One of the shop owners called out as Chang-Woo walked toward his stall.

“Morning Hae-Seong! How’s the grain today?”

“Just as good as yesterday’s batch! Do you want your usual amount today?” Hae-Seong asked, reaching for a barrel in the back of the stall.

“Yes please!”

Hae-Seong lifted the barrel over the stall’s counter for Chang-Woo to grab.

“There you go kiddo, same cost as usual.”

“Thank you.” Chang-Woo replied, setting down the barrel and sliding two silver Nyangs onto the stall counter.

“You’re welcome kiddo, I’ll see you tomorrow.” Hae-Seong said as he grabbed the two silver Nyangs off the counter.

However, just before Chang-Woo walked away from the stall with the barrel of rice in his arms, he stopped and looked back at the stall owner.

“Hae-Seong, would you happen to know a good store to buy art supplies?”

“Art supplies? Hmmm, you might want to try Miss Ji-Woo’s shop, she probably has some old art materials you could buy from her for a good price.”

“Ah, thank you Hae-Seong. I’ll see you tomorrow then!” Chang-Woo replied before turning back to the main road to continue his shopping.

‘Learning to cook at age seven and wanting to draw at age ten… Such an interesting boy he is.’ Hae-Seong thought as he watched Chang-Woo walk his usual route with the barrel of rice in his arms.

Thirty minutes would pass as Chang-Woo strolled from stall to stall buying the ingredients for the restaurant.

In that time Chang-Woo had visited all of the stalls he usually visited, buying the vegetables and meats needed for the customers’ meals.

The only thing he didn’t buy was chicken, as he had learned the hard way that having raw chicken near other foods would cause the other foods to rot.

However, as he made his way to Yun Ji-Woo’s shop, he met a weird man in black and red robes with a grey and white spear brandishing hundreds of metal folds along the staff and spear tip.

“Hello Mister, is there a problem?” Chang-Woo asked, as the man had refused to let Chang-Woo past him for several minutes, despite his numerous attempts to evade him.

“What is your name, young man?” The man asked softly, shifting his gaze from the boy in front of him to the barrel of rice with steak and pork bones stacked on top of it.

“Ryon Chang-Woo, now can you please move Mister? I have to be home soon otherwise this food will go bad.”

The man paused at the name Chang-Woo, almost as if he had heard the child’s name before.

“Ah, I’m sorry for causing you trouble, Ryon Chang-Woo.” The man replied, stepping aside so Chang-Woo could finally pass.

“Thank you Mister.” Chang-Woo replied as he hurried past the man to visit Yun Ji-Woo’s shop.

However, the man dressed in black and red robes began to walk alongside Chang-Woo.

“That barrel must be heavy Ryon Chang-Woo, how does someone so young carry that much weight?” The man asked, staring down at the barrel carried by Chang-Woo once more.

“I’ve carried this barrel a lot of times, it’s not heavy for me anymore.” Chang-Woo replied, stopping outside Yun Ji-Woo’s extravagant shop.

Chang-Woo set the barrel down on the ground and stared into the weird man’s eyes.

“Mister, can you watch this barrel for me while I go into the store?” Chang-Woo asked while keeping a hand on the barrel.

“Yeah, it’ll cost you a few silver Nyangs though.” The man replied, placing his hand on the barrel.

“Thank you,” Chang-Woo replied, removing his hand from the barrel and walking into the store.

As Chang-Woo took his first steps into the store, the sound of a young woman’s voice entered his ears as the smell of fragrant perfumes filled the room.

“Welcome customer~, What can I do for you today?~”

The voice came from behind a velvet red veil that covered a corner of the shop, revealing only the silhouette of a woman lying on a bed with a weird pipe in her hand.

However Chang-Woo, who was only ten years of age, was confused as to where the voice came from.

“Miss Ji-Woo? Are you here?”

“Oh my~, such a young voice calling for me directly. You must be very rich, young man.”

What Chang-Woo didn’t know was that Yun Ji–Woo was known for her eccentric personality that bled into her business style.

“Miss Ji-Woo, is that you behind the curtain? I want to buy from your shop.”

Chang-Woo walked up to the velvet veil and looked around the shop.

However, from the other side of the veil, Yun Ji-Woo was confused.

‘A young voice, a small body, and only wanting to buy from my shop… Has a child entered my shop?!’

Yun Ji-Woo shifted her gaze to a servant at her bedside, signaling her to open the veil.

However, the moment the veil was pulled back, Yun Ji-Woo’s head flopped to the ground.

‘I flirted with a mere child!….’

Chapter 2: Brush of the Crazy

‘Why did her head fall over like that?’

Chang-Woo had been excited to see the velvet veil pulled back, as normally he never got to see such extravagant things. However, the reaction of both Yun Ji-Woo and her servants severely confused him.

“Would you be Miss Ji-Woo?”

Instead of Yun Ji-Woo replying, one of her servants spoke.

“Y-yes, this is Yun Ji-Woo, what is it you would like to purchase?”

“Ah, I want to buy a few art scrolls and brushes please.”

Hearing this, Yun Ji-Woo lifted her head off the bed and stared at Chang-Woo.

“Art scrolls and…. Brushes?”

“Yes, and some colored inks to use with it.”

‘A young boy comes wandering into a shop known to run a brothel in its back room, only to buy art materials? Who would believe a story like that?’

Yun Ji-Woo looked toward the servant on her right, signaling her to fetch the items the young boy wanted.

The servant quickly bowed to Yun Ji-Woo and walked down the steps connecting the shop to the platform the veil would cover.

“Are there any specific brushes or scrolls you would like to buy?” The servant asked, bending over to look Chang-Woo in the eyes.

Chang-Woo stared blankly into the woman’s eyes for a moment.

“Can I see your selection of full-size brushes?”

“A full-size brush? Give me one moment.”

As the servant entered the back room to search for the full-size brushes, Yun Ji-Woo stared blankly at Ryon Chang-Woo from her bed.

‘I’m glad he didn’t notice I was flirting with him when he entered the store… If he told anyone about my actions it would destroy my reputation.’

At that moment, Chang-Woo turned to face Yun Ji-Woo and spoke.

“Miss Ji-Woo was flirting with me, correct?”

Yun Ji-Woo became motionless, only leaving her pale gaze upon Chang-Woo.

“My my~ What makes you think that?” She replied a moment later.

“Miss Ji-Woo, I’m the cook for the Gentle Leaf Inn… I can tell when someone is flirting or not.”

“Y-you’re the cook at the Gentle Leaf Inn? How bold of you to claim that position.” Yun Ji-Woo replied, covering her face with her fan to hide her nervousness.

Chang-Woo took a few steps toward the platform on which Yun Ji-Woo’s bed rested.

“Miss Ji-Woo is nervous, maybe I should tell people about what Miss Ji-Woo said to me a little bit ago.”

Over the two years Chang-Woo had been buying ingredients for the restaurants on his own, several people had tried to scam him out of his family’s money. The personality he was showing now was the side effect of dealing with those scammers.

Usually, he would keep this side hidden away, because even he didn’t like to use it. But such a golden opportunity to get what he wanted didn’t come often.

“No, if you did that my reputation would be ruined!” Yun Ji-Woo exclaimed, standing up from her bed and hiding her face entirely with her fan.

Chang-Woo stopped at the bottom of the stairs and

“If Miss Ji-Woo would be willing to… Remove some of the cost on my order, I think I could keep her words here a secret.”

However, just as Yun Ji-Woo was about to respond, a voice came from the open door of the back room.

“Young Chang-Woo~ I’ve brought the brushes you requested.”

“Ah, thank you.” Chang-Woo replied, walking over to the servant and looking at the bundle of brushes she held.

Each brush had an extravagant handle with fine white goat hair tips, yet despite all of the high-quality brushes, Chang-Woo’s face only frowned the longer he looked.

“Are the brushes not to your liking?”

“No, they’re too fancy.” Chang-Woo replied, still staring at the brushes in the servant’s hands.

“There are more brushes in the back room, please look through these some more while I go fetch them.” The servant replied, setting the brushes down on a counter and bowing before walking toward the back room.

However, as the servant took her first step into the back room, Chang-Woo’s voice entered her ears from across the room.

“Wait, that one.”

The servant turned to see which brush Chang-Woo was referring to, yet what she saw Chang-Woo’s gaze upon confused her to her very being.

Chang-Woo’s gaze had been locked upon a beaming red brush with a pure white tip of fine animal hairs resting on a mantle beneath a painting.

Yun Ji-Woo stood up off her bed and walked up to Chang-Woo, her face showing the same blatant confusion as the servant.

“You want… That ornamental brush?”

“Yes, not too fancy and of good quality. That’s the type of brush my father is allowing me to get.”

“That brush belonged to the artist of that painting.” Yun Ji-Woo replied, pointing to the painting hanging on the wall behind the brush.

The painting was that of an ocean resting beneath a setting full moon. But the view of the painting was akin to looking at the sea from atop a mountain, with flocks of birds crossing the sky above the sea and humanoid figures upon the sand.

However, there was no sign of a mountain anywhere within the painting.

“That mister was very creative.” Chang-Woo replied, keeping his gaze on the brush rather than the mysterious painting.

Yun Ji-Woo let out a heavy sigh, as she was appalled by the child’s lack of interest in the mysterious painting, despite his obvious longing to practice art.

A moment later, Yun Ji-Woo would clear her throat and speak.

“Well, as the paintbrush is a very valuable part of the painting, I don’t think I can sell you just one or the other.”

Hearing this, Chang-Woo turned to the servant standing behind Yun Ji-Woo and spoke.

“Could I speak with Miss Ji-Woo in private?”

The servant looked to Yun Ji-Woo before bowing and leaving the room.

Yun Ji-Woo then turned to face Chang-Woo as her eyes dulled, as if knowing what Chang-Woo would say next.

“How much for everything I asked for, Miss Ji-Woo?”

“Tch, I could give you the scrolls and ink for free, but I can only give you five percent off for the brush and painting. I’d be losing too much money if I went any lower.”

“If Miss Ji-Woo gives me five percent off and has a servant help me bring my items home, I’m sure I’ll forget about her words spoken today.”

“That’s fine.” Yun Ji-Woo replied, turning toward the room where her servants had entered and calmly saying, “Min-Hee, you may come back in now.”

“Oh, you’re back.” The man in black and red robes said as Chang-Woo stepped out from Yun Ji-Woo’s shop.

His arms were stuffed with several blank art scrolls, ink palates, and the giant painting made by the mysterious owner of the red brush.

“Thank you for watching my stuff, Mister.” Chang-Woo replied, handing his art supplies to the servant who had followed him out of the shop.

“No problem, though, do you still have enough money to pay me?” The man asked, looking at the upper body of the servant, which was hidden behind Chang-Woo’s items.

Chang-Woo reached into his robes and pulled out three silver Nyangs and tossed them to the man.

“There you are Mister, can you leave now though? I have to get back to the restaurant fast, or my dad will yell at me.” Chang-Woo said, picking up the barrel of supplies as he did so.

The man in black and red robes stepped aside, allowing Chang-Woo and the servant to pass with a sly grin on his face.

A few moments passed as the man stood still, watching Chang-Woo lead the servant to the Spicy Leaf Noodle Shop, with only one thought in his mind.

‘Do I take my payment now? Or should I wait until it cripples him?~ Decisions, decisions.’

The man, however, leaped onto the building next to him with a wicked gleam in his eyes.

“This won’t be the last you’ve seen of me, son of Nang Sung-Hoon.”

Another five years would pass within the Spicy Leaf Noodle Shop.

On a hot day in the middle of summer, business had been proceeding as usual. However, there was an apparent change in the restaurant in that time.


“Chang-Woo! Another order of noodles with a side of spring rolls.” A servant yelled from the dining area as he sat a customer at a table.

During the five years, the Gentle Leaf Inn had grown quite large. So large in fact, that they had begun constructing a second restaurant two years previously.

A fifteen-year-old Chang-Woo yelled back from the kitchen, tossing a wok filled with noodles with his left arm as he did so.

“On it!”

However, the biggest change wasn’t within the restaurant’s size or profits. It was within the kitchen itself, as only one-half of the kitchen was neatly stacked with all sorts of cooking utensils.

Yet it was the second half of the kitchen that brought the most shock, as its walls were lined with dozens of paintings drawn by Chang-Woo. Some of which were painted weirdly with colors uncomplimentary to each other.


At the center of it all was Ryon Chang-Woo, balancing both of his passions with extreme skill. While he was tossing the noodles in the wok with his left hand, he had been painting with his iconic red brush with extreme precision.

Chang-Woo knew the risks of this extreme form of training his passions, as one mistake on either side would cause mistakes on the other. Yet he still trained his passions in such a challenging manner so he wouldn’t become bored with either.

“Tae-Chol! Table five’s order is ready!” Chang-Woo yelled out, sliding two bowls of steaming noodles onto the counter next to a large plate of dumplings.

Nan Tae-Chol was the first servant the Gentle Leaf Inn hired, as his connections in the Inner City market allowed Chang-Woo to spend more of his time cooking and drawing instead of fetching supplies every morning.

Though Chang-Woo was opposed to it at first, the extra practice time quickly grew on him, as it showed great improvement in his artwork.

“Got it! And when you’re done with table seven’s order, you’ve got a friend waiting at table eleven for you!”

“Yes Sir!”

Hearing that his friend was at table eleven, Chang-Woo set his paintbrush down on the counter filled with ink palettes and focused on the spring rolls that had yet to be made.

‘It’s been a month since he last came by, hopefully he’s brought something good with him this time!’

Chang-Woo’s friend, In Jae-Sun, would stop by the restaurant every so often to relax and enjoy the food of his best friend.

But because of the travels he would take with his family between each visit, In Jae-Sun would bring Chang-Woo a gift of some kind. They weren’t expensive gifts, but they had sentimental value to Chang-Woo since it was a gift from his only friend.

Tak tak tak!

“Tae-Chol! Table seven is ready!” Chang-woo yelled out, sliding a plate of steaming spring rolls and a bowl of freshly cooked noodles onto the counter.

“Alright! I’ll have all orders paused for a bit so you can take a break then.” Nan Tae-Chol yelled back as Chang-Woo slid off his apron and tossed it on the counter.

Chang-Woo grabbed a black and white painting off the wall and walked into the dining area.

The painting he had grabbed was the last painting In Jae-Sun had seen before his most recent trip around the country. Of course, it wasn’t finished when In Jae-Sun last saw it, so he wanted to show his friend his progress since he last visited.

Chang-Woo, with a gleaming smile on his face, sat down at a table next to a skinny young boy with short brown hair and a long scar running down the left side of his face.

“Jae-Sun! You’re back!”

Chapter 3: Eve of Devastation

“Jae-Sun! You’re back!”

“Chang-Woo! How have things been since I last visited?”

“It’s been great! I even finished that painting I showed you last time, want to see it?”

Chang-Woo placed the rolled-up painting on the table and looked at In Jae-Sun with a smug grin.


“What do you think, Jae-Sun?” Chang-Woo asked after rolling out the painting over the table.

In Jae-Sun gasped in awe at the finished painting. The last time he visited, Chang-Woo wasn’t even halfway finished with the rugged mountains meant to be in the background of the painting.

But the painting he once knew had completely changed, the previously black and white mountains were painted green and grey, the waterfall drowned in a deep blue and the field of lime green grass stretching into the horizon.


“Pretty cool right?” Chang-Woo replied smugly, pointing his finger at the mountains in the painting’s background. “These took the most time to make, I had to redraw the entire thing four times because of them!”

“Four times!? No wonder the painting looks entirely different from the last time I saw it, it literally is a new painting!” In Jae-Sun laughed.

Chang-Woo and In Jae-Sun’s laughter drowned out the sound of the other customers talking for several minutes, grabbing the attention of everyone in the restaurant.

“Hey Chang-Woo! Keep it down will you?” Nan Tae-Chol called out from across the inn.

However, as Chang-Woo turned his head to reply, a loud noise echoed through the inn.


The restaurant doors slammed open, and a middle-aged man with a pale white face wearing black and red robes with a cloth-wrapped spear resting on his back. The man had no blemishes on his face and a deviously cold gleam in his eyes.

The shop stood still upon the man’s entrance. However, they stared not at the man, but the tightly wrapped spear upon his back. The man slowly passed his gaze across the restaurant, almost seeming like he was searching for something or someone.

Suddenly the man’s eyes snapped onto the table Chang-Woo and In Jae-Sun were sitting at and unveiled a vicious grin before speaking.

“All of you, get out.”

Not a single person in the restaurant moved.

The middle-aged man noticed this and removed his spear from his back and unwrapped it, revealing a shining grey and white spear marked with hundreds of visible metal folds inside the freshly sharpened edge.

“I won’t repeat myself again. Get. out.”


Moments later only a small group remained in the restaurant, In Jae-Sun, Ryon Chang-Woo, and Nan Tae-Chol being amongst that group.

The destructive atmosphere given off by the middle-aged man left everyone in the restaurant motionless. All but one old man in white and grey robes, slurping down his bowl of noodles casually as if nothing was happening.

Yet not a soul took their eyes off the middle-aged man’s spear, as if petrified by the threatening presence it exuded.

The middle-aged man spoke softly after the obnoxious sound of noodles being slurped died out.

“Old man, you must have a death wish.”

The man swung his spear and stopped its blade mere centimeters from the old man’s neck, blasting a gust of wind throughout the restaurant. Sending tables, chairs, dishes and food alike flying against the walls.

Yet the old man neither avoided or moved to block the attack. He merely moved his chopsticks to continue eating his lone bowl of noodles.

A moment later, after finishing a mouthful of noodles, the old man turned his head to look at the man threatening him. Only Nan Tae-Chol noticed the subtle change in emotion on the old man’s face when his eyes locked with the middle-aged man’s.

Not even a withered petal dangling off a dehydrated plant moved after the two locked eyes, their auras and killing intent driving even the young and restless In Jae-Sun to remain still.

Finally the old man cleared his throat to speak, breaking the silence in the inn.

“Young lad, there’s no need for such violence, and these people aren’t of the Jianghu. Don’t involve them in the affairs of Jianghu, order a meal and relax, I assure you that the food is good.”

The middle-aged man moved his spear closer to the old man before speaking.

“That kid over there owes me a debt, he doesn’t remember it, but he owes me something worth his life. Get in my way, I dare you old man.”

Nan Tae-Chol stepped back and moved his hand out in front of In Jae-Sun and Ryon Chang-Woo. Only one word spoken by the old man brought him fear, the only word that the normal people of the Zhongyuan should fear.


The cold, bitter underworld of Zhongyuan, is filled to the brim with martial artists with short tempers. The worst nightmare for errand boys, servants, inn owners, and all respectable professions in Zhongyuan, is a martial artist from the Jianghu.

Ryon Chang-Woo however, showed the opposite reaction. Going so far as to step closer to the two martial artists, his insatiable desire to learn about anything that interests him made it impossible for him to resist.

In the blink of an eye the old man in white robes disappeared, and the spear wielded by the middle-aged martial artist was flung into the ceiling. Leaving a yellow hue around the visible blade of the spear.

The old man, now standing in front of the middle-aged martial artist with his hand on his neck, heaved the martial artist into the air with one arm.

The martial artist’s face began turning every shade of blue possible as the old man held him in the air. Until finally the old man spoke.

“Did a young brat like you think that you could get away with ignoring my words? Especially after knowing I too am from Jianghu?”

Having received no response from the middle-aged man held firmly in his grip, the old man pulled his arm back and squeezed the man’s neck harder than he had before.

In Jae-Sun and Nan Tae-Chol turned their heads away from the two martial artists. They had seen the horrors of Jianghu before, and knew what would happen next if the old man wasn’t merciful.

As the dying gargles of the middle-aged man began petering out, Ryon Chang-Woo stepped forward.

“Ah! Chang-Woo, stay back!” Nan Tae-Chol blurted out after noticing Chang-Woo was no longer behind his outstretched arm.

But Ryon Chang-Woo ignored him and continued to walk up to the old man.

A simple tap on his shoulder alerted the old man to Chang-Woo’s presence, and distracted him from taking the middle-aged man’s life. He turned around and stared deep into Chang-Woo’s eyes before speaking.

“What is it young lad?”

“That man, I would like you to spare him.”

“Spare him?”


The old man narrowed his eyes and relaxed his grip, but did not let go of the middle-aged martial artist.

“I have spared him, now step back. If I can’t kill him here he must be detained where he will learn not to threaten those not from Jianghu.”

“That would be kidnapping mister, we would have to report you to the lord if you did that.”

The old man paused, still holding his arm in the air as the middle-aged martial artists began to catch his breath with closed eyes.

“Why do you defend a person aiming to kill you?”

“That mister, he helped me the day I started drawing. He watched the produce I was buying for that day while I was getting art scrolls and my paintbrush.”

The old man stared deep into Chang-Woo’s eyes, blatantly confused as to his reasoning for sparing the man who wanted him dead.

The middle-aged martial artist’s bloodshot eyes burst open, taking only a glance around him before throwing his fist at the old man holding him in the air.

The old man shrugged off his confusion and caught the middle-aged man’s fist. Narrowly escaping the punch aimed to knock him out, the old man’s confusion turned to rage. But the middle-aged martial artist planned for this.

Faster than Nan Tae-Chol, In Jae-Sun, or Ryon Chang-Woo could see, the middle-aged man grabbed his spear from the roof with his spare hand, pulling it out and swinging it down at the old man’s shoulder.

‘Your only escape is to let go of my neck, you old coot.’



The spear swung down at the old man’s shoulder whisked through the air, missing its target entirely.

Yet the middle-aged martial artist’s plan worked.

“So long fuckers! I’ll be back!” He yelled out, grabbing an orb from his robes and slamming it to the ground before disappearing in the cloud of smoke leftover.

Driving his rage even further, the old man burst out the Gentle Leaf Inn’s doors and vanished into the air.

Ryon Chang-Woo stood still for hours after the old man left to chase after the middle-aged martial artist, staring blankly at the Gentle Leaf Inn’s doors as if waiting for someone to walk through them.

Not a soul came through the doors, the inn had been closed for the remainder of the day after the incident that occurred.

In Jae-Sun and Nan Tae-Chol both tried to wake Chang-Woo from his near-comatose state, but failed with each attempt. Only driving Chang-Woo further into his blank stares.

As night fell and the full moon rose that summer evening, a howling wind echoed through the buildings of the Inner District.

‘I didn’t get to learn about Jianghu…’

Chang-Woo snapped out of his comatose state as the Gentle Leaf Inn doors blew open from the wind. For the first time in his life, he felt dissatisfaction, as his curiosity couldn’t be satisfied.

But just as quickly as a good mood can be soured by bad news, Chang-Woo’s dissatisfaction turned to fear. A single gust of wind blew open the inn doors once more, and as if dancing with the howling wind, the same middle-aged martial artist appeared in front of Ryon Chang-Woo.

The man slammed his spear into the wooden floor as he stared at Ryon Chang-Woo.

“I’m here to collect a debt, a life for a life.”

Chapter 4: Under the Midsummer Moonlight

“I’m here to collect a debt, a life for a life.”

Chang-Woo stared up at the man in confusion before asking.

“I don’t owe you a debt, and I’ve certainly never taken a life.”


The middle-aged man burst into laughter.

“Of course you don’t remember, you were just a baby. And the life I meant, was your life. I saved your life as a baby, and now I’ve come to take a life in return.”

Before Chang-Woo could turn around and yell for help, the sound of meat and bones being cut rang through the air. Followed by a blast of wind, shredding all that it touched in half, leaving only the small portion of the building behind the middle-aged man intact.

A sickening crunch befell Chang-Woo’s ears as he watched the world he knew around him crumble. His upper body severed from his legs like the roof of the Gentle Leaf Inn was separated from the walls that held it.

Pain beyond screaming, so deep that his mouth refused to move. With only the cruel silver glow of the midsummer moonlight to see as blood spilled from Ryon Chang-Woo’s cleaved upper body.

“I gave you one last mercy, I, Sam Kwang-Seok, killed you and your family in one attack. Be grateful.”

The howling wind that previously couldn’t reach inside the Gentle Leaf Inn raged as Sam Kwang-Seok flicked the blood off his spear.

Not a second later Sam Kwang-Seok was gone alongside the howling wind.

‘Sam Kwang-Seok…’

Seconds turned to minutes and minutes turned to hours as Chang-Woo laid motionless on the ground. His intestines and stomach slowly slid out of the hole at the base of his waist as more and more blood spewed out into the cracks of the stone floor.

As Chang-Woo took his last ragged breath and his vision grew blurry, a single gleam of light from the full moon appeared in his sight.

Akin to a feather being dropped from the skies, a white-haired beauty dressed in shining silver robes appeared in the glimmering moonlight and descended from the skies. Landing mere centimeters from the deceased upper body of Ryon Chang-Woo.

A gentle smile grew on the white-haired beauty’s face as she glanced around the ruins around her. As if Chang-Woo’s dying body wasn’t there, the white-haired beauty stepped over him as she walked to a nearby pile of rubble.

A multitude of scrolls both torn and tangled mixed with shattered wood and crumbled stones rested a few feet away from Chang-Woo. Though nothing about this pile stood out to the naked eye, the white-haired beauty approached the conglomeration with unparalleled grace.

With a voice smoother than any silk in any market, the white-haired beauty spoke.

“I can feel it around here somewhere, my old brush is in the rubble.”

With an outstretched arm, the white-haired beauty raised the tattered and torn scrolls into the air. Knocking away the splintered wood and crumbled stones, leaving only the beaming red brush standing upright on the cracked floor.

With her left hand, the white-haired beauty reached toward the ruins of the kitchen, where Chang-Woo’s artworks, paints, and unused scrolls remained. A single blank scroll broke loose from the rubble and unrolled itself as it flew through the air into the white-haired beauty’s outstretched hand.

With a simple rub of her fingers down the brush’s tip, a black layer of liquid appeared where her hand touched. Despite looking no younger than twenty years old, the white-haired beauty began drawing on the blank scroll with the precision and speed of a master artist who had practiced for numerous years.

What looked like weird and out of place strokes of ink on the scroll slowly morphed into an exquisite horizon overlooking a moonlit mountainside. Yet despite no colored ink being on the brush’s tip, the mountains, sky, and moon all grew colors as if water had been dropped onto paper.

Once her painting had been finished, the white-haired beauty paused. A weird sense of dissonance exuded from her brush, as if it had a mind of its own. She looked down at her brush with a smile, only to turn around and walk back to the deceased Ryon Chang-Woo.

The white-haired beauty stared down over Chang-Woo’s lifeless body as Chang-Woo’s soulless eyes stared blankly into the starry sky. Without a shred of hesitation, she laid the vibrant red brush across Chang-Woo’s chest.

With a simple wave of her now empty hand, the severed lower half of Chang-Woo’s body dragged across the splintered wooden floor and seamlessly fixed itself to Chang-Woo’s upper body. Leave only the tear of his clothes where Sam Kwang-Seok’s spear sliced through his body and a subtle line separating the two halves of his body.

“I was only told to undo the wrongs done here by the True One, but I’ll leave you one little gift since you took such good care of my precious brush.”

The white-haired beauty stepped back out of the pool of blood she stood in, not wanting to ruin her precious artwork with blood. After closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, the world seemed to have stopped. Even the faint echoes of crickets faded as the white-haired beauty opened her eyes.

Drop by drop, the pool of blood surrounding Chang-Woo’s body rose off the ground, leaving behind all the dirt, stone and wood it had absorbed while on the ground. Even the blood leftover on the white-haired beauty’s shoes rose up from under her and joined the now floating puddle of blood.

As the last drop of blood joined the floating puddle of blood, the white-haired beauty walked back to Chang-Woo’s body. With a simple point of her finger toward the barely visible line that separated the two halves of Chang-Woo’s body, the floating puddle of blood began to rush towards the cut as if it was a river that had been unclogged for the first time.

The torrent of blood quickly shrank in diameter as it entered the numerous veins and arteries in Chang-Woo’s upper and lower body. As the final drops of blood returned to Chang-Woo’s body and the color in his skin returned, the white-haired beauty laid her hand across the line that separated the two halves of his body.

“With this, I bid you goodbye. I hope you use my brush well.”




‘Sam Kwang-Seok… Such a vile person.’

As the light in Chang-Woo’s eyes returned, a single thought ran through his mind.


Disregarding the vibrant red brush resting on his chest and the rolled up art scroll beside his head, Ryon Chang-Woo stood up and turned around. Only shock and horror awaited him, as what remained of the Gentle Leaf Inn laid in ruins, as if a natural disaster struck only the Inn.

Chang-Woo ran toward the ruins with a desperate expression on his face, he saw no blood on any of the extruding stones or wooden beams, giving a slight chance for his parents to have survived.

As Chang-Woo reached the ruins, he furiously tossed aside any debris that he touched; if his parents survived, they would be in the center of the kitchen. Where his entire family kept their prized possessions.

Yet the more Chang-Woo dug, the deeper his hopes fell.

“Don’t be dead! Please!”

After thoroughly digging through the rubble, a glimmer of hope appeared to Chang-Woo. A single painting that had previously resided in the kitchen appeared. Feeling his hopes rise as he had reached where the kitchen would have been, Chang-Woo began to throw the stones and wooden planks off the pile of rubble faster, disregarding the safety of his hands as splitters and sharp stones pierced his fingers.

Yet the closer he reached to the center of the kitchen, more and more chunks of rubble dripped with blood not his own, until a small hole supported by two wooden beams in the rubble appeared.

Only horror awaited Chang-Woo in the center of the kitchen. As Ryon Jung-Su laid on the bloodstained floor with planks and stones having pierced his body, and a metal pot filled with stones laying on his flattened skull.


To be continued…

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