Episode 48

The Reappearance Of The Black-Haired Storyteller (1)
3 weeks ago
Click or tap inside the chapter body to show/hide the bottom settings

Martial artists often faced life-threatening situations.

Imagine a martial artist surrounded by members of the dark path or on the brink of death at the hands of a master from the evil faction. What would be the best way to escape such a crisis?

The easiest way might be to unleash a powerful sword energy and slice the opponent into 17 pieces or use the skill of stepping in the air to escape to the sky. However, a true master wouldn’t even consider such situations crises.

So, what should a martial artist do in such a crisis?

Imagine a martial artist surrounded and in mortal danger from the evil faction.

He would declare himself:

“My name is Jegal-Namgung Jingi.”

“Has this guy gone mad? If it’s Jegal, it’s Jegal; if it’s Namgung, it’s Namgung. What kind of baseless surname is Jegal-Namgung?”

“My father is from the Jegal Clan, and my mother is from the Namgung Clan. I use this surname to remember the grace of my parents.”

“Urgh, if it were just the Jegal Clan, it would be manageable, but having a mother from the Namgung Clan too! We can’t handle the repercussions of messing with him! Let’s retreat!”

Thus, the martial artist easily escaped the crisis by revealing his surname.

In martial arts fiction, the way to escape a deadly situation often involved revealing one’s affiliation.

Affiliations included sects, courier services, trading companies, families, and more. Announcing one’s name before a fight or shouting the name of a move in the heat of battle were also part of revealing one’s affiliation.

If the opponent heard the affiliation and thought they could handle it, they would swing their sword. Conversely, if a passerby heard it and thought they could receive a favor in return, they might help.

Affiliation was that important in the world of martial arts.

In the martial arts world, if someone belonged to no group and was weaker than you, there was nothing to worry about. If there was no backlash for killing them, why hesitate? Even street beggars formed their own groups and territories for a reason.

I was a foreigner in this martial arts world, belonging to no sect, no hometown, no family; touching me had no repercussions.

Even when I worried about my next meal, many picked fights with me, calling me a foreigner, but these days I earned money as a storyteller.

Now, I must have looked like a walking treasure goblin or a portable wallet to them.

I had learned some basic fighting techniques, so I could knock down street beggars or local thugs, but what if someone from the Cheongsapa showed up? Should I leave Chilgok County?

I feared the Cheongsapa, but there was no guarantee that worse factions didn’t exist elsewhere.

While pondering these worries, the Heavenly Death Star made an unexpected offer.

“I’ll become your bodyguard.”

Had my efforts last night to reminisce about Kang Yun-ho’s relationship with Cheon Sohee worked? The Heavenly Death Star had made an offer I could only think of as goodwill.

It was a truly tempting offer.

If only it hadn’t come from the Heavenly Death Star.

“Sohee, I appreciate the sentiment, but I must decline.”

I refused immediately.

“Why?”

“I don’t want to see Sohee wielding a sword. What if you lose control after seeing blood?”

And if you were my bodyguard and went berserk, who do you think would be the first to be separated from their head and body?

Having the Heavenly Death Star, a ticking time bomb, by my side was scary enough. Hiring her as a bodyguard was like laying out the detonator for anyone to press.

“Do you dislike me cutting down people?”

The Heavenly Death Star asked, placing her hand on her heavy chest.

“I don’t want to taint Sohee’s hands with blood for my sake. I’m grateful for your sisterly concern.”

I’m going out for work, so you stay home, Heavenly Death Star!

No, just leave the house!

“……”

The corners of the Heavenly Death Star’s mouth lifted subtly.

“What’s this? Mocking me?”

“Understood. Then I’ll go to work…”

“I won’t cut down people. I’m good at unarmed combat too. Even if I have to draw a sword, I won’t kill.”

The unrivaled Heavenly Death Star proposed a compromise.

“No, just go back to being a killer. Why keep trying to stay by my side?”

“Will you really not kill anyone?”

“Yes.”

It was unimaginable that the Heavenly Death Star, once she drew her sword, wouldn’t kill someone. She said she would refrain, but that seemed impossible.

Rejecting her compromise and pushing her away too much might hurt the Heavenly Death Star’s feelings. Should I show some magnanimity as a master of push-and-pull?

“Then, I have no reason to refuse. Sohee, will you become my bodyguard?”

“There’s one condition.”

“Condition?”

“An assassin shouldn’t work for free. You have to pay me.”

“How much should I pay?”

Why was she setting conditions after volunteering herself?

Storytelling was similar to streaming broadcasts. Not everyone watching an entertaining broadcast paid. It was the same with storytelling.

Only a few actually paid, and demanding too much could quickly turn public opinion against you.

I had to strike a balance to afford three meals a day and a roof over my head.

How much should I pay?

Two meals a day were my limit.

There were days when I survived on just a piece of mantou and salt, so if I really splurged, I could afford three meals.

If she asked for too much, I would have to negotiate down by labeling her as a greedy younger sister.

“A day’s worth of three Cupbokki.”

“Uh?”

I thought I had misheard for a moment.

“…Three Cupbokki.”

The Heavenly Death Star hesitated, not looking at me but somewhere else.

Hiring the Heavenly Death Star as a bodyguard for the price of three Cupbokki.

Taking my money pouch and spending the money seemed like groundwork for this proposal.

After all, I wouldn’t be performing at Gapsu Trading Company every day, so how much could I really earn?

The Heavenly Death Star seemed to have considered my earnings in setting her fee.

“Ha-ha. Sohee.”

I was touched by her consideration as I spoke.

“Huh?”

“Let’s make it one portion of Tteokbokki instead of three Cupbokki.”

“……”

The Heavenly Death Star looked at me, seemingly thinking, ‘What kind of person is this?’ but I had no intention of backing down.

One portion of Tteokbokki was cheaper than three Cupbokki.

Negotiate it down!


Eventually, after a tug-of-war negotiation reminiscent of a diplomatic discussion, we dramatically settled on one portion of Tteokbokki under normal circumstances, with fried snacks as a bonus if things went especially well. With that, we left the inn.

“Mr. Wang! Hello!”

Dressed in my storyteller attire, I visited Mr. Wang’s fabric store.

“You’re here. Good morning. Who’s this person with you?”

It was a leisurely morning, and Mr. Wang greeted me warmly.

“This is my newly acquired bodyguard.”

“Bodyguard? Are you doing that well these days?”

Mr. Wang asked, clearly surprised. Normally, one wouldn’t hire bodyguards for a mere pittance.

I had indeed spent too much.

“Doing well? Not exactly. You know I’m from Joseon. I happened to meet someone from my hometown, and we hit it off, so she’ll be helping me out for a while.”

“So, she’s from your hometown. I couldn’t recognize her because of the hat, but now that I look closely, she does have black hair. Is she from Joseon?”

“Yes.”

“Really?”

Mr. Wang’s face immediately scrunched up.

“Haha. This friend of mine doesn’t speak the Central Plains language very well.”

“Cough. For a moment, I thought this young person was a reserved martial artist with strong backing.”

Well, there was one. An assassin who would stab anyone in the back and kill them.

“I speak the Central Plains language perfectly, don’t I? I’ve arranged for this friend to guard me, so she can assist me when I travel around the Central Plains later.”

“Ah, I see. That’s how it is. You’re weak, and this friend can’t speak, so combining your strengths makes a good duo.”

“Yes, we’ve agreed to work together for a while out of mutual respect.”

“That’s nice. It’s always good to have someone from your hometown. I’ve heard there are Joseon communities in the Central Plains that help each other out, but none in Chilgok County. It’s nice to see you two helping each other. What brings you here, by the way?”

I was about to bring up the topic, but Mr. Wang beat me to it.

“I’m starting my storytelling work again from today.”

“That’s great. Someone was just asking when you’d start again.”

“So, can you spread the word that I’ll be at the open space platform doing my storytelling work after lunch?”

“Easy. I’ll spread the word right away.”

“Thank you!”

“Now I won’t have to hear people asking where that damn storyteller is.”

Mr. Wang looked relieved.

“Haha. I’ll do it as long as people don’t get tired of it.”

“Alright. Do your best.”

I thanked Mr. Wang again for spreading the word and respectfully bid him farewell as I left the fabric store.


Just after lunchtime, I arrived at the open space where I used to do my storytelling work.

“There he is!”

“It’s so hard to catch a glimpse of the person doing the storytelling work!”

“Did you hear Im Gapsu died laughing at his storytelling stories?”

“Hey! How can you say that about someone who’s dead? I heard he died of overindulgence.”

“Was the assassin story false?”

“Well, he died on the bed doing something, so it’s overindulgence either way.”

“Heh, that’s true!”

Even though I had asked Mr. Wang to spread the word, I didn’t expect this many people to show up.

I thought there wouldn’t be many people since I hadn’t been around for a while, but the crowd was buzzing. Mr. Wang must be a real connector.

“There’s a foreigner with him.”

“Is it a man or a woman?”

“She’s wearing a sword. Is she a martial artist?”

As I appeared with the Heavenly Death Star, people began to show curiosity about her. Dressed in men’s clothing and a hat, her gender wasn’t immediately obvious.

“Sohee, if there’s any trouble, let me know. Try to stay out of sight for now.”

I quietly instructed her. There was no need for the Heavenly Death Star to attract attention.

“Okay.”

With that, the Heavenly Death Star vanished into the crowd.

I ascended the platform alone.

Lots of people. It seemed like the busiest day for storytelling in the marketplace. Perhaps my successful performances at Gapsu Trading Company had really spread the word.

Where was the Heavenly Death Star?

I scanned the audience. Despite looking around, I couldn’t spot the Heavenly Death Star. I thought finding her hat would be easy, but she was nowhere to be seen. Assassin’s stealth, perhaps? Fascinating.

“Start quickly! I have to go to work!”

“We want to hear the story about Prince Hamurin too!”

“Foreigner! If you tell a different story, you’ll get rotten food thrown at you!”

“Hamurin! Hamurin!”

“Why are you hesitating? You’re not starting by asking for money, right?”

As I stood on the stage, hesitating, the audience immediately began to urge me to start the performance.

This was madness. I needed to start quickly before people came onto the stage.

I took a deep breath and announced the start with a booming voice, loud enough for the audience at the back to hear.

“Hello! I am Kang Mo, a storyteller from Joseon! Today, for those who have been waiting for me, I will tell the story of Prince Hamurin.”

Snap! I elegantly unfolded my fan, signaling the start of the performance.

“That fan looks pretty cool.”

“Kang Mo! Kang Mo! Kang Mo! But is your real name just ‘Kang something’? Do foreigners name themselves like that?”

“Enough with the greetings! Start the story!”

The atmosphere among the audience, who were eager for the story, heated up even more.

I’ll start when you’re a bit quieter.

I folded the fan again and stood still, bowing at a 45-degree angle. As I maintained my bow, the crowd gradually fell silent.

Was it time to start the story?

Just as I was about to begin, a commotion erupted near the front of the stage.

“Make way, I’m coming through!”

Someone started to push through the crowd toward the front.

“No way! I’ve been waiting here for so long, and now you want to take my spot?”

“Hey, let’s watch it together.”

“Some damn jerk is trying to push in!”

“Focus on the story! Who’s the jerk?”

Who’s trying to sneak their way to the front?

‘Wait, why is that guy here?’

The person who made it to the front row was an unexpected figure.

“Oh. Isn’t that Yoon Daehyeop from Changgeommun? Please, come to the front row.”

“Thank you.”

Yoon Daehyeop.

The day I desperately fled from the Cheongsapa, I encountered this warrior from Changgeommun.

That day, as I hoped for his kindness and asked for help, all I received was mockery.

‘How can I uphold the honor of my sect by swinging my sword for mere foreigner’s coins?’

He coldly refused to help, even when I offered money, claiming he wouldn’t take a foreigner’s money.

The cold expression of that Yoon something-or-other, as the Cheongsapa thugs dragged me away like a dog, flashed through my mind.

A wound in my heart throbbed.

Even you, who looked down on me, want to hear my story?

Suddenly, an ingenious idea crossed my mind.

Right. This method should be interesting.

Yoon something-or-other.

Today, you’re in for it.

📢 New! Donation Section - Support early translations!

👀 Seeking Korean Translators - Get paid per chapter!

Your support helps keep our chapters free. Consider subscribing, purchasing, or joining our Discord for updates and discussions!

Enjoying the series? Leave a rating or review on Novel Updates.

⚠️ Do not post a spoiler without a spoiler tag ⚠️

<spoiler>INSERT YOUR TEXT</spoiler>