The Twelve Generals vary in their level of martial arts. Still, they are respected as part of the Black Rabbit Union.
Cho Il-sum is unable to raise his head.
‘Why is one the Twelve Generals here…’
As soon as he heard Baek Yu’s name, it became appropriate to greet him as if he were dealing with the Black Rabbit Union. Baek Yu is a problematic opponent for Cho Il-sum as he’s been close to Heuk Myo (黑卯, black rabbit) of the Twelve Generals. Naturally, Baek Yu, with whom he has bad blood, will be offended. However, being so low on the hierarchy means that Cho Il-sum has never met him in person.
Cho Il-sum’s thoughts race.
“…Are you here to deliver a command?”
“Feel free to tell me.”
Cho Il-sum clenches his teeth and does not answer. Who would accept such an order even if the other person is one of the Twelve Generals?
Cho Il-sum says.
“If you just say that out of the blue…”
“It’s a joke.”
I continue with a smirk.
“Being part of the Twelve Generals is a lie, I’m from the Ilyang Prefecture. Why are you so gullible, pavilion owner?”
Cho Il-sum’s expression suddenly changes as anger rises in him.
Cho Il-sum is relieved that he is from the Ilyang Prefecture, and at the same time, his temper begins to rise.
I make eye contact with Cho Il-sum and say,
“It’s dark in here. Come and look closer. It’s me.”
Cho Il-sum looks at my face carefully as he approaches with his sword in his hand.
His quickly-changing expression is genuinely remarkable. An expression of incredulity is quickly replaced by anger on Cho Il-sum’s face.
Slowly pulling out his sword, Cho Il-sum says.
“Are you the Zaha Inn’s bastard errand boy?”
I reply with a smile.
“You finally recognize me. Did you ever pass by and have a bowl of tasteless chicken noodle soup? How did it taste, Sir Cho Il-sum?”
Ominous thoughts then cross Cho Il-sum’s mind.
“What about my brother?”
“What about him?”
“He went out to kill you. Where is he?”
I reply with a stern look on my face.
“He stopped by.”
“Spit it out.”
“He didn’t come to eat noodles. He came to talk about some unimportant shit. Ah, I remember. He was digging his own grave all of a sudden. I don’t know why your brother came to Zaha Inn and dug his own grave. If you’re curious, ask your brother in the afterlife. Don’t ask me.”
Cho Il-sum narrows the distance and raises his sword to my face in anger. A solid stabbing attack that leaves little space for a counterattack.
I pull out my own sword and block his attack.
With a clang — sparks fly.
As the two swords collide, energy surges through each of our arms.
Muscles, internal energy, speed, and the sturdiness of the sword.
Cho Il-sum is a swordsman in his late thirties who had wielded a sword for twenty years.
His is a sword honed not by formally-learned martial arts but through the act of killing people.
His sword techniques, undoubtedly, are a glaring weakness. His attacks combine both external and internal martial arts. His killing intent is also vicious, proof of how many he had killed in the past.
However, across the vastness of Kangho, his is at most a third-rate sword technique.
Furthermore, even though I only have entered the Wooden Chicken, the first stage of the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique, my internal cultivation is much more refined than Cho Il-sum’s. Just half of the Heavenly Pearl’s energy in my Dantian makes it fundamentally different from Cho Il-sum’s. Not to mention fighting skills, experience, and general handling of battle.
“It would have been better for you to kill yourself.”
I fight back with a calm look on my face.
Cho Il-sum and I repeatedly widen and narrow the distance between us as two swords clash in the large banquet hall.
Cho Il-sum’s expression darkens by the minute, his instincts telling him to run away. He questions when the errand boy even learned how to use a sword. Just fighting with the local inn’s errand boy makes this a mortifyingly embarrassing situation.
Soon Cho Il-sum is overwhelmed by my internal energy and falls backward. I then throw my sword at him without hesitation.
Surprised, Cho Il-sum manages to block the sword as it flies at him. I unleash the whip from my waist and grab Cho Il-sum’s sword handle.
As I inject the Wooden Chicken’s force into the arm holding the whip, Cho Il-sum gets dragged in like a pig being sent to the slaughterhouse.
At that moment, Cho Il-sum decides to flee, drops his sword, and uses his movement skill to head toward the door.
But my whip is even faster.
I turn my body as the whip latches onto Cho Il-sum’s waist and shortens the distance even as I pull him closer.
Cho Il-sum turns around and extends both his palms as I draw closer.
In response, I use the Wooden Chicken Finger (木鷄指) technique to strike Cho Il-sum’s palms.
Either my hand will break from the impact of the internal energy, or Cho Il-sum will suffer internal injuries due to the penetrating palm force.
Naturally, the room fills with the sound of bursting leather, and Cho Il-sum flies across the room, vomiting dark-colored blood.
He looks at me and says incredulously.
“How did you…”
“How did I learn martial arts?”
Once again, I inject the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique’s energy into my whip and swing it. Cho Il-sum, who is suffering from internal injuries, resists by moving both hands recklessly, but there is no way to block the incoming whip.
Every time the whip moves, a red line carves itself on Cho Il-sum’s body.
Cho Il-sum screams as he is whipped.
“Zaha! You damned thing, Zaha! Wait!”
I wrap my whip around Cho Il-sum’s neck, then I inject my Wooden Chicken Palm Force (木鷄掌力) into the whip and pull.
With a crack, his neck snaps audibly.
When Cho Il-sum’s bulky body collapses to the floor, the entire Pear Blossom Pavilion shakes.
The death of Cho Il-sum isn’t something I find amusing.
After confirming that Cho Il-sum is dead, I pick up the Black Dragon Sword. Cho Il-sum’s guards wait in the hallway, but they can’t enter without permission.
I speak to the door with my sword and whip in my hand.
“Open the door.”
As the door creaks open, the soldiers wait on high alert with swords in their hands.
The reason why they couldn’t enter is simple.
According to the report, Cho Il-sum fought with the Black Rabbit Union.
It’s difficult for them to determine who they should listen to.
Without being able to decide, personal safety became paramount.
The pavilion owner, Cho Il-sum, may look scary, but they were aware that the three Cho brothers had invited the masters of the Black Rabbit Union and hosted them.
Without officially declaring a sect, they are nothing but local thugs.
I can imagine what it must be like for them.
I glare at a few people as everyone avoids eye contact.
I state the reason for the killing is an order from the Black Rabbit Union.
“The Black Rabbit Union Leader has changed his mind and decided to delay the creation of a union in Ilyang Prefecture. Since I’ve decided to use Cho Il-sum as an example, you’ll end up like him if anyone decides to question the decision. Get out of my way if you want to live.”
The people filling the hall open a path as they stand against the left and right walls.
Some go to the entrance to look at Cho Il-sum’s body.
As I walk down the hall, I deliver the following command.
“Report what’s going on at the pavilions to Cha Sung-tae at Plum Blossom Pavilion for the time being.”
As I turn around when I arrive at the end of the hallway, responses begin to flow out from behind me.
“The funeral is to be held as simply as it can. These three pavilions have ruined many poor lives. He’ll have enough money to get to hell.”
The moment I turn around, someone says.
“Aren’t you the errand boy of Zaha Inn?”
The words are said as clearly as day for the crowd to hear.
Silence is followed by a murmur.
I pause, and the warriors holding their swords raise their heads one by one and stare at my back.
“The errand boy of Zaha Inn? Are you sure?”
“I’m certain. He’s just wearing different clothes. I see him often, so I know his face well.”
Someone must recognize me.
I turn around, cracking my neck from side to side. Now everyone is looking at my face and eyes.
I grin as I look at them.
“That’s right. So what? Does me being an errand boy make you more daring? If you want to die, come forward.”
Of course, no one came forward.
“If you want to follow Cho Il-sum to hell and lick his feet, come out. I’ll do it for you. If you would like to obey him like a dog in the underworld, I’m sure he’d be fucking happy. Anyone?”
More than thirty people line the halls, yet no one dares to step up.
I say again.
“Bitches who have lost their owners sure know their place.”
Those who dare to take revenge would not be working in a pavilion.
“Why did you suddenly kill the owner?”
I don’t need an excuse.
“Why don’t you ask Cho Il-sum why? If you’re curious, come to me anytime. I’m not going anywhere.”
I turn around, but no one moves.
Even if they attack my back, there is no way a surprise attack by those who are weaker than the three Cho brothers would even reach me.
When I return, Cha Sung-tae flinches and hiccups with surprise in his eyes as if he is seeing a ghost.
“Huh? What about Cho Il-sum?”
Cha Sung-tae, drunk, jumps up and starts running to the Pear Blossom Pavilion, the news shocking him greatly.
As I sit back and drink my seventh glass while eating the cold side dishes, Cha Sung-tae returns and shakes his head as he breathes hard.
“Oh, God. This is crazy! Cho Il-sum is dead! Cho Il-sum!”
“Are you drunk?”
“Ah, I feel like throwing up after running.”
Cha Sung-tae continues as he sits down.
“I mean, I heard no one else was killed. How did you manage to only kill Cho Il-sum?”
Pointing my finger at Cha Sung-tae, I say.
“The pavilions, take care of them properly.”
“There are some who probably won’t listen to me, but sure. You can leave that to me.”
The two other pavilion managers are in the same hierarchy as Cha Sung-tae, though he considers himself stronger. The owners of the Plum Blossom and the Pear Blossom Pavilions are dead; the only one left is the youngest Cho, owner of the Cherry Blossom Pavilion and supplier of ‘entertainers.’
Cha Sung-tae asks.
“What are you going to do now?”
“I have to kill the trafficker, too.”
“I’ll let you know as soon as he arrives.”
Of course, I was planning to train, but I didn’t tell Cha Sung-tae that. I can train in the Zaha Inn or retreat to a quiet mountain.
What I need now is not swordsmanship training. Instead, the most important thing is an internal cultivation method that can draw and use the Yin energy waiting in my Dantian.
After quietly watching Ilyang Prefecture’s situation for a few days, I will decide whether to choose to go into seclusion or continue my training here.
I look at the mess on the table and say,
“Be sure to clean this up and go.”
Cha Sung-tae is about to say something but closes his mouth. He knows he might get hit if he refuses.
Instead, Cha Sung-tae comes up with a good idea and carefully speaks.
“I will send someone famous for cleaning. They are in the top three for being the best in Ilyang Prefecture. Take some glue off that wall, dust it off. What’s this on the floor? The kitchen is a mess, right? That’s why the business is so bad. I’ll send them right away, so please wait.”
“Have you ever heard of a man who died because he didn’t clean up?”
“There was a story like that?”
“It’s an urban legend in Ilyang Prefecture.”
“Was there a story like that? I had no idea. I’ll clean up the table first. Why don’t you stay at Plum Blossom Pavilion? It’s more comfortable there, and there are guards…”
Without answering, I go into the small room and sit cross-legged.
Cha Sung-tae sighs and looks around for a mop.
‘Fucking bastard dares to order THE Cha Sung-tae to clean up? Ha.’
Cha Sung-tae has no choice but to start cleaning.
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