The Blood Night Palace Leader formally greets the elderly man who appears as we are drinking the tea. As our group turns our heads, we see that an elderly man is walking with difficulty, with helpers assisting him at the hall’s entrance.
The white-haired elder halts and stares at the Sword Demon with wide eyes.
“Oh… the Left Hand has really visited.”
The Sword Demon rises from his seat with a startled look and approaches the old man.
“It’s been a long time, Elder Governor (總使).”
The old man pats the back of his helper’s hand.
“Thank you, Yong-myeong. I’ll take it from here.”
I watch the old man and the Sword Demon with wide eyes. The Sword Demon is naturally helping the Elder and guiding him to a table where tea is ready.
Upon close inspection, the old man seems to be well over 100 years old.
The Blood Night Palace Leader pours some tea and turns the round table.
“Have some, Elder.”
The old man replies with a bright smile.
“Thank you, Palace Leader. I came after hearing we’re having guests after so long. It’s so nice to see your face before I die.”
The old man pats the Sword Demon on the back as if he is his grandson. The Sword Demon smiles and replies.
“Elder, I left the cult after arguing with the cult leader. I’m not the Left Hand anymore.”
“Ah, really? I didn’t know that.”
The elderly man looks at the people sitting around the table and adds.
“I’m worried that fewer people are speaking directly next to the cult leader. Who are these young companions?”
Gyo-young introduces to answer the old man’s question.
“This is the Wind Cloud Family Clan’s Lord Mong Rang, and this is Lee Zaha, the leader of the Low Down Sect. They are with the Sword Demon.”
The old man looks at the Pervert Demon and me before introducing himself.
“Lord Mong, Leader. My name is Heo Gyeom (許謙).”
Since he is an elder, the Pervert Demon and I respond politely.
“My name is Mong Rang, Elder. Please speak comfortably.”
“Elder, I’m Lee Zaha.”
He is an elder figure that the Palace Leader addresses formally and even causes the Sword Demon to rise from his seat. This indicates that he is one of the top heads of the faction.
Elder Heo Gyeom asks the Blood Night Palace Leader.
“What were you talking about? I hope I’m not intruding. Actually, I wanted to chat when I heard the Left Hand was coming.”
The Blood Night Palace Leader points at me.
“The Low-Down Sect Leader here is trying to attack an assassin faction called the Four Flow Valley, and he requested help from me. Do you know about the Four Flow Valley?”
Elder Heo Gyeom suddenly takes out a worn notebook from his wide sleeves.
“Four Flow Valley, hold on. I remember them. But it’s not clear. I’ll tell you after looking through my notebook.”
Everyone looks at the worn notebook in Elder Heo Gyeom’s hand.
When he opens the worn-out cover, it is filled with small letters. Flipping through several pages, Elder Heo Gyeom then reads a part.
“The part about assassins is written here. The Four Flow Valley is always foggy. The apostle, the 7th (七) Instructor, and his disciples went into hiding. They operated as assassins, but it was difficult to nip the buds since people who mastered spells were also included. Many senior members of the cult died, and most sent to deal with them were killed. Later, the dispatched First (一) Instructor beheaded all the defectors and burned down their hideout. However, the body of the 7th Instructor was not found. Looks like they’re back, huh?”
I look at Elder Heo Gyeom and reply.
“I don’t know the details. They kept sending assassins to me, so this is what I found out while investigating.”
Elder Huh Gyeom smiles at me.
“You’re young. I can’t believe you’re already caught up with assassins. It seems you’ve been on the go around here.”
Getting a strange feeling towards Elder Heo, I reply.
“It just happens naturally as I get into fights here and there.”
Judging from his limping, he is clearly an old man who has lost his fighting ability.
Nevertheless, he doesn’t seem weak and still looks like someone worthy of my respect.
It isn’t just an aura that comes along with age.
It feels like an aura similar to a conqueror of the land whose strength bordered on the narcissistic.
It is not clear why such a person has become this fragile.
Anyhow, the Blood Night Palace Leader treats him with respect, and Sword Demon rises from his seat to assist him, so Elder Heo appears to be an important figure in the cult.
Gyo Young asks.
“What are the Seven Instructors, Elder?”
Elder Heo Gyeom replies.
“Oh, that’s what I called them. What I have written here is mainly related to the Demonic Cult. The 7th Instructor is simply the 7th instructor who trains the assassins in the cult. You can think of them as the 7th chief. There were many talents when the clan was at its prime. As their power weakened due to the battle for succession, assassin sects were set up by the instructors. The instructors who raised the assassins mastered the worst part of the cult. It would be better for you to eliminate the assassins with the Low Down Sect Leader.”
The Blood Night Palace Leader nods.
This conversation makes it unclear just who is the actual Palace Leader.
I stare at Elder Heo Gyeom.
I have no choice but to assume that he is a legendary figure in the Demonic Cult. Of course, I know nothing about retired members of the cult, but his aura and circumstance indicate that it is so.
For a person to survive the Demonic Cult and live over a hundred years.
How many fights, betrayals, death, and birth have this man witnessed with his eyes?
In terms of age, he is a man who is like a celestial (神仙), so I just sip my tea in awe.
Elder Heo Gyeom actively participates in the conversation as if he values his remaining time. He then suddenly tells the Pervert Demon.
“Can you give me your hand? I’d like to see your internal Qi.”
Pervert Demon looks slightly taken aback, glances over to see the Sword Demon’s expression, and extends his hand. Elder Heo Gyeom grabs Pervert Demon’s wrist like an experienced practitioner and smiles.
“Ah, do you happen to be a survivor of Okhwa Palace…”
Pervert Demon nods slightly.
“Ah, yes, I am. On my mother’s side.”
Elder Heo Gyeom strokes the Pervert Demon’s hand.
“You’ve grown up really well. I know you haven’t cut ties with Okhwa Palace, but it’s my first time seeing you in person. I’m glad that excellent martial arts didn’t go in vain. Lord Mong.”
“You must have had a hard time training.”
“Oh, no. I met my teacher, and I’m getting guidance well.”
The Sword Demon nods.
“Elder, he’s my disciple.”
Elder Heo Gyeom smiles and looks at the Sword Demon.
“You have an apprentice. I’m surprised. If you see him to the end of the Okhwa Palace’s Ice Technique, it’s a great martial art, so don’t pass on the Illuminating Sword to him.”
The Sword Demon nods.
“That’s what I planned to do.”
Suddenly I sit upright.
This old man he’s no ordinary man.
If a veteran retires and lives for another half a century, their aura will become like this Elder in front of me.
Unfortunately, Elder Heo Gyeom looks at me this time.
I look at Elder Heo Gyeom and think.
‘Oh… Let’s not do that.’
Elder Heo Gyeom then says politely.
“This might make you uncomfortable, but my curiosity gets the best of me… May I take a look at your internal Qi like I did to Lord Mong?”
I reply with complicated emotions despite knowing he has good intentions.
“Yes, of course. Please give me your guidance.”
Elder Heo Gyeom puts his finger lightly on my wrist and soon takes his hand off.
Elder Heo Gyeom, whose expression has suddenly changed, is staring at me.
Gyo Young gets up and brings him some water.
“Elder, please have some water.”
As the atmosphere becomes cold, the Blood Night Palace Leader, Sword Demon, and Pervert Demon glance between Elder Heo Gyeom and me, who is saying nothing.
Elder Heo Gyeom drinks the water and finally relaxes his expression.
“Sect Leader, you have such a great achievement at a young age. Are you also the Left Hand’s disciple?”
The Sword Demon answers instead.
“Please pardon the question. Do you trust him?”
The Sword Demon answers calmly.
“He’s usually a little radical and harsh with his words and actions, but he has high aspirations regardless of his age. Elder Heo, the Low-Down Sect Leader, is not a bad guy. Don’t be wary of him. If you have something to say, say it without hesitation. I’ll listen to you.”
“Can I briefly know your activities?”
“I’m aware he’s killing many of the Unorthodox Factions in his hometown and infiltrating them.”
“Has he had any disputes with the alliance or the cult?”
Only then Elder Heo Gyeom looks at me again.
“Leader, are you perhaps the disciple of the Three Disasters?”
I shake my head.
“No, no way.”
Elder Heo Gyeom then says.
“Sometimes I’m confused that I know so much. It’s the same when I face something I don’t understand. This year my age should be 100 plus 11 years. You’re very young. I can’t help but be shocked because you have mastered both extreme Yin and extreme Yang internal Qi. In fact, this is what the cult leader is cultivating now. I thought he sent his hidden disciple here, so I was flustered for a moment. If you have learned it on your own, you have my humble respect.”
“I see. I understand.”
The cult leader tried to consume the Heavenly Pearl in my past life, so it is only natural that he is learning both Yin and Yang martial arts in balance. It is also only natural that the Elder, who has been with the cult for a long time, is surprised when he examines me.
Elder Heo Gyeom then asks me.
“I’ve never heard of a faction called the Low Down Sect. Are you the founder?”
“What is the purpose of the faction?”
“I made it so people would leave the working class alone.”
Elder Heo Gyeom smiles with a look of disbelief.
“That’s the most honest answer I’ve heard about a faction’s purpose.”
Gyo Young asks.
“Elder, what’s so honest about it?”
Elder Heo Gyeom said.
“The working class is often oppressed. Hence, the purpose of the faction meant he’ll fight forever. I’ve heard of the rise and fall of many factions, but I’ve never heard of such a reason.”
“You’re not wrong.”
Elder Heo Gyeom asks me.
“Does the combination of yin and yang work well?”
As soon as the topic of martial arts comes up, I answer him carefully.
“It’s not as harmonious as I’m self-learning. And it’s still in the beginning stage.”
Suddenly, Elder Heo Gyeom glances at the Blood Night Palace Leader.
“About attacking the Four Flow Valley. I want you to actively help the Low Down Sect Leader. I’m sorry if I am saying this out of line.”
The Blood Night Palace Leader replies.
“Not at all. I’ll do that.”
“Will you do that for me?”
This time, Elder Heo Gyeom looks at me with burdensome eyes.
“I’m very old. I might die anytime. I hope you can help Blood Night Palace if I ever die.”
As soon as I answer him, I glance at the expressions of the people around me. As the words are clearly not planned, the Sword Demon, Gyo-young, and Blood Night Palace Leader look flustered.
The Blood Night Palace Leader says.
“What do you mean, Elder? We don’t even live in the same town.”
“Yes, I know.”
Elder Heo Gyeom looks around and says,
“If I die, the cult leader will come to this palace. I’m asking you to help me then. It may sound strange, but it is what it is. Why would the cult leader be afraid of me? I saved him in the old days, so he’s turning a blind eye. He wasn’t even a leader at that time. He wasn’t a man who takes care of others nor is sympathetic, but he distinguishes between love and hate when it comes to life-related matters. And that’s why I’ve been staying in this palace.”
Suddenly, Elder Heo Gyeom stares at me with a deep gaze.
“This palace came from the cult. Since our independence, we have never killed a person who has not mastered martial arts. You help the weak, so please help us with a generous heart. Just because we come from the Demonic Cult, it doesn’t mean we’re all devils.”
I’ve never felt so scared of a man who has lost his internal Qi.
It is such a strange request that I try to roughly gloss over it.
“If there’s anything I can do to help….”
Heo Gyeom cuts me off.
“Someone must reach out so one can escape the demon path.”
I am also puzzled as this 111-year-old Elder fusses over me.
“Sir, I have a question…”
I look at Hyeo Gyeom and ask him.
“How did you end up losing your martial arts?”
Heo Gyeom replies.
“There was a time when I was arrogant and thought I was strong. This is what happened after intruding on a well-known man’s whereabouts.”
“Who is that?”
“He later became a member of the Three Disasters.”
I am stunned and check both the Sword Demon and Blood Night Palace Leader’s faces. The two are expressionless, indicating that they already know. Only then do I realize why the Palace Leader and the Sword Demon are so respectful/
Anyway, this old man deserves respect.
Not many people can survive coming up against the Three Disasters.
A rare white-haired elder is looking at me with his wrinkled face.
Perhaps as I am too impressed, I end up running my mouth carelessly.
“Wow… Elder, you’re a real man.”
The atmosphere becomes cold.
Humans make the same mistake over and over again, and this saying refers to me.
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