As the sky got dark, I realized that the only place to house the guests for the night was the brothel. I don’t have a home to entertain guests yet.
Due to the circumstance, I take Sword Demon and Pervert Demon to Plum Blossom Pavilion.
I never thought that I would enter a brothel with Pervert Demon.
But with his master and me present, nothing will happen.
Because I haven’t seen Plum Blossom Pavilion in such a long time, I was not used to the view.
I had disappeared and Cha Sung-tae is currently not here. How is Plum Blossom Pavilion holding up? First, the gatekeeper didn’t recognize me. No one recognized me even when I entered Plum Blossom Pavilion.
I deliberately mention Cha Sung-tae to a woman walking by.
“Where is Cha Sung-tae?”
The woman replies,
“Manager went to Black Rabbit Union.”
“Then who is taking care of this place?”
“It’s under the supervision of Sima Bi.”
“Oh, Sima Bi.”
“By the way, who are you?”
Looking at the young lady I reply,
“The person above Sima Bi and Cha Sung-tae.”
The young woman with freckles on her face suddenly shouts as if informing the entire brothel.
“Leader is here!”
Suddenly, the main door to Plum Blossom Pavilion swings open with a bang, and many people show up here and there- looking at me standing from the ground floor. Finally, I was able to spot some familiar faces here and there.
“Oh, yes. Chae Hyang, show us the way.”
Chae Hyang, whom I haven’t seen in a long time, replies,
“I’ll take you to the Plum Blossom Suite.”
I climb the stairs along with the two and enter Plum Blossom Suite. On the way, Sword Demon says,
“I will be practicing Qi Circulation, so get me a separate room.”
“Master, I will be having a drink with the Leader.”
Even after entering the brothel, Sword Demon did not nag at his disciple at all.
I let Sword Demon stay in the room on the top floor that I’ve used previously, and sit across Pervert Demon in the Plum Blossom Suite.
Come to think of it…
All the women Pervert Demon slept with in the past were famous predecessors of the unorthodox faction. The fact that all the women he slept with had double surnames1 caused a ruckus.
I thought that he would play around like a dog in heat once he stepped foot in the brothel…
But, as if he was never the Pervert Demon, he only drinks calmly across from me. He didn’t even spare a glance at Chae Hyang, who makes an appearance occasionally. I was even more puzzled because he appears to be uninterested even towards the brothel entertainers.
Pervert Demon asks,
“Where should I sleep?”
“I’ll give you a room.”
Pervert Demon nods and resumes drinking. A while later, someone knocks on Plum Blossom Pavilion and says,
“Leader, this is Sima Bi.”
The last time I saw him was when I was facing against Elder Hornless Dragon. With his hair up in a ponytail, as soon as he sees me Sima Bi greets me in a bow.
“It’s been a while, Leader.”
“General Sima, nothing happened while I was away?”
“Who manages the brothel’s finances?”
“The manager left the keys with me before leaving. We store it in three places. Would you like to have the keys?”
“Forget it. Come on in.”
I pour him a drink as Sima Bi takes a seat.
“Did you learn much about how to run the brothel?”
“Yes, we have been running the place as a restaurant rather than a brothel. I often discuss matters with Manager Cha when problems arise.”
I introduce Pervert Demon, who had been drinking without saying a word.
“This is Mong-rang, the second son of Wind Cloud Mong Clan in Baekeungji. This is Sima Bi of Low-Down Sect.”
Pervert Demon dryly says to Sima Bi,
“Nice to meet you.”
Sima Bi replies with honorifics,
“I am Sima Bi of Low-Down Sect.”
I give Sima Bi a mission.
“When Lord Mong of Baekeungji returns, accompany him. I need you to do something for me.”
“Please go on.”
“We are going to reinvest the profits earned from all three brothels. Follow him back to Baekeungji and find out which guest inns, restaurants, and brothel businesses can expand with the Low-Down Sect’s investment. Take a look at Baekeungji’s commercial district and see if there are any buildings or shops you can buy.”
“If you don’t have enough money, Manager Byuk of Black Rabbit Union will provide you support. Do you know why I’m opting for a business of Low-Down Sect in Baekeungji?”
“Is it a branch that will serve the purpose of collecting information?”
“That’s right, Sima Bi, but it won’t be just Baekeungji.”
“A lot of surplus funds are accumulated in the Black Rabbit Union. You will take charge and establish a branch in Baekeungji, and, using this as an experience, make a branch near Blood Night Palace, one near Bajian Society, Fair Lake, Nanming Society, and South Horizon Sect. Oh, and also Black Hurricane Castle. That’s all. And although it will be a branch, it should still be a place where one can work and earn income. The personnel to be selected and deployed there will be individuals who currently have nothing to do from either Ilyang or the Black Rabbit Union.”
“I know the other regions, but I don’t know the Blood Night Palace.”
“I’ll let you know later. Take your time.”
Examining Sima Bi’s face carefully, I say,
“I never called for you or specifically asked you to work, but you still managed everything on your own.”
Sima Bi smiled lightly.
“There’s much to work on here.”
Sima Bi is the type of man who goes around to find work. If so, I have no choice but to give him more work and raise his position in the Low-Down Sect.
Come to think of it, this is why Sima Bi is a military advisor.
“Advisor Sima, I’m sorry for making you work so much though it has been a while since we met.”
I pour Sima Bi a drink. Sima Bi replies as he receives his glass,
“Do you know what rumors are floating around in Ilyang?”
“I don’t know.”
“Word has it you invaded Nanming Society alone. Before that, there were rumors you ambushed Mister Su and killed him. Word has it you also destroyed the Bajian Society. Whenever I heard the news, I had no choice but to think you were risking your life fighting somewhere.”
Sima Bi makes eye contact with me after drinking.
“If you need me to do anything, just say the word.”
Hearing what I had done in the past, it felt strange.
“For the funds, you can continue to discuss them with Manager Byuk and Manager Cha. Discuss with Yeon Ja-seong of the Architectural Sect if a new building needs to be built.”
“We have a guest, so that will be all for today. Good work.”
“Yes, please enjoy your stay.”
As Sima Bi walks away, Pervert Demon says with his head tilted,
“You’re a busy man, hillbilly. I thought you ran a regular martial art training center. But.”
“Are you able to talk about real business like this when I’m even not a part of the sect?”
“I thought it was something serious. Low-Down Sect isn’t some great faction. It’s just a place that gives people work, doesn’t get threatened to pay money offerings, and also a place to get beaten to death by Kangho warriors.”
“Are you applying the things you heard in Moonglade House?”
Pervert Demon snorts and stays silent for a moment. I look at Pervert Demon’s expression and drink.
Pervert Demon says,
“Are you setting up a branch nearby because Elder Heo asked you to assist the Blood Night Palace?”
“That’s the only way. I can only help if I know what’s happening.”
“I get it, but why are you making one in Baekeungji?”
“Because your master is there. And unorthodox factions as well.”
“So why are you keeping an eye on my master?”
“Whether it’s your master or the Blood Night Palace, you’re bound to be attacked by the demonic cult one day.”
“He is not one who would get defeated easily.”
“Low-Down will be in orthodox and unorthodox factions and also in places without any Kangho fighters, so stop pestering me. I do what I want.”
“Wow, how impressive.”
As soon as I hear Pervert Demon’s sarcastic remark, I reply,
“Pervert Demon, do you wanna get beaten up? You’re itching to do it now that you’ve drunk some alcohol, is it?”
“Try that harmless threat on your men. It’s amazing, by the way. How are you so sure of the things you want to do?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Like what I said, you made a sect to protect the working class and went around fighting orthodox factions here and there… What’s the motivation behind it? I’m not interested, but I ask anyway because it’s absurd.”
How should is it that I should answer when asked an obvious question?
I thought maybe the answer was not with me but with him.
“I’m me. You’re you… why are you living like this?”
“Are you living like this because you have nothing to do?”
“Are you referring to women?”
Pervert Demon says as he pours his glass,
“In this world, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman.”
I drink since it felt like Pervert Demon isn’t finished.
“And there’s nothing more ugly than a woman. Two years ago, I attended an early marriage proposal with a lady from an unorthodox faction, but it got called off when it was revealed that I was a son of a concubine mid-conversation. No, also…”
As he gathers his thumb and forefinger together, Pervert Demon says,
“I wasn’t even this interested in the marriage. I mean, I got dumped without doing anything.”
“So? I hid my identity and went to see what kind of girl she was. She was a very promiscuous girl. And I got dumped by that bitch because I’m a bastard? I will spit in front of her house. Tui, fuck, tui, tui, tui!”
“You spat on the side dish, jerk.”
“Don’t eat it then, you rotten punk.”
Pervert Demon says as he picks up the side dish he spat on.
“When I came back home and saw the pathetic sight, I suddenly became a failure. Our Family Head thinks of me as a pawn to expand the faction. Those jackasses… I argued with the family head and his predecessor that day. I beat them both anyway.”
I spewed on the side dish in front of me while drinking.
As soon as I spouted liquor on the side dish, Pervert Demon frowned.
“Don’t eat it, you trash. No, but isn’t your father the Family Head?”
“And the vice head is your brother?”
“But you beat them both?”
Pervert Demon stares at me with wide eyes.
“Why, is that weird?”
“Are you seriously saying that right now, you nutjob?”
Pervert Demon suddenly grins and says,
“That’s not weird.”
“If this is weird, then they shouldn’t have beaten me since I was young. I got hit because I was weak. The tables have turned now that I’m stronger. Of course, they didn’t know I was stronger until they were hit. It’s common for Kangho people to fight when voices are raised. Anyway, the family can’t treat me carelessly anymore. I think he even thought about kicking me out of the family, but no way. They raised me when they needed me, and now they want to kick me out? This damned family….”
With a loud bang, Pervert Demon puts down his glass.
“That’s our clan. Wind Cloud Mong Clan, a wonderful family.”
Having never seen anyone beat up their father and brother, I pretend to scratch the back of my head and then smack Pervert Demon’s head on a whim.
With a thud, Sword Demon grabs his head.
“Are you insane? What was that for?”
“Just take it, you punk. There is no reason. Fight me if you feel wronged. According to your logic, can’t the strong keep beating the weak? If you’re going to live with that logic, join the cult. Go, beat the weaker ones happily, grow fast and lick the cult leader’s foot. You’re weaker than the cult leader anyway. Am I right?”
“What the hell? Why would I join the cult?”
“If you beat your father and stepbrother, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Why won’t you go in?”
“I already told you I got hit a lot when I was young.”
I suddenly touch his nose and give another quick smack at the distracted Pervert Demon.
“Is it the same back then and now?”
I pour out a drink and stare at Pervert Demon.
“If you’ve grown up in great health, be independent. Instead of muttering bullshit. I told you before, right? You’re no better than your father. If you’re over twenty years old, gain independence and build a decent family. Don’t rant about old silly stories when you get drunk. It’s a waste of alcohol. You punk.”
I put down my glass because Pervert Demon was glaring at me murderously.
“Why, wanna go for a round?”
“Let’s go, you bastard.”
I spring to my feet at the table with Pervert Demon. Pervert Demon runs his mouth in a strained voice.
“Take me to a wide place.”
While walking down the narrow stairs shoulder to shoulder with Pervert Demon, Sword Demon’s voice echoed gently throughout the Plum Blossom Pavilion.
“Our Low-Down Sect Leader… and disciple.”
The two of us stop walking and answer in turn.
“Please say it.”
Sword Demon’s calm voice continues above.
“…I won’t stop you. But only use physical martial arts. Do not use Qi.”
I thought he would stop the fight, so it was an unexpected demand. I make eye contact with Pervert Demon and then we reply to him one after another.
As I go down the stairs, Sword Demon lets out an exasperated sigh.
Hi everyone! Just for some cultural context, Zaha makes this comment about double surnames to emphasize the class difference. Double surnames, also known as compound surnames, are surnames that use more than one character. Take for example Lee(one character) versus Sima(two characters). These compound surnames derive from Zhou dynasty Chinese noble and official titles which hints about how the Pervert Demon was getting with girls who were coming from higher ranking families- making it all the more taboo (lol). If you wanna learn more refer to this article. ↩️
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