Chapter 141 - Why Bandits?

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From experience, it’s better not to talk after talking a lot. I imprinted the names “Low-Down Sect” and “Lee Zaha” in their minds and remained silent.

Suddenly, I am reminded of Im So-baek and the Murim Alliance heading to Tree Spirit Fortress.

He is a man who lived through a lot.

A man who lives hard for others, not for himself. This kind of man is what the world calls a chivalrous hero.

Leader Im, who I saw from afar in my past life, was stubborn, blunt, often quarreling with the heads of the unorthodox forces, and a merciless man to the cult.

But upon closer inspection…

Alliance Leader is a sharp man who charges in first, takes the lead in the battle frontline, and examines whether his men are injured.

He is also a man who chews on tasteless beef jerky, lies next to a bonfire, and walks around all night with his members.

In short, he is a man who doesn’t have much to laugh about.

Perhaps that’s why I could imagine Im So-baek’s expression very well, who was currently advancing to Tree Spirit Fortress.

A stiffened mouth, and a stoic expression that occasionally looks back at the march.

Like in his past life, Tree Spirit Fortress would only be exterminated if many of his men are injured while fighting them.

That’s why I hope shithead will greatly help Leader Im with his Ice Technique.

If that happens, Leader Im will be grateful…

Shithead will not become Pervert Demon but will remain as a shithead.

My conclusion is that being a shithead is better than being Pervert Demon.

The bandits are staring at me so hard that I have no choice but to open my mouth.

“Ask away if you have any questions, you morons.”

“What kind of organization is the Low Down?”

I nod and reply,

“It’s an organization that beats and kills people like you.”

“Why us?”

“The merchants with their old mothers waiting for them at home are caught by you while crossing the hill, get robbed, beaten, and sometimes die. You jackasses. Even your question is stupid. Who was that? Stand up.”

Another ignorant-looking guy stands up. Out of everyone, I happen to remember his name.

“Sit down, Woo Chun. You ignorant bastard.”

“Yes.”

I tell Jang San.

“San.”

“Yes.”

“Bring me some booze. Not the alcohol you guys normally drink, but the alcohol that your Leader Yayul, who left for the other world, enjoyed privately.”

“I understand.”

“Gu Jun, Gu Pyung.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Bring me some side dishes and the storage key.”

“Storage key?”

“There must be a place where Yayul collected his favorite mountain treasures. That key.”

Gu Jun and Gu Pyung answer as they stand up,

“Alright, we understand.”

As the three people leave, Jo Ga-sung asks me,

“Are you more powerful than Leader Yayul?”

I look at Jo Ga-sung.

‘Are these bastards childish because they are bandits? Or did they become a bandit because they were childish? Since I was originally as childish as them, I answer without much difficulty.’

“Didn’t he die soon after attacking Leader Im? Besides, Ghost Valley Sect Leader joined him too, right?”

“Yes.”

“The outcome would’ve been the same if he competed with me.”

“What if Leader Im and you go against each other?”

“That’s like asking, who wins if a tiger and a bear fight? All right, I can’t lose.”

I sigh and look at Jo Ga-sung and the other bandits. Everyone looks genuinely curious. Their mental age is young despite being people who rob others for a living.

“How old do you think Leader Im is?”

“He looked over 40.”

“What about me?”

“Early twenties.”

“Qi is accumulated through effort and time. I have to wait longer to compete with Leader Im. Of course, I’m at a disadvantage now. Even if Leader Im and I have similar fighting abilities, Leader Im has built over 20 years of Qi compared to me. Who would have the obvious advantage?”

“Leader Im.”

“That’s right.”

“Our Leader Yayul is well over forty, though?”

“That’s because he’s a moron. How can an old dog beat a bear?”

“I see.”

“And just because they are both leaders, that doesn’t make them the same.”

Only then did I realize that the bandits were all as mature as Jang San.

Soon after, the liquor arrived, so I share the liquor with the bandits.

After gulping down our drinks, Jang San asks me,

“Does that mean the Murim Alliance Leader is the scariest guy in Kangho?”

“Hm…”

I look at Jang San’s face. He’s asking out of curiosity. Although he is 19 years old, if he’d only spent his time in Namak, it means he doesn’t know much about Kangho.

I look at the bandits.

“Other than Leader Im, there are plenty of scary people.”

It is troublesome, but I explain after washing alcohol down my throat.

“You won’t encounter them since the world is big, but there is an Alliance Leader in the orthodox faction. You don’t need to know, but there are people who call themselves the Three Disasters. There’s also this guy called ‘The Greatest’ in a province. There is also the Evilest in The World that fights crazy freaks. There are also many powerful people who have no faction. However, if I had to pick the scariest man in Kangho, that would be the leader of Heavenly Demon Cult.”

“I’ve heard of the name.”

“Of course you have.”

“Leader Yayul said we shouldn’t mention his name carelessly.”

I nod.

“But it will be hard for you to see him in person. Do you know why?”

“Why?”

“Because even grown men fear him”

“Have you met him before?”

“I saw his portrait. His height is about two heads taller than Jang San, and his shoulders are wider than Jang San. Maybe it’s because he’s too tall, he hunches. His hair is black and glossy. It’s probably because he’s a pervert. His voice sounds as uncomfortable as the sound of clashing swords. Should I say talking to him is suffocating? He’s a menace. Not human.”

“You said you saw his wanted poster; how do you know what he sounds like?”

“Shut up, Woo Chun.”

“Sorry.”

“About his face. His eyes bulge forward, and his cheekbones rise high like hills. His chin is square-shaped, and his mouth is big like a catfish. He doesn’t feel any emotion when killing people. He normally speaks with a smile and kills with a smile. There are times when you feel intimidated just by looking at people’s faces, that’s the case for him. He’s so ugly that he’ll emerge once in a thousand years.”

Jang San replies,

“Does being ugly have anything to do with being scary?”

“Let me correct myself. He looks so bizarre that he might emerge once in a thousand years.”

Suddenly, cold wind blows, and the bandits gulp their saliva.

I take a slow look at the bandits’ expression. If any of them were a cult member, I would be furious.

‘Nah.’

Gu Jun came to me and gave me a pile of keys, and Gu Pyeong gave out the fruits he had brought in a large basket as well as dry snacks.

As soon as I get drunk, the marching alliance members flash before my eyes. It is uncomfortable to leave these guys alone, and uncomfortable to drink here while the alliance is fighting for their lives.

Still, the bandits are childish and honest, so I convey my honest feelings in words.

“This tastes nasty.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. Is it because I’m drinking with ignorant people?”

At this point, I ask the bandits a question that reaches the peak of childishness.

“But you know.”

“Yes.”

“If bandits and pirates fight, who do you think will win?”

“…….”

I glance at the bandits while chewing on dry snacks.

“Who will win if Namak Sect and Tree Spirit Fortress go against each other? I heard Gui Do is pretty good. Your leader is gone, and you’re a bunch of fools, so you’re no match, right? Well, that’s probably the end since you bully people who don’t master martial arts. What’s the point?”

“…….”

“But the bandits who followed Leader Im are lucky.”

“How so?”

“Think about it. Thanks to me, no alliance members died. In such a situation, bandits joined the alliance to exterminate the Tree Spirit Fortress and made a contribution. Let’s say they killed three or four pirates out of bravery. By showing off their bravery, what would happen? Since ancient times, there has been a concept of a defeated general on the battlefield.”

“What’s a defeated general?”

“It’s a general who surrenders, you punk. Not a happy general. In any case, if a surrendered general makes a contribution, he will be treated with honor. Even if they were a bandit who killed a few pirates? Of course, they will take a separate entrance exam to the alliance, but there is that much possibility of becoming an alliance member. This is how incredible fate is. How does it feel to become part of the alliance when you were a bandit?”

I look far away with my chin propped.

“Let’s imagine for a second. I was a bandit and became a Murim Alliance member… Ah, did I go too far? This won’t do.”

Jang San asks me while everyone held still with bated breath.

“What is the Murim entrance exam?”

“You have to take a test to get into Murim Alliance. They will see both physical strength and personality. In the case of ordinary members, they won’t test your martial arts skills. They’ll train you anyway. As far as I know, they drag applicants for more than a dozen days, push them to the limit through all sorts of harsh training, and then select successful applicants. This is what I heard; I’ve never taken the entrance exam.”

“I thought martial art skills would be mandatory.”

“There must be some who pass with that. For those who enter the special recruitment, it’s the same.”

Looking at Jang San quietly, I say,

“Hey, San.”

“Yes.”

“Since you are 19, if you are lucky enough to enter the alliance, you will be able to work inside for about 30 or 40 years. The alliance pays well. The treatment is good. If you say you’re a member, you won’t be ignored. Most of the people who belong to the orthodox are brothers, so there is mutual respect. Though they are from different affiliates, they share the same views.”

Of course, there are some rude people like Sima Hak from Sima Family Clan but there is no need to tell the bandits.

I look at Jang San while drinking alcohol from the gourd.

“Jang San of the alliance. How does it sound?

Jang San replies with a smile.

“Sounds good.”

“Do you like it?”

“Yes.”

I reply with a straight face.

“What’s good about that, you bandit jerk?”

When Jang San’s face turns red, other bandits laugh at the same time.

“Hahahahaha…”

I laugh along with the bandits and continue.

“Let’s say Jang San enters the alliance….”

“Yes.”

“After enduring years of tiresome training, you’ve finally entered an elite organization. Let’s say you got into a swordsmen faction or battalion. You go around beating up the orthodox. Track down Murim’s public enemy and exterminate them. You are always set up to settle the dispute between the two factions. You get promoted, get married, and lived a very happy life.”

I look at the smiling bandits and speak in a different tone.

“One day, you get attacked by bandits and die.”

“…….”

“Jang San’s skills are enough to fend them off, but one arrow strikes his side, and he is stabbed by a knife while fighting. In the newlywed house near the alliance, his newly married bride waits all night.”

These ignorant bandits look at me with their stiffened faces.

“…….”

I continue with a nonchalant expression.

“Leader Im, whose hair has turned white, will receive a report in his office. A man from Seven Sword Squad died during his mission. Then Leader Im will ask. Who is Jang San? He will probably ask even though he knows the answer. His subordinate will answer. He used to be a bandit, but at the recommendation of the Low-Down Sect Leader, he took the entrance exam….”

I say, nodding my head with a blunt expression like Im So-baek.

“Oh, that guy. I remember him. He will ask the one who reported it with a blunt face. Who killed him? He was attacked by a bandit. Leader Im will say okay, then send his men off and sit alone for a while. Because he needs time to get his act together. Leader Im receives death reports of his members. He needs time to hang in there so he doesn’t go crazy. I don’t know if you noticed, but Leader Im did not look at you with bloodshot eyes after killing Leader Yayul but looked at his subordinates.”

“…….”

“Were any of the members attacked by the bandits? - kind of look.”

Staring at the bandits, I continue.

“Im So-baek is a man on the verge of madness. It is pure luck that you did not die by either my or Leader Im’s hands. Heaven has blessed you and given you a chance to live, so stop this goddamn banditry. Do you understand?

“Yes.”

I purposely make eye contact with Jang San.

“Jang San.”

“Yes, sir.”

“You lived as a bandit yesterday and today, but you don’t have to do that forever. Look at the world a little more before you bully the weak. There are many ways to live, and ignorance is not a sin. You can learn.”

I look around at the bandits.

“I’m usually a man who talks back and forth, but I’m a man who keeps promises. Trust me and live a different life than yesterday.”

I take a sip and recite in a calm tone.

“You’re born as strong and worthy men, why bandits?”

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