As I declare a duel with Cho Sam-pyung, the black-robed man looks at the crowd around us.
"Everyone, step back and stay out of the fight. The Zaha Inn errand boy and the Cherry Blossom Pavilion owner Cho Sam-pyung will have a duel. I, Neung Ji-seok of the Dark Hurricane Castle (黑扇堡), shall be the witness."
The Dark Hurricane Castle is a fairly prominent group in Ilyang Prefecture. They are an Unorthodox Sect that profits from gambling and auctions.
As everyone, including Cho Sam-pyung's men, moves back, a ring forms in front of the still-blazing Zaha Inn.
While Cho Sam-pyung draws his sword with a sour look, I look at Neung Ji-seok.
He spoke as if he'd given Cho Sam-pyung a fair chance, but he wasn’t.
He wants to gauge my skills while I fight against Cho Sam-pyeong to figure out his chances if he chooses to step in.
This kind of sly behavior is common in Kangho. I might not know how to make basic chicken noodle soup, but I know these tricks very well.
For a moment, I watch the Zaha Inn as it is engulfed in flames before drawing the whip from around my waist. Alert flashes across Cho Sam-pyung's face as I ask.
"What's with the whip? Draw your sword."
"This is perfect for a dog."
Ignoring Cho Sam-pyung's nonsense, I swing the whip.
The whip flashes between Cho Sam-pyung's feet at speed, causing him to jump up and down like a crazed dog.
I crack the whip with a stern look but purposefully miss his body.
Since I am using the Wood Chicken’s energy in the attack, any contact would have torn off his flesh.
But I need to hide my skills from Neung Ji-seok so I swing the whip roughly with just a bit of internal energy.
This is why a whip is excellent.
It looks threatening even if you swing it roughly once you support it with internal energy.
I will only pull out my sword if Neung Ji-seok interferes.
Cho Sam-pyung tries to narrow the distance by jumping around. Still, his sword techniques are shallow, and his internal cultivation is lacking compared to mine.
They're all the same, whether it's Cho Il-sum or Cho Sam-pyung.
I use the whip as if I am beating a crazy monkey that came to terrorize the town.
'It's best for people like you to disappear from this town forever.'
Once I am confident that Neung Ji-seok will not interfere, my whip begins to lash directly at Cho Sam-pyung.
Whip! Slap! Slap! Slap!
As the buzz of spectators begins to quiet, only the screams of Cho Sam-pyung being whipped is heard.
His face and clothes turn ragged.
I whip Cho Sam-pyung's sword away and exchange glances with Neung Ji-seok. Seeing that I am overwhelming Cho Sam-pyung with my skills, Neung Ji-seok smirks and gestures for me to do whatever I please.
It looks like a gesture asking if I could kill Cho Sam-pyung.
Or it could also mean something else.
Whatever it means, I have no intention of keeping Cho Sam-pyung alive.
I grab and pull the struggling Cho Sam-pyung by the neck with the whip and lash out at the top of his forehead.
Cho Sam-pyung's body collapses to the ground as he dies instantly.
Confirming the death of Cho Sam-pyung, Neung Ji-seok says in a deliberately nonchalant voice.
"I'll admit, that was quite the duel. One day, we'll meet again."
I swing the whip as soon as Neung Ji-seok attempts to walk away.
I aim the curved whip at Neung Ji-seok's neck, making him urgently pull out his sword to block it.
As the whip wraps around the long sword, I tighten it horizontally.
Neung Ji-seok looks at me with shock in his eyes.
"What? How dare you touch the Black Hurricane Castle's…"
Neung Ji-seok hurriedly closes his mouth as my energy shoots through the whip.
Looking at Neung Ji-seok, I say.
"I don't care who you are…"
I'm not the kind of person who'll just let a guy watch and then sneak out of my sight.
What's more, he's a bastard who watched the inn burn down. Even if Cho Sam-pyung raped or killed a woman, he would probably stand and watch.
He's an opportunist, so it's even more disgusting.
Above all, I have no intention of letting him go because I already know all of the Black Hurricane Castle's sins.
At that moment, I channel the energy of the Fire Chicken through my whip and into Neung Ji-seok’s sword..
Subsequently, a reddish light begins to radiate from the surface of the whip, and the color of Neung Ji-seok's sword also begins to change.
In addition, my eyes also become similar in color to the burning Zaha Inn.
As Neung Ji-seok confirms that his internal cultivation is weaker than mine, his face trembles.
'This won't do.'
Neung Ji-seok drops his sword and runs as he utilizes his movement skill. His life is more important than the sword. Showing his experience, he seizes the momentary opening when the whip collides with his internal energy.
I jump straight into the air.
Neung Ji-seok seems to try to hide and disappear within the crowd, which is a fatal mistake.
I step on the shoulders of the onlookers. After stepping on five or six shoulders, I outpace the escaping Neung Ji-seok. With a light push on a man's shoulder, I land in front of Neung Ji-seok.
Neung Ji-seok gathers all of his internal energy and launches it at me through both of his palms in a concentrated blow.
I draw my sword diagonally and channel the Fire Chicken's energy through its blade, covering it with a tornado of flame.
Neung Ji-seok's attack covers my vision momentarily before being split by my sword.
The two of us make eye contact for the last time.
As soon as Neung Ji-seok prepares for a counterattack, I draw the sword diagonally again.
A long bloody line forms, and Neung Ji-seok's body splits into two and drops to the floor with a splattering sound.
I glare at both halves of Neung Ji-seok.
I could feel the crowd's gaze looking at both the body and myself.
As I shake the blood off the sword, I tell the onlookers.
"The fire show is over. Everyone go home."
At that moment, I did not forget about Cho Sam-pyung's underlings.
"Cho Sam-pyung's men, stay. I'll go after you and send you to your boss if you run."
Those who open stores must go to bed and get up early. The citizens scatter away in a hurry, and Cho Sam-pyung's henchmen remain.
All seven of them.
I sit in a chair that remains intact outside the inn and stare at Cho Sam-pyung's dogs.
Since I beat Cho Sam-pyung and Neung Ji-seok to death, they are trembling from head to toe.
I suddenly thought.
These bastards are just as problematic as Cho Sam-pyung.
They are dumbasses who would kill someone because they are scared of their boss and burn down other people's houses just because they are ordered to.
Naturally, my Crazy Demon voice flows out.
"Don't just stand there and get down on your knees, you fucking bastards, if you don't want to follow Cho Sam-pyung."
All seven fall to their knees at the same time.
"Why did you burn someone else's house? An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Do you want me to burn you too?"
"Answer me. Why did you set someone else's house on fire?"
"We were ordered to do so. I'm sorry."
"We didn't have any bad intentions."
Similar answers come from their mouths.
"You can't burn someone else's house without feeling anything. Should I also kill you guys without feeling anything?"
"If I hadn't killed Cho Sam-pyung, you would have had to lick his boots for the rest of your life."
These guys are men who have never been responsible for anything in their lives. Because they are scared, they follow everything Cho Sam-pyung ordered and allow him to commit evil deeds to his heart's content. It is worthless to kill these guys.
But there is something they need to do.
"I want you to rebuild the Zaha Inn completely. Cha Sung-tae and all the guys in the pavilions will all come together and help as well."
Everyone looks puzzled when they are told to rebuild it, but it's what I said.
The Zaha Inn is at a good spot where the sunrise and sunset can be easily seen and is also my home.
Although I didn't make good chicken noodle soup, there is no need for the inn to be demolished.
Now that it is burned down, I will make it into a better inn.
If someone sets it on fire again, I will catch the culprit and have them restore it again.
If the Zaha Inn burns down ten times, I will rebuild it ten times. That's where my past and present are different.
It was up to them to set the fire, but if I caught them, they would have to clean the ashes first and then restore it the same way.
The seven of them agonize over the order.
"How are we supposed to rebuild it?"
"What do you mean, how? You carry the stones, build the walls, and spread the soil yourself. Cha Sung-tae will pay for the necessary expenses. If we don't have enough men, the guys in the pavilion will help."
Late to the scene, Cha Sung-tae finally approaches and replies to my words.
"...Is Cho Sam-pyung dead?”
I point to Cho Sam-pyung's body with my chin. As Cha Sung-tae looks at the corpse, he also discovers the remnants of the Zaha Inn.
"It's completely burnt down."
The usually playful Cha Sung-tae becomes serious for a moment. The outcome he is unsure and wary of happened in the end.
'The errand boy won. I can't believe my eyes.'
I call Cha Sung-tae, who is staring at the Zaha Inn.
Cha Sung-tae turns around with a smile.
"Yes, go ahead."
I point to the seven people and say.
"Do you know all of them?"
"Of course. They're guys that are much, much, lower in rank than me."
"Manage the restoration of the Zaha Inn. Take all your men and rebuild my Zaha Inn. Perfectly."
Cha Sung-tae's words make me smirk.
"A joke is a joke, and the truth is the truth, but I’m not joking."
Cha Sung-tae looks at my serious eyes and lowers his head slightly.
"We will rebuild it and make it better than before. The land here is quite big. Shall we rebuild it in the form of a pavilion? Or should we restore it to an inn where anyone can come and go comfortably like before? It used to be one-story, but we'll restore it to a magnificent two-story building."
"Let's build the walls around the outside to make space inside."
"Build a training hall and a backyard."
"Do you mean we're making a Murim Clan house and not a guest inn?"
"Have you never made a Murim Clan house that's like a guest inn? Is there anything you can do?"
"Can it work that way too? Then I'll create a guest inn-like Murim Clan, the Zaha Inn School (紫霞客盞門)."
Cha Sung-tae checks on the seven people's conditions. They are all terrorized and in bad shape.
Since Cha Sung-tae and the scum are together, I have to make things certain.
"Those who remain in the pavilion will move to the Rebirth Sect. I'm saying this again, we won't hold back those who want to leave. Get them out of here after they've completed building the inn. Tell them if they run away. I'll hunt them down until the end of the world."
Here is the first principle of an organization, starting from its foundation.
A place where people who have nowhere to go and have hit rock bottom can gather.
Not a gathering of crazies, but a space for those who have nowhere else to go.
That's the Low-Down Sect I'd imagined.
In other words, it is a group of weak people who belong nowhere else. Creating an organization like this would make the Low-Down Sect the weakest organization in Kangho.
But it doesn't matter.
I just need to be stronger.
Human trash and those who reached rock bottom will come to me, and only my hands will be dirtied.
That's the duty of the Low-Down Sect’s Leader.
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