Unorthodox Factions all share one thing in common when they emerge as one of the most fearsome forces in Kangho.
The hierarchy within the faction thinks of each other as brothers (兄弟).
It is difficult to measure the forces of the Unorthodox Factions just using a simple headcount as they are a force that fights violently when they lose their brothers.
This is the essence of Unorthodox Factions.
The power of Kangho warriors can be classified mainly into internal and external cultivation. Still, the power induced by human anger cannot be understood rationally. But of course, these guys kneeling in front of me are not strong enough to consider each other brothers.
No one will step up even if the leader is dead.
Looking at the table, the food is steadily becoming colder by the minute.
“Let’s talk after filling my stomach. Wow, it’s a feast.”
I taste the food spread with chopsticks in my hand and watch the kneeling men.
A man asks me in a cautious tone.
“Are you going to spare us?”
Munching at the meat of a whole roast chicken, I reply.
“That’ll make things difficult for me. Why should I?”
When I state that it would be difficult, a few exchange glances.
Watching them do so, I warn.
“I won’t beat up dogs when I eat. If you make me into a crazy dog during the meal, I’ll kill you in a crueler way than your leader over there. Calm down if you don’t want to die now.”
As soon as they hear my unusual threat, they become silent and wait.
The guy who opened his mouth earlier asks again.
“Is there anything you want? If you try to kill us all, we will have no choice but to fight to the death. Please let us go.”
I look at the man whose words are a mixture of a clever suggestion and a threat.
“Are you a negotiator? Why don’t you tell me who you are first and come up with a proposal?”
A ponytailed-man, his appearance being relatively plain for an Unorthodox Faction member, answers my question.
“My name is Sima Bi (司馬飛), a secret inspector.”
I go through the memory of my past life for a moment.
These guys originally died for crimes related to the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader, so there wasn’t much information about them. I know most of the future, so the less prominent they are, the more likely I don’t know anything about them.
“Ponytail, what do you think is happening?”
Sima Bi answers honestly to survive.
“It seems like something completely unexpected has happened.”
“You never thought I’d win.”
“Yes. To tell you the truth, if we were as skilled as our leader, we would have joined in and overpowered you.”
“I didn’t think that was the full extent of your skills, so I had to restrain a few men who wanted to jump in.”
“Not bad. You saw through my tricks. This errand boy conceals his martial art abilities.”
I was like that too in my previous life.
Hiding my actual skills is always effective and fun at the same time. I scan Sima Bi’s gaze and face and say,
“Was it Sima Bi? You look like you could be a military advisor (軍師).”
Despite hearing praise, Sima Bi’s expression is grim.
“Do you know physiognomy?”
I point at Sima Bi with a chicken bone.
“Your face looks like a military advisor, so I’ll spare you. It’s human nature to survive if you’re quick-witted. You pass.”
Sima Bi replies with a startled look.
“Huh? What about the rest?”
“Who do you think will report this to the Black Rabbit Union?”
“We will never report it.”
“Impossible. If all-out war breaks out with the Black Rabbit Union, I’ll get tired out. The rest of you, bring it on. You can come at me all at once.”
I throw chicken bones everywhere as if I am about to fight again.
Sima Bi exclaims hastily and, after trying to calm down his riled-up colleague, says.
“What if no one informs the Black Rabbit Union about what happened?”
I reply with a cold expression.
“How can I believe that? It’s impossible.”
“Do you trust me?”
I glare at Sima Bi.
“You’ll go report it? Whether it’s from your eloquent speech or looks, something tells me you’re the next leader in charge…”
“Do you think you’ll survive if you report it to your higher-ups? Even if you survived, you’d be treated like an imbecile. You watched the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader die without a single scratch. You’ll die if you return to the Black Rabbit Union. Well, the rest might rise in the Black Rabbit Union. Half of them are traitors anyway.”
Only then is Sima Bi hit by the harsh reality.
It goes without saying, this is how the Black Rabbit Union operates.
Moreover, Sima Bi had closed one eye to the pavilion leader’s embezzlement even though he was an inspector. Hence his sins aren’t any lighter than the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader.
When I try to draw my sword, Sima Bi says urgently.
“I have an idea! Please listen to what I have to say and then decide. I’m begging you.”
I respond with a smile.
“Oh, already? I thought only the reincarnation of Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi would be able to think of an idea so fast.”
“We can step up and embezzle the money in the cabin. We’ll be committing a crime. All together.”
As soon as Sima Bi finishes, a chilly wind blows.
Sima Bi continues desperately.
“There’s a lot of money that the leader embezzled hidden in the cabin. If it reaches the higher-ups, everyone in the Golden Phoenix Pavilion will die since we cooperated.”
“How can we let them know the money was embezzled?”
“We’ll take the money to the Ilyang Prefecture. We’re moving the money together, so we become accomplices. There’s no way for us to escape.”
“If word gets out, the Black Rabbit Union will come after us, though?”
Sima Bi says.
“This is how we’ll burn the bridges. Didn’t you brace yourself for this when you killed the leader? We’ll join the burning bridge too. If we keep our mouths shut to live, we’ll be able to buy some time. All of this is better than dying here right now.”
This guy seems to be mistaken.
Even if the whole Black Rabbit Union comes at me, they won’t be able to catch me anyway.
Compared to the Murim Alliance’s Heaven and Earth Net, they are just at the level of aspiring Kangho warriors bragging in martial arts schools and academies. Compared to the Demon Cult’s version of the Heaven and Earth Net, they’re not even worth a speck of dust.
I was the one who ate three meals a day inside the Murim Alliance and Demon Cult’s nets.
There’s no need to say this aloud as a boast, though.
“That’s also true. It’s bound to happen anyway now that the leader is dead. Then I’ll keep an eye on the procession, you guys carry the money. We should commit crimes together.”
Thinking he had just saved his colleagues, Sima Bi happily advises him like a loyal soldier.
“There are several ways to weave about the missing leader. His relationship is turning sour with the Black Hurricane Castle recently and they also have the Twelve Generals.”
“Advisor Sima, don’t get involved with the Twelve Generals, they’re trouble.”
I look at Sima Bi seriously.
“You said your surname is Sima.”
“Then you’re Advisor Sima. Although you’re not an Advisor General (大軍師) yet.”
Traditionally, when a sect recruits an advisor, those from the Sima or Zhuge families are the best.1
I don’t know why.
How can I know everything about the world?
Whether Sima Bi likes it or not, I am recruiting this guy as an advisor.
“I will arrive in Ilyang Prefecture within one hour. Advisor Sima, join me in overseeing the procession. You take the lead, and I’ll secure the back. If bandits get in the way, I’ll kill them. Let’s go.”
Sima Bi replies.
Sima Bi assembles his colleagues for a moment and consoles them as if to dissolve the chaotic atmosphere.
“This is our only way to survive. It’s been a close call lately anyway. The cabin would have been robbed if we got a leader from another faction to take over. We will die since our leader died anyway. What do you all think?”
Sima Bi is a man who had no way out after receiving bribes from the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader.
“Let’s do that.”
I leave the slush fund operation to Sima Bi, lift my chopsticks again, and resume eating. Then, I call Hyeok Ryeon-hong, who is walking around with a pale expression.
“Messenger Hyeok Ryeon-hong, it’s nice to see you again alive like this. Come here.”
Hyeok Ryeon-hong, who’d once presented himself as a messenger, approaches timidly. He is intimidated after watching the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader die without much struggle.
“Are you going to run when you see a chance? Your eyes are wavering.”
“No, I have no intention to do so.”
“Right? You better not. I’m way faster than you. The only place you can run to is the afterlife. The weather is sunny today, so I’m ending my killing with the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader. Don’t try to show off your agility here, or else someone will die.”
“As you know, I feel sick when I see blood when I eat.”
Hyeok Ryeon-hong’s expression turns ghastly.
“This is for the best. I can only kill all of you if anything goes wrong. If you’ve killed as much as your leader, I’d be annoyed since I have to keep killing sloppy bastards. So don’t push it. Do you understand?”
I am not exactly happy because I’m not interested in money.
Hence, this money will be spent on rebuilding the Zaha Inn to resemble a Murim Clan building, with the remainder going into buying placebo supplements to serve as a palate cleanser.
Money will be distributed to moneymakers, like petals flowing down the sky.
Money isn’t important to a Kangho warrior who might lose their life someday.
Money is to be earned and spent.
I would be satisfied if I could just eat rice soup for every meal and beat up crazy bastards every day.
This is what seeking pleasure in poverty means.
I return with the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader’s subordinates and wealth like a triumphant general. All the merchants came out to see the prizes I came back with.
While the slush fund is safely transferred to the Plum Blossom Pavilion, I tell Sima Bi.
“The embezzlement plan was a success.”
Sima Bi replies.
“Yes, now that we’ve moved the money we took together, there’s no reason for us to go back. Thank you for your generosity.”
I reply in an aloof tone.
“You don’t have to thank me. I don’t intend to spare anyone who causes trouble under my nose.”
“I’ll keep everyone in check so it won’t happen.”
“You should also think about what these useless bastards will work on at this point.”
“What jobs are available?”
“The market here is currently developing, so they can’t focus only on training martial arts like members of the Unorthodox Factions. They can work in vendor shops, smithies, inns, and construction. They can’t work in the pavilions since many women work there, as there’s bound to be a problem. Go discuss with those morons.”
“I have a lot of sub-sects under me. Please note if more people from Unorthodox Factions want to join us in the future, we will create a temporary Black Sect (黑門). Until then, we’ll operate normally. For useless idiots who can’t do anything normal…”
My stomach prickles as I say those words.
It prickles as I am reminded of chicken noodle soup.
“Understood. You said there were many sub-sects. What’s the name of the main sect?”
I look at Sima Bi’s face and say.
“We are the unrivaled Low-Down Sect.”
“The Low-Down Sect…… I’ve never heard of it before.”
Furrowing my brows, I reply.
“Is that so? You’ve never heard of it?”
“Ah, yes. My apologies. I’m not very knowledgeable about things like these…”
“It’s okay. It’s a sect I threw together not long ago. But the point is I created it, I didn’t just make it up randomly.”
Sima Bi, who did not understand what I was saying, hurriedly puts his expression under control and replies.
“Oh, I see.”
The name ‘Low-Down’ gives a connotation of a nasty and low status making Sima Bi think that it is unfit for s faction’s name, but he couldn’t voice this thought out loud.
As Sima Bi is wearing a blank expression, I ask him.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Ah, yes… I was thinking how you said it was unrivaled.”
“I mean that no one in this world can stoop lower than us.”
Sima Bi immediately understands.
“What? You don’t agree?”
“No, that applies to me. I’m the same. Ranked at the bottom.”
I nod with a serious look on my face.
“Then that’s fine.”
I then added after a moment.
Sima Bi smiles for the first time and then responds, hurriedly trying to control his expression.
Sima Yi and Zhuge Liang are famous military advisors in the Chinese dynasty. ↩️
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