Chapter 28 - A Fate of Getting His Ass Kicked

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The Black Rabbit Union (黑卯幇).

Wearing a black rabbit mask with eyeholes, the leader of Black Rabbit Union seats himself in a yoke-back chair and says.

“Manager Byuk, any news about the leader of the Golden Phoenix Pavilion?”

“We found a secret safe house. Judging from the situation, it looks like he was attacked and buried while present there. No other bodies were found, only traces of the fight with a master were evident on the ground. Upon investigation, it seems he died without much resistance.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader then asks.

“What about his subordinates?”

“We think only the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader died.”

“The leader is dead, but why did none of them return?”

“The rest of them were taken by a man named Lee Zaha from the Ilyang Prefecture.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader looks around and says.

“Who is this Lee Zaha? I’ve never heard of him.”

The executives cannot answer immediately and bow their heads in an apparent apology.

“Speak.”

“They say he’s an errand boy from the Ilyang Prefecture.”

A suffocating silence envelops the room.

“…An errand boy?”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader lifts his mask in frustration.

The executives bow their heads to avoid looking directly at the leader.

“Apologies, Leader”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader speaks with displeasure evident on his face.

“There’s no way a pavilion leader under the Black Rabbit Union can be beaten to death by an errand boy. Is there any possibility of it being the other Generals?”

“That’s not the case, sir. The pavilion owner, who we had allowed to set up a sect in Ilyang Prefecture, was also killed by him alongside all his brothers.”

“I suppose it might be a master from another region posing as an errand boy.”

“They say he’s an errand boy born and raised in Ilyang Prefecture.”

“How skilled was the Golden Phoenix Pavilion again?”

“He’s ranked 9th place for us, sir.”

“Rather high for a man who only manages money. Doesn’t that mean there’s a high chance all of you will fail if you go?”

The executives answer in unison.

“Please allow me to go.”

“Leader, I’ll make sure he’s dealt with.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader remains quiet without delivering any orders.

In the meantime, a man named So Gun-pyeong (邵珺平), leader of the Golden Dragon Pavilion, keeps his mouth closed.

The Black Rabbit Union Leader turns his eyes towards So Gun-pyeong.

The man is a repulsive subordinate that never takes the initiative.

The Black Rabbit Union’s forces were pulled in by Dae Na-chal by force and dumped onto his disciples. Hence, the bond between Union Leaders and subordinates typically is not great.

The executives breathe out a sigh of relief when their leader puts the mask back on.

One subordinate belatedly reports.

“Sir, while investigating the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader’s disappearance, there was evidence of embezzlement. It seems Lee Zaha took the money and returned to the Ilyang Prefecture.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader glares at his subordinates with fierce eyes.

“Embezzlement?”

“Yes.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader finally realizes how much his subordinates had deceived him. It was a mistake to leave the sect’s affairs entirely to these executives as he devoted his time to martial arts training. If this continues, there’s a high chance the master will strip him of his title.

The official who reported the incident says in a serious tone.

“If you send me to the Ilyang Prefecture, I’ll take care of the errand boy and retrieve all the stolen money.”

However, the Black Rabbit Union Leader’s eyes focus on the silent So Gun-pyeong.

“Not you. Chief So.”

So Gun-pyeong answers plainly.

“Yes, Leader.”

“Why do you keep silent whenever something happens?”

“Everyone said they would go, so I stayed quiet.”

“I’ve been told you’ve been training very hard recently.”

“I have been training as much as usual.”

“If you fought against the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader who you disliked, how many hits would it take for you to win? I am aware you are more skilled than him.”

So Gun-pyeong becomes lost in thought momentarily.

His competitor, the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader, is not skilled in martial arts. Still, they ranked the same in the Black Rabbit Union.

However, the gap in martial arts skills between them was wide.

The Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader was crazy for money. At the same time, he focuses only on martial arts training, so it’s offensive to be compared.

In So Gun-pyeong’s judgment, he thought he only needed il-da-kyung (一茶頃, time taken to drink a cup of tea) to win. However, thinking it will be better to keep his skills hidden, So Gun-pyeong responds.

“I’m not sure since I have never sparred with him, but I’m sure I can defeat him.”

“If he took the money straight to the Ilyang Prefecture without moving it somewhere else, he must be confident in taking on anyone from the Black Rabbit Union. I’d like to put your skills to the test this time.”

So Gun-pyeong replies.

“Understood.”

“As you know, the target is an errand boy. If you fail…”

“Yes.”

“You must end your own life. But if you succeed, I will put you in charge of the Golden Phoenix Pavilion Leader’s duties.”

At these words, So Gun-pyeong shoots his head up and stares at the eyes through the Black Rabbit Union Leader’s mask.

‘Are you serious? You want me to die?’

As soon as he looks into the eyes of the Black Rabbit Union Leader, he can tell that the man’s words are serious. It becomes hard to manage his facial expression, so he bows and replies.

“If I lose, I’ll die anyway. Then I’ll do as you say, Leader.”

Contrary to what he said, So Gun-pyeong has no intention of throwing himself into the fire.

So Gun-pyeong began considering discussing the issue with his subordinates, but then the Black Rabbit Union Leader said.

“There’s no need to drag your subordinates and cause a scene. Handle it alone.”

The order is also unexpected for So Gun-pyeong.

“What?”

“Do we need to cause a ruckus to kill a mere errand boy? If you’re not confident, I’ll send someone else.”

So Gun-pyeong replies in a reluctant voice.

“Not at all. Then I’ll do as promised.”

“If you die in the hands of the errand boy and don’t return, I will avenge you myself. Don’t let your guard down.”

The Black Rabbit Union Leader makes the order, but he is internally curious about this errand boy.

‘Is this a joke from one of the generals? But I can’t think of anyone doing this.’

The Black Rabbit Union Leader carefully looks at the faces of his subordinates through his mask.

Perhaps because the master built the troops by force, it is more challenging to bond with these subordinates than to train in martial arts.

The Black Rabbit Union Leader waves his hand and says.

“You can leave now.”

“Yes, sir.”

The Golden Dragon Pavilion Leader So Gun-pyeong remains alone in the main hall until everyone has left and looks around the Black Rabbit Union.

‘So this is how it feels to be ‘thrown out like an old shoe’.’

He wants to at least spit on the floor, but So Gun-pyeong manages to hold back.


I continue my seclusion in the pavilions and proceed to throw myself into training.

Ilyang Prefecture has been too quiet, so it will not be strange if something happens soon.

My daily life is monotonous.

Train, meditate, take a walk, eat, train, sleep, meditate and take another walk.

I eat most of my meals in the Chunyang Restaurant, so after a walk around Ilyang Prefecture, I head there as always.

Perhaps because it is early in the evening, only one other man is in the shop.

Jang Deuk-soo puts down a bowl of noodles in front of the customer and looks at me nervously.

“Long time no see. What can I get for you?”

“I’ll have something different instead of my usual rice soup. Make it spicy.”

“Spicy, huh? Coming right up.”

I sit at an empty table and look at the man dressed in black.

Strangely, people who like to wear black clothes have greater odds of being beaten up by me.

This man, who I see for the first time in Ilyang Province, has placed a unique-looking katana (曲刀) on the table.

In that very short moment, I realize that the man seems fairly skilful.

‘Wow…’

I also realize the nature of the man’s katana.

I didn’t know the man, but I’ve heard about that unique katana many times.

‘I was wondering who it was. So it was 18,000 Years (三百甲子) from the Unorthodox Faction.’

18,000 Years does not refer to his inner cultivation but is instead a nickname due to his strangely long life.

His nickname was derived from Shuo Dongfang’s nickname, a man who lived a very long life. This guy isn’t much right now, but the man that became a big shot in the Unorthodox Faction in a different future is sitting here eating noodles in the Chunyang Restaurant.

He slurps the noodles and calls for Jang Deuk-soo in the kitchen.

“Hey, owner.”

Jang Deuk-soo answers back.

“Yes, do you need anything else?”

“I heard there’s a guy named Lee Zaha in this town, do you know where I can find him?”

Jang Deuk-soo answers after a pause.

“Oh… him? I’m not sure. I haven’t seen him around lately.”

“Why? Did something happen to him?”

“Ah, he caused a lot of trouble around here. I suspect he’d run somewhere far away. So, why are you looking for Lee Zaha? Should I ask around for him?”

The head of the Vendor Sect is wise indeed.

Even though I am sitting across from the man, Jang Deuk-soo casually says that he hasn’t seen me recently.

I make intense eye contact with 18,000 Years.

“…”

He suddenly says with a smile.

“Lee Zaha is right in front of me, how dare you lie to my face? So the rumors are true, the people of the Ilyang Prefecture have really lost their minds.”

No sound is heard from the kitchen.

“…”

Amid the silence, Jang Deuk-soo reaches out for a pot lid. He’ll use it to protect himself if a hidden weapon comes flying his way.

The guy named 18,000 Years asks me while eating noodles.

“Errand boy, do you know who I am?”

Naturally, he thinks I wouldn’t recognize who he is.

Unfortunately, I am the informant of the Low-Down Sect, the prophet of the Low-Down Sect, the head of the Low-Down Sect, the founder of the Low-Down Sect, and a person who knows the future inside and out.

Especially those who are famous or will become famous in the future in Kangho. I was already very interested in Kangho masters even when I was still an errand boy or a cemetery caretaker.

I reply in an aloof tone.

“You’re So Gun-pyeong of the Black Rabbit Union, son of a bitch. Where are your manners?”

“…!”

So Gun-pyeong looks surprised, as if he has been caught stealing something. Actually, it isn’t that hard to guess it was the Black Rabbit Union, but he never could have imagined that I would get his name right.

So Gun-pyeong, who had arrived in the Ilyang Prefecture alone after being discarded like an old shoe, asks me with eyes as big as a saucer.

“Who the hell are you?”

I stare at So Gun-pyeong.

I don’t know if the guy destined to live up to 18,000 years is aware he’s facing the biggest crisis of his life. Seeing how he is still looking at me with rude eyes, he doesn’t seem to know yet.

As if he is curious about my identity, So Gun-pyeong asks again.

“Who are you really?”

“I am Lee Zaha and Lee Zaha is an errand boy. That’s who I am. You’ve come to the right place, is that what you’re asking? What, is that a riddle? Or was it a profound question? If so, then I’m not sure. It’s so profound I’ll need to think deep. Who am I?”

“Crazy bastard.”

Meanwhile, So Gun-pyeong eats the noodles with a slurping sound as if he’ll finish the noodles even if the sky collapses.

I speak towards the inanimate kitchen.

“Owner, are the spicy noodles not ready yet? I’m hungry.”

Jang Deuk-soo, holding the lid tightly like a shield, frowns.

‘This bastard is gonna die any minute, yet he still wants spicy noodles?’

Jang Deuk-soo replies after a pause.

“…We just ran out of noodles, sir.”

“The heck, is this how you do business?”

So Gun-pyeong, who is eating noodles, sneers.

“What a funny little town.”

I proceed to correct the remark from So Gun-pyeong.

“This town isn’t funny. I’ll make sure no Unorthodox Faction can even step foot into this place.”

So Gun-pyeong rinses his mouth with water and spits it on the floor.

“It’s never too late to say that crap after beating me. Owner, bill please.”

Jang Deuk-soo replies from the kitchen, thinking he would die if he took the money.

“Oh, don’t worry about it. I’m glad you enjoyed the noodles. I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you, and I overly jested with you. Please pardon me.”

So Gun-pyeong smiles.

“I ate, so I have to pay. Come and get it.”

I snort.

“He’s in the kitchen.”

Jang Deuk-soo replies to my words in a distant tone.

“W-Well…”

Only then does So Gun-pyeong direct his eyes at me.

However, unlike the usual Unorthodox Faction behaviour, So Gun-pyeong takes out money and calmly places it on the table.

Anyhow, he pays for his meal.

I don’t know if this guy knows about his own fate.

His fate has changed from being beaten half-dead to getting just his ass kicked…

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