Chapter 40 - Be Nice When He Smiles At You.

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With her pressure points sealed and bound tightly in ropes, Hong-shin could not move at all.

Furthermore, the place she is being kept in is a shabby barn.

Rather than feeling scared, she sighs instead. If she had noticed her opponent’s character earlier, she would have run away.

Amid her captivity, she racks her mind to figure out how to persuade her captor. Then the man posing as the Black Rabbit Union Leader appears. But she still has no good ideas. Looking at the unfamiliar eyes closely, she gets a strange feeling.

‘I don’t think he’s a normal nutjob.’

It is also the first time Hong-shin senses such an unusual madness from a person’s eyes. It is also strange that those eyes didn’t seem to only be filled with sheer madness.

A sense of arrogance that is mixed with confidence and pride.

Also, there is a stubbornness that refuses to listen to others.

Is that all? Whether he is joking or being serious is uncertain. The vagueness appears not only in his eyes but also in his voice.

In short, Hong-shin concludes that the man is no ordinary lunatic. The judgment isn’t made just based on his gaze, but she reaches a conclusion after having sparred and talked to the man.

However, a moment later, it isn’t the fake leader of the Black Rabbit Union who appears. Instead, it is Manager Byuk, who she has met before.

Feeling a sense of foreboding, Hong-shin opens her mouth.

“Manager Byuk, what are you doing here?”

Manager Byuk answers as he enters.

“I’m here under the orders of our leader. Excuse my rudeness.”

“If you think it’s rude, why don’t you leave already?”

“Can a person under orders do that? I have to do what I’m told.”

Then other people also come in, placing a small desk and chair, before leaving as abruptly as they came. Manager Byuk takes a seat and takes out a thin brush and paper.

Hong-shin asks in astonishment.

“What are you doing?”

Manager Byuk grins while holding his brush.

“Our leader instructed me to draw a portrait of your face, General Hong-shin. I’m too old to protest. If he asks me to draw, I draw. He’s more terrifying than you would expect. I’m only following orders, so please don’t hate me for it.”

Hong-shin shouts.

“Why my face?”

Suddenly, Hong-shin eyes Manager Byuk as if he is an old pervert.

Manager Byuk replies while sticking out his brush to measure her by eye and estimate the angles.

“If you flee from the Twelve Generals or refuse to cooperate with the Black Rabbit Union, I will hand this wanted poster to the Murim Alliance. Have you heard of the anonymity report center of the Murim Alliance? I’m going to deliver it there. You’ve earned a reputation for stealing, haven’t you? Hold still. I’ll draw you in detail. I don’t know if I can say this…”

“What?”

“You have a great body.”

“Shut up!”

Manager Byuk laughs like a maniac with a brush in his hand.

“Hehehehe, I mean, as a work of art. Don’t get me wrong. Let’s get started.”

“What the hell are you staring at?”

“How can I draw you without looking at you? To draw mountains, you have to look at mountains. To draw water, you have to look at water, no?”

Hong-shin feels her skin break out in goosebumps as she listens to Manager Byuk’s garbage.

“Manager Byuk, please call Brother here.”

“He’ll be here in time after his nap. Please don’t whine.”

“Hey!”

“Though you’re a general ranking about the same as our leader, I do not appreciate hearing someone my granddaughter’s age speak informally to me. It’s very unpleasant.”

“So what if it’s unpleasant?”

Hong-shin spits out venomous words in anger before realizing her mistake. Manager Byuk then threatens Hong-shin with a look of pity.

“Should I draw a nude portrait?”

“…”

Hong-shin finally quiets down. Manager Byuk grins.

“All right. That was a joke. It’ll only take a moment, so don’t resent me for it. If I want to live, I have no choice but to do this.”

Picking up his brush again, Manager Byuk observes her intently, measuring her angles from side to side before saying.

“Seeing as I have managed to survive long here, let me give you a word of advice.”

“I don’t need it.”

Even though she didn’t need it, Manager Byuk smiles and whispers to Hong-shin in a small voice.

“As you may have noticed, the former leader I served is dead.”

Hong-shin gulps and listens to Manager Byuk. The voice that comes out of Manager Byuk is bleak, like a strange old man who guards an abandoned shrine alone is speaking to her.

“He was sent flying to the wall, crushing the bones in his limbs without being able to defend himself, and he died. We didn’t have time to mourn. It wasn’t that sad. I didn’t serve him because I liked him anyway. I caught a glimpse of you earlier. You barely got a slap on the face… Listen when he talks with a smile. I haven’t figured out the new leader’s personality yet. Honestly, I expected General Hong-shin to have your limbs torn off and die. Be nice when he smiles at you.”

Manager Byuk takes his eyes off the painting and stares at Hong-shin.

“Do you understand?”

Hong-shin nods once. Manager Byuk uses his brush to measure again and says in his usual voice.

“Very well. Your posture is perfect. Stay just like that.”


As soon as I wake up to the loud drum in the training ground, I give orders to So Gun-pyeong and stagger to the barn.

Wearing the black robe I gave her, Hong-shin is perched with a spaced-out expression on her face.

Looking at Hong-shin and Manager Byuk, I say.

“What? What’s wrong with her? Did she steal something again?”

Hong-shin replies.

“I didn’t steal anything. Brother, you came.”

“Yeah.”

As I look at Manager Byuk’s sketch, he asks with a happy look.

“What do you think, Leader?”

I nod my head approvingly.

“You’ve moved Red Sister into a painting. Hahaha.”

“Thank you.”

“If she ever acts out of line, make multiple copies of the portrait and send them to the Murim Alliance, as well as any factions and noble families looking for thieves. She’ll have a bounty put on her head.”

“Without a question, Leader.”

“All right, off you go.”

“Yes, Leader.”

I squat down and look into Hong-shin’s eyes.

“Want me to let you go?”

“Yes.”

“I can’t do that. The pressure points are wearing off soon.”

Hong-shin then speaks with a tone of resignation.

“Who are you anyway? Your martial art styles are different, fighting stances are different, your voice is different, and your personalities are different. Above all, your gaze, eye shape, and even your eyes are different from Brother Rabbit.”

“Is it because you’re a thief? You have sharp eyes.”

“You can’t hide your identity with a mask. Who do you think you are to disrespect Dae Na-chal’s disciples? You think you can handle his wrath?”

“If I was afraid of Dae Na-chal, I wouldn’t have done any of this in the first place. Red Sister.”

“Don’t call me Sister.”

“Thieving bitch.”

“Fine, just call me sister. Anyway, ‘Brother.’ You kept me alive because you want something from me, right? Nothing is more important to me than money. With enough compensation, I can cooperate in whatever you have planned.”

Hong-shin smiles as she drags out her sentence. I’m not a man who over-calculates situations, so I go straight to the point.

“I’m going to kill Dae Na-chal.”

“…”

Hong-shin’s expression suddenly drops.

“Master Dae Na-chal is powerful. He’s stronger than most Kangho warriors think. He hides his true abilities with his notoriety. I don’t think you’re skilled enough for that, brother.”

“Well, I’ll try to keep your trivial opinion in mind. I’m an honest man. I just need to check whether you have it in you to betray Dae Na-chal. I won’t believe you even if you say you’d betray him right now.”

“Then what am I supposed to do? You won’t believe me even if I say I’ll betray him.”

“What do you mean? Either I’ll kill all Twelve Generals or lock them up in this barn and strike at Dae Na-chal directly. Aren’t you supposed to cut the limbs first before getting into the real deal?”

“Like you did to Brother Rabbit?”

I answer as I get up.

“Should I send you to that rabbit bastard?”

“No, how long will you keep me locked up here?”

“Chief So will soon bring a poison that he brewed. Who do you think will be drinking it? Of course, it’ll be you, Red Sister.”

Turning pale, Hong-shin says in a voice that seeks to appeal to me.

“Brother, don’t do this. Please just give me an order instead. I will not betray you and carry it out thoroughly. You even have a wanted poster of me.”

“Mmm, I don’t believe you.”

In any case, you can’t trust the Unorthodox Factions, and they are a species that can’t be trusted. In particular, I know that every word that this woman is spewing is a lie.

At this time, So Gun-pyeong comes in with a black pill enclosed in a white cloth.

“Leader, here is the Violet Mist Poison.”

“Feed it to her.”

So Gun-pyeong approaches without saying a word, opens Hong-shin’s mouth with his hands, and shoves Violet Mist Poison in. So Gun-pyeong then asks while looking at Hong-shin.

“She’s not swallowing. What should we do?”

“Beat her until she swallows.”

As soon as I finish my words, Hong-shin gulps down the poison. Hong-shin then speaks with a defeated look.

“Start talking. What do you want?”

I give the order based on what I remembered from the Twelve Generals Strategy Guide and what I learned in my past life.

“You have ten days. Until then, you can come back and take the antidote. Kill the White Rat (白子), Yellow Horse (黃午), and Green Dog (綠戌). Do you know why I only asked you to kill these three?”

Hong-shin naturally knows what these three generals have in common.

“They are notoriously known for their depravity, murder, and theft. But it’s impossible to kill three people in ten days. Just kill me now.”

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean. With your skills, it’s enough to take out one.”

“One?”

“If you bring one of the three within ten days, I’ll give you the antidote. And then we’ll continue our conversation from there. Free her.”

So Gun-pyeong approaches and releases the rope that was tightly tied around her. I approach Hong-shin, still trapped in a frozen state as she’s still immobilized, and say.

“You know how to assassinate someone as you have mastered stealing. Honestly, you can do it in ten days if you set your mind to it. The Twelve Generals can fight one another to death, so it won’t put you in danger from Dae Na-Chal.”

“Why don’t you kill them yourself? You’re good enough anyway.”

“It is inefficient for a chief commander to do what a general can do. Of course, you should be the one to do it, Sister.”

I finally release Hong-shin’s pressure points as I finish speaking. She then begins to stretch around before asking me a question.

“Now, tell me who you are. I just can’t seem to figure it out. Are you part of the Murim Alliance?”

“I’m just an errand boy from the next town over.”

So Gun-pyeong must be thinking that I am revealing my identity too easily, so he hurriedly looks at me.

“…!”

Hong-shin replies.

“I supposed you don’t want to tell me. I understand. I’ll kill one of the three generals and return. We can talk then.”

When Hong-shin gives a bizarre response to my answer, So Gun-pyeong quickly turns his face to Hong-shin, this time with a look of surprise.

“…!”

I call out to Hong-shin, who is leaving the barn in haste.

“Sister.”

“Yes?”

“You like gambling, right?”

“Of course.”

“When is the most exciting moment in gambling?”

“When you win with a reverse bet.”

I have tied Hong-shin’s interest and the direction of her life with a gambler’s reverse bet.

“It doesn’t matter if you have already taken the violet mist poison; the decision is still yours to make. You can side with Dae Na-chal, take the antidote, and reveal my identity. The compensation isn’t much if you win this war with me.”

Hong-shin looks back at me.

“What will I gain if you win against him, Brother?”

“Nothing much.”

“If it’s nothing much, why should I side with you?”

“You won’t have to see the pathetic sight of Dae Na-chal ordering his disciple around, asking them to bring him woman and fortune, kill people and steal.”

“It’d be tough to kill him, though? With the Four Generals and guards.”

I push my finger at Hong-shin’s forehead and say.

“I know… that’s why it’s a reverse bet. You have ten days to think about it.”

“I’m off.”

Hong-shin, who walks a few steps from the barn, suddenly sprints using her movement skill and disappears beyond the wall.

So Gun-pyeong asks with a sour face.

“I made the Violet Mist Poison in a rush. Will it be okay?”

“What did you use?”

“I just mixed laxatives and digestive medicine together with my hands. She might wet her pants on the way.”

“As expected, Chief So. You’re as meticulous as ever.”

“What if she noticed it’s not poison (蠱毒)?”

I lift my mask and grin.

“That’s all right. The only poison to a gambler is a reverse bet after all.”

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