“It doesn’t matter where I’m from.”
“What matters right now is that you don’t blink.”
Now his eyes are bloodshot. After a while, I see a tear flow down his face and warn him.
“Kangho’s Three Great Finger Flicking Technique.”
Making a surprise visit to the Cloud Rain Society and starting a staring contest with the gatekeeper? That’s me.
“Where am I from? It’s a long story. I was born to my parents, but I guess you weren’t asking about my origin. What town am I from? I don’t think you’re asking for a geographical location either. Which faction am I from? That’s probably what you’re asking, but that is also quite a long story. So…”
Running out of patience, the gatekeeper swallows and says.
“Please spare me.”
“Nope. A staring contest is a staring contest, a game is a game, and a forehead flick is a forehead flick.”
Anticipating the winner to be decided soon, I gather up my thumb and index finger, bring them close to my mouth, and blow hot air on them.
Losing his composure, he starts uttering nonsense.
“Let me pay for the credit.”
“I don’t need it.”
The moment his eyes blinked, I hit his forehead with a flick.
The gatekeeper somersaults backwards and lays on the floor unconscious.
After my victory over the gatekeeper, I walk inside and follow along the stone path. As I walk inside, I think of how insidious the structure of the quarters here is.
Perhaps because many of Mister Su’s followers are absent, the space is rather empty.
I stop by a small pond and look at the fish inside. Small fish swim around in it, whose names I do not recall. Amusingly, they are gathering at my feet as I look down at them, acting as if they are asking for food.
A weakling inevitably ends up begging others for food and is confined in a narrow place.
The Crazy Monk had suddenly gone on a mission to look for a Dapeng (大鵬)… [^n1]
I thought it was a journey to see what masters there were in the sea since his skills and ego were as big as a Dapeng. All the major guys get noticed during the trip from Tibet to Zhejiang anyway.
I lose interest in the fish instantly and glance at my surroundings.
Perhaps the garden is spacious because the quarters are built in the shape of a villa. I can spot small houses, warehouses, and incinerators built for unknown purposes around the space.
I go to an incinerator and ask the man whose back is facing me.
“What are you burning here?”
A large man who is eating something at a small table looks up and down at me and asks.
“Who might you be?”
“I’m here to see Mister Su.”
“Oh, he’s out right now.”
I look at the eating man.
“You’re in the middle of a meal.”
“Is anyone else here now? Is the vice leader here?”
“Only guests are present. The vice leader is also out.”
I then point at the large incinerator and ask.
“What do you burn here?”
“Bodies, what else would we burn?”
“Why do you have to burn bodies?”
The large man replies as he chews his meat with a bitter look.
“We burn them if they don’t pay their debts. I don’t know anything. I’m just doing what I’m told.”
I look at the man as he munches on his meat enthusiastically and sighs.
“It feels strange trying to kill someone in the middle of a meal.”
Only then does he stop using his chopsticks and stare at me. I point to the food that he had been eating and say.
After he turns around to check the guest’s identity, the man stops eating, stands up, and walks to the incinerator.
As I turn around to look at him, he looks at me with an axe in his hand.
“You’re not a guest, are you?”
With the axe still in his hand, he approaches me.
How many people has he killed to resort to killing so easily? Maybe his intellect is also low as he repeats the same words and swings his axe.
“You’re not a guest, are you!?”
Looking at his posture while wielding the axe, I judge that he has attained enough physical skills and strength to take out dozens of third-rate warriors in Kangho. I don’t want to touch his body, so I target his eyes with the Wooden Fowl Flicking Technique.
The moment his eyeballs explode and he tries to scream, I kick his abdomen and send him flying into the incinerator. Having dropped his axe, the man tries to get out by grabbing the sides of the incinerator door with both hands. I quickly rush in and shove him inside the incinerator.
Slam! Slam! Slam!
He screams, yet no one is rushing out from any of the buildings.
I pick up the axe from the floor and head for the main quarters.
The closer I approach, the louder the music sounds from inside the main building.
When I open the door, I am greeted by the spacious interior of the main building.
No one looks at me as I make my entrance.
On the centre stage, dancers dressed in see-through clothes are dancing awkwardly, while below them, Kangho men dressed in ragged clothes are watching.
I walk up to the stage with an axe in my hand.
Only then do the dancers scream and leave, and I take over as the star of the stage.
I stand with the axe next to me and look at the audience.
Lights are shining on the stage, and the building windows are sealed, making the audience seats look rather dark. The music then stops, followed by a grave silence.
I look around from the stage and say.
“Somebody, turn on the lights.”
It is a strange thing.
Everyone is taking out their weapons with no one trying to scurry away
Why is that?
I plant the bloody axe vertically next to me and sit in a lotus position.
Looks like they had mistaken me for a member of the Murim Alliance.
It had taken me a while to kill the audience members who came at me with a ‘read-to-die’ attitude.
As the blood-covered axe stands beside me, I ponder what the Cloud Rain Society is really about for a moment. I didn’t get the chance to talk to them, so I have no information.
I don’t even want to ask the dancers.
When I open my eyes to ask someone, all I see are corpses lying around.
I close my eyes again.
I am left in a situation where I have no choice but to wait for the vice leader to return.
All the guests had been decapitated by a strict member of the Murim Alliance, so this won’t be a misdeed that can be easily dismissed.
As I listen to my surroundings with my eyes closed, I can hear the shallow footsteps of people walking around.
But I can’t hear a thing from outside the walls.
My martial arts skills have yet to reach the state of a turtle of steel or a big Peng.
When I focus on my sense of smell, only the metallic smell of blood filters in first.
As I concentrate, I can distinguish a hint of powder and perfume from the smell of blood.
Quite a few Unorthodox Factions use poison in the form of sprays (噴霧), so it is necessary to always distinguish odours.
While I have my eyes closed, my thoughts race.
First of all, the dancers’ dance was a mess.
Should I conclude that they probably only learned dancing recently?
This means they are not professional dancers.
And all of the people that died by my axe looked well-off.
As such, I find myself concluding the reason why they had attacked me in that manner. If they were from Unorthodox Factions, they would’ve asked me who I was, fled, or stayed to observe the situation.
If so, there’s a possibility that most of the audience were martial artists originating from family clans (世家).
It’s nothing unusual for wealthy elites to mingle with the Unorthodox Faction.
In fact, it is common.
Unorthodox Factions do anything for money, and the rich have no place to spend money, so they grow increasingly twisted. The only people who are always suffering and dying in this world are those who make money by doing honest work.
That is why many members of the Unorthodox Factions died by my hands in my past life.
Since I didn’t discriminate, I was able to shoot through the ranks and become Murim’s Public Enemy. It was to the point where those guys had to use the Heaven’s Net to capture me.
Even if I return to the past, history is bound to repeat itself.
But it’s okay.
Because I’m growing stronger. I open my eyes again as I hear several footsteps.
The door of the main quarters opens, and the hosts, who had organized the performance, witness the scene with a look of bewilderment on their faces. Is it because this faction is strict? The vice leader asks me a question even while his scumbag lackeys remain tight-lipped.
“Who are you?”
My field of view brightens as soon as the lackeys remove the seals from the windows.
The vice leader is a rather calm man. Calmness is written all over his face, and he looks younger than I expected. As I remain silent, the vice leader approaches the stage and looks at me.
“Which Unorthodox Faction are you from? You think you can survive against our leader?”
I don’t think this conversation would be interesting, so I respond plainly.
“I’m here to collect a debt.”
“How much is the debt for you to do this…”
“How much can you offer?”
After contemplating for a moment, the vice leader gives a surprising answer.
“Will 300 gold be enough?”
“What a surprise, it exactly matches the amount that the Black Hurricane Castle Leader had asked me to pay back.”
The vice leader replies with a sneer.
“Ah, you must be indebted to the Black Hurricane Castle Leader. Then you can get 300 from me and settle the debt. The Black Hurricane Castle is as good as us at chasing payments.”
“It’s fine. I don’t have to pay him back.”
“And why is that?”
I explain the situation where I had crushed the Black Hurricane Castle Leader’s head with my own hands.
“Did I swing the spiked bat four times to his head? If you smash his brain, he’ll forget all about the debt. He won’t recall to who he lent money. You should thank me if you owe the Black Hurricane Castle any money.”
The vice leader then goes radio silent. I can’t predict what the vice leader is thinking right now, so I tell him nicely.
“Don’t run away because I’ll spare your lackeys and chase you down. Don’t even give orders for them to fight. I’ll ignore them and kill you.”
“Then what am I supposed to do? Bring you the money?”
“Don’t do that either. Your forces must be somewhere else because of how empty this place is. I’m afraid your troops would swarm in while you are off getting the money. Just stay here. Let’s take time to do some self-reflection. Mourn for the dead, and think deeply about how we ended up here. We were never born evil, so how did we get to this point?”
At this moment, the door to the main quarters swings open again, and people holding swords enter quietly.
Despite the arrival of dozens more men, the vice leader’s expression remains stiff.
I speak to the vice leader with a solemn face.
“Do you hate talking to me? You want to do things the hard way?”
The vice leader suddenly rolls his mouth round and exhales loudly. He raises his hand as if to signal an attack and says.
“All of you, stay outside.”
With the vice leader’s silent gesture, all of his subordinates leave. Looking as if he’d fought an intense fight for a short period of time, he replies to me with a resigned look.
“I have sent them out, so please calm down, tell me what you want. Let’s talk it out from start to finish. I’m willing to cooperate, betray, kneel down and beg for my life. Let’s just talk for now.”
I nod and reply.
The vice leader climbs to the edge of the stage and kneels.
The vice leader of the Cloud Rain Society prays and prays again and again with both of his hands clasped together.
He is very certain.
He is currently in the hands of an absolute lunatic.
He could tell during the conversation. After looking at his gaze, he was convinced. And the state of the guests’ bodies also tells him that his guess is not wrong. It is normal for limbs to be severed when the killing’s made with an axe, but most of the corpses have their heads split in half.
Just by looking at the condition of the bodies, he can gauge the lunatic’s abilities.
Thinking that he should at least walk out of here alive, the vice leader then says.
“Name your price… Fortunately, the leader is away, so you can tell me anything. I’m sure you’re not interested in money or women, but it’s best if you tell me what you want.”
I answer the question of the kneeling vice leader.
“When is Mister Su coming?”
“Probably during supper.”
“Will you be able to kill him?”
“I can’t do it alone. Though it’s hard, I can kill him if my lackeys and I attack all at once. Poison, hidden weapons, a joint attack, ambush. He’ll also return drunk. It’ll be easier than usual. I can do it. I can kill him.… Please believe me. If I can’t do it, you can kill me then. You were planning to kill Mister Su anyway. You can get rid of us all by then.”
“So you’re a traitor.”
I get up with the axe and approach the vice leader. I approach him in anticipation of retaliation, but the vice leader does not move at all.
I stroke the vice leader’s head with my left hand and hold the axe closely.
“Mister Su is as strong as Dae Na-chal. Are you sure you can handle him?”
“That’s only in official battles…”
I swing the axe and split the vice leader’s head in half.
Come to think of it, the whole of the Cloud Rain Society is made up of trash, so there’s no one useful here.
The body of the traitor, who is strong against the weak and weak against the strong, collapses on the stage.
[^n1]: A giant bird that transforms from a giant fish in Chinese mythology
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