“How should we destroy them to cause rumors to spread? Should we invade them? Or should we go on a siege defense (戍城)? Feel free to speak your mind.”
Cha Sung-tae, who hears the question last and is slow to grasp the situation, asks the room.
“Who is our opponent?”
“Elder Hornless Dragon, his ally Mister Su and other unorthodox faction scums.”
Cha Sung-tae replies casually.
“That might add up to about 4~500 troops, then.”
All the members in attendance look over to Cha Sung-tae. Everyone’s gaze is asking, ‘how does he know that?’ Feeling slightly puzzled, I grant Cha Sung-tae the right to speak first.
“A siege defense would be interesting.”
“Why is that?”
“We’re behind in numbers.”
“The one who attacks first is usually the bad guy. But we’re not the ones who attacked Elder Hornless Dragon first.”
I nod and settle on the strategy for our fight plan.
“Then let’s go with a siege defense.”
This time, everyone’s eyes are all on me.
Their eyes are questioning why I decided on that plan so easily, but I’m a man who doesn’t need an excuse to do anything.
“I think a siege defense would be fun too. Speak up if you have any more interesting suggestions.”
Hong-shin raises her hand.
“If we’re going for a siege defense, we’d better evacuate the servants and anyone that doesn’t know martial arts. They could get caught up and die.”
I nod and raise my voice immediately.
Miss Son rushes to me from behind.
“Gather all the servants, the sick, and people who don’t know martial arts and prepare to leave for Ilyang. I’ll call up the guards. So prepare carefully and gather up the people.”
Miss Son answers right away.
“Yes, I’ll prepare them right away.”
I look around at my men and ask.
“Who wants to escort them? You are to leave immediately since they might infiltrate us as early as tonight. This task is as important as fighting here, so you don’t have to feel sorry.”
Hong-shin speaks up as if she doesn’t want to handle the escorting duty.
“I’m gonna have a round today.”
Baek-yu, Baek-in, and Cheong-jin, who all hold a grudge against Mister Su, remain silent.
Being left with no choice, I ask for Cha Sung-tae’s opinion.
“Do you want to go, clumsy Sung-tae? You won’t be of much help anyway.”
As soon as I start to regret being too straightforward, I see that Cha Sung-tae’s face has already reddened.
Cha Sung-tae replies with his eyes wide open.
“Leader, I’m Cha Sung-tae of Ilyang. I’ll stay as a representative of Ilyang. Please leave me out and decide, Leader.”
“Looks like everyone wants to stay. Then I’ll decide for you. Manager Byuk.”
“You will be in charge of the front, and Sima Bi and his men will take the back. Sima Bi, send those quick on their feet out first to ensure the road is safe.”
Sima Bi and Manager Byuk reply at the same time.
Sima Bi stands up with a look of regret. But I believe Sima Bi is the right man for the job since he’s smart and frequently travels to Ilyang.
As a large number of people are leaving the hall, the place suddenly becomes busy.
I watch over them and call for Geum-hae as the evacuees depart.
“Yes, Big Brother.”
“Follow them in the rearguard. If anything happens, do as you see fit and report back to me.”
Geum-hae replies as he stands up.
“Yes, I understand.”
Geum-hae is still trying to recover his internal Qi, so he must be concerned with his own condition.
I speak to one of my subordinates from the Black Rabbit Union.
“We have nothing left to do, so let’s drink.”
When my subordinates go to get the booze, the sky begins to darken.
As three cups of alcohol are served sometime later, the main hall door swings open, and a man dressed in black appears. Two black straight swords hang around his waist. He looks like a man swirling in darkness due to his clothes, weapons, and facial expressions.
Dokgo Saeng stares at me in the upper seat and says,
“Zaha, your hyung is here.”
The greeting is so ridiculous that I’ve become speechless.
“That crazy son of a bitch…”
Dokgo Saeng looks behind him and tells the officials that came with him.
“Greet your captain.”
Then the scums show their faces and greet me in a disarrayed mess.
“Hello. Long time no see.”
“We’re here. It seems like you were having a drink.”
Dokgo Saeng waves to the officials.
After closing the hall door, Dokgo Saeng approaches as he scans the seated crowd.
“How are you doing? You’ve gathered quite a number of masters, huh.”
Dokgo Saeng naturally takes the seat where Geum-hae had been sitting. It just happens to be next to Cha Sung-tae.
When Dokgo Saeng extends an empty cup to Cha Sung-tae, Cha Sung-tae, with growing annoyance, immediately cusses.
“What the heck? Pour it yourself.”
When Dokgo Saeng pours for himself without much response, Cha Sung-tae, who has downed three consecutive cups, begins to nag at Dokgo Saeng.
“How dare you tell the leader, ‘your hyung is here?’ You’ve really lost it.”
Ignoring Cha Sung-tae’s words, Dokgo Saeng takes out a stick of daylilies.
I ask Dokgo Saeng.
“Have you come up with a name?”
Fiddling with the daylily, Dokgo Saeng replies.
“We used to be the Black Hurricane Castle, and now we’re the Low-Down Sect. We’re all stupid, so we couldn’t come up with a name. You’re a fool to expect wittiness from us. Let’s just go with Low-Down Sect. And our rules have already increased to ten. Being the head gives me a headache.”
It is a brief report, but a report nonetheless.
Cha Sung-tae’s eyes only grow bigger when he hears that Dokgo Saeng is from the Black Hurricane Castle.
Cha Sung-tae hurriedly averts his gaze and drinks quietly.
Dokgo Saeng takes a deep hit of the daylily and blows smoke toward Cha Sung-tae’s face.
Then Cha Sung-tae fans his hand with an annoyed look.
Dokgo Saeng looks around the people gathered here and fixes his gaze on someone.
“Who are you?”
Baek-in answers the question calmly.
“I’m White Tiger of the Twelve Generals.”
Dokgo Saeng’s mouth curls in the shape of an O.
“Oh, Dae Na-chal’s disciples. You’re alive and not dead.”
Instead of Baek-in, Blue Dragon retorts.
“You should wash up.”
I tap the table a few times with my hands.
“Stop it. I didn’t ask you guys here to fight. Dokgo Saeng, how many people did you bring?”
Dokgo Saeng looks at me.
“You told me to bring a hundred people, so I only selected the best and brought 30. They are 30 people with the abilities of a hundred, so don’t worry.
“Good job, asshole.”
Ultimately, Dokgo Saeng isn’t asking me who we are fighting. He just smokes his joint of daylily and drinks as if he is here on a casual visit.
“This tastes like water. Do you guys get drunk from this? This must be a joke.”
Only then did the officials of the Black Rabbit Union, as well as the Twelve Generals, finally seem to adapt to the personality and mannerisms of Dokgo Saeng. No one answered because they didn’t want to take up his challenge.
With no one willing to answer his retort, Dokgo Saeng then asks me.
“What’s your plan?”
“Are we killing all of them?”
I nod my head.
“Kill them all.”
Dokgo Saeng nods and says his piece as he gets up.
“All right. Wake me up when the enemy comes. I’ll be taking a nap.”
Dokgo Saeng goes to the corner of the hall, lies down in a regular posture, and closes his eyes.
I ask So Gun-pyeong amid the gloomy silence.
“Is the moon bright today?”
So Gun-pyeong nods.
“It’s bright. Just the right time to fight.”
“Is anyone on Elder Hornless Dragon’s side proficient with poison?”
“Not that I know of.”
This time, I ask Baek-in.
“Are you sure Elder Hornless Dragon and Mister Su are the strongest?”
“How are they compared to Dae Na-chal?”
“They have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they don’t fall behind Master.”
“Then leave them alone. I’ll deal with them on my own. Fight enemies that match your strength. This is going to be a long battle, so if you run into someone stronger than you, retreat.”
I drink another glass and then suddenly look to the front.
“Open the door.”
As my guests turn their gazes forward, So Gun-pyeong gives an order in a voice injected with internal Qi.
“Open the door.”
The main hall, the inner courtyard, the outer courtyard, and the main gate all open one after another. I point to the display stand and tell my subordinates.
“Bring me my mask.”
White Tiger, Blue Dragon, White Rooster, and I wear our Twelve General masks. It’s better to wear a mask when you do bad things. Since I killed the vice leader of Cloud Rain Society, they would bring people who have seen my face.
I speak as I get up.
Dokgo Saeng, who is lying down, jumps up.
When I walk outside, I see that most of Dokgo Saeng’s men are scattered on the wall. After taking a few steps into the inner courtyard, I jump into the air and land on top of the inner courtyard door.
As So Gun-pyeong mentioned, the moonlight is shining bright.
Outside the premise of the Black Rabbit Union, the glints of eyes and weapons are increasing.
The Twelve Generals jump to the left, while So Gun-pyeong positions himself on the right.
Something cuts through the wind in the dark and flies straight at me.
At soon as White Rooster wields his iron fan, an incoming weapon is deflected by his fan wind (扇風).
A low voice rumbles in the dark.
“Who killed the vice leader?”
“I don’t see him here yet.”
A voice that I presume to be Mister Su’s follows.
“Look, Four Generals Juniors. I will generously take you in if you take care of the person who killed our vice leader. You couldn’t do anything when Dae Na-chal was here, so I didn’t get why you’re going as far as resisting. As your sunbae, I don’t have anything against you. You better make the right choice.”
I murmur softly.
“What a nice way to separate us.”
White Tiger, who is standing next to me, replies as our representative.
“It’s been a while, Mister Su.”
“Yes, White Tiger.”
White Tiger speaks in a gentle tone.
“How can you lower your head to Elder Hornless Dragon? Master will be ashamed if he hears this in the afterlife. You were a rival he respected.”
Mister Su scoffs and looks around for someone.
“Where is our cutie Hong-shin? Is she dead?”
Hong-shin spits on the wall.
Mister Su says to Hong-shin with a low laugh.
“I’ll especially spare you.”
Then, Dokgo Saeng, who belatedly jumps up the wall, speaks as he pulls out two black swords.
“Hey, you morons. I killed the vice leader.”
Our armed forces and, for some reason, the enemies all ignore Dokgo Saeng in unison. There are humans who get caught up too quickly when they’re crazy, and that’s precisely who Dokgo Saeng is.
In the meantime, the number of troops has increased.
Mister Su is getting worked up and has come all the way first, and now his other troops are joining us. At this time, as the crowd split between sides, an elderly man with long white hair hanging out of a gray Jangsam walked out.
Anyone can tell that it is Elder Hornless Dragon.
The white-haired old man’s face that is reflected by the moonlight is pale. Then an unpleasant voice goads.
“Don’t just stand over the wall. Those who don’t want to die, come over here. Unorthodox Factions are all mixed up anyway, so there are no original roots. Isn’t surviving the only virtue? Only the one who killed my old friend will face my wrath, so you little punks should stop struggling. It won’t be so hard to decide if you think about why Dae Na-chal offered me his fortune regularly.”
While listening, I rub my hands and mutter.
“Dang, there are a lot of people here to kill today.”
I whisper to the brothers next to me.
“Don’t betray me today. My condition is not good. My madness gets even wilder when I fight under the beautiful moon. I might lose myself, so don’t be misled by that geezer’s words. I can’t spare you today.”
“Yes, we understand.”
I turn my back against the enemies and speak to White Tiger.
“Tiger Brother, lock your fingers together.”
Baek-in clasps his fingers in astonishment. Putting my right foot on White Tiger’s hands, I say.
“Throw me as high as you can. Let me watch the full moon.”
Baek-in responds with honorifics, albeit with puzzlement in his voice.
“Use your internal Qi and throw me as high as you can. See you in a bit.”
I make eye contact with White Tiger. At last, White Tiger makes up his mind quickly and says.
“I’ll see you later, Big Brother.”
I grin under the mask.
“Alright. Let’s do that.”
Then Baek-in throws me into the air with both hands using his full body strength. I, too, step on White Tiger’s hands as hard as possible and shoot into the air.
How high am I soaring? My mind feels refreshed to the point where it feels like my spirits are being lifted.
I burst into laughter.
As I reach the peak of my flight after soaring into a curve, I briefly enjoy the shining, beautiful full moon and land on the ground where the Unorthodox Factions await.
Expecting various hidden weapons, palm forces, and sword winds, I wrap my right hand in the Fiery Fragrance and launch the Fire Chicken Great Handprint (炎鷄大手印).
Not only the enemy and their troops but also the shining full moon opens its eyes wide.
A large palm gleaming red surges through the air to stamp (圖章) on the troops of Elder Hornless Dragon.
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