A hollow is made under the spotlight where the fight is taking place.
Those who are involved in the fight are below.
Those who are betting their money are above.
In other words, those involved in the sparring gamble fight in the hollow.
I have no idea when the fighting pit became like this.
However, the divide has a clear purpose.
First, if the men involved in the fight run away, they will likely be attacked by the gamblers. That is, this setup places the fighters at a disadvantage. Even the gamblers inept in martial arts would throw stones or daggers at them. How dare the fighters run away after a bet has been made?
Whether it’s a chicken fight or a dog fight, it’s the same.
The bigger the fight, the larger the crowd of spectators above the fighting hollow.
Second, detecting any attempt at fraud becomes easier, which places the audience in a superior position. A battle here is where force is used to fight. Therefore the use of poison is prohibited. Winning in combat due to skill is acceptable, but winning by using poison is considered a foul
Thirdly, this setup is also made to place gamblers superior to those who fight below. Even though this might not be true in reality.
Lastly, this is also one of the various tricks the organizers use to maintain their power and lead the game however they want.
Sparring gamblers sometimes involve authentic fights, but if you look further, it can also involve political disputes between powerful gamblers.
That’s all of the knowledge I have here.
Therefore, even though the Undefeated Dong Bang-yeon became the King of Sparring Gambles by using his own power, he has only been able to maintain this position because he has a secret organization of well-off gamblers backing him.
It’s hard to explain in words, but…
Anyway, you will gradually notice these corruptions as you fight. And if the person realizes the corruption does not belong to the vested interest, the person will die either way.
Hence, this place is now a fighting pit once more.
This is a place where humans fight anyway.
I go to the gambler’s position and put down the wrapping cloth filled with over 10,000 nyangs.
A fight is already taking place below.
Even if I throw 10,000 nyangs in here right away, Dong Bang-yeon won’t come out immediately. I have to face the gamblers here first and will need their permission before I can get the time to proceed with my performance.
In other words, I need to show them at least a teaser of my skills.
Though it’s up to me to get to the point where I can compete with Dong Bang-yeon with just 10,000 nyangs.
However, it is up to the gamblers here whether or not they want to place their bets.
The customers who watched me from the earlier gamble in the inn have all gathered at the fighting pit and are filling up the seats. Even the errand boy, Il-bo, is among them.
As an errand boy who has worked in this city for a long time, Il-bo duly reports my fight at the inn to the manager conducting the battles.
After a while, as the battles between the morons below conclude, someone addresses the crowd with a voice amplified by Qi.
“I have shocking news. Someone said they’re going to challenge Dong Bang-yeon.”
It is a casual tone as if they are speaking to a friend.
This voice’s owner is Pyeong Gun-sa (平軍師), the host of the battle. Pyeong Gun-sa’s name literally means ordinary soldier, but his name choice is more to feed his inflated ego. He’s a rather arrogant person.
After hearing errand boy Il-bo’s explanation, Pyeong Gun-sa points directly at me.
“I heard you’re the challenger. Am I right?”
The spectators and gamblers in the audience alike all turn to look at me. This is a battle where Dong Bang-yeon is included, so everyone’s eyes glint at seeing a chance to make a lot of money.
I give Pyeong Gun-sa a brief answer.
“I’m the challenger.”
Pyeong Gun-sa points his finger at me and says.
“Another naive wanderer is here to lose money. Let’s give him a round of applause for his stupidity.”
When no one in the audience claps, Pyeong Gun-sa continues.
“Who knows. He might be an amazing master, so Dong Bang-yeon’s unbeatable streak could be broken today.”
The audience boos that prediction.
“Pyeong Gun-sa, stop talking nonsense and continue with the show.”
The real gamblers would only make their bets once they see real skill.
Pyeong Gun-sa continues to speak as if he is giving me an explanation.
“You’ll have to show me something if you want to summon Dong Bang-yeon. There’s nothing like a battle to show your skills. If you go all out, there will be no one to challenge you, so think of it as a light warm-up, and why don’t we start with a 1,000 nyang bet? It’s a 1:1 battle depending on the outcome.”
If you win, you get 1,000 nyang; if you lose, you lose 1,000 nyang.
It’s a simple setup for a sparring gamble.
I nod my head.
Pyeong Gun-sa sighs as he scratches the back of his head.
“Why are the youngsters these days so quiet? Seriously… Now, you’ve all heard him. Who wants to challenge the guy that will take on Dong Bang-yeon? The bet is 1,000 nyang. It doesn’t matter if you’re armed or unarmed. No one? Oh, yeah. There’s no way there’s none.”
Three figures move simultaneously from the audience and step into the fighting pit.
Pyeong Gun-sa speaks to the three men.
“Who said this will be a 3:1? Figure it out, and two of you get lost.”
The three people look at each other, and the strongest one of the three remains while the other two return to the audience while smacking their lips.
Pyeong Gun-sa introduces the man who remains.
“You guys all know, but this wanderer may not know, so let me introduce him. This is Bang Gaek (防客), who frequently participates in 1,000 nyang fights. Does anyone here not know him? I guess it’s only this wanderer.”
Of course, that wanderer is me.
I’m well aware of Bang Gaek. I used to be beaten up by Bang Gaek and had my money taken. There’s no way I wouldn’t know.
The reason why Pyeong Gun-sa introduces Bang Gaek again in such a way is to encourage their participation. Every word and action here is related to money.
“What’s a shield in Kangho? You’ll understand once you see Bang Gaek fight. As you all know, Bang Gaek lost to Dong Bang-yeon in the past. In other words, he’s been training silently to seek vengeance. Now, let’s get into the easy betting. Bang Gaek is white (白), and the wanderer challenger is black (黑).”
Gambling breaks out as the servants begin to roam.
Pyeong Gun-sa didn’t even call me out for not revealing myself.
Nevertheless, the audience is flaunting their money. This time, the servants jot down the records and collect the money simultaneously.
Only then did Pyeong Gun-sa call for me.
“Come down, hillbilly. Leave the money there and come down. Don’t worry. We’ll protect your money.”
I hold out the wrapping bag to an approaching servant. As if he’d mastered the martial arts of counting money, the servant takes out the silver ingots and counts out up to 1,000 nyang. I place down the bag and slowly walk down to the fighting pit.
Pyeong Gun-sa continues to blabber on.
“You’re very relaxed. The bet is closing soon, so bet some more on this relaxed guy. Empty your pockets.”
Even with this blatant talk, these gambling addicts are all opening their own pockets generously.
I walk to the center and look at Bang Gaek for the first time in a long time.
He’s in his mid-30s. A large iron shield is attached to his back like a turtle’s shell, and a podao is hanging by his waist.
I become momentarily confused if this is a dream or reality while looking at Bang Gaek. All I can do is smile.
Bang Gaek looks at my smiling face without opening his mouth since he’s a naturally calm man.
I was defeated by Bang Gaek in my previous life, but without carrying any specific feelings toward him, I didn’t say anything.
Pyeong Gun-sa looks at the situation in the audience and says,
“Both of you, get ready. We’re ending the bet. Counting to ten.”
After the countdown, the whole audience becomes quiet.
Pyeong Gun-sa stands between Bang Gaek and me and declares.
“Let’s get started, 1,000 nyang battle. The man who dies in the fight is the unlucky one. The winner has to buy a round of drinks from their 1,000 nyang. Please, I hope neither of you dies now but dies while fighting until you get old. Sparring gamble…”
Pyeong Gun-sa takes out a handheld fan, lifts it vertically in the air, and says.
Bang Gaek takes out his shield and holds the podao.
There are times when shields are frowned upon as much as the Demon Cult, but not on the battlefield. Shields are an efficient fighting tool. And this man learned how to use shields on the battlefield. It can be said that he’s a master that clumsy third-rate Kangho warriors make fun of. However, he earns 1,000 nyang from time to time without challenging Dong Bang-yeon. And he is also a man who has a wide gap with me now.
I tell him as I unsheathe Black Hare’s Tooth.
“Go easy. Turtle Man.”
Bang Geok furrows his brows and advances by wielding his podao. I block the podao with Black Hare’s Tooth, kick straight forward, and hit the shield.
With a thud, Bang Gaek is pushed back.
Bang Gaek grins at me as if he thinks my kick is weak, even though I am already overwhelming him with just pure strength.
I laugh with Bang Gaek.
“What are you laughing at?”
Bang Gaek rushes back in with a low chuckle. This time I use Black Hare’s Tooth with a slight injection of Wood Chicken energy. I repeat the same kick again, but with internal Qi.
While holding and blocking with his shield, Bang Gaek is startled and slides off straight across the ground. He loses his balance and ends up rolling on the floor several times.
When Bang Gaek jumps back up, I am already in the air again.
Once again, I, the representative of the incompetent, attack the shield coolly with a flying kick.
Bang Gaek’s forehead bumps into the iron shield this time, and he again rolls to the ground.
As he slowly props himself up, I see that Bang Gaek has cut his forehead, and blood is dripping down his face.
Narrowing the distance again, I hit the podao far away with Black Hare’s Tooth and then raise my foot like an ugly drunk fighting on the street and trample on the shield.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Crash! Bang!
Stomping with pure strength, stomping as I slowly instill internal Qi, I stop and kick in whatever manner I want.
The key aim of this match is to show an improper kicking technique so that I can never be mistaken as a Kangho master in disguise.
Bang Gaek holds the shield with both hands and hides like a turtle to block my kicks.
I step on the shield with my feet and mumble.
“Bastard, you’ve become a real turtle.”
As I inject more internal Qi and kick down, Bang Gaek’s voice fills the air with urgency.
I place Black Hare’s Tooth back into its sheath and look at Pyeong Gun-sa.
“Give me the money.”
Pyeong Gun-sa stares at me.
Pyeong Gun-sa approaches me, points his finger, and says in a warning tone.
“What are you doing? Aren’t you supposed to show off your skills to proceed?”
I glare at Pyeong Gun-sa and whisper.
“Pyeong Gun-sa, you asshole, stop with the nonsense. Just announce the results if you don’t want to get slapped on both cheeks.”
Pyeong Gun-sa frowns at me.
The moment I raise my right hand, Pyeong Gun-sa shouts as he defends himself with the handheld fan.
“Wanderer won! Bang Gaek lost!”
After the declaration of victory, I held a staring fight with Pyeong Gun-sa before opening my mouth.
Pyeong Gun-sa snorts and turns away.
A small number of gamblers who boldly invested in me screams in unison. Among them is the errand boy Il-bo, who shouts while clasping both hands.
I can clearly see the future of a young gambler.
‘Being an errand boy was a promising job. That jerk, jeez.’
On the other hand, it seems like a promising job only to me, so I am a little bitter.
Pyeong Gun-sa glances at me while fanning his fan.
“Look, I’m sure you’re itching to compete with Dong Bang-yeon right now, but today we have to attract more gamblers to create more noise for the show. We’ll let you stay lavishly, so rest up. Wrap up, and you’ll get to fight tomorrow. Got it?”
I nod to Pyeong Gun-sa and reply.
“Let’s do that.”
“And young bloke, can’t you change your tone?”
I point my finger at Pyeong Gun-sa.
“If you want to change my way of speaking, 2,000 nyangs. I gave you a discount, especially because you seemed older than me.”
Pyeong Gun-sa turns his head, spits once on the floor, and orders the servants.
“Guide the challenger to the Phoenix guest room.”
As Pyeong Gun-sa disappears while flapping his fan, Bang Gaek, who is dusting his attire behind, calls to me.
“Hey, young man.”
I turn my head to Bang Gaek.
Bang Gaek tells me with a calm expression.
“Be careful of Pyeong Gun-sa. Why are you so feisty?”
I look around and reply to Bang Gaek.
“Why? Does he use honey traps or evil plot schemes?”
Bang Gaek looks at me in surprise.
“Have you… been here before?”
“Have you seen me here?”
“No, I haven’t.”
Bang Gaek tilts his head. I take a silver ingot out of the cloth that the servant gives back to me and throw it to Bang Gaek as a winner’s tip.
Bang Gaek looks at me, puzzled as if he has never received a winner’s tip after losing a battle.
I point my finger at Bang Gaek and grin.
“You must have a sour stomach. Go get a bowl of rice soup. Don’t go carrying a shield and create a fuss when you have no skills.”
That’s what Bang Gaek once told me.
At that time, he probably said, “Don’t go carrying a scythe and create a fuss when you have no skills.”
I giggle and collect Bang Gaek’s 1,000 nyangs, put them in the wrapping cloth, and head to the Phoenix guest room.
I wonder if there will be any honey traps waiting for me, the ones I’ve only heard about.
We're looking for editors, and Korean and Chinese translators, you will be PAID per chapter.
You can use these forms to apply:
This translation is made by fans and while the chapters on our website are free, they cost money to produce. Thus, any form of support would be much appreciated. Also, join us on discord to get release notifications and chat about our series.
Enjoying the series? Rate or review it on Novel Updates