Outside Narak Inn, the lackeys disguised as customers are surrounding the store. Faces I know are mixed among the crowd as well.
Dong Bang-yeon is staring at me from behind.
I stand still, silently signaling them to ambush me as I watch the faces I haven’t seen in a long time. I carry out this useless checking by noting things like how that guy is also the King of Gamble’s subordinates, ah, he’s a King of Gamble’s lackey too.
Someone then asks Dong Bang-yeon from among the scumbags.
“Should we kill him?”
Walking past me, Dong Bang-yeon replies.
“At the fighting pit. Tell everyone to gather.”
Dong Bang-yeon yells.
“Every single one of you!”
Dong Bang-yeon looks back at me and says.
“What are you doing? Let’s go.”
I stand side by side with Dong Bang-yeon and head to the fighting pit.
Some people are going out to summon the others, but quite a few also head for the fighting pit while encircling me. In the meantime, many people drinking outside the inn stand up in the alleyway, and even the ordinary customers are added to fill the street instantly.
As the crowd gradually expands, Dong Bang-yeon smiles.
“It’s too late to regret this.”
As I walk alongside Dong Bang-yeon, I find a familiar street vendor. I smack several heads to make a path and take out a silver ingot from my money pouch.
“Mister, one rock candy, please.”
The street vendor holds out a stick of rock candy with a surprised look. The vendor hurriedly opens his change bag as I extend out the silver coin.
I tell him while biting the rock candy in my mouth.
“You can keep the change.”
I follow Dong Bang-yeon as I suck on the candy.
“Dang, when was the last time I had rock candies?”
Dong-yeon sighs and curses when I let out slurping and sucking sounds with my lips.
I ignore the dying man’s words.
By the time we arrive at the fighting pit, spectators and gamblers who are unrelated to the King of Gamble have also gathered. Pyeong Gun-sa, who appears from somewhere, strides beside Dong Bang-yeon and says.
“What’s going on? We’re supposed to compete tomorrow.”
Dong Bang-yeon replies.
I bite off the rock candy and say to Pyeong Gun-sa.
“Shut up, ordinary soldier.”
Dong Bang-yeon shouts at his followers.
“Narak Society (奈落會), kill this guy in the fighting pit.”
I reply to Dong Bang-yeon’s words.
“Why? Are you going to appear at the end, fucking moron? This happens if you give a dog a nickname with ‘king.’ Is this a new trend?”
I slap the cheek of the man, who turns around with a grimace in front of me.
“Get lost, rascal.”
The man I slapped whirls in a somersault and faints as soon as he touches the ground.
Sneakily knock out one guy, success.
As soon as I enter the fighting pit, the scumbags spread out, stretching as I head to the center.
As I do a warm-up exercise called the Kangho Gymnastics (江湖體操), I look at the entrance as fire moths disguised as humans flock inside.
Not only the fighting pit but ghosts crazy about gambling have also gathered in the audience. Then, as if a beacon is connected to the fighting, the stage becomes brighter as fire lights up the place.
I fight alone, so I can use darkness to my advantage.
However, as the beacon circles the fighting pit, the place becomes as bright as day.
I can fight better because I can see well.
An optimistic guy in any given situation, that’s me.
The gamblers in the audience ask Pyeong Gun-sa.
“Pyeong Gun-sa, what’s happening? You’ve got to explain.”
Having heard about what happened to his subordinates, Pyeong Gun-sa replies to the gamblers.
“Just stay put and watch. This fight isn’t about money.”
“What fight is that you want me to just watch?”
This time I clap my hands to get their attention.
“Everyone, listen up. Those who know and those who don’t know won’t know, but the most powerful person here is the King of Gambles.”
Dong Bang-yeon roars.
The person who talks more when told to shut up is me.
“The King of Gambles is the owner of Narak Inn. I will fight the entire Narak Society, including the King of Gambles. If I die, you can continue to play with the King of Gambles. If I win, everything belonging to the King of Gambles will be mine.”
Dong Bang-yeon’s face turns red when I reveal the King of Gambles’ identity.
I point to Dong Bang-yeon.
“That punk is one of King of Gamble’s lackeys. How can a king be someone else’s lackey? If he had fought with his skills, he would’ve died long ago… You sure live a long life.”
Pointing my finger at the subordinates of King of Gamble, well over a hundred people, I say.
“I’ll give you a chance to live. Go up to the audience seat if you’re scared. Anyone?”
I lift my finger and scratch the bridge of my nose.
“Never mind then.”
In fact, I won’t kill them all. If they were a cult, a league, or even a higher-ranking Unorthodox Faction, I would’ve annihilated them. However, an organization built with gambling as the core wouldn’t be all that cruel.
Those weaker than me but fight until their last breath is either a fanatic, too prideful, or crazy about Unorthodox Factions.
Therefore, only lunatics are my enemies.
Many moths flutter in like plum blossom petals. I abruptly pull out Black Hare’s Tooth and slowly unleash Plum Blossom Sword Technique that I had been enlightened with under the plum tree.
Since it is not yet a complete sword method with detailed movements, I just move as the sword suggests.
Suddenly, I realized that the mindset on the day I crafted Plum Blossom Sword Technique was light and pleasant, so it was not suitable for the occasion.
Once again, I have gained enlightenment.
I reached the final conclusion that the Plum Blossom Sword Technique shouldn’t be used to kill gamblers. No other reason whatsoever.
Dong Bang-yeon’s voice echoes in the arena.
Suddenly, I turn my head and see the moths gathering like ants. Watching the approaching men, I sheathe Black Hare’s Tooth and face them unarmed.
Fighting unarmed means fighting with my bare hands and fist, and as a metaphor, they have no weapons, but it is different in my case.
Unfurling the Fire Chicken with my empty left hand, I also use my right hand lightly to create a bare fist.
Though I grew up poor.
A man who strives barehanded, that’s me.
Calming down my mind, I begin to hit the enemy with the Fighting Chicken principles.
The Fighting Chicken’s teachings are simple yet mysterious.
If I am to explain, it’s delivering high-skilled, random blows.
I dodge swords, knives, whips, and spears. I jab pressure points when I see shoulders and poke eyes with my finger when I spot eyes.
If I lower my head and see someone’s foot, I stamp on it.
I will push off attacks that are hard to counteract with Palm Wind. I jump up, stepping on shoulders and other people’s heads, and then kick off a man’s face with a surprised expression.
Still, I am busy.
I have to lower my head often and scrunch my shoulder to avoid incoming swords, shooting Palm Wind in front of me with both hands and sending spinning kicks to those coming from the back.
They lack experience fighting in groups.
Furthermore, the masters aren’t coming forward, so the first ones who come at me are only kicked or punched, yet they roll off to the floor so feebly. But their screams are realistically desperate.
A man hugs his stomach after being hit in the abdomen and faints on his knees as he passes out.
He didn’t faint immediately but is showing signs of losing consciousness. When I push his head, he rolls his eyes up and directly displays a fainting act by falling to the side.
What should I say about this atmosphere?
The scumbags are fighting half-heartedly because they value their lives.
It’s also because I am not wielding a sword and letting them get away with one strike.
The enlightenment gained under the plum blossom has become weird. When I don’t kill the scumbags brutally, they slowly notice and start fighting chaotically and lying on the floor.
These guys are really something, I think to myself.
Perhaps thinking the turn of events is laughable, Dong Bang-yeon shouts out loud.
“All of you, get out.”
Top masters who had been active in sparring gambles stand in a line next to where Dong Bang-yeon is standing.
Only 1/3 of the crowd is sprawled on the floor. Many can’t hide their astonishment, knowing it is already their turn.
I know most of those guys.
I know their fighting patterns, and I am even well-aware of their personality traits. What’s important is that there are guys who deserve to be beaten to death amongst them.
When I suddenly rush in after pulling out Black Hare’s Tooth, a few begin to scramble off. Looking at the runaways, I chase down the devils who committed assault and rape in their previous lives.
My intention of beating only one guy is revealed.
The frightened men quickly clear the way for me, and my chase commences against the fleeing devil.
The devil screams while pushing the crowd. He cries, “Why did you stop?” but his crimes are so horrible that even his colleagues frown upon them. None of them respond to his cry.
I soar into the air, step on someone’s shoulder, move, and swing Black Hare’s Tooth on the back of the devil who had fled near the entrance.
I fend off the devil’s serrated blade (鋸齒刀) with Black Hare’s Tooth.
I stamp down on the devil’s shoulders instantly. Then, I turn around after slashing the devil’s neck with Black Hare’s Tooth.
Hearing the devil’s body hit the ground with a thump behind me, I look around the fighting pit.
“…I still have more to kill. Hey, get out of the way. You, I said, get out of the way, rascal.”
As I look around holding the blood-ridden Black Hare’s Tooth, the scumbags are clumped up and squirming like fishes avoiding predators.
When I suddenly rush in like a madman once again, screams ring out.
They are in terror since I am selective in my killings. But there’s no reason for me to explain why.
I find Il So-ja (一笑子), who often murdered his fellow gamblers for no reason. This time, I point at Il So-ja with my finger.
“Hey, small eyes. Come here.”
Il So-ja widens his small eyes and unfolds his footwork near the audience seats. While running, I pick up a willow throwing knife, soar in the air obliquely, and throw it at a fierce speed like a flying ax. At that moment, the willow throwing knife is shining red due to the Fire Chicken as it flies and penetrates through Il So-ja’s back and ends up stuck on the wall.
As a cracking sound fills the air, Il So-ja belatedly collapses on the floor.
As Dong Bang-yeon realizes his lackeys are sheep, he draws his double sword in the air.
Only then do I swing Black Hare’s Tooth a dozen times without stopping. Finally, sparks fly whenever the weapons clash. Subsequently, Pyeong Gun-sa’s handheld fan hanging from my waist shakes about.
When I deflect Dong Bang-yeon’s double sword and step back, palm forces are shot at me from the back.
I stomp on the floor and shoot upwards like the Earth is my enemy.
The devil and Il So-ja’s colleagues are joining forces.
As I shoot up vertically, Dong Bang-yeon, Pyeong Gun-sa, and two others who had ambushed me are waiting for me at my landing point.
I click my tongue at the pathetic sight
Do I look like a joke to you?
Holding Black Hare’s Tooth midair with both hands, I curl up and spin crazily like a top caught in a whirlwind. I evoke the Fiery Fragrance with both hands and inject it into Black Hare’s Tooth. The blades flying like sparks in all directions shower in the sky like raining petals.
The guys who made a belated surprise attack are already dead, with scorching holes all over their bodies.
While Dong Bang-yeon and Pyeong Gun-sa struggle to ward off the blades surging in like a rain of hidden weapons.
This is an attack technique improvised in a wave of madness, but I did it in a frenzy, so it doesn’t have a special name. Maintaining the silence to gain momentum after creating a ruckus is good.
I touch the ground with my left knee and left hand, and the Black Hare’s Tooth in my right-hand stretches out horizontally as I raise my head slowly.
As I get up, I slowly put Black Hare’s Tooth into the sheath as if I have something to say. Then, without saying anything, I draw the blade and send it across to slice Pyeong Gun-sa, who is bleeding all over his body.
Pyeong Gun-sa’s head soars high into the air.
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