Episode 160

Immortal
1 week ago
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The signal flare launched by Dam Hyun on the Great Separation Mountain was clearly given to Yi-gang by Jo Gyu-seo, the governor of Henan Province.

It emitted a bright light from the high-quality gunpowder, clearly visible as a military flare even from the distant Kaifeng City.

However, as Namgung Yu-baek had guessed, Yi-gang was indeed bluffing.

No soldiers came rushing in. The only ones who did come were a few guards from the nearby government office.

It’s unlikely that the governor would give a signal flare that could mobilize troops to a mere commoner.

Jo Gyu-seo held Yi-gang in high esteem, thus he made it possible for him to receive help from the local government office.

It was a thought befitting a high-ranking official, not a martial artist, to call for guards for assistance in times of crisis.

He had thought it would never be used, but it ended up being very useful.

The guards were terrified at the sight of the martial artists amassed on the Great Separation Mountain.

“Since everything has been taken care of, please return.”

The one who spoke so politely was the head of the prestigious Baek Noble Clan.

The guards had no choice but to return, awkwardly ignoring the dozens of corpses.

Led by Baek Ryu-san, the martial artists of the Murim Alliance completely wiped out Namgung Yu-baek’s loyalists.

It was an unprecedented situation where a vice-leader of the Murim Alliance harbored evil intentions and was executed.

The leaders of the sects that made up the alliance gathered to discuss the situation.


“Wouldn’t it be right to exterminate the Namgung Clan?”

It was the sect leader of the Qingcheng Sect who said this.

The Qingcheng Sect had come directly, led by the sect leader and the elders. Divine Wind Sword Ok Ja-cheong, who died at the Five Elements Tomb, was a disciple directly in line to be the next sect leader.

The sect leader’s eyes were bloodshot, perhaps due to a personal affection.

Murim Alliance’s military strategist, Heaven’s Secret Scholar, replied with a pale face.

“We’ve already concluded that matter.”

“That’s why I’m saying, let’s discuss it again.”

He was feeling guilty for not knowing Namgung Yu-baek’s true intentions and had decided to retire.

Even so, the situation had to be resolved now.

“We can’t just erase the Namgung Clan entirely. What would happen to the control over Anhui? Are you planning to hand over all the regions around the Huangshan Mountains to the unorthodox faction?”

“The Murim Alliance must take control of the order.”

“If the Murim Alliance officially steps in, the Unorthodox Union won’t stay silent. What about the government offices connected to Namgung? In Beijing, Namgung is still considered the greatest clan in the world.”

“That damned ‘greatest clan in the world’!”

The one who slammed the table in anger was the head of the Peng Clan.

The head of the Peng Clan was a muscular man with a huge sword. His bushy beard trembled with rage.

His daughter had almost been killed by Namgung Yu-baek’s conspiracy. He had rushed here as soon as he heard the news.

“If you’re afraid to use a sword, I’ll step in myself. Go and cut off all their heads!” the head of the Peng Clan grumbled.

Just as he was about to spew more hate-filled words, someone’s shout echoed.

“Stop!”

“…”

Even the grumbling head of the Peng Clan had no choice but to close his mouth.

It was because of the intervention of the Murim Alliance Leader, the Divine Monk.

The right hand of Grand Master Mu Myung was wrapped in bandages.

It was said that assassins dared to attack him while the Murim Alliance was empty. Given that they could injure the hand of one of the Ten Grandmasters, it was clear they were no ordinary people.

Instead of saying more to the head of the Peng Clan, the Divine Monk draped his robe over someone who was shaking.

“You can stop shaking.”

“…Thank you.”

The one shaking was Namgung Yeo-sang.

She was soaked in fear and devastation.

She had no right nor position to be here, but there was a reason she had attended.

“We were able to minimize the damage thanks to you.”

Namgung Yeo-sang had sought out the Divine Monk a few hours earlier with a pale face.

It was about uncovering the conspiracy of the Vice Alliance Leader.

Unfortunately, it was after the successors had been buried, but she revealed everything she had discovered.

Thus, those who followed Namgung Yu-baek were completely wiped out, and martial artists could be sent to the Namgung Clan.

“We’ve already sent the Baek Clan’s Red Dragon Corps, the Moyong Clan’s North Star Sword Brigade, and the One Hundred Eight Arhats. It’s to sanction the Namgung Clan.”

Namgung Yeo-sang trembled.

To the radical faction of the clan that followed Namgung Yu-baek, or rather, to most of her blood relatives, she would be a traitor.

“The Namgung Clan will pay the price. By my command as the Murim Alliance Leader, they will repay with blood…”

The Divine Monk spoke in a voice that seemed much older.

It was not easy for a Buddhist monk to issue an order to kill.

“It’s not the will of Shaolin, nor the Nine Sects One Gang. It’s the will of the Murim Alliance.”

Yet, he planned to bear the karma himself.

“Those with grave sins will be executed, and those with lesser sins will have their martial arts severed. This will be done under my authority.”

The Namgung Clan will pay the price.

“For the next 10 years, Namgung must close its doors, and the inspectors of the Murim Alliance will reside there to monitor their misdeeds.”

That was practically the same as extermination.

There’s one reason it was technically not extermination but closure.

Instead of the weary-looking Divine Monk, Heaven’s Secret Scholar spoke up, “The crimes of the former Vice Alliance Leader Namgung Yu-baek must certainly be known to the world, but for the peace of the entire Murim, this will be kept under wraps for the time being. There is no set period for maintaining this confidentiality.”

The fact that Namgung Yu-baek killed the successors and tried to monopolize the Five Elements Divine Art will be kept highly confidential.

It was necessary, as no one wanted the dissolution of the orthodox Murim Alliance.

To openly exterminate a great force like the Namgung Clan, a just cause needed to be publicized.

Elder Jeok Hyang-ja of Mount Hua muttered, “An old tree finally withers and dies.”

It was a metaphor for the Namgung Clan.

Heaven’s Secret Scholar continued speaking, “There may be many dissatisfied with this matter. But the current situation is not favorable. It is clear that external forces were involved this time.”

The explosives used to blow up the Great Separation Mountain were real. There were assassins who attacked the Divine Monk.

It wasn’t Namgung Yu-baek or his followers who had done this.

Namgung Yu-baek might have known their identities, but the dead can’t speak.

Interrogations of Namgung Yu-baek’s loyalists yielded no answers.

The head of the Peng Clan spoke gruffly, “It must be those bastards from the Unorthodox Union. Who else would commit such acts?”

“Well, according to our kids, it seems like those guys haven’t made a move.”

A beggar in tattered clothes with six knots tied, a Six-Knot Beggar. He was an elder of the Beggars’ Gang, Chui Mon-gae.

“Then who could it be? You don’t suppose the Demon Cult has emerged, do you?”

“Cough, well, it’s not like we know everything.”

“Then, is it those bastards from the Evil Cult? Could also be the North Sea Ice Palace or the Potala Palace. Or maybe the exterminated Thunder God Heaven Sect. They were exceptionally skilled with explosives.”

“Let’s not mock each other, among ourselves.”

“A-among ourselves?”

It was a feat of patience not to shout ‘You beggar!’

“We’re keeping all possibilities open. Even the West Sky Castle’s Nine Spear King came to the Great Separation Mountain. It seems they’re also looking for the assassins.”

“Those guys are fearless…”

“The Unorthodox Union has also sent an envoy, I heard.”

The Great Separation Mountain tragedy had caught the attention of the entire martial world.

The Unorthodox Union, West Sky Castle, and later even the forces outside Murim might send envoys with words of consolation.

“Let’s not talk about unpleasant things for now. Let’s also talk about good things.”

The head of the Jegal Clan, Jegal Go-jin, suggested.

“Good things, you say?”

“Yes, happy news should be shared. New martial experts have been born.”

“Ah…!”

The expressions of the heads of the major sects and clans varied widely.

Some were purely happy, some were ambivalent, and others even felt jealousy.

Among them, the head of the Moyong Clan was infinitely joyful.

“Hahaha!”

He thought Moyong Jin was dead, but he returned alive. That alone made him happy, but after returning, he was even able to draw out sword energy.

Following his son Moyong Tak, another Peak expert had emerged. He reached the Peak realm even faster than Moyong Tak.

“It’s not uncommon for martial arts to advance rapidly in a crisis situation.”

“Don’t they practice in the Demon Cult in the same way? By deliberately throwing themselves into life-threatening situations.”

“Ah! How can you compare that to this!”

Moyong Jeong-cheon frowned at the head of the Peng Clan’s reaction. Despite this, the head of the Peng Clan was still smiling just the same.

This was because his daughter, Peng Mu-ah, had also reached the Peak realm.

She had gained enlightenment while slicing through rocks during her escape from the Five Elements Tomb.

The head of the Jegal Clan teased them, “What’s there to be so happy about? Even the Clan Head Baek Ryu-san is staying quiet.”

At those words, Moyong Jeong-cheon and the head of the Peng Clan showed awkward expressions.

It made sense. The greatest achievement belonged to none other than the Baek Noble Clan.

Baek Ryu-san remained calm in expression.

At that sight, Jegal Go-jin made a fuss as if in admiration, “I envy you. Starting with the fact that Iron Blood Genius has reached the Peak realm. Isn’t it an astonishing achievement at such a young age?”

“Haha, the child is still lacking.”

Despite his modesty, Jegal Go-jin did not stop flattering, “I have children too, but they are nothing but disappointments. I would love to hear your insights on parenting. How did you manage not only one but two young talents to become such outstanding figures?”

He had a reason for this. Jegal Seon had been humiliated by being beaten with a pot by Yi-gang.

Praising the Baek brothers as much as possible could help forget the disgrace of the Jegal Clan.

Baek Ryu-san shook his head.

“The credit goes to the children for growing up well despite losing their mother early. There’s nothing I’ve done as a father.”

“Ah…”

Gasps of admiration burst out from various places.

Several who were troubled by their children looked at Baek Ryu-san with envy.

“More than that, the boy, Yi-gang, is even more remarkable. Despite being born with meridian blockage disease, he faced Namgung Yu-baek, a Supreme Peak master…”

“Haha…”

“The Heaven’s Shadow Sword Technique broke the Emperor King Sword Style. It’s a pity we cannot spread this story widely right now.”

He plotted with extreme poison and joined forces in attack.

However, regardless of the process, it was true that Yi-gang had defeated Namgung Yu-baek.

Even if it were announced outside, few would believe it.

“They say he hasn’t even held a sword for 10 years!”

“Let’s stop there. It’s frightening to think who might hear.”

“Haha, truly a great hero.”

As there continued to be no significant reaction, Jegal Go-jin gradually stopped his flattery.

Just as they were naturally transitioning to another topic.

Suddenly, Baek Ryu-san spoke up, “It’s not 10 years, but less than 6 years.”

“…Excuse me?”

“Since he first held a sword.”

“Ah… Hahaha! That’s even more incredible. Truly a genius bestowed by heaven.”

“You flatter me too much. It’s not that great.”

“…Yes.”

This back-and-forth.

Jegal Go-jin wouldn’t have expected the man known as Merciless Iron Blood to be parched for praise about his son, so he turned away.

He didn’t know Baek Ryu-san would add another comment.

“It’s truly a miraculous thing.”

“…You speak of miracles.”

“Even growing a pine tree requires watering and pruning. Yet, children often grow up all on their own.”

“That’s true.”

The expressions of the clan heads became curious.

But Baek Ryu-san, seemingly unaware of their gaze, intently stared into the void.

“Everyone knows that our family’s secret martial art is called the Immortal Divine Art, right?”

“Of course, we know. Very well indeed.”

Those quick to understand realized what Baek Ryu-san was hinting at.

“Yes. It’s a divine art personally developed by the legendary grandmaster, the Immortal Divine Sword. All Baeks practice it. It’s no less enviable than the Five Elements Divine Art.”

“What you’re trying to say is…”

“Yet, despite that, no martial artist since the Immortal Divine Sword has had ‘Immortal’ as part of their nickname. Probably because the halo of being the best in the world is too strong.”

His lips twitched. He was clearly trying to suppress a laugh.

“Who would have thought that Yi-gang would earn such a nickname. Hahaha!”

This conversation was all part of a long preparation to boast about his own child.

Regardless of the sect and clan leaders’ grimacing, Baek Ryu-san seemed happy.


Yi-gang, who was recovering, also heard about his own nickname.

Indeed, the possession by the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon left severe aftereffects. There were scars like lightning bolts on his hands and feet.

Moreover, he suffered through seven long weeks before he could get up.

It was a miracle he recovered enough to move.

Yet, his heart had not healed.

Yi-gang did not leave the private room’s bed. He refused visitors, except for a few people.

‘Why did Namgung Yu-baek do such a thing? Was there an influence from the Evil Cult?’

There was also another troubling matter.

Death, and sacrifice. These words did not leave his mind.

The image of Namgung Shin deciding to die, and eventually begging to be saved.

The sight of Namgung Yu-baek plucking out his own eyeball to hand over the Blue Eye Gem to Namgung Shin. Somehow, it unsettled Yi-gang.

Next to him, Dam Hyun kept babbling, disturbing Yi-gang’s thoughts.

“I clearly heard a voice. I did, didn’t I? Otherwise, why would I have brought the item she mentioned?”

He repeated several times the story of the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon visiting him in the form of a fox and hearing her voice.

Yi-gang told him it was just Dam Hyun’s imagination.

“It’s not my imagination! I definitely heard it.”

“So we tried talking again, didn’t we? But you couldn’t understand anything at that time. It was just a guess about what she might want.”

“That’s… something that comes out in… a crisis situation.”

If the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon were here right now, Dam Hyun would have bothered her again.

Fortunately, the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon was sticking close to Namgung Shin. It was said that Namgung Shin still hadn’t woken up.

Yi-gang leaned his chin on his hand and sighed.

After the fight with Namgung Yu-baek, his martial arts realm had clearly advanced.

But his body hadn’t improved. His lifespan was still the same.

He needed to leave for the Kunlun Mountains as soon as possible.

Suddenly, Yi-gang’s expression crumpled.

He heard footsteps approaching without hesitation.

“Yi-gang!”

Soon, the large doors swung open.

“I’ve refused visitors.”

“Can we really be so formal with each other!”

The one who entered was Peng Gu-in.

He had seen Yi-gang being carried out from the Great Separation Mountain and had cried tears of grief. He was still a sweaty human being.

Yi-gang had refused visitors, but today, Peng Gu-in finally burst in.

“And, there’s a reason I came.”

“A reason?”

“So Woon is here. His father came to the alliance.”

“…And?”

“And, he was beyond what I imagined.”

“Beyond imagination?”

Yi-gang was aware that So Woon’s status was extraordinary.

But if a successor of the Peng Clan spoke of him in such terms, he must be a truly remarkable figure.

“Yes! He really wants to see you.”

“Who is he, and why me, exactly?”

“He wants to see the person who saved his son. He specifically asked for you. The famous…”

Yi-gang anticipated the words that would come from Pang Gu-in’s lips.

The feeling of wanting to cover his ears at his new nickname came, unthinkingly.

“Immortal Divine Dragon!”

“…”

Immortal Divine Dragon. Dam Hyun chuckled beside him.

Yi-gang calmly closed his mouth.

“If he’s looking for the Immortal Divine Dragon, I guess I have to go out.”

Yi-gang, who returned alive from death and learned the Immortal Divine Art as a descendant of the Baek Noble Clan, indeed warranted the title Immortal.

“Right! Let’s go, Immortal Divine Dragon! Hahaha.”

However, somehow, the nickname Divine Dragon felt awkward.

Yi-gang got up as if resigning himself.

“Yes, the Divine Dragon departs.”

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