The colorful material which fluttered down from the ceiling gently landed on the ground and was soaked.
The humidity from the heat that bloomed around filled the inside of the place like a fog.
The sound of water splashing in a huge bathtub could be heard.
A woman was soaking herself in the bathtub with her hair hanging down the other side.
The curves of the women’s bodies were exposed due to the moisture which had settled on the heavy robes which was to allow bathing. Some of them took flower petals from the baskets beside them and scattered them in the water, while others sat silently next to the woman, applying scented oil to her arms and massaging it in.
A smile formed on the lips of the woman who groaned happily.
The door opened which made the fog-filled interior feel cold.
“Inner Palace Lord.”
A woman so beautiful that one couldn’t take their eyes off her approached her in simple Murim clothes.
At her appearance, the Inner Palace Lord, Jong Ryeo-gyun, didn’t seem that relaxed.
The one who approached Jong Ryeo-gyun was Neung Bihwa, the guardian of the army and the leader of the elite troops of the Inner Palace.
After the Inner Palace absorbed the Third Palace troops hidden in the Central Murim Alliance, her troops were supposed to watch over them. The fact that she came here meant that there was something to report.
“Bihwa, what is it?”
Neung Bihwa bowed her head gracefully and then responded to the question.
“I received a message from the money hall.”
After a moment of silence, Neung Bihwa continued.
“This is a message about the warriors of Yongbong Hall arriving in Xi’an, Shaanxi, while the Beggars Union men are still monitoring all branches of the money hall in the Central Plains.”
It was expected that the Beggars Union would move.
But the Yongbong Hall moving to Shaanxi?
“Are they trying to investigate the Dongrim field?”
“I think it is so, considering how the Yongbong Hall is for the Central Murim Alliance.”
“And the chances for our connection to them being discovered?”
“There is no indication of that as of now. I have already put up a representative and the officials are keeping close eyes on it, so we will be able to figure out if their movement changes.”
“Then what is the problem?”
“If they are investigating unlawful means… then maybe an official linked to us might….”
Jong Ryeo-gyun snorted and cut her words off.
“Non-compliance with the officials wasn’t something we decided on for no reason.”
“And, even if the Murim people are that good, they cannot touch the officials without second thoughts about repercussions.”
“I know. But the opponent is Yang So-bang.”
“Do I have to think this much over one beggar?”
Jong Ryeo-gyun sounded angry, which caused Bihwa to kneel down.
She didn’t seem to care about her clothes getting wet from the action.
Jong Ryeo-gyun was lost in her thoughts right there.
It was because Neung Bihwa was the closest person to her and if she was feeling unsure about something, then she had better heed her concern.
“Who is in charge of Xi’an?”
“Tae Yang-myung. How good is he?”
“It is said that he has around eight acres of rice fields in the Dong-cheon district, north of Xi’an.”
“He is a bastard who has taken a lot from us, but it will be tough for the Murim Alliance to step into the affairs of the officials, so be more sincere. And if we can handle him, things will be resolved on their own.”
“Yes, Inner Palace Lord.”
Neung Bihwa answered softly.
Jong Ryeo-gyun nodded, still lost in thought. She was thinking of similar things now.
If the officials chose to put pressure on the Yongbong Hall, then they would have to back down. As such they would be unable to conduct any detailed investigation and hence wouldn’t gain much.
“The issue in Dongrim can be solved there, are we having problems in other places?”
As Neung Bihwa was hesitating to answer, this made Jong Ryeo-gyun frown once again.
“Are they stepping into other places too?”
“It isn’t the Murim Alliance, but the Tang family is searching the Dead Sea.”
Jong Ryeo-gyun was shocked at this.
Why is that guy stubborn like a dog?
Jong Ryeo-gyun was beyond displeased and irritated, she shook off the hands of the women around her and got out.
A rough qi rose from her body as she moved out of the bathtub.
A priest was waiting and quickly draped a white long robe over her naked body, which immediately drained the moisture.
If this was the case of the Murim Alliance or some hall investigation, all she had to do was move the officials tied to her and block the investigation process. But Tang Wi was a different case altogether.
In terms of martial arts, most of the Murim Alliance leaders were Seven Star warriors or a similar level, and that was a problem.
Tang Wii, known as the Lord of Sichuan, was a wild animal.
Once he has a goal set, the man would follow through till he achieved the result he wanted.
A fight with the officials? That man wouldn’t even care about that.
Clearly he was the type of man who wouldn’t mind bringing buildings down or killing people even if they were officials.
“The Dead Sea isn’t even in Sichuan, so why is Tang Wi interfering in the affairs of the Hunan province? Why didn’t you report this to me in advance?”
Jong Ryeo-gyun’s voice turned sharp, like a shrill cry.
“After the incident with the troops under Great Wolf, it appears that Sichuan’s Governor and officials sensed the dangers and stepped back, so they were unable to keep an eye on the Tang family.”
Jong Ryeo-gyun’s cheek twitched in anger.
The forces of the Third Palace Lord have been brought entirely under them, but complete control wasn’t possible yet.
And although they were moving around and monitoring the movement, keeping a clear eye on all has its limits.
“What is Mu Young-eun of the Young-eun Troops doing!”
Neung Bihwa couldn’t respond.
The Third Palace had placed their people in three areas of the Murim Alliance.
The Young-eun troops, in charge of information; the troops of Great Wolf were Murim warriors, and the Yaksha Troops of the Peak Demon Wolf.
They were people who had a good relationship and ties with the Third Palace Lord who has been pushed down.
After the destruction of Great Wolf’s troops, the Peak Demon Wolf and the Yaksha troops have gone into hiding since it wasn’t known when their identities will be revealed. Then why did the Young-eun troops not provide such important information?
On top of this, they were missing the movements of the Central Plains’ Seven Stars? Which affects everything!
She was enraged as she looked at Neung Bihwa coldly.
But she couldn’t continue staying angry like that.
“The Dead Sea is a given. As long as the Tang family has moved, we cannot allow any mistake. Just mobilize people connected to us to stop the Tang family, and while we are wasting their time, send the troops to erase any traces.”
“And summon that Mu Young right now!”
Neung Bihwa bowed and rushed to deliver this message.
“That damned bastard. Is he going to act like this?”
Young-eun Troops Leader, Mu Young.
Despite knowing this was happening, he did not inform her!
It was clear that he was trying to let her get caught. From what she had figured out about this person, he was too loyal to the Palace and not to his direct superiors.
“Damn it, that damned Third Palace Lord. This means he won’t let this go easily. Fine then. He might be looking for a chance to get in again, but I cannot step back now. It will turn harsher and even more bitter till the day when the Young Palace Lord ascends the throne. Be it Mu Young or Peak Demon Wolf, if they get in my way….”
Jong Ryeo-gyun bit her neatly shaped nails.
The place leading from Gansu extended to the front of Daming Palace’s gate called Danfeng Gate, which was located in the center of Xi’an.
The huge path, which was constructed as a Western trade route in the past, was so wide that ten carriages could pass from the entrance of Xi’an to the gate, and it was called the Danfeng Station (for now).
The Danfeng Station was the oldest road to the west in Xi’an, and the city center was developed around it, which pierced right at the center of Xi’an.
And like its name, there were many buildings around it, to the left and right, and the Dongrim building, three stories high, was located right there.
The Dongrim had started with the founding of the country and soon spread its wings to the other provinces too.
The main desk at the Main Branch of Dongrim Building, Shaanxi.
One person was trying to block the person trying to enter. They were fighting and drew much attention from the onlookers around.
“There is nothing wrong with cooperating with the investigation.”
A military personnel in a blue dragon robe, who said that he belonged to the Yongbong Hall of the Murim Alliance, spoke politely.
“We cannot allow that.”
Even though there were ten warriors with swords and angry stares, the four officials were firmly refusing.
“Don’t you know who I am?”
The warrior in the blue dragon robe frowned, but the official snorted.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, we cannot do anything that is imposible.”
“Ahh. For real!”
The warriors looked at the group behind him and then shook his head.
“It looks like you don’t know who I am. I am Namgung Chang-wi, the second son of the esteemed Namgung family. I am the Wind and Air Sword of Anhui region and how dare a normal clerk of….”
The official couldn’t look away from the eyes of the warrior called Namgung Chang-wi.
No, rather he had a sneer on his lips.
“Seriously. You seem to be having some sort of misunderstanding.”
“Did you think our Dongrim Office is that simple? You want information about our customers? What nonsense are you uttering by coming here? And call the owner of the place? Do not make me laugh.”
“This bastard? What now? Isn’t this ridiculous!”
Namgung Chang-wi’s face turned red at the sarcastic reaction of the man, and grabbed him by the collar.
“Haa, for real. I tried to treat you right because you are from the Namgung family. But you are just like any simple young man.”
The reaction of the man was so different from what it was supposed to be; he should have been scared but the man looked just mildly unsettled.
Namgung Chang-wi was beyond flustered at this,
Young man? Treat you right?
From this measly official?
Even though this was Shaanxi and not Anhui, he was looking down on the Namgung name?
And weren’t all the troops of the westside division behind him watching this go down?
In particular, Chung Sang of Wudang. He didn’t want to look weak in front of this man.
Before leaving the Murim Alliance, his father, Namgung Mu-hyu, the head of the Namgung family, had spoken to him coldly saying that he cannot spoil the name of the family and he shouldn’t bother coming back home unless he became the head of the troops.
And he wanted to do just that, even if his father hadn’t said it.
Although he was never acknowledged as he was the second son in the family, he was surely a talent produced by the family.
Didn’t he already turn into a skilled warrior in Anhui at the age of fifteen?
When he stepped into the Yongbong Hall too, he thought he wouldn’t be second to any.
But this guy called Chung Sang came up, always ahead of him.
Getting selected, beating him, and the last demonstration in front of many skilled warriors.
He was treated like a dog in front of his own father and the one clinging to Chung Sang’s side, the woman from the Zhuge family, Sansan.
No woman in the whole of Yongbong Hall could match her beauty.
Although her voice was raspy and odd at times, it was a small flaw, but she was a woman who had the right to stand next to him, who would one day be the core strength of Murim.
And she shouldn’t be next to this Wudang Taoist.
And next to her was this pig.
He despised that guy even more.
Chung Woo, the one who always moved closely with Zhuge Sansan, as if they were siblings or something.
Either way, these people were watching him from behind, so he felt like he was going insane with the man constantly ignoring him.
“You fucking trash! How dare you look down on me!”
Namgung Chang-wi grabbed the man by the collar and threw him down.
There was no way that an official that served guests in a money hall could withstand the strength of a warrior.
The atmosphere of the money hall turned cold in an instant as one of their members was just shoved to the extent of crashing through chairs and tables.
Ring! Ring! Ring!
One of the clerks who was watching this immediately began to ring the bell loudly, signaling that this was an emergency.
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