Embroidered Uniform Guard (錦衣衛)
Joe Clan was in the northwest of the city. I ran about twenty kilometers and went to Joe Clan. I looked at the sign of the clan, and it was not as far away as I had thought it would be. There were four guards standing in front of the house of Joe Clan, and when they saw me, who quickly emerged out of nowhere, they straightened the spears, like the men who had learned martial arts.
“Who are you?”
I wanted to joke for a moment but I refrained, because I didn’t have to do anything to complicate.
“I am Baek Woong, a disciple of Blue Dragon Martial Club, and I heard that the headteacher, Jin So-Chung who was my Senior Brother (师兄), visited Joe Clan. I came to contact him.
They looked sideways at each other for a moment.
“Wait a minute.”
“Do you have anything to prove your identity? No one who is uncertain can step into the house of Joe Clan.”
“This is the seal for the teacher of Blue Dragon Martial Club.”
I took out the seal in my arms at the end of the guard’s words, and the ascension of a blue dragon was engraved on the teacher’s seal and it was made by processing of the copper of the high-quality material. It was the one that Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang had handed over to prove my identity.
They cheered when they checked the seal.
“Oh, you’re a teacher of Blue Dragon Martial Club at that age.”
“Wait a minute.”
Suddenly, one guard ran in with polite words, and the other three loosened the spear blade.
“Are you Young Hero (小俠), Baek Woong? A new star has appeared in Guanzhong.”
“How old are you?”
I was surprised to see the guards trying to pretend to be close as soon as I showed them the seal, and they did not seem to think about whether this seal was fake. Of course, what I had was real, but it meant that Guanzhong was peaceful without any disturbance, and at the same time, it proved how high the prestige and honor of Blue Dragon Martial Club was in the region. Blue Dragon Martial Club was in the same position as Two Sects Four Clans in Luoyang, and the prosperity was just as good as the big sects in Guanzhong.
“Oh, well, it’s important to see my Senior Brother for a while.”
I gave a vague answer, but the guards were all convinced and laughing.
I waited about fifteen minutes or so. The guards who had gone inside came out and said.
“Well, I’m sorry, Young Hero, Baek Woong, but I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer.”
“What’s going on?”
He didn’t say anything, but he pressed his lips together. I knew something was going on inside. Perhaps it was a matter of whether Jin So-Chung would not see me, or whether he was not inside.
I said gruffly, “I am under the order of my master and under his command to bring my Senior Brother, but do you intend to stand me outside without any reason?”
The guards were upset when I got angry, because I was not patient but I was right, and the guard who had gone inside said in a hurry.
“Now, the headteacher, Jin So-Chung is talking with the clan leader, and if you are from Blue Dragon Martial Club, please understand that much.”
“Of course, I understand, if you can take responsibility for what you have done to stop me.”
The word “responsibility” made the guards look a little pale, the most fearful word for a guard. They thought about how the accountability would be passed on to whom, then they urged the guard who had been inside.
“Taek! Just ask them one more time.”
“It’s that urgent anyway, ask them again.”
The guards called Taek, was agitated.
“Damn it! Am I your servant? Why am I the only one?”
“No, you’re the report guy.”
He seemed to resist swearing. Then he said to me immediately that he couldn’t help it.
“I have not heard from your Senior Brother or the clan leader himself before, and I will be sure to hear it this time.”
“What do you mean? Did someone in the middle tell you to go back?”
“Well, the general manager told me not to go to the guest room… But you don’t have to worry about it this time.”
The rest of the guards have been talking about him, but I didn’t care. Instead, I tried to understand what was going on.
‘Is the story of Joe Clan and Senior Brother important? Isn’t Senior Brother today to meet his friend, Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan in the house of Joe Clan?’
It seemed that many things were twisted when Senior Brother met Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan. I guessed that Joe Clan was either holding or threatening Senior Brother, but no one in Guanzhong could do that.
‘First of all, the martial arts of Senior Brother do not allow the kidnapping of Joe Clan, but it’s because the power of Blue Dragon Martial Club is as strong as the sum of the two or three of the Six Big Clans in Guanzhong.’
I erased the ridiculous assumption in my mind. Then I asked the guards if Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan and his fiancée Murong Yan were here, and the guards were wary.
“Why do you ask?”
“I heard rumors that they had headed towards the house of Joe Clan.”
“That’s something we don’t know.”
They said that they did not know, but I felt that Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan and his fiancée Murong Yan had come to the house of Joe Clan, and if they did not know, they would not show such a hostile reaction. The guards were so bad at hiding their mind that they made a mistake.
‘Do I just storm in?’
I thought it was a waste of time standing like this. But I held back one more time, clenching my fists. I have been so careless that I have been easily dead. I have learned from my experience that I should endure as much as possible to get good results. It would be easy to overturn Joe Clan, but the aftermath would not be good.
I stood for an hour and waited, and then the guard named Taek and a middle-aged man walked out together.
“Good to see you, Young Hero Baek Woong, I am sorry to keep you waiting long.”
“Who are you?”
“I am Ha Jun, the general manager of Joe Clan.”
He knew that I was a teacher of Blue Dragon Martial Club. Even I was a child, he did not speak using the informal words but the formal words. Thoroughly he treated me in the relationship within Moorim and expressed regret.
“The headteacher Jin So-Chung talked with the clan leader of Joe Clan, but the arbitration did not end yet, and he would stay a little longer. He would return to Blue Dragon Martial Club later.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“It is related to the secrets of Joe Clan, and if you want to hear it, listen to your Senior Brother later.”
I laughed my teeth out. It was a smile with the killing intent.
“Do you consider me as a pushover? You let me wait this long, but I have to wait more, until my Senior Brother comes back later. Is it so? Until when? How can I believe you since I can’t even see the face of my Senior Brother?”
“Oh, no, no…”
Ha Jun looked embarrassed.
My words were spiky, the unconsciously emanated energy pressured the surroundings, and it made him feel sick.
Joe Clan was also a force of Moorim, so the general manager Ha Jun also learned the martial arts, but when he faced my Internal Energy in front of me, he shrank and shook his arms. Even the four guards standing beside him flinched and stepped back, their faces were whitening as if they were already dead.
“If you don’t get me face Senior Brother, or at least let me know the details. If not, I’ll do it my way.”
“Do you intend to destroy the fame of your Senior Brother? Are you threatening Joe Clan as an enemy of Blue Dragon Martial Club?”
When I saw his sharp response, he was a man of his own strength. He said what he needed to say with the hardened look even under the pressure from my Internal Energy. I smiled and talked logically.
“Do you think this is a threat? I’ve been ordered by my master to bring Senior Brother. It must work on Senior Brother too. Don’t give me any excuse. It was Senior Brother that denied this order.”
“What do you think? Which one comes first between the will of Senior Brother and the order of the master in Moorim? I am just talking about a virtue.”
I hammered the wedge into his face.
“No matter what my Senior Brother and your clan talk about, it is the individual’s situation of Senior Brother. For me, my master’s command is more important!”
The general manager Ha Jun looked troubled. He must have realized that the meaning of my words, “I have no moral problem for going inside and hunting after Joe Clan.”
Indeed, if I step into the house of Joe Clan with this excuse and knock over the general manager and guards, only Joe Clan will suffer from the damage afterwards. Of course, I won’t really knock them out. The moment I do it, it is very risky for me too. However, the reason why I am making threats is to keep continuously impressing the fact of [I can]. The fact that [I can] do something crazy could be a threat.
Eventually, the general manager glanced at the house of Joe Clan behind him and sighed.
“I can’t help it. I’ll show you the whereabouts of the headteacher Jin So-Chung.”
“Whereabouts? He is not in the house of Joe Clan?”
“He left here one hour ago.”
I found myself at the mercy of my instincts. The reason why the general manager stopped the security guard and sent him away was to hide the fact that there was not Jin So-Chung here. I confirmed earlier that my hunch had been right. Only after I measured the justification and the circumstances, I could choose the best way not to hurt myself. Then I said to the general manager.
“Why did you conceal the whereabouts of Senior Brother?”
“He asked the clan leader to do it.”
“I can’t give you more details. But we did it as he had asked, so make sure that even Blue Dragon Martial Club is not going to threaten us about it.”
The general manager Ha Jun’s words were sharp as razor blades. It was a mixture of frustration with my intrusion into other family affairs, so I stopped provoking him. Apparently, the headteacher Jin So-Chung asked the clan leader to cover up his tracks for some reason, and the deadline seemed to be tomorrow.
‘But for what?’
Soon enough, said the general manager Ha Jun.
“He’s headed for Hangu Pass. You’ll have to hurry to find your way since he rode his horse.”
“You do your best for an excuse.”
‘Telling the truth is to make the most of the blame be given later on Senior Brother.’
Ha Jun, the general manager, grimaced.
“Don’t be sarcastic. We don’t like to get involved in other people’s business, either.”
“I will not see you off.”
A few minutes later, the general manager Ha Jun ordered the security guards to close the door and left. As the door closed with a bang sound, the security guards put on a shameless look, but then started to do their jobs by lighting the wick of the torch. Surely it was getting dark, so I’d better hurry or I would miss him.
I knew where Hangu Pass was. Having lived in Guanzhong for three years, I had a rough idea of geography.
It is a gateway that passes from the eastern central region to western Guanzhong. I had never been there before, but it is a historic fortress and landmark, so I thought it would be all right to go along the government road.
‘There is a Relay Station nearby. Let’s borrow a horse from there.’
It was dangerous to ride a horse at night, but I managed to get a clear view when I held a torch in my hand. Of course, as my riding skills were not bad, I could control the speed of the horse. I could run to it, but I wanted to stay physically fit if possible.
Fire House (火樓) was occasionally lit by a torch near the government road. Fortunately, it was visible, so I started running on a horse slowly.
According to a gatekeeper of the Relay Station, Hangu Pass was about two kilometers over the mountain. But the actual distance was expected to be about ten kilometers from here. It was a considerable distance, so riding a horse was the best option.
I heard the hooves of the horse, and thought in my mind.
‘I am sure that Senior Brother, Jin So-Chung met Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan and Murong Yan at the house of Joe Clan, and they are heading to Hangu Pass together.’
There was only one reason to behave like that.
From the middle of the day, a lot of First-class experts were wandering around the city in search of Nangong Huan and Murong Yan. Nangong Huan would know it, so he took his fiancée on a shelter of Joe Clan and asked his friend Jin So-Chung to help out with them. Senior Brother had told Lee Kwang that he was going to meet a friend and his fiancée, and accompanied them to escort.
I dismounted the horse to avoid the branches, and muttered.
“Something strange is going on.”
It is certain. If I follow the direction to the Hangu Pass, chasing for Senior Brother, I will encounter a gang of the First-class experts. They have an intense obsession with Murong Yan, and the First-class experts cannot miss a trail of Nangong Huan.
I soon realized that my predictions were not wrong. When I was riding slowly again over the mountain and down the road, I had a strong reaction to my Qi Sense. It was a huge wave, probably hit between the powerful Moves. The faint sound tickling the ears, which could not be heard by the public, clearly informed that the experts were involved in a collision.
“Oh… I’ll be late.”
I kicked the horse to speed up. It was dangerous on the decline, but I couldn’t help it.
“Get your strength, you bastard.”
I put my hand on the horse’s neck and slowly energized it. The horse was tired but started to run faster. At the same time, I could feel the senses of the horse and prevent the horse from being out of order.
Normally, the experts do not use the Qi this way. Because it is incredibly inefficient to infuse Qi to other beings, it is a waste of Internal Energy. Confirming the places of Eight Extraordinary Meridians, they infuse a limited amount of Internal Energy into the designated blood vessels. However, my Internal Energy is so overflowing that I can convey it to the horse, though it is inefficient.
As a result, I could arrive at the confrontation place in about seven minutes.
It was a wide plain with large trees everywhere. In the middle of the plain where Hangu Pass was visible above the mountain, there was a torch like a firearm, and a dozen of people stopped there.
I shouted, getting out of my horse.
“Are you okay, the headteacher, Jin So-Chung?”
Clash clash clash.
Jin So-Chung looked at me while he was fighting against two experts with a spear. To my surprise, he did not step back, moving the spear like his body against the two experts, but it seemed to overwhelm them.
“Oh, my god.”
When Jin So-Chung raised the spear, a long-sword was thrown back with a scream. At the same time, when he used Lightning Spirit Eight Spearmanship to rotate the spear blade, a strange shock wave occurred and the other opponent was torn out of the shoulder.
In an instant, Jin So-Chung who defeated two experts, looked at me with a surprised look.
“Who are you? Why do I feel the Lightning Spirit?”
He must have sensed the Lightning Spirit coming from my body. Even so, if he could see the state of Lightning Spirit just by looking at, it seemed that the ability of Jin So-Chung at this time was more than I had thought.
The eyes of the experts gathered on me, and I said, making Clasping Hands (抱拳) to Senior Brother.
“I am a new core disciple of Blue Dragon Martial Club, and I have been given the position of the teacher.”
“Teacher…? Senior Brother?”
“I also learned the Three-Absolute for personal reasons and became a core disciple.”
Jin So-Chung who was puzzled laughed cheerfully, as to whether he knew the situation.
“Hahaha! Yes! I look forward to working with you, Junior Brother (師弟), Baek Woong!”
He seemed to have inferred in an instant that I was from another Lightning God’s Flow and became a core disciple of Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang. He also found out that the ‘Three-Absolute’ which I had mentioned was a secret analogy to Lightning God’s Flow. He was one of the most wonderful figures (奇材) in the world.
‘He’s one of ten masters in the future.’
Behind Jin So-Chung, there were a man and a woman. The man was very handsome, and though Jin So-Chung looked like good-looking, the appearance of the man was like a dragon. He was a handsome figure, carved with no flaws, as if he had been sheared into a turf, and the light smile of him would have shaken the hearts of many of the girls.
The woman was also the beauty of the world in a century, standing beside him, and she was comparable to Sagong Lin. Sagong Lin was fresh but the woman looked like a pure child. Anyway, she was a beauty that every man would have wanted to get at the risk of his life.
They greeted me, “Good to see you, Young Hero. I am Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan of Nangong Noble Clan.”
“I am Murong Yan of Murong Noble Clan.”
“Yes, I look forward to working with you.”
I was pretty sure of their identity, so I accepted the greeting without any particular word. My guess was right after all.
It was then. A man dressed in black came out and laughed at Jin So-Chung.
“You, Jin So-Chung and Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, won’t be able to live today though there is one more teenager!”
There were about eight experts standing there, each holding his own weapon. I noticed among them the energy of the four elite men who I had felt in the daylight. On the back, there was a young man who had a wooden saber, and he was Saber-Ghost, Wei Zhong who had been put out in the daytime. Unsurprisingly, Wei Zhong was shocked when he found me.
“Oh! You are a boy of Gaibang!”
I said bluntly, “Gaibang? I am a core disciple of Blue Dragon Martial Club.”
“Don’t be ridiculous like a crow!”
“Don’t talk like a rubbish, damn it.”
That was a swear word and I threw myself forward in anger. I had to show him a lesson.
“You, crazy guy!”
The First-class experts seemed to think of me as a mayfly when I rushed to the front. After a while they tried to kill me by blowing off their weapons. But before I got into their range, I would stop in the air and make a sudden fall (急轉直下). I then pulled up all of my Internal Energy and put Vibration Foot (振脚) on the ground.
Bang bang bang…
Great Destruction (大破壞)!
A loud explosion sounded like a bomb blasting, and a cloud of dust erupted into the middle of the mountain. The heaven and the earth roared, as if the walls of darkness were rising. The intangible shock wave shriveled and tore the clouds. The center area of Vibration Foot collapsed and was destroyed countless times. The trees nearby were torn off by the wind of the shock wave and the human body was no exception.
“What, what the hell…!”
“Oh, my god!”
The First-class experts, who gathered together, were forced to be blown their bodies back. Some of them had weapons on the ground or posed in the air with the Lightness Skill, but no one could stand within fifteen meters. One of the weak ones was thrown out thirty meters and spilled a stream of blood from his mouth. I just pulled up all my Internal Energy and kicked the ground with Vibration Foot.
But I was also surprised at this.
Did I really do this?
What level was my Internal Energy?
Then, Senior Brother, Jin So-Chung grinned and said, “Good work, Junior Brother, Baek Woong! Let’s take Murong Yan on the horse and run away.”
“What? Run away?”
“These are all one-sided men, and it’s not a good idea to play head to head.”
Murong Yan climbed on the horse I had ridden.
“Let’s go to Hangu Pass.”
As Murong Yan’s horse started running, Jin So-Chung, Nangong Huan, and I began running after her. Of course, all three men were able to catch up with the horse’s run, but managed to save the strength, so only to keep the horse in sight.
While I was running, Nangong Huan glanced at me and said, “There is a boy like you in Guanzhong… The world will change in the future.”
“Ha ha ha…”
I smiled awkwardly.
I know that Nangong Huan is one of ten masters in the future and he is called Sword-King (劍王).
I felt a little ashamed when I heard that assessment from a great man in the future. At that time, Jin So-Chung made a Sound Transmission to me.
[Did you inherit other Lightning God’s Flow?]
I don’t know how to use the Sound Transmission. Instead, I said with a low voice.
“Yes. My former teacher passed away and I came to see the master.”
[Hahaha. I think it’ll be fun to practice on it. I look forward to working with you today.]
Surprisingly, Jin So-Chung was not suspicious or jealous. Even if we were from the same sect, it would be normal to doubt or get angry when an angular stone rolled in. I felt a little heavy as his mind was not hypocritical.
‘I would have been comfortable if he had been a loser.’
I wondered if I could have overcome the successor of Lee Kwang who had recognized Jin So-Chung as a genius.
Clasping Hands (抱拳: known as Baoquan, a respectful salute or greeting to grasp the right hand which symbolizes the sun, and embrace it with the left hand which symbolizes the moon)
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