Chapter 96 - First Military Commander (3)
Jang Myung looked surprised by the Go pieces in my left hand.
Would this be enough proof of my victory
Kwak Hyung-jik’s disciple, Jang Myung, was very talented, but I had just displayed a level of skill that was at least two steps above him.
Kwak Hyung-jik frowned at this.
“Give me what’s in your left hand.”
He flicked another of the Go pieces with his finger.
Since I held the Iron Sword in my right hand, I grabbed the Go pieces with my left hand and then gave them to him, making his eyes shine.
“You know how to use your left hand.”
That was a key difference between ordinary people and me.
I have polished the skills of my left hand to use either my dagger or the silver string during times of crisis.
His lips twitched at this.
Was he unhappy that I was better than his disciple But then he smiled.
“Ho hyung taught his disciple quite well.”
His words were as blunt as before.
However, his tone was as if he remembered an old acquaintance.
“There is no need to be ashamed since you aren’t lacking too much.”
At his master’s words, Jang Myung bowed.
“Such an amazing sword technique.
So hyung must be the first to do this to the Go pieces.
I am truly humbled that you could do this better than me.”
His words contained genuine feelings, which probably meant that he accepted me to some extent.
Short Sword’s words reminded me of Jin Young, Jin Gyun’s grandson, whom we met in the inn.
That arrogant man who was drunk on his grandfather’s fame.
In contrast, this guy was a true gentleman.
“I am sorry for testing you here.
I have been unintentionally disrespectful to you as I have often seen people use the name of my old friend.”
He apologized, and I replied.
How could I blame Great Warrior Kwak, who is my teacher’s acquaintance”
“As expected of that man’s disciple.”
Kwak Hyung-jik nodded his head with a happy expression.
Still, it was fortunate that the South Heavenly Swordsman’s honor wasn’t destroyed here.
Along with Hae Ack-chun, South Heavenly Swordsman was my teacher too.
How could I tarnish his name as his disciple
“It is a pity.
When it came to nurturing the disciples, I thought I was ahead of that man.”
Kwak Hyung-jik expressed his regret at his disciple’s defeat in this impromptu contest.
In truth, Jang Myung’s skills would likely put him in the top five of people his same age.
The only mismatch had been that I was his opponent.
Jang Myung bowed his head and apologized.
“This incompetent disciple has brought shame to the teacher.”
“There is no such thing as complete superiority over others.
There is always something above, and we take it as a lesson to work on.”
“I will keep that in mind.”
The conversation between the two was a typical example of a happy teacher and disciple.
The teacher would likely have created an uproar if their relationship had been twisted.
Well, this was expected.
‘He was trying to compare me to his disciple.’
He was the one who wanted to test me and placed his disciple into this mess.
He must have wanted to know who between the two of them was better at nurturing their disciples.
-North Brave Blade Star has often been compared with my former master.
So more than anyone else, he considered my former master as his rival.
As Iron Sword said, it was only natural to want any kind of victory over a rival.
However, this was still an unfortunate sight.
Both of them had been placed in the spotlight as the new generation of Eight Great Warriors or even their own level of greatness.
However, both of them failed to cross that final wall.
“I should also apologize now.”
Zhuge Won-myung got up from his chair and politely bowed to me.
“Forgive me for acting rude because I wanted to check your real identities.”
Actually, I was prepared for this.
Claiming to be a disciple of the South Heavenly Swordsman, who had disappeared for sixteen years, was bound to bring about doubt.
Moreover, all of the opponents were people who had information about him.
So I had to be careful.
“I heard you showed up after missing for over a year.
It is highly unlikely for a child who got kicked out of the family due to a broken dantian to come back as the successor to the disappeared South Heavenly Swordsman.”
At his words, I felt a little nervous.
Again, this man could be holding some information.
“The First Sword of Mount Hyeong has confirmed your identity.
However, as a member of the Military, I had no choice but to personally assuage my doubts.”
So he had already checked with Cho Jeung-eun.
Well, this man wasn’t the military head for no reason after all.
It was fortunate that I met that man both at the inn and back in Ikyang So.
“Not at all.
I think it is fortunate that the honor of my teacher isn’t damaged along with the doubts being resolved.”
“Thank you for taking it like this.”
With those words, Zhuge Won-myung turned to Sima Young.
As expected, such a meticulous person.
He wasn’t letting anyone pass by without a thorough check.
Information about me was well disseminated and easy to find.
However, Sima Young was different.
She was wearing a mask on top of not using her real name.
“I am Ma Young.”
After confirming with me through a glance, she introduced herself.
“If it isn’t too rude, can I ask how disciple So ended up becoming a disciple of Ho Jong-dae”
“I lived near the Aileo Mountains, Yunnan province, and naturally formed a connection.”
I had prepared for this too.
Many herbalists lived near the Aileo mountains.
It would be difficult to understand who of them I had been in contact with as the place was full of people.
Add to that, it was also the hometown of the South Heavenly Swordsman, so they could do nothing.
Zhuge Won-myung looked a bit skeptical at this explanation.
“When the teacher suffered from his sickly body, this disciple had suffered too much, and he accepted me then.”
“The South Heavenly Swordsman is ill”
This was a topic that was worthy of changing the discussion.
Zhuge Won-myung showed clear interest.
“He is better now, so there is no need to worry.”
However, when he heard of that man feeling ill, Zhuge Won-myung turned towards Kwak Hyung-jik instead of me.
Their throats trembled as they sent messages.
When I looked at him curiously, he turned to me and said in a dismissive tone.
Look at my brain.
I have guests, and I didn’t even serve tea, such a bad-mannered person.
Please sit down.”
Zhuge Won-myung pointed to the empty seat with his hand.
It was opposite Kwak Hyung-jik.
As Sima Young and I sat down, the servants came to serve the tea that they had prepared outside.
Seeing the hot steam coming up, it seemed like they predicted how long the talks would be.
I suddenly wondered.
Kwak Hyung-jik had no connection with the Murim Alliance before my death in my past life.
Therefore, it would be impossible for him to have come here in such a short time to confirm my identity.
-Why What else has changed now
He had no reason to be here if there had been no other change.
Besides, I don’t think bringing in a disciple would even be necessary.
Zhuge Won-myung motioned for his servants, guards, and everyone else to leave the office.
As they left, he looked at me and said.
“You must be wondering why they were asked to leave.”
“… it has to be something that no one else can listen to.”
After hearing my words, he smiled brightly.
From now comes the story no one should listen to.”
These words filled me with complicated feelings.
He would be telling me something that no one should hear.
I could understand wanting to verify my identity, but what reason would there be for even telling me anything remotely secret At our first meeting at that
Will this be fine Wouldn’t it be a hindrance to our mission]
There was some truth to Sima Young’s question.
So I got up from my seat and bowed.
If it is such a burdensome story, then I do not want to listen…”
“I do not mean to burden you.
And how about hearing the story first You can freely walk out if it has nothing to do with you.”
What the hell was he trying to say This was not within anything I had ever expected.
Then, as if to push me further into listening, Kwak Hyung-jik added.
“It might have something to do with your teacher.
You can leave if you want to, though.”
The South Heavenly Swordsman These words made me pause.
They would be suspicious of me if I acted like I didn’t care.
So this is what they were doing.
They were planning to use me by using my teacher’s name.
I sat back down.
If something I shouldn’t be involved in came up, I would not hesitate to get up and leave.
As soon as I sat down, the two men exchanged glances and asked me.
“Have you ever heard from your teacher about his duel with a man with a golden eye”
This was a completely unexpected question.
I had forgotten for a while but knew of the man they mentioned.
Iron Sword called out to me.
It was only natural.
Wasn’t he the mysterious man who drove his previous master to death I felt troubled.
It seemed these two knew something and wanted me to share information with them
-We have no information either way.
Like Short Sword said, we didn’t know much.
Even Iron Sword only remembered the man’s golden eye.
The problem was that I could not tell them of his death.
-Wonhwi… you don’t have to be here just because you are conscious of me.
I don’t want you, my current master, to be associated with that dangerous person.
Iron Sword’s words warmed my heart.
I now think of these people and swords as my family and understand that they cared about me.
However, after thinking about it for a moment, I spoke.
“… I heard about it from my teacher.”
“As I thought!”
At this confirmation, Kwak Hyung-jik showed a strong reaction.
Zhuge Won-myung reached out his hand to calm him down.
“Is it something to do with your teacher’s illness”
From this, I could guess that the two were concerned about my teacher’s health.
From here, then, I spotted a place to fit a new lie.
This confirmation made Zhuge Won-myung sigh.
“Then it is the same case as it was with the North Brave Blade Star.”
“What do you mean”
At my question, the man slipped the stump of his arm out of his baggy right sleeve and said with a heavy voice.
“He made my arm like this.”
Was it due to a confrontation with the man with the golden eye I had thought that it was strange that how he lost his arm wasn’t publicly known.
“Has your teacher been looking for him”
‘…this man disappeared from the limelight of the murim because he lost his arm to the man with the golden eye.’
I could guess the intention behind his question.
Unfortunately, the South Heavenly Swordsman lost his life after his own duel.
Hearing my words, Kwak Hyung-jik frowned.
“Did he simply accept the outcome”
It didn’t look like he knew at all.
Well, how could he survive that fight Hearing the account of the battle from Iron Sword, I was sure that the man with the golden eye didn’t have enough compassion to leave an opponent alive.
“Didn’t your teacher say anything else about him”
“Not even a little”
Hearing my words, both men’s faces became stiff.
Zhuge Won-myung then nodded his head as if he understood that there was nothing left to do.
They wanted clues from me But what could I even do here
Even Iron Sword, who had been with the man in question, could remember nothing.
“May I ask why you are doing this”
At my question, Zhuge Won-myung stroked his beard.
“What I am telling you now is a confidential matter that only elders or those higher in rank know about.
I am only telling you as you are related to your teacher, so keep this a secret.”
“… I understand.”
If it was a secret, then it was likely to be of help to me.
After hearing my words, Zhuge Won-myung opened his lips and spoke with a heavy voice.
“It seems like the Blood Sect will rise again.”