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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!


Eun Han-Seol closed her eyes and concentrated on healing herself. Beads of sweat dripped down her forehead.

Besides healing, she was desperately trying to recover her strength. She wasn’t sure if her efforts would pay off, but right now there were some indications that her qi was about to start flowing again.

If she missed this opportunity, the next one might not come anytime soon. Thus, she was placing all her concentration on trying to circulate her qi.

Crack!

Her body shook. She had reached the limits of her tolerance.

En Han-Seol wanted to scream in pain. However, she did her best to endure the pain and kept her mouth shut. If she screamed now, all her efforts would have been for nothing. She didn’t know how much longer she would need to fully recover now, much less, how long it would take if she had to start over.

*I must be patient, and slowly increase my qi bit by bit. Only then can I properly expel the poison from my body and return to full strength. *

At present, she was completely defenseless. Even the slightest touch from another person would give her a heart attack, causing her to cough up blood, and even kill her. Normally, she would never risk using this kind of healing technique, but she had no choice. She could only trust in the Formless Crystal Formation.

Suddenly, the door to the room opened with a creaking sound.

Who is it?

It wasn’t Jin Mu-Won.

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This person’s footsteps were heavy and his stride was long. Also, he wasn’t alone.

“Hmm? She’s not here?”

“You were the one who told me she was here, yeah?”

“I thought she would definitely be hiding here…”

The mens’ voices echoed around the room.

Eun Han-Seol’s face instantly turned black.

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It’s them.

The owners of these voices were Jang Pae-San and the other mercenaries from Heaven’s Summit.

They’re here for revenge, aren’t they?

Eun Han-Seol knew exactly what these guys were thinking. Small-fries like them often had the biggest egos. She felt that she had already given them a severe enough warning, but clearly, it was insufficient.

Eun Han-Seol saw her life flash before her eyes, but the illusion vanished as quickly as it had appeared. She had only seen it because her heart was beating too quickly.

“Right now, I’m as good as useless. I can only believe in the Formless Crystal Formation.”

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She tried her hardest to regain her composure.

“Just where the fuck did that bitch go?” growled Jang Pae-San, furiously searching the seemingly unoccupied room.

It was just as Eun Han-Seol had presumed. Jang Pae-San hadn’t forgotten the humiliation he’d received that day. How could he forget? He had been disgraced in front of his underlings by a little girl half his size.

Jang Pae-San had seriously reflected upon the events of that day. In the end, he concluded that there was definitely something off about Eun Han-Seol. If the girl was at her normal strength, there was no way she would have backed off when she clearly held the advantage.

“Obviously, the bitch was just feigning it all.”

The more he thought about it, the more certain he was that Eun Han-Seol was not in peak condition. Then, he was hit by a frightening thought. If the girl had given him such a hard time when she was in bad form, just how strong would she be after she had recovered fully?

Jang Pae-San realized that he could not continue letting her slowly restore her strength.

He took a deep breath.

“She’s definitely somewhere in this room! Search every inch until you find that bitch!”

“Yessir!

The mercenaries continued searching the room.

A drop of cold sweat rolled down Eun Han-Seol’s face. Jang Pae-San’s men were steadily closing in on her location.

The Formless Crystal Formation was just a basic formation. It could hide one’s presence, but it had no defensive power. If someone so much as grazed it, she would be exposed in a heartbeat.

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I can’t move, but I can’t not move.

Should I take the risk? Eun Han-Seol bit her lip.

I have to decide now. Even though my recovery time will be prolonged if I forcefully stop my healing technique, I have no other option.

She decided to give up healing.

“What are you doing in my room?”

Suddenly, she heard Jin Mu-Won’s voice.

Jang Pae-San and the mercenaries turned around to see Jin Mu-Won standing at the door.

Before Jang Pae-San could reply, Jin Mu-Won strode forward and stood in between him and Eun Han-Seol.

“Since when did Heaven’s Summit become so uncivilized? Don’t you know that it is rude to enter someone else’s room without permission?”

“Does it matter? You don’t even live here anymore!”

“Is there a law stating that you can randomly enter someone else’s property if they are not using it? Don’t forget, I’m the one giving you permission to stay in the barracks, and also the one letting you utilize the Lofty Sky Manor just because you want to give your ‘honored guests’ a nice place to live. Are you trying to tell me that I should also hand my room over to you? Huh?”

Jang Pae-San’s face twitched. His tightly clenched fists trembled like a beast ready to strike at any moment.

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“It seems that you really want to die.”

“It seems that you only know how to repeat that one phrase.”

“Fuck you! You’re really…”

Jin Mu-Won calmly locked gazes with the erupting Mt. Jang Pae-San.

Jang Pae-San looked like he would punch Jin Mu-Won any moment now, but the young man knew that the mercenary wouldn’t dare do that.

Although they had completely ignored each other, it was a fact that they had lived in the same place for more than a year. Jin Mu-Won felt that this amount of time was enough to perfectly grasp Jang Pae-San’s personality.

He sucks up to the strong and bullies the weak. He always puts his own safety first, and would never gamble with his life.

As long as I am the heir to the Northern Army, he wouldn’t dare harm me carelessly.

Everything was proceeding the way Jin Mu-Won had predicted. Jang Pae-San could only stare daggers at him, but would not resort to violence, much less draw his sword on him.

“Brat, you just wait and see. I haven’t given up yet.”

Jang Pae-San turned and stormed out of the room. His subordinates followed him.

When he was sure that he was the only man left, Jin Mu-Won did not leave the room right away. Instead, he turned to look at the corner of the room where Eun Han-Seol was hiding.

There she is.

He suddenly broke into a large grin.

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Has the world changed? No, it’s my view of the world that has changed.

Should I call it the flow of the world, or the flow of energy (chi)? I can now see things that I have never seen before. It’s not very clear, but I can definitely feel some kind of flow now.

Jin Mu-Won finally left the room. Eun Han-Seol waited for a while before coming out of the Formless Crystal Formation.

The tension on her face had mostly disappeared. Jin Mu-Won had arrived in the nick of time, and his intervention had allowed her to finish her healing technique without getting interrupted.

“One of the barriers to my recovery has been overcome. Still, that guy…”

A little bit of qi had gathered within her qi center. Although it was just an insignificant amount, to Eun Han-Seol it was like she had received the water of life that would give her salvation.

She stared at the door that Jin Mu-Won had left from, a hint of suspicion in her eyes.

sep

Jin Mu-Won looked around the storeroom, muttering, “I should have saved up some resources.”

He had thought that he was well-prepared for the winter, but he was wrong. Half of the food was already gone. There was no way he could have predicted the appearance of a gluttonous guest, after all. Even though he wanted to reduce his food intake, doing so during the winter was a fast way to ascend to heaven.

“I wonder if Uncle Hwang is doing well?”

He felt a sharp sting in his heart as he thought of Hwang Cheol. Hwang Cheol was a man who had willingly given up his own freedom to look after him. In a way, he felt that Hwang Cheol had already done more than enough to repay the debt he owed Jin Kwan-Ho. However, Hwang Cheol did not agree with him and felt that he was still lacking.

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Jin Mu-Won took some rice, mutton and vegetables out of the storeroom. His footsteps could be clearly seen in the snow as he walked along the road toward the Tower of Shadows.

Suddenly, he turned to look at the Lofty Sky Manor. Hammering sounds could be heard as Jang Pae-San and his men cleaned and renovated the building.

I wonder who will be coming in spring. They must be of pretty high status to be able to make these lazy mercenaries work so hard.

After returning to the Tower of Shadows, Jin Mu-Won began to prepare dinner. He cooked the rice and put the sliced mutton and vegetables into a pot. He added some water and seasonings to the pot and brought it to a boil to make mutton stew.

He had gotten pretty good at cooking after living alone for so long. He controlled the fire while waiting for the food to cook. Soon, the fragrance of freshly cooked rice and stew filled every nook and cranny of the tower. Jin Mu-Won sniffed it and smiled with satisfaction.

He placed the cooked food on a wooden table that he had temporarily set up while Eun Han-Seol was staying in his room. Although it was just a simple bowl of rice and a pot of mutton stew, to Jin Mu-Won, it was the most delicious food in the world.

“Where is this smell coming from…”

Jin Mu-Won abruptly turned to face the doorway, ladle in hand. It was Eun Han-Seol.

He smiled and said, “Long time no see?”

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Eun Han-Seol nodded in response. Her pale face looks even prettier than the last time I saw it, Jin Mu-Won thought.

“What’s up?”

“I came here to thank you.”

“What for?”

“You saved me from danger back there.”

“What do you mean? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Do you really not know?”

Jin Mu-Won shrugged. Eun Han-Seol stared directly into his eyes to see if he was lying. However, his eyes were as calm as the sea and she couldn’t tell what he was thinking at all.

Jin Mu-Won suddenly asked, “Want some dinner?”

“……”

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“If you haven’t eaten yet, come sit down. I made a lot of food.”

Eu Han-Seol frowned and was just about to refuse Jin Mu-Won’s offer when a rumbling sound could be heard coming from her stomach.

Her face immediately flushed red, but she walked toward the table nonchalantly as if nothing had happened. Jin Mu-Won handed her a bowl of rice and a pair of chopsticks, grinning all the while.

“I-I’m not doing this because I’m hungry. I just thought that you would be lonely if you ate alone, so I’m joining you for dinner.”

“Pfft! Thanks.”

Jin Mu-Won dumped a heap of mutton stew on top of his rice and began to eat.

Eun Han-Seol picked up the chopsticks and tried a mouthful of Jin Mu-Won’s stew. Her eyes widened in amazement.

The stew looked clumsily made but it turned out to be unexpectedly delicious. She also hadn’t been eating very well lately because of her condition, but Jin Mu-Won’s cooking had really whet her appetite.

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Eun Han-Seol then tried some of the hot soup and felt like her frozen body had warmed up. She quickly polished off the bowl of stew.

“Is it good?”

“Yeah,” replied Eun Han-Seol straightforwardly without thinking.

Jin Mu-Won unconsciously smiled and opened the pot lid to scoop out some more stew.

Eun Han-Seol, who had been eating her food quietly, looked up at Jin Mu-Won. His bowl was almost empty.

She stared at him for a while, then asked, “Don’t you have any questions for me?”

“No?”

“You’re not going to ask about me?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I just… think it’s best if I didn’t know anything about you. I have a feeling that if I knew who you really were, we wouldn’t be able to spend time together comfortably like this anymore.”

“You are an idiot.”

“I get that a lot.”

“Sheesh!”

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Eun Han-Seol snorted at Jin Mu-Won’s reply. Jin Mu-Won didn’t care though and kept on eating. Seeing that, Eun Han-Seol quickly became absorbed in her own meal once again.

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Sometime later, the two finished eating. Jin Mu-Won stood up quietly, cleared away the dishes, and put a kettle of water on the stove.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m done eating, so it’s time for some tea.”

“I want Byeoglachun tea.”1

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“That’s a luxury good!”

“Hmph!” Eun Han-Seol pouted.

Byeoglachun tea was the best quality tea grown in the Dongting mountain region near Lake Tai. It was so expensive that no peasant could afford it. Despite its fame, production was low, so the only people who got to drink Byeoglachun tea were high-ranking officials and royalty.

The only tea Jin Mu-Won had, though, was the one that Hwang Cheol had given him. The taste and fragrance of the tea wasn’t very refined, but it had its own unique flavor. This tea was Jin Mu-Won’s one and only luxury good.

After the water had boiled, he waited a while for it to cool to a suitable temperature. Then, he added the tea leaves and steeped them for some time.

Eun Han-Seol observed the relaxed and unguarded Jin Mu-Won. Where she came from, carefree people like him were rare.

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Jin Mu-Won poured the tea into a cup and handed it to Eun Han-Seol. Eun Han-Seol furrowed her brows at the crude appearance of the tea but when she smelled its fragrance, she couldn’t help but reach out for the cup.

The warm touch of his hand made her smile. She held the cup in her hands, enjoyed the fragrance for a moment, then took a sip.

Again, she was astonished by the flavor.

This is delicious.

The tea tasted much better than she’d thought it would. This meant that Jin Mu-Won knew the correct way to brew tea.

“Well?”

“It’s good!”

“Right? I’ve loved tea since I was ten years old, so I learned how to brew it.”

Jin Mu-Won had never officially learned the tea ceremony,2 but brewing tea was his only hobby, so he was delighted that Eun Han-Seol approved of his skill. Eun Han-Seol snickered as she looked at his smug appearance.

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Normally, when a person’s entire family is killed, their eyes will be filled with resentment or despair.

If he truly is this skilled at concealing his emotions, then he is a very frightening man indeed. If not, then he’s just a vulnerable optimist.

No matter which one it is, it’s worth finding out. Most importantly, I’m not in a state where I can leave this place. I still need to concentrate on healing for a few more months. The Northern Army Fortress is the best hiding place for me.

Eun Han-Seol stood up.

“You leaving?”

“Yes. Please continue enjoying your tea.”

“You should come over more often. Like you said, eating alone is lonely.”

“Not happening.”

Eun Han-Seol left with a firm expression on her face.


Footnotes:

  1. Byeoglachun tea: Biluochun or Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春) is a famous green tea originally grown in the Dongting mountain region near Lake Tai in Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. Also known as Pi Lo Chun, it is renowned for its delicate appearance, fruity taste, floral aroma, showy white hairs and early cropping. It’s hella expensive and considered a high-class tea, even more than Longjing tea. 

  2. Tea ceremony: A tea ceremony is a ritualized form of making tea (茶 cha) in East Asia by the Chinese, Koreans and Japanese. 

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