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

Winter passed, and the North welcomed the spring. The flowers hadn’t bloomed yet, but the temperature had increased significantly compared to before, and the snow as deep as a man’s height had started to melt.

Jin Mu-Won had made himself a giant wooden shovel and was currently busy clearing away the snow around the Tower of Shadows. He only needed to pile up the remaining snow along one wall, and the spring wind and sunshine would do the rest.

It was already his third day shoveling snow around the tower and the main gate.


When he finally finished shoveling all the snow, Jin Mu-Won beamed with satisfaction and sat down near the main gate. He wiped off the beads of sweat on his forehead.

The air was still kind of cold, but the earth was brimming with the energy of spring. Jin Mu-Won relaxed and relished in the feeling of coming back to life that only one who had endured the harsh winter could experience.


Another winter has come and gone, but I’m still alive. Winter will come again, but so will spring after that. This is the cycle of life.

“Pfft! Hahahahahahahaha!”

Suddenly, he started laughing out loud. What am I, a homeless beggar? I’m only seventeen, but I’m thinking like an old man. Maybe I matured early because I’ve been through a lot since I was young?


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Jin Mu-Won’s eyes lit up. He saw a horse-drawn wagon traversing through the snow-covered plains, heading toward the Northern Army Fortress.

He squinted his eyes to see the person sitting on the wagon, then broke into a welcoming smile.

“Uncle Hwang!”

He hadn’t seen Hwang Cheol since before the start of winter.

“Young Master!”

“Uncle Hwang!”

The two men held each other’s hands as they happily exchanged greetings.

“Young Master, have you been taking good care of yourself?”

Hwang Cheol carefully observed Jin Mu-Won to see if there were any problems with his health. In his eyes, Jin Mu-Won was still a child. Jin Mu-Won smiled, having understood Hwang Cheol’s kind intentions.

“I have, so there’s no need to check me. Let’s go inside.”

Jin Mu-Won grabbed Hwang Cheol’s arm and dragged him away.

When Jin Mu-Won told Hwang Cheol that he had moved into the Tower of Shadows because he had given his old room to a guest, Hwang Cheol was appalled. Jin Mu-Won sensed how Hwang Cheol felt, and explained, “Well, I’ve always thought about moving someday. It just happened a little sooner than I expected, that’s all.”

“But Young Master is…”

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“It’s fine, Uncle Hwang. I really like living in the Tower of Shadows.”

Jin Mu-Won had never told Hwang Cheol about the secrets of the Wall of Ten Thousand Shadows before. It wasn’t because he didn’t trust Hwang Cheol, but because this was a secret that only the Lords of the Northern Army were allowed to know about.

“Sigh, if Young Master insists…”

Hwang Cheol didn’t believe Jin Mu-Won’s excuses, but he still accepted the young man’s decision in the end. That proved just how loyal he was to the Jin family.

After they had moved all the stuff from Hwang Cheol’s wagon into the storeroom, the two sat down opposite each other. Hwang Cheol looked at Jin Mu-Won with a dazed expression.

“Young Master, you’ve grown up. If only your father could see you now, I’m sure he would be so happy…”

“How have you been, Uncle Hwang?”

“The person who hired me this time is a pretty big shot, so I was forced to spend the winter in Jiangnan together with him,” answered Hwang Cheol apologetically. That was because he had left Jin Mu-Won alone in the harsh Northern winter, while he enjoyed the warm weather in the South.

Jin Mu-Won, who had guessed what Hwang Cheol was thinking, laughed, “Hahaha! In that case, you must have heard a lot of news from the Central Plains, right, Uncle Hwang? As for here, there were some problems, but everything turned out fine in the end.”

“Young Master!”

“What about the world? Has anything significant happened lately?”

“It is still peaceful for now, but I have a feeling that won’t last much longer. Of course, this is only my personal opinion.”

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“Oh? Tell me more.” Jin Mu-Won’s eyes lit up.

“First, there have been signs that the Four Pillars are attempting to expand their territory. Because of this, Heaven’s Summit has started investigating them.”

“Finally. I knew this would happen someday.” Jin Mu-Won nodded.

To begin with, the Four Pillars and Heaven’s Summit had never been friends. They had only cooperated out of necessity and owed each other no loyalty or trust. Once they had defeated their common enemy, the Northern Army, all that was left was for them to fight among each other.

“Right now, they’re still being cautious of each other, but it feels like they’re all treading on thin ice. It wouldn’t be surprising if a conflict happens somewhere sometime soon.”


“The merchants are very enthusiastic about the situation too. Some of them have already started stocking up on weapons and other battle supplies.”

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Although they weren’t as large in scale as a war between two countries, murim conflicts still consumed a huge amount of food and resources. This was especially true for large factions such as Heaven’s Summit and the former Northern Army. The more people there were in a faction, the more resources they would consume. That was why the merchants were highly interested in the fact that some among them had begun stocking up on battle supplies.

Hwang Cheol explained what he knew of happenings beneath the surface to Jin Mu-Won. He worked for several rich merchants, so he was privy to a lot of information about the world that others wouldn’t know about. Also, the people who were the most interested in collecting information were those who controlled the flow of trade and dealt with huge sums of money.

From Hwang Cheol’s description, Jin Mu-Won understood that the world was walking on a tightrope. It was still maintaining its balance for now, but the slightest push would send it toppling over. Peace would descend into chaos in a heartbeat.

He continued listening to Hwang Cheol’s stories intently. Hwang Cheol was his only window to the world, and it was only through him that he could learn about what was going on in the world.

One of the things that interested him the most was news about the murim’s younger generation.

“Dam Soo-Cheon (譚梟峰)?” 1

“That’s right. This young man has become the center of attention in the gangho2 because he is challenging a hundred experts to duels.”

According to Hwang Cheol, Dam Soo-Cheon was the third son of Dam Jeok-Shim, the Valley Ruler of the Valley of No Return (不歸谷) and one of the Nine Skies of Heaven’s Summit. His act of challenging a hundred people to duels while unarmed, known as the Hundred Duels Trial (百人比武行), had brought him into the spotlight.

The first person he challenged was Im Jung-Oh, heir to the Cloud Sword Sect, a small-to-medium-sized sect in the southern region of the Central Plains. Im Jung-Oh, whose nickname was the Seven Slash Scholar, was an all-rounder who counted outstanding swordsmanship and footwork among his many accomplishments.

Im Jung-Oh was thirty-two this year. He was a man in his prime and a powerhouse who hadn’t tasted defeat since he was twenty. When Dam Soo-Cheon had announced that he would be challenging Im Jung-Oh, many martial arts experts laughed at him.

Although Dam Soo-Cheon was one of Valley Ruler Dam Jeok-Shim’s sons, he had never made any significant achievements before and his name was relatively unknown in the gangho.

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On the contrary, his two elder brothers Dam Yu-Seong and Dam Jin-Il were known to be promising young martial artists. Those two had inherited Dam Jeok-Shim’s personality and talents, and had already proved their abilities within the Valley of No Return. It was even said that one of the two would be chosen as the successor to the Valley of No Return.

With this kind of background, it wasn’t long before rumors began spreading that Dam Soo-Cheon had embarked on the Hundred Duels Trial in order to catch up to his brothers, who were far ahead of him in the struggle to become the successor. Many believed that Dam Soo-Cheon was no more than a naïve child making a reckless attempt at attracting attention out of jealousy for his brothers.

These people laughed and made fun of Dam Soo-Cheon, saying that he would never succeed. They all thought that he would be defeated in his very first duel, but Dam Soo-Cheon showed them just how wrong they were. He crushed Im Jung-Oh mercilessly, sending the gangho into an uproar.

Even then, people thought that Dam Soo-Cheon had only won by sheer luck. However, when he defeated two more renowned martial artists, the Seven String Sword Yoon Gi-Ju and the Invincible Woodcutter Jang Jung-San, they were forced to change their perspective on the issue.

Dam Soo-Cheon continued winning. As his consecutive victories piled up twenty, thirty, fifty times, even experts had begun cheering for the young warrior in a mixture of surprise and excitement.


Despite the continuous battles, Dam Soo-Cheon showed no sign of letting up on his challenges. He continued sending duel invitations to famous martial artists of the younger generation and felled them one after another.

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The young martial artists who received his invitation quickly became torn over whether to accept the duel or not. On one hand, accepting meant that they were recognized as powerhouses in the gangho. On the other hand, losing the duel meant that the reputations they had worked so hard to build up would disappear like popped bubbles.

Those young martial artists who had not yet been invited waited for their turn with mixed emotions. They knew that Dam Soo-Cheon would only stop when he had finished the Hundred Duels Trial.

That was because Dam Soo-Cheon himself had mentioned that only after he had finished challenging a hundred people, would he seclude himself to train and reflect on the experience.

Right now, Dam Soo-Cheon had already racked up ninety-three consecutive victories. He only needed to win seven more times to set a new record in the gangho.

Dam Soo-Cheon had started his Hundred Duels Trial in the South and had steadily moved northwards as it progressed. All of the young martial artists in the northern region left in his path anxiously trained their martial arts as they awaited his arrival.

“It’s not that no one has ever succeeded at the Hundred Duels Trial before, but that no eighteen-year-old has ever succeeded at the Hundred Duels Trial before. Dam Soo-Cheon’s age is the real reason why the entire gangho’s attention is focused on him.”

“Wait, you said he was only eighteen?”

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“That’s right, Young Master.”

Jin Mu-Won’s eyes hardened.

He’s only a year older than me, but he’s already a powerful martial artist.

“If he continues growing stronger like this, he will definitely become one of the future pillars of the gangho.”

Going by the route he was taking, it wasn’t hard to deduce that Dam Soo-Cheon’s final opponent would be the Soul-Hunting Swordsman Baek Seong-Won, the successor to Mount Heaven Sword Sect and one of the most formidable swordmasters in the world.

Baek Seong-Won was on a completely different level than the other opponents Dam Soo-Cheon had faced. He was the greatest genius in the history of Mount Heaven Sword Sect, who had attracted the sect leader’s attention at the tender age of seventeen and begun training in the Sword of Soul-Hunting Light (追魂一光劍功). At the age of thirty-two, he mastered the technique.

He was so strong that not only was he undefeated among people his own age, few in the entire murim could match him. To call him “just another murim-in3” was to ridicule the Soul-Hunting Swordsman Baek Seong-Won.

Currently, Baek Seong-Won had secluded himself in training. He had already predicted that he would be the last boss in Dam Soo-Cheon’s Hundred Duels Trial. He did not think that he would lose to Dam Soo-Cheon, but if he did, it would be a huge hit to his reputation and standing within the gangho.

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“Hmm, the Sky Mountain Checkpoint is only about seven hundred li4 away from here.”

Jin Mu-Won got up from his chair and stood in front of the window. He looked toward the south.

Dam Soo-Cheon, Dam Soo-Cheon…

A name that gives me a weird feeling.

As Hwang Cheol continued talking about world affairs, Jin Mu-Won stood with his back against the window, listening intently.


  1. Dam Soo-Cheon (譚梟峰): The name Soo-Cheon means “Valiant Ambition”. 

  2. Gangho (江湖): Korean pronunciation of jianghu, aka the world of murim. The gangho includes everybody involved with and influenced by the murim world such as the merchants, government officials, etc. 

  3. Murim-in (武林人): Literal translation – murim person/people. Refers to martial artists in the murim. 

  4. li (里): A traditional Chinese unit of distance. The li has varied considerably over time but was usually about one-third of an English mile and now has a standardized length of a half-kilometer (500 meters or 1,640 feet). 700 li would thus be about 350 km or 220 miles. 

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Chapter 16: The Wind is Cold Even in Spring (2)