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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!
A four-wheeled carriage and two wagons made a beeline for the Northern Army Fortress. The carriage was surrounded by more than a dozen guards wearing black cloaks to defend against the biting wind. Under their hoods, the guards’ sharp eyes exuded an aura of bloodthirstiness. Bringing up the rear were two horse-drawn wagons: one filled with luggage and the other carrying servants.
Inside the carriage, an eighteen-year-old young lady sat next to a girl who looked a year or two younger than her. Across from them sat a young man who looked to be around twenty.
The young lady had an elegant appearance like a water lily, with moist eyes that would steal any onlooker’s heart. In contrast, the girl next to her was cute and energetic, with a mischievous expression on her face like a wild horse.
The young man was also fairly good-looking, his only flaw being raised eyebrows that made him look arrogant.
The cute girl said, “Orabeoni1, is that the Northern Army Fortress over there?”
The man looked outside the window at the girl’s question. There was a large complex in the distance with many towers and pavilions.
“I think so.”
The girl cheered, “Wow! That means, I’ll soon be liberated from this boring carriage, right?”
The young lady next to her smiled.
“How is that a good thing?” said the man, the cute girl’s elder brother.
“You’re only like that because you have a thing for Seomoon-unnie2. As for me, I’m sick and tired of being stuck inside this carriage.”
“Didn’t I tell you to stay at home? I warned you that this was going to be a harsh journey.”
“Bah! Given the choice, would you be willing to miss out on this golden opportunity? If not, then don’t give me that bullshit.”
The young man shook his head helplessly at his younger sister’s stubbornness. He had never won an argument against his sister before.
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Shim Won-Ui’s younger sister, the cute girl, was named Shim Soo-Ah (沈秀雅)5. She was very well-liked by the elders of her sect, so much so that whenever she was upset, the whole of Judgment Heaven would be turned inside out. Not only her father, the Sky Lord6 Shim Mu-Wae, but even the other elders would be desperate to find out what caused her to become upset.
To put it simply, although Shim Won-Ui was the successor to Judgment Heaven, his younger sister Shim Soo-Ah was the real heart of the sect. Everything revolved around her. It was at a point where thick-skinned members of Judgment Heaven would report to Shim Soo-Ah first before going to her brother Shim Won-Ui.
The young lady smiling at the siblings was named Seomoon Hye-Ryung (西門慧憐)7. She was the granddaughter of the Ghost of Zhuge Liang Seomoon Hwa, as well as a strong woman who was well-versed in both the scholarly and martial arts. It was also a well-known fact that her mesmerizing eyes and dignified aura had captured the hearts of countless young men.
The guards escorting the carriage were the elites of Judgment Heaven, known as the Wardens (戰護隊). Each and every one of them was a warrior in their prime, and they frequently boasted of their unbeatable strength.
The leader of the Wardens was Warden Captain Mok Eun-Pyeong, a swordsman strong enough to have earned the nickname Sword Rain of Blood (血雨劍).
The wagons behind the carriage were for the servants and luggage. These servants belonged to Judgment Heaven and had joined the party out of concern for their masters, Shim Soo-Ah and Shim Won-Ui.
Not long later, the carriage came to a halt and Warden Captain Mok Eun-Pyeong opened the carriage door.
“Young Master, we have arrived at our destination.”
“Good!” said Shim Won-Ui, who nodded as he got off the carriage. Shim Soo-Ah and Seomoon Hye-Ryung followed suit.
Shim Won-Ui stood looking at the ruins of the Northern Army Fortress, frowning. He was upset that no one had come out to welcome them.
Suddenly, a group of men rushed out from inside the fortress. It was Jang Pae-San and his men.
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“Huff, huff…” they panted, as they ran as quickly as they could.
Warden Captain Mok Eun-Pyeong stepped forward and coldly asked, “Are you the one in charge of this place?”
In the face of Mok Eun-Pyeong’s harsh tone that felt like it could draw blood, Jang Pae-San flinched and swallowed his saliva.
“Yes, that’s right. I am Jang Pae-San, Captain of the Third Mercenary Company of Heaven’s Summit.”
“Didn’t Heaven’s Summit inform you about our imminent arrival?”
“I did receive a letter, but it didn’t state exactly when you would arrive…”
Jang Pae-San hastily made up an excuse, but Mok Eun-Pyeong wasn’t buying it. At the same time, Mok Eun-Pyeong’s icy stare was starting to annoy the men of the Third Company. The tension between them rose.
Just then, Shim Won-Ui stepped forward and said, “That’s enough, Captain Mok. How were these men supposed to know when we would arrive? It’s not like they are saints.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. By the way, have our accommodations been prepared?”
“Yes, they have!” replied Jang Pae-San loudly, unconsciously standing at attention. Mok Eun-Pyeong’s murderous glare was frightening, but it was nothing compared to Shim Won-Ui’s creepy smile.
This young man’s eyes aren’t smiling at all.
If you′re seeing this, you are at the wrong place.
Shim Won-Ui’s lips were upturned, but Jang Pae-San felt that his unmoving, unreadable eyes reminded him of the venomous snakes he had seen in his childhood.
“We’ve come a long way, so we would like to rest now.”
“Follow me, I will show you to your rooms.”
Jang Pae-San led the way, followed by the Wardens and Shim Won-Ui.
Seomoon Hye-Ryung and Shim Soo-Ah looked around the Northern Army Fortress curiously. They knew how incredible the Northern Army had been in its heyday.
If not for the Northern Army, the Silent Night would have won the war. The Northern Army was so powerful that even the factions led by the Four Northern Pillars, mere fragments of the Northern Army, were not forces that Heaven’s Summit could afford to underestimate.
However, that mighty Northern Army had become history, and they were currently looking at what little was left of it. The desolate sight left a feeling of bitterness in their mouths.
Most of the towers and pavilions had collapsed, and even the inner walls had fallen over. The entire ruin gave off an eerie aura.
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Seomoon Hye-Ryung observed her surroundings with a regretful look on her face.
“What a pity. This abandoned ruin is all that’s left of the Northern Army. They once enjoyed worldwide renown, but now all they have left is a memory of their fame.”
Seomoon Hye-Ryung sighed softly.
She was aware that her grandfather had been the one to plot the fall of the Northern Army. Most importantly, she knew that Heaven’s Summit and the rest of the murim had willingly chosen to do this because they felt that the world no longer needed the Northern Army.
“This is the way of the world. The strong survive, while the weak perish. When the hunt is over, we no longer need the hunting dogs. The Northern Army was destroyed by this kind of logic, and I think it makes a lot of sense,” said Shim Won-Ui.
“You might be my brother, but the way you talk disgusts me.”
Shim Won-Ui’s face turned black at his younger sister’s insult.
“You! What did you just say?”
“Peh! You should be a little more respectful since we’re in the Northern Army Fortress.”
Shim Soo-Ah looked around the fortress excitedly, not caring about Shim Won-Ui’s reaction to her words. She seemed genuinely thrilled to be here and was upset at her brother’s pretentious attitude. Shim Won-Ui decided to stop arguing with her since he couldn’t win anyway.
If she starts crying now, I will go crazy.
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Seomoon Hye-Ryung smiled gently as she watched the squabbling siblings.
Jang Pae-San led Shim Won-Ui to the Lofty Sky Manor that he and his men had been working hard renovating all winter. Their efforts had resulted in the manor being restored reasonably well.
Jang Pae-San pointed at the Lofty Sky Manor and said, “This is the nicest building in the fortress. We spent the past winter renovating it so that it can be used.”
“Hmph!” Shim Won-Ui shook his head in disappointment, but it seemed that he had no choice but to accept. The other buildings in the Northern Army Fortress were in such a bad state that the Lofty Sky Manor looked like a palace to him.
He turned to Mok Eun-Pyeong, saying, “The servants will stay on the first floor, and the Wardens can have the second floor. The third floor belongs to us.”
“Yes, Young Master.”
Meanwhile, Shim Soo-Ah was staring intently at Jang Pae-San, who was clearly perturbed by her strange action.
“W-Why are you staring at me like that?”
“Hey, is it true that the last successor of the Northern Army lives here?”
“Yes, Young Miss.”
“Where is he? Why isn’t he coming to meet me? Isn’t it proper manners for the owner of the house to greet his guests?”
“Er…” stuttered Jang Pae-San, a clueless expression on his face. He hadn’t seen Jin Mu-Won ever since he was forcefully chased out of the mansion last winter. The young man had cooped himself up in the Tower of Shadows, and Jang Pae-San didn’t have time to check on him because he needed to renovate the Lofty Sky Manor.
Most importantly, unlike them, Jin Mu-Won was not obliged to meet with the three. The young man was the Lord of the Northern Army, not a member of Heaven’s Summit.
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Seomoon Hye-Ryung, who had been standing beside Shim Soo-Ah, cut in, “We are the guests here. We should put down our luggage and go to greet him instead.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. Shall we head over to our rooms?”
“Okay, I will do as Unnie says.”
“Thank you, sister.”
Seomoon Hye-Ryung took Shim Soo-Ah indoors, accompanied by the servants carrying their luggage.
Behind them, Shim Won-Ui turned his head back to face Jang Pae-San. He asked, “What’s his name?”
“Who are you talking about?”
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“The successor of the Northern Army.”
“Ah, right. His name is Jin Mu-Won.”
“Jin Mu-Won huh? Well, I’ll see you later.”
Shim Won-Ui entered the Lofty Sky Manor, smiling thoughtfully.
The guards followed Shim Won-Ui and went inside with Mok Eun-Pyeong in the lead, but as they walked past the mercenaries, they did not forget to size them up one at a time.
The mercenaries of the Third Company shuddered under the Wardens’ gazes. Deep down, they knew that they were nothing compared to the Wardens.
However, Seo Mu-Sang remembered the faces of all the Wardens clearly as if he had seen them the day before. All of the Wardens smiled, having recognized Seo Mu-Sang as well. In particular, one of them grinned pretentiously as he looked at Seo Mu-Sang.
“Yeop Wol? Is that you?” exclaimed Seo Mu-Sang.
Orabeoni: The formal/historical version of Oppa, used by a younger female calling an elder male in the same generation. ↩
Unnie: Korean honorific for a younger female calling an older female in the same generation. ↩
Shim Won-Ui (沈遠義): Won-Ui means “far-reaching justice”. Manhwa TL- Shim Won-Lee. ↩
Judgment Heaven (邪死天): Literal translation – Heaven Where Evil Dies/Heaven that Slays Evil. Manhwa TL: Deceitful Heavens. ↩
Shim Soo-Ah (沈秀雅): Soo-Ah means “pretty and elegant”. ↩
Sky Lord: The literal translation of Sky Lord is Heaven Leader, because he is the leader of Judgment Heaven, but “Heaven Leader” sounds bad no matter how you look at it. ↩
Seomoon Hye-Ryung (西門慧憐): Her family name is Seomoon, one of the rare two-character family names. Her first name Hye-Ryung means “intelligent and sympathetic”. ↩
If you see this, you are at the wrong site!