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


The first thing Dam Soo-Cheon did after arriving at the Northern Army Fortress, was order the servants to prepare a large, warm bath for him. When the bath was ready, Dam Soo-Cheon entered the bathroom.

He took off his clothes, revealing his toned, muscular body beneath. Just like a wild stallion that charged around recklessly on the plains, he was covered in wounds both large and small.

These wounds were a memento of the Hundred Man Challenge. The evidence of the battles that he had gone through were carved into his very flesh. And today, a new record was added to the archives—his most recent battle with the red-robed assassins.

His raw flesh could be seen where he’d been stabbed or slashed by the assassins’ blades. If the wounds had been any deeper, they would most definitely have been fatal. Dam Soo-Cheon had taken several emergency measures to stem the bleeding, but he would have to seek proper medical care as soon as he could.

Dam Soo-Cheon downed the wine that Shim Won-Ui had given him. It was the hard stuff. After finishing his drink, he entered the bath.

“Ugh!”

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His open wounds stung like someone had rubbed salt in them, but Dam Soo-Cheon did not flinch. He submerged himself up to his neck, then began to meditate.

PSHHH!

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Just as he was wondering whether the water would boil immediately, a cloud of steam appeared. Dam Soo-Cheon continued meditating in the steamy bathwater.

His skin soon turned red. The combination of strong wine and hot water caused his blood vessels to dilate to twice their usual size. Not only were his major arteries and veins dilated, even the smaller blood vessels had expanded greatly.

In addition, the speed of his blood circulation increased manifold due to the fusion of his powerful chi into his blood, speeding up his healing rate remarkably. As his healing rate reached its peak, the pores on Dam Soo-Cheon’s skin opened up to expel the impurities in his body along with his sweat, releasing a foul stench.

At first glance, the method he was using to heal his wounds appeared rudimentary, but studies by multiple generations of physicians had proved that this simple technique was also the most effective one. Also, Dam Soo-Cheon knew from experience that his wounds would close much faster using this technique when compared to swallowing pills and medicines.

Besides removing the impurities from his body via the sweat glands, the contaminants inside the wounds were also discharged as a yellow ooze, followed by dirtied blood. Once the wounds were cleaned, they immediately began to form scabs.

“Hoo!”

An hour after entering the bath, Dam Soo-Cheon opened his eyes.

SPLASH!

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He stood up, causing the blackened bathwater to overflow. He summoned several servants to replace the bathwater, then got back into the water and restarted his meditation.

Dam Soo-Cheon repeated this healing and rinsing procedure three times until the bathwater was clean and no longer stinky. When he was finally done, color had returned to his previously pale face.

He clenched his fists and examined his body. He wasn’t in his best condition, but it wasn’t too bad either. A few days rest, and he would be back to normal.

To a normal martial artist, this kind of healing speed would be miraculous. However, to Dam Soo-Cheon, this was the norm. That was because the martial arts that he practiced was one that aimed to maximize the natural abilities of the human body. It had been developed over many years and generations and had been refined so much that the physical techniques of other schools paled in comparison.

Dam Soo-Cheon changed into new clothes and walked out of the bathroom.

“Oh? You’re already out of the bath?” greeted Shim Won-Ui. He had been waiting for Dam Soo-Cheon outside the bathroom together with Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung.

“How do you feel?”

“Much better than before.” Dam Soo-Cheon smiled.

“What happened? Did the ‘Soul-Hunting Swordsman’, Baek Seong-Won, do this to you?”

The “Soul-Hunting Swordsman”, Baek Seong-Won, was a disciple of Mount Heaven Sword Sect and a murim legend. He was also Dam Soo-Cheon’s final opponent in his Hundred Man Challenge.

Dam Soo-Cheon shook his head, saying, “Baek Seong-Won’s Sword of Soul-Hunting Light is indeed fearsome. However, he isn’t strong enough to injure me.”

“Then, who did it?”

Dam Soo-Cheon told the other two about his fight with the Shrouded Fire Devil and the Shrouded Ghost Squad. Shim Won-Ui and Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung weighed the gravity of the situation with a severe look on their faces.

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“Is that true? Are those guys really strong enough to hurt you so badly?”

“Yes, they are. If I hadn’t been vigilant and gone all out, I might not have survived the encounter.”

“What!? Honestly, I’m still finding it hard to believe your story.”

Not to boast, but out of all the people in the gangho, Shim Won-Ui felt that no one understood Dam Soo-Cheon more than he did. He could say with absolute confidence, that Dam Soo-Cheon was a monster.

His ability to master new martial arts within a very short timeframe, excellent decision-making, outstanding observational skills, and keen awareness of the flow of battle, were all traits that Shim Won-Ui could only wish for.

“Did you manage to find out their identities?”

“They didn’t have anything on them that could be used for identification.”

“What about their martial arts?”

Dam Soo-Cheon shook his head, causing Shim Won-Ui and Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung’s expressions to turn grimmer.

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Although Dam Soo-Cheon was about the same age as them, as a martial artist, he was far more experienced. He had also been through more tough battles than anyone else in the same generation. Therefore, if even he could not recognize his attackers, then those peoples’ existences were probably as yet unknown to the world.

“This isn’t an insignificant matter, so I will be sure to investigate it thoroughly after I return to the Central Plains.”

“Perhaps…”

Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung was just about to make a suggestion when Shim Won-Ui shook his head and interrupted her. He said, “It’s not them. That organization has been gone for dozens of years. There’s no way Heaven’s Summit wouldn’t know if they were to make a reappearance now.”

“Even so…”

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At the mention of that taboo organization, Shim Won-Ui’s eyes hardened threateningly, leaving Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung unable to finish her sentence.

However, Dam Soo-Cheon spoke up, saying, “You know, I don’t really care who they are.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just want someone to bring some excitement to this dull, lifeless gangho,” blurted Dam Soo-Cheon, his eyes lighting up with anticipation like a pair of torches in the dark.

“I don’t know about the others, but I’m sure Hyung-nim and Ryung know the real reason why I embarked on the Hundred Man Challenge, right?”

““Haa…”” The two people Dam Soo-Cheon was referring to sighed in unison.

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Heaven’s Summit was governed by nine major factions, whose leaders were collectively called the Nine Skies. Because of this, Heaven’s Summit was sometimes referred to as the Summit of Nine.

Over the last hundred years, Heaven’s Summit had gradually restructured the political powers in the gangho, eventually forming a centralized government. The current Heaven’s Summit was an all-powerful organization with eyes all over the gangho, ensuring that no insurrection, no matter how small, would escape its notice.

Under this new world order, only the old and powerful factions were allowed to prosper and expand. New factions and young warriors were heavily oppressed and were prevented from interfering or achieving anything in the gangho. This naturally made it extremely difficult for martial artists of the younger generation to stand out amongst the crowd.

Many people desired change but were helpless in the face of the totalitarian rule of Heaven’s Summit. This was especially true after the disappearance of the Silent Night, as no one had dared to challenge Heaven’s Summit since then.

Dam Soo-Cheon was one of these people.

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He was often called a martial arts prodigy, but the truth was, he did not wield any actual influence within the gangho. Nonetheless, in order to realize his dream, he needed to seize a large amount of political power.

Enough power to shake the very foundations of the current world.

sep

The clippety-clop of horses’ hooves could be heard as a carriage made its way forward along the uneven road. A man dressed in a pale green oiled raincoat and wearing a bamboo hat sat on the plain, unadorned coachman’s seat, holding the horses’ reins. An ancient, gaudy sword was strapped to his waist.

The constant vibration of the carriage was making the man nod off to sleep. Every time his head bobbed downwards, the bamboo hat he wore seemed to quiver a little, as if it would fall off his head anytime.

A gentle breeze blew past, and the horses continued trotting onward even without his guidance. How far have I gone? he thought. Suddenly, he lifted his head and looked straight ahead.

A sharp glint flashed across his eyes, hidden beneath the bamboo hat.

“Show yourself.”

Before the coachman had finished speaking, a white-robed man appeared out of nowhere. Like the coachman, he too wore a bamboo hat that hid his face. He bowed towards the carriage, saying, “My lord!”

The coachman did not reply, instead, he turned his head to look behind him. Just then, a voice could be heard from inside the carriage.

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“If I remember right, your name was Chu-Wol (秋月)?” 1

There was no trace of emotion in that cold voice. It was difficult to even tell if the speaker was male or female.

The white-robed man knelt down on the ground.

“I have returned, milord.”

“Have you found her?”

“I have. However…”

“Hmm?”

“There’s a problem. The target is inside the Northern Army Fortress.”

“The Northern Army Fortress?”

The person inside the carriage fell silent. The coachman and the white-robed man waited for their lord’s response with bated breaths.

After some time, the person inside the carriage spoke again, saying, “It seems that she exceeded my expectations, and made a very clever choice. No one would even think of searching for her inside the Northern Army Fortress.”

Sensing a slightly troubled tone in his lord’s voice, the coachman suggested, “Shall I go? I’ll make sure to clean up the mess afterwards.”

“No, you’re not capable of fighting without leaving any traces behind.”

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“But…”

“I said, NO.”

“Fine!”

The coachman immediately shut his mouth. His lord was not one to change their mind after making a decision. Once his lord said no, it was useless no matter what excuse he came up with.

Suddenly, the white-robed man interjected, “There’s another problem.”

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“What problem?”

“Dam Soo-Cheon and a couple of his friends are also in the fortress.”

“Dam Soo-Cheon? Did he go there after finishing the Hundred Man Challenge?”

“Yes. In addition, he annihilated the Shrouded Ghost Squad and killed the Bloody Triplets (血影三魔)2 on his way to the fortress.”

“How on earth did he end up running into the Shrouded Ghost Squad?”

“It seems to have been a coincidence. Also, according to our investigation, the Bloody Triplets only started pursuing him because he finished off the Shrouded Ghost Squad.”

“Tsk!”

The person inside the carriage fell silent once again, and only the sounds of someone drumming their fingers could be heard. This time though, the silence lasted much longer than before.

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Finally, the person ordered, “Light up the signal flare to summon the Chaos Demon (混魔).” 3

“You’re dispatching the Chaos Demon?” exclaimed the coachman, dumbstruck.

“If you’re so confident, why don’t you do it yourself?”

“Okay, that’s enough, I get it already. The thing is, if we send the Chaos Demon, then Dam Soo-Cheon and the rest of them will probably…”

“It’s about time we teach the ‘Lone Star of the Azure Sky’ just how high the sky truly is.”

“I see. In that case, I’ll summon him,” said the white-robed man hesitatingly. He still hadn’t recovered from the initial shock of his lord’s decision.

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The white-robed man had nothing more to report. It was time for the carriage to move on. The white-robed man stepped aside respectfully to let the carriage pass.

Far away in the distance, a large flag fluttered in the wind. A caravan made up of dozens of freight wagons filled with supplies were being escorted by over a hundred warriors.

The carriage where the white-robed man’s master rode incorporated itself into the very back of the caravan as if it had always been a part of it.


Footnotes:

  1. Chu-Wol (秋月): A code name similar to Sa-Ryung. It means “Autumn Moon”. 

  2. Bloody Triplets (血影三魔): Literal TL – Blood Mirror/Shadow Three Demons. 

  3. Chaos Demon (混魔): Literal TL – Chaos Demon. 

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