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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 channeled her chi to inspect her current condition.

Her chi had fully recovered, and her blood was flowing freely without obstruction. In the blink of an eye, she had already completed one cycle of chi circulation.

It had taken her several months of healing to get to this point. As an additional benefit, the amount of her chi seemed to have increased. However, she wasn’t the least bit happy about this.

Master will be here very soon, and when she arrives, I will have to leave with her. Although I don’t want to do that, I can rest assured knowing that at least Mu-Won will be safer without me. After all, wherever Master goes, danger always follows.

After finishing her training, Eun Han-Seol left her room. She owed this place and its owner far too much, so she wanted to burn the scenery of the Northern Army Fortress into her memory before leaving.

Suddenly, she frowned. Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung stood in front of her, as if she had been waiting for her all this time. Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung beamed and greeted, “Good day to you, Miss Eun.”

“……” Eun Han-Seol nodded silently in answer.

Despite her rudeness, though, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung did not stop smiling. She asked, “Are you going to see Mister Jin?”

“……” This time, Eun Han-Seol shook her head.

“No? Then what are you up to today?”

“Why do I have to answer all your questions?”

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“My apologies, it seems that I have been quite rude. You see, I have an uncontrollable sense of curiosity and can’t stand not knowing the answer to any questions that I have…” Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung made an apologetic expression, but Eun Han-Seol wasn’t moved by her performance.

She said bluntly, “So, what’s up?”

“I’d like to extend an invitation to you.”

“An invitation?”

“Yes. It’s an invitation to visit the Lustrous Jade Hall (輝瑛殿) three days from now.”

“The Lustrous Jade Hall?”

“That’s right! Please be sure to come together with Mister Jin. I wanted to invite him personally, but he hasn’t come outside at all for the past few days.”

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“Just what are you people up to?”

“We will tell you when the time comes,” said Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung, smiling enigmatically. She added, “Though I promise that you won’t be disappointed. So, make sure to turn up, okay? Pretty please?”

Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung was so insistent that Eun Han-Seol knew that she wouldn’t be able to refuse. She could only stop walking and nod in acknowledgement. In response, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung’s smile widened.

sep

Shim Won-Ui’s servants quickly finished rebuilding the Lustrous Jade Hall. This once immense, majestic, and extravagant hall had been built during the Northern Army’s peak for the purpose of holding banquets for distinguished guests, but after the fall of the Northern Army it was left with only pillars and a roof.

The servants first removed the debris inside the hall, then built a new outer wall using fine, new wooden planks. They then cleaned the interior of the hall and added furniture.

When all that was done, it was already time to prepare for the banquet. Dozens of servings of food were brought to the banquet table, their fragrances wafting out over the whole of the Northern Army Fortress.

Jin Mu-Won watched all this happen from inside the Tower of Shadows.

Shim Won-Ui’s not going to bother asking me for permission, huh.

Regardless of the current state of the Northern Army, it was a fact that Jin Mu-Won was its Lord. Before using any of the buildings inside the Northern Army Fortress, one would first have to obtain his permission. However, it seemed that Shim Won-Ui didn’t care about that at all, instead treating him like he didn’t exist.

If Dam Soo-Cheon hadn’t come to apologize in Shim Won-Ui’s stead, I might really have reached the limit of my patience.

That rude asshole is stomping all over the pride of the Northern Army and brazenly vandalizing this land that my father spent his whole life protecting.

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*These people, who have lived their whole lives in an era of peace, have forgotten how blessed they are! *

The horrors of the past are just a story to them, so they distort it as they wish and only accept the parts that are beneficial to them.

This is a world where free-thinkers are oppressed; a world ruled by despots!

In this unjust gangho, just what kind of future are you envisioning, Dam Soo-Cheon?

Jin Mu-Won recalled the burning ambition in Dam Soo-Cheon’s eyes. He did not know what Dam Soo-Cheon was planning, but he felt that it would not end quietly.

Today was the day that Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung had invited himself and Eun Han-Seol to a banquet. Although neither of them wanted to accept the invitation, Jin Mu-Won had done so in the hope that these people would leave the Northern Army Fortress as soon as possible.

KNOCK KNOCK!

“Come in.”

One of Shim Won-Ui’s servants cautiously opened the door and entered the room. He bowed to Jin Mu-Won courteously and said, “Mister Jin, the preparations for the banquet are complete. You can now proceed to the Lustrous Jade Hall.”

“Then, if you’ll excuse me.” The servant bowed again, then left.

I don’t like this, but I haven’t got a choice. Jin Mu-Won put on his cleanest set of clothes and headed towards the Lustrous Jade Hall.

On his way to the Lustrous Jade Hall, Jin Mu-Won stopped in front of the Wall of Ten Thousand Shadows. This wall, which had stood proudly for over a hundred years, was slowly crumbling into pieces, like a living thing reaching the end of its lifespan. It was as if the Wall knew that it had done its part and was no longer needed. Jin Mu-Won placed a hand on the Wall.

Please forgive my helpless self that can only watch as you perish in the ravages of time. Still, I will promise you this: The day that I revive the Northern Army, will also be the day that I rebuild you!

After making a promise to himself, Jin Mu-Won continued making his way to the Lustrous Jade Hall.

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When he arrived at the hall, he noticed that the Wardens were guarding every inch of the perimeter and cutting off all possible routes of escape or intrusion. The atmosphere around the hall felt ominous, like something serious was going to happen.

Mok Eun-Pyeong, the Warden Captain, approached him. He greeted, “Welcome to the Lustrous Jade Hall. My Lord is waiting for you inside.”

Jin Mu-Won could sense a murderous aura from Mok Eun-Pyeong befitting his moniker, the Sword Rain of Blood. He didn’t know why, but the captain’s attitude confirmed that today’s event was no laughing matter.

He looked around the hall, only to discover that several people he expected to see were nowhere in sight. He asked, “Where are the mercenaries?”

“They are in charge of guarding the outskirts of the Northern Army Fortress.”

The security level is too high. The Northern Army Fortress is situated in the desolate northern region, far from the Central Plains. The threat of spying here is so low as to be negligible. And yet, Shim Won-Ui is going this far to ensure that nothing is leaked from today’s event?

“Please enter the hall now, Mister Jin.”

Jin Mu-Won nodded, then walked into the Lustrous Jade Hall. Inside, the first thing that caught his attention was the altar with an incense burner placed atop it. The altar sat on a raised platform, and three chairs were placed right in front of that platform.

Shim Won-Ui, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung, and Dam Soo-Cheon sat on those three chairs, dressed in colorful clothing. Shim Soo-Ah sat a little further behind them, but she was also dressed fancifully.

When Jin Mu-Won entered the hall, Dam Soo-Cheon immediately stood up. As the representative of the four, it was up to him to do the formal greetings.

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“Welcome, Lord Jin, and thank you for accepting our invitation.”

“What’s going on? Is this some kind of ceremony?”

“A ceremony? Hmm, I guess you could call it that,” replied Dam Soo-Cheon, smiling confidently.

Jin Mu-Won frowned. For some reason, Dam Soo-Cheon’s overflowing confidence was making him feel uncomfortable.

Dam Soo Cheon motioned Jin Mu-Won to an empty chair in front of Shim Soo-Ah, saying, “I will tell you all the details when Miss Eun has arrived. Meanwhile, please sit down and enjoy the food.”

As Jin Mu-Won sat down, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung bowed her head slightly in greeting, but Shim Won-Ui glared at him with a displeased expression. Jin Mu-Won ignored them and coldly glanced around the interior of the Lustrous Jade Hall.

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Seriously, what the hell are these people up to this time? No one in their right mind brings an incense burner to a banquet! What is this, some kind of cult ritual?

It wasn’t long before Eun Han-Seol showed up at the hall, led by Mok Eun-Pyeong. This time, it was Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung who stood up to greet her and guide her to the seat next to Jin Mu-Won.

When he saw Eun Han-Seol, Jin Mu-Won smiled. She was wearing the hair accessory that he had given her.

After the two guests were seated, Shim Won-Ui announced, “Now that everyone has arrived, let us begin the ceremony.”

Dam Soo-Cheon and Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung nodded and stood up from their seats. Dam Soo-Cheon looked toward Jin Mu-Won and said, “First, I would like to apologize to you. We rebuilt the Lustrous Jade Hall without your permission, and forced you to come here today. However, I hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive us, as we have a very important reason for doing that.”

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“Hmph!” scoffed Jin Mu-Won with a disdainful look on his face, like he was waiting to hear what colorful excuses they would come up with.

“We invited the two of you here today as witnesses,” added Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung.

“Witnesses?”

“Yes. We would like you to witness the founding of a brand-new organization: the Azure Dragon Society (蒼龍會).” 1

“……”

“The Azure Dragon Society is an organization created for the youths of the murim to express their opinions as a united front. Our goal is to gather promising young murim-in at Heaven’s Summit and eventually become an integral part of murim’s governance. Although the three of us are the founding members, many young murim-in have already agreed to join us.”

“Is there a reason you’re holding your inauguration ceremony at the Northern Army Fortress instead of the Central Plains? Since you saying it like it’s a group created for the good of the murim, shouldn’t you hold this ceremony there instead?”

“Before we can accumulate enough strength to stand up for ourselves, we cannot make ourselves publicly known. More than anyone else, you should be quite familiar with the mindsets of the current rulers of the murim. They only hear what they want to hear, and expect absolute obedience from everyone else. Do you honestly think it would be possible for us to start such an organization within the Central Plains?”

“So what you’re saying is, that you people traveled all the way here just to avoid the spies of Heaven’s Summit?”

Dam Soo-Cheon, who had been silent for a while, suddenly answered, “That was indeed one of the reasons we came here, but it’s not the most important one. I chose to hold this ceremony at the Northern Army Fortress because I have always revered the Northern Army, which protected the world from the Silent Night for over a hundred years.”

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“Does that mean, you’re going to help rebuild the Northern Army?”

Dam Soo-Cheon smiled, but did not say anything. Jin Mu-Won narrowed his eyes.

He’s not going to give me a straight answer that easily, huh? That whole spiel about revering the Northern Army is just an excuse. All these people wanted was a place where they could convene, away from the prying eyes of Heaven’s Summit.

Like a fog that had finally cleared up, only now did he finally understand the reason why these people had come to the Northern Army Fortress.

Dam Soo-Cheon continued his speech, “I hereby announce the formal establishment of the Azure Dragon Society. May the gods bless us, such that the Azure Dragons be as one in heart and soul. Lord Jin, would you be willing to bear witness to the official founding of our organization?”

The way Dam Soo-Cheon worded it made it impossible for Jin Mu-Won to refuse. He replied, “Yes, I will bear witness to the founding of the Azure Dragon Society this day.”

“Thank you, Lord Jin.”

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Pleased with Jin Mu-Won’s answer, Dam Soo-Cheon returned to his seat. Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung followed suit. However, Jin Mu-Won wasn’t feeling the least bit thrilled about what he had just been coerced into doing.

The ‘Azure Dragon Society’. Speaking these three words leave me with a feeling of distaste in my mouth, like eating sand.

Suddenly, as if she could read his mind, Eun Han-Seol gently held his hand. The two locked gazes with each other, and Jin Mu-Won quickly calmed down. He could tell from Eun Han-Seol’s eyes that she understood how he felt.

Since I and Han-Seol have agreed to become witnesses, it would be dishonorable for either of us to spill the truth of what happens here today. That way, these people will be able to keep the Azure Dragon Society a secret.

Jin Mu-Won turned toward Shim Won-Ui. He was the only one of the three who hadn’t spoken, even though his position was supposedly equal to theirs.

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Shim Won-Ui, are you just going to just hand over the leadership of the Azure Dragon Society to Dam Soo-Cheon without a fight? Hahaha! So even you know your own limits, huh?

Dam Soo-Cheon’s fame, strength, leadership ability, and burning ambition meant that he would likely become the Chairman of the Azure Dragon Society. Shim Won-Ui would then be relegated to the position of Executive.

Shim Won-Ui met Jin Mu-Won’s gaze. He sneered derisively, as if taunting Jin Mu-Won, then stood up and walked to the middle of the platform, in front of the altar holding the incense burner.

He began reciting the speech that he had prepared beforehand, saying, “Today, we are gathered here in this hall to celebrate the founding of the Azure Dragon Society. We thus pledge to hold ourselves to the ideals of the Azure Dragon, upholding law and order and punishing the unjust.2 May the gods bless us and show us the path forward.”

The atmosphere in the hall became solemn as Shim Won-Ui recited the congratulatory speech. Shim Won-Ui declared that Dam Soo-Cheon would be the Chairman of the Society, and invited him to pay his respects to the gods.

image

Dam Soo-Cheon lit the incense in the burner, then bowed to the heavens, saying, “I, Dam Soo-Cheon, am honored to take on the role of Chairman of the Azure Dragon Society.”

When Dam Soo-Cheon was done, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung stepped forward, bowed at the altar and acknowledged her position as Vice-Chairman in similar fashion.

To them, the official founding of the Azure Dragon Society was a historic moment.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won sensed that someone was staring at him. He turned around to see an unhappy Shim Soo-Ah’s gaze alternating between him and Eun Han-Seol.


Footnotes:

  1. Azure Dragon Society (蒼龍會, prn. Chang-Lyong Ho): Chang-Lyong (蒼龍) refers to the Azure Dragon of the Four Symbols/Sacred Beasts. Manhwa TL: Cerulean Dragon Society. 

  2. The Azure Dragon is a god that protects law and order and punishes evil. 

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