Day/Night Mode:

Change Font Size:

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


Seo Mu-Sang’s emotions were a total mess, and it was written clearly on his face. After receiving multiple bad surprises in one day, he felt like nothing could surprise him any longer.

What a chaotic day. The attack of the Chaos Demon, the return of the Silent Night, and the most shocking thing…the truth about the man named Jin Mu-Won.

Since that time in the backyard, I’ve suspected that he wasn’t normal, but he surpassed all my expectations by a mile. Even the duo of Dam Soo-Cheon and Shim Won-Ui struggled badly against Tae Mu-Kang, but Jin Mu-Won easily dodged all of that monster’s attacks by a hair. Most importantly, that last sword technique that he unleashed…

Just recalling it makes my hair stand on end. How could a sword technique like that possibly exist?

At least, I’m now absolutely sure that the man named Jin Mu-Won has fully inherited not only the spirit, but the strength of the Northern Army as well. Despite being this powerful, for five whole years, he deliberately concealed himself and endured all sorts of torture and humiliation without revealing a thing. Neither Jang Pae-San nor Shim Won-Ui managed to force a single peep out of him.

That’s just terrifying. If it was me, could I do it?

*No way in hell. Jin Mu-Won is probably the only person in the world with the patience to suffer in silence for so many years. Not to mention, in the midst of all that shit, he turned his resentment into strength and secretly trained his martial arts to an unbelievable level. *

Such a scary man is currently heavily wounded, lying motionlessly against a fallen wall, and staring blankly in the direction that “Eun Han-Seol” had left from.

If I want to kill him, now is undoubtedly the best time. It’s probably also the only chance I will ever get to kill him. I am a warrior of Heaven’s Summit, and I was dispatched to the Northern Army Fortress to monitor Jin Mu-Won. Killing him would be the right thing to do…but I can’t bring myself to do it.

*After all, he’s the one who enlightened me that time… It was his voice that saved me from my inner demons. Until today, I couldn’t be certain that it was him, as everyone was convinced that he didn’t know any martial arts. *

“Haa…” Seo Mu-Sang couldn’t help but sigh.

This is a non-profit translation. You should not be seeing ads.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won moved. His injuries were grievous, and his left arm was broken, but he still struggled to push himself to his feet.

After what seemed like an eternity, Jin Mu-Won finally stood up. It was painful and difficult to breathe, and his body wobbled every time he moved, but that did not stop him from walking forward, one step at a time.

He raised his head and looked at the completely annihilated ruins of the Northern Army Fortress. This fortress had stood up to countless invasions by the Silent Night, but after one battle with Tae Mu-Kang, it was finished. Only the Tower of Shadows and a few scattered pavilions were left standing.

Jin Mu-Won shuffled toward the Tower of Shadows. On the way, he fell down several times, but each time he picked himself up and continued heading toward the Tower.

Seo Mu-Sang watched Jin Mu-Won with a dazed look on his face. Jin Mu-Won should be aware that he was being watched, but not once did he ask for help. Seo Mu-Sang couldn’t help but admire the young man’s pride and stubbornness.

There should be a limit to how harsh one is to themselves.

Seo Mu-Wang no longer wanted to kill Jin Mu-Won. He owed the young man a life debt, and biting the hand that fed him was against his principles.

After Jin Mu-Won entered the Tower of Shadows, Seo Mu-Sang started reorganizing his thoughts. It was time for him to make a decision.

Time flew, and before Seo Mu-Sang knew it, the sun had begun to rise, heralding the dawn of a new day. After a whole night spent weighing his options, he now knew exactly what he wanted to do.

He stood up and began to retrieve the corpses of his former comrades. Regardless of whether he liked them or not, they had accompanied him throughout these last three years. Even though he thought that he had prepared himself mentally, the sight of their mangled corpses still broke his heart.

Won Jeok-Sim, Yoo Gyung-Chun, Noh Ji-Kwang… Everyone is here, except for Captain Jang Pae-San.

“So that fucker really ran away, huh?”

Y aren′t you reading this at northbladetl.com?

CRUNCH!

Seo Mu-Sang ground his teeth. If anyone else in the Third Company had run away, he’d probably be able to forgive them. However, their captain, Jang Pae-San, was an exception. As the leader, he was responsible for their lives. Forsaking his subordinates and leaving them to die was shameful and inexcusable.

I’ll never serve someone like that ever again, thought Seo Mu-Sang as he collected some firewood from around the ruins of the fortress. He then placed the corpses of the Third Company mercenaries on top of the firewood.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t protect any of you,” he whispered to himself, tears streaming down his face.

He lit the bonfire, and watched silently as the flames licked the corpses of his friends and colleagues. The fortress was soon filled with the suffocating smell of smoke.

image

Seo Mu-Sang waited for all the corpses to be completely cremated, then put out the fire. He searched through the ashes for whatever bones were left, then ground the bones into powder and poured it into a small leather sack.

“I will definitely take you guys back to the Central Plains,” he swore. The men of the Third Company had really been looking forward to returning home, and the least he could do was help them fulfill their last wishes.

Perhaps he had cried too much, but he no longer felt sad, just empty. The moment he remembered Jang Pae-San and Shim Won-Ui’s betrayal, though, that emptiness was filled with rage.

Suddenly, he turned to face the corpse of Yeop Wol. Even though Yeop Wol had been abandoned by his master, Shim Won-Ui, he had accepted it as his fate.

“In the end, you were nothing more than a disposable tool.”

Although he had envied Yeop Wol, in the world ruled by Heaven’s Summit, not even he could stand out. Perhaps Yeop Wol had thought about relying on Shim Won-Ui to fulfill his ambitions, but he ended up paying the ultimate price the instant Shim Won-Ui ran into an enemy he could not defeat.

“I need to become stronger, so that no one will dare use me and throw me away.”

That was easily said, but not easily done. Seo Mu-Sang thought about how his views of the world had changed after living in the Northern Army Fortress for three years.

This is a free translation. You should not be seeing ads.

He looked pretty much the same on the outside, but inside, he was a changed man.

It was because of this change that he chose not to leave the Northern Army Fortress. Instead, he stood outside the Tower of Shadows and waited quietly for Jin Mu-Won to come out.

He ended up waiting for a total of five days. When he finally saw Jin Mu-Won, the young man’s face was still a little pale, and his wounds hadn’t completely closed yet, but he looked much better than he did five days ago.

Unknown to Seo Mu-Sang, Jin Mu-Won had spent the last five days using the Art of Ten Thousand Shadows to heal his injuries. Thankfully, he wasn’t a normal person, or those wounds would definitely have been fatal. Right now, he was far from fully recovered, but at least his life was no longer in danger.

He still needed to meditate for many more days before he could return to peak condition. However, resolving his current predicament was more crucial, so he got up and forced himself to head outside.

Like Seo Mu-Sang, he roamed around the ruins, occasionally digging through the debris. A day later, he finally found what he was searching for: an obsidian rock about the size of a small child.

This rock had been a gift from Hwang Cheol when he visited the fortress a few years ago. It was a meteorite that had fallen down from the heavens, and had been worshipped as a god by a tribe in Yunnan. Jin Mu-Won used the location of the rock as a marker to dig out more of his stuff.

As he was searching through the ruins, Jin Mu-Won could sense Seo Mu-Sang looking at him quietly. However, he said nothing. The atmosphere between the two men was just too awkward.

Thus, one man watched as the other man did whatever he pleased. They didn’t talk, but they didn’t need to talk. It wasn’t hard for either of them to guess what the other was thinking.

When he had finally found all his stuff, Jin Mu-Won approached Seo Mu-Sang. The young man was covered from head to toe in dust from the debris, and he looked like he badly needed a bath.

Why aren′t you reading this at northbladetl.com?

There were scabs all over his dirty face, and his clothes were torn and bloodied.

Even though he looks like that, his eyes are still alert and focused, thought Seo Mu-Sang, meeting Jin Mu-Won’s sharp gaze. He asked, “Are you going to leave the fortress?”

“Yes. The time has come for me to leave.”

“I knew it!” Seo Mu-Sang nodded.

I just knew it would be like this. Jin Mu-Won isn’t stupid enough to continue staying in the Northern Army Fortress.

*Soon, Heaven’s Summit will dispatch an investigation team here to probe into the truth. The kids who ran away would have already informed them about Tae Mu-Kang and the Silent Night, so there’s no way Heaven’s Summit would sit still. *

However, if he remained here, Jin Mu-Won would definitely be captured and interrogated. It doesn’t matter whether he has any relation to the matter or not, because he will end up taking the blame.

“What about you? What are you going to do?” asked Jin Mu-Won.

“I’ll probably return to Heaven’s Summit. There’s something I must do there.”

“They won’t go easy on you.”

“I guess.” Seo Mu-Sang shrugged nonchalantly, as if Jin Mu-Won were talking about someone else.

Once Jin Mu-Won left the fortress, Seo Mu-Sang would become the only survivor of the massacre, and Heaven’s Summit’s only source of information. Knowing them, he most certainly would be tortured.

Despite knowing that, Seo Mu-Sang was still insisting that he wanted to return to Heaven’s Summit. From the look of determination in Seo Mu-Sang’s eyes, Jin Mu-Won could tell that nothing he said would change the mercenary’s mind.

You ought to read this at northbladetl.com.

“I swear on my life and my honor, that I absolutely won’t tell them anything about you.”

Jin Mu-Won nodded. Seo Mu-Sang was a man of his word. The reason he had not only guided him to Transcendence but also let him live after Tae Mu-Kang’s massacre, was because of this. If Seo Mu-Sang had been an untrustworthy man, no matter how badly injured he was after the battle, he would have killed him.

Suddenly, Seo Mu-Sang changed the way he spoke to Jin Mu-Won. Like he was speaking to an equal, he said politely, “Also, I apologize for my previous rudeness. There is no man I respect more than your father. I know this sounds like an excuse, but when I saw how weak and pathetic the son of the man I admired most appeared, I simply couldn’t forgive you.”

Jin Mu-Won looked at Seo Me-Sang silently, waiting for him to continue.

“…But now I understand. You had no choice but to act like that. Thank you for your guidance that time in the backyard, and please forgive me for my sins.”

“Please stand up. It’s nothing, really.”

“No, this is very important to me.”

Seo Mu-Sang looked at Jin Mu-Won, then glanced to the South where the Central Plains was. He summoned his resolve, he grit his teeth, and kneeled down before Jin Mu-Won.

He then bowed his head and shouted, “I, Seo Mu-Sang, pledge absolute loyalty to my Lord, Jin Mu-Won! From this day on, I swear to the gods that I shall live for you, and die for you! Now and for the rest of my life, I will serve you and you alone!”

This was not a decision made in haste. Seo Mu-Sang had spent the last five days mulling it over and over. He had questioned himself repeatedly, but in the end, he realized something.

This man will definitely rebuild the Northern Army, and lead it to glory.

In this gangho where people betray each other everyday and malicious schemes are abound, Jin Mu-Won is the only person with a truly sincere heart and a burning ambition. If I do not choose him as my Lord, who else is worthy of my loyalty?

Jin Mu-Won is the light that will bring justice to this murky gray gangho.

Seo Mu-Sang’s heart pounded in anticipation.

If you′re seeing this, you are at the wrong place.

THUMP! THUMP!

Seo Mu-Sang slammed his head on the ground again and again. The skin on his forehead tore, and blood came flowing out, but he did not even bat an eyelid.

“My lord, please accept me as your servant! Let me become the sword that slays your enemies!” Seo Mu-Sang shouted passionately, pouring his soul into his voice.

image

Jin Mu-Won stared at Seo Mu-Sang for a while before finally answering, “Please stand up!”

“My lord!” Seo Mu-Sang continued banging his head on the ground.

He misunderstood me. Jin Mu-Won calmly clarified, “I accept. From now on, you are my first sword.”

“Thank you, my lord. Thank you so much!”

“Now, stand up!”

“At once!”

Seo Mu-Sang sprang to his feet.

Jin Mu-Won’s heart was set on the future. Although the hundred-year foundations of the Northern Army lay in ruins, he did not think it was a pity. The people and the fortress may be gone, but he was still alive.

Moreover, he had just obtained his first sword.

Due to Tae Mu-Kang’s attack, he had lost one person, but in exchange, he had gained another.

You ought to read this at northbladetl.com.

sep

The light of reddish-orange flames licked the sky, as if they were trying to reach the heavens. A raging inferno swiftly swallowed up the ruins of the Northern Army Fortress.

CRACKLE! ROAR! BOOM!

The Tower of Shadows collapsed, quickly vanishing into the flames. It had stood proudly for a hundred years, but not even it could be spared from the blaze.

Jin Mu-Won and Seo Mu-Sang stood a long distance away, watching the fortress burn. They could feel the shocking heat even where they stood.

Suddenly, Seo Mu-Sang looked at Jin Mu-Won. The young man was watching the end of the Northern Army Fortress coolly and unblinkingly. To him, the fortress was simply a physical manifestation of the spirit of the Northern Army; as long as the soul remained intact, mere buildings could be sacrificed if need be.

…And sacrifice was exactly what he did. Jin Mu-Won was the one who had set the fortress alight.

Two days later, the blaze finally burned itself out, leaving only ashes in its wake. The last remaining evidence of the Northern Army’s hundred years of war with the Silent Night was gone.

Jin Mu-Won spun around. He did not regret what he had done. The past was the past, and it was time for him to let go of it and embrace the challenges of the future.

Hwang Cheol stood in the distance, holding the reins of two horses. As soon as he had received the news of Shim Won-Ui’s visit to the Northern Army Fortress, he was overcome with worry and, with all speed, he made his way northwards.

Why aren′t you reading this at northbladetl.com?

“Young Master…” he mumbled, sobbing. Even though he had hurried as much as he could, he still hadn’t made it in time for Tae Mu-Kang’s attack. That naturally meant that he hadn’t been there for his young master in his greatest time of need.

Jin Mu-Won smiled at Hwang Cheol. He understood Hwang Cheol’s pain from watching the burning of the Northern Army Fortress, but he did not share it. The fortress had been his shackles, and he was now free.

He mounted one of the horses that Hwang Cheol had prepared.

Seo Mu-Sang stood in front of Jin Mu-Won and bowed, saying, “Until the next time we meet, please be sure to take good care of yourself, milord.”

“You might have to wait many years for me.”

“That is fine. I will wait for as long as you deem necessary.”

“Alright. You make sure to be careful, too.”

“Thank you, but there is no need for milord to worry about this humble me.”

Seo Mu-Sang placed a fist on his chest, a determined look on his face.

Y aren′t you reading this at northbladetl.com?

“I see. Then…”

Jin Mu-Won urged his horse forward, quickly breaking into a gallop.

“…Until the next time we meet, Warrior Seo.”

“Uncle Hwang, I’ll be depending on you to take care of the lord.”

“Don’t worry, that is something I have decided to do no matter what.” Hwang Cheol bid farewell to Seo Mu-Sang, then mounted his horse and took off after Jin Mu-Won.

Seo Mu-Sang silently watched the two men disappear into the distance. Even long after they had gone, he still remained standing at the same spot, unmoving.

This is a free translation. You should not be seeing ads.

“My lord!” he exclaimed to himself.

The slumbering dragon has finally woken up and left to search for his wings.

I have to make preparations for the time when he returns. That is my foremost duty as his first sword.

Seo Mu-Sang sat on the ground and closed his eyes.

A few days ago, after he had sworn his eternal loyalty to Jin Mu-Won, they had discussed many things, from Jin Mu-Won’s plans for the future, to Seo Mu-Sang’s current situation.

In addition, Jin Mu-Won had taught one of the martial arts written on the Wall of Ten Thousand Shadows, the “Flowing Stream Steps (溪流步)1”, to Seo Mu-Sang.

The Flowing Stream Steps was a foot technique created by Nam Un-San, the second-generation Lord of the Northern Army. He had drawn inspiration from a flowing stream to create a foot technique that consisted of meandering movements. Jin Mu-Won felt that this foot technique was a perfect complement to Seo Mu-Sang’s freely flowing Blue Cloud Sword Style, so he taught it to him, and true enough, the destructive power of Seo Mu-Sang’s sword technique increased by leaps and bounds.

Seo Mu-Sang mulled over the details of the Flowing Stream Steps in his head.

This is a non-profit translation. You should not be seeing ads.

…How many days has it been?

Suddenly, his eyes snapped open.

RUMBLE! RUMBLE!

The earth beneath him trembled. A group of horsemen were galloping toward the location where the Northern Army Fortress had once stood. The man in the lead held up a gigantic flag emblazoned with the symbol of Heaven’s Summit.

“Finally, they’re here.” muttered Seo Mu-Sang, standing up.

I figured it was about time the investigation team sent by Heaven’s Summit arrived. It takes five days to travel to their nearest branch, so taking into account the time taken for Dam Soo-Cheon’s group to reach that branch, and the time Heaven’s Summit needs to organize a team and send them here, it makes sense that they would get here in approximately fifteen days.

Read this at northbladetl.com, or else.

Noticing Seo Mu-Sang’s presence, the investigation team changed directions to surround him. There were more than a hundred of them, and Seo Mu-Sang could tell that they were all elites at a glance. In particular, their leader exuded an aura that stood out from the rest.

The leader was in his late forties, with an angular face and fierce eyes like a tiger. On his back, he carried a gigantic, intimidating dao.

Seo Mu-Sang had heard of this man’s name before. He was Yang Man-Chok, the Branch Head of Heaven’s Summit’s Xining Branch 2. Within the Qinghai region, his strength was unparalleled, giving rise to the alias “Savage Dao of Qinghai”.

Like his namesake, both his appearance and personality were savage. Also, Seo Mu-Sang was certain that Shim Won-Ui and Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung had escaped to the Xining Branch, as it was the nearest branch to the Northern Army Fortress. Thus, although Seo Mu-Sang had never met Yang Man-Chok before, he recognized him immediately.

Ten days ago, as soon as Yang Man-Chok had received Shim Won-Ui’s report of the Silent Night’s reappearance, he had immediately summoned his men as well as all the murim experts living nearby to form an investigation team comprising on a hundred elite warriors.

Yang Man-Chok drew his dao and pointed it at Seo Mu-Sang, demanding, “Who are you? State your name and affiliation!”

“I am Vice-Captain Seo Mu-Sang of the Third Company, a group of mercenaries affiliated with Heaven’s Summit.”

“You’re one of the affiliate mercenaries?”

Yang Man-Chok raised an eyebrow that was as thick as a caterpillar and glared at Seo Mu-Sang with suspicion. Seo Mu-Sang tossed him an identity token as proof that he worked for Heaven’s Summit.

Even after seeing the identity token, Yang Man-Chok did not let down his guard. The token was real, but the holder could still be an imposter.

Read this at northbladetl.com, or else.

“Where are the other survivors?”

“I am the only survivor.”

“You mean to say, you’re the only person who survived the massacre?”

“Yes, sir!”

“What about the Lord of the Northern Army?”

“I think he’s probably dead.”

“Did you see him die with your own eyes?”

“The last time I saw him, he was trapped in the flames that burned down the fortress. I did not see him escape, so I figured that he must be dead.”

Yang Man-Chok glowered at Seo Mu-Sang, but the mercenary did not avoid his gaze.

“Hmph! We’ll know everything once we investigate. Men! Tie this person up, then take him back to the Xining Branch. We’ll interrogate him there!”

“Yes, sir!”

If you′re seeing this, you are at the wrong place.

Two warriors walked up to Seo Mu-Sang and sealed his meridians. Seo Mu-Sang had already predicted this behavior of theirs beforehand, so he did not resist and quietly let them tie him up and capture him.

After hauling him to the Xining Branch, they would torture him to find out whether he was related to the Silent Night, how he had survived, and whether Jin Mu-Won had really died. Only when they were satisfied that he was innocent would they free him from imprisonment and allow him to return to Heaven’s Summit.

After making sure that Seo Mu-Sang was bound, Yang Man-Chok turned to face his men and shouted, “Split into two groups and search the area!”

Translator Notes:

We now have a rough location of the Northern Army Fortress and a pretty good guess as to the true identity of the Silent Night. The fortress is located to the west of Xining City, near the border between Qinghai, Xinjiang, and Tibet. Being located on the Tibetan Plateau, the fortress would have been subject to harsh winters, mild summers, strong winds, and frequent sandstorms. During the Ming Dynasty, most of Northwest and Western China (Xinjiang, Tibet) was ruled by the Dzungar and Khoshut Khanates, of Oirat Mongol origin. Naturally, this is a strong hint that the Silent Night is made up of Mongols, who are forever trying to invade Central China to escape the harsh living conditions of Northwest/Northern China.

image


Footnotes:

  1. Flowing Stream Steps (溪流步): Literal TL – Stream Flow Steps. 

  2. Xining City, Qinghai Province, China: Xining is the capital of Qinghai Province in China, a province which borders Tibet. 

If you see this, you are at the wrong site!



<
Previous Chapter
Chapter 46: Those Who Want to Leave Have Left, Those Who Want to Stay Are Staying (5)
>
Next Chapter
Chapter 48: Facing the Sword Wall for Seven Years (2)