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

“Uncle Hwang, I missed you so much!” exclaimed Jin Mu-Won, looking down at Hwang Cheol’s face.

Hwang Cheol looked back at him warmly and sobbed, “Look at you, you’ve grown up so well. Now I can die without regrets.”

Suddenly, the wind blew Jin Mu-Won’s messy hair out of his face, revealing his current appearance. He had a large forehead, a high nose bridge, straight eyebrows, deep-set eyes, and thick, stubbornly pursed lips. He was no pretty boy, but he definitely qualified as ruggedly handsome.

His bared upper body was like a sculptor’s work of art; each and every muscle was chiseled to perfection. Every time Jin Mu-Won breathed in and out, his muscles would flex like they had a life of their own.

Seven years had transformed Jin Mu-Won from a scrawny teenager into a full-grown man. For all those years, he had lived inside Mount Cinnabar and honed his martial arts daily. Except when Hwang Cheol came to deliver his living necessities, he was always alone.

Jin Mu-Won grabbed Hwang Cheol’s hand and said, “It’s really cold outside, so let’s go indoors.”

“What about the luggage…”

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“You can bring the stuff in later.”

“…Okay.” Hwang Cheol nodded and followed Jin Mu-Won.

The two men entered a cave not far from the giant furnace. This was the place where Jin Mu-Won had stayed for the last seven years.

Usually, Jin Mu-Won never lit up the fireplace, even in the dead of winter. Enduring the blistering cold was a part of his martial arts training. However, Hwang Cheol was here today, so he started up a fire and boiled some water for tea.

As soon as the cave started warming up, color returned to Hwang Cheol’s pale, frozen face. Jin Mu-Won handed him a cup of freshly brewed tea.

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“Young Master’s tea is always so tasty. I can’t find this great taste anywhere in the South.”

“Hahaha! Uncle Hwang, you’re giving me too much credit!”

“No, I’m not. I sincerely meant what I said, Young Master.”

Hwang Cheol didn’t think he was praising Jin Mu-Won too highly. He knew that he hadn’t given the young man any high-quality tea leaves, and yet somehow, he always managed to bring out the best flavor from those cheap leaves. Jin Mu-Won’s skill at brewing tea was so good that he had completely spoiled Hwang Cheol’s taste buds, and he was telling the truth when he said that he couldn’t find as good a flavor anywhere else.

“Young Master, you’ve changed again since the last time I visited. That’s really amazing!”

“Is that so?” Jin Mu-Won grinned.

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Hwang Cheol felt as if the term “daily improvement” was created specifically to describe Jin Mu-Won. Every time he visited the young man, he would feel significantly stronger than before. Hwang Cheol couldn’t be sure exactly when it happened, but Jin Mu-Won was now a warrior far beyond Hwang Cheol’s realm of understanding. He only knew that every time he saw the young man, his eyes would appear deeper, wiser.

“Did something happen? You don’t usually come here this time of year.”

“Yeah, some stuff happened, and I have to go to a very faraway place for a mission soon. I decided to come here earlier than usual because I’m not sure how long this mission will take.”

“Is that mission dangerous?”

“I don’t think so, and there’s no need for you to be too concerned, Young Master. I know how to take care of myself.”

“I pray it’s nothing serious.”

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“It shouldn’t be. Please don’t worry about me, Young Master.”

“It would be good if that were true.”

Even though he said that, Jin Mu-Won couldn’t help but feel anxious. To him, Hwang Cheol was his only family, and he always thought of Uncle Hwang as his godfather.

Hwang Cheol’s continued support was also the only reason he had managed to survive seven years of nothing but training in a desolate place like Mount Cinnabar. If not for him, he would never have reached his current level of strength.

“Regardless, please be careful, okay, Uncle Hwang?”

“I’m more worried about Young Master than I am about myself.”

“By the way, I haven’t left the mountain lately, do you have any updates about the current state of affairs in the world?”

Hwang Cheol knew that Jin Mu-Won was pretty much living the life of a hermit, so he would always make sure that he was up-to-date with current affairs all over the gangho. As an escort for a large company like the White Dragon Merchant Association, it was pretty easy for him to obtain such information.

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“Like I mentioned last time, the Four Northern Pillars have been getting more restless lately. In order to suppress them, Heaven’s Summit…”

Hwang Cheol talked for a very long time, and Jin Mu-Won quietly listened to him, waiting for him to finish speaking before asking questions.

“Has the Silent Night still not made their move?”

“No. Since that day seven years ago, Heaven’s Summit has sent out many search parties, but so far, they haven’t found anything. It’s extremely unsettling.”

“I see.” The light vanished from Jin Mu-Won’s eyes.


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No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t find any trace of her. It was as if she had disappeared from this world.

Where are you?



Hwang Cheol’s nostrils flared, and his eyes flew open. Something smelled really good.

“Where am I…?” Hwang Cheol looked around him. He was lying down on a wooden bed inside a cave. He vaguely remembered chatting with Jin Mu-Won the night before, and at some point, he had taken a barrel of Lanzhou Nuerhong wine out of the wagon and opened it.


He had probably fainted after drinking the wine together with Jin Mu-Won. He was pretty confident in his alcohol tolerance, but it seemed that Jin Mu-Won was even better than him.

“You’re awake?”

Hwang Cheol turned toward the direction of the voice. There, at the cave entrance, stood Jin Mu-Won, holding a simple cooking pot. The fragrance coming from the contents of the pot stimulated his nose, making him salivate.

“Young Master, did you cook that?”

“I was worried that you’d be hungover, so I made you some hotpot.”

“I can cook for myself…” mumbled Hwang Cheol, overcome with guilt.

Jin Mu-Won smiled. He knew that Hwang Cheol was perfectly capable of living for himself, and yet, he had chosen to stay by his side all these years, like family.

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He placed the hotpot down and set the dining table, saying, “You’ll feel much better after eating.”

“It smells really good!” Hwang Cheol exclaimed. He had traveled alone and subsisted on dry rations for a while, and Jin Mu-Won’s cooking was good enough to compete with professional chefs.

Jin Mu-Won placed two bowls of rice on the table, then filled another two bowls with hotpot.


Hwang Cheol greedily gobbled down the hotpot. As the warm food filled his stomach, he finally felt alive again.

“Young Master, this is delicious!” he praised, giving Jin Mu-Won the thumbs-up.

Jin Mu-Won grinned and said, “Take your time and eat slowly, we still have a lot of food.”

Hwang Cheol nodded, then continued stuffing his face. Jin Mu-Won watched him quietly, lost in thought. He hadn’t observed Hwang Cheol this closely before, but now that he did, he realized that Hwang Cheol was actually quite a bit stronger than he had thought.

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Uncle Hwang’s qi is flowing very smoothly. He should be able to emit sword qi soon.

The ability to emit sword qi was the first step to reaching Transcendence, but even for those talented in martial arts, it was common to hit a roadblock and never achieve the realm of Transcendence for the rest of their lives.

When Jin Mu-Won recalled peeping at his father, Jin Kwan-Ho, teaching Hwang Cheol martial arts a long time ago, he understood just how little talent Hwang Cheol had.

When you teach a genius one thing, they will be able to infer ten more things. Similarly, when you teach a prodigy the most basic of theories, they will be able to deduce the laws of the universe.

However, geniuses and prodigies were rare. Most people would find it hard just learning one thing.

Hwang Cheol’s “talent” was more extreme than most people. If you taught him ten things, he might not even understand one.

One might even call him a slow-learner. Still, Hwang Cheol never gave up training his martial arts.

How much blood and sweat did you shed? How much time have you devoted to mindless training? Perhaps you were less talented than others, but because you never gave up, you have reached a level that most of them can never dream of.

The memory of Hwang Cheol training with his father years ago was fresh in his mind, as if it were only yesterday.

Talent is important, but the will to never give up even more so.

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Jin Mu-Won felt like he had been enlightened.

As a martial artist, Hwang Cheol was only average. However, as a human being, Hwang Cheol had given him something much more valuable than skills; he had given him courage and wisdom.

“Uncle Hwang.”

Hwang Cheol raised his head and looked at Jin Mu-Won, mouth still full.

“You have to be safe, okay?”

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“Don’t worry, Young Master. Until the day the Northern Army stands its ground once more, this Hwang Cheol will never fall, in sickness or in death.”

“Did you know? I’ve always been extremely grateful to you.”

“Young Master!” Hwang Cheol’s eyes sparkled, like he was about to break into tears.

The sight of Hwang Cheol’s humble response made a huge smile spread over Jin Mu-Won’s face.

The two men continued eating their hotpot, and time flew by.

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Hwang Cheol took a break from eating and piled up the things that he had brought in a corner of the cave. Besides a few clothes and some iron ore, most of the pile was made up of food and daily necessities.

“Why did you bring so much food this time? I still have a lot left over from last time.”

“Men should eat a lot in order to build strength and gain muscles.”

“Uncle Hwang, you should already know that I’ve stopped growing, right? I’ll be okay even if I don’t eat as much as I used to.”

“Even so, you shouldn’t be stingy! You have to eat more! Ahh, am I so useless that I can’t even feed Young Master well anymore?”

“Okay, I will do my best to eat more.” Worried that Hwang Cheol would keep nagging at him, Jin Mu-Won caved in. Only then did Hwang Cheol feel reassured and resume eating.

“Mmm, so good!” exclaimed Hwang Cheol again and again, slurping his soup.

Jin Mu-Won smiled and finished the rest of the hotpot.

When the meal was over, it was time for Hwang Cheol to leave.

“Young Master, I will be back next spring. Be sure to take good care of yourself, okay?”

“You too, Uncle Hwang.”

“That’s a given. Please don’t worry about me.”

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After Hwang Cheol and Jin Mu-Won said their goodbyes, Hwang Cheol got on the wagon and set off downhill. Jin Mu-Won watched him until he disappeared over the horizon, then turned around and returned to his daily life.


Jin Mu-Won looked at the sword on the workbench. While he and Hwang Cheol were catching up, it had cooled down completely. He carefully scrubbed off the remaining clay on the blade.


Every time a piece of dried clay fell to the ground, a little bit more of the ebony-colored blade would be revealed. Most swords were silver in color, but this one was the same color as the obsidian rock it was made from.

Like a puddle of ink, Jin Mu-Won could see his face reflected in the dark sword blade.


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The swish of a blade slicing through the air could be heard as Jin Mu-Won swung the blade sharply. He swung it a few more times, then grinned broadly.

He hadn’t made a hilt for the blade yet, but the feel and balance already felt perfectly suited to him. His efforts over the last two years weren’t for naught, after all.

Still, the forging process wasn’t over. He needed to sharpen the edge, and create a hilt and scabbard for the sword.


Jin Mu-Won took out a brand-new whetstone and began to sharpen the blade. However, even as the whetstone got smaller and smaller, the edge did not appear to get any sharper.


“You are still so stubborn,” Jin Mu-Won laughed, speechless. He was naive for thinking that his days of suffering with this blade were over.

“Alright then. Let’s find out who will have the last laugh, shall we?”

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He injected his qi into the whetstone and resumed sharpening the blade.


The sound of metal rubbing against stone echoed throughout the cave. As Jin Mu-Won concentrated on his work, the passing of time was all but forgotten.

Progress was extremely slow. Despite focusing all his efforts and qi on sharpening the blade, the changes were minimal. However, this wasn’t enough to make Jin Mu-Won give up.

He was probably the most patient person in the world. The word “quit” was not part of his vocabulary.

This was a different kind of war from usual, but it was a war nonetheless.

A war between him and the sword.

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Jin Mu-Won cast aside his martial arts, his thoughts, his worries…and focused everything on sharpening the blade’s edge.

How much time has passed? Jin Mu-Won didn’t know. He only knew that the formally dull edge was finally beginning to show the glint of sharpness under the light of the winter sun.


He wasn’t sure when it started, but he felt as if the nerves in his arms had extended themselves into the sword, merging the tip, the blade, the edge, and the handle with his flesh and blood. When that happened, his shadow qi naturally flowed into the blade like ink spreading out to cover a surface.


The sword cried. No, it was whispering to him. Jin Mu-Won bent over to listen to the sword’s words.

Give me a name…

That was what the sword was telling him.

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Jin Mu-Won’s eyes snapped open. For a moment, he thought he saw the silhouette of a naked woman transforming into the beautiful lines of the blade. A dark light glittered along its edge, like a lonely flower blossoming on a snowy expanse.

“Snow Flower (雪花). Your name is Snow Flower.”


Snow Flower hummed in delight, as if it were a newborn baby announcing its existence to the world.

Jin Mu-Won grabbed hold of Snow Flower’s handle. A strange yet familiar warmth spread throughout his body from the sword, telling him that it had always been, and will forever be, his and only his.

He broke into a sword dance with his new partner.


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The bone-chilling winter wind blew, and snowflakes fell from the sky. Jin Mu-Won poured the shadow qi from the Art of Ten Thousand Shadows into the blade, and it responded by glowing with a dark light.

Stroke after stroke, the dark light from Snow Flower carved out graceful lines in the air. From afar, it seemed as if a dark flower had bloomed in the white snow.


A dark flower in the pure white snow, just like the girl he could never forget.


On a rocky mountain devoid of life, a lone tree stood proudly. Its roots had split apart the rock, dug deep into the earth, and absorbed whatever nutrients it could get. Even though it had barely grown to the height of a man’s waist, its resilience and life force could be said to be the strongest in the world.

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Jin Mu-Won chopped down the tree that he had named “Iron Heart”. He carved the wood into the shape of a sword hilt, engraved the words “Snow Flower” on the guard, then wrapped the handle with leather in order to prevent his hands from slipping when he held the sword.

Next, he inserted a thin metal sheet into a wooden scabbard also carved from Iron Heart. To protect the wood from wear and tear as well as hide its unique appearance, he wrapped it with leather.


Like two puzzle pieces falling neatly into place, Snow Flower and the scabbard fit together perfectly.

Jin Mu-Won stroked Snow Flower, his new favorite sword, lovingly.


Snow Flower hummed gently in response to his stroking.

Is it just me, or does Snow Flower sound like a coquettish lady, or perhaps a deeply contented child?

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Bewildered, Jin Mu-Won stared at the sword for a very long time, wondering if he had finally gone crazy.

A mesmerizing dark light danced along the blade, casting a spell of hypnosis upon him. He tried to focus on the light, but the harder he tried, the more difficult it was to follow its movement.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won awoke from his trance.

This sword that I’ve forged is neither a divine sword, nor a demonic sword.

It’s a cursed sword!

Once in a while, a new legendary weapon would appear that shocked the world. However, Snow Flower was completely unlike any of those weapons.

She emits a powerful cursed energy, stealing the heart of whoever looks at her. If one is caught in her web of enthrallment, they will be devoured by her cursed energy.

…This might not be a bad thing for me. It’s a constant reminder that I should always remain vigilant.

Jin Mu-Won drew Snow Flower out of her sheath and stood in front of the Sword Wall. This was the stone wall that he had been battling for the last seven years. Once, it had been as smooth as a mirror, but now, it was covered in scars created by his blade.

These scars were the physical evidence of Jin Mu-Won’s seven years of hard work.

Jin Mu-Won activated the Art of Ten Thousand Shadows. Woken from its sleep, the shadow qi residing within his qi center stretched lazily and quickly spread itself throughout his body, filling every nook and cranny of his muscles like water filling a dry sponge.

The shadow chi’s movement was silent and completely undetectable. The only proof of its presence was Jin Mu-Won’s eyes, which looked as if a curtain had been pulled down over them, dying the whites black.

Besides his own body, the shadow qi also poured into Snow Flower. Rather than rejecting the foreign qi, though, Snow Flower readily accepted it, even greedily gobbling it up.

As Snow Flower absorbed more and more of Jin Mu-Won’s shadow qi, its already black blade became even darker, like a blackhole that swallows all light.

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Jin Mu-Won gracefully danced with Snow Flower.


At first, his dance was slow and gentle. Gradually, he moved faster and faster, stirring up a giant whirlwind.

The Shadow Blade of Destruction.

The most powerful sword technique of all burst forth.


One moment, his sword was a falling meteor (Meteor Soul). The next, it was an unscalable wall (Wall of the Northern Heavens).

The sky was split into two (Dividing the Heavenly Seas), and a forest of swords rained upon the ground (Storm Forest).

A blood red light flashed for a moment (Bloody Flash), but it was quickly eclipsed by a world without light (Shadowless World).

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“Phew!” panted Jin Mu-Won. The instant he released his concentration, the shadowless world vanished like an illusion.


Jin Mu-Won sheathed Snow Flower. At first, Snow Flower cried and made a fuss about not wanting to be sheathed, but once she was back in her scabbard, she quieted down.

The Sword Wall loomed down upon Jin Mu-Won, mocking him for not being able to add a single scratch to it this time.

Jin Mu-Won spun around.


The scarred Sword Wall screamed and collapsed into dust. When the dust cloud settled, a clean, perfectly flat surface like a mirror was revealed. Jin Mu-Won had sliced the Wall so cleanly, it was restored to its original, pristine state.


The spring wind blew, taking with it the dust on the rocky ground.

Without Jin Mu-Won noticing, winter had come and gone. However, Hwang Cheol, who had promised him three months ago that he would return in spring, still hadn’t come.

Jin Mu-Won quietly waited for Hwang Cheol to visit him. One month passed, and then another month. The heat of summer arrived, but still there was no sign of Hwang Cheol.

Uncle Hwang… I can’t wait any longer.

One summer’s day, Jin Mu-Won left Mount Cinnabar and embarked on a journey south.

Translator’s Note: Apologies for the delay as I’ve had to work overtime everyday this week. Will try to make up for it over Thanksgiving break, if I don’t wind up spending all my time shopping for more kitchenware than I actually need.

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Chapter 49: The Cursed Sword, Snow Flower (1)
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Chapter 51: Sometimes, Coincidences Do Happen (1)