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


“Heeheehee!” Kwak Moon-Jung hugged his new sword tightly and giggled like an idiot.

“Do you like it that much?”

“Yes!”

Until now, Kwak Moon-Jung had only used cheap iron swords, so this was his first time owning a properly forged blade. He decided to name the sword Crimson Fang (赤牙), for its faint red glow that reminded one of a bloodied fang.

“That’s a great name.”

“Right? Heehee!”

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“Now that you have a good sword, you need to work extra hard to grow into a warrior who will not bring shame to your weapon.”

“Yes, I will train as hard as I can! Thank you so much, Hyung! I may only be able to thank you with words right now, but I swear that I will work my ass off to become useful to you.”

“You’re welcome, and I’m looking forward to your future.”

Kwak Moon-Jung’s resolve was clearly written on his face. He could tell that Jin Mu-Won truly cared for him, and sincerely wished to help him. If he betrayed the expectations of such a great man, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

As evening fell, the two young men headed back to the Rejuvenation Inn where the White Dragon caravan was spending the night.

When they entered the inn, Gong Jin-Sung, Yoon Seo-In and the Iron Brigade mercenaries, who had gathered in the lobby, suddenly turned to stare at them.

Jin Mu-Won noticed several unfamiliar faces among the mercenaries. His eyes lit up with interest.

Jongri Mu-Hwan immediately frowned, but the man next to him, a seven-foot-tall giant wearing a red warrior’s outfit, stood up from his seat. He had rough facial features and thick, messy hair like a lion’s mane. A hefty dragon scale dao1 was slung across his back and a hexagonal baton as thick as a man’s arm was shoved through his belt. All in all, he looked extremely fearsome.

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The giant held his arms open in greeting and approached Jin Mu-Won, saying, “Hahaha! Are you the famous Jin Mu-Won that I’ve heard so much about?”

“Yes, but…”

“Nice to meet you! My name is Yong Mu-Sung. Wahahaha!”

As Jin Mu-Won had guessed, the laughing, rugged giant was indeed Yong Mu-Sung, the Commander of the Iron Brigade. He gave Yong Mu-Sung a fist salute and introduced himself, saying, “I am Jin Mu-Won. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Commander Yong.”

“I heard that you were a very stubborn man. Our Vice-Commander had a lot of things to say about you, hahaha!”

Yong Mu-Sung patted Jin Mu-Won on the shoulder and continued roaring with laughter. Although it hurt quite a bit and his entire body shook every time his shoulder was patted, Jin Mu-Won did not budge an inch.

Jongri Mu-Hwan, who couldn’t stand watching this farce any longer, loudly complained, “Commander!”

“What? Did I say anything wrong?”

Unfortunately, Yong Mu-Sung did not pick up the hint and continued talking to Jin Mu-Won.

“Come, take a seat over here.”

“C-Commander Yong?” Gong Jin-Sung stuttered, panicking.

However, Yong Mu-Sung ignored him as well and sat down next to Jin Mu-Won.

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“Ah! By the way, I heard that your uncle was among the people who went missing. Are you okay? You must be anxious! In that case, it would probably help if you joined our discussion about how we are going to proceed next.”

“About that, Commander Yong…”

Before Gong Jin-Sung could finish his sentence, Yong Mu-Sung interrupted him, saying, “You told me that this guy was strong, right? That’s all that matters. Right now, we’re in a situation where we need all the strength we can muster.”

“Guh! Alright, I understand.”

Gong Jin-Sung was left speechless by Yong Mu-Sung’s logic. Off to the side, Jongri Mu-Hwan and Chae Yak-Ran, who had seen this scene many times, helplessly shook their heads.

Yong Mu-Sung always handled everything spontaneously and arbitrarily. Because of that, his behavior often got them into trouble. However, since Yong Mu-Sung did bring up a good point, they decided not to object this time.

Jin Mu-Won might be a problematic person, but everyone here acknowledged his strength. In the end, leaving out an ally who was likely one of the strongest martial artists in the murim was hardly an intelligent thing to do.

“I’ll head over to our room and wait for you,” said Kwak Moon-Jung, reading the atmosphere. He understood that he had neither the authority nor the strength to remain in this place.

When Kwak Moon-Jung left, Yong Mu-Sung introduced the newcomers to Jin Mu-Won and the White Dragon leaders.

“You’ve already met some of my group members, so I’ll only introduce the three people who are joining the caravan today. First up is the ‘Red Leg Devil (赤脚鬼)’. He lost his right leg in a battle ten years ago and replaced it with a red-colored prosthetic. Even I don’t know what his real name is. Ahahaha!”

A man with a red prosthetic leg raised his hand and greeted, “Hello. Like the Commander said, just call me the Red Leg Devil.”

Yong Mu-Sung then introduced the next person, “Ladies, please beware this person with a pretty-looking face. His name is Man Seo-Jin, and he’s a master at seducing women.”

A handsome man waved and smiled in greeting.

Finally, Yong Mu-Sung gestured toward the third new person, an extremely skinny man with sharp, crazed eyes.

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“This is Ji Sung-Yul. As you can see, he has a terrible temper and is very stubborn. All of you should be careful not to piss him off, otherwise, you might receive a blow to the back of your head when you least expect it.”

Despite Yong Mu-Sung’s stinging introduction, Ji Sung-Yul did not complain. Instead, he simply observed Jin Mu-Won keenly.

Jin Mu-Won gave a fist salute to the three men and said, “My name is Jin Mu-Won.”

“Now that we’re done introducing each other, let’s get this meeting started.”

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Gong Jin-Sung nodded in agreement and kicked off the discussion.

“First of all, the current situation in Yunnan is very complicated. Until a few years ago, Diancang Sect (點蒼派)2 was the only decent murim faction there, but now we have the Tyrant Fist Sect to consider as well.”

The Tyrant Fist Sect was currently rapidly expanding their influence, leading to violent clashes with the Diancang Sect all over Yunnan Province. Normally, Heaven’s Summit would interfere and stop them from fighting, but for some reason, they chose to stand by and do nothing this time.

As a result, the situation got so chaotic that not only were the small and medium-sized sects dragged into the mess, even the White Dragon Merchant Association, the Sun Moon Merchant Association and the Mainland Merchant Association of the Ten Great Companies also ended up becoming victims. Things were so messy, no one could predict what would happen next.

“Because of the caravans going missing, none of the other merchant associations are willing to do business in Yunnan. Our trading branch there mainly makes money from these caravans, so our profits have plummeted.”

Yong Mu-Sung rubbed his chin thoughtfully and mumbled, “Do you think that someone is intentionally trying to control the flow of goods and money there?”

“Yes. We suspect that either the Diancang Sect or the Tyrant Fist Sect is behind this, but we can’t be sure which one of them is responsible until after we enter Yunnan.”

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“Is it possible that a third faction is the mastermind?”

“Yes, that possibility does exist.”

“What a mess. This is one complicated request you’re asking of us, Finance Head Gong.”

Yong Mu-Sung turned to look at Jongri Mu-Hwan, who smiled helplessly back at him and said, “You’re going to accept this request even if I think it’s a stupid thing to do, right?”

“Yeah…” Yong Mu-Sung scratched his head apologetically.

Normally, the Iron Brigade would never accept a mission that risks the lives of their members. That was because they strongly believed that staying alive was far more important than getting rich.

However, not too long ago, they ran into some dire straits and were now gravely in need of more money. The White Dragon Merchant Association offered them the most for their services, so they had no choice but to accept this mission.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won, who had been listening in silence, asked, “Do you know where my uncle disappeared?”

Gong Jin-Sung shook his head and replied, “No. Although we tried to find out, we can’t seem to obtain any information on the happenings in Yunnan. If my guess is correct, then we will be able to enter Yunnan easily, but getting out will prove challenging.”

“In other words, we can’t even conduct an investigation without entering the province.”

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“That’s right.”

Jin Mu-Won’s face immediately clouded over.

Yong Mu-Sung attempted to make him feel better, saying, “Don’t worry. I’ve already sent several of my men there in advance. We might be able to get some information from them shortly after we arrive in Yunnan.”

“I was wondering where Chu Gae went. Now I know that the Commander sent him to scout ahead of us.”

“Haha! That guy isn’t any help in a fight, anyway! Since he’s good at collecting information, I sent him to Yunnan first.”

“Well done, Commander.” Jongri Mu-Hwan nodded in approval. He may be the strategist of the team, but ultimately, Yong Mu-Sung was the leader of the Iron Brigade and everyone followed his will.

Chu Gae,3 who had gone to scout ahead for them, was a beggar. He claimed to have ties with the Beggar’s Sect, but no one believed him. However, his ability to collect information was indeed outstanding, securing his position as one of the most important members of the Iron Brigade.

“Well, there isn’t much we can do until we get more information, so I guess that’s it for today. Ugyagyagya!” 4

Yong Mu-Sung stood up and stretched his body.

“Commander, the meeting isn’t over yet…”

“I’m sure you’re more than capable of taking care of the rest, Vice-Commander. After all, you guys were doing just fine even without me, right?”

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“But…”

“No buts! Picking on the details really isn’t my style. Just give me a summary of your discussion later. Also, don’t worry. When we get an update on the situation in Yunnan, I’ll definitely join in the planning.”

“…Understood,” Jongri Mu-Hwan replied with a resigned look on his face. This kind of attitude was normal for his commander, so he’d long since given up trying to convince him otherwise.

Suddenly, Yong Mu-Sung turned toward Jin Mu-Won, grinned playfully, and asked, “Hey, how long are you planning on staying here? Want to go get some fresh air?”

sep

Jin Mu-Won went for a walk with Yong Mu-Sung.

I wonder where he’s taking me to?

Normally, people who were taking a leisurely walk would look around randomly and seem a little lost, but Yong Mu-Sung was not like that. He had a clear destination in mind and was walking there without being distracted.

“Don’t you have something you want to ask me?” said Yong Mu-Sung all of a sudden.

“What do you mean?”

“Aren’t you curious why I asked you to take a walk with me, and where we’re going?”

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“Even if I don’t ask you, I’ll find out eventually as long as I play along with you, right?”

“Are you being serious right now? As expected, you’re a weirdo.”

“How am I weird?”

“…Never mind, I shouldn’t have bothered asking you that.”

Jin Mu-Won fell silent. Yong Mu-Sung was probably referring to the reason why Jongri Mu-Hwan was keeping a distance from him.

“That guy, Jongri Mu-Hwan, he’s a strategist who feels the need to ensure that everything falls within his calculations. To do that, he places people into categories and uses that as a basis to predict what they will do. However, you’re the type of unpredictable person who doesn’t always act rationally, so he feels kind of bothered by that.”

Even without being told, Jin Mu-Won could tell that Jongri Mu-Hwan instinctively wanted to avoid unpredictable people who were outside of his calculations, as they were the ones who were most likely to mess up his plans.

He may be smart, but even he can’t escape from thinking like a stereotypical strategist, huh?

“What do you want me to do about it? Should I apologize?”

“Hahaha! Why should you? There’s nothing wrong with you. In fact, I think you’re a very amusing guy.”

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“Aren’t you angry about it? Jongri Mu-Hwan is your subordinate, right?”

“He is, but he’s also a very boring guy. Kukuku!” Yong Mu-Sung roared with laughter.

Jin Mu-Won couldn’t help but grin playfully as he listened to the mercenary leader happily criticize his own subordinate. The fact that Yong Mu-Sung could do something like that without feeling ashamed was proof of how close-knit the members of the Iron Brigade were.

“Anyway, that stubborn guy always makes my life difficult and stops me from doing a lot of things. However, he still works for me, so even if he’s rude to me, I still have to respect his wishes.”

“He must be extraordinarily capable if you’re hiring him despite his rudeness and disrespect for you.”

“Ah, he’s not that rude…”

“But that son of a bitch doesn’t even have the basic courtesy to respect his superiors, yes?”

“Err, that’s true but…”

“A person like that will not learn his lesson and change his ways unless he is punished harshly. That’s why, the next time he opposes you, you should just smash his knees and cripple him permanently.”

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“Do I really need to go that far? I can ignore a bit of rudeness, and if he disrespects me, I can just scold him…”

“I guess that’s okay too.”

“…Hey! Did you say all that on purpose!? You look stoic and serious, but you’re actually quite cheeky, aren’t you? Ahahaha, I’m liking you more and more!”

“Sigh, how did this conversation end up like this?”

“Does it matter how it happened? I’m enjoying myself, so don’t worry about it.”

The more Jin Mu-Won talked with Yong Mu-Sung, the more he became convinced that the mercenary leader spoke in a way that made the listener feel good. Even though I’m meeting him for the first time today, he’s talking to me casually without seeming awkward.

The two men continued walking and chatting for a while, until Yong Mu-Sung eventually led Jin Mu-Won to a quiet alley in a corner of the market district.

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“Is there something here?” Jin Mu-Won asked.

“Hahaha! Don’t worry, I didn’t bring you here to finish you off.”

“Do you seriously think you’d be able to kill me?”

“We won’t know until we fight, right?” said Yong Mu-Sung, grinning mysteriously and turning to face Jin Mu-Won.

His fiery eyes immediately met with Jin Mu-Won’s calm gaze, and the two men stared at each other for a while, sizing each other up.

However, after a while, Yong Mu-Sung looked away, saying, “It’s a pity, but we have more important things to do today.”

“What exactly are we doing?”

“Collecting information.”

“Information?”

“Yeah, information about the current situation in Yunnan.”

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“Earlier, didn’t you say that you couldn’t get any information?”

“That was then, this is now.”

Jin Mu-Won furrowed his brows at Yong Mu-Sung’s conflicting words, but in response to his confusion, Yong Mu-Sung only grinned smugly, walked to a normal-looking house at the end of the alley, and knocked on the door.

KNOCK KNOCK!


Translator’s Notes: Novel Jin Mu-Won is so cheeky and snarky compared to his stoic manhwa counterpart…

Proofreader’s Notes: Chapter 69. NOICE!!


Footnotes:

  1. Dragon scale dao: A gigantic Chinese dao. Imagine FF7 Cloud Strife’s Buster Sword. 

  2. Diancang Sect (點蒼派): The name “Diancang” means “a place on Cang Mountain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cang_Mountain)”. In Jin Yong’s classic wuxia novel “Sword Stained with Royal Blood”, it is a powerful but hidden sect as well as one of the Four Great Sword Sects along with Mount Hua Sect, Emei Sect, and Kunlun Sect. 

  3. Chu Gae (追丐): I can’t tell whether this is a name or a title that means “Beggar Wannabe”… 

  4. Ugyagyagya: Yong Mu-Sung laughs in multiple weird ways… Hahaha kukuku ugyagyagya… 

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