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


The mysterious man’s face crumpled like a piece of paper as he glared daggers at Jin Mu-Won and hollered, “OI, YOU! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING!? I spent half a day setting up that formation! Why did you have to go and destroy it?”

“……” Jin Mu-Won observed the man. He was exceptionally dainty-looking, with a wide forehead, a smooth round nose, thin lips, and extremely pale skin. If one didn’t know he was a man, it was easy to mistake him for a woman. However, contrary to his delicate appearance, the man’s voice was rough and hoarse.

“Did you know that I’ve been working non-stop since early morning just setting this up? Damn it! This is going to take forever to fix…”

“Are you Ha Jin-Wol, the Triune Scholar?”

“Huh? You know me?”

“Mu-Jin of the Kongtong Sect told me to come find you.”

“Mu-Jin?” Ha Jin-Wol frowned. He was indeed the person Jin Mu-Won was looking for.

“What’s your relationship with that guy?”

“What?”

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“He wouldn’t have sent you to me if you didn’t meet his standards. Are you one of those Kongtong Sect Taoists?”

“No.”

“Then?”

“I had a duel with him…”

“So who won?”

“I don’t remember losing.”

“Seriously?”

Suddenly, the look in Ha Jin-Wol’s eyes changed. One moment, he was looking at Jin Mu-Won like the young man was an interesting plaything, but the next, his eyes were flashing as if some dangerous ideas had crossed his mind.

“You defeated him?”

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Ha Jin-Wol observed Jin Mu-Won closely, then started circling around him like a hawk.

“Hmm… You don’t look that strong from the outside, but at the same time the Mu-Jin I know never lets up on his training. I’ve no doubt he’s good, and yet you still beat that violent bastard. That can only mean that you’re above peak-level,” Ha Jin-Wol muttered to himself, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

Jin Mu-Won watched him in silence.

“So…why are you acting all humble and unassuming? Hahaha! Aren’t you quite the crafty guy?”

“I just want to live a long life.”

“Bingo! There are a lot of people who boast of their strength, and few of them live for very long. The only ones who live long enough to die of old age are sly people like you.”

At the mention of him being “sly”, Jin Mu-Won grinned slyly, but that only had the effect of further arousing Ha Jin-Wol’s curiosity.

“You, stay here and don’t go anywhere until I’m done with my work.”

Ha Jin-Wol waited for Jin Mu-Won to nod his head in agreement, then turned around and walked toward the big rock that Jin Mu-Won had smashed when he destroyed the formation. It was the one that resembled a sword, and Ha Jin-Wol had named it the “Sword’s Tip”.

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“How did you find out that this rock was the core of the formation?”

“By instinct…”

“INSTINCT!?” Ha Jin-Wol was stunned speechless. He felt that Jin Mu-Won was just joking with him, but little did he know that Jin Mu-Won was actually telling the truth. The young warrior had simply swung his blade at the place where he’d sensed the highest density of energy, and that place had turned out to be where the Sword’s Tip was located.

“Hmph! You might have really sharp senses, but you still lucked out because my formation was incomplete. If it was finished, then the moment you struck that rock, you would have coughed up blood and died,” Ha Jin-Wol declared proudly.

His confidence probably isn’t unfounded. I’m not certain if his completed formation would be powerful enough to kill me, but at least, I wouldn’t have been able to break it so easily.

“What kind of formation is that?” Jin Mu-Won asked.

“I’ve only come up with a rough concept for it right now, so I haven’t named it yet. Besides, there’s no point in naming an incomplete formation, that’s just stupid.”

Ha Jin-Wol began his work, grumbling non-stop as he moved about diligently. From Jin Mu-Won’s point of view, the scholar was casually weaving his way in between the rocks while arranging them with his deft hands.

It seemed like a simple task to Ha Jin-Wol, but the way he was moving and placing rocks had an arcane feel to it. Furthermore, Jin Mu-Won could sense the energy in the stone forest being amplified every time Ha Jin-Wol did something.

He narrowed his eyes. This is…!

The energy in the formation was incomparable to when he was trapped inside it. Ha Jin-Wol wasn’t boasting after all; he indeed would have found it a lot harder to escape from the completed formation.

KOOOOOOO!

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As time went by, the tension in the air started to rise. Jin Mu-Won’s premonition told him that something big was about to happen, so he observed unblinkingly as Ha Jin-Wol finished his work. The man was a genius, and if a genius put their all into creating a formation, it was bound to be extraordinary.

“Man stands between heaven and earth. Heaven and earth are thus in harmony because of me, and the world loses its reason for existence when I am absent. After all, the world exists only because I exist,” Ha Jin-Wol chanted under his breath as he smacked the final rock into position.

The formation roared to life, blanketing the entire Stone Forest in pitch darkness.

Just what kind of formation is this…? Jin Mu-Won roughly understood the underlying principles behind formations, and could set up some simple illusion formations himself.

However, the scale of Ha Jin-Wol’s formation was so large, to set this up, one not only needed to be well-versed with formations, they also needed to be familiar with the rules of nature. To put it simply, that meant that the man named Ha Jin-Wol was knowledgeable in every discipline known to mankind.

The reverberations in the air intensified, and when they reached a peak, violent tremors started to shake the world around them.

KOOOOOOO!

At this sight, Ha Jin-Wol burst into laughter, “HAHAHA, THIS IS PERFECT! Now, if I do this…”

Ha Jin-Wol stood in front of the activating formation and raised both of his hands, causing lightning to flash in the sky…and a strong sense of foreboding in Jin Mu-Won’s heart. Without delay, Jin Mu-Won sprinted toward Ha Jin-Wol at top speed.

“What are you d…?”

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In a fit of panic, Ha Jin-Wol let down his guard, giving Jin Mu-Won the opportunity to quickly grab the scholar and kick off from the ground.

BOOOOOOM!

A giant thunderbolt struck the spot where Ha Jin-Wol had just been standing. Moreover, before the dumbfounded Ha Jin-Wol could say anything, the energy in the completed formation began to fluctuate unnaturally.

“Oh, fuck!”

Jin Mu-Won leapt again, still carrying Ha Jin-Wol. Right after he moved, the formation finally collapsed completely, engulfing the area in a violent windstorm.

ROAAAARRR!

Ha Jin-Wol stared blankly at the scene of destruction from within Jin Mu-Won’s arms. The Stone Forest was collapsing as if someone had set off a bomb in there.

“I made absolutely sure there weren’t any problems with my calculations, so what exactly was the problem? It’s definitely not the math…” he muttered soullessly. He knew that his calculations were perfect, and that he had accounted for all of the variables using his vast knowledge. However, the result was still a failure.

Jin Mu-Won landed at a spot that hadn’t been ravaged and placed Ha Jin-Wol down. However, even then, the scholar only sat on the ground with an empty gaze, as if life no longer held any meaning for him.

The only thing Jin Mu-Won could do was silently wait for Ha Jin-Wol to regain his senses.

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sep

“Damn it! I failed again. Just where did I go wrong?”

“……”

“Waiter! Get me another roast duck.”

Ha Jin-Wol munched on his duck in earnest, while Jin Mu-Won watched with a look of absolute disgust at the table littered with remnants of the scholar’s food.

Ha Jin-Wol’s depression turned out to be only temporary, as he quickly recovered and headed to a nearby inn. Then, he started binge eating as if venting his anger on food made him feel better. Furthermore, as he devoured the food, he mumbled constantly to himself, analyzing the reason why his formation blew up.

Are all geniuses like this? When he gets lost in his thoughts, he is so focused to the point that he ignores everything and everyone, including me who is sitting right next to him.

Jin Mu-Won sipped his wine quietly and decided not to pay attention to Ha Jin-Wol whose mind was off in la-la land even as his hands were busy shoving food into his mouth. To everyone else, the stark contrast between these two men sitting at the same table must have seemed awkward and ill-matched.

Hours later, Ha Jin-Wol finally looked up and said, “Yeah, the problem definitely lies with the Kan position (坎位)1. I failed to place a buffer between it and the Qian position (乾位), resulting in imbalance.”

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He stood up abruptly, eyes sparkling, then turned toward the door.

Jin Mu-Won put down his wine cup and asked, “Where are you going?”

“What do you mean ‘where am I going’? I figured out the problem, so naturally, I’m heading back to the Stone Forest to set up my formation.”

“Night has already fallen, and you won’t be able to see well enough to set up your formation.”

“…Eh?” Ha Jin-Wol looked out the window, only to find that Jin Mu-Won was right. Before he knew it, it was already dark outside.

“Damn! Just when I finally figured out the solution…” Ha Jin-Wol groaned regretfully.

Suddenly, his gaze fell upon the wine jug in front of Jin Mu-Won. With glittering eyes, he held out his own wine cup to Jin Mu-Won and said, “Hey, pour me a drink.”

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However, right after Jin Mu-Won wordlessly filled his cup, Ha Jin-Wol gulped down all the wine in one go and held out his cup to the young man again. Just like that, Jin Mu-Won ended up pouring three cups of wine for Ha Jin-Wol before the scholar sighed with satisfaction, “Whew! I finally feel alive again.”

“Did you manage to find a solution to your problem?”

“We won’t know for sure until we try, but I think I’ve found a clue, so I’m going to test it.”

“Are you trying to seal the heavens? What kind of formation is that complicated?”

“Sealing the heavens? Hahaha! I wish I could do that. AHAHA, IF ONLY I COULD!” Ha Jin-Wol started drinking again.

Jin Mu-Won could sense that there was something going on with Ha Jin-Wol, but he didn’t question the scholar about it. Everyone had some secrets that they would never tell anyone else. He resumed sipping his wine while waiting for the scholar to calm down again.

Out of the corner of his eye, Ha Jin-Wol curiously observed Jin Mu-Won. Come to think of it, he knew nothing about the Jin Mu-Won except that Mu-Jin was the one who introduced him to the young man.

“Hey, just who are you, anyway?”

“My name is Jin Mu-Won.”

“I wasn’t asking for your name, but for your true identity.”

“What true identity?”

“Oh, so that’s how you want to play it? All right then, let’s forget about this. So, why did you come looking for me?”

“I’m here to find someone.”

“If you’re looking for a missing person, you should go to the authorities. I’m not so amazing that I can find out where everyone in the world is right now, you know?”

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“The person I’m looking for went missing in Kunming six months ago.”

Ha Jin-Wol, who was just about to gulp down another cup of wine, placed his cup down instead and stared at Jin Mu-Won, saying, “Six months ago, a trading caravan from the White Dragon Merchant Association showed up here in Kunming, then vanished a few days later. Is the person you’re looking for part of that caravan?”

“Yes.”

“Hmm!”

“Do you know anything about this?”

“Is the person you’re looking for a relative of yours? Your sister?”

“No.”

“Then I suggest you give up.”

“No.”

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“Are you going to keep looking for them even if it means you might die?” Ha Jin-Wol asked sternly, all signs of his previous flippancy gone.

Jin Mu-Won resolutely replied, “Yes, because that man is a person worth risking my life for.”


Translator’s Note: Wait wait wait, Ha Jin-Wol was originally meant to be a pretty boy? How did I miss this the first time round? I was definitely misled by Hae-Min’s art into thinking that he was a skinny elf with fangs. Also, I’ve been busy planning a vacation to propose to my gf lately, so the chapter was delayed.


Footnotes:

  1. Kan position (坎位): Part of the Bagua in Feng Shui, which consists of eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts. The Kan position represents the element of water, the northward direction, and has the attribute of danger. The Qian position represents the sky element, the northwest direction, and the attribute of strength. Well, I only believe in Feng Shui when I play Animal Crossing… 

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