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


Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung woke up in the wee hours of the morning, had a light breakfast, then left the inn. The streets were deserted; an indication that the city had not yet woken up from its slumber.

“Let’s go. As long we maintain a good pace, we’ll be at Yuxi by tomorrow evening.”

“Yeah!”

Thanks to the White Dragon Merchant Association, their trip here to Kunming had been on a very comfortable wagon, but from now on, they would have to travel around on their own two feet. Jin Mu-Won would have bought a horse if he could, but none of the stables were open at this hour, and he probably could not afford one anyway.

Fortunately for the two gangho newcomers, the main road to Yuxi was very well-maintained and there was no risk of them getting lost.

As the sun rose from beyond the horizon, Kwak Moon-Jung murmured, “This place is amazing. The weather was so hot and humid when we first entered Yunnan, but here in Kunming, it’s nice and cool.”

“Yeah. It seems that the temperature is lower here because Kunming is situated on a plateau,” Jin Mu-Won replied logically, although he was equally amazed at the wonders of nature. He’d even heard from the owner of the Peace-Loving Inn that dozens of ethnic minority tribes still lived close to Kunming, proof of how lovely an environment it was for folks to stay in.

Jin Mu-Won agreed with the inn owner. Everything was abundant here, unlike the barren North where he came from. In particular, due to the mild climate all year round, double cropping was possible, and wild fruit was abundant in the forest. As long as one was willing to put in some effort, they’d have more food than they could eat.

It’s a pity that while the earth here is blessed by the gods, the native peoples are not.

The native people of Yunnan didn’t appear to be particularly greedy, likely because they were used to having everything in abundance. The real problem lay in the greed and wealth of the people who had immigrated here from the Central Plains, not to mention the strength of the martial artists. The natives stood no chance against them.

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I wonder which is better, the rough lives of the Northern folk, or the cushy lives of the Yunnanese? Regardless, I get the feeling that I don’t belong here.

Suddenly, Kwak Moon-Jung disturbed his train of thought, asking, “What are you thinking so hard about?”

“Just this and that…”

“This place has made you reconsider a lot of things too, huh.”

“You too?”

“Yeah, a lot of random ideas keep popping up in my head. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a little worried lately…”

Although Kwak Moon-Jung had boldly chosen to follow Jin Mu-Won, at the end of the day, he was still a thirteen-year-old boy. It was impossible for him not to feel anxious when he had no idea what lay ahead of him.

Jin Mu-Won could sympathize with the younger boy, because he felt the same way, too. Ever since he had come out into the world, he had only been facing one powerful enemy after another, as if his destiny was intertwined with a bout of terrible luck.

He was aware that he could no longer live as freely as he used to, and the truth about the never-ending cycle of hatred within the gangho rang truer to his ears than ever before.

“I’m kind of anxious, too.”

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“Really? You?”

“I’m human, too. How could I possibly be free from any worries? Even so, that doesn’t mean that we can back out now, can we? When one does not consider retreating as an option, then one can only advance. That is my motto.”

“What does that idiom mean, Hyung?”

“When people give themselves a way out, they tend to cower in the face of danger, and I strongly believe that cowards like that can never defeat those who live day after day in desperation.”

Kwak Moon-Jung bit his lip in surprise and admiration. He never expected that Jin Mu-Won, whom he thought of as super strong, would have a motto like that.

If I had that kind of mindset as well, then perhaps I could become as strong as Hyung? I’ll need to live desperately, as if every day were my last…

Hyung’s really amazing…

At first, Kwak Moon-Jung only liked Jin Mu-Won because he was Hwang Cheol’s nephew, but the more he got to know the young man, the more he captivated his heart. Jin Mu-Won was a brother he could trust and rely on.

“Heehee!”

“What’s up?”

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“Nothing, heeheehee! Let’s just go.”

“…Okay.” Jin Mu-Won nodded and matched Kwak Moon-Jung’s walking speed.

The journey to Yuxi was uneventful. The main road was well-maintained, so there was no fear of getting lost, and the weather was cool and comfortable, perfect for traveling. However, since Yuxi wasn’t exactly near Kunming, they had to no choice but to spend a night outdoors.

Just before sunset, the two young men decided to sleep in a clearing which was not too far from the road, had a nice even ground, and a small stream nearby that made it easy to get drinking water.

Jin Mu-Won chopped some firewood while Kwak Moon-Jung brought the drinking water. Both of them were used to camping outdoors, so the preparations were quickly finished.

Dinner was dry rations which they had prepared beforehand. Kwak Moon-Jung, who finished his meal a little earlier than Jin Mu-Won, began training with his greatsword, Crimson Fang.

SWOOSH! WHOOSH!

Perhaps because the teenager’s muscles were now more developed, he swung the heavy greatsword with ease. That was a huge improvement from before. Although he was only taking one small step at a time, Kwak Moon-Jung was indeed growing steadily.

It’s time. Jin Mu-Won stood up and picked up a tree branch.

Kwak Moon-Jung looked at Jin Mu-Won in confusion and asked, “Hyung?”

“Fight me with everything you’ve got.”

For a moment, Kwak Moon-Jung simply blinked stupidly, not processing what Jin Mu-Won had just said. When the meaning finally hit him, he bit his lip in anticipation.

Finally…I’ve been waiting for this!

Until now, Jin Mu-Won had given him advice from time to time, but had never instructed him directly, and he hadn’t dared ask him for instruction, either. He understood that the gap between them was too huge, and that there would be no point asking for it until he reached a certain level.

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Kwak Moon-Jung tightened his grip on Crimson Fang. His heart was pounding wildly, and his blood pressure was rising.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won said, “Calm down. How are you going to train properly when you’re bursting with excitement?”

“Okay!”

“Now, fight me!”

“YEAH!” Kwak Moon-Jung shouted as he dashed toward Jin Mu-Won.

SWISH!

Seeing that Kwak Moon-Jung was charging at him like a mad bull, Jin Mu-Won took a step to the side and dodged the attack with ease. He then tapped Kwak Moon-Jung’s elbow lightly with his tree branch, saying, “Straighten your elbows more when you swing your sword, and you’ll be able to pack more power into it.”

“Kuh! Understood!”

Kwak Moon-Jung straightened his elbows as Jin Mu-Won had suggested, but this time, Jin Mu-Won’s branch hit him lightly on the shoulder instead.

THWACK!

“Your reflexes will be slowed if your body is too rigid.”

“Yes!”

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“Don’t take your eyes off your opponent.”

“Yes!”

“Step firmly upon the ground.”

“Gah!”

“Breathe deeply from your abdomen.”

“KUACK!”

As Jin Mu-Won smacked his weak points every time he said something, Kwak Moon-Jung ended crying out in pain over and over again. The strikes seemed light, but for some reason, that slight force was enough to rattle his internal organs.

However, although moving around while he was in pain was hard, and his body was covered in bruises from falling onto the ground, Kwak Moon-Jung did not give up. Time and time again, he desperately charged at Jin Mu-Won, but his instructor never let anything slide for any reason.

Ironing out the deficiencies in one’s basics is far more important than practicing techniques. A true martial arts master does not even need techniques, because every strike of theirs is an ultimate technique. However, that doesn’t mean that learning and practicing techniques aren’t necessary, because one has to first achieve complete mastery of a technique to reach the level where one no longer needs techniques.

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BONK!

“Keuk!”

Once again, Kwak Moon-Jung was sent flying. His clothes were in tatters, his hair was ragged, and his face was an unrecognizable mess.

Only then did Jin Mu-Won toss his branch aside.

“I can…still…go on…” Kwak Moon-Jung clenched his teeth hard as he stood up shakily.

“I know, but there is a time to train and a time to rest. Hurry up and use the Three Origins Meditation Technique.”

In the end, Kwak Moon-Jung had no choice but to give in and start meditating.

While tending to the campfire, Jin Mu-Won carefully observed Kwak Moon-Jung. As he originally intended, the boy’s insides were a mess, he was having trouble breathing, his muscles were badly torn, and his joints were battered loose.

To a normal person, these injuries would be extremely serious, but for Kwak Moon-Jung, a body that needed healing was the optimal condition for training the Three Origins Meditation Technique and making him stronger.

Personally, Jin Mu-Won didn’t really like using this accelerated method of training, but if he didn’t make Kwak Moon-Jung stronger soon, the boy’s odds of surviving through the upcoming chaos was extremely low. It would have been better if he had helped with the boy’s training since his childhood, but thinking about ‘what ifs’ was meaningless now.

He had to prioritize Kwak Moon-Jung’s survival over everything else.

As Kwak Moon-Jung’s meditation reached its peak, sweat flowed down his entire body like rain, and his skin began to turn as red as a beetroot. That was a sign that the Three Origins Meditation Technique was currently healing his wounds.

Seeing that, Jin Mu-Won added more firewood to the campfire, raising the temperature around them.

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An hour later, Kwak Moon-Jung finally finished meditating. His previously pale face now appeared healthy and his body was filled with energy.

“Great job, you’ve worked hard.” Jin Mu-Won smiled.

“You worked a lot harder than I did, Hyung. Thank you.”

Kwak Moon-Jung bowed deeply to Jin Mu-Won.

However, Jin Mu-Won’s smile suddenly vanished, and his expression hardened. Before Kwak Moon-Jung could express his shock, Jin Mu-Won whispered, “Look in the direction of the main road.”

Kwak Moon-Jung looked where Jin Mu-Won was pointing, but it was pitch-black and he couldn’t see anything. However, he knew that Jin Mu-Won wouldn’t have said something like that for no reason, so he focused his eyes carefully and tried to peer through the darkness.

CLIP CLOP CLIP CLOP.

After a while, he heard the sound of a horse’s hooves, and couldn’t help but marvel at Jin Mu-Won’s incredible eyesight.

The group that emerged from the darkness consisted of a carriage escorted by a dozen warriors. Immediately upon spotting Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung, they made a beeline toward the two young men.

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Kwak Moon-Jung nervously drew Crimson Fang. For now, it was impossible to know whether these people were enemies or allies.

As the group arrived at the clearing, the two finally got a good look at these people. The warriors had bright eyes and unusually powerful auras. In addition, the character for “Tyrant (覇)” was emblazoned on their chest armor.

Martial artists from the Tyrant Fist Sect, the sect created by Jo Cheon-Woo, the traitor I once called Uncle.

Jin Mu-Won’s eyes flashed briefly. His feelings toward these people were too complicated for him to express them through words.

The eldest warrior, who was also probably the leader, dismounted his horse and approached Jin Mu-Won. He appeared to be in his late forties, with rather distinctive features such as broad shoulders, thighs as thick as tree trunks, narrow eyes, and an overwhelming aura as if he wanted to crush anyone who faced him.

He shouted to Jin Mu-Won, “As expected, someone got here first. We already planned to stay here for the night, so would you mind sharing the space? We often camp here when we’re traveling outdoors.”

“Sure.”

“Thank you.”

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Having obtained Jin Mu-Won’s permission, the old warrior turned back toward his subordinates.

“We’re camping here. Everybody start unpacking.”

“Yes Sir!” The warriors loudly affirmed. They then dismounted their horses and began preparations for spending the night outdoors.

Meanwhile, Jin Mu-Won glanced at the old warrior behind his back with trembling eyes.

…Did he not recognize me?

He lowered his head and smiled bitterly.

However, his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a familiar voice saying, “Master Jin, is that you?”


Translator’s Note: I am going to propose to my gf next week. Wish me luck.

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