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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 early in the morning and prepared to leave. At the same time, as if they were in sync, the Tyrant Fist Sect Warriors also started packing up.
Since none of them had much luggage, it wasn’t long before everyone was ready to go. Suddenly, Im Soo-Kwang approached Jin Mu-Won, asking, “Master Tang told me that you’ll be joining us on our journey to Yuxi. Is that true?”
“Yes, however, we do not wish to impose on you, and if you find us a burden, we’ll travel there ourselves.”
“No, not at all! You can ride on our extra horses.”
“No need to thank me. Come this way. Let’s grab a quick breakfast before we go.”
Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung followed Im Soo-Kwang to the campfire, where the other Tyrant Fist Sect warriors had prepared a simple meal of porridge for breakfast. There, Tang Gi-Mun and Tang Mi-Ryeo were already seated, and were each holding a bowl of food.
“Good morning, Master Jin.”
“Please take a seat.”
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The two greeted Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung with beaming smiles.
Im Soo-Kwang also sat down, saying, “This porridge is made from boiled rations, but it doesn’t taste too bad. We always survive off this stuff whenever we’re traveling.”
“That’s a good idea. Very efficient.”
“Yeah, even back during my days in the North… No, never mind. Just…eat the food while it’s still hot.”
Im Soo-Kwang personally ladled out two bowls of porridge and handed them to Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung. When Jin Mu-won looked at it, he realized that it not only contained soggy flour, but bits of grain as well. The grains must have been added to the dry rations when they were being made.
This is the same stuff the Northern Army warriors ate during the war with the Silent Night. I’ll have to prepare rations like these for myself soon, too.
Jin Mu-Won took a sip of the porridge and smiled. Like Im Soo-Kwang had said, it didn’t taste too bad. In fact, it was good enough that even Kwak Moon-Jung was willing to slurp it down.
Just then, Tang Gi-Mun turned toward Im Soo-Kwang and asked, “How much longer until we arrive at Yuxi?”
“We’ll definitely be there before sunset.”
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“Our sect owns a villa in Yuxi. You can wait for the warriors from Heaven’s Summit there.”
“Right, I guess I can rest until then.”
“Yeah, after all, you’ll have no time to rest once Heaven’s Summit shows up.”
“Mhmm,” Tang Gi-Mun replied, helping himself to another bowl of porridge. He needed to eat well to replenish his stamina for the rest of the journey.
Next to him, Tang Mi-Ryeo looked at Jin Mu-Won, asking, “Master Jin, would you like another bowl of porridge?”
“No, but thank you for offering.”
“I have a habit of not eating until I’m full.”
“That’s a good habit. When you’re full, your senses and reflexes will be dulled,” Im Soo-Kwang suddenly interjected. He continued, “Eating less is crucial to staying alert all the time.”
“Thank you for your advice.”
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“Without realizing it, it seems that I have just said something very presumptuous to a master martial artist. Please pretend that you didn’t hear my comment,” Im Soo-Kwang immediately added as the realization that he had tried to give a master like Jin Mu-Won advice dawned on him.
Strange, he wasn’t someone who would normally preach to others like that… There was just something about Jin Mu-Won that loosened his tongue.
Do I unconsciously think of him as the same person as the Jin Mu-Won I know? Just because they have the same name? Im Soo-Kwang’s expression darkened. He looked up and stared at Jin Mu-Won, but the young man had already stood up from his seat.
Some time later, Jin Mu-Won’s group passed by the Dian Lake.1 Looking at the vast lake with no opposite shore in sight, Jin Mu-Won frowned in irritation.
Tang Gi-Mun, who was looking at the same scene through the carriage window, smiled and said, “This is the sixth largest lake in the Central Plains.2 People who see it for the first time often mistake it for the sea.”
“Nature is very mysterious indeed. It’s unthinkable how such a large lake can exist right in the middle of these highlands.”
“I agree. The Dian Lake is the lifeblood of Yunnan, as many of its people’s livelihoods depend on the lake.”
The sun rising above the horizon was dyeing the lake a deep red. Jin Mu-Won stared, enraptured, at the dazzling festival of light formed by the scattering of sunlight against the gentle ripples of the waters.
That’s right. Even light can bend and scatter. The waters of the lake seem calm at first sight, but in truth, the currents are flowing endlessly.
The cycles of Nature are never-ending. The brighter the light, the darker the shadow. Isn’t it the same for human history?
To many, this was a very ordinary realization, but for Jin Mu-Won, it was so enlightening that he felt something inside of him change.
His Shadow Qi, which had lain dormant in his qi center, suddenly flushed out and flooded his circulatory system. The breakthrough happened so unexpectedly that Jin Mu-Won panicked, although he took care not to reveal his inner unease and silently allowed his qi to rage through his body unchecked.
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His ears rang with the sounds of bursting blood vessels. However, he was the only one who could hear it. That was the sound of his Shadow Qi removing the blockages in his blood vessels for optimum flow.
Besides the optimization of his qi circulation, an unknown nerve that he had never noticed before connected to his brain, enhancing his All-Encompassing Cognizance several-fold.
Jin Mu-Won felt like a blind man seeing the world for the first time, or a deaf person who suddenly became able to hear. His senses were now far sharper than ever before, altering his perception of the world.
It was an unexpected stroke of luck. Once again, Jin Mu-Won realized that the simplest enlightenment could cause humans to change extremely drastically.
Although the Tyrant Fist Sect warriors rode by his side, thankfully, none of them noticed his unusual demeanor or the sudden change in him.
Finally, as if it had done its job, Jin Mu-Won’s Shadow Qi returned back to his qi center. Only then did he let go of the breath he was holding.
“Hoo…” As he exhaled, the impurities in his body were also expelled.
“Hyung, are you okay?” Kwak Moon-Jung asked, staring at him concernedly.
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“Really?” Kwak Moon-Jung, who had been with Jin Mu-Won for a long time, tilted his head in confusion. He felt that Jin Mu-Won was a little different now, but he couldn’t tell exactly what had changed.
Jin Mu-Won clutched his horse’s reins and activated the All-Encompassing Cognizance, expanding his senses like never before. The information obtained by his eyes, ears, and skin quickly combined in his brain, creating a highly detailed simulation of the real world inside his mind.
Jin Mu-Won instinctively realized the truth about this simulated world. It was his Domain.
When a martial artist reached a certain level of enlightenment, they would eventually form their own Domain, a space where they can exhibit their strengths to the fullest and react to any external interference instantly.
The higher the level of mastery, the larger the size of one’s Domain. For martial arts experts, most battles would be a clash at the edges of each practitioner’s Domain. In that situation, although having a larger Domain did not always guarantee a win, it did provide the martial artist with many advantages over their opponent.
Jin Mu-Won smiled. This unanticipated improvement would surely prove useful in the many dangerous situations he would soon face.
Suddenly, Im Soo-Kwang approached Jin Mu-Won, making him a little nervous that the change in him had been noticed. However, from the look on Im Soo-Kwang’s face, that did not seem to be the case.
“We’re almost at Yuxi. I don’t know what’s going to happen from now on, so please be sure to remain alert at all times.”
“Also, would you mind staying close to Master Tang just in case?”
“Not at all.”
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After conversing with Jin Mu-Won, Im Soo-Kwang left to give orders to his subordinates, who quickly spread themselves out evenly around the carriage and warily observed their surroundings.
Even Jin Mu-Won couldn’t help but admire their coordination and synergy. These men are extremely disciplined. Well, Im Soo-Kwang was always one to train his subordinates very rigorously.
Although the Im Soo-Kwang he knew was a carefree man who freely allowed his subordinates to make a ruckus, his team was also always the one with the fewest losses on the battlefield.
Jin Mu-Won kept his All-Encompassing Cognizance activated as he rode his horse. Like this, even if he wasn’t looking, he could hear Kwak Moon-Jung’s breathing next to him and detect the smallest movements from Tang Gi-Mun inside of the carriage.
Geum Dan-Yeop, Nam Goon-Wi, and the other people hiding in the darkness…
At first, Jin Mu-Won had considered warning Im Soo-Kwang about Geum Dan-Yeop, but in the end, he decided against it. Not only was Im Soo-Kwang a literal stranger to him, but most importantly, he simply couldn’t trust anyone who sided with the former Four Northern Pillars.
“Captain! I found something…”
Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won was jerked back to reality by one of the Tyrant Fist Sect warriors who was riding at the front of the party. The warrior dismounted from his horse and started staring at something on the ground.
Jin Mu-Won also got off his horse and joined the warrior, only to gasp at the sight, “Ugh!”
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Scattered on the ground were the dismembered corpses of several people, as if they had been mauled by a wild beast. The torsos and limbs lay separated, making it difficult to tell how many people they had originally belonged to, only that there were at least three dead.
“BLAARGH!” Kwak Moon-Jung, who had thoughtlessly approached the gruesome scene, hurriedly turned around and threw up.
On the other hand, Im Soo-Kwang’s face hardened as he said, “…Another attack?”
Jin Mu-Won gathered a lot of information just from those two words. First, this kind of attack has happened before. Second, the Tyrant Fist Sect is aware of it. And finally, Heaven’s Summit is taking this case very seriously, but why?
Jin Mu-won examined the corpses in detail to see if he could discern the reason for Heaven’s Summit’s interest. As a result, he noticed something odd.
Judging by the bruising on the corpses, their wounds were not caused by any weapon, but rather, bare human hands.
Tang Gi-Mun, who had approached Jin Mu-Won while he was analyzing the scene, let out a sigh and said, “These people were dismembered by a bare-handed person with monstrous strength.”
All this was seriously done bare-handed!? By a human being?
Jin Mu-Won’s eyes narrowed. Killing a person was not as easy as most would think, because normal people had a moral baseline, whether that be the result of familial education or through social interactions. Such people instinctively understood which line they should not cross, and would hesitate to take another’s life.
Therefore, people in power would often implement various measures to remove or weaken their subordinates’ inhibitions toward killing, including giving them weapons that suited their taste.
Regardless, killing someone with a weapon and tearing them apart with one’s bare hands were two completely different things. Even if one had the natural instincts of a murderer, no matter how strong an ordinary person was, it was physically impossible for them to dismember another human being with their grip strength.
On the other hand, no trained martial artist would choose such an inefficient method of killing when there were much easier ways to go about it.
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That leaves us with only one possible conclusion, that the murderer is a martial artist who has lost their mind. However, that defies common sense! Is the situation in Yuxi much more severe than I had originally thought?
Im Soo-Kwang shouted, “Everyone, stay in formation and be on guard! If you see someone who could be an enemy, don’t hesitate to cut them down!”
“Yes Sir!” the Tyrant Fist Sect warriors answered in unison, mounting their horses.
Jin Mu-Won’s eyes turned toward Yuxi as he mumbled, “It seems that misfortune tends to follow fortune, huh?”
Translator’s Note: Our mc calls himself “Jin” in the manhwa, but rolls with his full name “Jin Mu-Won” in the novel, because let’s face it, so many Asians have the exact same name that it’s not suspicious…right?
Dian Lake (滇池): Dian Lake, also known as Dianchi or Kunming Lake, is a large lake located on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau close to Kunming, Yunnan, China. Its nickname is the “Sparkling Pearl Embedded in a Highland”, but it’s extremely polluted (lol). ↩
Sixth largest lake: During the Ming Dynasty, Dian Lake, which was around 500 square kilometers at the time, was the sixth largest freshwater lake, right behind the traditional Five Lakes of China (Poyang, Dongting, Tai, Hongze, Chao). Although Qinghai Lake is the biggest lake in China, it was considered an inland sea rather than a lake at the time due to being a saltwater lake. Unfortunately, due to stupid human intervention during the Great Leap Backward, the size of Lake Dian shrunk by 200 square kilometers to 300 square kilometers. ↩
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