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


The Gangho (江湖).

A place where both gratitude and resentment flow like rivers into a lake of strife.1

A place where those who do not struggle to stay afloat will undoubtedly sink to the bottom.

Jin Mu-Won’s thunderous roar was followed by a moment of silence. Everyone stared at him with bated breaths, as if they would be instantly cut into pieces if they so much as moved a muscle or said a word. From him, they could sense the overflowing aura of a peerless swordsman with the strength of a thousand men.

Yeop Pyung and Yul Gyeong-Cheon were no exception. Despite their extensive information network, they had somehow failed to notice the presence of such a powerful martial artist in Yunnan. In particular, the Blizzard Squad Captain Yul Gyeong-Cheon was astounded that he had lost control of his sword’s cry to Jin Mu-Won.

SCREECH! SCREECH!

Like a whining child, his sword continued to cry at Jin Mu-Won, ignoring his own efforts to regain control. Yul Gyeong-Cheon had never felt so betrayed by his own weapon or so frighteningly uncomfortable.

However, Geum Dan-Yeop was the one who was most surprised by Jin Mu-Won’s appearance. Although he knew that there was a possibility of Jin Mu-Won intervening in his plans, he never expected the young man to show up right at this very moment.

“YAAARGH! You’re just a brat who’s still wet behind the ears!” shouted Seo Chang-Yoon, the vice-captain of the Iron Spirit Squad, as he charged at Jin Mu-Won. He was a man with a fiery temper, and could not bring himself to simply stand by while Jin Mu-Won attempted to intimidate him.

A fist the size of a pot lid flew toward Jin Mu-Won, accompanied by Fist Qi as immense as a tsunami. Jin Mu-Won immediately recognized the technique as one of those that had belonged to the Northern Army, the “Thirteen Fists of the Wolf’s Fang (狼牙十三拳)”.

Seeing that their vice-captain had made the first move, several experts of the Iron Spirit Squad followed suit. In the face of their combined attack, Jin Mu-Won’s slender frame looked like a candle in the wind.

SWOOSH!

Just as everyone expected Jin Mu-Won to die, Snow Flower split the heavens in half, then returned to its sheath. For a moment, all those watching felt like they had been sliced apart.

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SPLASH!

A warm liquid splattered all over the people watching. One of the warriors touched the liquid absentmindedly and muttered, “Blood?”

The spectators’ gazes moved toward Seo Chang-Yoon and the Iron Spirit Squad soldiers who had attacked Jin Mu-Won. Eerily, all of them had frozen in their tracks, but just as people were starting to look puzzled, a red line appeared on their bodies.

At first, most thought that they had just been cut, but suddenly…the bodies separated into two halves and fell to the floor.

BA-DUMP! BA-DUMP!

The large hall went so quiet that everyone’s nervous heartbeats could be heard.

“CHANG-YOON!” Mak Kweng, Seo Chang-Yoon’s direct superior and the captain of Iron Spirit Squad, roared. Having lost all reason at his subordinate’s death, he too launched himself at Jin Mu-Won. “Damn punk! I’ll never forgive you!”

Just as he dismembered and killed Im Soo-Kwang, he wanted to rip Jin Mu-Won to shreds.

BOOM!

Another flood of qi threatened to swallow Jin Mu-Won, but this time, he dived into the torrent and agilely weaved through it like a salmon climbing a waterfall.

Mak Kweng recognized this foot technique. This was the Perfect Stride (獨步無雙), one of the techniques belonging to the Northern Army’s Flowing Stream Steps (溪流步).2 Unfortunately, by the time he registered it, it was too late.

The last thing he saw was Jin Mu-Won closing in on him and releasing a flash of light from his fingers.

SPURT!

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A hole the size of a coin appeared on Mak Kweng’s forehead.

CRASH!

The sound of Mak Kweng’s corpse hitting the ground resounded like thunder in the hearts of the warriors present.

Yeop Pyung’s eyes twitched. Although everyone was equal in death, Captain Mak Kweng of the Iron Spirit Squad wasn’t a man who should have died meaninglessly without even putting up a fight.

For a long time, no one dared to move. The martial arts experts, in particular, were still stunned speechless at Jin Mu-Won’s ridiculous strength that had allowed him to one-shot Mak Kweng and Seo Chang-Yoon without using any special techniques. Furthermore, never mind special techniques, in a total departure from common sense, Jin Mu-Won hadn’t even used any Sword Flux or Sword Qi to dispatch them.

Jin Mu-Won looked around coolly, asking, “Who’s next?”

Every warrior who Jin Mu-Won glanced at instinctively turned their heads away and avoided meeting his gaze, until one person chose to retaliate.

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“Cocky punk!” yelled Gwan San-Ho, a member of the Crimson Ghost Squad and one of Nam Goon-Wi’s subordinates, as he thrust his spear at Jin Mu-Won’s throat.

WHIRRRR!

Gwan San-Ho spun his spear in his palm to maximize his stabbing force in a technique known as the Penetrating Flash. He was confident that he could at least destroy the young man’s illusion of invincibility, even if he wasn’t strong enough to kill him. We cannot allow our grand plan to be ruined by an uninvited guest! Not after Lords Geum Dan-Yeop and Nam Goon-Wi have spent countless sleepless nights and immense effort bringing it to fruition!

In response to Gwan San-Ho’s attack, Jin Mu-Won held out the still-sheathed Snow Flower horizontally and pointed it at him.

Everyone felt that he was crazy not to draw his sword, and that he was only out to block Gwan San-Ho’s thrust. What followed, however, exceeded all of their expectations.

CRACK!

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As sword met spear, the spear was the one that was split lengthwise into two halves. The shock from the recoil even broke Gwan San-Ho’s wrists, sending blood splattering everywhere.

“Keua!” Gwan San-Ho screamed, but his voice was suddenly cut off as Snow Flower punched a hole the width of its sheath in his brain. Like a felled tree, he collapsed to the ground with a loud thud.

WHOOSH~

Jin Mu-Won looked around again and repeated, “Who’s next?”

“……”

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No one stepped up this time. No, they couldn’t step up.

There were many elite warriors present, but none dared meet Jin Mu-Won’s gaze.

His presence was just too overwhelming.

Although Yeop Pyung’s heart was racing just as wildly as the other warriors, he frowned with chagrin. He’s an absolute master comparable to my Liege, Jo Cheon-Woo. Why would such a person suddenly appear here?! Moreover…have I seen him somewhere before? Where…?

No, I’m sure that I’ve never seen his face before. Even then, why do I feel like he reminds me of someone…?

Well, regardless, I have to do something.

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Having made up his mind, Yeop Pyung stepped forward and said, “Who are you? You’re interfering in the Tyrant Fist Sect’s business. If you fall back now, I can pretend that this never happened.”

“You can pretend that nothing happened, but I can’t.”

Yeop Pyung’s eyes twitched again. Jin Mu-Won’s reply was far more brazen than he’d expected, to the point where it seemed like the young man couldn’t care less whether he made an enemy of the Tyrant Fist Sect or not. “How impudent. I can’t believe that a person who dares to look down on the Tyrant Fist Sect like this exists,” he said.

“What’s so great about the Tyrant Fist Sect?”

“What?”

“What’s so great about a sect that massacres innocent civilians with no ties to the gangho? Did you even count how many people you murdered in Yuxi?”

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“It was a necessary sacrifice for the greater good. Besides, if it weren’t for these guys, we would never have done something so extreme,” Yeop Pyung said, immediately pushing all of the responsibility for the massacre onto Geum Dan-Yeop.

Geum Dan-Yeop, who had been keeping quiet until now, finally lost his patience, saying, “You’re far stronger than I thought, Master Jin.”

“And you are far more ruthless than I thought.”

“Is that so? If you really think so, then you will never amount to anything more than a naive romantic. The law of the gangho is to do whatever it takes to achieve one’s goals, because only by climbing to the top can we create proof of our existence.”

“What is the point of proving your existence? How is that worth sacrificing the lives of so many people?”

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“Do you really want to know?”

Jin Mu-Won nodded, and Geum Dan-Yeop beamed.

“I’ll tell you after you defeat me,” he added.

“You people are always repeating the same lines,” Jin Mu-Won sighed. He recalled that Nam Goon-Wi had said the exact same thing.

“Haha! Isn’t that only natural? He and I are the same type of person,” Geum Dan-Yeop replied mirthfully. However, the smile on his face then slowly melted away, revealing a completely different, cold-blooded personality. His icy gaze shifted away from Jin Mu-Won and toward the Tyrant Fist Sect.

Yeop Pyung and Yul Gyeong-Cheon immediately sensed his intense killing intent and deep-seated hatred for them.

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Does he have a grudge against the Tyrant Fist Sect?

Back when the Tyrant Fist Sect first settled down in Yunnan Province, they had trampled on the lives and homes of many people to create the current status quo. It was obvious those people would hold a grudge against them. However, only ten years had passed since then, and that clearly wasn’t enough time to gather as many resources and train as many martial arts experts as Geum Dan-Yeop had. At least, not with any ordinary means.

Geum Dan-Yeop looked down at his hands. The skin on those hands was utterly flawless and silkier than most women. However, those very same hands were also stained with the blood of an unimaginable number of people.

He raised his head to face Jin Mu-Won and said, “I am a devil who will never stop or hesitate until I breathe my last. If you wish to put an end to this fiasco, then kill me.”

“Why are you being like that…?”

“If I had to be killed by anyone, then I hope that you’re the one who does it. I mean it.”

The atmosphere in the underground hall tensed as Geum Dan-Yeop relit the fire that Jin Mu-Won had put out.

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Suddenly, a man with a boisterous voice shouted from behind Jin Mu-Won, “Hohoho! Don’t worry, Dan-Yeop, because I’ll definitely die before you do. I guarantee it.”

Jin Mu-Won turned around and saw a familiar giant standing at the entrance to the hall. “You’re Nam Goon-Wi,” he said.

“Indeed I am! Long time no see, Sword Demon!” Nam Goon-Wi cheerfully greeted, holding his signature sky-piercer halberd over his shoulder. Blood was still dripping from the halberd, evidence that he had been killing people up until a few moments ago.

“Sword Demon?”

“Heehee! Don’t you think you deserve a splendid nickname like that after seriously wounding me?” Nam Goon-Wi laughed as he marched into the hall, the red-armored Crimson Ghost Squad trailing behind him. Like their leader, blood was dripping off their armor and weapons.

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Yeop Pyung’s eyes trembled at the sight. “Impossible…!?” he muttered.

“Huhuhu! We’ve dealt with the idiots you placed outside. You guys are all that’s left of the Tyrant Fist Sect’s forces.”

Yeop Pyung knew that Nam Goon-Wi was telling the truth. There was no way his subordinates would have let Nam Goon-Wi and his troops through while they still lived, and the fresh blood the Crimson Ghost Squad was drenched in could only have belonged to his men.

Nam Goon-Wi hollered, “Kill them all!”

The Crimson Ghost Squad immediately obeyed Nam Goon-Wi’s orders and charged toward the Tyrant Fist Sect. They knew that Nam Goon-Wi didn’t need them to reply, and Nam Goon-Wi trusted that they would do as he said even without looking, which meant that he could ignore them and focus all of his attention on Jin Mu-Won.

He approached Jin Mu-Won, saying, “Hey, you declared that we could only continue killing over your dead body, right? In that case, please take responsibility for your words.”

Nam Goon-Wi released his killing intent, while Geum Dan-Yeop emitted a disturbing aura. Strangely, when the two forces mixed, the temperature in the hall slowly started to rise.

Meanwhile, the fight between the two groups had already begun. Blood was being splattered everywhere, and people were screaming all around him. It was a fierce battle that would only end when one side was completely annihilated.

From this, Jin Mu-Won learned something new. If one doesn’t take full control of the battlefield, then madness will eventually take over.

Just as Nam Goon-Wi’s sky-piercer halberd flew toward him, he finally drew Snow Flower.


Footnotes:

  1. Gangho (江湖) literally means “rivers and lakes”. A bit of wordplay going on here. 

  2. Flowing Stream Steps (溪流步): The martial art that Jin Mu-Won taught Seo Mu-Sang. See Chapter 47. 

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