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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!
It was a turbulent time for the gangho. Following the news of the Silent Night’s return, a new rumor spread throughout the land.
Heaven’s Summit was creating a new organization made up of young martial artists. They would be deployed to conflict zones and conferred the authority to command and manage the other martial artists nearby.
The impact of the rumor was tremendous. Not only the young martial artists of the small and medium-sized sects, but even those of the Nine Great Sects began to stir.
The Central Plains murim was dominated by Heaven’s Summit, the Nine Great Sects, and the Four Northern Pillars. The rulers of each region were obvious, with Heaven’s Summit having the furthest outreach. That left no place for the small and medium-sized sects. Their statuses depended more on what faction they belonged to than their ability or strength. It was a stagnant world in which no form of social mobility existed unless one belonged to Heaven’s Summit or the Nine Great Sects.
For young martial artists living in such a stagnant world, the rumor about Heaven’s Summit creating a powerful youth organization was very welcome news.
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It wasn’t long before promising young martial artists began to mobilize from every region. They had no idea whether the rumors were true or not, but they were determined to get to Heaven’s Summit before anyone else.
The rumor also reached Jin Mu-Won’s ears through his best informant, Cheong-In.
Jin Mu-Won, Cheong-In, Kwak Moon-Jung, Hwang Cheol, and Tang Gi-Mun gathered in a meeting room.
“Heehee! What do you think? Isn’t it interesting?”
“It certainly is.”
“It’s a stroke of genius. Whoever came up with the idea is amazing.” Cheong-In nodded in admiration.
Kwak Moon-Jung, on the other hand, had a bored look on his face. “What’s so great about that? What’s the big deal about a youth organization?”
“Please use your brain, kiddo.” Cheong-In knocked on Kwak Moon-Jung’s head.
Kwak Moon-Jung shrank away exaggeratedly and leaned backwards. “If you keep hitting me like that, I will get stupider.”
“Your intelligence is already at rock bottom. Do you even have anything more to lose?”
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Tang Gi-Mun smiled at the heartwarming scene, then said, “Heaven’s Summit gains three things from these rumors. First, it draws people’s attention away from Yunnan, where they made a big mess with the Yuxi Massacre. Second, it motivates and distracts the hot-blooded youth. Third, they can use these young people as pawns against Silent Night.”
“Ah!” Kwak Moon-Jung let out an exclamation as the realization finally hit him.
Cheong-In looked at him and continued the explanation, “I don’t know who came up with this idea, but it’s really smart. Not only is it perfectly timed, it is also in line with the tide of public opinion.”
“There’s a reason why Heaven’s Summit stands at the peak of the gangho. If we use a tree as an analogy, the tree of Heaven’s Summit would be so huge that there’s nowhere it doesn’t have roots and nowhere its branches don’t reach,” Tang Gi-Mun lamented, sighing. As a member of the Tang Clan, a pillar that supported Heaven’s Summit and one of the enforcers of the stagnant order, he felt partly responsible for the gangho’s air of despondency.
“Whether Heaven’s Summit intended it or not, the wave of change has begun. Soon, a great wind will blow through the gangho.” Cheong-In’s gaze fell on Jin Mu-Won, who sat at the head of the table.
He knew that Jin Mu-Won was the trigger of the chaos and the eye of the storm, whether it was intentional or not. The mere fact that he is the last Lord of the Northern Army is enough to rock the world.
For now, he did his best to keep the truth about Jin Mu-Won’s background from leaking out, but he knew he couldn’t hide it forever. Someday, the cat would be out of the bag, and the ensuing uproar was something Cheong-In could not anticipate.
I just have to do what I can now and worry about the rest when it happens. Cheong-In felt a headache coming on and rubbed his temples with his thumbs.
Tang Gi-Mun asked Jin Mu-Won, “What are you going to do after this?”
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“I’m planning to go to Heaven’s Summit. Even if it’s a trap, I can’t just sit here and do nothing.” Jin Mu-Won looked to the north. In truth, he was hiding something from the others. He would go to Heaven’s Summit eventually, so he wasn’t lying per se, but there was one place he had to stop at first.
I have to visit Jo Cheon-Woo, the mastermind of the Yuxi Massacre, at the Tyrant Fist Sect. However, I cannot afford to put Uncle Hwang in danger again, so I’ll send him out of Yunnan first.
I’m sorry, Uncle Jo, but it looks like we can never reconcile. I can accept that you betrayed the Northern Army for your own ambitions, but I will never let you off for orchestrating the murder of innocents.
“I’m also going there. Shall we travel together?” Tang Gi-Mun asked.
“Is there something you need to do there?”
Tang Gi-Mun gathered up his resolve. As a person of the orthodox sects and a master of the Tang Clan, he couldn’t turn a blind eye to injustice. That was his pride and identity. “I have to publicize the truth about the Yuxi Massacre. I will take this matter to court and have the perpetrators brought to justice,” he declared.
“Are you sure about that? Your actions will affect the future of the Tang Clan.”
“I’m sure the Clan Head will approve of my decision. The Tang Clan has always adhered to the Chivalric Creed,1 which dictates that those who practice martial arts must hold themselves to a high code of conduct, for force without justice is tyrannical.”
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Cheong-In marveled at Tang Gi-Mun’s conviction. I expected nothing less of the Chivalrous Tang Clan’s Poison Pavilion Master! He’s a man who sticks to his beliefs till the very end.
“I’m going with you, too,” Cheong-In blurted out loud without realizing it.
All eyes immediately focused on him, and his face flushed with embarrassment at his slip-up.
“Ahem, I’ve always wanted to visit Heaven’s Summit,” he explained.
“I see,” Jin Mu-Won nodded, aware of what Cheong-In’s real job was. He turned to Hwang Cheol, who had remained silent during the entire meeting. “What about you, Uncle Hwang?”
“I would very much like to follow you, Young Master, but I’m afraid that I would only be a burden to you,” Hwang Cheol replied.
He knew that while the unexpected turn of events had helped him make a huge breakthrough in his martial arts, it was woefully incomplete. Until he improved his swordsmanship enough to balance his overflowing qi, he could not use his new skills in real combat.
“I will return to Lanzhou with thWhite Dragon Merchant Association, meditate on my new insights, and truly make them my own.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“I’ll also take this opportunity to teach Mun-Jung, so I will be taking him with me. If you’ll give me some time, this Hwang Cheol will definitely become a great help to you, Young Master.” Hwang Cheol’s eyes shone with a determined light.
Jin Mu-Won smiled. “I’m sure you will, Uncle Hwang.”
“I won’t let you down, Young Master.”
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“I-I’ll do my best, too!” Kwak Moon-Jung clenched his fists. His time with Jin Mu-Won had taught him many things, the most important of which was that a martial artist had to be strong. Justice without force is powerless.2 If I ever want to enforce my own justice, I will have to train hard.
After the poison was removed, Yoon Ja-Myeong’s condition improved rapidly. He woke up within two days and was able to sit up on his own within another two days. When that happened, he called Jin Mu-Won, Hwang Cheol and Tang Gi-Mun to his room.
“I really don’t know how to thank you. I am so, so grateful to all of you. You saved my life.”
“We are also glad that you have recovered. However, please continue to take the medicine I prescribed for another three months. It will help restore some of your vitality.”
“Yes, I will definitely do so,” Yoon Ja-Myeong replied to Tang Gi-Mun, before turning his attention to Jin Mu-Won.
“Thank you, Jin Mu-Won. Seo-In told me what you did, and I will definitely repay you for your kindness.”
“Please return the favor to others who have suffered more than I have.”
Yoon Ja-Myeong smiled. The others had already informed him about Jin Mu-Wo’s personality. “Don’t worry, I will. Even then, I’m not one to forget a favor, and I will definitely repay you in some way. If you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact the White Dragon Merchant Association. If there is anything I can do to help, I will do my best, no matter what it is.”
These were heavy words that could represent the will of the White Dragon Merchant Association, as they were spoken by Yoon Ja-Myeong, the third young master.
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However, Jin Mu-Won thought nothing of it. Everything he did, he did to save Hwang Cheol, not for a reward or Yoon Ja-Myeong’s favor. Yoon Ja-Myeong was just lucky that he happened to be close to Hwang Cheol.
Seeing Jin Mu-Won’s nonchalant attitude, Yoon Ja-Myeong liked him even more. Moreover, even though he had only just regained consciousness, as someone who was a merchant down to his very bones, his merchant’s intuition whispered to him, This man will definitely leave his mark on gangho history. Establishing a connection with him now would be of great benefit to us later, and luckily for me, I have a good relationship with not just one, but two of his close associates.
He turned toward Hwang Cheol and Kwak Moon-Jung and said, “I’ve caused you a lot of trouble, Escort Hwang. I’ll make sure to repay you. Thank you too, Moon-Jung. I will never forget what you’ve done for me.”
“You don’t have to do that, Young Master. I was just doing my job.”
“Please don’t thank me, I did nothing.”
Hwang Cheol and Kwak Moon-Jung downplayed their own contributions.
Yoon Ja-Myeong’s smile widened. From his earlier conversations with Kwak Moon-Jung and his travels with Hwang Cheol, he knew that both Kwak Moon-Jung and Hwang Cheol were men of character. In particular, he made a vow to himself to get to know Hwang Cheol better.
“Now that your body has recovered somewhat, I think it’s time we set out for the Central Plains,” Tang Gi-Mun suggested.
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Finally, it was time for them to leave Yunnan.
Chivalric Creed: Tang Gi-Mun is talking about the definition of muhyeop, or wuxia (武俠). The first word mu/wu means “martial” or “force of arms”, while hyeop/xia means “heroic”. Putting the two words together, it forms the Chivalric Creed of the orthodox sects: “With Power Comes Responsibility” ↩
Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical: Tang Gi-Mun and Kwak Moon-Jung basically quoted an excerpt from the French philosopher Blaise Pascal - La justice sans la force est impuissante; la force sans la justice est tyrannique. ↩
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