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

There will always come a moment when the old and the new intersect. The torrent of time sweeps everything away and creates a new order to replace the previous one. Those who fail to adapt will disappear along with the old… That is the nature of the era of chaos, the age of martial artists.

After parting ways with Hwang Cheol, Jin Mu-Won turned eastward. He needed to cross Sichuan to reach Hubei where Heaven’s Summit was located, but that was no easy task now that he no longer had the support of the caravan and its supplies.

The western part of Sichuan bordering Dehong was tough terrain. Not only was the elevation extremely high, they had to cross a series of rugged peaks and steep valleys without any predefined road or hiking trail, and there were no rest stops or inns along the way.

Without a proper guide, even the strongest martial master was likely to die of exhaustion after wandering in the mountains for days on end, or, if they were lucky enough to survive, to end up as food for the wild animals.

Things were a little better for Jin Mu-Won’s group though. They had Tang Gi-Mun, who had explored the area multiple times before in his search for new poisons, leading the way. Even then, however, they had gotten lost several times within the never-changing scenery and had to retrace their steps to find the correct path.

Despite the setbacks and the tough hiking, the atmosphere within the group was jovial and relaxed. Jin Mu-Won, Cheong-In, and Tang Mi-Ryeo were martial arts experts, and the non-fighters Ha Jin-Wol and Tang Gi-Mun were still fitter than the average person, so no one was extremely tired.

Moreover, Tang Gi-Mun was riding the large ox that Ha Jin-Wol had brought along. The ox’s size, twice as large as a normal ox, and the enormous amount of muscle it had made it possible for it to climb the rugged mountain paths where horses could not go.

Tang Gi-Mun touched the ox’s back and marveled, “Heh! What an amazing ox. I don’t understand how such a large animal is so good at mountain-climbing.”

“Haha! Hyung-nim, just like humans, there are some rare exceptional individuals even among cattle. This one is one of them, and his name is Mr. Yellow.” Ha Jin-Wol patted the exhausted ox on the back, and as if recognizing his name, Mr. Yellow wiggled his ears and moo’ed in pleasure.

” Mr. Yellow… What a fitting name.”

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“Right? He’s such a treasure.”

After hanging out for a few days, Tang Gi-Mun and Ha Jin-Wol both felt that they had met a kindred spirit and quickly became sworn brothers.

Tang Mi-Ryeo shook her head in disbelief. She had never seen her uncle get along so well with someone else before, and wondered if Tang Gi-Mun had always been such a talkative person.

Is it because “great minds think alike”?

Both Tang Gi-Mun and Ha Jin-Wol were geniuses in their respective fields. Perhaps that was why they shared so many similarities.

Tang Mi-Ryeo turned to peer at Jin Mu-Won, who was walking ahead. Ever since they entered the highland region of Sichuan, Jin Mu-Won hadn’t said a word. Although they were traveling together, it was clear that his mind was elsewhere, as if he had sunk into the depths of his own world.

“Jin… Mu-Won…” she mumbled thoughtlessly, before jolting back to her senses and looking around nervously, blushing with embarrassment. Fortunately, no one seemed to have heard her.

She wasn’t sure exactly when it started, but some time ago, she had unconsciously begun taking notice of Jin Mu-Won’s every move. Even if she tried not to look at him, her head naturally gravitated in his direction. She didn’t know if Jin Mu-Won was aware of it, but he never reciprocated her feelings.

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“Hoo…” she sighed, when she heard a rustling sound ahead of them.

Tang Gi-Mun and Ha Jin-Wol immediately stopped chatting, while Jin Mu-Won moved into a ready position.

“Phew! I thought I was going to die!” A dirty and scruffly middle-aged man whined as he pushed his way through the bushes and approached them. Although they did not recognize his face, no one was surprised by his appearance.

From the way he talked, he could only be Cheong-In.

“Did you find the path I told you about?” Tang Gi-Mun asked.

“Yes. Just as you said, there was a faint dirt path. It was hidden so well by the trees that I almost missed it, but I found it in the end.”

Tang Gi-Mun heaved a sigh of relief. “Well done. I’m glad to hear that it’s still there, as it was originally created by animals. It’s not an easy path to track, but it’s also the fastest way out of here.”

There was no sign of human habitation on the plateau, and thus no trails made by humans. The most efficient way to travel was to track down animal footprints and follow the paths they chose. In fact, this was the way most human trails originated, as people long ago already learned that animals instinctively knew the easiest paths to tread.

Cheong-In stomped toward Jin Mu-Won and grumbled, “Fuck! Why are you making me do the work of a scout all by myself? Isn’t that too much?”

“You’re the best wayfinder among us.”

“You’re the only person in the world who dares make me work like a slave, damn it!”

In truth, despite all his complaining, Cheong-In didn’t really mind helping Jin Mu-Won. For some time now, he had been feeling himself being assimilated by Jin Mu-Won and company. He still changed his face every day because he hated his true appearance, but he never changed his voice.

“Thank you for your hard work.”

Noticing that Cheong-In wasn’t truly angry, Jin Mu-Won smiled and followed Cheong-In’s lead to a narrow path that was traveled by beasts. It was so well hidden that if one did not know about its existence beforehand, they would never find it. welcomes you.

The group followed the animal path for several hours until the sun began to set. Cheong-In quickly found them a suitable spot to camp for the night: A small recess in between two large rocks the size of a house. The rocks protected them from the wind, and there was a small spring not far away.

Cheong-In gathered branches to make a fire, Tang Mi-Ryeo fetched water, and Jin Mu-Won hunted two rabbits. The whole process went quickly, and the fragrance of cooking meat soon wafted from their campsite.

“Outdoor camping isn’t complete without alcohol!” Ha Jin-Wol walked up to the giant ox named Mr. Yellow, reached into one of the leather pouches dangling from its side and pulled out a large bottle of wine.

Tang Gi-Mun burst out laughing, “I see you know your stuff.”

“Isn’t that only natural? Teehee!”

Jin Mu-Won, Tang Mi-Ryeo and Cheong-In ignored them and continued cooking the rabbit meat. This wasn’t the first time the two intellectuals behaved like this. When the meal was done, they ate while sharing a few drinks with Ha Jin-Wol and Tang Gi-Mun, then went to sleep.

However, Jin Mu-Won could not fall asleep. As he lay there staring at the starry sky, the beauty of it all made him get up and walk around in search of a place with a better view. This led him to a large rock some distance away from the recess.

He climbed to the top of the rock only to be greeted by the magnificent sea of stars and stood there for a while, lost in thought.

“What are you looking at? What’s so great about stars?” Ha Jin-Wol approached him, grumbling.

Unsurprised, Jin Mu-Won smiled. “I just find them spectacular.”

“There are a lot of spectacular sights and things.” Ha Jin-Wol replied, flopping down on the rock.

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Jin Mu-Won sat down next to him and took a sip from the wine bottle Ha Jin-Wol passed to him, then handed it back to the scholar, who gulped it down in one go.

“Kuaah!” Ha Jin-Wol exclaimed, wiping the corner of his mouth with his sleeve. “You’re right, the stars are so captivating, I wonder if they’re an illusion.”

Ha Jin-Wol stretched out a hand and reached for the stars that seemed but an arm’s reach away, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t touch them.

Jin Mu-Won wordlessly stared at the deranged scholar crazily waving his hands in the air. I guess everyone has different goals and reasons for living…

He had no idea why Ha Jin-Wol had decided to travel with him, and their bond was not yet strong enough for them to confide in each other. Still, his presence was unexpectedly reassuring.

Suddenly, Ha Jin-Wol asked, “You said that you wanted to live by your heart’s desire. Don’t you realize how difficult that is?”

Jin Mu-Won shook his head.

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“Hmph! I knew it. Your words are as meaningless as the naive idiots who claim they want to be a normal person and live a normal life.”

“Wanting to be normal is naive?”

“What is the definition of ‘normal’? Like all living beings, humans live for the sake of living. In this case, what is the standard for “normal”? Is it normal just because it’s someone else’s life and not yours? Does it make sense to divide everything into two extreme categories like rich or poor, strong or weak? Does that mean that the only way to be ‘normal’ is to be perfectly average in every way?”


“It’s the same thing when you say that you want to follow your heart’s desire. What is your heart’s desire anyway? To do as you please? What would that mean for law and order? Imagine a world where everyone lived as they pleased. Is it possible for such a world to be peaceful? Haven’t you heard the saying: Stick out like a sore thumb and you will be crushed? If you ‘follow your heart’s desire,’ you will be ostracized not only by the powerful, but also by the common folk. Why? Because most people can’t stand it when others think they’re better than them and are free to do whatever they want. They get jealous. They’ll give you dirty looks and loud boos. They’ll call you an evil villain for generations to come. In such a situation, can you still say that you want to live freely?”

“Why not?”


“Do you know why my father died?”

“Wasn’t it because of pressure from Heaven’s Summit and the entire Central Plains?”

“No, my father wasn’t the kind of man who would blink an eye at their threats. He was a man who would rather die fighting than take his own life, and yet he chose to do so…to save me. He placed all of his hopes in me, and I am the only proof that his death was not in vain.”

Jin Mu-Won stood up from his seat, and Ha Jin-Wol stared at him wordlessly.

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“He told me that life is a long journey of struggle to prove that one’s way of life is right, but that the final judgment will be made by future generations.”


“So that’s how I want to live. Is that wrong?”

Ha Jin-Wol didn’t answer Jin Mu-Won. Instead, he glared at Jin Mu-Won for a moment, then grinned and burst out laughing, “Ahaha! How the fuck did you make that sound so freakin’ cool? HAHAHAHAHA!”

Ha Jin-Wol’s laughter echoed in the night sky as he stood up from his seat. “Okay, I like your spirit. However, there are a few things you must have in order to live like that.”

“What are they?”

“You need eyes that can see the world and insight to look behind the scenes.”

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“…Explain it in a way that I can understand.”

“Sigh… Fine, take the Northern Army for example. Did the fall of the Northern Army happen in a single day? Or were there warning signs? Logically speaking, major events like that cannot take place overnight.”

“Warning signs?”

“I’ve been observing and collecting data on the gangho for a long time. On average, for every person killed, there are ten times as many injured and hundreds of accidents and fights. This was also the case when the Northern Army was destroyed. There were dozens of unusual movements within the gangho, and many of them did not bode well for the Northern Army. Your father overlooked these warning signs, and his inability to grasp them in time ultimately led to the worst possible outcome: Annihilation.”

“Are you blaming the destruction of the Northern Army on my father?”

“No, the greed of those at Heaven’s Summit was the cause, and that’s a fact. What I’m saying is that the worst could have been avoided if the warning signs had been heeded early on. That’s why, so that you won’t make the same mistake, you need to learn how to read your surroundings.”

Ha Jin-Wol’s words dug into Jin Mu-Won’s heart like a dagger. The worst could have been avoided. So that I won’t make the same mistake. Learning to read my surroundings.

Jin Mu-Won bowed deeply and asked, “Then, will you teach me how to do that?”

A smile spread across Ha Jin-Wol’s lips.

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