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


Jin Mu-Won and his party crossed the plateau in about ten days, their clothes dirty and tattered from their journey along the animal trails. However, no matter how hard the trek was, no one complained.

Ten days spent in the company of Ha Jin-Wol had left an indelible mark on Jin Mu-Won. Though he had learned only a tiny fraction of what the genius Ha Jin-Wol had to offer, it had broadened his thinking.

Furthermore, not only had Tang Gi-Mun and Cheong-In borne witness to Jin Mu-Won’s transformation, they too had unconsciously begun to absorb Ha Jin-Wol’s ideas and teachings.

“Hahaha! We finally made it out!” Tang Gi-Mun exclaimed, gazing at the vast plain stretching out below him. This region, known as the Red Basin, was the most fertile in the Sichuan Province, providing optimal conditions for growing grain and forming the basis of Sichuan’s food security and economy.1 The Tang Clan had invested heavily in the region’s land and the continued profits from it ensured that the clan could weather any storm.

Jin Mu-Won asked, “Do you know where we are?”

“I’m not entirely sure, but my guess is we’re somewhere on the outskirts of Danba County. We’ll have to ask the locals,” Tang Gi-Mun replied.

Danba was a tiny county in Garzê Prefecture, the westernmost part of Sichuan Province, and a considerable distance from the provincial capital, Chengdu.2

Tang Gi-Mun’s smile widened. He had longed for this moment when they escaped the grueling Western Plateau. After ten days of roughing it, he craved nothing more than a hot meal and a good, long bath.

“I second that,” Cheong-In chimed in. “There should be a village nearby. A comfortable bed and a decent meal sound like heaven right now.”

Everyone nodded enthusiastically and quickened their pace.

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Finally, as the sun dipped below the horizon, they stumbled upon a small, isolated village like an island oasis in an ocean of green grass. They doubted they’d find accommodations in such a remote place, but it was getting late. They had no choice but to spend the night here, even if it meant a meager meal or no meal at all.

As expected, there was no inn to be found in the village. It was so remote that few outsiders ventured here.

Cheong-In stopped a passing villager and asked, “Excuse me, do you know where we can stay overnight in this village?”

The young man Cheong-in had stopped looked at them suspiciously, his face reflecting his wariness of strangers.

Tang Gi-Mun stepped forward, “I hail from the Tang Clan. Circumstances have brought us here for the night. Could you offer us a place to stay? The Tang Clan will be very grateful for your aid.”

“The Tang Clan?” The young man’s eyes widened and his demeanor changed completely. Even in this remote area of Sichuan, the Tang Clan’s name carried weight. Whether Tang Gi-Mun was telling the truth or not, it was better to err on the side of caution. “The only place with room for guests in our village is the Chief’s house.”

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“Would you mind showing us the way there?”

“Follow me.”

Jin Mu-Won and co. followed the young man, taking in the village’s surroundings. For such a remote place, the houses were surprisingly well-maintained and quite spacious. The occasional villager passing by was neatly dressed, a sign that farming here was highly profitable.

The young man knocked on the front door of the village’s largest house and called out, “Chief, it’s Do-Choon!”

A middle-aged man in his late fifties opened the door and peered out. “What brings you here at this hour?”

“We have guests from the Tang Clan, and they need a place to stay for the night.”

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“The Tang Clan?”

The village chief turned his gaze to Tang Gi-Mun and the others. “Are you truly from the Tang Clan?”

“That’s right. We’ve traveled a long way and would be thankful for your hospitality,” Tang Gi-Mun replied.

The village chief scrutinized them with suspicion, especially when he noticed the sword at Jin Mu-Won’s side, which sent a shiver down his spine.

“My house is quite shabby. Is that alright?”

“We’ve been camping outdoors for days. A warm place to rest for one night would be greatly appreciated.”

“In that case, please stay the night at my house.”

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“Thank you.”

The village chief gestured for them to follow and led them to a stone building within the courtyard. “You can sleep here. I’ll send someone along with a meal shortly.”

“Thank you, kind sir. We won’t forget your generosity,” Tang Gi-Mun said, bowing.

The village chief returned the gesture and hastily returned to the main house.

“Ahh~ This is the first real bed I’ve had in ages,” Cheong-In exclaimed, sprawling on the bed and eliciting smiles from the group.

“If no one has any objections, I’m going to bathe first,” Tang Mi-Ryeo announced, her discomfort at not having properly bathed for days apparent.

Ha Jin-Wol flopped on a bed and commented, “I know that people living in isolated places tend to be more wary, but this place is especially bad.”

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“Well, villages like this tend to be insular. They’re not too welcoming of outsiders with different surnames. It’s just how things are in Sichuan Province. Unlike other regions, it’s a basin surrounded by tall mountains with few routes to the outside world, and the few that exist are treacherous. This isolation has given rise to a unique culture and strong emphasis on kinship,” Tang Gi-Mun explained, his excitement evident as he basked in the joy of being back in his homeland.

Ha Jin-Wol listened to him attentively. There were many things he could learn from a local like Tang Gi-Mun that was not written in books.

CRASH!

Suddenly, a commotion erupted in the main house, where the village chief’s family resided.

“You rascal, what are you thinking? Staying here is enough to make a living!”

“I’m not going to be a farmer! I’ll definitely become a Heaven’s Summit martial artist, just wait and see!”

“No, you aren’t! That kind of life is not for you!”

“Ahh, fuck…” A young man shouted as he burst out of the main house, briefly acknowledging Jin Mu-Won and Ha Jin-Wol before dashing out the front gate.

The village chief emerged moments later, looking distressed. “Sigh!”

Tang Gi-Mun waved the village chief over. “What’s going on? Is your son causing trouble?”

The village chief sighed deeply, “He’s been obsessed with the idea of going to Heaven’s Summit for days.”

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“Heaven’s Summit?”

“There’s a rumor that they’re recruiting young warriors.”

Tang Gi-Mun and Ha Jin-Wol shook their heads. They were quite familiar with this ‘rumor’, and similar family arguments were probably happening all over the Central Plains right now over it. After all, which young martial artist didn’t dream of joining Heaven’s Summit?

“Has your son learned any martial arts?” Ha Jin-Wol asked.

“He spent about three years at a martial arts academy in Chengdu. I really don’t know what makes him think he’s ready for Heaven’s Summit.” The village chief sighed again. Ever since learning basic martial arts at the academy, his son, Myeong Ryu-San, hadn’t been able to readapt to life in their rural village.

Worst of all, Myeong Ryu-San had begun to think of himself as a martial arts prodigy, and was convinced that as long as he went to Heaven’s Summit, he could become a great hero.

Tang Gi-Mun also sighed heavily. He knew the cutthroat reality of the murim better than most. Out of all the young warriors headed to Heaven’s Summit, I wonder how many will actually make it in? For ordinary warriors without connections or special talents, joining a powerhouse like Heaven’s Summit is nearly impossible, and even if they’re lucky enough to get accepted, it’ll be hard to survive and rise through the ranks while being treated as disposable pawns.

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“Heaven’s Summit isn’t a place where you can just study martial arts for a few years at an academy and hope to succeed,” he concluded. “I hope you can convince your son that Heaven’s Summit is no walk in the park.”

“You don’t need to tell me something I already know! The problem is, he won’t listen to me. To him, I’m just a boring old country bumpkin!” the village chief said exasperatedly as he returned to the main house, his shoulders slumped and looking a decade older.

Tang Gi-Mun couldn’t offer him any words of comfort.

Ha Jin-Wol shook his head. “For such a phenomenon to occur in a place this remote, the whole world must be in chaos. Man, the reappearance of the Silent Night is like a windfall for the Nine Skies. They can distract the young to prevent internal threats and eliminate an external threat, killing two birds with one stone.”

Jin Mu-Won stared at the village chief’s back, deep in thought. It seemed that the winds of change were blowing strongly everywhere.


Translator’s Note: Myeong Ryu-San makes a completely different entrance than in the manhwa.


Footnotes:

  1. Red Basin: Also known as the Sichuan Basin. The basin is anchored by Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, in the west, and the direct-administered municipality of Chongqing in the east. Due to its relative flatness and fertile soils, it is able to support a population of more than 100 million. 

  2. Danba County in Garzê Prefecture: I’m hazarding a guess here since the Korean transliteration of a Tibetan name is too atrocious to be read. Chengdu looks nearby on the current world map but do note that the city has expanded over a hundredfold since ancient times (population explosion from 50k to 20m). 

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