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


Myeong Ryu-San crashed to the floor with a resounding thud, his body a tapestry of bruises, wounds, and blood.

“Y-You devil!” he choked, struggling to rise. Before he could say more, however, he succumbed to the pain and collapsed in a heap.

Tang Gi-Mun clicked his tongue in disbelief, “Tsk tsk, why so stubborn? You wouldn’t have been beaten so badly if you surrendered earlier.”

Ha Jin-Wol’s eyes twinkled with amusement. Despite his dislike for Myeong Ryu-San, he couldn’t help but admire the young man’s tenacity and vitality.

Although Myeong Ryu-San was no match for Jin Mu-Won, he persisted to the bitter end. The price, however, was steep. Jin Mu-Won showed no restraint, exploiting Myeong Ryu-San’s vulnerabilities without hesitation, even prodding acupuncture points that caused excruciating pain. Yet, somehow, Myeong Ryu-San endured it all.

If only I could land one good hit, Myeong Ryu-San thought, though he had already accepted the impossibility of defeating Jin Mu-Won since his beating the previous day. Hence, Myeong Ryu-San persisted.

Tang Gi-Mun crouched down before Myeong Ryu-San, examining him thoroughly. After several rounds of inspection, he nodded decisively. “Alright, I’ve decided.”

Curious, Ha Jin-Wol asked, “What do you mean?”

“You’ll find out,” Tang Gi-Mun replied cryptically.

Jin Mu-Won left behind the battered Myeong Ryu-San and went toward the campfire, where Tang Mi-Ryeo and Nam Soo-Ryun were chatting casually.

Tang Mi-Ryeo welcomed him, “Master Jin.”

“Is it over now?” Nam Soo-Ryun asked.

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“Yes, it was more persistent than expected…”

The two women nodded in understanding. Both women were well-acquainted with the martial world and recognized that Jin Mu-Won’s actions weren’t mere violence. For Myeong Ryu-San, this could potentially be a blessing in disguise, assuming he gained something from it.

Jin Mu-Won tossed a dry twig into the bonfire, intensifying the flames. They were camping for the night, having traveled by horseback along the highway after disembarking from a boat. The journey often took them through desolate stretches with no signs of civilization, leaving them in need of a place to rest and sleep.

Fortunately, they were well-versed in outdoor camping. No one except Myeong Ryu-San complained.

Myeong Ryu-San had always been a complainer, voicing grievances about life and harboring an apparent grudge against Jin Mu-Won since their first meeting. On such occasions, Jin Mu-Won would resort to violence, using his Snow Flower to leave Myeong Ryu-San battered and bruised.

Neither woman found this behavior unusual, as they had witnessed it for days on end.

Jin Mu-Won silently gazed into the roaring bonfire. A flush of red tinted his face, enhancing his already striking presence. After a moment of watching Jin Mu-Won, Nam Soo-Ryun broke the silence.

“Master Jin.”

Jin Mu-Won met Nam Soo-Ryun’s gaze wordlessly. Their eyes locked in the air. After several moments of mutual contemplation, Nam Soo-Ryun continued.

“Do you have someone you’re interested in?”

“…Yes,” Jin Mu-Won admitted.

Tang Mi-Ryeo’s eyelashes fluttered. Nam Soo-Ryun sighed, her gaze shifting toward Tang Mi-Ryeo. Over the past few days, she had observed Tang Mi-Ryeo’s feelings for Jin Mu-Won. Frustrated by Tang Mi-Ryeo’s inability to express them, Nam Soo-Ryun took it upon herself to question Jin Mu-Won.

It was peculiar for someone as astute as Jin Mu-Won to overlook Tang Mi-Ryeo’s affections. However, when he did glance in her direction, his gaze seemed to be distant, as if he were looking through her.

Nam Soo-Ryun probed further. “Could you reveal the lucky lady who has captured Master Jin’s heart?”

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“I’m sorry, but I can’t disclose that,” Jin Mu-Won replied.

“Apologies for the unnecessary question,” Nam Soo-Ryun conceded.

An awkward silence descended upon them, each lost in their own thoughts.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the camp, Myeong Ryu-San suddenly groaned. “Eh?”

“Take this,” Tang Gi-Mun urged, holding out a vial before Myeong Ryu-San’s barely conscious eyes.

“What’s this?”

“Poison.”

“Poison?” Myeong Ryu-San recoiled in shock. “Are you out of your mind? Why would I consume poison?”

“Do you desire strength?”

“Madness! How can I gain strength from poison? I might as well die!”

“My poison is unique.”

“Ah! Never mind. I won’t take it, never!”

“So, you prefer enduring Mu-Won’s beatings daily? To live as an insignificant martial artist?”

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In that moment, Myeong Ryu-San’s eyes flickered. Tang Gi-Mun noticed the change.

“I am the Poison Pavilion Master of the Tang Clan,” Tang Gi-Mun declared with conviction. “Naturally, the poisons I create are exceptional.”

“Tang Clan? Are you serious?” Myeong Ryu-San’s voice trembled.

Even the most uninformed person in Sichuan, Myeong Ryu-San’s homeland, couldn’t be oblivious to the Tang Clan. He was perhaps more knowledgeable about the Tang Clan than most.

“Are you truly the Poison Pavilion Master?” Myeong Ryu-San’s voice quivered.

He had inadvertently picked the pocket of Tang Gi-Mun, unknowingly challenging death. It was only now that he comprehended his incredible fortune.

“Indeed, who would dare impersonate the Tang Clan? I am the Poison Pavilion Master of the Tang Clan,” Tang Gi-Mun reaffirmed with pride.

Myeong Ryu-San instinctively grasped the veracity of his words. “Then, why poison me…?”

“What do you think of poison?” Tang Gi-Mun inquired.

Myeong Ryu-San muttered under his breath. Is that even a question? Poison is poison. But he dared not voice his thoughts. Instead, he responded as swiftly as possible, “Poison is terrifying because it brings death without leaving a trace.”

“Exactly. Poison is fearsome. A wrong choice means certain death. But poison can also be a remedy.”

“A remedy? You must be joking. How can poison be a remedy?”

“That’s the misconception held by people like you. The Tang Clan is known for poison, but we are also the foremost practitioners of medicine in the world.”

Studying poison was a quest for death itself. As they unraveled how poisons ravaged the human body, they discovered they could also mend it. This was the concept of healing poison.

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The Tang Clan delved into healing poisons, with Tang Gi-Mun leading the way. He delved beyond mere poison and sought to strengthen the human body using it.

Through the application of beneficial poisons, humanity can become stronger, Tang Gi-Mun believed, and his theory was flawless, meticulously designed. However, no one volunteered for his research; the word “poison” instinctively repelled people. Some, like Tang Kwan-Ho, the Sect Leader of the Tang Clan, argued that achieving strength through poison required mastering poison techniques and embracing poison qi.

Tang Gi-Mun aimed to change this belief, and if successful, the Tang Clan’s power would soar. Myeong Ryu-San embodied the ideal candidate, possessing extraordinary vitality, resilience, and physical prowess. What he lacked, he could compensate for with poison.

I can’t let this opportunity slip.

Myeong Ryu-San shivered under his gaze, involuntarily drawn to the repulsive idea of poison. If I can just land a single blow against that bastard…

Thinking of Jin Mu-Won, he felt an eruption of anger. Even if he died and were reborn, he knew he couldn’t suppress it. The fact that he had been beaten to the brink of death already testified to it.

“Are you sure consuming poison is safe?”

“Absolutely.”

“Truly?”

“I am the Tang Clan’s Poison Pavilion Master. You won’t gain immediate strength, but with consistent consumption as I instruct, you will develop a body immune to countless poisons and unlock powerful inner martial arts. I guarantee it.”

Why would the Tang Clan’s Poison Pavilion Master show interest in a third-rate martial artist like me? Nonetheless, Myeong Ryu-San struggled with his aversion to poison.

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After a moment of indecision, his gaze drifted toward the campfire. Nam Soo-Ryun and Tang Mi-Ryeo sat before Jin Mu-Won, seemingly sharing a deep connection as they conversed. Nam Soo-Ryun’s face, illuminated by the firelight, radiated extraordinary beauty.

For an instant, jealousy coursed through Myeong Ryu-San. Damn it, why can’t a man live like that?

Finally, he made a choice. “F-Fine, I accept.”

“You’ve made the right choice. You won’t regret it,” Tang Gi-Mun assured him, patting his shoulder with a smile that resonated in the night sky.

Yes, I will become strong. I’ll run free. Myeong Ryu-San clenched his teeth.

Tang Gi-Mun presented Myeong Ryu-San with a delicate porcelain bottle. “Drink.”

“Already?”

“You agreed, didn’t you? A man should keep his word.”

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“Well, yes.”

“Go on, drink it without hesitation.” Tang Gi-Mun handed him the bottle.

After a moment’s pause, Myeong Ryu-San closed his eyes tightly and gulped down the liquid, feeling a burning sensation in his throat, akin to consuming strong liquor.

Tang Gi-Mun observed him with curiosity. “So, how does it feel?”

“Not very… Keuak!” Myeong Ryu-San suddenly clutched his stomach, writhing on the ground. Agonizing pain gripped him, as though a sharp scalpel were slicing through his abdomen.

“Keuaaah!” Myeong Ryu-San cursed Tang Gi-Mun as he rolled in pain.

Tang Gi-Mun watched, chuckling. “How can one become strong without pain?”


Proofreader’s Note: Happy New Year! Double release to celebrate. Hope all of you have a great year ahead!

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