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


Standing on the deck, Nam Soo-Ryun slowly flexed her wrist, followed by her ankles and waist. Her injuries still hurt a little, but the pain was manageable. Overall, she felt much better. The combination of Tang Gi-Mun’s dedicated treatment, her own willpower, and her profound inner arts had all contributed to her incredibly quick recovery.

A few more days and I’ll be back to normal, she thought.

“Are you sure it’s okay for you to be out here? Uncle said you should rest for a few more days,” Tang Mi-Ryeo asked, smiling warmly as she approached.

“I’m fine. Staying inside was too stifling, and I feel better outside. I’m almost fully recovered anyway,” Nam Soo-Ryun replied.

“That’s good to hear.”

The bond between the two young women had deepened considerably over the past few days. Throughout Nam Soo-Ryun’s bed rest, Tang Mi-Ryeo had stayed by her side, nursing her diligently and sharing her innermost thoughts. Naturally, they soon became fast friends.

Tang Mi-Ryeo stood next to Nam Soo-Ryun and silently watched the flowing river.

Suddenly, Nam Soo-Ryun began, “That man…”

Puzzled, Tang Mi-Ryeo turned to look at her.

“Are you in love with him?”

“……” Tang Mi-Ryeo didn’t answer.

“…Of course you are,” Nam Soo-Ryun continued as if she could read her friend’s mind. “But…he has someone else in his heart.”

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“I know…”

In Nam Soo-Ryun’s eyes, Jin Mu-Won was a man like a stubborn rock. Once he set his heart on someone, his love would never waver, nor would he be swayed by external temptations.

It was too bad that Tang Mi-Ryeo wasn’t the one who met him first. If that had happened, things might have turned out differently.

Well, there’s no point in dwelling on what-ifs. The fact is, Jin Mu-Won is already in love with someone else. There’s no way this will end well for Mi-Ryeo.

Nam Soo-Ryun sighed. She wanted to talk her friend out of this one-sided crush of hers. Tang Mi-Ryeo deserved a less painful love.

“You will only get hurt,” she warned.

Tang Mi-Ryeo smiled instead of replying.

Nam Soo-Ryun fell silent, realizing that her words were useless against that serene smile.

The human brain may be rational, but the heart is not. Foreseeing the thorny path ahead for her friend, Nam Soo-Ryun felt a pang of sadness.

Noticing this, Tang Mi-Ryeo spoke as if to comfort her, “I’m fine, so don’t worry too much about me. In time, I’ll sort out my feelings naturally.”

“Mmhmm.”

“Yes… Time will take care of everything…” Tang Mi-Ryeo whispered.

Nam Soo-Ryun watched her silently. Jin Mu-Won. A man shrouded in mystery, known only by his alias, the Northern Blade. A man who influences the fate of everyone he meets. How far will he go…?

The gangho was an unforgiving place. It never left those who defied it unscathed.

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BANG!

Suddenly, Myeong Ryu-San burst out from the door leading to the cabins. The skin on his face had darkened unnaturally and he was foaming at the mouth.

“Ughhhh!” he groaned in agony, rolling around violently on the deck.

Alarmed, Nam Soo-Ryun and Tang Mi-Ryeo immediately started to approach him, but Tang Gi-Mun, who was following Myeong Ryu-San along with Jin Mu-Won and Ha Jin-Wol, stopped them.

“Uncle?” Tang Mi-Ryeo asked confused.

To her surprise, Tang Gi-Mun clicked his tongue. “Tsk! Was the poison too strong? The effect is more intense than before.”

“Hyung-nim, if you’re not careful, you might accidentally kill an innocent person,” Ha Jin-Wol added with a slight frown.

“Hmm…” Tang Gi-Mun fell into deep thought as he watched Myeong Ryu-San writhing in pain. At first, he hadn’t liked the young man very much, but after spending a few days with him, Myeong Ryu-San seemed to have somewhat grown on him.

As a result, he felt a pang of guilt for putting Myeong Ryu-San in his current state. His disciple had adapted to the poison better than expected, to the point where he had begun to develop drug resistance. For this reason, Tang Gi-Mun had given him a much higher dosage of the poison instead of gradually increasing it as he had originally planned.

The result was this. Even though Myeong Ryu-San tended to exaggerate his pain, this time, his convulsions and suffering were real.

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“Is there no way to ease his pain?” Jin Mu-Won asked.

“It would be great if there was,” Tang Gi-Mun replied. “Unfortunately, there isn’t, so he’ll have to overcome it himself. Still, once he gets through this ordeal, his inner arts will improve dramatically.”

Jin Mu-Won nodded. “I see.”

“Yeah, so… hang in there, you rascal. Don’t worry, it’ll be easier next time.”

“You crazy bastard! What the fuck are you talking about? Next time? What next time? I’m going to die! Damn you, you…” Myeong Ryu-San screamed at the top of his lungs while rolling on the floor. He then unleashed a barrage of curses at Tang Gi-Mun, insulting everyone from Tang Gi-Mun’s immediate family to his cousins and distant relatives.

Some time later, his muscle spasms began to subside.

“Hmm, looks like the seizure is almost over.” Tang Gi-Mun closed his eyes and checked Myeong Ryu-San’s pulse. After a long examination, he looked at Jin Mu-Won.

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“Do you want me to take a look?” Jin Mu-Won asked, catching the hint.

Tang Gi-Mun nodded.

Jin Mu-Won stepped forward and put his hand on Myeong Ryu-San. Instead of checking his pulse like Tang Gi-Mun did, he injected Shadow Qi into Myeong Ryu-San’s body.

“Oh?” Jin Mu-Won’s eyes shone with interest.

Tang Gi-Mun smiled. “Can you feel it?”

“Yes.”

Inside Myeong Ryu-San’s body, Jin Mu-Won detected an unusually sticky and dark energy that resisted his shadow qi. Although the energy was weak enough that Jin Mu-Won could dissipate it whenever he wanted, the fact that poison-based qi was building up inside Myeong Ryu-San was significant.

“It seems like this guy has a unique constitution. I can’t believe that he was able to absorb the poison and convert it into his own inner qi so quickly,” Tang Gi-Mun exclaimed, smiling broadly and instantly forgetting all the pain and suffering he had put Myeong Ryu-San through. In the end, what mattered more was that his harsh training method was now proven to work, and that Myeong Ryu-San had an interesting physical constitution.

Grinning, Tang Gi-Mun lifted Myeong Ryu-San onto his shoulder and walked back to the cabin, muttering, “I will definitely make you a master.

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At Tang Gi-Mun’s almost maniacal voice, Ha Jin-Wol shook his head. “We should pray for that guy’s soul. Of all people, he had to arouse Hyung-nim’s interest, tsk tsk.”

Jin Mu-Won nodded in agreement.

Despite their worries, though, none of them thought of stopping Tang Gi-Mun. Even if the training was questionable, Myeong Ryu-San’s martial arts skills were improving at a remarkable rate, although he was still far from being able to challenge Jin Mu-Won.

Jin Mu-Won smiled as he turned his attention to a dock in the distance. This was the next stop of the Yunmeng Marsh Riverboat, and many people were waiting there to board the boat. However, in spite of the crowd, an unusual silence hung over the scene.

The reason was a group of Taoists carrying swords at their waists. Though quiet, their overwhelming presence and sharp auras like well-honed blades exerted immense pressure on those around them, so much so that the merchants on the dock immediately recognized them.

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They were the swordsmen of the Mount Hua Sect, one of the Nine Great Sects that had produced thousands of martial arts experts over the centuries. Even now, the Mount Hua Sect dominated the Shaanxi Province and was generally considered to be the pinnacle of Taoist sects, second only to the Wudang Sect.

A middle-aged Taoist, seemingly in his mid-forties, stood at the center of the group. Although he was a bit chubby, his eyes were keen and alert. He was the Seven Star Sage, a master of the Mount Hua Sect’s signature sword technique, the Plum Blossom Sword, and an esteemed elder of the sect.

The Seven Star Sage looked at the young Taoists around him. As an elder, his role was to guide and protect these talented first and second generation disciples as they participated in the Demon Hunters selection and gained experience.

With ages ranging from early twenties to late thirties, they represented the future of Mount Hua Sect, with the three first-generation disciples being groomed for leadership positions, while the seven second-generation disciples were the most skilled of the new generation.

“Junior Uncle, the boat is coming,” said a Taoist in his mid-thirties named Chang Woon, pointing to the approaching Yunmeng Marsh Riverboat. He was a first-generation disciple of the Mount Hua Sect, known for his exceptional talent among those with “Chang” in their names. However, even though his martial arts skills were among the best, he didn’t have a significant position yet due to his young age. Nevertheless, no one in the Mount Hua Sect dared to disrespect him.

“Indeed! Have you checked the tickets?”

“Yes, they are all for first-class seats.”

“Everyone, gather your belongings and stay within two steps of the group.”

“Yes!”

Chang Hye and Chang Gung, also first generation disciples, led the second generation disciples in preparing to board the Yunmeng Marsh Riverboat. Although their martial arts skills were slightly inferior to Chang Woon’s, they were considered superior in judgment and adaptability.

The second-generation disciples looked at the approaching riverboat with sparkling eyes. Even though they were in their twenties, this was the first time they had left the Mount Hua Sect since they began their martial arts training, so they were extremely excited.

Finally, the Yunmeng Marsh Riverboat docked and people began to board, with the martial artists from Mount Hua Sect being the last in line.

The young disciples, who had never been on such a big boat before, couldn’t hide their amazement at the huge deck.

The Seven Star Sage smiled faintly as he watched the disciples. At their age, he had also been unable to hide his curiosity.

Suddenly, he spotted a middle-aged man stepping out from the cabin door. “Hmm? Isn’t he…?” he muttered, furrowing his brow.

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