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


I found it strange that Go Juyeol, the Flying Eagle, would suddenly tell us about the remnants of the Blood Cult despite it being a secret.

Is he a loose-lipped person?

If that was true, then I would be relieved. However, it was impossible for someone like that to become the Second Captain of the Investigation Squad at the Murim Alliance.

That can only mean that he’s revealing this information on purpose.

The murim is a place where schemes and deceptions abound. The only way to survive in such a place is to always be alert, and to carefully observe others’ words and body language.

Thus, that is exactly what I did.

From what I can see, he’s on guard against us.

Go Juyeol’s hands were placed lightly on top of his knees, which was a very convenient position to strike from. His eyes continually flickered around the room, as if he was planning his moves beforehand.

The placement of his feet is the most important.

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His feet were spaced slightly apart, an optimal position to quickly execute a movement or kicking technique.

Why is he suspecting us, and what is he suspecting us of?

Now that I think about it, he did have enough reason to be suspicious of us. Two village martial arts instructors defeated and captured two experts from the evil sects. Furthermore, although we didn’t have any solid proof, we concluded that they were teaching their disciples demonic arts.

I kind of expected it, but…he has probably also sensed that Dad is a first-class expert, the same as himself. Then, the reason he talked about the Blood Sect can only be to test our reactions and confirm if we were also descendants of the Blood Cult.

My inference required a small leap of logic since both sides would then belong to the evil sects, but at least, the fact that Go Juyeol was suspicious of us is unquestionable.

CLINK.

Go Juyeol put down his teacup and smiled meaningfully, saying, “This is good tea.”

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“I’m glad it suits your tastes,” Dad replied.

Dad and Go Juyeol conversed normally and smiled gently, but I could sense a subtle hint of coldness in their voices, in particular Go Juyeol’s.

“The more I hear Master Baek’s voice, the more I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere before.”

Dad avoided Go Juyeol’s gaze and laughed, “Haha. That must be because I have a very common-sounding voice.”

“Is that so…”

Go Juyeol’s tone was cordial, but to me, that question sounded like part of an interrogation.

Still smiling warmly, Go Juyeol continued, “Are you sure we don’t know each other from somewhere?”

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“Haha, it’s probably just a coincidence.”

A bead of sweat appeared on Dad’s forehead. At the same time, Dad’s face scrunched up in a weird way.

Dad has been behaving very oddly ever since the Murim Alliance people arrived. He has never told me anything about his relationship with them, so I can only make guesses based on general facts.

In the first place, why on earth would a first-class expert hide their title, bury their past, and live quietly in a rural village? Could it be because he is the enemy of all murim? …Nah, that’s too outrageous.

For a first-class expert to end up as the enemy of the entire murim without getting killed was impossible. At worst, they could only become wanted criminals.

…Well, it doesn’t matter which one it is. The result is the same.

“Pardon me for asking this, but would you mind telling me where you learned martial arts?”

“I learned it in a small and rural school. You won’t know of it even if I told you.”

“Really? Haha.”

“……”

The tension in the room was rising. My palms were soaked in sweat. Any moment now, I was ready to engage Go Juyeol in battle.

I still haven’t fully recovered from the exhaustion of fighting Goatee, but…

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In my mind, I calculated all the possible ways Go Juyeol could attack and thought up counter-measures.

Go Juyeol is not our only enemy; I have to also take the entire investigation squad into account. We have to subdue him before they can come running back, and then take care of them.

I lowered my head to hide the killing intent that was gathering in my eyes.

If Dad truly is a wanted criminal, and he was discovered here… Then I cannot allow a single person to leave this place alive.

One of the reasons I survived in the Blood Cult for so long was that I always planned for the worst, and included everything from the actual fight to the cleanup in those plans. Methods of erasing evidence and escaping from pursuit were always included.

“I’ve definitely seen your face before… Hmm? No way…?”

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Suddenly, Go Juyeol’s eyes widened like a goldfish. As if something in his mind had finally clicked, he slapped his palm on his thigh.

“I remember now!”

My heart raced in apprehension. I tensed my butt muscles, ready to spring to action at a moment’s notice.

Thankfully, my worst fears did not come to pass. Rather, the truth was something completely out of my predictions…

“No wonder I thought you looked familiar.”

Having found the answer to his feeling of familiarity, Go Juyeol beamed. All of his muscles relaxed, making his tension a moment ago seem like a hallucination.

On the other hand, Dad’s face slowly darkened. Finally, he sighed, saying, “How did you recognize me?”

Huh? This atmosphere…???

Go Juyeol’s reply answered all of my questions. Like he was greeting an old friend, he waved his arms happily and shouted, “How could I not? You’re the Handsome Prince!”

…Handsome Prince!?!? 1

When he heard his title being called, Dad blushed and said, “Long time no see, Hyung-nim.”

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sep

Two middle-aged men sat opposite each other at a dining table, drinking wine.

“Hahaha! Buddy, I haven’t seen you in years!”

“…It’s been almost thirty years. I never imagined that Hyung-nim would end up joining the Murim Alliance Investigation Team.”

“Why did you pretend not to know me?”

“Err, I haven’t contacted you ever since I ran away from the academy all those years ago…and I felt kind of guilty for that…”

“What? Guilty? Did you think so little of our friendship? You’re making me feel sad!”

“…I’m sorry.” Dad scratched the back of his head apologetically.

I stood a short distance away from the two old men, staring blankly at Dad. For a long time, I couldn’t close my dropped jaw. My brain was running on overdrive trying to process all this new information.

At the very least, this didn’t end in a fight…

Suddenly, Dad turned around and said to me, “Son, this is my best friend from my school days in the Azure Dragon Academy. Would you mind greeting him again?”

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“As expected of the Handsome Prince, even your son is super handsome! Hohoho!”

“…Hyung-nim, I am almost fifty years old. Please stop calling me by that nickname…”

When he saw Dad’s awkward face, Go Juyeol roared with laughter, saying, “Hahaha! Back when we were students at the Azure Dragon Academy, anyone who didn’t know of the Handsome Prince would have immediately been labeled a spy!”

“……”

…Yeah. It’s a good thing this didn’t end in a fight. Phew.

Relieved, I said to Go Juyeol, “Greetings once again. My name is Baek Suryong.”

“Why don’t you come over and have a seat? Oh, and pour me some more wine!”

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As the two old men talked, I learned that they were classmates at the Azure Dragon Academy almost thirty years ago.

Apparently, the Azure Dragon Academy was one of the Five Great Academies run by the Murim Alliance. The Five Great Academies were as follows:

  • The Heavenly Martial Academy in Hubei Province.
  • The Black Tortoise Academy in Shaanxi Province.
  • The White Tiger Academy in Sichuan Province.
  • The Vermillion Phoenix Academy in Hunan Province.
  • The Azure Dragon Academy in Jiangxi Province.

In the current era, every young martial artist of the orthodox sects dreamed of attending one of the Five Great Academies. However, even among these five, there were several that were known to be better than the others.

Back when I was in the Blood Cult, only the Heavenly Martial Academy existed. It seems that more similar academies have sprung up over the years.

While reminiscing his happy memories of his past school life, Go Juyeol grinned and said to me, “Did you know how many hearts your father broke while he was in school? Although he’s still handsome now, he was so drop-dead gorgeous back then that he was actually given the nickname, ‘Handsome Prince’!”

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“Cough cough…Hyung-nim…”

I’ve never seen Dad so embarrassed before… Wait, he’s almost fifty. What’s there to be ashamed of when you’re already at that age?

Suddenly, I thought of something and asked, “Did you hide your title from me because you were embarrassed about it?”

“Hmph! That was just a silly nickname given by childish kids, not a real martial artist’s title.”

That’s an excuse for sure. Don’t think you can convince me otherwise when your face is as red as a beetroot.

“Pfft…” As the last my worries melted away, I couldn’t help but snigger, causing Dad’s face to turn even redder. To hide his embarrassment, he immediately gulped down a cup of wine.

Just like that, the merry conversation continued until nightfall.

At some point, the Investigation Squad had finished securing the prisoners and reported to Go Juyeol, but Go Juyeol made up some random excuse about needing more time to question the parties involved and stayed behind while they began preparations for returning to the Murim Alliance.

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…The truth was, after a few bottles of wine, both Dad and Go Juyeol were wasted.

Go Juyeol stared blankly at the wine in his cup. Without looking up, he hesitantly asked, “By the way… Where’s Yakbing?”

By Yakbing, does he mean Mae Yakbing? Isn’t that my mother’s name?

Dad smiled bitterly and replied, “She passed away a long time ago.”

“…I see. She’s always been sickly, huh.”

“Yeah.”

The room fell silent for a long time.

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Finally, as if he wanted to lighten the gloomy atmosphere, Go Juyeol laughed, “Hahaha! Anyway, sorry about just now. I definitely recognized your face, but for a moment, I just couldn’t remember who you were. I even suspected you of being a wanted criminal!”

So he really was thinking about attacking us. If he had done that, I would have responded by using a killing technique. Fortunately, nothing of the sort happened.

“I didn’t know I was that close to getting my ass handed over to me.”

“Hahaha! I’m the one who hasn’t tasted the sting of your blade for years!”

Throughout the day, the topics that Dad and Go Juyeol had talked about ranged from reminiscing about the past to completely random stuff. Unlike the exciting life of a murim warrior, Dad’s life in the village was boring. The only important thing he did was earn enough money to feed us both.

“Are you making enough money with this martial arts academy? From the looks of it, you aren’t doing too well.”

“I earn just enough to feed two men.”

Hey hey! That’s a lie! We’re in desperate straits, you know!

In this kind of rural village, we couldn’t possibly charge too much for classes. If we included the snack expenses for the kids, we’d basically be breaking even. The only classes that we profited from are the ones for adults taught by Dad.

“Do you really have to stay here? With your strength, you should be able to secure a teaching position at the Azure Dragon Academy.”

At the words “Azure Dragon Academy”, Dad tensed up for a moment, then relaxed and said, “I like this place.”

“Buddy, we’re not young anymore. At our age, going hungry because we can’t afford food is extremely unhealthy.”

YOU ARE SO RIGHT. PLEASE REPEAT THAT LINE TO MY DAD A HUNDRED MORE TIMES!!!

“Additionally, teachers these days earn a lot more than they used to. Haven’t you heard that if you manage to become a star instructor, you’ll earn so much money that you wouldn’t know how to spend it?”

“Please, I’m not that good,” Dad humbly insisted.

Go Ju-Yuol thumped his chest confidently, saying, “Since when has the Handsome Prince been weak? Besides, you might have gotten older, but I think the number of women who would kill to have you would still form a long, long line, you know?”

“Seriously! Hyung-nim, you’re too much…” Dad muttered awkwardly, tugging at his clothes.

I, on the other hand, could not sit still anymore after hearing what Go Juyeol had just suggested. Now that I think about it, I might have even heard something of the sort before, so how could I have forgotten about it…

I asked, “My apologies for interrupting, but what is a Star Instructor, exactly?”


Footnotes:

  1. Handsome Prince (玉面公子): Literal translation – Jade-Faced Gentleman. Jade-Faced means “handsome”. 

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