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


“Ugh…”

Having spent the whole of the last night drinking, Go Juyeol couldn’t wake up until afternoon the next day.

“I’m dying…”

As he rubbed his throbbing head, I politely handed him some honey water that I had prepared in advance.

“Uncle, please have some honey water. This honey was harvested by Yi Go-Eul, the village beekeeper, and it’s perfect for hangovers.”

“Ooh…Thank you, Ryong.”

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As Go Juyeol gulped down the honey water, Dad, who was lying weakly next to him, looked at me with foggy eyes. He opened his mouth, which stunk of alcohol, and groaned, “What about my honey water?”

“We’re out of honey. I used up the last of what we had making Uncle’s share.”

“…Couldn’t you have just diluted the honey water and made enough for two?”

“Absolutely not. That would reduce the effectiveness of the honey. Besides, Uncle is our guest, and your best friend whom you haven’t met in almost thirty years. You wouldn’t be thinking of compromising our guest for your own sake, would you?”

“……” Dad somehow managed to hold himself back and only glared at me with piercing eyes like he wanted to turn me into a porcupine.

“Wow! I feel alive again!” exclaimed Go Juyeol as he finished his honey water. He then stood up abruptly, picked up a coat that he had tossed on the floor at some point during the drinking party, and put it on.

“Yikes! It’s already midday. Any later than this, and I’ll have to write an apology letter.”

Although he complained about the possible extra work, Go Juyeol looked happy about it. Last night, while he was wasted, I even overheard him mumbling to himself, “Even if my workload increases, it’s worth it because I got to chat with a friend I haven’t met for thirty years.”

He’s an unexpectedly good person.

The Second Captain of the Murim Alliance Jiangxi Branch Investigation Team is by no means in a low-ranked position. In a rural village like this, he’s a warrior who can end the lives of everyone in the village with one simple command. However, even before he recognized Dad, he was polite to us and did not abuse his authority.

Most importantly, I can tell that he’s a person who treasures relationships, seeing as he hasn’t blamed Dad for mysteriously disappearing thirty years ago. He also still treats Dad as a friend, even though the current Baek Muheun is merely a poor martial arts instructor in the rural countryside.

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He’s a man worth being friends with.

“Whew! I should get going now.”

Right before leaving, Go Juyeol turned back to look at us. He grinned mischievously at Dad and said, “Buddy, the next time I visit, I’ll bring you the good stuff. Let’s see who gets wasted first!”

“Err, I’m not sure we should be doing that at our age…”

“Oh ho? Is the famed Handsome Prince who once conquered the Jiangxi Entertainment District really saying something so pathetic?”

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“H-Hyung-nim!” Dad protested, eyes wide open despite his hangover.

“Please stop with the jokes! What if my son misunderstands you?”

“Hmm? Care to tell me more about that, Dad?”

“A joke? Do you dare swear upon the heavens that I was just joking?”

The moment Go Juyeol asked Dad to swear upon the heavens, Dad hesitated.

…Wait, it was true!?

“Ahem. After dating Yakbing, I changed my ways…”

“KEKEKEKEKE!”

“BWAHAHAHAHA!”

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Go Juyeol and I had fun teasing Dad together.

Suddenly, Go Juyeol stopped laughing and looked at me with a pleased expression, saying, “Ryong, have you decided to whether or not to accept my offer from last night?”

Last night, Go Juyeol had told me many things about the Murim Alliance and the Five Great Academies. In particular, he described the students and instructors at the Azure Dragon Academy, where he and Dad studied together thirty years ago, in detail.

He said that the Azure Dragon Academy in Jiangxi Province was an institution where the young generation of the Eastern Murim gather to exchange, practice and polish their martial arts together, cultivating masters who will one day become leaders of the orthodox sects.

Although the Azure Dragon Academy has the lowest evaluation among the Five Great Academies, numerous boys and girls still do their best to enter the academy every year.

“I’m still thinking about it.”

The truth was, I had already made my decision. However, I gave Go Juyeol a vague answer because Dad was making a really worried face next to me right now and I didn’t want him flipping out.

Go Juyeol nodded, saying, “Is that so? Since there are still three months left until the deadline, take your time and consider it carefully. If you decide to do it, come and see me and I will write you a letter of recommendation.”

“Thank you.”

“You don’t have to thank me. It’s the least I can do for my best friend’s son.”

I could see a mixture of regret and other complex emotions hidden in Go Juyeol’s eyes, but I smiled gently and pretended that I hadn’t noticed it.

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“…The more time we spend saying goodbye, the harder it gets. I really should be leaving now.”

“Have a safe trip, Hyung-nim.”

“Be sure to take care of yourself, Uncle.”

“Thanks. Then, until we meet again.”

Go Juyeol patted me on the shoulder and turned around.

WHOOSH!

He used a mesmerizing movement technique befitting the title of “Flying Eagle” and quickly vanished over the horizon.

“What a shameless bastard.” As soon as Go Juyeol disappeared, Dad narrowed his eyes and stared at me, asking, “So, since when did you start sucking up to random old men and calling them ‘Uncle, Uncle~’ oh so sweetly?”

Aww, he’s sulky because he didn’t get any honey water earlier. Still, I think he’s the one who has a lot more explaining to do.

“What about you? Since when did you have such a good friend? Also, did you know? You nearly became sworn brothers with him yesterday.”

It had taken me a lot of effort to stop those two drunk old men from pledging to die on the same day.1 It’s a good thing that I rarely drink because of my poor health, or I wouldn’t have been sober enough to realize the seriousness of what they were trying to do.

Dad’s face turned red, probably because he finally recalled the utterly embarrassing state he was in last night.

“Hmph… I haven’t seen him for almost thirty years, and I couldn’t control myself.”

“Just remember to drink moderately next time.”

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“If you want me to listen to you, shouldn’t you go next door and borrow some honey first?” Dad grumbled like a stubborn child.

However, right after saying that, as if something had finally hit him, Dad’s mood darkened. In a low voice, he asked me, “…Are you really going to go to the Azure Dragon Academy?”

I wasn’t sure how to answer him, so I instead asked him back, “If I insisted on going, would you stop me?”

“…Would you let me stop you? Since when have you ever listened to me?”

I smiled and nodded.

The original owner of this body, the real Baek Suryong, was so desperate to learn martial arts that he even tried practicing demonic arts and consumed poison. Baek Muheun was aware of this, and after the episode where his son nearly died (or rather, actually died), he’s been pretty sensitive about me trying anything dangerous.

Dad sighed and said, “As expected… You didn’t give up on learning martial arts.”

If I think about it from Dad’s perspective, having a son who was willing to risk his life to become a warrior despite being born with the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians was extremely worrying. To make things worse, even after a near-death experience, the son still hadn’t given up trying.

Dad sighed again, saying, “Ryong, the murim is not as kind as you think it is.”

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“I know.”

I know the feeling of being a weakling in this merciless murim better than anyone else.

Furious at my nonchalant answer, Dad yelled, “What do you mean, ‘you know’? Do you think I’m a master just because I won a fight against an evil sect warrior? If he hadn’t let his guard down, it would have been impossible for me to win!”

“I already included your strength in the calculations, though…”

GRAB!

Dad grabbed onto my shoulders tightly and said, “You were born with a defective qi center. I tried everything I could think of, but I couldn’t fix it.”

“…Yes, I know.”

“You do?”

The blazing flames of anguish in Dad’s eyes looked like they were about to spew out as he roared, “If you know that, then why are you trying to enter the Azure Dragon Academy? Do you think they’ll be able to help you? If that was the case, I would have sent you to study there a long time ago!”

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“…What? Study?”

I was planning on going to the Azure Dragon Academy, but I’m not going there to study though?

However, before I could get a chance to retort, Dad continued, “If you go there, you’ll definitely be looked down on by the other students because you don’t have any qi. Some of them might even bully you. With your weak body, you won’t even last half a month!”

“No, no, wait a minute! I think you’re misunderstanding something.”

“For once, please listen to Daddy!”

Still grabbing onto my shoulders, Dad started shaking me back and forth.

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“I searched everywhere, but I couldn’t find anyone who could cure you! Never mind fixing it, I didn’t even find out the name of the disease!”

“I know…so…stop…”

I know! I know the name of the disease! And how to fix it!

SO STOP SHAKING ME!

MY NECK IS GOING TO BREAKKKKKK!!!

“Ugh…”

“Please listen to me just this once. You’re twenty-seven, and the minimum age to be admitted to the Azure Dragon Academy is fifteen. How would you feel if you were beaten by a fifteen-year-old? You should just find a nice lady in the village and get married…”

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“…Argh, damn it! Let go of me!”

I managed to peel away one of Dad’s arms, but my head was still spinning. Even so, this was my only opportunity before Dad grabbed me again. I quickly screamed at the top of my lungs, “What are you talking about!? I’m NOT going to the Azure Dragon Academy as a student!”

“…and then give me a cute toad-faced2 grandchild… Huh? What did you just say?”

Your voice is so hoarse, you sound a lot like a toad right now.

I sighed wearily and said, “This is why I told you to drink in moderation. You didn’t hear a thing I discussed with Uncle yesterday.”

“You’re not…going to school? Really?” Dad blinked stupidly, a big question mark on his face.

“I’m not going there to study! Really!”

“…Then what was all that talk about going to the Azure Dragon Academy?”

To my father, who was staring at me doubtfully, I proudly announced, “I’m going there to make money!”

“…Money?”

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“I heard that there was a job suitable for me.”

I grinned and shot a glance at the door to the Baek Academy. It was about time the sniveling brats showed up for their afternoon class, and as expected, there they were.

“Hmm? It’s Master!”

“Master! Grandmaster! Good afternoon!

“Hurry up and teach us the strongest martial arts already!”

The brats immediately spotted me and Dad, and rushed forward to greet us.

I looked back at my still confused Dad and firmly said, “I’m going to work at the Azure Dragon Academy, not study there. Okay?”

Is there any difference between these brats and the ones at the Azure Dragon Academy? Not to me, at least.

“…Work?”

“Yes, I’m going to get a job there. However, before that, there is somewhere I must go. You seem to have already recovered somewhat, so… Dad, do you like hiking?”

I remember the Bandit King telling me that there he built a safe house somewhere around here, and that it was full of elixirs. Lucky!

“Hiking? Why are you talking about hiking?” Dad blurted.

What do you mean, why? Isn’t it obvious?

Searching for treasure alone is tiring, so I’m going to make you help me.


Footnotes:

  1. Sworn brothers: Sworn brothers in murim will always make the following pledge: Although we were not born on the same day, month, and year, we swear to die on the same day, month, and year. 

  2. Toad-faced: As nonsensical as this sounds in English, it’s just referring to babies looking like toads when they scrunch up their faces. I usually translate slang by the meaning rather than what it literally says, but I had to leave this as it is because of the pun in the next sentence. 

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