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


The next morning, I scaled the White Cloud Mountain Range (白雲山)1 together with Dad.

The White Cloud Mountain Range was famous for its rugged mountains, steep rocky cliffs, and thick fog that lasted all year long. Naturally, it was also infamous for dozens of people going missing or falling down the cliffs every year.

Not even mountain bandits are willing to make this place their hideout. However, this is also the reason why Maeng Ho-Ak, the Bandit King, hid his secret stash here.

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Over the last few decades, the other secret stashes had probably already been found and robbed. The White Cloud Mountain Range stash was the most well-hidden one, and also the one most likely to remain untouched.

*If I manage to obtain and consume the elixirs that Maeng Ho-Ak left behind, I will be able to solidify my foundations in the Heaven Defying Divine Art and become a lot stronger. That will vastly improve my job prospects. *

With such thoughts in mind, I happily hiked across the White Cloud Mountain Range.

Unfortunately, some time later…

“Huff…huff…gasp…”

My entire body was drenched in sweat. I was out of breath, and my lungs felt like they were going to explode. My legs were wobbly, as if there were thousand-pound weights attached to all four of my limbs.

I want to faint and rest right now!!!

However, every time I thought that, the sound of someone behind me clicking their tongue made me clench my teeth and endure the pain.

“Tsk tsk. Are you tired already?”

POKE. PROD.

Dad poked my back with a teaching cane and nagged, “How could you even think of going hiking when your body is in such bad shape? Have you had enough? Can we go home now?”

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I can’t tell whether you’re worried about me, or just plain annoyed at me. Sadly, the only reason I’ve managed to climb this far is because of your incessant complaining.

“I can…gasp…keep going…gasp…”

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To hell with this body. Oi, original owner, you may not have been able to learn martial arts, but you could have at least exercised normally, right? Why are you so fucking unfit!?

After transmigrating to your body, I trained hard for more than a month, but for some reason, I’m still like this! Ahhhh, I think I now understand why the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians is also known as the Curse of Heaven.

Just you wait and see! I’ll definitely turn the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians into the Heavenly Yin Divine Meridians! And crossing these mountains…is the first step to doing that!!!

I was filled with burning determination to hike up the mountains.

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A few hours later…

FLOP.

I sat on a flat rock and looked up at the orange-colored sky.

That must be a sandstorm, right? There’s no way it’s already evening, right…?

“…Fuck. At this rate, how long will it take me to get there?”

My body was simply too weak and unhealthy. Even so, as an aspiring martial artist, I couldn’t possibly complain about hiking being hard!

It was a good thing I brought Dad along with me, though. He caught me when I slipped and fell several times.

“Actually, we’re almost there. I think that’s the mountain you mentioned.”

Dad stood next to me and pointed his teaching cane at a mountain peak towering above the clouds.

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I looked up at that imposing sight and groaned, “Almost there, my ass…”

According to Maeng Ho-Ak, the name of that mountain peak was the Sword Dance Peak (劍舞峰). It was really high, and the climb up was rough and perilous. There was no better place to hide a secret stash of elixirs than a mountain no one wanted to scale.

“Huff…huff…Let’s take a break before continuing.”

“Here, drink some water.”

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Dad handed me a water bottle and clicked his tongue as he observed my face that was as pale as a corpse’s.

Suddenly, he asked, “Hey, are you really my son?”

“Spurt! Cough, cough!”

I spat out the water in my mouth at Dad. Regrettably, the old man easily dodged it. Hmph, as expected of a first-class expert.

I hurriedly suppressed the anxiety in my heart, wiped my mouth, and choked, “Cough! What kind of a question is that?”

Dad stared at me strangely and scratched his head, saying, “In the past, you would have repeatedly cursed your weak body and blamed me and your mom for it, but now…you just climbed across several mountains without a single complaint.”

…Baek Su-Ryong you bastard, how could you do that to your parents?

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“Also, you never talked about looking for a job and earning money. All you wanted to do was practice martial arts. You weren’t even interested in teaching the kids.”

I pretended to think hard for a while, then gave Dad an answer that I had prepared beforehand in case he ever asked me this question.

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“After I died and came back to life, I began to see the world around me in a different light.”

“What do you mean?”

“I thought about a lot of things while lying down in bed for a month, and then it hit me. What was the point of risking my life to learn martial arts if I was never going to use it?”

“…Didn’t you want to become the strongest martial arts master and make a name for yourself in the gangho?”

“That was the initial idea.”

I sighed, wiped the sweat on my forehead with my sleeves, and continued, “By becoming a master, I’d be able to obtain fame, wealth, and a pretty wife…”

“Yeah.”

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“But now that I think about it, becoming a martial arts master is not the only way I can get these things, right?”

“So…you want to rely on money instead?”

I gave Dad the thumbs up and announced, “Yup! It’s exactly as you said!”

I didn’t know the man named Baek Su-Ryong, and I would never understand how desperate he was to learn martial arts, or share the frustration he felt when he failed over and over again. Therefore, rather than come up with excuses for him, I decided to tell Dad at least a part of the truth.

“And there’s just one more thing…”

I grinned naughtily, then continued, “I’ll need a lot of money if I want to get my chi center fixed and search for a way to learn martial arts, right?”

The last one was the main reason, but Dad didn’t have to know that. After all, I couldn’t explain to him how I knew about the Heaven Defying Divine Art and the method to cure the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians.

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Still, I’m just a man who spent the whole of his previous life teaching martial arts in the Blood Cult. Teaching is the only skill I have. I was wracking my brains over how a useless person like me was going to earn that much money…when Go Ju-Yeol showed up and said, “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?”

…I don’t think I need to elaborate on the rest.

I would first get a job as a regular instructor at the Azure Dragon Academy and earn a decent salary. Then, even if I quit later, I’d at least have the capital to start my own business.

Thus, I decided to take the Blue Dragon Academy instructor’s exam that was happening three months from now.

Dad stared blankly at me as if he was trying to gauge the truth of what I said. A while later, he smiled and nodded, saying, “It seems that my dear little boy who only had martial arts in his head has finally grown up. In that case, Daddy expects you to strike it rich and provide me with a cushy retirement life, okay?”

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“Hell, no.”

“…What did you just say, you ungrateful brat!?”

SMACK!

Dad gleefully whacked me on the back with his teaching cane.

“If you’re done resting, then get up. It’s time we made some money.”

“Yeah, yeah…” I sighed deeply and scrambled to my feet, knees still wobbling.

Dad and I then proceeded to climb up the Sword Dance Peak in single file. Except for the few times I ended up foaming at the mouth, nothing particularly interesting happened.

“Gasp…wheeze…ughhh…”

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“We’re almost there! Put your back into it!”

To be honest, I felt a little sorry for Baek Mu-Heun, the father of this body. It wasn’t my intention, but I did occupy his son’s body and pretend to be Baek Su-Ryong.

No matter how guilty I feel, I can’t tell you the truth. However, I’ll still do my best not to disappoint you, as thanks for giving birth to this child!

“Guh…AHHHH! I’M ALMOST THEREEEE!!! HAAA!!! YAAAAAAAHHH!!!”

I stood at the top of Sword Dance Peak and admired the view.

WHOOOOOWHOOOOO.

The view of nothing but fog, that is.

Dad kept his guard up and asked, “I can indeed sense something unusual about this place, but are you sure there are elixirs and miracle herbs hidden here?”

“Gasp…gasp… Follow me…”

Visibility was almost zero, but I walked around searching for the rock with a tiger tooth carving that Maeng Ho-Ak told me about.

Found it!

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As we approached the rock, the fog around us slowly began to dissipate, then reform again. I was relieved to see that, as it was an indication that the formation the rock was a part of was still intact.

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If the formation is still intact, then the probability of the elixirs and miracle medicines still being there is extremely high.

I glanced behind me and said, “This way.”

Probably because he could sense the abnormal aura around us, Dad appeared unusually nervous.

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“I thought that you got swindled by yet another fake pharmacist…but the elixirs were real?”

“Wait, you thought that I was on a fool’s errand all this time? Didn’t I already tell you that my information source was trustworthy?”

Hoo boy. From the look on Dad’s face, this was probably not the first time “Baek Su-Ryong” had gone out in search of treasure (he had probably found the demonic art that killed him on one of those trips). So that was why Dad was so willing to play along with me when I asked him to accompany me on a mountain hike in search of elixirs.

…Damn. Dad might have a sharp tongue, but his love for his sick son is immeasurable.

“If you don’t want to get lost, stop talking nonsense and follow me.”

“…You know, I feel like you’ve been possessed by a ghost.”

Fortunately, Maeng Ho-Ak had already told me how to navigate my way through this formation. It was the type that made one lose their sense of direction, but as long as one knew what signs to look out for, getting through it wasn’t a problem.

Master Maeng, I’ll be sure to put the elixirs you left behind to good use.

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As I walked deeper and deeper into the formation, I recalled Maeng Ho-Ak’s bushy-bearded face and the things he said to me back then.

“Kuhuhuhuhu, I’ve hidden my secret stashes all over the world. Do you know how many bandits there are in the forests? Now that I’ve gone missing, I bet they’re desperate to find my treasure…But too bad, I hid the best stuff away a long time ago.”

Although he looked like a giant bear, Maeng Ho-Ak was a highly intelligent and cunning man. He often acted stupid to hide it, but it was impossible for a truly dumb person to become a martial arts master.

Maeng Ho-Ak had one grand ambition in his life.

“I’m going to make the bandits accepted as a part of the gangho, just like all the large sects!”

Back then, almost everyone regarded his ambition as the ramblings of a madman. If not for his innate god-like strength and talent that made him the youngest ever Bandit Chief of the 72 Bandit Strongholds at age 16, and the Bandit King at age 25, many people would have laughed in his face.

The only people who had taken him seriously were the orthodox faction experts. Upset by his comments, they forced him into one duel after another in an effort to punish him and make him swallow his words.

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“Hmph. I let all those guys who challenged me live. I wanted them to see how merciful I was, and that even a bandit like me can uphold moral standards.”

Unfortunately, contrary to his expectations, the Bandit King’s notoriety only increased day by day. The reason for that was because all of the Bandit King’s challengers had ended up permanently crippled after their arms and legs were broken.

“Huh? Are you asking me why I did that? Knowing those orthodox sect guys, if I didn’t leave some evidence behind, they would definitely go around claiming that they won the match.”

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It was around that time that the Bandit King was labeled as one of the murim’s Ten Great Masters. However, when I brought up that title, Maeng Ho-Ak said this while digging out his earwax:

“Ten Great Masters? Err, I don’t really remember all that well, but I think that was what the guys who ran away after I beat them up called themselves?”

In the end, if Maeng Ho-Ak hadn’t been betrayed by his trusted subordinates and wound up in the Blood Cult’s dungeons, he might really have succeeded in creating the Bandit Sect.

“Oi, kiddo.”

“What’s up, Master Maeng?”

For some reason, Maeng Ho-Ak always referred to me as “kiddo”, while I addressed him and the other three masters as “Master”. Of course, our relationship could not possibly be the same as that of a normal master and disciple.

I signed a contract with them to help them escape from the Blood Cult’s clutches. In return, they would teach me their martial arts and take me with them.

When I signed the contract, I never once thought that I would eventually spend the next ten years together with them. During those ten years, since there was nothing else to do inside that musty old prison, the four masters told me nearly everything about the kind of lives they had lived.

“Hey… If I die here, and you end up being the only one who escapes from this place…”

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One day, Maeng Ho-Ak called me and revealed the locations of his various secret stashes to me. Furious, I had snapped right back at him, saying:

“Why are you suddenly telling me all this?”

“Haha, that’s because I’d rather you take it than let it be stolen by some random riff-raff.”

“Hmm, I think there was some leftover meat today…”

“Fuck! Did you think I was trying to bribe you into giving me more meat?”

“We do have more meat, though…”

“Okay, okay! I’ll tell you the location of yet another secret stash…”

“To think there really was a shack here.”

Suddenly, the sound of Dad’s voice dragged me back into reality. As we walked out of the fog, I looked at the old wooden shack in front of us. It was in such a bad state that it seemed as if it would collapse anytime.

Next to the shack, there was a small but steamy hot spring.

“There should be a medicine brewing room in the shack… I think that’s where we’ll find the elixirs.”

“I can’t believe that the information you bought from a wandering pharmacist is real. Sigh, I don’t know what’s what anymore…”

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Dad scratched his head, drew his sword, and warily approached the shack.

“In the murim, we can never let down our guards, especially when treasures and precious opportunities are involved. This place could be a trap for all we know.”

“There are no traps here. However…”

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ROOOOOAAAARRR!

Before I could finish speaking, the shadow of a large beast leaped out of the bushes and pounced on us.


Translator’s Note: The text in orange blockquotes is Su-Ryong’s memories of the past.


Footnotes:

  1. White Cloud Mountain Range (白雲山): A mountain range located a few miles to the north of Guangzhou, China. 

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