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

“I’m going away for a few days.”


“The practical exam is in ten days, though…?”

Ak Yeon-Ho and Myeong Il-Oh, who were having breakfast with me, looked at me in astonishment.

“Hyung-nim! Didn’t you receive the warning letter from the Azure Dragon Academy too? All prospective instructors who passed the interview are on probation until the practical test! Can’t you just sit still for a while…” Ak Yeon-Ho cried, spitting out rice as he talked.

Why is this bastard nagging at me all of a sudden? I swatted away all the flying rice grains with my chopsticks and said, “I shouldn’t need more than a few days, and it’s related to my preparation for the practical exam.”

The truth was, I had decided to go to the Freelancer’s Bazaar (the official name of the black market) with Bok Man-Chun. Not only did I want to personally inspect the spiritual herbs that Bok Man-Chun had found, I also wanted to experience mysterious, exciting underground deals. Unfortunately, it was a day’s ride on horseback to the location of the Freelancer’s Bazaar, so the entire trip would take us at least three days.

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Of course, I couldn’t tell these two what my plans were, so I made up some excuse.

“When are you leaving?”

“Right after we finish eating and have a cup of tea?”

“And you’re telling us this only now?”

“It was a hasty decision,” I smiled apologetically and poured tea into Ak Yeon-Ho’s cup.

“Call us anytime if you need help,” Myeong Il-Oh offered.

“I get it now. You’re going to meet pretty girls all by your lonesome self,” Ak Yeon-Ho sighed knowingly, then gulped down the tea I poured for him.

Err, that tea is still scalding hot…


“Tsk tsk, you aren’t a kid anymore. How could you be so careless?”


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“Here you go.”

“Thank you… SPURT! This is hot water, AHHHHHHH!”

Just like that, I finished breakfast, packed my things and prepared to leave.

“Wait a minute, Baek-hyung.” Myeong Il-Oh, who had spent most of breakfast lost in thought, handed me a small book.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a list of the students who registered for outer arts classes over the vacation.”

“…Why are you giving me this?”

The book was small but quite thick. It still had the smell of ink on it, as if it had been written only recently.

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“I also wrote down each student’s martial arts characteristics and personality. Hopefully, it’ll be helpful for your demonstration lectures.”

“Myeong-hyung, is it okay for you to do this much for me?” I asked, tilting my head to the side.

Despite his seemingly nice demeanor, I knew that Myeong Il-Oh was a very pragmatic person. He first approached me and Ak Yeon-Ho because Ak Yeon-Ho was from the Shandong Ak Clan.

Now that he knows my grandfather is the headmaster…is he trying to ingratiate himself with me too?

Having understood the meaning behind my words and actions, Myeong Il-Oh nodded and chuckled, “I highly doubt the Senior Mae Geuk-Lyom I saw that day would let you pass the practical exam just because you’re his grandson.”

“…That’s true. Then, why are you giving me this?”

Myeong Il-Oh briefly contemplated his answer, then said, “I just…sincerely hope that Baek-hyung passes the exam.”


“Do you still remember the words you said to the prospective instructors that day? ‘Shame on you, cowards. Do you still think you’re qualified to be teachers after what you’ve done?’”

Yeah, of course I remember. It was just a few days ago. I couldn’t help blurting that out because the sight of instructors being pathetically bullied by students seriously pissed me off.

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“Ah, please don’t take it personally. I wasn’t talking about you, Myeong-hyung…”

Myeong Il-Oh smiled softly and nodded. “I know, but that doesn’t make me feel any less guilty. I have neither the courage to slap a student nor the wisdom to send a waiter to call the headmaster. On the contrary, you’re a person who can do all that, Baek-hyung.”

“That’s only because the headmaster is my grandfather.”

“As far as I can tell, even if he wasn’t your grandfather… I’m certain that you would have done something.”

“You think too highly of me. It’s kind of stressful.” I shrugged casually.

Myeong Il Oh’s expression became serious. “If a situation like yesterday’s were to happen again, I still don’t think I could do anything. However, I know you would definitely rise to the task, so I want you to pass the exam. In the end, when push comes to shove, I need you, Baek-hyung…”

Greatly amused, I laughed, “You want me to take the lead in the fight against injustice?”

Myeong Il-Oh scratched his cropped head, a sheepish smile on his face. “Don’t worry, I’ll secretly help you from the sidelines,” he said.

This guy’s smile is usually fake, but this time, it’s genuine. I took the book from Myeong Il-Oh and tucked it into my chest pocket. Guess I’d have some entertainment during my trip to the Freelancer’s Bazaar.

“I’m not as nice a guy as you think, so don’t be disappointed later. Anyway, I’ll make good use of this, thanks.”

“One more thing, please don’t call me hyung. I’m a year younger than you.”

“Okay, Il-Oh.”

I walked out of the inn, escorted by my younger brothers.

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“I’ll see you both in a few days, then.”

“Take care.”

“See you soon.”

As I got further and further away, I heard two people arguing behind me.

“By the way, Myeong-hyung, what about me? Don’t you have a book for me too?”

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“What? Your specialty is the same as mine, so…”

“That’s just despicable. Why am I the only one without reference material? Also, why are you so polite to me? I’m a year younger than you!”

“About that… I’m from Shandong, after all…”

“So what? Just talk to me normally next time, and don’t forget my book.”


With a light heart, I left the comedy duo behind and went to meet Bok Man-Chun.

* * *

Two days later, Bok Man-Chun and I entered the Freelancer’s Bazaar, our faces hidden by black hoods.

“This is the place.”

The Freelancer’s Bazaar began as a mercenary guild, but over time it became a black market where anything could be traded as long as you had money. Due to the illegal nature of many of the goods, the bazaar was only held sporadically to avoid a government crackdown, making it inaccessible without the proper connections.

I seriously lucked out this time. If it wasn’t for Bok Man-Chun, I would have had a hard time getting information about the Freelancer’s Bazaar.

“Please follow me, Boss.”

In the middle of the wilderness, tents and portable stalls were set up for the Freelancer’s Bazaar. The area was dimly lit by flickering oil lamps, but it was bright enough to see the wide variety of items for sale.

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“It’s so good, I don’t know how to describe it! A must for all men! Get your aphrodisiacs NOW!”

“A single drop of this poison can take down a tiger…”

“I’m an expert at tracking down and capturing cheating spouses and eloping children! Come in for a free consultation!”

The clamor of people bartering with merchants could be heard all around the bazaar, and throngs of heavily scarred warriors wandered the stalls.


“What the fuck, man? Are you blind?”

“You talking to me? Huuuh?”

Occasionally, when people bumped into each other, fistfights would break out. Whenever this happened, people in the area immediately made room for the fight and stood around to watch the fight with cheers and whistles. Some enterprising souls even started taking bets on who would win.

“Haha, because there are a lot of hooligans, the atmosphere is a bit chaotic. Don’t worry, though. None of them will dare commit murder in broad daylight, because that would make them public enemies.” Bok Man-Chun scratched his head apologetically, but remained on high alert.

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Not that I was worried, because from the looks of it, Bok Man-Chun was one of the worst thugs.

“Heheh, relax, Boss. There nothing to be afraid of.”

Except your face, that is. I chuckled at Bok Man-Chun’s overprotectiveness. Instead of being scared, I felt more at home here than anywhere else. The smell of sweat and stale blood on the freelancers’ bodies was nostalgic, and observing their external arts was also helpful in planning my exam lecture.

“Tsk, that guy doesn’t have long to live. He took too many steroids.”

“…Boss, you were good at fortune telling?”

“I only know a little.”

As we walked around the Freelancer’s Bazaar, we chatted about all sorts of things. I was sometimes tempted to stop and buy something or meet someone, but I had a mission to accomplish first.

“This is it,” Bok Man-Chun said, entering a run-down tent.

Inside the tent, we saw a one-armed, muscular middle-aged man drinking, but as soon as he saw Bok Man-Chun, he leapt to his feet.

“Woah, look who’s here! Bok-hyung!”

“Hahaha! Long time no see, Jang-hyung!”

The two hugged each other like brothers who hadn’t seen each other in decades.

“I heard you settled down in Nanchang. Just look at you now! Living with a fox spirit and a few baby rabbits1 must be very rejuvenating!”

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“Nonsense, taking care of a family is downright exhausting, not to mention expensive. I’m flat broke!”

“Hahaha, I’m sure you’re exaggerating. By the way, who’s that behind you…?”

“Oh, he’s my new boss. Boss, this person is an old friend of mine.”

“Greetings, my name is Heo Cheon.”

After I exchanged pleasantries with the one-armed man for a while, he reached out behind him, pulled out a wooden box and showed it to me.

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“Heehee, this is actually a very popular item, but since my good friend expressed interest in it, I decided to hold on to it for him,” he lied without batting an eyelid.

I placed a hand on the box and asked, “Do you mind if I open it?”

“This needs to be handled with care… Fine, I’ll open it for you.” The one-armed man hesitated for a moment, then slowly opened the box.

A purple spiritual herb with seven stems growing from intertwined roots was revealed. It had nine leaves on each stem and emitted a fragrant aroma that filled the tent. I instantly recognized it as Seven Stem Nine Leaf Grass (七枝九葉草), a kind of spiritual herb with a high concentration of yang energy.

Wow, not only is this real, the quality is also excellent. Although the Seven Stem Nine Leaf Grass isn’t exactly rare, you have to be really lucky to find a high-grade one. Unfortunately, since it’s uncommon, the price is also nothing to scoff at.

“Did you buy this off someone?”

“Heheh, no, I didn’t. I’m just helping the original owner sell it, for a commission, of course. The connections I made in exchange for losing my arm come in handy for things like this.”

“How much?”

“Hmm, since you’re Bok-hyung’s boss, I’ll cut you a good deal… How about this much…?” The one-armed man did a quick calculation on his abacus and held it out.

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Bok Man-Chun immediately turned red. “Oho? What is this? Is this how you treat your friends, Jang-hyung?”

“Sigh, I’m already giving you a lot of face by charging you this much. My profit margin is close to zero, you know.”

“Who do you think you are? Just because I haven’t been active for a while, do you think you can rob me?”

“Wait, Bok-hyung! Please calm down and listen…”

I silently marveled at the two haggling middle-aged men. Wow, I bet this fight is much more intense than if they were to cross swords. I’m not an easy man to fool, but there’s no place for me in the verbal duel between these two.

Approximately one hour later, the one-armed man finally caved in. “Shit. You’ve drained me dry, Bok-hyung. How’s this price?” he sighed weakly.

In the end, we paid half the original asking price of the Seven Stem Nine Leaf Grass.

Bok Man-Chun smiled good-naturedly and patted the one-armed man on the shoulder. “Stop pretending, Jang-hyung. The next time you get your hands on some nice spiritual herbs, let me know.”

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“…I’ll have to think about it harder next time.”

“Oh no, please don’t. Tell you what, I’ll buy you drinks next time, okay?”

“Only next time? Fuck, you disgust me! If you’re done then get lost!”

Bok Man-Chun gave the one-armed man a victory wink, then took the box and carried it on his shoulder. We walked out of the tent, but when I looked back at him, his expression had hardened.

He leaned over to me and whispered, “I met him a few times when I was still a freelancer. That man’s a viper.”

I think you’re more of a viper than him, though… Your sudden change in demeanor leaves even me speechless.

“So that’s why you were so harsh on him,” I replied.

“Deep down, I wanted to shave some more off the price, but since he has a lot of connections here, I let him off the hook. That way, he won’t be able to resist selling to us again, right?”

“Thank you for the valuable lessons today, Administrator Bok.”

At the word “Administrator”, Bok Man-Chun broke into a grin so wide it was as if his face had cracked in half. “Heheh, you can count on me!” he shouted, thumping his chest.

“Sure thing. Shall we go see the blacksmith now?”

Just like that, I followed an ecstatic Bok Man-Chun to our next destination.


  1. Fox spirit and baby rabbits: Fox spirit = sexy wife, baby rabbits = cute kids. 

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