Light Novel: Volume 11 Episode 22
So-ok’s hand slipped into her sleeve.
She strapped a dagger inside her wrist, it was a weapon that could be drawn at any time. She had kept it hidden in case of an emergency.
As Pyo-wol had said, this was one of the branches of the Hao clan.
However, it was not an official branch, but a temporary branch made in a hurry.
Even the Hao clan hadn’t expected the war between the two sects in Runan to become so serious. That’s why they hastily purchased this particular brothel and dispatched a group of Hao clan’s courtesans.
So-ok was one of those courtesans.
Although she was small in stature, with her strong personality, she was often sent to these kinds of harsh places.
She couldn’t hide her bewilderment.
She had been so careful to keep the truth about this place a secret, but the man in front of her had seen right through it.
Judging by the look in his eyes, he seemed to be already convinced that this was a new branch of the Hao clan.
It would only be foolish and ridiculous of her if she continued to pretend otherwise in front of someone who already knew everything.
So-ok clutched the weapon in her sleeve and asked,
“How did you know that this is one of the Hao clan’s branches?”
“It was already a well-known rumor.”
“Go get Hong Yushin. Then you’ll find out.”
It was then.
“You don’t need to bother with that. I’m already here.”
The door opened and Hong Yushin walked right in.
When Hong Yushin entered, So-ok couldn’t hide her panic.
“You should leave now. He’s not someone you can deal with.”
So-ok replied weakly and walked out.
When only the two of them were left, Hong Yushin sat down and said,
“To think I’d see you here again. I waited for you for quite a while back then in Chengdu, but you didn’t return. It was a shame that you left without saying goodbye–”
“I went to Xizang.”
“Yes. Then I heard the news afterwards that something bad happened to the Xiaoleiyin Temple… Had I had known that, I would have waited a little longer.”
Hong Yushin smiled.
He had a relaxed attitude as if he already knew everything.
“You know it well.”
“Master Pyo’s move is a matter of concern to our side as well, so we have no choice but to watch you closely.”
“Is that so?”
“We’ve gathered quite a bit of information about you now. You won’t be disappointed.”
“It seems like you’re so interested in other people’s affairs that you don’t seem to realize that you’re being watched.”
“Wh– What do you mean?”
“So you really didn’t notice.”
Pyo-wol smiled lightly.
At that moment, Hong Yushin’s eyes widened.
He usually doesn’t show his emotions, but whenever he was face-to-face with Pyo-wol like this, he could not help but be unmistakably shaken.
Pyo-wol always managed to ruffle his feathers by saying things he didn’t expect. On the other hand, Pyo-wol was never affected by anything that he said.
The more he talked to Pyo-wol, the more he felt like he was on the losing side.
“What do you mean? I’m being watched? Who would dare spy on me?”
“Is there a reason why I should tell you that?”
“I guess you don’t know either.”
Hong Yushin’s eyes gleamed sharply.
He was by no means a fool. He could see the truth behind Pyo-wol’s words at a glance.
Pyo-wol laughed softly.
“But it’s true that you’re being watched.”
“Did you come here just to say that?”
“I thought that I should just let you should know—”
“What are you after? There’s no way you’d tell me that out of kindness.”
“I told you. I thought I should let you know.”
Hong Yushin furrowed his brow at Pyo-wol’s answer.
He always felt like he was losing when he talked to Pyo-wol. Feeling this way wasn’t something he was used to, which made him feel even worse.
“How did you know that this is a new branch of the Hao clan?”
“Wouldn’t it be weirder if I didn’t know?”
“Perhaps there’s a problem with the security of our clan. To think that an outsider could easily recognize and approach one of our branches.”
Hong Yushin sighed softly.
In fact, the behavior of the Hao clan had remained the same over the past few hundred years. Whenever there was trouble in an area where there was no branch, they would buy up land and hastily establish a new branch.
Those who are not interested wouldn’t notice any changes, but anyone with a keen eye would easily recognize that another branch of the Hao clan has been established.
Hong Yushin had told their leader several times that they should change their ways, but each time he did, he had been ignored. So he had half given up in trying to convince him.
Hong Yushin put on a calm face and asked,
“Is that all you want?”
“Hmph, you’re really not a straightforward person.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“Let me ask you one thing. How did you know there was someone watching us?”
“A coincidence huh… It seems that Master Pyo has established his own intelligence network here.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Common sense. The first thing an assassin does is get information, and the easiest way to get information is to place a request to the Hao clan, but since none of the Hao clan branches have received a request from you, then it’s logical to assume that you have established your own intelligence network.”
“Well, since we’re at this point, let’s make a deal.”
“If you tell me who’s watching me, then I’ll give you the information you need. What do you think? Sounds like a win-win situation for both of us.”
Pyo-wol nodded slightly at Hong Yushin’s suggestion.
“So this is what you’ve been aiming for all along.”
“As you say, it’s a mutually beneficial deal.”
“I hope it stays that way until the end, so now tell me. Who is spying over me?”
Pyo-wol told Hong Yushin the story he had heard from Jang Noya.
Hong Yushin’s face stiffened as he listened.
He found it embarrassing that he hadn’t noticed that someone else was watching him, especially with his position as the chief inspector of the Hao clan.
He wondered if there was a possibility that Pyo-wol might be lying, but there was no reason for someone like Pyo-wol to lie to him. He wasn’t the kind of person who would tell a lie that could easily be caught.
“Who is it?”
“For now, I can only guess that it was Lee Yul who made the move.”
“Lee Yul… Do you know anything about him?”
“That’s the problem. I don’t know anything about him.”
Hong Yushin frowned.
He was the one who knew best about Pyo-wol’s abilities.
Even in Chengdu, his ability to grasp information was demonic, to the point that he had managed to establish his own information network in a short time. If even Pyo-wol couldn’t figure out his identity, then it could only mean that Lee Yul had completely hidden his own information.
But it’s impossible for someone to thoroughly hide his information. One way or another, information about him would certainly pop up.
“It seems I’ll have to use the power of our sect to investigate his background.”
“It won’t be easy.”
“You’re taking the power of the Hao clan too lightly. If you didn’t know, there’s nothing we can’t find out as long as we set our minds to it.”
“I look forward to it.”
“You won’t be disappointed.”
Hong Yushin smiled coldly.
* * *
Dok Gohyang exclaimed and laughed in admiration. He had been this way ever since he entered Runan.
At the sight of Dok Gohyang’s boisterous behavior, Um Soso frowned, but she did not do anything more.
Although she didn’t like the way he was acting, she did not point out his behavior. Because she knows that even if she did, Dok Gohyang was not someone who would fix and mind his behavior.
He had been this way as a child, and his free-spirited personality hadn’t changed even as he grew up.
Dok Gohyang seemed to like the atmosphere in Runan.
The air around them was so tense and heated that it seemed it could explode at any moment.
It had been a long time since she had felt an atmosphere like this. Well, at least, it was her first time experiencing an atmosphere like this since coming to this area.
With how Dok Gohyang was constantly laughing, his face was as red as the heated air.
“This is how it should be. I feel alive.”
Dok Gohyang walked with a huge grin on his face.
Countless people passed by them. Among them were monks who seemed to have strong martial arts skills.
As Dok Gohyang was taking in the sight in front of him, the Three Swords of the South Sea spoke softly to him,
“We have arrived.”
“Yes, this is the meeting place, the Four Seas Pavilion.”1
In front of them was an inn with a sign that read, Four Seas Pavilion, however, unlike its grand name, the inn was very small.
Dok Gohyang walked inside the inn without hesitation, followed by Um Soso and the South Sea Three Swords.
It was quiet inside the inn.
While other inns were in chaos due to the lack of rooms, the Four Seas Pavilion was eerily quiet with no one around.
Despite the strange atmosphere, Dok Gohyang nodded as if it were natural.
At that time, a middle-aged man who appeared to be the owner of the Four Sea Pavilion appeared and said,
“We’re not open for business, so we cannot accept guests.”
“How come there are so many empty seats?”
“No need to apologize. I won’t be going outside anyway.”
“I already told you that we’re not open for business, though?”
The innkeeper’s voice suddenly turned cold.
An aura emanated from his body that could hardly be attributed to an innkeeper.
At that moment, Um Soso stepped forward.
She simply stood in front of Dok Gohyang, but the innkeeper of the Four Sea Pavilion felt as though a giant sword was pointed at his neck.
The corners of the innkeeper’s eyes trembled.
He himself had learned a powerful martial art to the point of being proud of it. As a result, he looked down on others. But the woman in front of him was strong enough to look down on him.
He didn’t feel any threat until she stepped forward. It meant that her level was so high that he couldn’t sense it.
Um Soso opened her mouth,
“We are from the South Seas.”
“The South Seas? Then—”
As soon as she finished speaking, the owner of the Four Sea Pavilion bowed his head and apologized.n./O𝓥𝗲𝓵𝑏1n
“I’m sorry. My eyes are blind that I failed to recognize that a master had come.”
“It’s all right. It happens.”
Dok Gohyang smiled as if it was nothing. But cold sweat was trickling down the back of the Four Sea Pavilion owner.
Dok Gohyang patted him on the shoulder and said,
“It’s okay. Relax.”
“Tha… Thank you.”
“He’s waiting for you upstairs.”
Dok Gohyang looked up at the stairs.
The top of the stairs was so dark that he couldn’t see what was up there. It looked as if a monster had its mouth open, waiting for its prey to walk in on itself.
As Dok Gohyang walked up the stairs, he said to Um Soso,
“I will meet with Mugeuk alone. You wait here.”
Um Soso replied and stepped back.
Dok Gohyang left her behind and climbed the stairs alone. As he passed through the dark area, he finally arrived at a large open space on the second floor.
The second floor should have been filled with dining tables, but since it had all been cleared away except for one, the floor looked more spacious.
There was a man sitting at the dining table.
The man was sitting in front of the table, looking out the window.
The moment he caught sight of the man’s back, Dok Gohyang’s eyebrows twitched.
It was like seeing a giant mountain right in front of him.
The man’s physique was ordinary, but he had a weight and presence that felt like seeing Mount Tai.
‘As expected, this is interesting.’
Dok Gohyang chuckled and turned to face the man.
Dok Gohyang’s shadow stretched long over the man’s head. Only then did the man raised his head to look at Dok Gohyang.
“Oh! You’re here?”
The man had a face as ordinary as his physique.
His eyes were small, and his nose was low. Overall, he gave off a dull impression. But the moment Dok Gohyang looked at the man’s face, he felt pressure like a mountain pressing down on him. But the pressure disappeared in the next moment, like snow melting.
Dok Gohyang sat down in front of the man and said,
“What were you enjoying watching so much?”
“Just this and that. It was a hassle getting here, but it was worth it.”
“I agree! Just like you, I’ve also met an interesting guy on the way here so it was fun.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
“That’s why I’m grateful to you, for inviting me to this kind of event.”
“I wish I could have invited you to the Heavenly Military Sect,2 so I hope this will do for today.”
“It’s a shame I couldn’t go to the Heavenly Military Sect, but it’s still nice to see your face here.”
Dok Gohyang smiled.
The name of the ordinary-looking man was Jang Mugeuk.
He was the young leader of the Heavenly Military Sect, one of the two leading factions in the world.
Thank you for reading!
Four Seas Pavilion. Raws: 사해관(四海館). 四 sì – four 海 hǎi – sea, ocean; maritime 館 guǎn – public building Heavenly Military Sect. Raws: 천무장(天武莊). It could also be translated as Sky Martial Manor. Previously translated as Cheon Mujang. 天 tiān – sky, heaven; god, celestial 武 wǔ – military; martial, warlike 莊 zhuāng – village, hamlet; villa; surname