Light Novel: Volume 12 Episode 4
Heuk-ho’s body wavered.
His vision suddenly went black and he felt dizzy, unable to stand properly.
He dropped to one knee and looked at Pyo-wol.
He forced himself to concentrate, and his vision slowly returned.
The silver snake that had bitten his ankle was now crawling up on Pyo-wol’s body, weaving its way up his forearm.
“You… used a snake to attack me?”
He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Pyo-wol’s face, which had turned purple for a moment, regained its normal color.
It was as if the poison coated in the needles had no effect on him.
Pyo-wol put on the Black Dragon Robe again and strode toward Heuk-ho.
Heuk-ho tried to stand up and pointed his sword at Pyo-wol, but he couldn’t muster any strength.
His whole body was convulsing.
The snake’s venom had penetrated deep into his body.
His eyes turned red, and foam started to come out of his mouth.
The snake’s venom was beyond his imagination.
He had been confident in his body’s resistance to toxic substances, but it was useless against the venom he had just been bitten by.
The venom quickly attacked his nervous system. His fingertips and toes turned blue, and he trembled uncontrollably.
Heuk-ho vomited blood.
His blood had already turned black.
Heuk-ho couldn’t understand the current situation.
His opponent, who should have been poisoned by the Thousand Day Affliction, was fine, but he, who was supposed to be resistant to the poison, got poisoned instead.
The tables have completely been switched.
He tried to say something, but his lips wouldn’t move.
Even his lips had turned black.
Pyo-wol pointed to his forearm where the small snake was and said,
“This little thing is Gwiya. He’s a guy I just met.”
“As you can see, his body is small, but his venom is deadly.”
Pyo-wol did not order Gwiya to bite Heuk-ho.
It was the snake’s decision to move away from Pyo-wol and went into hiding so it could take Heuk-ho by surprise. The fact that the snake made such a judgement of its own accord surprised Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol wondered if Gwiya is one of the spirits or mythical creatures that the people of Haedong were talking about.
It was then.
Pyo-wol looked up at the roofs of the nearby houses.
Men wearing black robes appeared on the roof.
There were over a hundred of them.
Every single one of them exuded a desperate aura.
At the center of them was a familiar face.
He was Jang Muryang, the captain of the Black Cloud Corps.
Jang Muryang had led the Black Cloud Corps to surround Pyo-wol.
He looked at Pyo-wol with eyes that seemed like he was going to devour him.
Not only Jang Muryang, but the entire Black Cloud Corps was glaring at Pyo-wol with eyes full of hostility and bloodthirst.
Pyo-wol looked at Jang Muryang and said,
“So Heuk-ho was just a sacrificial lamb.”
“Attendant Lee already assumed that Heuk-ho would not listen to him, so he told us to keep an eye on him and wait for an opportunity. And look how things turned out, everything happened just as exactly as he said.”
Lee Yul expected that Heuk-ho would act recklessly.
If Lee Yul couldn’t control Heuk-ho as he wanted, he figured that he might as well use him to set a trap. So he called Jang Muryang to monitor Heuk-ho’s actions.
While Heuk-ho was attacking Pyo-wol and stalling for time, Jang Muryang hurriedly mobilized the entire Black Cloud Corps to complete their encirclement around Pyo-wol.
Another good thing that Heuk-ho did was that he had already killed all the people in the vicinity, so the Black Cloud Corps didn’t need to worry about being seen.
The archers of the Black Cloud Corps pulled their bows in unison and aimed at Pyo-wol.
The streets which used to be filled with dolls just a little while ago, had now been replaced by the members of the Black Cloud Corps.
There was no place for Pyo-wol to escape.
Pyo-wol sensed that he had fallen into a perfect trap.
The problem was that it was unlikely that Lee Yul would stop at this point.
If he were Lee Yul, he would have gone a little farther ahead and made a plan.
‘If it were me, I would—’
But his thoughts were abruptly stopped.
Swoosh! Swoosh! Swoosh!
Countless arrows rained down on him.
* * *
“End this quickly.”
At Lee Yul’s command, Baek Do-kyung responded vigorously.
As soon as the Black Cloud Corps moved, the forces of the Snow Sword Manor followed suit.
Lee Yul always prepared for any unexpected situation that may arise.
Even though Heuk-ho had moved out of his own volition, Lee Yul did not panic. Rather, he decided that he would use this situation to his advantage.
Escaping from both Heuk-ho and the Black Cloud Corps would prove to be difficult even for Pyo-wol. Furthermore, both his opponents had one thing in common, which was their deep grudge and hatred against him.
Even if Heuk-ho and the Black Cloud Corps knew that they would end up suffering losses in the end, they would still relentlessly pursue and attack Pyo-wol.
It was certain that many civilians would die if Heuk-ho and the Black Cloud Corps fought in the city. After all, that was their way of fighting. They didn’t care about anyone else’s situation. They only thought and acted for their own benefit.
As the Snow Sword Manor was already subject to public criticism, if many civilians died, public opinion would be completely lost.
It would be too late then.
They had to fight back while they still had the strength to do so, especially at this moment, when everyone leasts expects it.
Lee Yul asked Baek Do-kyung,
“Where’s the Ten Thousand Man Slayer?”
“He’s on standby. But as soon as we move our troops, he will move as well.”
Baek Do-kyung looked at Lee Yul with a stony expression.
The forces of the Snow Sword Manor had already finished their preparations. They were now all ready to be deployed. They just needed Lee Yul’s command before they could advance toward the Jin family.
When that happens, Runan will turn into a hellish battlefield tonight.
Lee Yul gave the order,
When Baek Do-kyung responded, the warriors of the Snow Sword Manor ebbed away like a tide, leaving only a small number of forces behind.
The once bustling manor instantly fell silent.
It wasn’t just the troops at Snow Sword Manor that were on the move.
Lee Yul went as well.
“If it’s them, they will be able to block the Hao clan’s eyes and ears.”
* * *
“What do you say?! The Snow Sword Manor’s troops are on the move? Are you sure you didn’t make a mistake?!”
“No, my lord. We just received a report from the scouts stationed at the Snow Sword Manor.”
“This is madness! How could they attack at this hour?!”
Hong Yushin jumped out of his seat at his subordinate’s report.
It was already late at night, when everyone was asleep.
Most sects wouldn’t dare move their troops at this hour.
No matter how strong a sect is, there was still a line to be drawn. Even if it’s not a written law, most sects despised attacking at night. They believed it was an unbecoming act for a sect in Jianghu.
But of course, not everyone shares the same sentiments.
There were still many factions that launched their attacks at night to catch their opponents off guard.
The problem was that such cowardly acts would draw the ire and criticisms of Jianghu. It is for that reason why, unless it was truly an urgent situation, most sects avoided launching attacks at this hour.
Furthermore, everyone’s attention is currently on Runan.
Many people are closely watching the fight between the Snow Sword Manor and the Jin family, so while it was important for a sect to win, it was equally important for the sect not to be criticized.
Once a sect does something wrong, they could be chased out of Jianghu and treated as a public enemy even after winning. So unless it was a fairly urgent situation, it was considered taboo to attack at night.
But, the Snow Sword Manor ended up breaking a taboo.
Hong Yushin couldn’t hide his flustered expression at the unexpected turn of events.
“How many of their troops are on the move?”
“We haven’t figured that out yet.”
“You fool! Tell them to hurry up and find that out!”
The subordinate hurriedly replied and then ran outside.
In the meantime, all of the Hao clan members in the brothel have woken up.
Although they were disguised as ordinary courtesans, they were still warriors who had trained in martial arts.
They would normally focus on gathering information, but when something unexpected like this happened, they would reveal and revert back to their true identity as martial artists.
Just then, a woman’s voice came from outside.
“May I come in?”
“Come on in.”
The door opened and a slender woman entered.
She was So-ok, the most sought-after courtesan in the brothel run by the Hao clan.
She wore a sword at her waist.
Her appearance did not resemble that of a courtesan at all.
So-ok’s real identity was that of the leader of the Silver Flower Corps,1 an armed group made up of courtesans. Their main mission includes gathering information and responding to emergency situations.
So-ok took the initiative and said,
“All members of the Silver Flower Corps are on standby. How should we proceed?”
“Let’s wait a little bit longer, until we get some new information.”
So-ok replied calmly.
It was extremely rare for the Silver Flower Corps to actually be dispatched, since their job was mainly to prepare for an emergency.
In all her years of service to the Hao clan, the number of times she’d seen the Silver Flower Corps in action could only be counted on one hand.
So-ok assumed that this time would be no different. The same was true for Hong Yushin as well.
Hong Yushin stared at So-ok and then spoke,
“You’re too stiff. Let’s have some tea.”
So-ok hurriedly tried to pour tea, but Hong Yushin beat her to it.
“No, I’ll do it.”
“I can’t ask you to get out of bed at this hour and make some tea for me. Don’t worry, the tea I will prepare will be quite delicious as well.”
“Yes, thank you. I’ll drink it gratefully.”
In the end, So-ok stepped back and watched as Hong Yushin made the tea.
The way he filled water on the pot and prepared the tea leaves was quite skillful. She thought that it wouldn’t be too bad to drink tea prepared by her superior once in a while.
So-ok leaned back on the chair, waiting leisurely for the tea to be served.
It was then.
They both heard a dull sound.
So-ok stood up abruptly, while Hong Yushin dropped the tea pot he was holding.
At that moment, they heard another sound.
The complexion of the two changed drastically.
Hearing such a noise once could just be a coincidence or a mistake, but hearing it for the second time meant that something serious happened inside the brothel.
So-ok drew her sword and said,
“I’ll go out and come back. Please wait here, my lord.”
When Hong Yushin was about to nod his head,
They heard a muffled scream.
Hong Yushin grabbed So-ok’s shoulder and whispered,
“We’re under attack.”
So-ok’s eyes shook.
There were only a handful of people who knew that this was a branch of the Hao clan.
This was because this establishment was disguised as a brothel, and it has not been long since they arrived in Runan.
At that moment, the small bell hanging on one side of Hong Yushin’s room rang.
It was an alarm reserved solely for emergency situations.
A single ring of the bell indicates that an enemy had infiltrated and attacked their base, while a double ring signalled an urgent need to evacuate. When that happens, that could only mean that an enemy that they couldn’t handle had invaded the brothel.
Hong Yushin said,
“I can’t. My companions are still here. I can’t leave them behind and escape alone. Even if it’s just you, please get out of here quickly.”
“We’re against an enemy we’re no match for.”
“Then shouldn’t I at least stay behind and buy you some time?”
So-ok replied with a determined expression.
It was unthinkable for the leader of the Silver Flower Corps to run away and leave her subordinates behind.
They were destined to be together— whether they live or die, they would do so together.
But Hong Yushin was different.
Hong Yushin was the most important person in the Hao clan.
It was important for him to survive.
“Please escape through the emergency passage. That way, you can take revenge against those who invaded us today, right?”
“I hope that we’ll get to see each other again, alive.”
Hong Yushin touched the decorations on the wall, and then a secret passage that was hidden behind the bookcase appeared.
Hong Yushin ran into the emergency passage without looking back.
Although it was said that no life is more important than another, there was still certainly a difference based on the person’s status and duties.
Hong Yushin was a person who had to live no matter what.
“Who the hell attacked us?”
He felt so powerless having to flee like a dog with its tail between its legs without even confirming the attackers’ identity.
Then suddenly, he remembered Pyo-wol’s words.
—You’re so interested in other people’s affairs that you don’t realize that you’re being watched.
‘Was what he said true?’
After hearing Pyo-wol’s words, Hong Yushin ordered his men to secretly search for those who were watching them. But at that time, the spies had already hidden themselves and disappeared.
Because of that, Hong Yushin thought that Pyo-wol’s words might be false and forgot about it. But now that they’re being attacked by an unknown enemy today, he suddenly found hating himself for ignoring Pyo-wol’s warning.
Thank you for reading!
Silver Flower Corps. Raws: 은화대주(銀花隊主). 銀 yín – silver; cash, money, wealth 花 huā – flower; blossoms 隊 duì, suì, zhuì – team, group; army unit 主 zhǔ – master, chief owner; host; lord