“They seem to be in better shape than I expected after such a big fight.”
“I’m sure the Jin family worked hard to recover from the battle.”
“I suppose so.”
The two young men talked while looking around the city of Runan.
Both of them exuded an uncharacteristic strength and confidence.
And it wasn’t just them.
One after another, young warriors with unusual momentum and energy were entering Runan.
Some came in groups of three or five, while others came alone.
Their times of arrival and points of departure were all different, but their destination was the same.
Celestial Origin Pavilion.1
It was one of the largest inns in the area, and also one of the most luxurious.
This made it a place mainly frequented by powerful and influential people in Runan before the battle between the Snow Sword Manor and the Jin family. However, once the war between the two factions started, the inn closed its doors for the meantime due to lack of customers.
The sight of the Celestial Origin Pavilion opening its doors again and letting in a group of young men attracted the attention of many.
“What’s going on?”
“Why are so many martial artists gathering at the Celestial Origin Pavilion?”
People were worried that there would be another clash like the one between the Snow Sword Manor and the Jin family.
The very fact that young martial artists were gathering at this time scared them. Among them, the one who reacted the most sensitively was the Jin family, the leading faction in Runan.
It was a natural reaction for them.
After all, they had only just begun repairing the damages and losses incurred from the battle. Having so many young martial artists coming in without a warning in the scope of their territory was not a situation they could calmly accept.
Jin Siwoo took matters into his own hands.
Jin Siwoo left the residence alone and headed for the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
It was then that Jin Siwoo saw a familiar face.
Jin Siwoo immediately recognized the man and ran over to him.
The man who stood out from the distance was Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol has now fully recovered from his injuries and is now in perfect condition. With his complexion back to normal, his already beautiful face looked even more charming.
“Brother seems to be getting even more beautiful.”
Jin Siwoo clicked his tongue.
He could almost smell the scent of incense from Pyo-wol’s face now. Anyone would be enchanted by Pyo-wol’s face. Nevertheless, Jin Si-woo greeted him warmly.
“I see you haven’t left Runan yet.”
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to the Celestial Origin Pavilion.”
“Celestial Origin Pavilion?”
“Is it because of the warriors entering Runan?”
“That’s right. How did you know?”
“Because I’m on my way there too.”
“What? Even you too, brother?”
Jin Siwoo’s eyes widened at Pyo-wol’s unexpected words.
Pyo-wol spoke as he walked,
“I was invited.”
“By a woman named Um Soso, who travels with Dok Gohyang.”
“Wait, Dok Gohyang? You mean the Dragon Fang Sword of the Martial Sword Sect?”2
“Did you not know he was here?”
“Yes. This is my first time hearing about it.”
Jin Siwoo’s face stiffened in an instant.
Dok Gohyang was a big shot.
Even though he was young, he had already been confirmed as the next sect leader of the Martial Sword Sect. For such a big shot to come in and not give any notice to the Jin family was a clear sign of disrespect.
“What is he thinking…”
“We’ll find out once we get there. Let’s go together.”
The two of them walked shoulder to shoulder towards the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
Jin Siwoo felt relieved just by the fact that Pyo-wol was going with him.
They soon arrived at the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
Three warriors stood guard at the entrance.
Pyo-wol immediately recognized their identities.
They were none other than Dok Gohyang’s henchman, the South Sea Three Swords.
The South Sea Three Swords were checking each and every identities of the young martial artists who were trying to enter the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
When Pyo-wol and Jin Siwoo arrived, the South Sea Three Swords raised their hands to stop them.
“Stop there. Do you have a badge?”
“Yes! If you don’t have one, then you can’t come in here.”
“You’re asking me for a badge? In this place…?”
Jin Siwoo had a dumbfounded expression on his face.
The South Sea Three Swords then quickly realized that something was wrong. This was their first time seeing Jin Siwoo, which was why they hadn’t realized his identity.
Just then, Pyo-wol, who was behind Jin Siwoo, stepped forward.
The South Sea Three Swords suddenly exclaimed as they recognized Pyo-wol.
“You’d better let him in, if you want to start the meeting today.”
“This guy’s name is Jin Siwoo. He’s the leader of the Jin family.”
Just then, the pupils of the South Sea Three Swords flickered.
Although they didn’t recognize Jin Siwoo’s face, they knew of his name.n𝓞𝑣𝔢(𝑳𝒃-In
The three of them looked at each other.
Their faces were filled with embarrassment.
They knew how unreasonable it was for them to ignore Jin Siwoo when they’re holding an event in Runan.
Il-geom, the eldest of the South Sea Three Swords then spoke up,
“I apologize for not recognizing you earlier. Both of you, please come inside.”
They had no choice but to let the two in since Pyo-wol was Dok Gohyang’s guest, while Jin Siwoo is the leader of the Jin family.
Pyo-wol and Jin Siwoo walked into the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
There were already a lot of people gathered inside.
Most of them were around Pyo-wol and Jin Siwoo’s age, but there were also many who looked much younger than them.
Most of the martial artists were men. There were only a few women.
They were sitting around tables, chatting.
As Jin Siwoo confirmed their faces, his expression stiffened.
“Golden… Heaven Society”3
Jin Siwoo had accompanied his older brother Jin Geum-woo to a few meetings of the Golden Heaven Society, so he recognized that many of the warriors here belonged to the Golden Heaven Society.
“How can this be?”
These were the same people who didn’t show up even when Jin Geum-woo, the head of Golden Heaven Society, lost his life.
Of course, Namgung Wol and a few other martial artists had come from far and wide to support the Jin family in order to show their loyalty to Jin Geum-woo. However, there was not one who visited the Jin family among the martial artists gathered in the Celestial Origin Pavilion.
They laughed and chatted joyfully, without even knowing that Jin Siwoo had arrived. The sight of them made Jin Siwoo feel a great sense of betrayal.
Jin Siwoo’s eyes were now red and bloodshot.
He gritted his teeth, trying to hold back his anger.
Pyo-wol looked at him without saying a word.
He couldn’t even guess how great the sense of betrayal Jin Siwoo must be feeling. Pyo-wol knew that hasty comfort would only make Jin Siwoo more miserable.
“Was Jianghu’s kindness so fleeting? How could they do this to my brother?”
It was Jin Geum-woo who had visited and persuaded these masters to establish the Golden Heaven Society. Given their relationship with him, they shouldn’t have done this.
It was then.
A dull footstep was heard coming from the stairs.
The gazes of the martial artists who had been talking amongst themselves focused on the stairs.
Three people could be seen coming down the stairs.
Jang Mugeuk, Dok Gohyang, and an unexpected person.
He was Jang Hoyeon, the man who had come all the way here to find the sword, Gongbu.
All eyes were on the three of them.
As soon as Jang Mugeuk and Dok Gohyang appeared, the atmosphere in the room became heavy. The martial artists were crushed by the unearthly momentum they exuded.
Jang Mukuk stood in the middle of the stairs and spoke.
“I would like to thank all of you for coming here. The reason I have invited all of you here is because of the matter of the Golden Heaven Society. After Jin Geum-woo’s death, the leader of the Golden Heaven Society, the organization lost its focal point and was unable to fulfill its role.”
Jang Mugeuk’s voice had the power to gather everyone’s attention.
The young martial artists unknowingly focused their attention on him.
“I don’t think the situation in Runan would have deteriorated to this extent if the Golden Heaven Society had remained intact. That’s why I have a proposal. I suggest that we strengthen the cohesion of the Golden Heavenly Society so that such an incident never happens again. We can do this by choosing a new leader who can actively respond to such situations.”
“I agree with Master Jang’s words!”
The people cheered at Jang Mugeuk’s words.
Pyo-wol looked at Jang Mugeuk with narrowed eyes.
In a way, it was a very strange act.
Jang Mugeuk suggested selecting the next head of the Golden Heaven Society, but to Pyo-wol’s ears, it sounded like Jang Mugeuk was declaring his intent of taking that position himself. And many people cheered and shouted in agreement.
“Let Master Jang take the position of leader!”
“If it’s Master Jang, he can follow behind Master Jin and lead the Golden Heaven Society excellently!”
“Make Master Jang the head—!”
The crowd erupted in cheers.
It was a scene that could only be described as madness.
Jin Siwoo clenched his fists tightly and glared at Jang Mugeuk.
Jang Mugeuk diligently walked among the young warriors, unaware or perhaps ignoring Jin Siwoo’s hostile gaze.
The events that happened next unfolded very quickly.
Jang Mugeuk naturally became the master of the Golden Heaven Society.
The sequence of events was so natural that it was like watching a well-choreographed farce.
Jin Siwoo felt a great sense of betrayal.
He couldn’t understand how they could do this.
He wondered if his older brother, Jin Geum-woo, was still in their memories.
It was then.
Jang Mugeuk and Dok Gohyang approached Jin Siwoo.
“That man is—”
Finally, the martial artists in the room suddenly recognized Jin Siwoo. Embarrassed expressions suddenly appeared on their faces.
It was a situation that would have made all of them feel embarrassed, but Jang Mugeuk, the mastermind behind all of this, remained very nonchalant.
He first gave Jin Siwoo a knowing look.
“It’s been a while.”
Jin Siwoo looked Jang Mugeuk straight in the eyes.
They had met once before, with Jin Geum-woo present.
“I didn’t know you were coming.”
“I didn’t know you were coming either. Didn’t you say you would contact me if you ever pass by Runan? Why didn’t you inform me beforehand or something? How could you come to my front yard and say nothing?”
“It’s a misunderstanding.”
“What misunderstanding? I saw it with my own eyes.”
“I thought you might be busy, so I wanted to have a meeting first and then contact you.”
“Do you think that makes sense?”
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t more proactive in helping you when the Jin family was in crisis. But you know better that I can’t, don’t you?”
“Is it because you’re the successor of the Heavenly Military Sect?”
“That’s right. My decisions are also the decisions of the Heavenly Military Sect. When the Heavenly Military Sect moves, then it will not be just a matter of winning the power struggle in Runan.”
The Heavenly Military Sect was undoubtedly one of the most powerful forces in the world.
Even Shaolin Temple, a traditional powerhouse and the North Star of Jianghu, was evaluated as one level below the Heavenly Military Sect.
In the current state of Jianghu, the only one who could stand up to them was the Frenzied Warrior Clan. No other faction dared to match the power of the Heavenly Military Sect.
All the sects in the world were on high alert to the movements of the Heavenly Military Sect, and it was clear that if the Heavenly Military Sect made a move in such a situation, all sects would react sharply.
Jang Mugeuk’s words were theoretically correct.
However, Jin Siwoo wondered if it was necessary to gather the Golden Heaven Society in Runan and take the position of the leader of the association, especially at this time.
As if reading Jin Siwoo’s mind, Jang Mugeuk smiled and said,
“In any case, I was planning to take everyone to visit the Jin family after today’s meeting. Since the fight with the Snow Sword Manor is over, no one will object.”
“Do you expect me to believe that?”
“If you don’t believe me, there’s nothing I can do. But I’m telling the truth. There’s no reason for me to lie to you, is there?”
Jang Mugeuk’s eyes were cold as he looked at Jin Siwoo.
Jin Siwoo didn’t dare to meet his gaze.
Jin Siwoo’s face twisted.
Jang Mugeuk stared at him for a moment before turning his gaze to Pyo-wol.
“Oh, you’re here too.”
“If I knew this was going to happen, I wouldn’t have come.”
“Of course you wouldn’t. I didn’t know she’d invite you here either. Anyway, since you’re already here, why don’t you eat first? The food here is pretty good.”
“Did you come to Runan for this purpose from the beginning?”
“To monopolize Jin Geum-woo’s legacy.”
“If it’s not me, then the Golden Heaven Society will scatter apart. In that case, it would be better for me to be the organisation’s center to help Jianghu. That’s the only way to honor Jin Geum-woo’s will.”
“I’m not sure if Jin Geum-woo would agree.”
“What would a dead person think? All decisions and actions are for the living. Since things have come to this point, why don’t you join the Golden Heaven Society too?”
Jang Mugeuk’s smile was cold as he turned to face Pyo-wol.
Ugh!!!! The audacity of this guy. I officially hate Jang Mugeuk now. He’s so opportunistic. Anyway, thank you for reading!
Celestial Origin Pavilion. Raws: 천원루(天元樓). 天 tiān – sky, heaven; god, celestial 元 yuán – first; dollar; origin; head 樓 lóu, lǘ – building of two or more stories Dragon Fang Sword. Raws: 용아검(龍牙劍). 龍 lóng, lǒng, máng – dragon; symbolic of emperor 牙 yá, yà – tooth, molars, teeth; serrated 劍 jiàn – sword, dagger, saber Golden Heaven Society. Raws: Geumcheonhoe, 금천회(金天倉). Previously translated as Golden Heavenly Hall. This is the name of the organisation in which Jin Geum-woo belongs. 金 jīn, jìn – gold; metals in general; money 天 tiān – sky, heaven; god, celestial 倉 cāng – granary; berth; sea