Light Novel: Volume 13 Episode 21
Pyo-wol left Haimen.
In order for Tarha and Yul Ayeon to establish their foothold in Haimen, they would have to defeat the Sea Dragon Sect.
The Sea Dragon Sect was by no means an easy opponent, but Tarha didn’t seem particularly worried.
He already had the Red Bandana Association under his thumb, and he was confident that he could handle the onslaught of the Sea Dragon Sect’s martial artists.
Neither Tarha nor Yul Ayeon felt disappointed that Pyo-wol didn’t assist them in their endeavor.
Settling in Haimen was their responsibility, not Pyo-wol’s.
They thought it was too much to ask for help based on a fleeting connection. If they were determined to settle here, they had to succeed with their own strength.
And the grandfather and granddaughter pair were more than capable of that.
Yul Ayeon watch as Pyo-wol left with regret, but that was all.
She had a lot of work to do from now on.
It was up to her to take control of the Red Bandana Association and fight the Sea Dragon Sect while Tarha teaches Tae Musang and Geomyeon martial arts.
She had already proven her martial prowess aboard the Phantom Fleet. Although her martial arts prowess somewhat diminished due to her unfamiliarity with the swaying ship, she still held her ground against Jin Yoo-gun and his men.
She was more than capable of fighting against the Sea Dragon Sect.
That was why Pyo-wol had no reason to stay at Haimen to help when they were capable enough.
Pyo-wol left Haimen and headed south.
He didn’t have a specific destination in mind.
For the time being, he planned to just roam around the world wherever his feet take him.
Although he was in conflict with the Kowloon Assassin Guild, he had no intention of wasting his youth and all his time chasing after them.
They were the ones who were in a hurry, not him.
As long as Pyo-wol continue acting like a thorn in their side, they would come for him one day to get rid of him. So while waiting for that time, he decided to travel around and explore the world.
If he travels around the world, he knew that his horizons would naturally expand, and he might unexpectedly obtain crucial clues.
Leaving Haimen, Pyo-wol arrived at Lake Tai.1
It was a huge lake located a few hundred li south of Haimen.
Anyone arriving at Lake Tai for the first time would mistake it for the sea due to its vastness. Pyo-wol would have made the same mistake if he hadn’t heard about Lake Tai before leaving Haimen.
There were forty-eight large and small islands in the lake, and seventy-two mountain peaks surrounding the islands and lake.
The scenic beauty and abundant aquatic resources led to the development of seafood cuisine. Numerous restaurants lined the lakeside, attracting visitors in search of gastronomic delights. Lake Tai is a favorite destination for gourmet visitors and food enthusiasts.
Lake Tai is also the first place where foreign and exotic goods entering through Haimen were unloaded and unpacked. Due to these circumstances, the people of Lake Tai had much more sophisticated and refined attire and accessories compared to the residents of the other regions.
Upon entering Lake Tai, Pyo-wol immediately changed the color of his Black Dragon Robe to brilliant crimson color. That way, he would be less conspicuous in the eyes of the people.
However, it was impossible to completely avoid drawing attention. His splendid appearance inevitably caught people’s eyes wherever she went.
Nevertheless, since his face and clothes exuded an air of elegance and sophistication, people hesitated in approaching him casually.
Pyo-wol strolled through the bustling streets while riding his horse.
There were countless stalls lining the streets.
There were some stalls selling fabric, as well as stalls selling jewelry, but the most common stalls were those selling food.
Freshly prepared dishes made from fish caught directly in Lake Tai were truly exquisite. The delicious aroma wafting from each stall enticed every passerby.
Among them, Pyo-wol headed towards a stall run by an elderly woman.
Despite her bent back and a face full of wrinkles that hadn’t been able to withstand the passage of time, the old woman had a radiant smile on her face.
As Pyo-wol approached and tied his horse to one side, the old woman greeted him.
“Welcome! Have a seat.”
Nodding his head, Pyo-wol took a seat as the old woman immediately started preparing the food.
The dish the old woman was preparing was Aozao Noodles.2
It was a noodle dish with duck meat as the main ingredient, commonly eaten in the neighboring Kunshan region.
Since the stall only sold one type of noodle dish, so they didn’t ask any of their customers what they wanted to eat. They simply made the food.
Pyo-wol looked at the old woman without speaking.
The old woman quickly whipped up a bowl of Aozao Noodles.
“It tastes better when eaten before the dish cools down.”
The old woman said with a smile.
Despite missing all her front teeth due to the passage of time, she didn’t look ridiculous at all. On the contrary, her appearance felt even more warm and cozy.
Pyo-wol nodded and picked up his wooden chopsticks.
He stirred the noodles with the chopsticks first, then took a sip of the broth. The rich broth slid down his throat and warmed his stomach.
The noodles themselves were incredibly chewy. Each strand of noodles seemed to be alive and vibrant.
It was a delight to the palate.
The food Pyo-wol had eaten at Haimen was not all that bad, but it didn’t give him the same level of satisfaction.
Pyo-wol was cautious about oily foods and tended to keep his diet simple, but the Aozao Noodles, which looked like they had been hastily and roughly prepared by an old woman, completely captivated his taste buds.
Just as Pyo-wol was savoring his noodles,
“Is it delicious?”
Suddenly, a woman’s voice came from beside him.
When Pyo-wol turned his head, he saw a beautiful woman in her mid-twenties looking at him.
Due to her icy expression and piercing gaze, she emanated a strong presence. She wore a shawl made of otter fur around her neck, further accentuating her imposing aura.
Surrounding her were several men who appeared to be her bodyguards. They were all glaring at Pyo-wol as if they would not let him get away with any tricks or mischief.
Pyo-wol didn’t even pay any attention to those men and spoke to the woman,
“It suits my taste.”
“Is that so? Then I’ll be having a bowl as well.”
The woman sat down next to Pyo-wol.
Although the chair was uncomfortable as it was a street stall, the woman didn’t seem to mind.
Unlike when the old woman was dealing with Pyo-wol, the old woman made the Aozao noodles in a hurried manner. She seemed to know the woman’s identity.
The old woman hastily handed the prepared Aozao noodles to the woman.
“Enjoy your meal, miss!”
The woman, like Pyo-wol, swirled the noodles with her chopsticks and took a sip of the broth.
“It’s delicious. I was just walking by and when saw how deliciously you were eating, I suddenly got hungry. If I had known this food would be this tasty, I would have bought it often.”
“You seem to live around here?”
It was then.
“Watch your tongue.”
“How dare you speak to the lady!”
The bodyguards standing behind her responded with a fierce voice. The woman’s expression slightly distorted at their intervention.
As she put down her chopsticks, she turned to look at the bodyguards.
“Who told you to intervene?”
“Lady, we were just looking out for you—”
“Is pressuring the people around me considered protecting me?”
Eventually, the bodyguards fell silent. However, dissatisfaction was evident on their faces. They glared at Pyo-wol with a menacing looks.
Their determination to not let any mischief slide was clearly conveyed through their gaze.
The woman apologized to Pyo-wol.
“I’m sorry, my bodyguards have changed recently, and their loyalty tends to be excessive, causing trouble. I hope you can forgive them with a generous heart.”
“It must be difficult.”
“Well, it’ll pass.”
The woman ate the Aozao noodles vigorously with her chopsticks.
Pyo-wol also finished the remaining noodles in a few bites.
Even though he had only eaten one bowl, his stomach felt satisfied.
Pyo-wol left two coins on the table and got up.
“Oh dear! Just one coin is enough—”
Although she said that, the old woman put both coins in her pocket and laughed.
As Pyo-wol turned to leave, the woman called out to him while holding her bowl.
“What’s your name?”
“That’s a good name. My name is Cho Yuseol.”
Cho Yuseol bowed slightly to Pyo-wol.n()0𝒱ℯ𝐥𝒷1n
Pyo-wol studied her face for a moment, then reined in his horse and left the stall.
As soon as he was gone, one of the bodyguards spoke cautiously to Cho Yuseol,
“That man looks suspicious. I’m afraid that the Lord will know that you’ve been talking to such a person.”
“Hmph, aren’t you the one who will report such a thing?”
“That’s a misunderstanding.”
“We’ll see later whether it was a simple misunderstanding or the truth…”
The bodyguard couldn’t say anything in return so he just remained silent.
Cho Yuseol did not pay him any attention again. She just resumed eating her Aozao noodles.
* * *
Pyo-wol booked a room in a large inn right next to Lake Tai.
When he opened the window, he had a panoramic view of the lake.
The lake was as vast as the ocean, with countless boats floating on it. Most of them were fishing boats, among them, there were also boats floating for leisurely water play.
The weather was sunny, and there was no wind, making it the perfect condition to sail.
Pyo-wol lay down on his bed with the window wide open. Then Gwiya, who had been quietly clinging to his forearm all this time, slithered down onto the bed.
The snake wandered around the bed as if it were in its own home for a while, before disappearing into a crack in the wall. Pyo-wol wasn’t worried though.
He knew it would return when the time was right.
As Pyo-wol had predicted, Gwiya returned half an hour later.
Its belly seemed to be slightly bulging as if it had eaten something.
Climbing onto the bed, Gwiya crawled in between Pyo-wol’s fingers. He smiled at the cold sensation of its scales brushing against him.
Pyo-wol raised his hand and locked eyes with Gwiya.
In Gwiya’s jewel-like bright red eyes, Pyo-wol could see a reflection of himself.
Their meeting might have been a coincidence, but now they had reached the point where they can communicate with each other.
Pyo-wol could tell what Gwiya was thinking just by looking at it. It was the same for the snake.
Gwiya gently pressed its little face against Pyo-wol’s cheek, before returning back to his forearm.
After briefly caressing Gwiya for a moment, Pyo-wol soon left the room.
The sun hadn’t set yet so staying in the room like this would be a waste of time.
Pyo-wol had a habit of walking around and familiarizing himself geography of the area he arrived in, regardless of the region.
It was a survival habit ingrained in him.
Pyo wandered around every street in Lake Tai.
After walking for a while, Pyo-wol came to a workshop alley filled with the smell of iron.
The workshop alley was located on the outskirts of Lake Tai.
Perhaps because the smell of iron and the heat were so strong, the workshops decided to stay in a place far away from the bustling residential area.
There were quite a few people walking around the workshop street.
Most of them were warriors wearing weapons.
The warriors came to the workshop to buy weapons or have their own weapons repaired.
Pyo-wol had already repaired his phantom daggers, so he had no reason to enter the workshop. Nevertheless, Pyo-wol couldn’t just let the workshop street pass him by.
Even if he didn’t need anything right away, he didn’t know what items and weapons he might end up finding in each workshop.
That’s how he’d gotten the phantom daggers in the first place.
Although Tang Sochu would later make him a new one, it would still be useful to find another item in a workshop.
Pyo-wol entered the workshop one by one and looked at the weapons displayed on the shelves.
There were many different types of weapons.
From swords and daggers to bows and arrows, it seemed like every weapon that exists in Jianghu was here. However, there were no weapons that match up to Pyo-wol’s standards.
The level of craftsmanship was mediocre.
If Tang Sochu was here, he would have criticized the artisans indiscriminately. He would have berated them, saying that they lacked the basics.
Although Pyo-wol wasn’t Tang Sochu, his eye for weapons was even higher. This was because he was the one using the weapons.
Pyo-wol sighed and entered the last workshop. However, the atmosphere here was different from the others.
It was considerably larger than other workshops and the interior was neatly organized.
Not only that, but the quality of the weapons on display was quite high.
The condition of the iron was excellent, and the balance of the weapons was also good.
The prices were also relatively cheap.
Suddenly, a bundle of Cow Hair Needles caught Pyo-wol’s eyes.
The weapon was named as such because they were as fine and thin as a cow’s hair.
Although it was light enough to be blown away by the wind, using a Cow Hair Needle was difficult, so there were hardly any warriors who actually used it.
Pyo-wol examined it closely.
“Do you like it? I made it myself.”
Suddenly, a voice came from beside him.
When Pyo-wol turned his head, he saw a teenage boy in his late teens looking at him.
There were clear burn marks on his forearm, where the sleeves were rolled up. There were also traces of fire on parts of his face.
“Did you say you made this?”
“Yes! I made it myself. You’re the first customer who showed interest in this item.”
“What’s your name?”
“Do Yeonsan! I’m Do Yeonsan, a blacksmith apprentice at Cheolsan Workshop.”
“Yes! We carry the legacy and vision of the Tang clan.”