Chapter 12: Start of the Jung Do Banquet
“Move over, I said!”
A Qi-filled noise rang out in the air. Those with weaker Inner Qi immediately fainted while others sat down and started Qi Recovery. Pa Chun’s face turned ugly. Not only did this person act so selfishly in a crowded place, but he also dared to cause such disturbance? He questioned who besides himself could be crazy enough to do such a thing. When he and his companions turned around to look, they caught sight of a black horse speeding towards them. A mushroom like smoke was erupting behind it, engulfing everyone there. This invoked Pa Chun’s playfulness. Snapping his horse’s rein, he made it turn around, running towards the black horse in a straight line. At this sudden turn of events, his companions opened their mouths in surprise. Nangong Ah-Yeon even screamed.
“Sir, it’s dangerous!”
But Pa Chun wasn’t the type to go back on his decision. His ugly expression became filled with smiles as the distance between him and the black horse lessened.
-What are you, a kid?[Cmon, I’m helping out the others. Don’t you agree, Huineng?]
Before he could finish the ‘bul,’ the distance had already drawn closer than 3 jang. But instead of a crash, what happened was a whoosh.
The black horse just jumped over him!
In a daze, Pa Chun sat still, continuing to charge ahead.
-Ahaha, what an idiot.
From this, Pa Chun snapped back to reality, turning his horse.
“What the hell kind of a horse is that? How embarrassing…”
Seeing Pa Chun blurt out such an awkward response, his companions pretended to be indifferent, as they held in their desires to burst out into laughter. However…
It was Nangong Ah-Yeon.
Pa Chun became even more embarrassed. It’s best to laugh together at times like these.
‘Even with a veil covering your face, I caught sight of it when you jumped over… a woman, eh… I’m sure we’ll be meeting soon.’
The North Sword’s front had a constant stream of visitors. One by one, they were registering their names and going inside. Although there were about 20 lines, it was still taking a long time. Reluctantly, Pa Chun and the others lined up at the end. From up close, the North Sword’s headquarters looked even more domineering. With walls easily reaching 5 jangs, it was impossible to take a glimpse inside. On the top of the walls, spear-holding guards stood with fierce expressions. Even the guards standing outside the gates seemed to be trained exceedingly well.
They still are small fries in my eyes though…
At this rate, I’ll be standing here until sunset.
“What a terrible reception after inviting so many people over…”
At Pa Chun’s disgruntled complaining, Nangong Hyuk Ryun smiled awkwardly. Although they had special rights to enter right away, they couldn’t just leave Pa Chun by himself. At the same time, a few middle aged men came out from the gate, one of whom Pa Chun recognized.
It was the Law Enforcement Corp’s leader, Smiling Sword Wu Hyun-Choong. Of course, the one who shouted was Pa Chun. The face of Smiling Sword turned ugly, immediately running over to Pa Chun.
“W-Welcome, sir… I apologies, I should have come out to greet you. Please come in.”
“Haha, sir Wu, sorry for the troubles once again.”
“N-No, not at all…”
When will he stop stuttering in front of me? Well, such a miracle probably won’t happen in my life time.
Seeing the North Sword’s Rank 17th Smiling Sword personally come to see a group in, no one dared to block their path. Even so, their faces were filled with displeasure, as they’ve been waiting in the hot sun all day. Alas, the weak and connectionless could not voice their complaints.
Wu Hyun-Choong grabbed the rein of Pa Chun’s horse, thinking of how pathetic he must look right now. Of course, he didn’t show it on the outside; in fact, he was shining as if holding this rein was his life duty.
The interior was even more grand than he imagined. Several huge towers stood in a line, and the floors were all made with bluestone. Small gardens were placed here and there, and artificial fountains stood, its water shining in the sunlight. Rare fish could be seen inside the ponds and rare birds could be seen in the artificial mountains. The sight made Pa Chun question if he was in the imperial palace. No, in some ways, this place was even grander than the imperial palace.
Smiling Sword thoroughly guide them. A huge building that read Reception Building was situated in their path, but Smiling Sword simply ignored it and moved forward. Where he led them was the Guest Reception Pavilion, located in the inner court area. This was where the heirs of various clans stayed during their time in the North Swords headquarters. It could be seen that the treatment Pa Chun received was worthy of praise. Guest Reception Pavilion’s Executive Manager, Chun Gong-Su, at first displayed a look of discontent, but because the head of the Law Enforcement Corp stubbornly insisted, he had no choice but to give Pa Chun and the others temporary residences.
The place picked for Pa Chun’s residence was quite special, a handy-work of Smiling Sword. Its interior was the biggest of the entire guest residence with a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and a study. In addition, rare items, furniture, and decorations were everywhere. Even the bathroom’s water pipe was made of ivory.
Pa Chun sat down on a chair, his weight pushing down on the cushion. It seems the seat was made filled with cotton. Pa Chun became immersed in his thoughts.
-Are you worried about something, Pa Chun?[Do you remember the guy I let escape from Mt. Tae? Tianshan’s Second Sword I think it was… you know, the guy whose arm I cut off. Anyways, he knows my face. Didn’t he say he was the leader of something? I’m just concerned about that.]
-I doubt you’d run into him here… and what if you do? Just beat him up a bit and you’re done. Right, Huineng?
-Is that your answer for everything?
-Agh! Forget I asked.[I guess I just silence him.]
-How?[I’ll just need to find him before he notices anything and kill him.]
-It’s a good idea, but don’t you think you’re thinking too much? He might not recognize you or he might not even run into you. Besides, even if you do run into him, you have an established background prepared.[True. You’re right, I’ll forget about it for now. If he finds out, I’ll just use my strength to shut him up.]
-Ha, great idea.
“Sir Mun! Let’s go.”
It was Nangong Hyuk Ryun.
“Alright, wait just a moment.”
‘Nothing should go wrong hopefully.’
Nangong Hyuk Ryun and the others were already waiting outside. They wanted to attend the opening ceremony for the Jung Do Banquet. As they weren’t familiar with the North Sword’s interior, they had to ask around quite a lot. The place was really humongous, not to mention the fact that all the buildings looked more or less the same. It really looked easy to get lost.
They had only gotten to the opening ceremony after getting lost for quite a bit of time when the ceremony had already begun. This was the North Sword’s biggest military exercise hall, its length and width over 100 jang. It was a gathering of accomplished Murim-ins and they were all looking up at the platform where many people stayed seated. These men were leaders of the North Sword, and with them were representatives of the other 3 Powers of Jung Do. Directly below them, over 7000 North Sword swordsmen stood, surrounding the platform. Outside their encirclement, there seemed to be about 30,000 Jung Do-ins, truly an astonishing number. It also made Pa Chun question how many Murim-ins existed in the world.
One of the men who had been sitting stood up and began speaking with a voice carrying Inner Qi.
“The reason we invited everyone over to the North Swords was to discuss two matters. First is to suggest eliminating the threats to Murim’s justice, and the second is to pick a man capable of performing that duty. The current Ma Do is hiding quietly at the ever-strong power of Jung Do, but they will one day retaliate, causing chaos to befall Murim. As a representative of the North Sword, I declare that we must eradicate the Ma Do by the root to give way for foundations of a thousand year of peace. I ask for assistance of my fellow Jung Do-ins.”
‘So he wants to destroy the Ma Do and more or less take over Murim. Does he have to say that in such a roundabout way? Also, a thousand year of peace? People can’t even live for over a hundred, so who cares?’ Pa Chun frowned strongly and threw a question at Nangong Hyuk Ryun standing next to him.
“Who is that guy?”
“The North Sword’s Advisor.”
“Advisor? So he’s the one in charge of petty tricks. That’s good and all, but isn’t he making it too obvious?”
“It will still be hard to stop him. Most clans and schools have already joined, and this is only for formalities’ sake. The only uncertainty is how the other 3 Powers will react, but I don’t think they can openly oppose the plan. In the end, things will go as they planned.”
‘What do you know, this makes things easier for me… it’d be much easier to conquer Murim when it’s in a state of chaos after all. Yep, fight all you want with the Ma Do. I’ll be the one to swallow you all in the end.”
As the Advisor finished his speech, the crowd erupted in cheers, almost as if the entire thing was a well-staged play.
Then an old monk walked out carrying a dignified aura. He stature was small but his the light in his eyes showed that this was a man of great power.
“Who is he?”
“He is the Shaolin’s Religious Leader, High Priest Ji-Gong”
“The Shaolin Temple’s?”[Yo Huineng, seems like he’s your successor.]
=I’ve heard, shizhu.
-Good for you, hmph. Where the hell are mine? Why are there no news of them?
What Chun Ma was talking about were the members of his school. It seems like he was looking forward to hearing about them. From what he told Pa Chun as he climbed down Mt. Tae, he probably thought the Chun Ma School he established was ruling over Murim. But not only are they nowhere to be seen, some idiots from the Jung Do were in power. It wasn’t surprising that he would be mad.
“My name is Ji-Gong, one of Shaolin’s monks.”
“Ohh, so he is Ji-Gong the Holy Priest.”
“The Religious Leader of the Shaolin’s elders?”
“My way of thinking is a bit different from the North Sword’s. I won’t deny that the North Sword’s suggestion stems from their desire to continue the peace of Murim, but we must not go against the laws of nature! The peace of Murim is kept by the balance between the Ma Do and the Jung Do. We must not think to destroy the Ma Do as it will only lead to the Jung Do’s one-sided domination of Murim. And even if we did, the Ma Do or some other faction will rise to once again restore the balance. Such is the law of this world! The North Sword’s excessive oppression is worrisome. We will not be able to eradicate the entirety of Ma Do. What will we do if their descendants come to avenge their ancestors two, three generations later? We must at least leave a way for them to survive. During the times when Chun Ma was alive, the Jung Do could continue existing because of the Ma Do’s tolerance towards us. How can we, the Jung Do, forget to return the deed that the Ma Do has done? For this reason, the Shaolin Temple and I are against this notion, as is the Nine Jung Alliance.”
=Amitabul. Seems like the will of my Shaolin is still alive.
-Haha, what a clever guy! He knows exactly why I kept the Jung Do alive. He understands my greatness.
‘Would you guys stop messing around…’
“Ho, I didn’t expect the Nine Jung Alliance to disagree. Since we, the Five Clans Union, will definitely disagree, only the South Blades are left to decide.”
Isn’t this going nowhere?
“What’s going to happen then?”
“They will most likely end up following the majority opinion. The heads of the various schools present here will vote and the Jung Do will follow that decision.”
Oh? It seems like there’s still hope.
“More than likely, the end result will be pro-eradication and the North Sword’s will get what they want. Even knowing this, we are going against it to delay the inevitable for at least a little longer. It’s also to let the others know that some are against this notion.”
“It seems like Murim is a complicated world.”
“Murim is a place where humans’ greed takes shape. Murim can thus be akin to hell.”
As Nangong Hyuk Ryun predicted, the Five Clans Union fiercely opposed the proposal.
“… and as such, we, the Five Clans Union, will not agree with this proposal. Of course, the Ma Do is in the wrong for garnering the hatred of the North Swords. Why don’t we just ask the Ma Do Alliance to change their business fields? I’m sure the North Swords will be content with this. I even considered useless thoughts as this: it is not the fault of Ma Do-ins that they were born of Ma Do-in parents. They walk the path of Ma Do because they were born to, not because they wish to. Of course, there are truly evil men in the Ma Do, but I believe for the majority, that they are more righteous that the men of our Jung Do. If this Jung Do Banquet ends with the decision to eradicate the Ma Do, the Five Clans Union hereby declares that we will leave the Jung Do Alliance.”
The sound of both cheers and jeers filled the air. The speaker was none other than the Clan Leader of the Peng Clan, who was present as the representative and elder of the Five Clans Union. Now only the South Blades remained. If they were to oppose the proposal as well, it would become much harder to justify an all-out attack against the Ma Do. Even if the vote of the majority supported the plan, if three of Jung Do’s Powers were against it, the Ma Do’s fierce resistance could easily deal with the Jung Do’s forces.
The one representing the South Blades was their Head Elder, Phantasmal Sword Gu Ryun-Jin. Now over 80 years old, he was an expert of the previous generation. Once called Gangnam’s strongest, he made his debut in Murim with a self-named sword technique, the Phantasmal Sword Technique. Using these strange sword skills, he gathered 286 victories in one on one duels. He joined the South Blades after losing their head 27 years ago, and was now their number one elder. At the same time, he was a master swordsman that anyone carrying a sword would like to fight against once in their lifetime.
He faced the crowd silently, his long coiling beard swaying in the wind.
“I… am personally against this plan… but the majority of our South Blades… support the North Sword’s decision.”
With these words, he stepped down from the platform, looking unsatisfied. An unexpected result had occurred. No one had thought that the South Blades, who along with the Five Clans Union disliked the North Swords, would agree with their plan. After sitting back down in his seat, he closed his eyes shut. It seemed he would nothing else about the matter. Of course, no one dared to ask him a question either. The face of the North Sword’s Advisor broke into a large smile, as if things had gone the way he planned. The only thing left now was the result of the Jung Do schools’ votes. The North Sword’s ambition would soon come to fruition along with the end of the Ma Do!