The Heaven-Slaying Sword Chapter 21

Fourth Chapter - Anhui (2)

༺ Fourth Chapter – Anhui (2) ༻

 

  Several weeks had passed since Mok Riwon was given the nickname Ink Sword, and now, they had finally arrived in Anhui Province.

  

  “Wow…!”

  

  People were everywhere, and shops were lined up all along the main street.

 

  His eyes sparkled at the hectic atmosphere.

  

  “Young Lady! What’s that?”

  

  Whenever they came to a place this lively, Mok Riwon always had questions. Tang Hwa-seo smiled and answered him.

  

  “That is a street vendor. They usually sell things like simple snacks.”

 

  “I smell chicken.”

 

  “Yes, you’re right. That’s chicken.”

  

  Mok Riwon gulped, clearly tempted by the food.

 

  Figuring this was a good chance to get him something to eat, Tang Hwa-seo started to walk over to the vendor.

  

  At that moment.

  

  –Look at that person over there!

 

  –My goodness… How can somebody look so…!

 

  –Who is that with him? What’s the likes of her doing there?

  

  The voices of some young women reached Tang Hwa-seo’s ears.

  

  They were sounds she had grown used to, the usual fuss over Mok Riwon’s looks, which always seemed to draw attention. Usually, she didn’t mind, but this time, the last comment got under her skin a bit.

  

  ‘What’s the likes of her?’

  

  What kind of trashy manners were they taught to spout bullshit to someone they’ve just seen for the first time?

 

  Tang Hwa-seo turned her head toward the direction of the voice with a fiery glare in her eyes.

  

  Intent on getting a good look at her face, she instead found young women with swords hanging by their waists.

 

  The clothes they wore were pure white martial arts uniforms.

 

  Tang Hwa-seo’s eyebrows furrowed.

  

  ‘…Emei Sect.’

  

  They were female monks from the Emei Sect, one of the Nine Sects One Gang.

 

  From their head full of hair, they seemed to be outer disciples.

  

  ‘Well, it was about time I started running into the likes of them.’

  

  Tang Hwa-seo laughed wryly as the female monks, who met her gaze, were startled and ran away.

 

  Her fist was clenched tightly, holding back her rising anger.

  

  ‘…The next town is the venue.’

  

  Just one more town to go before the location where the Dragon Phoenix Tournament would be held.

 

  Since those monks from the Emei Sect would surely be participating, she could postpone punishing that insolent mouth.

 

  Tang Hwa-seo clicked her tongue in annoyance and said to Mok Riwon.

  

  “Young Hero Mok, let’s leave.”

 

  “Eh? Understood!”

  

  Tang Hwa-seo moved on, her discomfort clearly evident.

  

  Mok Riwon, who had been eagerly looking at the chicken, followed behind her with a sulky expression.

 

 

* * *

 

 

  At an inn at the center of the town, Tang Hwa-seo continued thinking while watching Mok Riwon eat somen noodles and bamboo leaf liquor again.

  

  ‘The sole purpose of participating in the Dragon Phoenix Tournament.’

  

  It was necessary to be in a public place where the Tang Clan could not recklessly target her.

 

  Knowing that moving in secret was impossible, she decided to do the opposite by making her whereabouts known to everyone and forcing their hand.

  

  ‘For the duration of the martial arts tournament, even the Tang Clan cannot approach me.’

  

  No. It wasn’t that they couldn’t, but they wouldn’t.

 

  Given the Clan Head’s personality, there was no way he would prevent a clan member from elevating their status to outsiders in an event.

  

  ‘My goal is to secretly meet the Fist Dragon.’

  

  She had to meet Fist Dragon Il-woon, the rising star and representative of this generation’s Shaolin.

 

  Through him, she wished to convey her intention to meet the Abbot of Shaolin.

 

  With that, her affairs in Anhui would be over, and she could head to Shaolin Temple with him after the tournament. Then, the clan would not be able to interfere with her.

  

  ‘When that time comes…’

  

  Tang Hwa-seo’s expression darkened as she thought that she might have to part ways with Mok Riwon once her matters in Anhui were concluded.

  

  It was fine. Parting ways was the right decision.

 

  After all, their promise was to stay together only until the Dragon Phoenix Tournament. Her plans afterwards were complicated, and continuing to travel with him would be difficult.

  

  Suddenly, Tang Hwa-seo felt her chest tighten for some reason.

  

  ‘Have I become too attached?’

  

  A bitter smile began to form around her lips at the thought that she might miss him chattering by her side all day once they separated.

  

  “Young Lady?”

 

  “Oh, yes?”

 

  “Aren’t you going to eat?”

 

  Tang Hwa-seo looked straight at Mok Riwon, who had finished his share of the meal and was now staring intently at the fish dish in front of her.

  

  “Would you like it?”

 

  “Can I really?!”

 

  “Please do. I don’t have much of an appetite.”

  

  With a bright smile, Mok Riwon picked at the fish fillet and began to eat.

 

  Then, his mouth stretched into a wide, happy smile.

  

  “It’s so delicious…!”

  

  Seeing him become happy just from eating, all of her trivial thoughts seemed to fly away.

 

  Tang Hwa-seo thought that perhaps this was what ‘feeling full just by watching someone eat’ meant.

  

  Shortly after that.

  

  “Young Hero, I have to stop by somewhere for a moment. Would you be able to stay alone for a while?”

 

  “Hm?”

 

  “It’s a place I must visit alone.”

  
  There was one reason she wanted to move alone.

 

  It was because she had to go to the Beggars’ Gang to hear the results of the investigation she had left with her subordinates when they were leaving Suyang County.

  

  Hoping he wouldn’t get deeply involved and face trouble due to her personal matters, she told him that, and Mok Riwon nodded his head greatly.

  

  “Understood! Then, I’ll just go sightseeing around the streets by myself…”

 

  “No. Please just sit still.”

  

  Tang Hwa-seo’s expression turned serious.

 

  Mok Riwon flinched and then asked her cautiously.

  

  “Why is that…?”

 

  “What if you lose your way? Or what if you follow a stranger and something bad happens to you?”

  

  Mok Riwon blinked.

 

  Then he burst into laughter with a bang and waved his hands dismissively.

  

  “Ah, Young Lady, really! Do I look like a child to you? To have you worry so much.”

  

  ‘It’s because you are like a child that I’m worrying like this.’

 

  …Is what Tang Hwa-seo wanted to say directly to his face, but her heart was too soft.

  

  “…In any case, it won’t be too long, so please sit here.”

 

  “Sightseeing…”

 

  “Answer.”

 

  “…Understood.”

  

  Seeing Mok Riwon’s crestfallen face, Tang Hwa-seo felt a tinge of guilt, but there was nothing she could do.

 

  She was genuinely worried about him.

 

  Even at this very moment, she could see women stealing glances at him from all around. Who knew what kind of trouble he might attract if he went out into a more crowded place?

  

  There might even be a seductress who would try to tempt him away by offering to buy him candied fruit.

  

  “You understand, right? Young Hero? Don’t just follow anyone who asks you to go somewhere, especially if they offer to buy you candied fruit. Oh, and if someone asks to drink with you, make sure to confirm if they have learned martial arts, and…”

  

  Her ever-increasing worries turned into a stream of nagging.

 

  Mok Riwon had to suppress his urge to say, ‘I am not a child!’ to keep her from nagging any longer, which he absolutely did not want.

 

 

* * *

 

 

  Mok Riwon tilted his liquor cup in a corner of the inn after Tang Hwa-seo had left.

 

  Although he had some complaints about her preventing him from sightseeing, Mok Riwon did not disobey her and move.

 

  Even Mok Riwon, who was tremendously ignorant about interpersonal relationships, knew how well she was treating him.

  

  Why wouldn’t he?

 

  During his time in Suyang County, when he first ventured into the outside world, hadn’t he learned enough about the kind of person she was?

  

  ‘The Young Lady is…’

  

  His thoughts continued about her.

  

  As he had initially thought, she was a woman of immense beauty.

 

  Mok Riwon had not seen a woman prettier than Tang Hwa-seo from Suyang County to Anhui.

 

  Not only that, he had never seen anyone as kind to others as her.

  

  ‘I did the right thing in following the Young Lady!’

  

  Thinking about it in various ways, he was certain that following her was the right decision to become a hero.

 

  Mok Riwon felt a ticklish sensation in his heart.

  

  ‘When will she return?’

  

  It was because he suddenly wished that she would come back soon.

  

  A smile bloomed all over his face before he knew it.

 

  As he sat there alone, playing with his cup, someone else began to suffer from lovesickness.

  

  “Excuse me!”

  

  Thud–!

  

  Someone sat down on the opposite side of him.

 

  Mok Riwon tilted his head.

  

  “Hm?”

  

  Before him stood a man around his own age.

  

  He had a face that one might describe as weasel-like, with long-slitted eyes, a sharp nose bridge, and a sly smile.

 

  Mok Riwon first asked him.

  

  “Who might you be?”

 

  “Ah, I forgot to introduce myself!”

  

  He had a mischievous, fox-like grin.
  

  The man stood up, performed a fist palm salute, and said to Mok RIwon.

  

  “My name is Wang Mo. I couldn’t help but become curious about your story upon seeing you drinking alone here.”

  

  Mok Riwon blinked and looked at the man, then with an awkward smile, he replied.

  

  “I am waiting for my companion. I appreciate your interest, but you may go on your way.”

 

  “Eh, what? No, wait, don’t…”

 

  “I’m sorry.”

  

  Mok Riwon’s smile darkened.

 

  However, it was not the same innocent smile as always.

  

  “My companion has strictly warned me to be cautious of martial artists who suddenly approach.”

 

  “What are you…”

 

  “Especially those above first rate.”

  

  The man’s body jerked, and his expression momentarily wavered, but then he returned to his smiling demeanor.

  

  “Haa… What kind of joke is that? Look at me. Don’t you see the clothes I’m wearing? And here, this brush and book as well. I am a scholar continuing my studies to become a government official…”

  

  His words were cut off.

 

  Mid-sentence, Mok Riwon had thrown chopsticks at the man.

  

  Grab–!

 

  The man caught the chopsticks flying straight for the center of his forehead with his hand.

 

  Then, Mok Riwon said.

  

  “You seem fairly skilled at catching things thrown towards you to call yourself a scholar, don’t you?”

  

  Mok Riwon had a sharp expression.

  

  ‘Wasn’t it said to beware of those who hide their identity?’

  

  Even if it hadn’t been for Tang Hwa-seo’s admonition, it was one of the things that Mok Seon-oh and Ma Il-seok had repeatedly warned him about until his ears bled before he had come into the martial world.

 

  Mok Riwon was someone who harbored expectations of romance and culture, but he also knew to listen to the advice of others.

 

  It was too suspicious to welcome him with open arms in this unexpected encounter because of the man’s inner qi.

  

  The man was dripping with cold sweat.

  

  “That…”

  

  The atmosphere became tense.

 

  The man’s discomfort towards worsening mood was evident. Even amidst this, Mok Riwon’s suspicions grew as the man offered no excuses.

  

  In that moment.

  

  “What are you doing?”

  

  A clear, sweet voice cut through the tension between the two men.

 

  Mok Riwon turned his head towards the source of the voice, and his face brightened up instantly.

  

  “Young Lady!”

  

  There stood Tang Hwa-seo, her eyes icy as she glared at the man.

 

  Mok Riwon got up and cheerfully poured out words as she approached her.

  

  “Did you take care of everything well? That was quite early!”

 

  “Yes. You also did well staying here. Good work.”

  

  Tang Hwa-seo gave Mok Riwon a slight smile and then looked back at the man.

 

  He looked deflated, licking his lips nervously.

  

  “…Ah, what am I to do if you return so soon.”

  

  Mok Riwon blinked.

 

  The words were clearly directed at Tang Hwa-seo, and his tone suggested he was familiar with her.

  

  As Mok Riwon stood there with a puzzled expression, the man said.

  

  “It’s been a while, Esteemed Sister.”

  

  Tang Hwa-seo let out a deep sigh.

  

  “I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but I am not your sister.”

 

  “Y-Young Lady…?”

  

  Ignoring Mok Riwon’s interjection, she continued.

  

  “Now I’ll ask again.”

 

  “Huh?”

 

  “What were you trying to do to my companion?”

  

  Tang Hwa-seo’s tone lowered coldly.

 

  Then, she uttered the man’s name.

  

  “Zhuge San.”

  

  Mok Riwon’s mouth dropped open.

 


 

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The Heaven-Slaying Sword

The Heaven-Slaying Sword

천살검협
Score 9.0
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2022 Native Language: Korean
Born with the fate of a slaughterer, but all he wanted to do was help.

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