The Undefeatable Swordsman - C.76. The Cold Glint of a Well-Polished Sword (23)

The Undefeatable Swordsman

C.76. The Cold Glint of a Well-Polished Sword (23)
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What Ma-Ra had to say was astounding.

The person that Hye-Ryeong had ordered to be assassinated was the guild master of the Yujin Merchant Guild. However, as far as everyone knew, the guild master had died and his guild had been taken over by the two Baek sisters.

That wasn’t the only thing, either. The guild master had actually been able to survive the assassination attempt of the Formless Veil, only to be found poisoned later in his own home!

‘They say that the Yujin Guild Master miraculously survived the assassination attempt thanks to the help of the Night Spear Devil Gyeong Hong, who just happened to be staying with him as a guest.’

With everything Ma-Ra had just told Woo-Moon, the pieces started to all fit together.

Hye-Ryeong and Ju-Ryeong had coveted the Yujin Guild and requested the Formless Veil to assassinate the guild master. However, the entire operation ended in failure when the Night Spear Devil Gyeong Hong, whose strength made him basically a walking calamity, appeared out of nowhere.

Thus, Hye-Ryeong personally made a move to eliminate the Formless Veil out of fear of things coming back to bite them.

Moreover, the two sisters used all the means at their disposal to poison the guild master of the Yujin Guild. As soon as they succeeded, they acted according to their initial plan and divided the guild’s assets among themselves.

‘Good, Baek Hye-Ryeong. Good to know. I’ll let you see how this ends soon.’

After organizing his thoughts, Woo-Moon fell asleep.

Two hours later, Do-Gun, who had been pretending to sleep some distance away, quietly got up and rushed to the nearest Baek Family branch. A while later, a messenger pigeon flapped its wings and flew toward the Baek Estate.

***

Hye-Ryeong went to her office, frustrated with the servant who had woken her up in the wee hours of the morning.

“I’m so sorry, but it was marked as an emergency...”

“Shut up, I already got out of bed! Just leave.”

After her servant left, Hye-Ryeong sat alone in her office as she opened and read the letter from her son.

A few moments later, her eyes narrowed, and she clutched the letter tightly.

If it were to come out that she had assassinated the guild master of the Yujin Guild in order to take over the guild’s holdings, her life would be ruined.

“Just how did this... Number Three! Show yourself!”

At that moment, a masked swordsman appeared silently, as if he had somehow passed through the ceiling.

“Yes, Great Mother.”

She looked over at Number Three with a cold smile.

“I’m sure I told you to clean up after yourself.”

“I’m not sure what you’re referring to, Great Mother.”

“I’m talking about the fact that there are survivors from the Formless Veil!”

“My apologies,” Number Three said as he bowed his head.

Number Three was one of the five secret escorts carefully raised by Hye-Ryeong. He looked up, catching a glimpse of bloodlust in her gaze.

“Please, forgive me!”

However, Hye-Ryeong’s anger was too great now that she was on the verge of losing everything.

“Ugh! Cough!”

Although Number Three was a Peak Class Martial Artist, he was unable to even see, let alone dodge, the sword Hye-Ryeong had suddenly thrust and was now piercing him through the chest.

“Number Five!”

Another person dressed in the same outfit as Number Three appeared in the same manner.

“Yes.”

Although someone who had trained alongside him his entire life had just been murdered in cold blood, Number Five’s gaze didn’t waver in the slightest.

“Go wake up Ju-Ryeong right this instant and bring her to me.”

“Yes.”

Not long after Number Five left, Ju-Ryeong entered the office, slightly nervous.

“Oh dear, that scared me. What made you kill this precious child?” she said as she caught sight of Number Three lying dead on the floor.

“I don’t have time to talk nonsense. There’s a survivor from the Formless Veil. It appears that Woo-Moon is traveling around with her.”

Ju-Ryeong was surprised by Hye-Ryeong’s words.

“What? How could that happen? What are we going to do? It’s over for us if it gets revealed that those idiots from the Formless Veil couldn’t handle killing that guild master and we had to do it ourselves!”

“I made a plan while you were on your way here.”

“What do you plan to do?”

“If everything will be over if we don’t do anything, and everything will be over if we do make a move and fail, then the only possible route is for us to make a move and succeed.”

As Hye-Ryeong finished her sentence, a malicious light flashed in her eyes.

Ju-Ryeong suddenly felt a chill as she looked into her sister’s eyes. Although they were sisters and she was closer to Hye-Ryeong than anyone else, she had truly never seen a gaze like that from her sister before.

‘...Something is strange. Unnie feels like she’s become crueler....’

Although the two of them had been extremely ambitious and had been secretly committing evil deeds since childhood, they still had lines they wouldn’t cross. However, these days, it felt like Hye-Ryeong was getting closer and closer to crossing those boundaries.

However, just as Ju-Ryeong had been close to her older sister since childhood, she had also been afraid of her. She didn’t dare to bring up her concerns about Hye-Ryeong’s actions, just preferring to maintain the status quo she had lived with throughout her entire life.

Ju-Ryeong’s anxious expression and the flickering light of the uniquely scented candle reflected in Hye-Ryeong’s eyes, making their ferocious gaze seem even more terrifying.

***

Early in the morning, the Namgoong and Baek Families separated and headed down separate paths.

“Young Hero Song, I look forward to seeing you again. At that time, I would like to spar with you.”

“The Namgoong Family’s Boundless Heavenly Dome Sword is renowned in the gangho as an incredible technique, I’ve heard that it’s on par with the Baek Family’s Iron Blood Merciless Sword. It would be great if I could have the opportunity to see it in person.”

The Baek Family had strict restrictions on learning the Iron Blood Merciless Sword.

One could only learn it if they achieved full proficiency in the Thirteen Stances of the Iron Sword. Among the current younger generation of the Baek Family, only Do-Gun and Ye-Ye had been able to even start learning it.

After parting ways with the Namgoong Family, the Baek Family also made haste to return home.

Kyaa!

Eun-Ah moved around more actively than usual as if she wanted to relieve her resentment at being confined to Woo-Moon’s robes due to the intensity of the battle. Her antics were so cute that it was more than enough to steal the attention of all of the youngsters of the Baek Family that were accompanying them.

The Baek Family troops thus moved down Mount Ma’an, reaching the village where they had left their horses. As they continued their trek home on horseback, Ye-Ye suddenly approached Woo-Moon.

“Um, Uncle...”

“Yes?”

“Well...”

This was the first time Woo-Moon saw Ye-Ye, who was always so stubborn, be so hesitant.

“It’s okay, just tell me.”

“Ah. Well, the cub you’re raising is a white tiger, right?”

To be precise, Eun-Ah was a silver tiger, but they were fairly similar to white tigers, so her mistake was understandable.

“Yes.”

“Ah. Then, umm...do you mind if I pet her?”

It was only now that Woo-Moon understood why Ye-Ye was acting like this. Finding her actions actually rather cute, Woo-Moon smiled softly and responded, “Yes, that’s fine.”

“She... won’t bite me, right?”

Ye-Ye seemed a little afraid.

‘To think someone who wields a sword so fearlessly is so timid at times like this.’

“Eun-Ah, you cannot bite her, okay?”

Kya?

After looking back and forth between Woo-Moon and Ye-Ye with round eyes, Eun-Ah nodded. Following Eun-Ah’s nod, Ye-Ye carefully stretched out her hand and stroked Eun-Ah’s head.

“Wow... she’s so soft,” Ye-Ye exclaimed without even realizing it. “Umm... when she grows up, she’ll be as big as a normal tiger, right?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Hmm... it would be perfect if she could just stay like this~”

Suddenly, they heard the loud roar of a fully grown tiger from the mountains far away.

ROAR!!!

Although she had been rolling around on the ground as Ye-Ye stroked her, Eun-Ah’s ears perked up at the sound as she jumped up. Running on her short legs, she proceeded to howl loudly toward the mountain where the roar of the tiger had come from.

At least, she tried to howl.

Kyaaaaa!!!

...

...Kya?

In her imagination, her roar would be even louder and more magnificent than the roar of the tiger they had just heard now. However, what actually came out of Eun-Ah’s mouth was a very tiny, sharp cry.

Kya! Kya!!

Eun-Ah looked resentful as she howled again, digging wildly into the ground with her front paws.

Kya! Kyaaaaa!!

However, no matter what she did, she just couldn’t emit a profound or dignified roar.

Even if she was a silver tiger, born with innate spirituality, the volume of a tiger’s roar was decided not by its sentience but by the size of its body. Thus, the small Eun-Ah couldn’t even come close to the majesty of a mature tiger no matter how hard she tried.

Watching Eun-Ah growl in anger, Ye-Ye giggled at the cute display, while Woo-Moon chuckled as well.

‘Huh?’

Suddenly, Woo-Moon noticed that Ma-Ra, who had been walking next to them without saying a word, seemed to smile ever so slightly as she looked over at Eun-Ah.

‘Are my eyes playing tricks on me...’

***

“You brats! Do you know how much of an honor it is for you to eat food made by me personally? Come on, eat well!”

“Yes, sir! Thank you for the food!”

Although some of the boys that Woo-Moon had recruited as guards had just crossed puberty and the others were in their late teens, in Dae-Woong’s eyes, they were all still small children. He was truly proud of them, seeing how they trained so diligently these days, so he had decided to treat them to something good. Thus, he had gone to the kitchen and cooked for them himself.

“Mmmm??! Whoa, this actually tastes incredible!”

“Of course it is, hehe. I could have gotten a job at the imperial palace if I really wanted to.”

The guards suppressed their laughter. As they had been together for quite a long time now, they had become used to Dae-Woong’s boasting. He wasn’t wrong either—his food truly was that good.

Even while eating happily, Dae-Woong and Jin-Jin were worried about Woo-Moon.

‘They’re supposed to return today. He should be fine, right?’

No matter how advanced Woo-Moon’s martial skills were, a son was still a son. In the eyes of his parents, he would always be a small child cast out into the cruel world.

Right at that moment, an arrow flew through the air and hit a pillar of the Song Residence.

“W-what is it?” Dae-Woong asked, flustered.

“Honey, go check it out,” said Jin-Jin calmly.

"Okay!"

As her husband ran to read the letter attached to the arrow, Jin-Jin drew her sword with a fierce gaze in her eyes and looked in the direction from which the arrow had come.

“Honey! What does it say?”

Dae-Woong’s hands were shaking as he read the letter.

I have your firstborn with me. Leave the Baek Estate and come to the northeastern forest. Otherwise, you’ll be greeted by the headless body of your son.

“Our son!”

With a shout, Dae-Woong tossed aside the letter and started running toward the northeastern forest.

“Stop right there, honey!”

Jin-Jin saw Dae-Woong lose his temper as soon as he read the letter, and she immediately realized what it was about. However, she was unable to stop him as he had already gone off running.

After snatching the letter from the air and giving it a cursory glance, Jin-Jin grabbed the shoulder of the youngest among the guards, Cho Myeong, who was particularly quick on his feet.

“Listen carefully to everything I’m about to say!”

“U-understood!”

“Grab your old beggar clothes and leave the Baek Estate through the back gate. Head to the northeast forest. You must not attract anyone’s attention, and you must not come within fifty feet of the forest. Understood?”

“Yes!”

“Keep your distance and wait for me to call out. If you hear me shout ‘Are you planning to take me hostage?’ the culprit is the Blood Cloud Devil Emperor or the organization he belongs to. If you hear me shout ‘So you plan to kill me, then!’ then the culprits are Hye-Ryeong and Ju-Ryeong. Understood?”

Jin-Jin knew that if she didn’t work around the issue and just directly shouted out “The culprit is so-and-so!” unless the culprit was an idiot, they would realize that someone else was around. They’d immediately search for Cho Myeong and dispose of him. Thus, she made sure to create a code in order for Cho Myeong to note who the culprit was.

“Yes, ma’am!”

Feeling the tension in Jin-Jin’s determined voice, Cho Myeong realized how serious the situation was and was able to memorize her words without a single mistake.

After confirming with Cho Myeong, Jin-Jin quickly followed Dae-Woong, while Cho Myeong put some of his old garbs on and snuck out the back gate of the Baek Estate.

Dae-Woong felt as though his heart would burst from worry for his son.

“How dare these bastards! I won’t forgive anyone who touches even a single hair of my son! I’ll kill them all!”

After he left the confines of the Baek Estate and ran for a while, Dae-Woong entered the forest mentioned in the letter. There, he soon found a piece of paper attached to a tree on the roadside.

—Go to the northwest

Dae-Woong continued to run deep into the forest according to the instructions, coming across four more such notes before arriving at a small shrine.

—Go to the basement

There were stairs leading to the basement at the base of the shrine. Dae-Woong walked down the step without the slightest hesitation. Soon, he entered a spacious stone room.

“You bastards! Where is Woo-Moon?!” Dae-Woong’s voice rang loud.

In response, one of the roughly hundred masked people waiting in the stone room spoke in a mocking voice. “Who knows? Where could he be...?”

“It was a trap, after all,” Jin-Jin said, having followed Dae-Woong into the room.

"What? A trap?"

As Dae-Woong’s eyes narrowed, Jin-Jin sighed softly.

“The only person who can capture Woo-Moon alive and hold him hostage would be an Absolute Master. But a person of that caliber would have plenty of ways to kill us without having to use such a crude hostage situation. Moreover....”

Jin-Jin then shouted so loudly it seemed as though she was using Lion’s Roar.

“How dare you?! So you plan to kill me, then!”

She cleverly gathered her voice, imbued it with qi, and shot it at Dae-Woong’s back. Her voice bounced off Dae-Woong’s back and echoed up the stairs. Although her roar wouldn’t travel particularly far, as they were underground, it would still be audible to a certain someone who was intently listening in this direction.

“I don’t know what you’re doing, but it won’t save you.”

As a cold voice echoed from behind them, the warriors blocked the staircase from where Dae-Woong and Jin-Jin had entered.

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