Chapter 20. If You Don’t Know Where To Go, Just Go Straight
At the Taebaek (太白), located near the Shaanxi castle (陝西省), lies a dangerous mountain. Two boys arrived at this place, known as the Martial Fire Peak (武火嶺), at about noon.
“…….I think we’re lost.”
When a boy with a thin physique muttered this, the tanned boy in front twitched a little. Without saying anything else, the two kept moving forward.
How long did they walk?
They could suddenly see an open field in front of them.
The tanned boy who was walking at the front. Peng Ga Ho smiled in joy. He soon came back to his senses, and smiled proudly.
“Umhahahaha! How is it? Did you see? This ability to be able to travel to new locations skillfully like this? You can admire big brother as much as you want.”
The thin boy. Nangong Yubin came into the empty field, looked around, and opened his mouth with a worried expression.
“We somehow found the right path……. But is this really castle Gansu?”
“Hmph! To think you’d still doubt me after seeing all this……. You’re a person who doesn’t trust others too much, it seems. Since we traveled in a straight line, obviously we’d be at castle Gansu.”
“Does really it work like that…….”
Nangong Yubin brushed off a leaf on his head, and faintly smiled. To be truthful, traveling in a straight line, especially in the mountains, was nearly impossible. But he didn’t retort to Peng Ga Ho’s words too much, because this could really be castle Gansu.
‘Come to think of it, this was all just an idiotic trip.’
Nangong Yubin thought of what had happened, and bitterly smiled.
Peng Ga Ho and Nangong Yubin.
They were both young, and didn’t know much about the world.
Since they were usually being taken care of by others all the time, a long trip like this was a first for them. These two both held a high position in society, ever since they were young.
Thankfully, they were smart.
The thing that mattered the most in a travel.
They both packed their pockets full of money.
“We have enough money, so lets think about how to travel. Do you know the way to the castle, by any chance?”
When Nangong Yubin asked this question without much expectation, Peng Ga Ho answered with a relaxed expression.
“Fufu, this is quite a dumb question, coming from such a smart person like you, Nangong Yubin. Is there anyone in the world that doesn’t know how to get to castle Gansu?”
Nangong Yubin shrugged with an embarrassed expression.
“I don’t know the way.”
“At which direction is castle Gansu located at?”
“That would be…….. West?”
Nangong Yubin should’ve disagreed to Peng Ga Ho’s idea here. To think they would travel from East corner of the continent to the West corner in a straight line…….
Even Nangong Yubin didn’t see this coming. This was just completely unexpected.
‘Well, we did save a lot of time.’
Nangong Yubin brushed off the dust and the branches on his clothes, and smiled bitterly. It was too late to be regretful.
But Nangong Yubin was still a bit satisfied. Thanks to Peng Ga Ho, he was able to experience many things that couldn’t be bought with money. He trained his body during the hardships they went through, and saw many strange and exotic things. And lastly, the quote that was forever etched into his mind.
‘If you don’t know the path, go ask someone who knows about it.’
Nangong Yubin trembled when he thought of the past 20 days. Even though Nangong Yubin trained his body with martial arts, this trip was still very challenging.
“What direction should we go in now?”
When Nangong Yubin asked this, Peng Ga Ho spoke while brushing off the various objects on his clothes.
“Fufu, since we found the path here, we’d be able to reach castle Gansu if we follow it.”
When Peng Ga Ho said this.
“Castle Gansu my ass. If you follow this road, you’ll end up at the Martial Fire Peak (武火嶺), kids.”
Nangong Yubin and Peng Ga Ho turned around. And they sighed. They were surrounded by 10+ people.
There were about 20 of them. Looking at them, Nangong Yubin whispered to Peng Ga Ho, who immediately nodded. Peng Ga Ho stepped forward.
“Hey, bro, you’re the top dog, right?”
“What? Bro? Top dog?”
The eyebrows of the muscular man at the front twitched.
Iron Hands (鐵手) Sim Duk Hoon (諶德訓).
He, the master of the Martial Fire Peak, grew angry. Why did the boy have to use the word, “top dog”, instead of a more proper word like “boss”? It wasn’t like he was the local gang leader or anything. Sim Duk Hoon’s mood immediately turned for the worse.
‘When was the last time I heard something as arrogant as this?’
The memories of events like this only happened a very long time ago. The only thing he could remember was pulling the tongue of another arrogant fellow and hanging him on a tree. Since he was always pampered with praises from his minions, Peng Ga Ho’s casual style of speaking was something Sim Duk Hoon hadn’t seen in a long time.
When Sim Duk Hoon thought of this, his face began to show some hints of confusion.
‘Come to think of it…….’
These two were obviously nothing but amateurs. Compared to him, who lived in the martial world for more than twenty years, these boys were really just amateurs to Sim Duk Hoon.
But they actually dared to treat him in that matter? Did these kids have a death wish? Or did they actually have something backing them up?
When he thought that much, he started to feel nervous. Because of that, he took a careful look at these two kids. Then he just laughed.
‘I started to get worried over nothing.’
It seemed he started to worry more about useless things as he got older. The boy’s clothes were torn up, and were covered in dust, as if they hadn’t cleaned it for a few days. They were definitely some lost kids that just came here without knowing anything.
When he thought this much, Sim Duk Hoon sighed. It seemed he’d have to see blood in broad daylight.
“Hehe, don’t be angry, boss. These are just babies who don’t know anything, after all.”
“You want to be the one to get beat up instead then?”
The co-head, Suh Sang Joon, who was standing next to his boss, was quietly repressed into a small corner by Sim Duk Hoon’s glare. Sim Duk Hoon, looking at that, repressed some of his anger, and looked at the arrogant babies in front of him.
“I don’t know where you beggars are from, but can’t you see what kind of a situation you’re in? Are your eyes just there as decoration?”
Peng Ga Ho looked around for a moment, then tilted his head to the side. It seemed he didn’t really understand. Then, once again, he just went on and said whatever he wanted to say.
“Hey bro, where the heck is this Martial Fire Peak, anyways? It’s just another word from Castle Gansu, right? We’re in a hurry, you know.”
“This little son of a bitch…….”
Sim Duk Hoon’s patience ended here. His minions all surged forward towards Peng Ga Ho and Nangong Yubin.
In a moment, with a satisfying smack, those two idiots will be strung up like dogs. Thinking that, Sim Duk Hoon calmed his mind, but he immediately made a confused expression.
The boy who was standing there quietly had a sword in his hand. He had pulled out his sword in an extremely clean manner.
If it ended there, he wouldn’t have thought much about it. But then the big kid up front could also be seen with a big sword in his hands, complaining.
“Damn, are you trying to get me annoyed, or what?”
Sim Duk Hoon’s eyes widened so much that it seemed like it would fall right out of the sockets. His minions, his trusty minions were all being beat up.
These kids weren’t just normal children. Actually, they could be called experts at this level. A first-rate expert, at that. The minions, however, learned their martial arts by picking up some moves in the streets. In short, they were third-rate.
Obviously the minions wouldn’t be able to deal with first-rate experts. Looking at the swordplay each of the kids were displaying, Sim Duk Hoon screamed in his heart.
‘Damned Five Families!’
The kids were definitely disciples of the famous Five Families. Those bastards from the family only cared about how pure-blooded their members were.
‘A year in one of the five families is equivalent to 10 years in the martial world.’
This was the rumor floating in the martial world, and it wasn’t so far-off from the truth, either. The amount of practice the people from the clans went through was unknown, but the fact that they were from the five families would still get them recognized in the martial world.
But why? Why would these kids roam the mountains without even a single guard, then? Why didn’t they just take that perfectly fine path over there, and roam the wilderness?
He immediately felt that he was caught in a bad situation. He felt that blood was going to be spilt from a while back. But to think that the ones whose blood is being spilt would be his.
Sim Duk Hoon kept complaining in his mind. If only he knew that these kids had ties with the five families, he wouldn’t have made a mistake like this! He might be stretching it a bit, but this was the kids’ fault.
While Sim Duk Hoon was laying out all these excuses, the situation had already closed up. Since the skill difference between the kids and the minions were quite big, Peng Ga Ho and Nangong Yubin were able to subjugate the bandits without shedding a drop of blood.
Sim Duk Hoon came back to his senses when he heard the painful moans from his minions, and immediately set out to fix the situation.
“Where are you young lords from?”
His proud look from before had vanished completely, and his way of speaking had turned almost shamefully polite.
“You don’t need to know that. Where are we?”
Peng Ga Ho’s question was answered immediately.
“Yes, young lord. This is the Martial Fire Peak, located at the Taebaek in castle Shaanxi. Is there anything else you want to know?”
“What? Castle Shaanxi? Martial Fire Peak? Are you crazy? This isn’t castle Shaanxi, it’s castle Gansu.”
Sim Duk Hoon made a troubled face for a moment, then immediately spoke.
“Young lord, I’ve ‘worked’ here for a very long time……. hehe.”
Looking at the Sim Duk Hoon, who was bowing in front of him, Peng Ga Ho began thinking. Trying not to get noticed by Nangong Yubin too much, he began whispering to Sim Duk Hoon.
“Bro, is castle Gansu far from here?”
“Eh? No. If you follow this road here, it’ll come out. It’s a one day trip in a carriage. Hehe.”
“What? So we were just about there?”
Peng Ga Ho’s face warmed up, and he looked at Nangong Yubin with a look of pride.
“See? My plan was flawless!”
Nangong Yubin, who grasped Peng Ga Ho’s personality after traveling with him for so long, smiled and opened his mouth.
“Yea, good job.”
“Big bro’s a reliable man.”
Peng Ga Ho and Nangong yubin smiled at each other.
Then, Peng Ga Ho suddenly opened his mouth.
“We’re almost there, so why not eat before we leave?”
Peng Ga Ho made an evil smile, and glanced at Sim Duk Hoon. Nangong Yubin, who followed Peng Ga Ho’s eyes, scratched his cheeks and spoke with a small voice.
When Nangong Yubin agreed, Peng Ga Ho turned around.
“Hey bro, is the food here tasty?”
When Sim Duk Hoon made a confused expression. Peng Ga Ho wrapped his arm around the man’s shoulder naturally, and spoke.
“I’m kinda hungry after moving my body a bit. Give me some food, yeah?”
Sim Duk Hoon wiped off his sweat, and spoke.
“Of course we have to treat you boy heroes. Our food might not be that good, but follow me.”
“I’m kind of picky, you know. If the food isn’t good, I get violent.”
“…….I’ll tell the chef to be careful.”
This black-hearted bastard was sure to be something big later on. To try to steal a bandit’s food……. It seemed Sim Duk Hoon’s luck was especially bad today.
Sim Duk Hoon, who was filled with anxiety for some reason, led the two boys to their hideout. The two happy boys and the miserable bandits headed for the Martial Fire Peak.
But Peng Ga Ho and Nangong Yubin still hadn’t realized this: the fact that their destination was going to be an extremely dangerous warfield. They didn’t expect it at all.
* * *
While Jo Gi Chun was observing the formation he was assigned, Cho Ryu Hyang was laying in his room, exhausted. But for some reason, the tired boy couldn’t go to sleep. So he kept his eyes closed, and started to think.
The Faultless View of The World.
It became weird.
He couldn’t really explain it, but something about it had changed.
He felt this after he met the pope. Before that was…. what should he call it? It was something that he didn’t think was significant.
But after he met the pope, that insignificant something seemed much more important.
‘Since when was it like this?’
When he thought for a while, an answer floated up.
‘Was it since then?’
After eating the Heavenly Demon Spirit Pill. After treating the side effect from the pill with inner energy, something about the Faultless View had changed.
‘Did it break?’
The red eye that was on the head of the pope. That was definitely not an illusion. That was because the eye was able to stay visible, even if he looked at it with the Faultless View.
Cho Ryu Hyang slowly opened his eyes, and looked at the ceiling. Then, everything, including the ceiling, could be seen with numbers on it.
‘It definitely changed.’
In order to use the Faultless View, Cho Ryu Hyang had to breathe deeply, and had to focus his mind. But not now. Now, as long as he willed it, he could see these numbers.
And the numbers were moving around him, as if they were alive. To think they were moving as if they were asking for Cho Ryu Hyang to touch them…… This was like…….
‘It’s like they’re alive.’
When Cho Ryu Hyang thought this much, he could hear the voice of the old man in his mind.
[Sometimes, the things that can be seen with the eyes isn’t everything.]
The old man, after saying that, paused for a while. When he spoke again, his voice held an acceptable tone in it.
[It doesn’t sit right with me since it feels like I’m handing a little child a treasured sword, but since I know that you’d be able to understand it, I’m telling you now.]
Cho Ryu Hyang waited quietly. He felt that the old man was about to teach him something. His prediction was indeed correct.
Seizing Conversion Technique (捉換法).
This was the name of the second equation he learned from the old man, and this would enable him to freely change the value of any number contained within matter.
This wasn’t something that stopped at the point of sight, like the Faultless View. This was a terrifying ability that enabled the boy to be able to use the numbers in actual combat.