Chapter 23. Scalawag Guardians
Gongson Chun Gi massaged his head, and a painful moan came out of his throat.
“Why’re you here?”
“…….I heard Your Holiness was in danger…….”
“Me? Who said that?”
The wrinkly old man. He was one of the 8 guardians of the church, the harmonious expert Ju Sang San. He sweated a bit and started glancing towards Guardian Wu. Seeing that, Gongson Chun Gi glared at Guardian Wu.
“Oho, so that old man called you over.”
Guardian Ju started to nod vigorously. Guardian Wu frantically began trying to explain himself with a pale face.
“Your Holiness, this is a misunderstanding. I told him this before I left the church…….”
“Misunderstanding my ass. Are you trying to start a war with all these people? Do you really want to see a bloodbath?”
Guardian Wu and Guardian Ju. The two bowed down fearfully. That was because Gongson Chun Gi had left his usual playful attitude behind, and was raging at the old man.
Guardian Ju, a member of the fifteen guests known as the Blood Sound Demon (血音魔君). The reason Gongson Chun Gi was angry wasn’t just because he came here. If Guardian Ju had come alone, Gongson Chun Gi would’ve greeted him happily.
But the problem was, he didn’t come alone. He brought two of the ten martial groups inside the Heavenly Demon Church.
Guardian Wu brought 500 of the strongest experts, the Blood Wolf Corps. Guardian Ju brought the Wind Demon Corps (風魔隊) and the Yama Corps (閻羅隊), which totaled 4000 men. If you would add the 500 experts stationed in the Gansu branch, the grand total of the martial artists currently in the Gansu branch would become an astonishing amount of 5000 men.
The Gansu branch obviously couldn’t house that many people. Because of that, they had to set up tents to accommodate the experts.
“The boys in the Blood Wolf Corps are good, but since they’re a small group, wouldn’t it be hard to fight the Alliance?”
When Guardian Ju said this with a cautious voice, Gongson Chun Gi wrinkled his face.
“If it was then, we could’ve avoided the whole battle to begin with. But not now.”
Since the men at the Blood Wolf Corps were the elites of the church, they could easily get themselves out of a tight situation. Even if they were stuck in an extremely dangerous area, they would get out without much injury.
But when the Wind Demon Corps and the Yama Corps, both weaker than the Blood Wolf Corps, join in, the whole story would be different. Their mobility would obviously decrease.
“……..Is there no choice other than to spill blood..”
Gongson Chun Gi had to abandon the idea of running away. His face stiffened. He didn’t want to fight, but only on the condition that they would suffer no injuries. He had no desire to avoid a fight by giving up their own flesh and blood.
The fact that the church had to go into a battle with the Alliance bothered Gongson Chun Gi greatly.
“First secretary (一秘), are you there?”
“Yes, Your Holiness.”
Um Seung Do entered the meeting room politely. Looking at Um Seung Do, Gongson Chun Gi spoke.
“You said they would move in about four days?”
“By the time everyone gathers on both sides, who would have the advantage?”
Um Seung Do cautiously asked a question.
“Do I have to put Your Holiness and the chief of the Alliance into the equation?”
Gongson Chun Gi shook his head.
“Nope, exclude me and him.”
“Then the church would have a 30% higher chance of victory against the Alliance.”
“Damn, so it’s just 30%…….”
Gongson Chun Gi made a depressed expression. A lot of people were going to die here. It would be a different story if they had an absolute advantage against the enemy, but they didn’t. Both sides would suffer from great losses in this case.
“Is there any chance that they would retreat?”
Um Seung Do hesitated a little at this question. He didn’t know what kind of an answer the Pope wanted. Because of that, Um Seung Do tried to be as cautious as possible as he answered the question.
“Unless they lose most of their men, they won’t retreat.”
“According to what this one found out, Baek Mu Ryang had made the information about the Moon Edge Blade Technique public.”
“I believe that he’s trying to use it as an incentive.”
“That old dog’s determined to fight us, huh.”
The price of a martial arts technique in the martial world was immense. Especially a martial arts technique that had the capability to shake the world. When a martial arts technique of that much value appeared, every martial artist in the world would try to get it using any means possible.
Gongson Chun Gi pressed down on his aching temples, and spoke.
“By the way, how long would it take for the formation to be undone?”
“He said it would take about ten days.”
“That’s the best he could do. Actually, he’s not sure if he could even do it in ten days..”
“Damn it. Nothing’s going right.”
The battle would happen in four days. That would mean that the church would have to hold on for seven whole days. Just how should the church accomplish that?
‘Should we just go crush them?’
If he just followed his personality, he would’ve done that a long time ago. But he couldn’t do it. If he did that, something that he didn’t want to see happen the most would happen. A lot of people would die if he did it.
While Gongson Chun Gi was trying to think of some kind of a solution, Um Seung Do spoke up.
“Lord Cho Ryu Hyang wishes to see you.”
“Yes. He wanted to meet you as soon as possible.”
“He must’ve made his choice.”
Gongson Chun Gi nodded. Come to think of it, nothing good happened since he came here.
Except for meeting the boy. That was the only good thing that had happened to him so far. When he thought that much, his terrible mood lightened a bit.
“Where is he?”
“He is residing in the cabin at the back.”
“Good. Ah! You guys don’t have to follow me.”
When Gongson Chun Gi went outside the meeting room, Guardian Wu and Guardian Ju both sighed in relief.
Immediately after that, Guardian Wu began to growl at Guardian Ju.
“Stupid old man! Why’d you sell me out?”
“Wasn’t it true, though?”
When Guardian Ju said this, Guardian Wu’s face started to look more and more dangerous.
“Don’t you have any sense of loyalty at all?”
“Pah! To hell with loyalty. I want to live long. I’m still healthy, and I don’t want to get beat up to death by His Holiness.”
“Healthy my ass. Are you actually trying to live till you become an useless old man?”
“Of course I am.”
Guardian Wu and Guardian Ju.
They were old rivals, as well as friends.
After fighting each other like that for a while, they looked down at their wrinkly hands and grinned.
“Kuhehe. It took me thirty years to get myself all the way here. I’m definitely going to live long and witness the world that His Holiness will create. I can’t die before that. Um. I definitely can’t.”
One could feel quite a bit of determination in that voice.
Looking at Guardian Ju, Guardian Wu spoke with a sad face.
“……..Senile old man. Are you really still saying that? His Holiness has no intention of going out into the martial world. He decided that years ago. Don’t you know about that?”
“Hehe, you dumbass. That’s why you’re so lacking all the time.”
“Yeah, dumbass. You stayed next to His Holiness for that long, and you still don’t know what he’s like?”
“I don’t know His Holiness? This Wu Gyu Ho?”
He thought of something from the past, and spoke.
“It’s not like you’d know about something just because you were next to it for a long time. Don’t you know His Holiness’ holding it in desperately, even now?”
“Hold in what?”
“Did you forget what kind of a martial art His Holiness practiced? It was a demonic art that requires one to kill a person every day.”
“You dumb idiot. Don’t you know that the His Holiness overcame that years ago? Hah… This is why a person needs to die when they get old.”
“Fufu. You’ll see soon enough.”
Looking at Guardian Ju, who had a mysterious smile on his face, Guardian Wu’s eyes began to narrow.
“You… This is suspicious. Did you bring all these boys here, even though you knew everything? To make His Holiness fight?”
“Fufu, you figured it out? You’re not just an idiot, huh.”
Guardian Wu grabbed Guardian Ju’s shoulders violently.
“You did something good for once. Good job, you bastard! Puhahaha!”
“This is what they call the wisdom of life. Kuhahahaha!”
The two old friends looked at each other, and laughed.
Um Seung Do, who had been hiding in the room all this time, felt that this wasn’t the place for him and tried to sneak out.
Did that tick them off?
Guardian Ju called out to Um Seung Do.
“Yo, Seung Do.”
“Ye, yes! Sir.”
“You asked His Holiness a silly question a while ago.”
A silly question? What was it?
While Um Seung Do was trying to look over the previous situation, Guardian Ju spoke.
“You asked him if you should exclude him and the Chief of the Alliance, I believe?”
He remembered that question. But just what was wrong about it?
Guardian Ju spoke after reading Um Seung Do’s face.
“Don’t you know what the problem is?”
“I do realize that His Holiness is stronger than the Chief of the Alliance, but…….”
But that was just a prediction made by the church. Even though he did believe in the power of the church, but since he mainly dealt with information as a job, he usually had to suspect everything unless it was certain.
“His Holiness is on an entirely different level.”
Guardian Ju spoke whilst having his arms folded together.
“You said the church held a 30% advantage over the enemy before?”
“Is it accurate?”
When Guardian Ju asked this, Um Seung Do answered back with a slightly offended expression.
“Hoh? Then what do you think would happen if His Holiness and the Alliance’s Chief entered the fray?“
Um Seung Do began thinking.
Even though His Holiness was quite strong, the Alliance’s chief wasn’t an easy foe. They were both a part of the three sovereigns, after all. So what would happen if they both entered the battle? Nothing would change, right?
Guardian Wu, who had been staying quiet all this while, opened his mouth.
Um Seung Do opened his mouth, then closed it again. What? It’s not even a 90%, but a full 100%? That would mean that the church would have no casualties at all, but was that even possible to begin with?
It seemed that these old men had a bit too much loyalty in them. They had to look at situations like these as coldly as possible……. Um Seung Do’s eyes began to show a tinge of disappointment.
“Don’t go off ignoring what we said, now. Well, it shouldn’t matter, though. You’ll see soon enough.”
When Um Seung Do saw the two old men, who were glancing at each other with a smile, his face began to get complicated. It seemed that they knew something about His Holiness that he didn’t know about.
‘What would that be?’
As a person who handled information, not being able to predict the power of his own allies and the enemies was a critical problem.
‘We’ll see what happens, damned elders.’
He couldn’t figure out what was going to happen in the future right now. There were too many variables in play. At times like these, it was better to just try to crush the enemy with pure force, rather than to try to come up with a decent strategy.
‘The Alliance/Demon War…….’
Um Seung Do felt his blood boil when he thought about the war. After all, he too was a martial artist.
There hadn’t been anything as big as this recently. Just what would happen? Um Seung Do forcefully tried to cool his head as he stared out the window.
Then, Guardian Ju opened his mouth with a confused expression.
“By the way, just who is His Holiness meeting here? Was he called Cho Ryu Hyang? Who’s that kid supposed to be?”
“Uh? Come to think of it, you don’t know about it yet, huh….”
“The disciple that His Holiness is taking in is Cho Ryu Hyang.”
Guardian Ju’s movements stopped for a split second. He then widened his wrinkly eyes and shouted.
“W, what? Disciple? His Holiness?”
“Yeah, a disciple.”
“Why’d you tell me that now?! You goddamned old man!”
“Ah, I forgot…….”
Guardian Wu couldn’t say anything else.
That was because Guardian Ju was already gone.