Ko Seh Bum, the leader of the Martial Arts Alliance.
He was the adopted son of the former Alliance leader and was said to have talents for martial arts that only appears once every five hundred years.
He had two subordinates.
They were the two people who helped him the most to become the alliance leader.
One of them was Zhuge Mi Ryeo.
“It’s been a while, Elder Ho-nim.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo gently alighted to the ground like a fairy from the sky and smiled elegantly.
– Young master-nim, she is the one who is currently responsible for all of the Martial Arts Alliance’s strategies. Apparently even the Alliance leader needs her permission to move a large number of troops.
Cale listened to Chief Eunuch Wi’s information as he watched the gate to the Martial Arts Alliance castle open.
– That is Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s top assistant, Zhuge Eun So. She is Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s disciple and is accepted as the future Chief Advisor.
“It has been so long, Elder Ho-nim.”
Zhuge Eun So smiled brightly and bowed respectfully.
Chief Advisor Zhuge Mi Ryeo. Zhuge Eun So, who was standing slightly behind her.
– …They are called Big Ghost and Little Ghost.
Cale looked at the two people after hearing what Chief Eunuch Wi finally said after a while of hesitation.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo…
She was over fifty years old and had been by Ko Seh Bum’s side since they were younger. She was giving off the aura of someone who had been through numerous battlefields.
As for Zhuge Eun So…
She seemed to be in her mid to late twenties and gave off a cute aura while her eyes showed brilliance.
“It is an honor to meet you like this, young master Kim-nim.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo showed respect to Cale at that moment.
‘As expected of the advisor!’
Chief Eunuch Wi was amazed by her action.
The Chief Advisor was said to have meaning behind even the smallest actions she took.
‘It has not even been an hour since we came to Wuhan.’
Cale’s group had openly entered Wuhan with Elder Ho, the rising stars, and the members of the Martial Arts Alliance.
They then headed immediately for the Martial Arts Alliance.
Basically, it meant that the Chief Advisor figured out their location and came out to greet them like this in less than an hour.
‘Furthermore, the amount of respect the Chief Advisor showed the young master-nim right now is excessive for a normal young master!’
However, it was not formal enough to address a member of the Imperial family.
This meant that she knew he was a member of the Imperial family but that he wanted to hide his identity. As a result, she was only greeting him with this level of formality.
‘They say that you need to be careful around Zhuge Mi Ryeo because her words and actions are hiding daggers.’
Chief Eunuch Wi gulped.
‘This won’t be easy.’
One way to suppress the opponent was through force and spirit, but Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s methods were just as ferocious as a battlefield.
‘It looks like I will need to step in.’
It was highly likely that an esteemed individual like young master Kim Hae-il would not be good at a battle of words.
That was why it would be better for him to step in as someone who has fought battles with this blade called words in the Imperial Palace.
“It is my honor as well to meet such an esteemed individual in person.”
Zhuge Eun So greeted with respect as well and the Chief Advisor smiled gently while speaking to Cale.
“The Alliance leader-nim is waiting for you, sir.”
The person the Alliance leader was waiting for…
The moment the Chief Advisor said those words, the guards at the gate as well as everybody around them flinched and observed Cale.
Everybody even quieted their breathing.
‘It is time for me to step in.’
Chief Eunuch Wi took a step forward. He and Elder Ho exchanged glances at that moment as well.
– Elder Ho-nim, this is not the time for us to have a battle of spirit. You know that, right?
– Ahem. Of course!
Elder Ho peeked at young master Kim while responding to Chief Eunuch Wi’s sound transmission.
Young master Kim was just standing there smiling. Elder Ho got the chills even more after seeing that.
He wanted to immediately tell Zhuge Mi Ryeo something.
‘Chief Advisor! This is not the time to have a battle of spirit with young master Kim!’
The way she used her martial arts to climb over the castle wall to how Zhuge Mi Ryeo brought her disciple, Zhuge Eun So and even mentioned the Martial Arts Alliance leader, she looked ready to fight young master Kim to gather information.
‘It is understandable.’
He could understand her train of thought.
‘She doesn’t know anything.’
Young master Kim, the benefactor of the Namgung Clan.
That and the fact that he is a member of the Imperial family are probably the only things they knew about him.
‘They don’t know much about the Blood Cult or the Great War of the Triumvirate yet.’
They also didn’t know about young master Kim’s true identity.
That was why they would scope things out as usual and try to suppress the competition.
‘That only works against someone within reasonable standards! Young master Kim is a heaven above the heavens!’ (TL: I.e. best of the best)
Heaven above the heavens.
That was the evaluation Elder Ho made of young master Kim and the warning he gave in his message that he sent to the leader of the Beggars’ Gang.
He let out a fake cough and stepped forward with Chief Eunuch Wi.
It was at that moment.
“To come out in advance to greet me like this, I truly am touched.”
Cale started speaking first.
The smile on Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s face became bigger after hearing his comment.
‘I heard that he is a member of the Imperial family and the benefactor of the Namgung Clan. Yet he is so humble.’
This young master Kim was acting confidently but with just the right amount of respect.
At the same time, his tone was very humble.
‘Is it an act or is it character that he was born with?’
Her sharp gaze was hidden by her gentle smile as she looked at him.
“Touched? We just did what we should do. Will you be heading to see the alliance leader-nim right away, sir?”
Chief Eunuch Wi’s eyebrow slightly twitched at Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s comment.
This was what she was saying to Cale’s group.
Even if you are a member of the Imperial family, this is the Martial Arts Alliance.
That is why despite the fact that you have come a long way, we cannot just provide a place for all of you to stay in the Martial Arts Alliance.
As a result, meet with the alliance leader, take care of business, and leave.
This had caused Chief Eunuch Wi’s gaze to fill slightly with anger.
However, this was an expected action from Zhuge Mi Ryeo.
‘How did they get here to Wuhan so quickly from Anhui Province?’
They had information about when young master Kim’s group had arrived at the Namgung Clan, but they did not have any information about them leaving.
They must have moved stealthily.
However, them arriving at Wuhan right now still did not make sense with the distance calculation.
‘I need to be wary.’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo was already having quite the headache these days because of the Unorthodox faction and the Demon Cult.
Having someone like young master Kim, who had the Imperial Palace on his back, appear at such a time had her senses fully alert.
Cale smiled for a bit as if he was placed in an awkward position.
“Meeting the Alliance leader-nim right away is great, but…”
He touched his chin with his hand and contemplated something.
He then took a look at Zhuge Mi Ryeo and then at Zhuge Eun So.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo spoke gently after noticing his gaze.
“Is there something you wish to say sir? Or maybe there is something you wish to do before that?”
Cale nonchalantly commented at that moment.
“There are a total of five people from the Zhuge Clan in the Martial Arts Alliance. At least counting only the ones at the middle-grade executive level.”
“…Sir, may I ask your reasoning about mentioning that?”
Unlike Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s gentle reaction, her mind was getting complicated again.
‘Is he trying to emphasize to me, the Chief Advisor, that he has information about the Zhuge Clan?’
Was he trying to suppress her spirit?
The moment she had that thought…
“Of those five, two happen to be right here.”
Before she could even analyze the meaning behind his words…
Young master Kim nonchalantly continued.
“This is a great opportunity.”
‘A great opportunity?
What does he mean by that?’
The moment she had that thought…
“Noble Warrior Do.”
Young master Kim raised his hand and called someone over.
“Ah. His thoughts are so deep!”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo saw Chief Eunuch Wi suddenly gasp in admiration and stop moving forward.
“Yes, young master-nim.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo then saw an old man responding with an extremely respectful pose.
However, the old man’s appearance was weird.
From his nose to his mouth… Was covered by a white cloth.
The old man took the cloth off.
She then noticed that the old man’s nose was plugged.
‘What kind of grotesque……’
Before Zhuge Mi Ryeo could even have that thought…
The old man released the thin cloth plugging his nostrils.
He opened his mouth with a bright smile.
“Now I can breathe a little bet-”
That was it.
Cale’s eyes clouded over after seeing that reaction and then he flinched.
Durst covered his nose with both hands.
His body curled forward.
He then started dry heaving.
“S, such a terrible stench, aaaaaaack-!”
He continued to sound like he was going to barf without being able to speak properly.
“Ugh! Such a dirty stench, aaaaaaaaack-”
It was quite severe.
He looked as if he might start barfing at any moment.
– …Human, Durst has a dog’s nose.
Cale, who was listening to Raon’s blanking out mumbling, had also frozen for a bit at Durst’s intense reaction.
As the two people from the Zhuge Clan blankly watched this sudden situation…
An odd air current flowed between Cale’s group and Elder Ho.
They had realized it as well.
One of these two women was a living jiangshi.
Elder Ho subconsciously commented and his face turned white.
He knew that there was a living jiangshi within the Martial Arts Alliance and that it was a member of the Zhuge Clan.
However, it was bad if it was one of these two people.
‘The current Chief Advisor… And the future Chief Advisor. One of these two people is the Blood Cult’s puppet?!’
Elder Ho’s body turned cold as if his whole body had fallen into a cold lake.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo watched this and had a thought.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo motioned to her disciple, Zhuge Eun So with her eyes.
The sharp Zhuge Eun So noticed and stepped forward after nodding her head.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo watched this and spoke to young master Kim.
“It looks like it would be good to send that sir to a doctor.”
“Yes ma’am. Mm.”
Cale debated for a moment before continuing in a nonchalant tone.
“May I leave Noble Warrior Do in your top assistant’s care? I need to see the Alliance leader-nim first.”
She motioned with her eyes and Zhuge Eun So approached Durst.
Cale watched her with a casual face but an attentive gaze.
“Noble Warrior. I shall escort you to the doctor.”
The moment Zhuge Eun So smiled gently and approached him…
Durst tried to squeeze his nose with both hands.
However, as if he didn’t even have the time to do that…
His dry heaves became even worse.
Both Zhuge Mi Ryeo and Zhuge Eun So became anxious.
“Ugh, ugh! Such stench-! Ugh!”
Durst was surprised as well.
He had never smelled something so terrible in his life.
“Ack, ack, aaaaack-!”
These continuous dry heaves made Cale subconsciously comment.
“He might die like that. Choi Han.”
Choi Han, who had been standing next to Cale, started moving. He was able to get next to Durst without any issues because everybody was anxious about Durst’s extremely intense dry heaves.
He then picked Durst up.
“I will take him to the doctor.”
He then approached Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s side with Durst.
Durst’s dry heaves became better than earlier.
He quickly pulled a cloth out and blocked his nose again.
“T, this is a stench I would be able to smell from even 100 meters away!”
The comments he made intermittently in between the dry heaves made Cale have the answer.
Raon seemed to know the answer as well as he spoke to Cale.
– Human! That Zhuge Eun So person must be the living jiangshi! That reaction from Durst wouldn’t come out unless it was a living jiangshi! She must be an amazing living jiangshi at that!
The excitedly speaking Raon suddenly stopped.
– …An amazing… living jiangshi……?
Raon didn’t show his invisible self, but Cale felt as if everything around him was getting cold.
– …To purify something amazing… our human… Will he faint?
Cale ignored Raon’s mumbling, which he was purposely delivering into Cale’s mind.
Instead, he took turns looking at Chief Eunuch Wi, the Fist King, Elder Ho, and Lee Soo Hyuk.
They all nodded their heads.
Cale nonchalantly commented.
“I can see their thoughts.”
The living jiangshis.
Although he had only seen two of them now, the Blood Cult’s thoughts on using them… He felt as if he understood.
Chief Eunuch Wi must have understood as well as he sent a sound transmission.
– It looks like the Blood Cult was planning on destroying the Martial Arts world through the Great War of the Triumvirate and use the living jiangshis to take control of the next generation of the Martial Arts world.
Namgung Tae Wi had been skilled enough to be a squad leader in the Namgung Clan’s core force, the Heavenly Guardians.
He would have been a core executive of the next generation of the Namgung Clan.
The Chief Advisor was a central figure in the Martial Arts Alliance. Zhuge Eun So was the most likely candidate to have that position next.
She would be at the center of the next generation’s Martial Arts Alliance’s strategies and administration.
Cale looked at Zhuge Mi Ryeo.
She looked shocked but not shaken.
In fact, she was looking at him with an even clearer gaze now.
Cale spoke to her.
“Let’s go to the Alliance leader.”
Chief Eunuch Wi spoke at that moment.
– If we use this situation properly, the Chief Advisor and the top executives will put everything they have toward the destruction of the Blood Cult to clear their sin of bringing a living jiangshi into their organization.
A gentle smile appeared on Cale’s face.
– Human! You keep smiling like the crown prince! I wonder if the crown prince is eating properly. I’m curious!
Cale listened to Raon’s rambling as he entered the Martial Arts Alliance.
While that was going on…
The walls surrounding Wuhan… A soldier who was standing in the watchtower looking out in the distance with binoculars subconsciously started speaking.
“T, that is the Embroidered Uniform Guard……!”
The Emperor was the symbol of the center of the Central Plains.
The guards who protected the Emperor, the martial artists who were called the Sword of the Emperor, were approaching Wuhan with their red clothes fluttering in the wind.
The dementors, I mean the Embroidered Uniform Guards are coming.
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