“B, Blood Demon, mother, fucking… Son of a bitch-”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo, who initially stuttered like that…
After she heard about the Blood Cult related incidents Cale dealt with prior to getting to the Martial Arts Alliance…
“Those Blood Cult bastards deserve to be fucked up and killed!”
Shouted her anger.
Cale flinched in response.
“Ripping them into pieces is too considerate for the bastards!”
And flinched again.
He blankly looked at Zhuge Mi Ryeo. The fan in her hand made a noise as it cracked in half.
‘I thought they said that the Chief Advisor’s martial arts level was low.’
However, her grip strength was no joke.
She easily broke this fan that looked as if Cale would have trouble even bending, in half.
She then turned toward Cale. Her eyes were burning up. However, her voice was now calm. That was the reason Cale felt a bit scared.
As Cale subconsciously and blankly asked back…
“You mentioned that the reason you came to the Martial Arts Alliance is because there is a living jiangshi here as well, did you not? Who is that living jiangshi?”
Cale got even more scared at her extremely fierce tone and answered.
Without any hesitation.
“It is Zhuge Eun So.”
The teacup in the Alliance leader’s hand fell to the ground. He flinched before sticking a finger in his ear and cleaning it out.
“I must be getting old now. My ears are not very good. Isn’t that right?”
He looked around and asked but nobody agreed with him.
Elder Ho and Ko Seh Bum made eye contact. The Alliance leader watched as Elder Ho immediately avoided his gaze.
The Alliance leader subconsciously turned toward Zhuge Mi Ryeo after seeing this response.
He could see the completely pale Chief Advisor’s face.
The Alliance leader gasped in shock.
The Martial Arts Alliance’s top executives.
Although this might not make sense, the Alliance leader would choose the top executives as the most important part of the Martial Arts Alliance despite it being a martial arts organization.
All of the Martial Arts Alliance’s small and large issues filtered through the top executives.
One of the Blood Cult’s living jiangshis existed in that group and it was Zhuge Eun So…
Zhuge Eun So was secretly determined to be the future Chief Advisor.
‘This is a significant hit.’
To the Martial Arts Alliance, the Alliance leader, and the top executives…
Even to the Chief Advisor and the Zhuge Clan…
This was a situation where he did not dare to say anything.
The Alliance leader closed his mouth.
Nobody dared to open their mouths.
Of course, Cale was just not saying anything because he was listening to Raon, who was watching the Embroidered Uniform Guard through the window, rattle on in his mind.
The Alliance leader looked at Cale and had a thought.
‘He is waiting for us.’
He thought that there was only one reason as to why young master Kim would continue to be silent like this.
Even the Alliance leader was struggling to say something right now but one person managed to open their mouth.
No, that person had to be the first to say something.
“…They got us.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo…
She calmly made a comment.
However, the Alliance leader let out a deep groan at the weight behind those words.
It was the same for Elder Ho.
The Blood Cult had struck the Martial Arts Alliance.
It was quite a large dagger at that.
Young master Kim’s voice reached the Alliance leader’s ears at that moment.
“They haven’t done so yet?”
He seemed quite confused.
This time, Zhuge Mi Ryeo blankly asked back.
Young master Kim spoke with a nonchalant look on his face as if her reaction was weird.
“It’s not like anything has happened yet so it is hard to say they got you.”
‘It’s not like the Great War of the Triumvirate has started.’
Of course, there were a lot more trivial fights between the Triumvirate and the aura of war was dense in the air, but… These kinds of things had happened even without the Blood Cult. It was fine as long as it didn’t lead to the Great War of the Triumvirate.
“As for the living jiangshi, we can just purify them. In fact, wouldn’t we be able to benefit more now that we know the enemy’s cards?”
Cale looked at Zhuge Mi Ryeo as if to ask what the issue might be.
“I’m sure you had this thought as well, Chief Advisor?”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s tense hands released at that moment. She slowly let out a breath and closed her eyes. She then opened them back.
“I see. Nothing big has happened yet.”
Cale responded to her.
“Of course, this is a big issue for the Zhuge Clan.”
“No, sir. It is not a big issue.”
Cale was bringing up the Zhuge Clan’s position and Zhuge Eun So but Zhuge Mi Ryeo just brushed past that part.
The Alliance leader slowly interjected at that moment.
“In that case, do we need to purify Zhuge Eun So, get the Unorthodox faction and Demon Cult’s cooperation to get rid of the other living jiangshis before destroying the Blood Cult?”
Although he was looking at Zhuge Mi Ryeo, he was clearly talking to Cale.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo and Cale spoke one after the other.
“I do not think that is a good plan.”
“No, sir. I am against that method.”
The two of them looked at each other.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo cautiously opened her mouth.
“…May I hear what you mean by that, young master-nim?”
“I would prefer to hear your opinion on the matter first, Chief Advisor-nim.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo was silent for a moment at Cale’s calm voice before starting to speak.
“I’m sure that it must be hard to make living jiangshis. That is most likely why they stealthily placed them in the core of each faction so that they would not be found. And if they are difficult to make, they will be very important.”
Although it was only two incidents, based on the positions of the people who became living jiangshis… The Blood Cult probably cherished them and was most likely planning on using them for a long time.
“I’m sure that the Blood Cult has placed numerous devices within these precious and useful individuals.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo responded to Cale’s question without any hesitation.
“The living jiangshi’s life… Or maybe their status… There has to be a way for them to be notified of it.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo continued a bit more relaxed after seeing Cale nod his head in agreement.
“That is why I believe that the Blood Cult must have heard, in some way, about the Namgung Clan’s living jiangshi being purified.”
Cale’s side had been thinking about this since purifying Namgung Tae Wi as well.
Cale’s mouth opened.
“It is highly likely that the Blood Cult thinks that Namgung Tae Wi is dead.”
“…Is it because they do not know about the purification?”
Those Blue Bloods bastards shouldn’t know about purification.
The Black Bloods, the people who could have told them about purification, were all gone.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo organized her thoughts for a moment before continuing to speak.
“In that case, the Blood Cult must be curious about how Namgung Tae Wi died.”
“That’s correct. They want to know whether he died because someone found out he was a living jiangshi or if it was unrelated.”
She attentively observed Cale before asking.
“In that case, what is the method you were thinking of, young master Kim-nim?”
She put on a small smile at Cale’s gaze.
“I ask because it seems like you already have an idea, young master-nim.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo saw young master Kim raise his hand. He then motioned toward one of the people stationed outside the door.
He then let out a quiet sigh before asking.
“Ah, Alliance leader-nim. I can trust the people here with their mouths, right?”
The two guards stationed outside the door flinched.
“You can. They are my disciples and adopted child.”
The Alliance leader was speaking a bit more respectfully toward Cale.
“That’s a relief.”
Cale addressed the person who came at his beckoning.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo’s eyebrow slightly raised at the slightly innocent voice before her eyes opened wide after the person pulled off his hat and cloth that was covering his face.
The Sword Demon.
Before those words came out of her mouth…
“He is my close friend.”
The mood sank at Cale’s comment.
“Why don’t you tell them about the plan from here?”
Choi Jung Soo nodded without hesitation at Cale’s comment before calmly speaking.
“There will soon be rumors about how I am a spy the Blood Cult has planted in the Martial Arts world. There will also be a rumor about how the Namgung Clan is trying to kill me because I killed Namgung Tae Wi.”
After Choi Jung Soo mentioned it as if he was outside feeling a nice spring breeze, Cale nonchalantly commented.
“Ah, and those rumors will naturally come from the Imperial Palace and the Martial Arts Alliance. The Beggars’ Gang will stealthily spread that rumor.”
The Martial Arts Alliance could not go against Cale’s words. They needed to cover up their mistake.
“And I do not plan on purifying Zhuge Eun So right away. Chief Advisor, you understand what I mean by that, right?”
She groaned before barely managing to speak after sensing Cale’s gaze.
“…The Triumvirate. Are you planning on figure out who the living jiangshis are in each faction’s core before purifying them, young master-nim?”
Cale was about to respond right away when he stopped.
– Human, you are going to purify all of them together……?
Cale subconsciously responded at Raon’s vicious question.
“Although I do not plan on purifying all of them at once… I will at least create a situation where the Blood Cult would not be able to gather proper information before I purify them one after the other.”
He then continued on.
“Of course, I will also consume as many elixirs as possible prior to the purification so that more of my seals can be released.”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo flinched and started shaking and Chief Eunuch Wi twitched and clenched his fists, but… Cale could not pay attention to that.
– …Human, I am watching you.
All of his attention was on Raon’s vicious voice.
“Basically, young master-nim, you plan on finding all of the living jiangshis and then purifying them in succession… But not making it that long in between each one to cause chaos within the Blood Cult?”
“Yes ma’am. Wouldn’t the Blood Cult be in a state of chaos if it is not just one place but within the entirety of the Triumvirate where the living jiangshis have issues?”
The corners of Cale’s lips curled up.
While the Blood Cult can’t figure out what happened…
“That will create an opening in the Blood Cult. We can just aim for that, don’t you think?”
Zhuge Mi Ryeo gulped at that moment.
‘The ‘we’ that young master Kim is talking about is not just the Martial Arts Alliance and the Imperial family.’
Young master Kim clearly said that he planned on finding all of the living jiangshis within the Triumvirate.
Basically, that ‘we’ was talking about the Orthodox faction, Unorthodox faction, and the Demon Cult together.
Of course, young master Kim was included.
‘And young master Kim’s plan is probably to have that ‘we’ take down the Blood Cult.’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo got chills on her body.
‘The living jiangshis. If they were the daggers the Blood Cult stashed away to take over the Martial Arts world… The Martial Arts world will become a tool to move as he wishes for young master Kim.’
The fact that there is a living jiangshi in their faction was enough for that faction to fight against the Blood Cult.
And if the living jiangshis are indeed the future leaders of each faction… They would probably try to purify that person instead of killing them, even if it meant that person would not have their internal ki any longer. It would be even more likely if that person was a blood relative.
‘It is highly likely that everything will move with young master Kim at the center.’
Just look at her, a perfect example. She had to do as young master Kim wishes for the Martial Arts Alliance and the Zhuge Clan.
She noticed it since he made that comment about sound transmissions earlier, but…
His mental state was scarily deep.
‘For there to have been someone like this hiding in the Imperial Palace…’
Someone like young master Kim could not be hidden.
Maybe if they chose to seclude themselves, but…
‘I cannot understand why the Emperor is moving so many members of the Embroidered Uniform Guard for young master Kim.’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo felt anxious for the first time in a long while.
‘He’s resourcefulness is as high as his martial arts level!’
Her heart was beating wildly.
Honestly speaking, she did not have much attachment to the Zhuge Clan.
She only had Zhuge Eun So by her side because of her talents.
There was only one reason she joined the Martial Arts Alliance at a young age and ran around the battlefield with Ko Seh Bum.
‘It’s been a while since my heart beat like this.’
She loved the battlefield, the place she could use her intellect, so much.
And now… She was facing someone whose intelligence was at her level, if not higher.
This dark shadow… He was someone who could control the Triumvirate and even the Imperial Palace.
“What do you think about my plan, Chief Advisor-nim?”
She responded to young master Kim’s question.
“It is a great idea, young master-nim. However, there are a few points that need to be supplemented. Would it be okay if I organize those things and inform you about it in a bit?”
Cale turned toward the Alliance leader. The Chief Advisor was saying that she would report immediately to Cale and not the Alliance leader. The Alliance leader nodded his head at Cale’s gaze that seemed to be asking if it would be okay.
“The Martial Arts Alliance will fully support you in this endeavor, young master Kim.”
It was saying that he accepted the fact that young master Kim would be the center of this operation.
“Then I look forward to the plan you will come up with, Chief Advisor-nim.”
Cale calmly answered, however… He felt quite good.
Now that we have a smart person in our midst, everything should progress smoothly.
He should be able to take a step back.
A smile appeared on his face.
Zhuge Mi Ryeo looked at him and thought about the few things she needed to organize.
‘In order to cause chaos within the Blood Cult, it is better to purify all of the living jiangshis at once.’
Young master Kim mentioned a seal and elixirs, so it might be a better plan to purify all of them at once, even if it is pushing young master Kim’s limits a bit, once his preparations were completed.
‘I’ll report about that, and-’
Furthermore, locating the Blood Cult… It should be good to bring up the idea of gathering information from the Triumvirate.
‘I’m curious to see how someone who has reached the Nature Realm purifies the living jiangshis.’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo had not heard about how Cale purified the living jiangshi.
All she heard was the short result of him being purified.
‘Since he is intelligent, let’s bring up the most efficient method.’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo was planning on things that would make Cale gasp and warily look at Raon and Ron.
A few moments later, once Cale left with the Alliance leader saying that he needed to meet with the Embroidered Uniform Guard and she was left alone with Elder Ho…
“Elder Ho-nim, young master Kim is truly a scary person.”
She could not understand what Elder Ho said in response.
“He is truly wise and scary, but…”
Elder Ho let out a sigh as he spoke.
“He is also an extremely nice and soft-hearted person.”
‘Nice and soft-hearted?’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo looked confused and Elder Ho just faintly smiled toward her.
“You’ll see it soon enough, Chief Advisor. You’ll understand how noble young master Kim-nim is once you see it.”
“That sir is the Orthodox faction itself.”
‘The dark shadow is the Orthodox faction itself?’
Zhuge Mi Ryeo could not understand Elder Ho even more.
Elder Ho just smiled as if he understood her but that she would find out as time passed by.
* * *
An odd rumor started spreading around the Martial Arts Alliance.
“I thought that the Emperor’s older brothers were all dead? But the Emperor’s hyung-nim is here in the Martial Arts Alliance?”
“You know the guest house where the Alliance leader-nim’s guests reside?! That place is covered by the Embroidered Uniform Guard right now. I heard that the Emperor’s cherished younger brother has come sightseeing in the Martial Arts Alliance?”
“No, I heard that he was the Emperor’s hidden son? That is why the Embroidered Uniform Guard is singing about jade and gold?”
“I heard that it was the Emperor’s sworn younger brother but he is so so weak. The Emperor was so worried that he might fly away in the wind that he sent out so many members of the Embroidered Uniform Guard!”
To be more accurate, rumors that would make Cale gasp were starting to spread.
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