The path to the inn was quite peaceful.
At least Cale thought that way.
However, the two groups that came with him felt differently.
‘What kind of martial arts is that?’
‘Wind gathers around his ankles?’
The young martial artists continued to look toward Cale while thinking about the ‘wind’ that had gathered around their ankles.
It seemed not right to call it martial arts.
It didn’t feel as if any form of walking, nor foot technique, existed within it.
However, they had moved quite quickly.
‘It definitely seems like a foot technique.’
Monk Jeong Hye attentively looked at Cale’s back.
“The preparations are completed, young master Kim.”
The old man named Wi commented and young master Kim stood up before raising his hand.
Something that resembled black smoke then spread out with him at the center, causing whirlwinds to appear around the ankles of some of his guards.
They had appeared around young master Kim’s ankles as well.
‘It is not death arts.’
He had slightly flinched at first after seeing that black aura.
However, a sense of evil could not be felt from that aura at all.
People who were only at low levels of martial arts might get suspicious after seeing the color, but nobody here had martial arts at such low levels.
In fact, as a Buddhist, he had felt it.
‘…It was clean.’
That refreshing aura made him think of Buddhism or Taoism.
The aura felt as clear as if it was carrying the essence of the Orthodox faction.
Furthermore, that black aura had only appeared for a moment but made him think of nature.
‘That young master Kim’s power seems purer than anybody else’s.’
It resembled the dignified nature.
Jeong Hye peeked to the side.
‘This guy must know that as well for him to remain calm like this.’
The person who had thrown a dagger toward Cale’s group in the beginning…
He was a member of the Martial Arts Alliance. He had not revealed his identity to Cale nor Jeong Hye’s group.
‘Elder Ho seems to know who it is though.’
Only someone at the level of the Beggars’ Gang’s Elder could know the identity of this dagger-using person.
However, Jeong Hye was not very curious about this person’s identity.
What he was curious about was…
‘Young master Kim.’
The martial arts of this person and his people.
This was probably true for not just him but for all of the rising stars here with them.
‘What the hell are their martial arts?’
However, one of the rising stars…
The Kunlun Sect’s daoshi Un Seon… She slowly lowered her head to look down at her palm.
Her hand was covered in sweat.
She stealthily looked toward Dokgo Chang and Elder Ho. Elder Ho was smiling brightly while walking next to the Fist King and young master Kim, but…
Dokgo Chang was silent with the Dokgo Clan’s young clan leader trailing behind him.
Unlike the Dokgo young clan leader, and the other rising stars who were curious… Dokgo Chang knew.
He knew the identity of the aura this young master Kim had released.
‘It is nature.’
The power he used was nature itself.
There had not been a single speck of internal ki within it.
Un Seon recalled when he had used the power.
All of the power had started around him.
However, he did not even use a little bit of the internal ki that should be inside his body.
What would that mean?
‘Little Seon. What is beyond the Unrestrained Realm?’
‘It is the Profound Realm.’
‘Yes, the Profound Realm places experts at a different level. Even the title of expert might not be enough for them as they are able to control powers beyond that of humans.’
‘Then do you know what is beyond the Profound Realm?’
‘…I know it to be the Nature Realm. But master… Isn’t that realm just a myth?’
‘No. The Nature Realm does exist. The Sword Emperor is suspected of being in the Nature Realm.’
Un Seon had once met someone who had taken a small step into the Profound Realm while she was with her master.
Her master had whispered to her.
‘Little Seon. Once you reach the Profound Realm, you supposedly learn that internal ki is not important.’
‘Then what is important, master?’
Her master had not answered the question.
The person who had taken a step into the Profound Realm… That woman had answered.
She had looked at Un Seon and said the following.
‘The Profound Realm is the process of getting to the Nature Realm.’
The Profound Realm was not the zenith of cultivation.
It was just another step toward the end of martial arts.
‘Once you reach the Nature Realm, you no longer use internal ki, but rather the forces of nature. Of course, I am simply in the beginning stages of the Profound Realm, but I am still able to use a bit of the forces of nature.’
That person had shown Un Seon how she uses the forces of nature. That woman then left her master and Un Seon.
This was the reason Un Seon was certain that young master Kim did not use internal ki and used the forces around him to use martial arts.
‘Young master Kim.’
To be more specific, this person named Kim Hae-il…
This person definitely did not use internal ki. But he definitely had internal ki.
The power that made everybody feel suffocated and subconsciously bow had come out of his body.
He must have quite a lot of internal ki.
‘…Maybe, this person, no, this sir is beyond the Profound Realm-’
Un Seon could not finish her thoughts.
She thought that a shock would go throughout her body.
‘…This sir definitely has another identity beyond that of his martial arts.’
She could tell based on Elder Ho’s demeanor.
‘…However, this sir at least seems to know about justice and cooperation.’
Un Seon clenched her eyes shut.
The Kunlun Sect.
Just like the sect that had come up with the steps that imitated a dragon moving through the clouds…
They existed in an area covered by clouds in between dangerous mountain peaks.
Furthermore, they had battled against the Demon Cult for what felt like forever, with just the desolate lands beyond the mountain peaks separating them.
‘The Demon Cult was up to something. The seniors of the Kunlun Sect believed that they would do something soon. If the Great War between the Orthodox faction and the Demon Cult was to start again…’
Un Seon would happily climb through the mountain to the desolate lands to make sure that the Demon Cult’s blood-soaked blades could not aim for the Orthodox faction nor the regular citizens of the Central Plains.
War would turn everything into ruin.
‘This trip is a form of experience as well.’
In this situation where the Orthodox faction, Unorthodox faction, and possibly even the Demon Cult were aiming for the Sword Demon, Choi Jung Soo…
Un Seon was planning on getting involved in this battle to increase her senses in battle.
Beyond all of that, currently, the Kunlun Sect…
‘…We need strong people.’
They needed allies or righteous people who would help them stop the progression of the Demon Cult.
The Kunlun Sect had currently stopped all outside activities and was preparing for war.
The villagers in the area underneath the mountains of the Kunlun Sect were prepared to leave at any moment.
‘If this young master-nim helps us-’
Un Seon shook her head.
‘War is reality.’
Justice and cooperation basically did not exist in reality.
Especially during war, a lot of people cared most about benefits and costs.
‘We have nothing to offer.’
The Kunlun Sect was known among both the Five Great Clans and the Nine Sects One Gang for being poor. Honestly speaking, it was only through their history and martial arts that they were able to maintain their position at the bottom of the Nine Sects One Gang.
They were poorer than basically every other sect in the Orthodox faction.
‘I need to get stronger.’
Un Seon firmed her resolve.
The door to the inn opened.
Cale followed behind Chief Eunuch Wi.
– Human! It’s oddly fun to use magic in such a situation!
He simply nodded his head once after hearing Raon’s voice in his mind.
Cale’s group had quickly gotten here using Raon’s haste magic. Of course, Cale acted as if he had done it because they could not let others know about Raon.
‘Nobody has said anything. It should be fine.’
Elder Ho and the Dokgo Clan had not said anything.
They kept peeking at him, but he ignored it because there was no hostility in their gazes.
“The inns truly are rowdy.”
Cale nodded his head at Sui Khan’s comment.
In a small village near Huángshān…
There were a lot of inns here because this village was created for the people visiting Huángshān.
Most of these inns were quite full right now.
Thankfully, there was some room in this small inn.
A sharp-looking worker walked toward Cale.
The young worker looked embarrassed.
“The inn is pretty full right now, so everybody here-”
Chief Eunuch Wi stepped forward at that moment.
“Doesn’t this inn have a guest house in the backyard?”
“Excuse me? Yes, we do, but…”
The worker was smiling but had curled up a bit.
“T, there is already someone there.”
He looked at the people beyond Chief Eunuch Wi and Cale and was scared.
First, Toonka was extremely easy to spot.
Then there was the vicious gaze in Dokgo Chang’s eyes. Most importantly, everybody here seemed like martial artists.
The worker had been extremely tense since a few days ago after seeing all of the martial artists filling up the inn.
He was afraid that he might get stabbed saying no to them.
The worker’s face relaxed after seeing someone recognizing and approaching Chief Eunuch Wi.
“This sir is the one at the guest house-”
Chief Eunuch Wi smiled gently at the worker’s comment.
“Yes, sir. They are a part of our group.”
“Ah, I see!”
The worker finally smiled brightly.
‘What a relief!’
He was worried about how he would send around twenty martial artists away, but thankfully, the guest in the guest house was a part of their group.
‘I thought it was weird that he was using the whole guest house by himself!’
It was weird for a single person to use that whole guest house alone.
‘But these sirs are decent guests.’
The worker was relieved after seeing Chief Eunuch Wi, who had spoken respectfully toward him.
“Have you been well, my dear nephew?”
“Yes, sir. Please, let’s head to the guest house.”
“Our party unexpectedly grew in size. Will that be okay?”
Chief Eunuch Wi pointed behind him as he spoke to this supposed nephew.
“Yes, sir. It will be fine. There should be enough room as the guest house is a two-story building.”
Chief Eunuch Wi responded benignly while also speaking into Cale’s mind.
– He is a member of the Eastern Depot.
As expected, the person calling Chief Eunuch Wi uncle was a part of the Eastern Depot.
In places where martial artists gathered… An informant of the Imperial family always existed wherever incidents happened.
Cale started to speak after seeing Chief Eunuch Wi looking at him.
He had gotten a more thorough description of the Sword Demon’s location from Elder Ho on their way here.
It should be reliable since it was from the Beggars’ Gang.
‘We need to hurry.’
The Sword Saint had gone all the way to Sichuan to look for the Sword Demon before coming back. The Namgung Clan’s former patriarch was said to arrive at Huángshān tomorrow with the Heavenly Guardians, the strongest force of the Namgung Clan.
‘We need to find Choi Jung Soo before that and go to the Martial Arts Alliance.’
His original plan was to get away after that, but now that he learned that there was a living jiangshi in the Martial Arts Alliance…
‘I need to purify that living jiangshi first.’
Cale had the heater divine item that the God of the Fire of Purification had given him.
Even if his Fire of Destruction power was sealed, there was still a portion he could use to purify things.
They had a lot to do.
They then had to go to the Demon Cult and take care of the Unorthodox faction as well.
And once he prevented the Great War of the Triumvirate to a degree…
He needed to go strike the Blood Cult.
Cale heard someone’s voice at that moment.
It was Toonka.
He would just ignore him.
– Human, I’m hungry!
Cale addressed the group.
“…Let’s take care of our hunger first.”
‘Yes, you need to eat well and on time when you are young. But it’s a bit…’
Cale peeked around the inn.
‘The atmosphere is quite cold?’
The inn was rowdy.
People were eating, drinking, or happily chatting with their companions, but…
‘Yes, although it looks like that-’
‘They all know that everybody here is a martial artist.’
It was obvious that not everybody here was from the Orthodox faction.
There were a lot of people who looked like wanderers or members of the Unorthodox faction.
It was obvious that they were all here for the martial arts text and elixir that the Sword Demon possessed, or at least hoping for scraps.
‘They are looking more at the people behind us than our group.’
Most of the people, despite pretending not to, were attentively looking at Elder Ho’s group and the Dokgo Clan.
Some of the people who were not as good at this had serious looks on their faces while exchanging glances with their party.
A not-so-good aura flowed through this regular inn.
Chief Eunuch Wi asked a question.
“Should I ask if we can dine in the guest house?”
‘As expected of Chief Eunuch Wi. He’s so sharp.’
“Of course that is possible! We will send the food right away to the guest house if you order, sir!”
The worker and the other informant from the Eastern Depot were also sharp.
“I’m sure you are all hungry; please let me lead the way. Uncle, please come this way. Young master-nim, right this way.”
The Eastern Depot member was good-natured and addressed Cale as well. Ron approached that Eastern Depot member while Beacrox approached the worker.
Things were moving along as they should.
Cale was satisfied.
‘This is great, Noble Warrior Wi.”
Chief Eunuch Wi smiled gently after hearing Cale’s quiet voice while having a thought in his mind.
‘…This person is used to being cared for like this.’
He could feel some elegance and class from Cale every so often.
‘This sir is so mysterious.’
He could not make any judgment about this person at all.
That was why Chief Eunuch Wi could not relax.
On the other hand, Cale relaxed a bit. He heard Raon’s excited voice.
– Human, dumplings for me, dumplings! Oh, that dish made of pork is supposedly delicious as well according to rock head Central Plains!
Cale followed behind Chief Eunuch Wi.
It was at that moment.
The door to the inn opened again.
The worker looked tense as he ran toward the opening door.
Cale looked past the worker to the people walking in.
There were a total of three people.
There were two young people, and…
A short old person in between the two of them.
All three of them looked a bit disheveled as if they had rushed here.
However, Cale flinched for a moment after seeing the gaze of the old person who walked into the inn.
The person’s gaze was quite vicious.
He looked as if he would not bleed even if he was stabbed.
Elder Ho subconsciously gasped at that moment.
He had an ominous feeling about this.
As Cale felt that way…
He heard Chief Eunuch Wi’s urgent sound transmission.
– Young master Kim! It’s the Sword Saint!
The short old man at the center…
He was the Sword Saint.
‘Wait, why is this guy, why is the Sword Saint appearing right now?’
Cale was shocked.
Yes, feed yourself first.
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