“Yes, yes. You are indeed our benefactor.”
The Sword Saint mumbled to himself.
“Hmm… The benefactor of the Namgung Clan.”
He then nodded his head over and over again. He did that while not looking at Cale but up in the air.
‘Is this really okay?’
Cale wanted to ask Chief Eunuch Wi, the Central Plains expert. Unfortunately, he could use neither magic nor sound transmission.
He had no way to stealthily ask.
Cale decided to not worry about it.
‘Yeah, it’s not like they are going to kill their benefactor.’
The Sword Saint’s vicious gaze from earlier was not filled with killing intent. He just felt oddly suspicious about the situation.
It was at that moment.
– As expected, you were drawing a big picture, young master Kim!
He heard Chief Eunuch Wi’s significantly happy sound transmission.
– I thought you were just going to have a cooperative relationship for shared interests, but benefactor, that is a great relationship! For generations, the Namgung Clan has treated their benefactors like members of their main branch. Now that you have been accepted as their benefactor, the Namgung Clan will treat you the way they treat the eldest senior of the family!
– Furthermore, as the Sword Saint’s benefactor, young master-nim, the Namgung Clan will treat you at minimum how they treat the Sword Saint, if not even better. This, this is very good!
‘…Hmm? …Uh… This… Is different from what I was thinking…?’
Cale made eye contact with Sui Khan. The team leader was shaking his head from side to side.
Cale suddenly recalled what Sui Khan had said to him.
The team leader definitely told Cale that there would be differences between the Central Plains that Cale knew and the Central Plains they were in.
In the wuxia novels that Cale knew, the Tang Clan of Sichuan was known for being thorough with their favors and grudges.
That Clan was usually skilled in poison and dagger arts.
They were a clan that frequently appeared in the novels alongside the Namgung Clan and the Zhuge Clan as part of the Five Great Clans.
‘Is it possible that in this world the Namgung Clan is at the Tang Clan’s level of focus on favors and grudges? Did… I make a mistake?’
Cale could not look at the Sword Saint, whose eyes seemed to be glowing.
The Sword Saint didn’t care as he continued to smile unlike before.
“Yes, what is it that our benefactor wants?”
The Sword Saint instantly changed to addressing Cale as ‘our benefactor.’
‘Is it okay for it to change so fast?’
Cale felt as if cold sweat would drip down his back.
However, he maintained his calm.
He then thought to himself. He debated how to respond.
The Sword Saint looked at Cale and gulped internally.
The Namgung Clan had not had a benefactor for centuries.
The reason was simple.
As the Namgung Clan had made up their mind to stand at the peak of the Orthodox faction… They could be someone’s benefactor, but they had no plans to serve anybody as their benefactor.
And that thought had become the Namgung Clan’s attitude and mindset. That was the reason that the Namgung Clan was by far the strongest of the Five Great Clans in the current Martial Arts world. The Martial Arts Alliance and even the Unorthodox faction and the Demon Cult did not dare to wrong the Namgung Clan.
Maybe that was the reason.
‘We were too arrogant.’
That was how a gap for the Blood Cult to dig into had appeared.
‘I did not want to break our centuries of having no benefactors in my generation, with my own hands.’
However, the situation had changed.
‘Young master Kim.’
He didn’t even know this guy’s full alias.
He had absolutely no idea about this guy’s real name.
‘However, taking this guy as our benefactor means that there is a good chance that there won’t be a big issue even if people find out that a living jiangshi and the Blood Cult are mixed in with the Namgung Clan.’
This eldest senior of the Imperial family…
Someone whose martial arts seems to be in the Nature Realm…
Furthermore, that aura that seemed to rule over everything…
He was certain that this person would take care of the issues of the Blood Cult.
‘As long as this person remains a benefactor of the Namgung Clan, there will not be excessive reprimands toward the Namgung Clan.’
Honestly speaking, if Namgung Tae Wi was a living jiangshi, then the Namgung Clan was the victim.
However, reality was not like that.
There would be people who would fault the Namgung Clan for not taking care of their family properly.
The Martial Arts world was that kind of battlefield where you ate or got eaten.
Young master Kim sighed at that moment.
The Sword Saint sat up straight. The cracked chair squeaked.
‘I tensed up?’
He finally realized that he was tense.
This guy’s judgment could change the future of the Namgung Clan. His heart couldn’t help but beat wildly.
This sense of powerlessness…
It had been a while since he felt this way. However, it was not bad.
The individual making the Sword Saint feel such emotions was an individual who was stronger than the Sword Saint’s wildest imagination.
“Senior Sword Saint.”
Cale brushed aside the complicated thoughts and decided to take a simple approach.
“First of all, don’t chase the Sword Demon anymore.”
“…What did you say?”
The Sword Saint’s face stiffened.
Cale was nice and repeated himself.
“I said to stop chasing the Sword Demon.”
The Sword Saint instantly scowled and his eyebrows furrowed.
“The entire Heavenly Guardians will soon arrive! Even if the Namgung Clan is falsely accused of being involved with the Blood Cult, I cannot give up chasing the Sword Demon-!”
The Sword Saint stopped talking about that moment.
He then gasped.
‘…I can’t figure him out at all.’
Cale thought that the Sword Saint was difficult to handle for different reasons than the other martial artists he had met until now and nonchalantly commented.
“The Sword Demon is my close friend.”
The Sword Saint’s eyes opened wide.
The Sword Saint let out a deep sigh again.
He then suddenly slapped his knees with his palms and let out a short laugh.
“I see, that makes sense!”
‘What the hell is up with this old man?’
Cale felt odd seeing the Sword Saint, whom he thought would get angry or emotional toward him, suddenly start laughing.
“Kahahaha! That is what happened! Hahaha!”
He was laughing out loud.
Cale’s expression slowly became more stoic.
The Sword Saint looked at the face that was becoming even more emotionless and commented.
“The Heavenly Guardians reported that the Sword Demon was involved with the Demon Cult.”
“Senior, what do you mean by that?”
Elder Ho shouted in shock.
“…That’s what I heard. That was why I rushed here to Huángshān with a Squad Leader of the Heavenly Guardians in order to find proof.”
Everybody in the room figured out what had happened after hearing the Sword Saint’s low voice.
“Namgung Tae Wi said that the Sword Demon was involved with the Demon Cult?”
“That’s right. He also said that the Sky Sword would end up in the Heavenly Demon’s hands.”
The Heavenly Demon.
He was the leader of the Demon Cult.
The Heavenly Demon was basically a god in the Demon Cult.
“Namgung Tae Wi brought a book from the Demon Cult as proof and that book had listed Choi Jung Soo, the Sword Demon, as a member of the Demon Cult. Hoho.”
The Sword Demon chuckled.
“Yes… They were able to fabricate such evidence and show it to me because the Blood Cult has living jiangshis planted all over the Triumvirate.”
Elder Ho was silent for a moment before he asked.
“…Umm, why is it that you did not inform the Martial Arts Alliance about this?”
The corners of the Sword Saint’s lips twisted as if he was wondering why Elder Ho was asking such an obvious question.
“It was a chance for the name of our Namgung Clan to rise even higher, why would we inform the Martial Arts Alliance?”
Elder Ho groaned. He then thought to himself.
‘As expected of the Namgung Clan bastards!’
If they knew the Demon Cult was involved, they definitely should have contacted the Martial Arts Alliance so that everybody could work together.
‘He knew that there was a standoff between the Kunlun Sect and the Demon Cult right now, but he ignored the other Five Great Clans and rushed over to Huángshān to hog the merits for himself?’
Elder Ho suppressed the complaints building up inside him.
The Sword Saint continued.
“Of course, I wanted that Sky Sword martial arts as well.”
He raised both hands in the air.
“However, I will stop as you say that he is our benefactor’s close friend.”
This was already the Sword Saint giving a lot.
Choi Jung Soo had been given the title of Sword Demon after defeating him.
To give up on such a target like that, the Sword Saint had made a big decision.
“I’m glad that you are willing to do that.”
The Sword Saint nodded his head at Cale’s relaxed voice.
Cale then nonchalantly commented as well.
“Please also help me find the Sword Demon.”
“Ah, you will also need to help us fight the Blood Cult for a bit too. We are lacking manpower.”
The Sword Saint flinched and looked at Cale.
“Furthermore, there will be a lot of issues where we need the Martial Arts Alliance’s cooperation. Elder Ho, please have the Beggars’ Gang represent the Nine Sects One Gang and Senior Sword Saint, please have the Namgung Clan represent the Five Great Clans to make things efficient.”
The Sword Saint’s mouth opened.
However, Cale smiled and commented before he could say anything.
“You will do at least that much for the first benefactor in centuries, right?”
He then added on.
“Also, all of this is beneficial to the Namgung Clan. Isn’t the Great Namgung Clan known for pursuing justice and cooperation? You need to step up in this kind of situation.”
He sounded calm.
“That is the way to prevent the extremely terrible false charges of the Namgung Clan being the hands and feet of the Blood Cult. Don’t you think so?”
Cale’s smile became thicker.
The Sword Saint realized that his plan to lean on Cale to stop all of the rumors had been found out.
“I look forward to the Namgung Clan’s performance.”
‘…It is a mountain after a mountain.’
The Sword Saint clenched his eyes shut.
However, the calculations were swift.
“Of course, the Namgung Clan will be the leader of the Orthodox faction and give our everything to all issues related to the Blood Cult.”
“That sounds perfect.”
Cale smiled brightly.
“Let us stop the Great War of the Triumvirate.”
“…Is that what the Blood Cult is going for?”
The Sword Saint knew that the times were flowing oddly. He thought about his son who recently said that they needed to stock up on supplies. He thought about his eldest son, the current patriarch of the Namgung Clan.
He heard a nonchalant voice at that moment.
“Wouldn’t it be good if the Namgung Clan became the hero of the Orthodox faction for once? Wouldn’t that truly be fitting of the Monarch?”
The corner of the Sword Saint’s lips curled up oddly.
‘He is a member of the Imperial family, but has no issues bringing up the Namgung Clan’s Monarch Sword Arts.’
The Imperial family hated the name of the Namgung Clan’s sword arts. It was because it had the word, ‘Monarch,’ in it.
The Sword Saint looked right back at the eyes looking at him and responded.
“I will happily play along with our benefactor’s plan.”
Elder Ho’s fists clenched as he heard that.
‘We pulled the Namgung Clan into this!’
They were all fighting against each other for power, but now that the Namgung Clan has agreed to lead the way to fight against the Demon Cult, Unorthodox faction, and the Blood Cult… It was basically established fact that the Five Great Clans would be moving in the same direction as the Nine Sects One Gang.
“However, there is something I am curious about.”
The Sword Saint’s sharp gaze headed toward Cale.
“What is your true identity?”
He could see a smile appear on young master Kim’s face.
Young master Kim answered without any hesitation.
‘An errand boy? No.’
The Sword Saint thought of the other meaning of that word.
The ghost who takes the souls of the dead to the afterlife. (TL: Remember, Messenger and grim reaper are homonyms in Korean)
The Sword Demon chuckled.
“I guess I better stay sharp if I don’t want my soul taken away.”
Cale did not say anything about that.
The Sword Saint stood up.
“I will bring Tae Wi here.”
Chief Eunuch Wi slightly bowed toward him.
“We have purchased a desert house nearby. We should be able to confirm and purify him there.”
“…You’ve already completed the preparations.”
“That is the only way to move quickly, isn’t it?”
The Sword Saint chuckled at Cale, who answered with a bright smile on his face.
“Young master Kim, I chose to trust you, so please act like a benefactor should.”
He then left the room.
– He’s definitely someone you can’t put your guard down around.
Cale slightly nodded his head at Chief Eunuch Wi’s sound transmission. He then answered out loud because he couldn’t send sound transmissions.
“They won’t be able to put their guard down around us either.”
The Sword Saint, who was walking calmly but focusing all of his attention, heard Cale’s voice.
Cale was clearly talking to his subordinate, but the Sword Saint heard it as a warning to him.
‘What a scary benefactor.’
The Sword Saint scowled and sighed.
This short conversation had worn him out.
‘…He says that he is a close friend of the Sword Demon… He is the same as that Sword Demon bastard.’
The way he smiled nicely but annoyed a person so much was the same as the Sword Demon.
‘I’m going easy on you because you are weaker than me. Please stop coming to fight me. Please?’
The words that the Sword Demon had said ringed in the Sword Saint’s ears.
‘…They do say that birds of the same feather flock together.’
However, the Sword Saint could not talk badly about young master Kim. No matter what, it was true that he had given the Namgung Clan an opportunity.
Namgung Tae Wi looked gentle as he walked over with Namgung Yoo Hak.
Young master Kim was the only person who could save that child, no, the only one who could at least let him die a humane death.
He held back a sigh and approached his family.
* * *
Choi Jung Soo placed a jerky in his mouth and tilted his head.
Chew, chew. He was crouched at the bottom of a tree while deep in thought.
“Why do I only see small fry?”
Somewhere in Huángshān…
Between the many peaks… Choi Jung Soo, who was somewhere deep in the mountain, was sensing that the mood the last few days had been different from what he had expected.
“…Did something happen?”
He thought that the Sword Saint would definitely come to Huángshān.
He expected the Unorthodox faction, the Demon Cult, and other bastards as well. He thought that a lot of influential people in the Martial Arts world would come here to capture him.
However, he had only seen weak small fry until now. He had not seen any real enemies yet.
“Ha, I’m supah curious.” (TL: This is CJS speaking in satoori)
He was certain that something had happened. Choi Jung Soo was so curious that his satoori popped out for the first time in a long while.
No, to be honest…
Nobody could find him if he just hid his presence a bit.
That might explain why his body was feeling antsy.
Of course, not fighting was the best, but…
Not knowing the reason was making him feel this way.
Choi Jung Soo jumped up after having a thought.
“Ah, my leg!”
He then grabbed his leg which had fallen asleep.
He leaned on a tree and started to think.
‘Hey. Choi Jung Soo, remember this.’
He recalled someone’s advice.
‘The situation is different from what you imagined? Then a variable must have happened. What do you think you should do first in such a situation?’
‘I don’t know?’
The person had sighed before answering.
‘You need to check out the variable. That is the first thing. You got that? You should respond like that if the team leader asks you. Huh?’
‘Yeah! Got it!’
Choi Jung Soo started to speak.
“…Kim Rok Soo.”
He turned to look toward the small village at the entrance of Huángshān.
He needed to start moving to check on the variable.
“I didn’t expect that I would be coming down from the mountain first.”
Choi Jung Soo chuckled and massaged his still asleep leg.
He would go down once his leg stopped being so numb.
* * *
– Young master-nim, the Sword Saint and Namgung Tae Wi are headed over.
Cale opened his closed eyes after hearing Chief Eunuch Wi’s report.
In this deserted house located a bit away from the inn and the center of the village…
Cale was seated on the chair as he opened his mouth.
“Noble Warrior Do, please.”
“Yes, oh esteemed Purifier.”
Priest Durst started sniffing and smiled.
Go Scooby dooby Durst! And CJS approaches!
TCF is currently posted Mondays and Fridays at evening time GMT. Join our discord to be notified as soon as the chapter posts!
If you can’t wait, please subscribe to advanced chapters on our EAP website to get access to up to 8 chapters! Almost all tiers already have access to part 2 of TCF!
You can subscribe (immediate access) through our PATREON