Chapter 382: Title of Five Strongest Warriors (3)
The eldest son of Yi Mok.
If one thought about his surname, one would notice that it was different from his father’s.
It wasn’t because he wasn’t the real son of the Great Leader.
It was because Yi Mok, the unmarried Great Leader of the Forces of Justice, had three children, all of them orphans.
Yeon Buso, Kang Soah and Mo Yuju.
Although the three siblings were orphans, they were always praised for being worthy of the attention of North Justice Blade Yi Mok.
It wasn’t known why his three children hadn’t taken his surname, but it was undeniable that they were going to be the figures who lead the Forces of Justice in the future.
Amongst them, Yeon Buso, the eldest son, was going to be the face of the next generation of Yulin. The fact that he had been raised with great care and dedication was the reason why some leaders already supported him.
“My lord, please send me to the Imperial Palace along with the 17th leader.”
The eyes of the Great Leader opened wide.
It was the first time he’d heard Yeon Buso request something.
His son had been invited to the meetings several times before, but he’d never expressed his intentions.
‘Hmm… is it because of the Lord of the Demonic Cult?’
Although he wasn’t his biological son, Yi Mok was the one who had raised him, there was no way he didn’t understand his son’s intentions.
Although Yeon Buso was never interested in anything else, he seemed particularly interested in anything that had to do with Lord Chun Yeowun.
‘Thinking of him as his opponent?’
The corners of Yi Mok’s lips rose.
Being one of the Five Strongest Warriors of Wulin, he was always compared to the Lord of the Demonic Cult.
There had even been rumors stating that the North Lord would face the South Demonic Cult’s Lord.
It was natural for Yeon Buso to consider Chun Yeowun as his rival as they’d come out of their martial arts school at the same time, and had both gained fame at the same time as well.
‘He is indeed my son.’
Perhaps it was because of Yi Mok’s influence, that Yeon Buso always kept a close eye on Chun Yeowun’s movements, especially since Jegal Sohi had gone to the Demonic Cult as a member of the envoy.
Yeon Buso’s eyes, which looked at the Lord, were filled with a sense of victory.
‘It might be risky, but it can be a good experience for him as well. An excellent opponent would be a driving force that can push him past his limits.’
After all, Forces of Justice and Demonic Cult were currently allies, so no major problems would pop up.
Of course, fights could erupt between alliances too.
The Great Leader nodded in agreement.
“Do what you want.”
Yeon Buso’s face brightened.
“Ohho! To go with Leader Yeon! Such an honor.”
Peng-gyu felt elated at the unexpected support.
Even before entering the Forces of Justice and becoming a leader, rumors had been going around that Yeon Buso was an extremely powerful monster.
Less than three months after leaving Yulin to train his abilities, he’d been recognized for his skills in martial arts and was known to be one of the strongest warriors within Yulin.
It was common to hear people saying that even if they lost in reputation as martial artists, being older than Yeon Buso was something to be proud of, especially since he was a recognized warrior of Yulin and just a little below the Five Strongest Warriors.
‘I was told that he was around 30 years old, but I can’t guess what happened to push him so far in the power scale’
Peng-gyu was a master in the Superior Master level, but he couldn’t guess what Yeon Buso’s level was.
Rumors stated that he had reached the end of the Superior Master level, but there were those who thought that he must have achieved the Supreme Master level already.
“I might be lacking in skills, but I want to help the 17th leader.”
“Hahaha, you have such great experience, please don’t be too modest. If I am being accompanied by the secret weapon of the Forces of Justice, then my chances of getting the arm of Elder Cheong-su will increase.”
At the same time, Peng-gyu raised his right arm and pretended to cut it with the other.
Yeon Buso didn’t want to pick a side, but Peng-gyu’s actions were too petty as a leader.
‘The positions of a rich leader and a skilled one have changed. Tch, Tch.’
Peng-gyu of the Peng family is a wealthy owner, and as he was the son of the previous leader, he simply inherited the position.
But that didn’t mean that Peng-gyu lacked ingenuity or resourcefulness.
It was just that, for a leader of a faction, his temper and aggressiveness tended to drive his opponents into a corner.
Despite Peng-gyu’s provocative attitude, Elder Cheong-su didn’t respond.
After all, for the last three days, he had warned everyone about it.
‘You are the ones who ignored my warning. Go and see it for yourself.’
Although the Forces of Justice and the Demonic Cult had allied, Chun Yeowun was the kind of person who showed no mercy.
He’d been wondering what he was supposed to say if Peng-gyu didn’t make it back alive.
The main group of the Forces of Justice wasn’t far from the Imperial capital, because it was located in the same region.
If they traveled whilst resting, they could reach the capital within three days, and in just two days if they gave up their sleep.
At noon on the third day, the members of Cardinal Spear and the envoy from Forces of Justice arrived.
Around fifty or so people from Yulin were waiting for their entry passes to be issued in front of the south gate of the Dragon Palace.
However, half of them weren’t martial artists.
Half of them were like nuns in grey monk robes with a thin scabbard on their backs.
The middle-aged nun at the forefront was none other than a long-time elder of the Hangsan clan, Monk Sathi.
“I hope that Monk Sathi doesn’t cross us.”
Peng-gyu, the head of the Peng family, grumbled.
Normally, he was only planning to move with Yeon Buso, the eldest son of the Forces of Justice Great Leader, and the members of his clan, but at the orders of the Great Leader, the Hangsan clan members had joined in.
The reason being,
“Amitabha, would it be bad to change Buddhism as a new religion? This is an opportunity for the merciful Buddha to be known by the entire empire. Leader Peng-gyu.”
It was just an in-case situation.
Although the Emperor had officially announced a change in the State Religion, they thought it would be difficult for the Emperor to change his words.
With that in mind, they intended to recommend Buddhism as the next best solution to Yulin.
If there was distrust in martial arts because of Elder Cheong-su, the Great Leader decided that it wouldn’t be bad to recommend Buddhism, so he had asked Monk Sathi.
“It would have been better if Monk Gak-yeon had come, what could I possibly do? Amitabha!”
Monk Gak-yeon had a strong reputation and influence as he was the leader of the Shaolin clan, the largest Buddhist centre in Jianghu.
However, since he was currently in charge of a separate task, he couldn’t leave his position.
“Let’s talk with His Majesty first. It may not be too difficult to convince him to reconsider his suggestion.”
On their way to the palace, the eunuchs had given them various pieces of information.
Fortunately, they came to know that even though the Emperor had announced the change of State Religion, he hadn’t completely withdrawn Taoism.
As the eunuch had said, there was still time to change his mind.
“Amitabha. But this is taking longer than I thought.”
They had been waiting at the south gate entrance for more than half an hour and hadn’t received any news.
They were told that the eunuch would enter the palace first and bring them an issued entry pass, but it was taking a lot of time.
“What will you do if the Lord of the Demonic Cult has already left? Your hopes might collapse if he is not here.”
Peng-gyu spoke to Yeon Buso, who was quietly standing alone.
When he arrived at the capital, the eunuch had told them that the Lord of the Demonic Cult had returned to the cult and he’d seemed disappointed.
‘Maybe we are not fated to meet yet?’
The young man had a strong desire to meet his rival, who was also the Lord of the new generations.
Besides, his fiancé, Jegal Sohi, was praising him too much, and he wanted to see what kind of a person this Lord was.
‘Should I just feel satisfied with observing the traces of his martial arts?’
Yeon Buso had asked the eunuch if the bodies of the people Chun Yeowun had killed had been cremated or not, and the eunuch had responded that they hadn’t.
‘By examining the sword marks on the corpses, I can determine if he really did use an invisible sword or not.’
He too was hoping that Lord Chun couldn’t use the invisible sword.
Jegal Sohi had said that he was a Supreme Master when she met him.
No matter how gifted Lord Chun was, it was beyond understanding to believe that he’d taken a step into a legendary level in just a few months.
‘What is certain is that Elder Cheong-su spoke too much, it could be that he didn’t understand it since Lord Chun was beyond his level. This is so interesting! Does the sky not want me to meet Lord Chun?’
When he first appeared in Yulin, he’d competed against many masters, but had experienced an overwhelming disappointment.
Not a single person his age could compete against him.
Even till now, there were only a few leaders who could defend themselves against Yeon Buso’s attacks.
That was when he realized that in this world, people like him were called Geniuses.
‘If he really is that strong, we will surely bump into each other sometime. No matter how much he avoids me, we are bound to meet.’
Until then, it seemed like he had to calm his boiling blood.
That was when someone came out from the south gate and ran to them.
He was the eunuch from the Cardinal Spear.
“Has the entry pass been issued? Amitabha.”
In response to Monk Sathi’s question, the eunuch nodded.
“It was issued. More importantly, we need to hurry up and visit His Majesty right now.”
They’d visited the imperial palace before, and they knew it would always take two to three days to meet the Emperor.
However, with their passes just having been issued, they were being invited by the Emperor.
“Early this morning, the removal of Taoism was accelerated as the people of the Demonic Cult entered the palace!”
Peng-gyu and Sathi were shocked by those unbelievable words.
Just a moment ago, they’d felt relieved to know that Taoism hadn’t been completely removed, but now since the members of the Demonic Cult were entering the palace, they would make sure it got removed out as soon as possible.
“Amitabha! What a mess!. Leader Peng-gyu and Leader Yeon Buso please go meet the Emperor. I will lead the members of the Hangsan clan and make sure that the temples of Taoism don’t get dismantled.”
It was a situation in which the Hangsan clan must act.
When she said that she would prevent the dismantlement, both of them nodded their heads.
Wondering, Yeon Buso asked.
“Did the Lord of the Demonic Cult enter the palace?”
“I don’t know. However, if we don’t hurry in, we might not be given permission to enter.”
As a result, Yeon Buso sighed.
There was no way that a normal eunuch could know if a person with the position of Lord had entered the palace again or not.
He was wondering whether he should help Monk Sathi, but after thinking about it, he decided to meet the Emperor alongside leader Peng-gyu.
The Taoist temple was located southeast of the Dragon Palace.
Built during the reign of the first emperor, the temple, like the other temples in Jianghu, consisted of several halls, three buildings, and was under the jurisdiction of the emperor.
Such a temple was experiencing huge riots.
“You! Stop this now!”
“You people! How dare you do this!”
The monks in the temple tried helplessly to fight back but to no avail.
The members of the Demonic Cult, who had arrived an hour before, were removing all the books and teaching tools from the halls.
“You evil demons! This is a sacred temple of Taoism! Get away…”
“Who are you calling evil demons? On His Majesty’s orders, we were told to dismantle this place and build a temple of the Sky Demon Order, it would be better for you if you left this place.”
A person, dressed as a member of the Demonic Cult, kicked the man.
He was continuously obstructing the front of the temple and resisting its dismantle, he wasn’t even willing to listen to what the Demonic Cult members had to say.
“You think I don’t know that you blocked the Emperor’s eyes and ears! You wicked people!”
Even though the temple was being dismantled, the teachers in there cursed the Demonic Cult.
In the beginning, the Demonic cult members had told them to stop their resistance, yet those teachers sat down saying that they hadn’t received any messages from Yulin.
They were talking as if the Emperor’s orders meant nothing to them.
“I can’t hold back myself any longer!”
At that time, a young man standing in the front yard of the temple ignited a spark in his hands.
The teachers and monks who were moving in suddenly went stiff at that sight.
The young man with a hood on his head was Hu Bong, the right-hand man of the Lord of Demonic Cult.
Hu Bong directed the flame at a small tree in the yard, which immediately caught fire.
In an instant, it turned black and then turned into ashes.
He was showing the Qilin’s power to threaten them.
And it did work to an extent.
People who were attempting to resist stared at him, perplexed, unsure of what they were expected to do.
‘Tch. Even those who learn martial arts won’t be able to stand their grounds.’
The teachers and monks in the temple were different.
They weren’t trained in martial arts, they were only instructed to not back down if the members of Demonic Cult came, but seeing how the Demonic Cult was ready to act, they couldn’t get themselves to follow those orders.
“Those who continue to resist or interfere with our work, make sure their blood flows.”
The order was given by Hu Bong to forcefully suppress the temple’s members.
That was when the nuns rushed into the temple.
Clang! clang! Clang!
The nuns, who appeared suddenly, drew their swords and took their positions blocking the members of the Demonic Cult from entry.
They were the disciples of the Hangsan clan.
When the nuns suddenly appeared before them, the members of the cult looked back at Hu Bong with a puzzled expression, not knowing what to do.
Amongst the nuns, a dignified-looking middle-aged nun dressed in red robes walked to the front.
Monk Sathi, a long-standing member of the Hangsan clan.
‘Thank buddha, I wasn’t too late.’
She’d rushed over as fast as she could.
She’d been worried that the temple would be completely dismantled and the teachers kicked out by the time she arrived, but fortunately, it hadn’t happened yet.
She looked at Hu Bong, who was standing in the lead with a hood on.
She instinctively knew that he was the leader of this group.
Judging from the strong energy radiating from his body, she guessed that he was a Superior Master Level warrior.
‘Superior Master? Could this person be the Lord of the Demonic Cult?’
Elder Cheong-su had said that the Lord of the Demonic Cult was a Divine Master Level.
However, like the other leaders, Monk Sathi didn’t believe those words.
It was impossible for a person who was just twenty years old to go beyond the Supreme Master level and reach the level of a Divine Master.
‘If someone radiates this kind of mixed eerie energy, anyone is likely to misunderstand.’
Foreign energy emanated from the hooded person.
It was the Qilin’s energy that was different from normal energy, even those who were skilled in martial arts wouldn’t be able to stop themselves from being confused.
She looked at Hu Bong and slightly bowed her head to greet him.
Her lips parted.
“I am Monk Sathi, a long standing member of the Hangsan clan. It is a pity that we have to meet each other in this way even though we are allied forces, but I will have to ask your members to withdraw from here.”
Hu Bong made a clueless expression that said he couldn’t understand her words.
“If you are a long time member, then you must be a leader of the Forces of Justice. If so, then how can you oppose an order given by His Majesty the Emperor himself?”
“Even though there is an alliance between us two, there is a line which shouldn’t be crossed. How could you people devise such a cunning plan to dismantle the temples and schools of our realm!”
It was pinched by the statement that the emperor recognized the Sky Demon Order as the State Religion.
Hu Bong tilted his head at her words.
“Since when did the Imperial palace become your realm?”
Hu Bong spoke, and Monk Sathi’s eyes became cold as she heard those words.
When she looked around, she couldn’t find any other people apart from the few members of the cult in the yard.
No officials from the palace had come. If they were around, they would have reported this to the emperor, thankfully, the Demonic cult members were the only ones present.
‘It would be better to subdue the Lord of the Demonic Cult here.’
If she could suppress him here, she would be able to persuade the emperor at a later time.
Although the foreign energy from his body was bothering her, she would be able to overcome it if she used the martial arts of her temple.
“Amitabha. I obviously gave good advice. But as you are asking for punishment, I hope you don’t regret it.”
With that, she pulled out her sword, the Suhyeon sword, when a voice entered her ears.
“What do you mean by regret?”
She couldn’t even feel any energy.
Shocked by the sudden voice, Monk Sathi tried to move to increase the distance, but an unknown person had grabbed her neck from behind.
She tried to strike the man’s hand by raising her internal energy, but her entire body was paralyzed when the man’s energy infiltrated her.
‘Th, such unbelievable force…’
Flustered by the overwhelming power, she looked at the place where the Demonic Cult members were. Kneeling onto the ground with their hands together, they all shouted.
“Lord Chun! Lord Chun! Lord Chun! We greet you!”
Monk Sathi’s eyes widened as she realized the identity of the person holding her by the neck.