Chapter 49. The Young Witch’s Visit
Practically all the authority in the Heavenly Demon Church belonged to the Pope. Naturally, that meant the Pope possessed quite a bit of power within the church. Not surprisingly, he, the Pope, had up to four military divisions of the church under him.
There was the Mara’s Heavenly Wind Division (魔羅天風隊), the Pope’s bodyguards. The Guardians, who were few in number, but boasted the most power in the entirety of the church. The Disciplinary Division, who were the ones to maintain order within the church. And lastly, there was the Ruling Fire House (異火宮).
“This isn’t a matter we can just overlook.”
The captivating woman wearing a red dress. She had a skin white as snow, with lips that matched the white skin. Adding to that, her light purple hair gave the woman a mystical aura.
She was Baek So Chun (白素天), the current master of the Ruling Fire House, and the one who was known as Flame Witch in the martial world.
Her external appearance suggested that she was in her late twenties, but in reality, this woman was well over forty years old.
How could this woman display such effects, when she hadn’t even entered the Harmonious stage?
The reason was because of two things: her innate strength, and the special magic unique to the Ruling Fire House was what gave Baek So Chun her youthful appearance.
This was why this woman was able to stay young after so many years.
“I entrusted the job of looking after Ahri to you and your sister, did I not? Do you have anything to say about the failure of your job?”
“……..I apologize, master.”
Rin couldn’t say anything. Not only did she lose the young lady, she had to go all the way to the Grass Shoe Garden without even getting a proper invitation.
The Ruling Fire House really lost face because of what happened this time. Even if this event didn’t seem too significant to outsiders, to the members of the Ruling Fire House, who were secluded by nature, this was something very serious.
The Ruling Fire House.
They were one of the ten military divisions within the church, and the only one out of all of them to be solely consist of women.
“Ahri is still young. She is not yet mature.”
“Things went well this time, but what if word got out about the young lady, and something bad had happened? Who would take care of everything then? Do you have the courage to face the enraged Pope?”
Rin, when she heard Baek So Chun’s question, drooped her head. The young lady was the precious daughter of the Pope. The young lady was brought up in a protected environment because of that.
But perhaps that only became a problem for the young lady. After all, the young lady saw the world in too positive of a light. She didn’t realize how dangerous the outside world was, nor did she realize how violent men could become at times.
“Normally, I’d cut off your necks to set an example to the others, but……”
Baek So Chun stopped talking for a bit, then looked over at Gongson Ahri, who was kneeling on the ground right outside, begging for forgiveness.
“Since it looks like Ahri sincerely reflected on her actions, I’ll let you get off with a simple whipping (笞刑).”
(TL: In ancient Asia, when giving out punishment, people would often be slapped on the butt with a heavy bat, usually up to 10 times for light punishment, and up to hundreds for more severe ones. Image)
“T, thank you, master.”
Rin let out a sigh of relief in her heart. At least they managed to control the whole situation just in time… if the situation got out of hand, something bad definitely would’ve happened. Being let off with just this seemed like a gift from the heavens.
“Go pay the price for your actions, and reflect upon what you have done this time.”
When Baek So Chun waved her hand, the women in the area grabbed hold of Rin and Ryung, and took them outside.
When Gongson Ahri tried to follow them, Baek So Chun stepped in front and stopped her.
When Gongson Ahri nervously replied back, Baek So Chun smirked, and rubbed Gongson Ahri’s cheeks.
“These girls are getting punished because of you. Look carefully.”
Gongson Ahri made a dark face whilst looking at Rin and Ryung get dragged away. Baek So Chun, amused by the girl’s expression, whispered some words to Gongson Ahri.
“If you get whipped without reinforcing yourself with internal energy, a single hit would make your skin explode and injure your muscles badly. It may be our lightest punishment, but getting hit about ten times should put them down for roughly ten days.”
Gongson Ahri’s eyes began to tremble. While Baek So Chun looked down at the poor scared girl with indescribable joy, Gongson Ahri made up her mind and spoke.
Gongson Ahri looked at Baek So Chun with a scared face, and opened her mouth.
“S, since this is all my fault in the first place, can’t I be punished instead?”
Baek So Chun toyed with that idea for a bit. No, she pretended to. Indeed, the cause of all this lie in Gongson Ahri. Because of that, Gongson Ahri would technically have to be punished.
‘I wouldn’t be able to handle the consequences.’
Baek So Chun smiled bitterly in her mind. If she did indeed punish Gongson Ahri by whipping, it would be hard for her to escape the Pope’s wrath.
Even if the Pope was usually very easygoing and relaxed, when it came to his daughter, he was far from that. Baek So Chun knew that better than anyone.
“I cannot allow that.”
“W, why can’t I be punished? Is it because of my dad?”
It was a question that really hit the spot for Baek So Chun. But trying to deny that outright won’t really educate the girl properly. Baek So Chun shook her head coldly without even flinching when hearing the question.
“You have the duty to watch these girls get punished. Yes, that should bring even more pain to you. This is my punishment for you.”
“Do you understand what I’m saying?”
When Gongson Ahri made a face filled with despair, Baek So Chun waved her hand.
“You can go ahead with the punishment.”
* * *
From a while back, Gongson Ahri had been desperately moving bandages and medicine everywhere, trying to help patch up Rin and Ryung’s buttocks which had been blasted to smithereens by the whips.
“Rin, does it really hurt that much?”
“Yes. It really hurts. I thought my butt was going to disappear.”
Gongson Ahri, when she heard that, nodded and muttered under her breath without realizing it.
“You’re right. It doesn’t even look like a butt anymore.”
“……It’s all thanks to you, young lady.”
Gongson Ahri, who was kind of spaced out while rubbing medicine on the wounds of the two girls, became surprised upon hearing that, and panicked a bit.
“S, sorry. Are you angry?”
“Sorry, Rin. I must’ve been crazy at the time.”
“Apologize to my butt instead.”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
When Ryung saw Gongson Ahri rub Rin’s buttocks whilst apologizing to it, she shouted out to the girl.
“Young lady, I’m hurting over here, too.”
“Sorry, I’ll get there now.”
Gongson Ahri quickly walked over to Ryung’s bed, and began apologizing while rubbing the wound with medicine.
Rin looked at the girl rubbing medicine on Ryung’s buttcheecks, and smiled.
Actually, such an amount of pain was nothing to Rin or Ryung.
It should be the first time for Gongson Ahri to see something so bloody, but it was different for Rin or Ryung. To them, this punishment really was light.
The martial world was not kind to women. It was a place where one had to do anything in order to survive.
If you thought about that, the martial world was actually a pretty good place for both men and women. After all, it was a place where strength was key.
Rin felt her buttocks begin to heat up, and slowly closed her eyes. When she did so, she could see something. She could see the cold gaze of the Administrator from the morning.
‘It was the heir, right?’
The boy was called Cho Ryu Hyang, if she remembered correctly. To Rin’s eyes, the boy simply looked like a harmless ball of fur who lived a sheltered life.
The boy had a face that really didn’t suit the dangerous world she lived in.
But that boy would soon become strong. Terrifyingly so.
That’s what made her curious.
‘Just where did he come from?’
Where did he come from? That boy didn’t look like he was from the Heavenly Demon Church.
Rin was getting curious of the heir’s origins.
* * *
There were many Delivery Companies (標局) who set up their headquarters in the Sichuan castle. Out of all of them, there was a specific company that Cho Ryu Hyang was related to.
Gray Sky Delivery Company (蒼天標局). Cho Ryu Hyang was the heir of this company. And in the present, this company was facing a huge crisis.
“The Black Moon Guild wishes to have an official meeting with the company head.”
“Didn’t I refuse you people last time? Tell your higher ups that I’m busy.”
Official Xu (許), the one who managed domestic and international affairs of the company, sweat profusely out of nervousness and spoke.
“This is different from last time, sir. Last time, we simply sent out a messenger, but this time, we brought a card of friendship (拜帖: A business card of sorts used in the past. Throwing someone out even after that person brought this signified that the receiver didn’t want to get involved with the visitor in any way, which could occasionally cause a bad relation to develop between two powers.) along with someone from headquarters.”
“You rude bastards!”
The head of the Gray Heaven Delivery Company, Cho Mu Ryung (草務令), slammed the table and stood up. When someone came at them so forcefully like this, there really was no need to treat them kindly.
“C, calm yourself, head.”
Cho Mu Ryung, who was about to stomp away in frustration, looked at Official Xu and frowned.
“What is it?”
“The opponent this time isn’t someone we can easily face.”
The opponent? Cho Mu Ryung’s eyebrows bunched together upon hearing that. When working in a business like this, one frequently comes across martial artists.
Eventually, one gets a sense of what the martial world is like, and becomes able to tell who is dangerous and who isn’t.
Official Xu was known to be more knowledgeable than anyone else in the Sichuan castle when it came to the martial world.
If even a man like this was acting as such, there really must’ve been something special about the person who came today.
“Even if the Black Moon Guild is big, they have little to no influence in the Sichuan area. They can’t just easily barge in out of the blue.”
“Of course I know that.”
Official Xu trembled a bit, and opened his mouth carefully.
“If they try to use force, everyone in the area would try and stop them, so we don’t really have to fear them regarding that matter… but if they use their brain, we should be quite afriad.”
“What do you mean? Are they going to use some sort of a tactic or something?”
Official Xu lowered his body and whispered.
“The Black Moon Guild has a young witch. Didn’t I tell you about her before? Did you forget?”
Come to think of it, he did hear that the Black Moon Guild possessed a girl who was smarter than others by many times.
The granddaughter of the Night Emperor, Neng Mu Gi.
“…….You mean, that girl came all the way here herself?”
“Yes. So you should really be cautious this time. I don’t know why she came all the way here, but I don’t think she’s here to do any good.”
Cho Mu Ryung nodded. Even if he was facing a girl here, he couldn’t underestimate her. She had the Black Moon Guild at her back, along with Neng Mu Gi, one of the three sovereigns.
The Black Moon Guild was already quite scary, but Neng Mu Gi was even scarier. After all, Neng Mu Gi was a god of death who listened to no one.
“Thank you, Official Xu.”
Cho Mu Ryung calmed himself, and thanked Official Xu. If he greeted the girl in a frenzied state, something bad could have happened.
“It’s nothing……. After all, isn’t this basically my responsibility?”
“You make me feel reassured. Thank you.”
“I wish you luck.”
Cho Mu Ryung nodded at Official Xu, and slowly entered the guest room. Inside, there was a red-haired girl in black clothes.
Surprisingly, she was alone.
“Hello. My name is Neng Ha Young.”
Seeing the girl politely greet him, Cho Mu Ryung introduced himself with a serious face.
“I’m the head of this company, Cho Mu Ryung.”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“Let’s sit down before we talk, shall we?”
When Cho Mu Ryung offered a seat, Neng Ha Young comfortably sat down and spoke.
“You must be feeling quite anxious because of me, correct?”
How should he respond? Having a person from the Black Moon Guild here for a long time was not a good thing.
Even though the Alliance’s power shrunk a bit after the battle with the Heavenly Demon Church, the region of Sichuan was still under the Alliance’s jurisdiction. Neither the Black Moon Guild nor the Heavenly Demon Church could move freely in this area.
When Cho Mu Ryung made a troubled face instead of answering, Neng Ha Young opened her mouth.
“I can’t remain here too long either. So why don’t we just get straight to the point?”
“That would be good.”
Neng Ha Young nodded. As much as Cho Mu Ryung found this whole situation uncomfortable, she didn’t find this particularly comforting either.
But she had something to ask him directly. Somebody was blocking their information network. Because of that, she couldn’t get the information she wanted about Cho Ryu Hyang.
So she just made up her mind and came all the way here. Honestly, she had an idea of who it was that was interfering the information network.
But finding it out wouldn’t really do her any good, so she was pretending to not know about it.
‘The Alliance…. I’ll be sure to pay you back in full someday.’
Neng Ha Young thought of the Alliance’s informatics group, and grit her teeth.
“What do you want?”
Neng Ha Young looked around a bit when she heard Cho Mu Ryung’s question. She couldn’t sense anyone nearby.
‘Well, it wouldn’t matter if someone came inside, anyway.’
No, she was actually hoping someone would come in. Neng Ha young carefully looked at Cho Mu Ryung, and opened her mouth.
“Is Cho Ryu Hyang your son?”
Cho Mu Ryung’s face stiffened the moment he heard his son’s name coming from the mouth of Neng Ha Young.
He suddenly had an ominous feeling growing in his mind.
“How do you know my son?”
“I met him by chance.”
Cho Mu Ryung desperately tried to control his facial expressions, and looked at Neng Ha Young. Neng Ha Young stared back as she spoke.
“I met him at the Qilian mountains.”
“Q, Qilian mountains?!”
Wasn’t that the place where the war took place recently? Why was his son all the way over there?
Cho Mu Ryung somehow calmed his heart, and began to think carefully. He was a merchant. He always had to have the worst possible situation in his mind, but he didn’t want to do that. Not now.
“When did you meet him? Who was he with?”
Finally, a question she had been waiting for. Neng Ha Young smiled in her mind, and answered.
“I met him right before the war started, with the experts from the Heavenly Demon Church.”
Cho Mu Ryung’s face paled. The worst scenario in his mind had actually come to life.