Chapter 94. Cho Ryu Hyang’s Plan
In the nation, there was a law known as the salt law.
If one were to explain it simply, it was a law that allowed the nation to administrate and control the salt, and this law was created in the beginning of the Tang Dynasty.
The salt law, when it first began, allowed the government to take in a huge amount of money in taxes even more than what the officials initially expected. With this money, the nation was able to create a huge army.
A huge army would become the power of the Imperial Palace. The greater the power, the more stable the position of the government would be.
This was why the Imperial Palace was being so wary of salt smuggling.
* * *
A strange rumor began to float around the salt merchants of Sichuan.
At first, this was a small rumor that just roamed from mouth to mouth of a few salesmen, but the rumor soon grew to something that choked at the necks of all the merchants.
A firm hand struck the table below it.
The owner of that hand was currently trembling from extreme rage.
“Are you kidding me? How can our profits just halved in ten days?”
The losses that they sustained from all this was actually much bigger than what it sounded.
Gal Mun Hyuk glared viciously at the rat-like man with red eyes.
“But it’s true. The merchants that bought salt from us previously simply refuse to buy anything from us.”
“Do you still not know why they’re doing this?”
“None of them would agree to meet us at all. They’re being extremely cautious as well, so it’s pretty hard to use brute force…….”
Gal Mun Hyuk ground his teeth.
“There must be something going on.”
“Yes, but there’s no way to figure out what’s happening.”
“You bastard! You should’ve found out one way or the other. At this pace we all are just going to starve to death.”
“But these merchants have been in this business for a long time, and they have quite a lot of influences on their own. It would be extremely difficult to capture even one merchant.”
“Just do it. You can use how many people you want, so you just go and capture one.”
“You know what would happen if you fail, right?”
“……..I’ll keep that in mind.”
“You have to succeed unless you want to be cured in salt.”
Jung Ok nodded countless times at the words of Gal Mun Hyuk and ran out.
Gal Mun Hyuk looked at this scene quietly, then he sat down on his chair and muttered to himself.
“It’s clear that the Heavenly Demon Church has made a move…….”
This wasn’t just a suspicion. He was almost certain that this was the case.
The market wouldn’t change like this unless someone that big moved.
Gal Mun Hyuk owned the biggest salt-selling organization in Sichuan.
There was no way he would not know of what was going since he owned up to 30% of all the salt in Sichuan.
The market does not change that easily.
Unless something more charming than the norm appears, the market would stay the same.
“They must’ve done something ingenious…….”
He just couldn’t figure out what they did, though.
However he had to know.
Having big merchants come to him to buy salt was extremely important.
Even if selling salt in the black market was profitable, there was a clear limit on how much they could earn.
If the merchants didn’t buy salt from him anymore, then they wouldn’t be able to earn anything.
No, they’d actually have to sell everything they had to just survive.
’I can’t allow that to happen.’
Just how did he get all the way here?
The Imperial Palace came to kill him for smuggling salt at first.
But he bribed his way out of it, and he somehow managed to get to where he was now.
He truly turned a dangerous encounter into a fortuitous event.
He could become filthy rich if he just worked a little more. It would be troublesome if everything crumbled now.
“Want some help? Scholar Ju told me to help you as much as needed, so it’s fine.”
Tai Gonggong appeared like a shadow behind Gal Mun Hyuk.
Gal Mun Hyuk became extremely conflicted when he saw the man.
It would be easy for the task to be finished if he were to employ the power of a harmonious expert.
However this was a dual-edged blade.
It would show that he wasn’t even capable of solving this small problem on his own.
“It’s just a task of kidnapping a merchant. Us alone is enough.”
“Really? I was looking forward to taking a little walk. How disappointing.”
When Tai Gonggong licked his feminine red lips in boredom, Gal Mun Hyuk looked down whilst concealing his feeling of disgust.
“Jobs as dirty as this isn’t really fitting for someone like you. It’s better to leave such things to us.”
Tai Gonggong smiled strangely.
“Hoh? Really? Anyway, just contact me if you need help. I haven’t been getting any excitement at all after that bastard. I can’t help but get bored, you know?”
When Tai Gonggong disappeared into the shadows, Gal Mun Hyuk sighed to himself.
They call it protection, but this was no different from them monitoring him.
The fact that he was being monitored 24/7 stressed Gal Mun Hyuk quite a bit.
But it couldn’t be helped.
If the Black Moon Guild or the Heavenly Demon Church moved, he would disappear in an instant.
’This is bad.’
That man who appeared before in the mountains was definitely from the Heavenly Demon Church.
Just thinking about that time made Gal Mun Hyuk feel pissed.
That kid who was being called the heir of the church.
He had underestimated the kid far too much.
He thought that he fooled the kid… but to think he would become tailed.. he didn’t expect it at all.
‘I’m not going to die so easily, though.’
As long as the Imperial Palace protected him, he was safe.
Gal Mun Hyuk consoled his unstable self like so.
* * *
“They deployed us to catch a little merchant like that? Aren’t they overdoing things a bit? What do you think, Chu Ilsan?”
The one known as Chu Ilsan, who had a nickname of Hundred Victories Saber (百勝刀) in the martial world, looked at the fat man who called him calmly.
“Well, they must just be asking me to actually start doing something worth my money. You, Elder He (He 亥: Pig), must’ve gotten too used to playing around as well. You became too shameless.”
Elder He, the one who was called Ten Thousand Palms Pig (萬手亥), scratched the back of his head as he spoke.
“Did I? Well, it is true that I don’t really like this job though.”
“What a surprise. The great pig got scared of the job before even starting? Just think of this job as repaying the employer for all the money he gave us.”
At this point, a skinny old man joined in on the conversation.
“Keke, Chu Ilsan, you kid. It’s not a bad thing to steal from a salt merchant. They have a lot of money anyway, you know? We’re just sharing a little, so why are you so discomforted by all this?”
Chu Ilsan looked at the skinny old man in disgust.
“So the Ancient Tree Sage has the mind of a bandit. I didn’t know that.”
“Kekeke, I was a bandit from the start, so I don’t really feel insulted.”
Chu Ilsan smiled.
“I wasn’t trying to insult you. There’s no point in fighting with you anyway.”
“Kekeke, arrogant child.”
“If I’m an arrogant child, wouldn’t you be a sensible old man?”
When Chu Ilsan said this, the old man called Ancient Tree Sage cracked a few of his bones while he smiled creepily.
“Kukekeke, child, is your sword skills as good as your dirty talk?”
“It’s not bad.”
“Do you have the courage to show it to me?”
The ten peak experts that gathered here were all the subordinates of Gal Mun Hyuk.
They were all here for the same job, but since they had barely ever met each other, they did not synergize well at all.
At the moment when the two seemed to collide,
Someone walked out from the back and spoke.
“Now, now. Let’s stop getting all worked up, and we better start getting ready. Jin Tae Ho began to make his move.”
Jin Tae Ho.
This was the name of their target today.
Gal Mun Hyuk’s right hand, Jung Ok, nervously observed the group of experts.
Thankfully, it seemed that they would no longer get into a conflict.
Chu Ilsan decided to give in first.
Then, the peak experts who were looking forward to seeing them fight stood up with a disappointed face.
They then began moving towards the areas they were in charge of.
Jung Ok quickly opened his mouth.
“Lord Gal Mun Hyuk has assigned all of you a special mission due to the trust he has in all your skills.”
“A special mission?”
Jung Ok nodded.
“He would give one hundred gold nyangs to anyone who captures Jin Tae Ho.”
“Kekeke. As I thought, a salt merchant has a lot of money.”
When the Ancient Tree Sage smiled in satisfaction, everyone nodded.
Their job was to capture a single merchant.
Of course, the merchant, being the rich man he was, probably had good guards, but they were all very prepared,and since the group contained peak experts, this would be an exceedingly easy job for them.
Three hundred martial artists quietly followed the marchant’s carriage that came out of a building.
They all trembled at the thought of the massacre that would soon ensue.
How long have they been following the carriage?
Once the carriage reached the middle of the mountain, the experts immediately made their move on the carriage.
However on the moment of impact, every single one of them realized that something was horribly wrong.
The Ancient Tree Sage, who was at the very front, got bounced back like a leaf, and a huge amount of people surrounded them.
Upon seeing this, Chu Ilsan’s face turned ugly.
They were the ones who attacked, though.
As Chu Ilsan took out his sword in confusion, someone got off the carriage.
“Yah! How amazing. How did you realize that these people would attack us on this spot? This merchant, Jin Tae Ho, is truly learning new things from you today.”
The fat middle-aged man who was sweating in the middle of winter.
That man’s triple chin and giant belly showed just how wealthy he was to the surrounding people.
This was Jin Tae Ho, their target.
Chu Ilsan was unable to run to the man, though.
He was only able to frown at the group of enemies coming towards him.
‘What? They’re all girls?’
The experts who were surrounding him were, surprisingly enough, women.
But Chu Ilsan was unable to underestimate them one bit.
Every single one of them were either first-rates or peak experts.
When Chu Ilsan’s jaw dropped at this scene, a voice came out of the carriage.
“Are there any more people?”
Jin Tae Ho took a look at the people who were surrounded in their formation, and he then shook his head.
“No, they’re all people under Gal Mun Hyuk.”
“That’s a bit disappointing.”
A boy wearing glasses stepped off the carriage.
It was Cho Ryu Hyang.
The moment he stepped out, he opened his mouth.
“Assistant Palace Master.”
The crossdressed woman who had been driving the carriage, Sunwu Cho Rin.
She, who disabled the Ancient Tree Sage with a single lash, took off her mask and kneeled.
“Kill everyone except him.”
Sunwu Cho Rin stood up with a whip in her hand.
Then, she opened her mouth with eyes that shone with a hint of insanity.
“You heard, right? Kill everyone other than that rat over there.”
A massacre ensued immediately after.
Everyone, whether they were a normal or a powerful expert, were being slaughtered one-sidedly.
Cho Ryu Hyang looked at all this with a stiff face.
‘I was going to have to see something like this at some point anyway.’
His fists balled up without him knowing it.
When a storm of blood began to rage, Cho Ryu Hyang thought as he bit his lips.
‘I can’t afford to let anyone live anyway.’
This was a strategy to bring out the ones behind Gal Mun Hyuk.
The experts of the Imperial Palace.
Cho Ryu Hyang was thinking of capturing them.
Unfortunately, these experts did not make their move this time.
In that case, there was a need to silence everyone for the sake of the next strategy.
“Shall I join in?”
Cho Ryu Hyang shook his head when No Jin Nyung asked a question.
No Jin Nyung made a disappointed face.
He saw a few skilled ones out there, so he was thinking to play around a bit, but the heir forbid him from fighting.
“It is finished.”
After a while, Sunwu Cho Rin came to Cho Ryu Hyang with a bloody whip and reported what happened.
Jin Tae Ho looked at the terrifying yet beautiful visage of the woman with glee.
But when his eyes came in contact with the murderous eyes of Sunwu Cho Rin, he quickly retreated into his carriage.
Cho Ryu Hyang looked at Jin Tae Ho for a second, then turned to Sunwu Cho Rin.
“Move according to the second plan, then cleaning everything up.”
Cho Ryu Hyang bit his lips as he observed the bloody field.
‘This is only the beginning. I cannot be shaken by this.’
He would only be able to fight the four major powers of the world when he would drag out of Imperial Palace into the scene.
Everything was moving according to plan, but Cho Ryu Hyang’s face was not bright at all.