Chapter 119. A Violent Change
“A message came from the Heavenly Demon Church.”
In the headquarters of countless clans in the Sichuan area,
The heads of each clan had a dark expression draped over their faces.
‘Oh dear, this feels almost like a funeral.’
The Beggar’s Sect.
Wi Gul Gae, the leader of the Sichuan branch of the Beggar’s Sect, clicked his tongue.
Of course, no one in Sichuan had actually expected the church to win.
‘Were we too greedy?’
Greed was always the problem.
At first, the goal was to drive out the church, but…
Somehow it all turned into an all-out confrontation.
The process of it was so natural that they had prepared completely for the second alliance-demon war without even realizing it.
And the end of this second war was a complete loss.
‘Where did it all go wrong?’
He couldn’t come to a conclusion, no matter how much he thought.
Wi Gul Gae thought a little more and then shook his head.
What was important right now was fixing all this mess.
Finding the initial problem could come later.
“To be honest, we were pretty much robbed of all we had, but it’s not like we lost all hope.”
(Remember that Amitabha is part of a Buddhist mantra and not a specific person)
Wi Gul Gae looked around the meeting room and spoke.
“Those of you who are willing to pay for the hostages, raise your hand.”
The head of the Emei sect wrinkled her forehead and sighed.
Everyone in the room here was feeling the same emotions as her.
‘In the end, everyone will pay.’
This was what Wi Gul Gae thought, and everyone thought the same as him.
After all, it was impossible for these clans to just leave their people to die. That would hurt their reputation too much.
Plus, they had put in far too many people in this battle.
If they refuse the church’s offer, the clans would all have to disband.
And the money the church wanted for the hostages was a fair price as well.
‘A sweet offer.’
It was almost like the heavens sending down a rope to help them.
The representative of the Emei sect, after thinking for quite a while, opened her mouth.
“We will… pay.”
Wi Gul Gae nodded.
It was an obvious move.
The temporary head of the Qingsheng clan, Taehu, was nodding as well.
“Same for us.”
Wi Gul Gae confirmed everyone else’s decision and opened his mouth.
“I shall deliver our decision to the Heavenly Demon Church, then.”
Wi Gul Gae stood up.
Right then, someone whispered to himself quietly.
“…Would those folk at the Demon Church return our people whole, though?”
Wi Gul Gae paused for a bit after hearing the words of the temporary head of the Qingsheng clan.
It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought of this, but it was precisely because it was the church he trusted this.
“They’d have killed the hostages already if they were planning on doing that. After all, doing something like that is their tradition.”
That would be more like the church.
So why was the church offering to let the hostages live?
Wi Gul Gae answered this question for everyone.
“Are you all curious? Well, it’s simple, really.”
Wi Gul Gae formed a circle with his thumb and forefinger and grinned.
“It’s for money, of course. They just happened to find a better way to make it.”
“That’s why you don’t have to trust them. Just trust the money. I’m certain that the hostages are safe. In fact, they’ll probably come back healthier than ever.”
Everyone lost their ability to speak after hearing this.
“Money is very good. Makes someone like me go absolutely mad for it. Those guys have been ignoring how to make money because of their pride… till now.”
“So they turned realistic…”
When Tang Munhyup, the leader of the Sichuan Tang clan, said this, Wi Gul Gae nodded.
“They’ve just made use of the most effective way to make money that they had.”
Wi Gul Gae thought for a second, then opened his mouth.
“This made me see the church in a very different light.”
When Tand Munhyup made a curious face, Wi Gul Gae nodded.
“The ones who used to kill our people to no end are now asking for money. This is a great change.”
How was this great?
Wi Gul Gae looked over the group in front of him and grinned.
“It means we can save those we couldn’t save before with money.”
That was true.
Even Taehu had to agree to that.
Wi Gul Gae decided to leave after saying one more thing.
“In any case, they’ve changed. This is good, but also something to be feared.”
He didn’t say why it was scary.
Wi Gul Gae left the building and looked up at the sky.
He spat on the ground and complained to himself.
“Too damn clear today.”
The church had changed.
This came strongly to Wi Gul Gae.
* * *
Bang bang bang-!
“Senior brother, please open the door.”
“……Just leave me be.”
“Don’t be like that. You need to eat.”
“You haven’t eaten since yesterday. Just eat already.”
Ju Da Hye twitched her cheeks a few times, then took a deep breath.
She looked at the door in front of her and shouted.
The door smashed to bits after facing a single punch from her.
A dark room was revealed, and inside was a young man who was staring into the mirror with a depressed expression.
Juk Hyul Myung.
He looked at Ju Da Hye with a shocked face for a moment.
Then, he turned his face.
“Don’t look at me.”
“Get out, I’m tired.”
Ju Da Hye twitched a few times as she watched Juk Hyul Myung try to avoid her.
“Get out and eat already. Food’s getting cold.”
“I’m tired? Are you deaf?”
Ju Da Hye made an astonished face and put her hand on Juk Hyul Myung’s shoulder.
“Are you… trying to make a joke?”
“I’m not in the mood.”
Ju Da Hye ended up exploding.
“Dear god, why in the world are you like this over some hair? Are you a girl?”
Juk Hyul Myung’s eyes began to burn with rage.
“SOME HAIR?! My precious hair that I grew and took care of for so long?!”
“Of course! You should consider yourself lucky to be alive, and you’re sitting here going like this because you burned some hair!”
“You’re speaking a little too rudely, junior sister?”
“God damn it! Anyone else would think your parents died or something!”
Juk Hyul Myung formed a fist and began to tremble.
“You… I’ve treated you too well recently…”
“Hmph! How funny. Well? You always teased me.”
Ju Da Hye was asking to be hit.
She glared defiantly at Juk Hyul Myung.
Juk Hyul Myung returned a similar glare at her.
But soon enough, Juk Hyul Myung lost all his power and slid down onto the chair behind him.
“I’m finished, junior sister.”
“I don’t feel moved when I look at myself in the mirror anymore.”
“…You actually felt moved by that?”
Juk Hyul Myung’s eyes as he nodded became darker.
Ju Da Hye looked at this with surprise, then immediately realized how much Juk Hyul Myung cared for his looks. She sighed and opened her mouth.
“You still look good, senior brother.”
“True, true. But my perfect looks are now flawed.”
When they escaped the last trap from the Heavenly Demon Church, Juk Hyul Myung was forced to sacrifice a bit of his hair to save Ju Da Hye.
Ju Da Hye, upon thinking of this, reddened a bit and shook her head. She opened her mouth.
“…By the way, wouldn’t a normal heir of the North Sea Ice Palace mourn the deaths of his subordinates from battle?”
Juk Hyul Myung looked at Ju Da Hye confusedly.
“Mn? Why should I mourn them for being weak?”
“Well, that’s normally what happens.”
“Hoho, there’s nothing to be said if you died because of your weakness. At least, that’s what my teacher taught me.”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
“I haven’t really been liking your tone for a while now, junior sister?”
“I’ve been really polite, though?”
When Juk Hyul Myung glared at Ju Da Hye like a snake,
His stomach rumbled, signaling his hunger for food.
Ju Da Hye grinned.
“Hungry, huh? Let’s go down and eat. We have meat.”
“I..I said I’m not hungry!”
“Your body doesn’t think so, though? Just come here.”
Juk Hyul Myung resisted a bit, then pretended to give in as he stood up from his seat and followed.
Juk Hyul Myung’s neck and arms were covered in bandages.
He had suffered from minor wounds as he escaped that hell hole.
‘At least I protected my face.’
Juk Hyul Myung bitterly smiled as he looked into the mirror before leaving the door.
He was bitter for having to cut his hair short.
* * *
“You’ve disappointed me very much.”
Gu Hui was laying in his bed with a light burn on his body.
His surface wounds weren’t much.
Internal wounds, however, were a different story.
He used too much internal energy even when he had run out of it, which injured his muscles in the process. His dantian, too, was extremely damaged.
But the gaze of the man in front of Gu Hui hurt more than anything.
Gu Ma Byuk.
The leader of the Nanman Beast Gate.
He looked at his son disappointedly, then left.
Before leaving, he said one thing.
“Head back to Nanman when you’ve healed and rest there.”
Gu Hui couldn’t say anything.
He had never thought of failure before.
He only had confidence that he was perfect.
This was all his fault.
If he had been calmer when he met the heir of the church, this wouldn’t have happened.
‘Cho Ryu Hyang…’
Gu Hui grit his teeth.
He would never forget the boy’s name.
Gu Hui closed his eyes and slowly drifted to sleep.
Right now, recovery was his top priority.
Revenge would come after.
He had no intention of going back to Nanman.