If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m mostly using pinyin for names that originate from an actual Chinese region, with the exception of Gae Bong. I should actually just translate it phonetically without trying to match the names with the actual Chinese place, but too late.
Chapter 7: North Swords’ Law Enforcement Corp
The main discussion was centered around Chun Ma’s disciple, Pa Chun, who announced himself as Munyun. Everyone present expressed great interest in Pa Chun, especially the four flower-like beauties whose intents could be seen clearly. It seemed they had known each other from a young age, as they showed no formalities with each other.
“You mean the state of Murim is really in such chaos?”
While staring at him intently, Nangong Hyuk Ryun answered.
“Indeed. Although it may differ slightly depending on the region, it is characteristic in Murim for the strong to dominate the weak. Many combine their powers to protect themselves and with enough strength, they will conquer the nearby powers, often leading to bloody conflicts. This vicious cycle is the history of Murim. To not become the weak, we train ourselves and strengthen our powers. Currently, the leading powers of the era are the 4 Powers of Jung Do, including us, the Five Clans Union.”
He nodded his head to signal his understanding.
“Pardon my rudeness, but in the current Gang Ho Murim, who is the strongest?”
“The strongest…? I’m sure people’s opinions might differ, but it will either be heads of the 4 Powers, the head of Ma Do, the Baihai’s Sword King, or the Qinghai’s Grim Reaper. But since Gang Ho is such a huge place, it is filled with unknown masters. So it is possible that someone stronger than them can appear.”
“Also, from what I’ve heard, Murim-ins possess something called Inner Qi and that they call it something like one or two cycles… how many cycles would the ones you just told me about be?”
-I see you’re questioning them about the current situation of Murim… quite crafty I must say.
[Shut it, Chun Ma! I’m trying to find out about my future enemies from these guys.]
“Inner Qi level? That is something only they would know. But since most experts of Murim have 2 cycles of Inner Qi, these master-level experts… they must have 4 or 5 cycles of Inner Qi.”
“I’ve heard a single cycle represents 60 years of training. It’s hard to believe they have such a high Inner Qi level.”
“Haha, that is the old standard. As you said sir Mun, in the early years of Murim, that was the standard. But as time passed, many Cultivation Qi Methods were developed and medicines begun to be used to increase one’s Inner Qi level. Descendants of old clans will use medicine and Cultivation Qi Methods from young age, allowing them to surpass the 1 cycle level easily. Since Qi-practitioners are powerful weapons, every clan started to research new skills and methods. The current Murim has made great progress as Murim-ins now have incomparably higher Inner Qi levels than the past. Because of this, many secret skills that have been passed down in theory are now performed by descendants of various clans. Without enough Inner Qi, it’s impossible to fully utilize any martial skill.”
4,5 cycles are master-class? Then I should be considered one of them as well. From what I hear, it seems there aren’t many of them either… I should be free to roam Gang Ho as I please.
-Progress? Progress my ass. In my times, there were at least 10 people with more than 10 cycles of Inner Qi.
[What? Is that true, Chun Ma? How can that be?]
-These fools! Sure cultivation speed may be slow at first, but past a certain level it becomes much faster. Once you surpass that, many bottlenecks will appear, and by breaking through those bottlenecks, martial artists gain infinite progress of Inner Qi. These Cultivation Qi Methods may seem fast at first, but in the end it will hinder their progress. Truly foolish! I can’t believe I fell for Hwa-Nohs trickery…. If I knew the current circumstances, I never would have agreed with him… that Jang Sam-Bong or Jang Sam-Poong guy he mentioned must be same.
“If I may, how skilled is Jang Sam-Bong?”
Having heard this, everyone could not hide their shocked expression.
Nangong Hemi stared at Pa Chun with an ugly expression. What she said next directly showed how she was feeling.
“Sir! I understand you know nothing about Murim, but Lord Zhang Sanfeng is worshiped even amongst civilians. How can you ask something like that? Even the young masters of famous clans bow in respect for him; how can you call his name like calling a neighborhood kid?”
Huh? I didn’t think he was this famous. It seems I made a huge mistake. I must leave them with a good impression of me…
“Ah, my apologies. I did not know any better. If I’ve hurt your feelings, I am deeply sorry.”
“Haha, Hemi. You’re quite sensitive when it comes to him. He didn’t know so forgive him.”
“Hmph. Fine, since he didn’t know, I’ll let it pass.”
Interesting. Their reverence towards this man is actually this great. Is he that strong? But how different could he be from the other guys?
“I’m not sure exactly how to begin. I guess it’s best to say he’s someone everyone from both the Ma Do and Jung Do respects even in this turbulent time. He’s a legendary man revered even by the civilians. There are a lot of mysterious stories about him…
For example, in an area bordering Sichuan and Qinghai, there is a big town called Udun. Every summer, many residents would die from an unknown disease, so the chief hired men from the Mid Lands to come investigate. This news spread to the Temple and Lord Jang Sam-Poong himself came to investigate.
After seeing the town’s messenger giving off an Evil Aura from their bodies, the Lord deduced that there was an object or a mystical creature giving off the Evil Aura. Bringing the messenger with him, the Lord reached Udon in a month. As he expected, Udun was a volcanic area and a 2000 year old Fire Dragon was living in the crater. As it missed its timing to ascend to the Heavens, to vent its anger in the hot days of summer, it would torment the people by fuming poisonous gas.”
“The Lord tried to calm the Fire Dragon… but not only did it not listen to him, it also tried to swallow him. He had no choice but to summon the Legendary Peng from the skies and swallow the dragon alive.”
“Huh… you can’t possibly believe that story?”
“People do believe it. It shows how much he is respected and revered by the civilians. Even my father, the leader of the Five Clans Union, bows down to him at first sight.”
-Interesting. He is this great? I really want to fight him… tsk, but what’s the use? I can’t show him the glory of the past Chun Ma.
=Amitabul. A great news for this monk.
-Hey, would you stay quiet? I could probably finish both you and him in a single blow.
“How is he in comparison to Shaolin Temple’s 6th Patriarch, Huineng?”
“Since he is from well over 700 years ago, it would be hard to compare the two. But I believe the future generations will respect Lord Zhang Sanfeng more.”
“Is that so?”
-Hahaha! Looks like that’s it for you. Oi, Pa Chun, ask him to compare him with me.
“I have one last question. What is he like compared to Chun Ma?”
“Haha, quite curious aren’t you? Looks like you aren’t completely unknowledgeable about Murim. You know quite a lot of people! Chun Ma you ask…”
He looked around for help, but no one spoke out.
“There are only mythical stories about Chun Ma! Not only are his martial skills lost, but just the stories are too absurd… it is hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. But if they were true, Chun Ma would undoubtedly be the strongest in all of Murim’s history.
It is said he could soar through the skies for the entire day and have enough strength to make a mountain disappear with a single move. He simply isn’t human. There are rumors that the twin-headed rocks of Mt. Tai were split by just his single finger.”
-Bastards, it’s all true! It’s all been simplified though. The twin-headed rocks was not split by my finger, but because I kicked a pebble at it.
[You want me to believe all this?]
-Come on, even the gramps from the Heaven Over Heavens knows about this…
A name Chun Ma has spoken before. Heaven Over Heavens! But Pa Chun was not particularly paying attention to him.
As the group continued to have idle chats, the sun started to set, quickly becoming night. Dinner time had passed, but the inn was still full of people. The late autumn wind was chilly to say the least, and many had come into the inn in search of warmth. Many of them were Murim-ins, most likely those that came to participate in the Jung Do Banquet.
“Stop right there!”
The sound of a girl’s screaming voice and hurried footsteps of several men filled the room.
The girl looked to be about 14 years old. She was skinny and was rather tanned; she had tears in her eyes and the hem of her clothes around her legs was ripped.
She rushed to the second floor, running away from her pursuers. She looked around with despair clearly on her face as her pursuers also arrived on the second floor. These men were clearly Murim-ins, as they were all wearing red clothing that read ‘Sword’ in the middle.
“Where do you think you’re going, bitch? To think you’d run away leaving your old man to die.”
The man that seemed to be the leader commanded his men with a voice of authority.
The girl was screaming. Her disheveled state caused all the onlookers to clench their fists in anger.
“Hold on a moment.”
Someone approached them, unable to bear the sight any longer.
The swordman retorted as if he was a bother.
“Hmph, men from the mighty North Swords dare to bully a young girl like this? If there is a reason, you should state it right this instance.”
His words persuaded those watching, and others spoke out in agreement. The man seemed to have noticed the pursuers were men of the North Swords, which was why he tried to draw the crowd into his favor.
“How dare you interrupt the North Swords’ business! Do you think you can get away with this? Men, capture him as well.”
His attitude was truly deplorable. As much as he was flaunting his authority, he was gathering the hostility of the crowd.
The crowd that favored the man who spoke out began to shout at the leader. With the opinion of the crowd turning sour, the leader began to sweat.
“Dear citizens of Murim! Have you ever seen the North Swords breaking the law? We have a perfectly good reason for doing this, so we would appreciate your cooperation.”
He tried to control the situation from further getting out of hand, but it was too late. His attitude caused the crowd to yell out in anger.
“You think you can do this because you’re from the North Swords?”
“What madness is this?”
“Since when was the Gae Bong prefecture a place of such disorder?”
The crowd only got louder as more people joined in.
“Damn it, I’ll handle the consequences. Capture them both.”
He yelled as if he’s given up on controlling the situation. However, no one stepped out to stop them in fear of the name of North Swords.
Using the Wyvern Turn Movement, a beautiful young lady blocked the swordsmen’s path. It was Nangong Hemi, the younger sister of Nangong Hyuk Ryun. At her sudden appearance, North Swords’ swordsmen had a look of surprise, which soon turned into a ugly expression.
“What is this? A woman dares to hinder the business of the North Swords? You must be mad.”
Nangong Hemi frowned at his words, becoming even more enraged.
“Hmph, the North Swords may scare the others, but it will not scare me, Nangong Hemi.”
Realizing who she was, the crowd began to watch even more attentively. Even if these men were from North Swords’ Law Enforcement Corp, their opponent was a girl from the core clan of the Five Clans Union. In addition, there was a rumor that she was the favorite child of the head of the Five Clans Union, the Sky Sword God Nangong Hui.
Her status caused fear in the hearts of those watching. Not only that, if Nangong Hemi was here, it could very well mean her older sister and brother was present as well.
The spirit of the Law Enforcement Corp’s leader, the White Tiger Sword Ga Duk-Sam, quickly died down.
“Miss, it is the unspoken rule of Gang Ho to not interfere with matters of other schools. Not to mention, this conflict between us may cause unnecessary trouble between the good relations of our two schools.”
“Hoho, of course. I am not so foolish to not consider the possibility. Even so, I will not stand back and watch such injustice! This business you speak of looks like a simple kidnapping to me!”
It was a heated argument. Glaring at Nangong Hemi, Ga Duk-Sam had no choice but to explain their cause.
“Her name is Sul Ju-Bong and the bitch is related to Gae Bong’s Ma Do Clan, the Demon Border Clan. In fact, she is the daughter of the clan leader Sul Kyung-Ik, the Thousand Handed Snow Tiger. We have been ordered to arrest the members of the Demon Border Clan.”
“Can you expand on the reason?”
“We have no reason to tell you. If you still refuse to back down, we will consider it an act of hostility against us and must resort to force.”
“What did you say?”
A voice that overwhelmed hers rung out.
“Hahahaha…. Since when did the Law Enforcement Corp of the North Swords become so arrogant? You dare say you will use force?”
It was Nangong Hyuk Ryun, and behind him followed 4 other men and women. Naturally, Pa Chun had joined amongst them.
“I’d like to see you try.”
“Young master! I am the Law Enforcement Corp’s vice-leader, the White Tiger Sword Ga Duk-Sam. Are you threatening us?”
The crowd couldn’t help but gasp at the situation. A mere vice-leader of the Law Enforcement Corp dared to talk back to the young heir of the Nangong Clan.
“And if I am?”
It was obvious he was extremely enraged. Although he did not show it on the outside, anyone could tell his anger had reached the point of no return. The others who knew what could happen grew increasingly nervous. In any case, they were in Gae Bong where the headquarter of North Swords was located. If they caused trouble here, they knew it was become troublesome.
“If that is the case, we would have no choice but to report this matter to the higher ups.”
“Shut it! The Law Enforcement Corp never retreats.”
The swordsmen wearing silver hurriedly bowed to the man wearing gold.
Who is he? The 17th ranked of the North Swords, the leader of the Law Enforcement Corp, known as Smiling Sword, Wu Hyun-Choong.
Though he was only 30 this year, his cruel and meticulous way of handling his work caused many to dislike him within the North Swords. From his outer appearance, it was easier to believe he was from the Ma Do than from the Jung Do. The scar the crossed across his left eye caused him to look even more fearsome.
“Young master Nangong, isn’t this going too far? If the head of Five Clans Union found out, he would surely rebuke you.”
“Why, am I wrong? If you caused the relationship between the North Swords and the Five Clans Union to turn sour, would you take responsibility?”
“Why don’t you shut up?”
This time, the voice did not come from the young master of Nangong, but rather from the Iron Blood Fist Peng Jung-Hu standing behind him.
The situation was growing worse and worse. What started out from a young girl asking for help had turned into a conflict involving two great powers. The relationship between the North Swords, the South Blades, and the Five Clans Union was never good. The only reason they did not openly clash was because they were faces of the Jung Do. The Nine Jung Alliance usually acted as their medium, but it was a known fact that they preferred the Five Clans Union. In terms of influence, the North Swords has the most power, and the Five Clans Union was strongest in raw strength. The South Blades held the greatest amount of territory while the Nine Jung Alliance was the greatest in amount and knowledge of martial skills.
“Ho, and who might you be? Shut up? Do you think someone of your age has the right to command me? If I recall correctly, you are the heir of the Peng Clan.”
“Hahaha, truly absurd!”
Without even batting an eye, he clearly spoke to Nangong Hyuk Ryun’s group.
“I order to the men of the Law Enforcement Corp in the area, do not let a single person leave this place.”
A swordsman of the North Swords ran out, as tension continued to build up.
“So what are you going to do now, young master?”
Peng Jung-Hu wanted to slap the smile off this man’s face. However, as everyone else was holding in, he did not dare to perform his thoughts.
-Ho, what a cocky bastard.
[Damn it. What should we do? My identity will be exposed if I use any martial skills.]
-Who cares? You can always just kill all the witnesses… oh, what about Huineng’s martial skills? Come on, shouldn’t you figure out simple solutions like this on your own?
[Yeah yeah, glad to know you’re so smart. Why are they doing? If they’re going to fight, they should get on with it.]
-They’re more or less family. It’s obvious they wouldn’t fight so openly.
=Amitabul! It is truly shocking how much has changed over the years.
-Please, it’s always been like this. You Jung Pa people are all hypocrites, pretending to be weak sheep while hiding all sorts of evil thoughts inside. Oppressing the Ma Do while claiming it to be for the benefit of Jung Do, it’s the usual trick.
[How would you know? This would have never happened to you.]
-Well yeah, but I still know how the world goes around.
As these two continued to talk internally, neither side backed down. Even so, the leader of the Law Enforcement Corp had already captured the girl, holding onto her hands tightly.