Chapter 209 – The Purpose Of The Voyage (2)
Now everything fell into place.
The warriors inside the large boxes were disguised as goods. The Wind Wave King announced that he would be on the ship during the bidding to deceive any potential pirates’ eyes.
The reason why we left late at night was to have a change of order in the ships. I didn’t know if this was originally planned. Still, it would be impossible to do it during the day, but this was enough to prevent the ship from bumping into another.
I then asked Hyuk Cheon-man.
“What is the real purpose of this ship then?”
“It wouldn’t hurt to tell my sajae.”
I could guess one potential reason, but I needed to be sure.
“This ship will be captured by the pirates.”
Was he deliberately trying to get caught?
“… the ships are switched in order of the situation, and they know that sahyung is in the lead. Would they come that easily?”
The Wind Wave King was someone who had gone beyond the wall. Moreover, even though our clash was short, he was easily someone who was at the peak of the wall beyond the wall.
If someone was a warrior of his level, it would be simple for him to use the Crossing Water footwork.
The river wouldn’t halt his movement.
“You are taking them too lightly.”
“What do you mean?”
“They outnumber us. If there is anything to salvage, they will surely move.”
“Even if there is information of you being here?”
“Why do you think the Murim Alliance couldn’t strike them down?”
He answered my question with a question.
He was right, come to think of it.
Even if they were pirates, there was no reason for the Murim Alliance to not touch them.
“There are several canyons around the waterways of the Yangtze River. There are places where the scenery is nice, and the water is slow. However, the water swirls quickly at the canyons, which is dangerous.”
“Among them, there are 25 canyons considered the roughest and most difficult paths through the Yangtze River. If there is an accident and the ship capsizes, even a Murim warrior could not get out.”
“So they will aim for a geographical advantage?’
At my words, he laughed.
“As I thought, you are smart. As sajae said, they have more numbers but have also lived in this land for hundreds of years. Their ways to move through the river and use it to their advantage are beyond rational thoughts.”
“About ten years ago, an elder, the Taiji Sword Emperor, led the Wudang Sect and the Murim Alliance in a strike here.”
Ah, I seemed to recall hearing about this.
It was said that many troops had been mobilized at that time, but more than half were sunk, and the subjugation ended in failure.
“Do you know why it failed?”
Come to think of it, one of the Eight Great Warriors had led the assault. Yet, I wondered why it didn’t succeed?
“Have you tried to use light footwork on water?”
After crossing the wall, my understanding and sense of ki changed. If I put my mind to it, I might be able to use footwork on the water.
Hyuk Cheon-man pointed his finger at the river and said,
“At this level, it shouldn’t be difficult to do it on water. If I explained the technique behind it just once, even sajae should be able to do it.”
I should try it out later. I wonder how it would feel to run on water?
“But let me tell you this. If you encounter a torrent, never think about trying to use it.”
“What do you mean?”
“Footwork is a method of lightening the body using internal qi. When opposed to other things, it creates a movement whenever the soles of our feet touch the water.”
This was good information. This was why he said the technique should be known.
“But that would be impossible in places where the water was rough and fast. Instead, it would use our lightness and pull us into the current. Forget what you were doing before. You will be pulled into the water.”
“Abandon the thoughts of using footwork on any rapids.”
It would be difficult to use footwork in a place with strong water currents. This was why even the best warriors couldn’t eliminate the river families.
After knowing the reason behind it, I understood. It seemed that the waterways were an advantage to them.
“When it comes to rapid waters, it will be difficult to steer the ship’s direction. Using the water canal is always like this. Fighting them on the water is the biggest disadvantage.”
“So you came up with this method?”
“That’s right. Just a reminder of how dark things can get.”
-What is this?
A strategy that was part of the dark road.
A scheme derived from the great-grandfather of Hanyu, who crossed the mud without letting anyone notice.
The stratagem involved faking the presence of the strongest troops on the first ship while the real power was placed at the rear. It was the same stratagem.
This was a way to exploit a loophole in the opponent’s strength. If this ploy succeeded, they could reach the 18 River Families.
“… isn’t this deceiving not just the enemies but the allies too?”
The reason why everyone was here was to protect the target.
But to deceive the enemy, we also deceive our allies. Another ship ahead of us would be damaged and might not know the reason why.
“There is a saying that if you need to fool your enemies, you must fool your friends.”
“They are escort people and not even full-fledged warriors. To do this to them…”
“Well. I admit it.”
“It goes beyond my understanding.”
I was in opposition to this.
If his ploy worked, it would be impossible for me to get the 18 River Families on my side. Hyuk Cheon-man then patted me on the back.
“Sajae. I understand your emotions. But this isn’t a deception. The other ships also have skilled warriors on them.”
“Do you think the pirates are fools? It is obvious they will smell this plan from far away.”
It wasn’t a complete relief for me and didn’t change anything.
“And the flags on the ships? Doesn’t it change that they were not trifled with?”
To my question, he replied,
“Listen now. If this request doesn’t go as planned, the Murim will be engulfed into the most chaotic war.”
“… what do you mean?”
“I thought about this a lot after hearing this request. The Blood Sect and the 18 River Families will join hands. Everything south of the river will become drenched in blood if that happens.”
Was that why this plan was being done?
“The request of the Murim Alliance?”
“… does sahyung originally participate in the affairs of the Murim?”
From what I knew, he stayed neutral.
He tended to refuse even when knowing there would be a fight and damage to both sides.
He never participated in any wars. However, I couldn’t understand why he was taking on such a request.
Hyuk Cheon-man looked at the river and said,
“Master vanished, and I lived my life like a wandering swordsman. As a young man, my life had no other meaning. After sajae appeared, I thought of many things.”
“Uh? After I showed up??”
“Didn’t you go through the great war?’
“Even though I didn’t participate in the war, I had lived through the era, so I know from watching how much blood will flow through the Central Plains.’
“As the Murim Alliance said, if the Blood Sect and the River Families join hands and the Yangtze River becomes blocked, the same will happen again. I hope my sajae will not have to endure the same tragedy.”
I was speechless.
It was difficult to reply to what he said. This was someone who had his own convictions and thoughts.
“I will tell the people on board the ship and give them a tenfold increase in their rates. That is why we took such a huge risk.”
The basic amount of money that each escort service was paid was around 1000 coins. The amount added for participation was also added there. But if it was increased tenfold, then it was a large amount.
-One can buy a nation.
If it succeeded, it would be a massive boon for them to take down the 18 River Families.
Hyuk Cheon-man squeezed my shoulder and said.
“As the disciple to the South Heavenly Swordsman, doesn’t my sajae also want a future with no bloodshed?’
… I had no intention of causing bloodshed.
I could not explain that, though, and that was frustrating.
First of all, I needed to act. I then replied to him as if I was impressed.
“I didn’t realize that sahyung had such thoughts. As a member of the Justice faction, it is natural to help justice prevail regardless of money.”
“Hahaha. As expected, you are worthy to be his disciple.”
He had a hearty laugh as if he liked my answer. I liked this side of him, but we were on opposite sides.
“Then, I will speak to the people of the other escort services, so sajae should persuade the Hwang Young Escort Group and your party.”
And so, the man left, and I sighed.
-What will you do? If this works out for them, our reason for being here will be ruined.
This wasn’t something that I should intervene with. The power of the Evil Faction would fail if the 18 River Families didn’t join.
If that happened, we would end up being pushed out on the balance.
-Even if things become a mess, isn’t this too much?
That was what I wanted to say. The Murim Alliance wasn’t an easy opponent either.
I thought that they wouldn’t be able to do anything with Zhuge Won-myung dead. Instead, here they were with the counter.
If this became messed up, I would strike my future ally with my own hands.
-Why don’t you tell Wind Wave King of your real identity?
‘My real identity?’
-He might think of you as a sajae, so he might help your side, right?
That was too much of a risk to take.
First of all, apart from being my sahyung, he was a man from the Justice Faction. Even if he lived as a wandering warrior, he had his own principles.
That was what he also valued.
If he helped me, he would be breaking his own rules. Moreover, it would be a fight against the Murim Alliance.
Would he take that risk?
-Say that you will accept him into the Blood Sect.
What if that doesn’t work?
Then my real identity would be revealed to the entire world.
If that happened, the Murim Alliance would put all of their efforts into capturing me, making things even worse. I might have tried it if it weren’t for this situation, but not anymore.
-Such a mess. Then what will you do? You will help him take down the 18 River Families?
I cannot let that happen.
-Is there a way?
I was not a military strategist, so how could I think of a way out?
I was going insane.
I could have done something if the Wind Wave King wasn’t here.
It should be done where the ship would not stop in the water canal. That was the most ideal way.
However, as I said, he was the toughest opponent.
-How about a hole in the ship? Then we wouldn’t even get there.
That was a good thought, but how would we pierce it? Drilling a hole without leaving any evidence?
The warehouse was also overflowing with warriors now, so it would be impossible to use that place.
If their numbers were small, I would have tried to use hallucination.
But if the ship started to sink, the sound of water rushing in would be noticed by everyone. It was impossible to sink the ship.
Unless I was ready to declare myself as the one who did it.
-Ah, oh. This is so frustrating. I’d rather go secretly and make a move.
It would be nice if you could do it. Thank you for the words.
-I really want to help, not just with words. How frustrating it is that you have no other choice but to watch every move of your….
It was at that moment.
[The will of the sword and yours have become one, so the Big Dripper constellation has opened up.]
The voice of the Immortal Swordsman.
Surprised, I looked at my right hand to see the blue flames flickering on it.
With the sound of burning, a change occurred on the back of my hand.
Among the seven points of the Big Dipper, the jade-shaped 5th star was turning blue.
Eventually, it became a perfect blue dot, and the flame stopped.
The points of the Big Dipper hadn’t opened up for a while, but this suddenly happened.
I didn’t understand what this meant.
A strange vision appeared in my mind. It was as if I was looking through someone else’s gaze.
I was looking at someone, and it was me?
I needed to clear my head for a moment. This seemed to be the ability of the Big Dipper.
I became speechless. Short Sword, which should have been in its sheath, was now floating in the air.