A masked black figure quietly opened the door and entered the room. They briefly glanced around, then cautiously took a step forward.
Inside the room, three people were fast asleep, completely unaware of the intruder. The black figure slowly approached the sleeping men, heart racing.
Please, please don’t wake up… With trembling hands, the black figure searched the pockets of the man on the far left. Fortunately, the man was in a deep slumber and showed no signs of stirring.
A weighty sensation filled the black figure’s hand. They had found what they were looking for. Carefully, they withdrew their hand, holding a heavy wallet.
From the beginning, their goal had been the man’s wallet. With a triumphant grin, the black figure turned to leave the room.
That was when a cold, mocking voice rang out from behind him, “Hoho, aren’t you quite the daring thief?”
“Gah!” The black figure froze in place for a moment, then slowly looked back.
Two of the sleeping men had awakened and were staring right at him, astounded.
Ha Jin-Wol clicked his tongue. “Tsk tsk! Why would anyone in their right mind attempt to steal from a murim person…? Are you that confident in your skills?”
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“Zzz…” Tang Gi-Mun, the owner of the stolen wallet, snored loudly, oblivious to the fact that he had just been robbed.
The black figure quickly covered his face and rushed out of the room.
Dumbfounded by the thief’s response, Ha Jin-Wol turned to Jin Mu-Won and said, “I’m going back to sleep, you take care of the thief.”
Without waiting for Jin Mu-Won’s response, Ha Jin-Wol lay back down and pulled the blanket over his head.
Sighing, Jin Mu-Won got to his feet.
Chasing the black figure wasn’t difficult at all. There were hastily left footprints all over the floor. Before long, Jin Mu-Won had the thief cornered in a dead-end alley not far from the inn.
“Please, just return the wallet and I won’t hurt you or report you,” Jin Mu-Won said tiredly.
“N-No! What are you talking about, this is my wallet!” The black figure concealed the wallet they had stolen from Tang Gi-Mun behind their back.
Jin Mu-Won sighed again. “That’s not yours.”
“It’s mine now. I won’t hand it over,” the black figure argued, drawing a sword from his waist and pointing it at Jin Mu-Won.
Jin Mu-Won narrowed his eyes. Petty theft was one thing, but assault was something else altogether. He took a step closer and warned, “Look, I don’t understand why you’re doing this, but you’d better put away that sword right now.”
“Stay back! If you come any closer, I’ll kill you!” The black figure shouted, releasing his killing intent.
In response, Jin Mu-Won moved another step closer.
Immediately, the black figure swung his sword at Jin Mu-Won, aiming for his throat. It was a real attempt on his life.
Jin Mu-Won tilted his head and deftly dodged the blow, his gaze turning icy cold. As the black figure contemplated taking another’s life, it seemed that he failed to realize that he, too, could meet his end at any moment.
Jin Mu-Won calmly extended two fingers towards the sword flying past his head.
In an instant, the black figure’s sword shattered. It was Jin Mu-Won’s original technique, the Weapon-Shattering Finger.
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“No, my sword… This can’t be!” The black figure stared disbelievingly at what remained of his sword for a moment, then lunged at Jin Mu-Won, screaming, “Damn you! You broke my sword! My precious sworddddd!”
He swung his fists at Jin Mu-Won’s vital points, but they didn’t have much power behind them.
Jin Mu-Won, a master in his own right, found the attack almost comical. Shaking his head, he grabbed the black figure’s wrist and twisted it effortlessly.
The sound of bones snapping rang out as the black figure’s wrist dislocated. He immediately recoiled, and Jin Mu-Won took the chance to remove his mask and take back Tang Gi-Mun’s wallet.
“Who are you?” Jin Mu-Won asked, furrowing his brow. He felt like he had seen this person somewhere before. Hmm… The village I stayed in after leaving the Sichuan Plateau. He’s the son of the village chief.
Myeong Ryu-San gazed at the shattered sword lying his feet, his expression a mix of bewilderment and regret. It was a sword he had bought with his entire fortune earlier that day.
“I won’t forgive you!” he growled, momentarily forgetting that he had stolen Tang Gi-Mun’s purse.
Jin Mu-Won’s gaze turned icy. “You stole someone else’s wallet. Consider yourself fortunate to still be breathing.”
In the gangho, one could lose their life for reasons far less trivial than theft, and in fact, such incidents were alarmingly common.
Jin Mu-Won released Myeong Ryu-San’s wrist.
Myeong Ryu-San stood up and nursed his dislocated wrist, seething. “ What do you know? Damn you! You probably grew up in a good family and learned powerful martial arts as a matter of course. If only I had the same background, I’d easily defeat you.”
“Good family? Background?”
“Why, do you want to deny it? Isn’t that why you’ve become so strong? Fuck!”
Jin Mu-Won remained silent and watched Myeong Ryu-San intently. The young man’s face was full of rage rather than remorse, as if he carried the wrath of the entire world within him.
“…You stole someone else’s wallet because you wanted to become stronger?” Jin Mu-Won asked.
“Yes! I wanted to borrow some money since I don’t have enough to go to Heaven’s Summit. Is it such a terrible thing to ask for a small share of what the privileged have? It’s just a few coins, I’ll pay it back when I make it big later.”
“You’re mistaken. If getting stronger were that easy, there wouldn’t be a single weak person in the world.”
“Shut up! People like you who have everything always say that, but do you know what it’s like to scrape by? Why can’t you share just a little bit of the silver spoon, huh?”
His way of looking at things is deeply warped, and he blames the world for his own shortcomings. No matter what I say, he won’t listen and will revert to his old attitude as soon as I leave. Sighing, Jin Mu-Won said, “It seems that you need to be taught a lesson.”
“If you don’t want to die, please try your hardest to defend yourself.”
In the blink of an eye, Jin Mu-Won disappeared, moving at an incredible speed that Myeong Ryu-San couldn’t comprehend.
Struck by the hilt of Jin Mu-Won’s sword, Myeong Ryu-San bent over like a boiled shrimp.
“Keuk!” Myeong Ryu-San foamed at the mouth, the intense shock causing stomach acid to flow back up his esophagus.
Unfortunately, Jin Mu-Won’s punishment had only just begun. His sword hilt struck Myeong Ryu-San’s side and face time and time again.
THWACK! THUD! SMACK!
“Ugh! Oww! Damn it!” With each blow from Snow Flower, Myeong Ryu-San let out a scream that reverberated through his very bones. However, even though he was in excruciating pain, his anger toward Jin Mu-Won was undiminished.
When Jin Mu-Won saw that, he grew relentless. The angrier Myeong Ryu-San got, the more ferocious Jin Mu-Won’s attacks became. He even selectively targeted the areas that maximized pain without causing serious injury.
In the gangho, people like Myeong Ryu-San, who were unable to control their impulses, often met a violent end. Hence, Jin Mu-Won wanted to teach Myeong Ryu-San a lesson in the hope that he would survive a little longer, in exchange for the shelter that the village chief had given him.
However, Myeong Ryu-San’s stubbornness exceeded Jin Mu-Won’s expectations. His internal arts were inadequate and his achievements minimal, but there was an instinct in him that surpassed everything he had been taught.
Is he the kind of guy who gets stronger through adversity? If that’s the case, it’s no wonder that the teachers at the martial arts academy he attended couldn’t train him very well.
“Interesting… I’ve never encountered this type before. The gangho is vast indeed,” Jin Mu-Won mumbled as he tossed Myeong Ryu-San, who had finally been knocked unconscious, over his shoulder.