He is a direct descendant of the Zhuge family and recently joined the ranks of the dragons.
He was a person of interest.
From my perspective as a demonic cultist in my past life, I see that they are more special in fields other than martial arts, such as Poison Dragon, Chiunryong, and Jiryong, rather than those with flashy nicknames such as Geomryong (劍龍) or Changryong (槍龍). I was much more afraid of people with talent.
“I didn’t expect you to come visit me so suddenly.”
“I want to ask you something.”
“What do you want to ask?”
“Is the true identity of the Homyeonhyup (狐面俠), of which there are many rumors, the Yeon Sohyeop?”
“What are you talking about?…”
I pretended not to notice.
Inwardly, I was quite surprised.
How did this woman know that?
“If not, could you give me a quick tour of the accommodation Sohyeop is staying in? “According to my guess, I think there are two swords used by the Red Ghost Twin Blades there.”
“I don’t have any of those items. And I think it’s a bit rude to go and inspect your belongings.”
At this point, it was impossible not to know.
The woman in front of me was already convinced that the identity of the Homyeonhyup was me.
The questions I’m asking now were just an exercise to check my reaction.
“At first, it was just a little curiosity. “A young man who accompanies the Tang family’s wife and uses Plum Blossom Sword’s disciple as his driver.”
“But that young man had a mark symbolizing the distinguished guest of Hwayang Sangdan. “The same red jewel as the one adorning the Zhuge family’s family hall.”
“Curiosity developed into interest. What exactly is this man, and why does he possess such a valuable item? “What is the relationship with Hwayang Sangdanju?”
“…So you’re saying you investigated my background?”
“I’m sorry if you felt uncomfortable. However, when I investigated the past of the small cooperative using the family’s information, something strange caught my eye.”
Zhuge Hye briefly apologized and then skillfully changed the topic.
I frowned slightly and tapped the table with my index finger.
“The capital of Sichuan Province, Guangxi Province. Both regions where small cooperatives were active were located too far from Hangzhou. “To the point where I wonder how on earth I was able to establish a relationship with the owner of Hwayang Sangdan.”
“It seems like the topic of the story is off.”
“I thought that there were limits to just following what I did in the past, so I changed my approach. I thought we should focus on the present, not the past. And I found out something interesting.”
“The period when Yeon Sohyeop and Cheonwoo Dojang were away and the time when Homyeonhyup was active coincided exactly.”
“It’s just a coincidence.”
“is that so? “There was an eyewitness account that a masked person, presumed to be a subordinate of the Homyeonhyup, used the sword techniques of the Hwasan faction.”
“Isn’t it rare to find someone who has learned the martial arts of the Volcano Sect? “The number of lay disciples alone must be in the thousands.”
“But there aren’t many people with skills comparable to Cheonwoo Dojo.”
“It may be rare, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”
“Small cooperative. I didn’t come here to say anything that would be particularly harmful to the small cooperatives. I have no intention of informing others about the identity of the small cooperative, nor do I have any intention of requesting anything from the cooperative. “I just want to make sure.”
“I will ask again. “Is the true identity of the Homyeonhyup the Yeon Sohyeop?”
I buried myself in the back of the chair and sighed softly.
He said it that way, but I thought it wouldn’t make much sense if I looked at it further.
I nodded slowly and took out the fox mask from my pocket and placed it on the table.
“There’s no use hiding it any longer. That’s right.”
There was a faint smile in Zhuge Hye’s voice.
The eyes of the guards standing behind became glazed.
The sound of someone swallowing dry saliva echoed loudly in the quiet living room.
Unlike Zhuge Hye, the guards didn’t seem to believe that I was a protector.
“That’s amazing. “I understand that he has just become a minor, but he has such skills at that age.”
“It’s nothing that great.”
“Equatorial twin ears. He was a man capable of competing with the greatest masters in the world. “I know him well as I served in the government military for a while.”
“He must have been someone whose rumors were exaggerated compared to his abilities. When I dealt with him in person, I found him to be more of a charlatan than a proud warrior. “I tried to save face in front of my subordinates, but ended up committing suicide.”
“Regardless of his personality or tendencies, it is an unmistakable fact that he is a warrior with great skills.”
“Enough with putting gold on a person’s face. “It’s burdensome.”
“Why did you hide your identity?”
“Because it was easier to operate there.”
“Is that really all it is?”
“Do you need another reason?”
“If I’m right, the Sohyeop has something big planned.”
“Is there any reason you think so?”
“If Yeon Sohyeop really wanted to hide his identity, he would have hidden his martial arts skills as well. Just as Master Cheonwoo did not use the martial arts of the Hwasan Sect as much as possible.”
“But the Sohyeop didn’t do that. Rather, he showed off his martial arts skills with clear characteristics here and there, as if showing off.”
I scratched the back of my neck with my index finger and sorted out my complicated thoughts.
This is why dealing with these types of people is so tiring.
When I come to my senses, I find myself caught up in it.
‘It doesn’t suit my temperament to just get bullied.’
I rested my chin on my clasped hands.
He then looked straight at Zhuge Hye and asked interrogatively.
“So, what were you thinking when you disguised yourself as a man and joined the government army? “Was there any reason to lie about your gender?”
“What do you mean…”
“Isn’t the rumored Jiryong (知龍) referring to Sojeo?”
“The earth dragon refers not to me, but to my twin brother…”
“I know that there is no talented person other than Xiao Ze who was dispatched by the Zhuge Dynasty at the request of the government military.”
“Don’t make the excuse that you joined late to take care of your younger brother. “It’s not that dark on information.”
“This is probably not information that the general public can access. Also, did you do a background check on me?”
“Didn’t you say that you also investigated me? “It’s the same for each other.”
“That’s… I see.”
“By the way, he’s my twin sister. Are you acting as a substitute?”
“Ah, the twin brother thing is just something I made up…”
“If they were twins, they would look quite similar. That will make it easier to play the part.”
“Is there any reason why you need to appear to the outside world on behalf of your younger brother?”
“I can’t tell you that part.”
“Well, then, I won’t force you to ask.”
A moment of awkward silence passed.
Me and Jegal Hye too.
We just looked at each other without saying anything for a while.
By the time about one cup of tea had passed.
Zhuge Hye opened his mouth with difficulty.
“We… are friends, right?”
It was an unexpected question.
I tilted my head slightly.
Suddenly, what kind of sound is this?
Whenever he comes to me and asks difficult questions.
Suddenly, the conversation I had with her earlier flashed through my mind.
[But why are you being so kind to us, whom you just met for the first time today?]
[Do you need a reason to help someone in trouble?]
[I don’t want to call you a minister, but on the way, I saw you. Could you be my friend?]
[I wanted to make friends. [Because I don’t often come out of the family.]
I thought that maybe this was a very important issue for her.
I nodded calmly and answered.
Zhuge Hye’s movements suddenly stopped.
I couldn’t see her face because it was covered with cotton, but I had a feeling that she was looking happy.
She said, hurriedly getting up from her seat.
“I’ll just go and see.”
“Since you’re already here, wouldn’t it be a good idea to say hello to the rest of the group?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t have much time. “Anyway, we will see each other again in the near future, so I think I will have to say goodbye here.”
“Yongbong branch (龍鳳之會). “Are you planning on participating?”
“When I see you in Honam, I will formally greet you. “At that time, take off this stuffy cotton cloth.”
“I look forward to it.”
Zhuge Hye and the guards rushed out of the reception room.
As I looked up at the ceiling blankly, I recalled the conversation I had with Zhuge Hye a little while ago and muttered,
“That’s interesting. Earth Dragon was someone’s double…”
* * *
Finally, the day to leave Zhejiang arrived.
I sold the four-horse carriage that I had been using and went to a large port office in Zhejiang and entrusted it with an escort request.
There was no longer a need to cook rice and stay alert.
As security in Zhejiang stabilized, exchanges with other regions, which had been stagnant, became active again.
Just like before, you would be able to enjoy a comfortable trip with the helpers and servants taking care of all the troublesome issues.
The owner of Hwayang Sangdan said goodbye to me.
“Goodbye. “If I ever have to stop by Zhejiang, I definitely come here.”
“Thank you so much.”
“On the contrary, I am grateful. “My son loved it so much.”
“I didn’t pass on some great vision. I just pointed out bad habits and gave some tips. “My son has reached his current level purely through his own efforts.”
“Honestly, I have complicated feelings. As a parent, I can’t be purely happy. “My only child is gradually moving away from the path of becoming a merchant.”
“I didn’t think you were someone who was concerned about bloodline succession.”
“Of course, even if he showed motivation, if he lacked ability and qualifications, I wouldn’t have given him the position of head of the upper class. Even so, I can’t help but feel sad.”
“What I’m asking you to do is…”
“Don’t worry about requesting a purchasing agency. “I will definitely take care of it.”
Following Hwayang Sangdanju, we also said goodbye to people we had become acquainted with.
I got into the carriage, being seen off by Hwa Dae-rang, who was shedding tears like a disciple saying goodbye to his teacher.
Soon, the carriage wheels began to roll with a rattling noise.
I looked out the window and muttered to myself.
Cheoksageom (斥邪劍) Seo Ho-seon was sent to Honam in advance.
He was instructed to stay in a guesthouse near Dongdong Lake and recuperate.
When the Yongbong branch was held, the entire Honam region would be bustling with warriors from all over.
Therefore, there was a need to send someone in advance to reserve accommodation.
‘The time for entrance has come.’