Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 1

C1. The Distinguished Guest of the Waryong Mansion

The Waryong Mansion is the largest martial family in Unsa, east of Luoyang. The owner of the Waryong Mansion, located within the Yeon Family cluster, was a warrior named Yeon Muryong.

Known in the Martial Arts World, also referred to as Murim, Yeon Muryong's nickname is the "Moon-Splitting Swordsman."

This moniker was given to him because it was said that he had defeated the famous witch Wol Haseonja, also known as the Lunar Fairy.

Just as the name of the Moon-Splitting Swordsman was becoming known in Murim, he suddenly returned to his homeland, founded the Waryong Mansion, and retired.

He was thirty-four years old.

Despite his family's opposition, Yeon Muryong did not return to the world of martial arts. And shortly after, his name faded from people's memories.

On the first day of May, the usually quiet Waryong Mansion became bustling.

The Lady of the Waryong Mansion, Baek Miju, was in the middle of the courtyard giving incessant instructions to the servants.

"You there, sweep the courtyard once more. And the head butler?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Yeon Mudok, the butler, hurriedly approached Baek Miju.

"Find the children immediately and bring them to the main house."

Baek Miju made the request courteously, despite him being just the head butler. Although he was older than her, he was the cousin of her husband, Yeon Muryong, which made her feel uneasy.

"All of them?"

Yeon Mudok looked at Baek Miju with a meaningful gaze.

Yeon Muryong had three sons and a daughter. Three of them were Baek Miju's children.

However, the youngest, six-year-old Yeon Jeokha, was the son of a concubine, a maid of Baek Miju.

Since Baek Miju usually didn't concern herself with the maid's son, Yeon Mudok needed confirmation.

Baek Miju nodded with a calm expression.

"Yes, we must do it. If rumors spread that we despise illegitimate children at the Waryong Mansion, it would tarnish my husband's good name."

"Understood, ma'am."

Yeon Mudok gave a slight bow before retreating.

Baek Miju bit her lips as she watched Yeon Mudok's figure recede.

She had no intention of calling Yeon Jeokha on a day like today.

But she also didn't want to hear whispers behind her back about being petty.

"Haa!"

A thin sigh escaped Baek Miju's lips.

Today was a day she wanted to keep Yeon Jeokha further away than ever.

It was the day when the Sword Emperor, Namgung Byeok, the Namgung Family Leader, would visit the Waryong Mansion with his family.

The Namgung Family is known as the most prominent of the Five Great Martial Families that rule Murim.

Even their name alone is enough to resolve almost any dispute.

Baek Miju turned her head and surveyed the mansion.

The Waryong Mansion, cozy and compact, could be seen at a glance.

Small.

Currently, the Waryong Mansion is just one of many martial families.

'Not yet...'

Baek Miju wanted to transform the Waryong Mansion into one of the main families in Murim (the Martial Arts World).

The first to dream that dream was Yeon Muryong.

But that dream was shattered.

The person who broke that dream was the mother of Yeon Jeokha, Yi Buyong, who had been her maid.

During Yeon Muryong's brief time in Murim, he had the fortune of meeting Namgung Byeok, the Sword Emperor.

Namgung Byeok, who was passing by, discovered Yeon Muryong fighting desperately against the Yoomyung Cult.

With his help, Yeon Muryong defeated the Yoomyung Cult and earned the nickname Moon-Splitting Swordsman.

After that, a brotherly relationship developed between the eccentric Sword Emperor, Namgung Byeok, and Yeon Muryong.

That was six years ago. And there it remained.

Returning home to heal his wounds, Yeon Muryong fell in love with his maid, Yi Buyong.

Unfortunately, the man who once dreamed of establishing a powerful martial family abandoned that grand dream.

He even took Yi Buyong as a concubine, and despite the opposition of the Yeon Family, he announced his retirement from Murim.

'Ungrateful...'

Thinking of them, Baek Miju silently gnashed her teeth.

The more she thought about it, the angrier she became.

His lips no longer whispered words of love to her.

Although he didn't want to admit it, he had founded the Waryong Mansion for Yi Buyong. When the Yeon Family's criticism became unbearable, he bought a mansion in a quiet place and moved.

The Yeon Family, who knew the story, said that Yeon Muryong had been cursed by the Yoomyung Cult. Otherwise, how could someone who desired to establish a powerful martial family retire for a mere maid?

But the love story between Yeon Muryong and the captivating Yi Buyong didn't last long. Yi Buyong died during the childbirth of Yeon Jeokha.

At that time, everyone thought Yeon Muryong would return to Murim.

But soon they realized that Yeon Muryong's heart had died along with Yi Buyong.

Yeon Muryong lost interest in everything.

At some point, he stopped leaving the Waryong Mansion.

And now he was receiving a visit from his sworn brother, Namgung Byeok.

Namgung Byeok, who hadn't visited when Yeon Muryong retired six years ago, was on his way to the Waryong Mansion and decided to stop by.

Walking slowly towards the main house, Baek Miju murmured to herself.

"Could this be an opportunity given to me by the heavens...?"

Namgung Byeok's eldest son, Namgung Cheon, was eighteen years old and had already earned the nickname "Blue Sky Sword." In comparison, the second daughter was only eight years old.

'Should I match my daughter Seolju with Namgung Cheon?'

But the age difference was too great.

Her third daughter, Yeon Seolju, was only nine years old, so Namgung Byeok would not accept the proposal.

The other option was to match one of her sons with Namgung Yeon.

Her eldest son, Yeon Mubaek, was fourteen, and the second, Yeon Seungbaek, eleven, which made them a good age difference for the eight-year-old girl, Namgung Yeon.

The problem was that Baek Miju didn't know how close Yeon Muryong and the Sword Emperor, Namgung Byeok, really were.

Namgung Byeok wasn't just visiting the Waryong Mansion; he was on his way to the Wudang Sect. And so far, he hadn't sent a single letter.

"Hmmm!"

Baek Miju, simmering with internal rage, gritted her teeth.

'In any case, I must match my sons with Namgung Yeon.'

And if that doesn't work?

Then I'll ask the Sword Emperor, Namgung Byeok, to train my eldest son, Yeon Mubaek.

Anyway, Yeon Muryong has no interest in establishing a powerful martial family.

In that case, I have to do it through Mubaek.

Someday, when Yeon Muryong ages regrettably, I'll laugh at him.

While you were caught up in a fox's skirts, I fulfilled the dream you abandoned.

-------------

Inside a carriage drawn by four horses, two men and two women were seated.

They were the Namgung Family Leader, the Sword Emperor Namgung Byeok, his wife Jang Haeun, his son Namgung Cheon, and his daughter Namgung Yeon.

Twelve swordsmen, mounted on brown horses, escorted the carriage from the front and the back.

With their prominent cheekbones and sharp gazes, they constantly swept the surroundings with their eyes.

From the characters '창천(蒼天)' engraved on the windshields, it was clear they were the strongest warriors of the Namgung Family, known as the Heavenly Squad.

With the escort of the Heavenly Squad, the carriage seemed at peace.

Namgung Cheon, looking bored out the window, asked cautiously:

"Father, why did Uncle Yeon retire? He is still relatively young."

At his son's words, Namgung Byeok burst out laughing.

"Ha, ha! Boy! The one who is young is you. Your Uncle Yeon is now forty years old."

"But you're older than Uncle Yeon and still travel the world."

"That's because your mother is by my side."

Namgung Byeok, who had a tendency to be a devoted husband, always traveled with his wife.

"Really? Doesn't Uncle Yeon also have his wife?"

Namgung Byeok looked at his son with a complicated expression.

"Hum, it's better for you to know in advance. Cheon and Yeon, pay attention to what I say and don't make verbal mistakes at the Waryong Mansion. Understood?"

"Yes."

"......"

Namgung Cheon, outgoing, answered loudly, while Namgung Yeon, usually quiet, only nodded.

Unlike Namgung Cheon, who was full of curiosity, Namgung Yeon's expression was indifferent. However, her clear and bright eyes were fixed on Namgung Byeok's face.

"Your Uncle Yeon had two wives. The current one is the first wife, and the second wife was the one he was closer to. He retired because the second wife's health was not good."

"Ah! Is the second wife better now?"

Namgung Cheon, who had a caring nature, asked quickly.

In contrast, eight-year-old Namgung Yeon remained with an unperturbed expression.

'Tsk, tsk!'

Namgung Byeok shook his head at seeing the vastly different expressions of his two children.

The eldest son, already a grown man, chatted like a girl, while the young daughter remained silent like a wise old woman.

Imagining for a moment how different it would be if his children's personalities were reversed, Namgung Byeok let out a deep sigh.

"Haa! The second wife died six years ago during childbirth. Since then, your Uncle Yeon has lost interest in life."

Namgung Byeok turned his gaze to the window.

The story in the letter that Yeon Muryong had sent him a long time ago ended there.

"So, even if you go to the Waryong Mansion, don't mention the second wife. For the sake of your Uncle Yeon and his first wife, it's best to pretend you know nothing. Understood?"

"Yes, we will be careful."

"......"

Namgung Cheon, with an almost feminine sensitivity, responded with a sad expression, while Namgung Yeon only nodded with an aged look.

Namgung Byeok gently patted his young daughter Namgung Yeon's head.

This child reminded him of himself in his youth.

Now, although he lives aggressively and with a reputation for being difficult, until he was twenty, he lived with a closed heart.

If he hadn't taken up a sword and faced people, perhaps he would still be like his daughter.

But in the process of learning martial arts and reaching the highest level, he had destroyed his own being many times.

From that emerged his new personality, confident and full of assurance.

'Someday, you too will break out of your shell and emerge.'

Namgung Byeok could only feel compassion for his precocious daughter.

On the other hand, his wife Jang Haeun, sitting across from him, had been showing an amused expression for some time.

The husband, known as the 'Sword Emperor' and famous worldwide, was giving instructions on how to behave at the Waryong Mansion.

That meant he truly respected Yeon Muryong.

Why hadn't he visited someone so important in the past six years?

"I'm surprised that someone as particular as you became sworn brothers with Yeon Muryong."

"You say I'm particular?"

"Hehe, isn't that so? Although you've met the Seonu Family Leader many times, you've never become sworn brothers with him. Yet you became brothers with Yeon Muryong after meeting him only once, right?"

"Only once? Who said that?"

"You've argued with the Seonu Family Leader many times about that. Don't you remember?"

"That's a tale the Seonu Family Leader invented. I spent seven days with Yeon Muryong."

Jang Haeun smiled and said:

"But you've known the Seonu Family Leader for over twenty years. Even so, you always call each other 'Family Leader' and keep your distance."

"Knowing someone and getting along with them are different things."

"Wow, it seems to me you get along well with the Seonu Family Leader, don't you?"

"The connection with Yeon is qualitatively different from that with the Seonu Family Leader."

"How so?"

All the family's gazes focused on Namgung Byeok.

With an uncomfortable expression from the interest of his family, Namgung Byeok cleared his throat.

"Hum, hum, to put it simply, the relationship with Yeon is life and death, while with the Seonu Family Leader it's only about sharing joys and sorrows."

"Tsk! Because of that attitude, the Seonu Family Leader doesn't like you."

"Bah! He doesn't like me? There are things in which being selfish makes no sense."

Namgung Byeok said it as if it were something ridiculous.

A life and death relationship is not established because one desires it. It is a connection granted by heaven. Namgung Byeok was certain that his relationship with Yeon Muryong was such.

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