Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 12

Chapter 12: Let's Call it the Five Peaks Camp

Yeon Jeokha, who had been concentrating on his breathing for about thirty minutes, stood up scratching his head.

Today, the stick he held in his hand felt more insufficient than ever.

What if he used a real sword instead of a stick?

But Yeon Jeokha shook his head.

For now, he felt more comfortable cooking and washing.

If he started carrying a real sword, his brothers might ask him to accompany them on their mountain raids.

The truth was that he still didn't have the courage to go on those raids.

As the sun began to set, the brothers returned.

But among them were two men with fierce expressions that Yeon Jeokha had never seen before.

Every time they looked around the camp, their eyes shone with an intensity similar to lightning.

Who are those men?

At that moment, Chief Pung Yeoncho called out to Yeon Jeokha from the front yard of the camp.

"Hey, kid. Leave dinner for later and come here for a moment."

"Yes!"

Yeon Jeokha responded energetically and ran over.

The boss liked him to be quick and efficient, so he had gotten used to pleasing him.

The seven bandits stood in line in front of the two visitors.

Pung Yeoncho bowed servilely to a man with a black eye patch.

"Jeje, esteemed Poison-Eyed Blood Demon, these seven are all the members for now. Is this okay?"

Yeon Jeokha didn't dare breathe loudly at seeing his boss's unusual behavior.

Poison-Eyed Blood Demon, Lee Jeongan, observed the seven with an ambiguous expression.

His eyes, full of ferocity, indicated that these men probably hadn't been bandits for long.

Lee Jeongan turned to his companion, the masked renegade Yeom Sangchul.

"What do you think, Brother Yeom?"

"Hmph! At least there should be ten who can handle a sword to call it a bandit camp..."

When Yeom Sangchul left his sentence unfinished, Pung Yeoncho intervened hastily.

"Don't worry! We can recruit three more before winter arrives."

Then, Lee Jeongan asked abruptly.

"Hey! Can you really get ten men?"

"Yes! There are already some who have begged us to accept them. If I had known you were coming today, I would have accepted them earlier."

"Hmm, in that case, it might be okay... Brother Yeom, since there is no other bandit camp nearby, let's accept them."

Originally, the number of camps and hideouts for the Nokrim bandits was thirty-six. However, the general chief decided to increase the number to seventy-two to counter the expansion of the Just Alliance's power.

There were rewards for recruiting new camps. Lee Jeongan and Yeom Sangchul, sub-leaders of the Daebyeol Camp in Henan province, had come for that.

Unlike Lee Jeongan, who was willing to accept, Yeom Sangchul was not satisfied. He didn't like the idea of including these mediocres in the Nokrim list.

Seeing Yeom Sangchul's displeased expression, Lee Jeongan spoke impatiently.

"So far we've only recruited one camp. Shouldn't we return before it snows? Anyway, the meeting will be in spring, so there's time to get the ten men."

Finally, Yeom Sangchul had no choice but to concede.

"Hmph! Fine. You, is your name Pung Yeoncho?"

"Yes."

"We will trust your promise and put this camp on the Nokrim list. Do not dishonor the name of Nokrim... First, increase the number of men. If necessary, recruit other bandits from the area. Understood?"

"Yes, yes."

Pung Yeoncho's mouth almost split from ear to ear.

Entering Nokrim was every bandit's dream. Being a member of Nokrim meant that other bandits wouldn't dare bother them. It would also make collecting tolls easier.

Yeom Sangchul, sighing deeply, asked Pung Yeoncho.

"What is the name of your camp?"

"..."

Pung Yeoncho couldn't answer Yeom Sangchul's question.

"Do you not have a name yet?"

"Well, yes... If you suggest one, we'll make a big plaque with it."

At Pung Yeoncho's words, Lee Jeongan nodded.

If he thought about it, the beginning of Daebyeol Camp wasn't much different from this place.

Unlike Yeom Sangchul, who was picky, Lee Jeongan, who had always been favorable, spoke immediately.

"Since this is Five Peaks Mountain, call it Five Peaks Camp."

"Yes!"

"The Daebyeol Camp has recommended you, so don't forget this gratitude. Understood?"

"Yes, yes, I will never forget the gratitude towards Daebyeol Camp and you two. I'll go to hell if you call."

Lee Jeongan and Yeom Sangchul taught Pung Yeoncho and the other six bandits the basic rules of Nokrim.

In short, they were as follows:

First, if the general chief calls, they must respond.

Second, they must operate at least ten miles from any other Nokrim camp or hideout. Here, "operate" referred to their bandit activities.

Third, they must not ignore a request for help from a Nokrim brother.

"If you do not comply with this, you will be punished in the name of Nokrim. Understood?"

Lee Jeongan's single eye shone with ferocity.

Pung Yeoncho thumped his chest hard and promised.

"Don't worry! I will uphold the rules of Nokrim with my life."

When the talk ended, the seven bandits looked at each other uncomfortably.

Pung Yeoncho, bowing servilely, spoke.

"Jeje, brothers, the sun has set. Would you like a drink?"

At the word "brothers," Yeom Sangchul's eyebrow twitched.

'This damned insolent...'

But he said nothing more. Anyway, once they became members of Nokrim, it would be appropriate to call each other brothers.

Instead of getting angry, Yeom Sangchul asked subtly.

"Hmm, do you have women here?"

"No, sir."

"Tch! No women, then no drink. We'll drink next time. Brother, let's go. I know a good place in the nearby village with women. My treat... Eh, where is...?"

Yeom Sangchul made an obvious attempt to get paid.

When Pung Yeoncho didn't catch the hint, Lee Jeongan signaled with his eyes.

"Ah!"

Finally, Pung Yeoncho ran into the cabin and came out with a bundle of silver coins he had carefully saved.

"Brothers, may I treat you?"

Lee Jeongan responded as if he had no choice.

"Oh, it's not necessary... but if you insist, we'll go with you."

Pung Yeoncho, with a happy face, turned to his brothers.

"I will go to the village with the brothers from Daebyeol Camp. You all enjoy the night too."

Tak Gomyung stepped forward on behalf of the younger brothers.

"Brother, leave this place in my hands and go with peace of mind."

"Very well, very well."

Soon after, Pung Yeoncho descended the mountain with the two masters of Daebyeol Camp.

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

Did about a month pass since they enrolled in Nokrim?

One day, Pung Yeoncho returned to the camp with two men and a woman.

Pung Yeoncho, with his hands on his hips and a proud expression, spoke to his subordinates.

"Hmph, hmph! These are the three I mentioned before. Now, each of you introduce yourselves."

At Pung Yeoncho's signal, the three looked at each other before speaking one by one.

The first to step forward was a man in his twenties with a large head.

"I am Lee Cheolsan. I climbed the mountain to reduce the number of mouths to feed in my family."

Then, a man with small eyes and a mouse-like appearance spoke.

"I am Cheon Gideok, Cheolsan's friend. I've been on the run for hitting the local magistrate's son... So I followed Cheolsan here. I've always admired the heroes of Nokrim."

Lastly, a young woman in her early twenties, with a coquettish smile, said:

"My name is Han Chaeyeon. I am nineteen years old, and my father sold me to a brothel in Bobong County, but I escaped. When I returned home, they still wanted me to go back. I thought living on the mountain would be better than being a courtesan. Nice to meet you, brothers."

Yeon Jeokha noticed that Han Chaeyeon had had a hard life like his. Although her story was sad, she smiled while telling it, which made him smile involuntarily too.

At that moment, Han Chaeyeon's eyes met Yeon Jeokha's.

Han Chaeyeon, seeing a young man among the fierce men, winked at him.

Embarrassed, Yeon Jeokha blushed and looked away.

After the introductions, Pung Yeoncho signaled to Tak Gomyung.

Tak Gomyung introduced the camp members to the newcomers.

After the introductions, Tak Gomyung spoke.

"Unless someone has a special skill, the hierarchical order is set according to the order of arrival. Cheolsan arrived three months before Gideok, so Cheolsan is eighth, Gideok is ninth, and Chaeyeon is last. Any objections?"

Cheon Gideok raised his hand cautiously.

"Eh, Brother Tak. If someone has a special skill, can they move up in the hierarchy?"

"Of course, we are from Nokrim. The strongest always takes the highest place. Are you good at fighting?"

"Jeje, I attended a martial arts school for three years."

"Really? Who wouldn't you like to have as a superior? Speak clearly. If you win, you'll get their place."

Cheon Gideok's gaze turned to Yeon Jeokha.

The other men exuded a strong murderous aura, but Yeon Jeokha looked weak and young. He didn't want to be subordinate to a child.

"That seventh one seems too inexperienced to be my superior."

Tak Gomyung immediately turned to Yeon Jeokha.

"Jeokha, did you hear that? Will you fight for your position or become Gideok's subordinate?"

As he spoke, Tak Gomyung expected Yeon Jeokha to avoid the fight.

Cheon Gideok's sharp face and fighter's attitude were intimidating.

But Yeon Jeokha unexpectedly responded.

"I'll fight."

Tak Gomyung thought he had heard wrong.

The boy who always cooked and washed wanted to fight?

Moreover, Yeon Jeokha looked at Cheon Gideok, much taller than him, as if he were a mortal enemy.

"Really? Then face each other. The loser will be the subordinate."

As soon as Tak Gomyung finished speaking, Yeon Jeokha walked to the center of the yard.

The beginning is always surprising.

Yeon Jeokha's heart pounded with tension and curiosity.

The world around him disappeared, and only Cheon Gideok filled his sight.

Facing his opponent's large figure, Yeon Jeokha felt small.

He wasn't scared, but his mind was confused by his first fight.

Yeon Jeokha struggled with unfamiliar feelings.

Seeing this, Cheon Gideok laughed.

"Boy, I won't be merciful in the fight."

"Wow! How lucky!"

At that moment, Pung Yeoncho, who was watching, laughed.

It was an expression that the third brother, Ma Hyeongdo, constantly used.

Seeing the usually shy younger boy use it at the right moment gave him pride.

Hearing Yeon Jeokha's defiant response, Cheon Gideok's face twisted.

It seemed he would have to knock him down in one blow to maintain his dignity.

Cheon Gideok cast a fierce look and lunged forward.

Soon, his hands and feet relentlessly attacked Yeon Jeokha's body.

At first, Yeon Jeokha moved clumsily, but gradually his movements became more agile.

Though the size difference was significant, Yeon Jeokha didn't find it difficult. He didn't need to use his internal energy. Since his opponent was an ordinary human, he decided not to use it.

Soon, Yeon Jeokha felt more relaxed. He could predict Cheon Gideok's movements so well that he could even look around without any trouble.

However, recklessness has its price.

Whack!

With a dull sound, Yeon Jeokha's head turned.

He staggered back as red blood dripped from his nose.

He had been hit by a punch thrown without any technique. He couldn't blame anyone for taking an unexpected hit.

Seeing his own blood, Yeon Jeokha screamed at the sky like a madman.

"Aaah! Why did I get hit by a punch like that?"

Yeon Jeokha, trembling with rage, charged at Cheon Gideok with his whole body.

"Ugh!"

Cheon Gideok reflexively hugged his opponent, breathing heavily and clinging tenaciously to Yeon Jeokha.

Thus began a chaotic fight.

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