Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 14

Chapter 14: Will You See Blood or Make an Offering?

Wang Ingeol's face darkened upon seeing the arrow trembling, lodged in the tree.

It seemed there were more people hiding in the forest.

'This doesn't look good.'

He stopped underestimating his opponents and spoke calmly.

“So, it's Senior Pung. It appears that Five Peaks Mountain Camp has registered with Nokrim.”

“That’s right. But, are you going to stand there talking all day? Show some sincerity right now! If not, we'll kill everyone!”

As if rehearsed, the bandits unsheathed their weapons in unison.

Once the bandits showed their weapons, the atmosphere turned hostile.

Yeon Jeokha, on his first raid, was at the rear.

Training and reality are different things.

When he unsheathed his wooden sword following Tak Gomyung, his heart pounded, and he felt dizzy. He quickly began reciting the teachings of the True Classic of the Nine Heavens as One, and his blurred vision began to clear.

Amid the tension, Wang Ingeol raised a hand.

“Senior Pung, wait a moment. I'll speak with the caravan leader.”

With that, he stepped back towards Im Ogun, the caravan leader.

“Chief, we can’t just pass through. They’re demanding a toll. What will we do?”

“What do you think? Do we stand a chance?”

“We don't know how many enemies there really are... Honestly, we don't know how many sacrifices we might have to make.”

Im Ogun’s face darkened.

Losing the guards would mean the end of this trade expedition.

“Ah! In that case, let's reach a reasonable agreement.”

Finally, Im Ogun relented.

After that, everything was resolved quickly.

The bandits of the Five Peaks Mountain Camp accepted thirty taels of silver from Wang Ingeol and retreated quietly.

Wang Ingeol sighed in relief.

Regardless of the circumstances, it was better to avoid a fight.

Although the matter was resolved, he felt a bit guilty about the unexpected expense for Im Ogun.

But what was this?

Despite paying the toll, Im Ogun had a satisfied expression.

Intrigued, Wang Ingeol cautiously asked.

“Is it alright to have paid an unexpected toll?”

“I thought they’d demand several hundred taels. But they only asked for thirty... that’s nothing when split among the merchants.”

“Yes, but...”

Paying a toll to an unrecognized camp should have hurt his pride.

And he wasn't wrong.

“This time, they caught us by surprise and we gave in... But it won't happen again. The Namyang headquarters won’t let this pass.”

“Are they planning to confront the Five Peaks Mountain Camp?”

“We'll observe the situation with Nokrim, and when the time comes, we'll strike.”

Wang Ingeol felt concerned.

If a fight broke out with the Five Peaks Mountain Camp, the Fengyun caravan would be on the front lines.

‘Spilling blood on this beautiful mountain...’

He hoped that day would not come, but he felt it would happen as Im Ogun predicted.

----------

The Five Peaks Mountain Camp was in a festive mood.

The raid with the new members had been a resounding success.

The annual income of the Five Peaks Mountain Camp averaged one hundred taels of silver. Today, in a single raid, they had earned almost a third of that.

Since midday, they had started drinking.

Pung Yeoncho, in a good mood, couldn't stop talking.

“Did you see how that Wang Ingeol grovelled? Wow! At first, when he laughed, I thought, ‘Will there be bloodshed?’... Damn! With just one arrow, the situation completely changed. But who shot the arrow? I didn't give the order.”

The bandits' gazes turned to Cheon Gideok and Han Chaeyeon.

Han Chaeyeon, with an embarrassed expression, responded.

“I got nervous and shot by mistake. I released too early and lost power... Luckily, I didn't hit his face...”

Han Chaeyeon shuddered just thinking about it.

Pung Yeoncho burst out laughing.

“Haha! Little one! Thanks to you, we got thirty taels of silver! Well done, well done.”

“Hehe.”

Han Chaeyeon smiled shyly.

Tak Gomyung stepped in to warn her.

“Don’t laugh. This time we were lucky, but it won't always be like this. Never shoot an arrow until a fight breaks out. Understood?”

“Yes, yes.”

Pung Yeoncho turned to Yeon Jeokha.

“Jeokha, how did you feel today on your first raid? Did you like it?”

“Yes.”

The sixth brother, Jang Sobong, intervened.

“Elder brother, this boy didn’t tremble a bit. Why don't we always take him along? He needs to gain experience before the Nokrim tournament.”

“Yes, I thought the same. Jeokha, don’t miss any raids from now on.”

“Yes!”

Yeon Jeokha felt moved by the attention from his brothers. He had never received so much interest and support before. His response came firmly.

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

About three or four days after Yeon Jeokha's first raid, Pung Yeoncho gathered the bandits early in the morning.

“I’ve heard that the merchants of the Mansu organization are in Hajeong village. It seems they’ll cross Five Peaks Mountain today. We must prepare to welcome them.”

Hajeong was a village near Five Peaks Mountain, where local thugs often sold information about caravans.

Tak Gomyung, the deputy leader, asked with concern.

“Leader, isn’t the Mansu organization based in Suzhou?”

“Yes.”

“Their guards are known to be skilled and tough... Are you sure?”

“We have no choice. We are Nokrim.”

After the success with the Namyang organization, Pung Yeoncho was not willing to back down.

When Tak Gomyung hesitated, Pung Yeoncho continued.

“If we let one pass after another, word will spread that we select our targets. The thugs in Hajeong might look down on us. In this world, if you get marked once, you’ll have to live hiding until you die.”

“...Understood.”

Tak Gomyung couldn’t argue, as Pung Yeoncho’s words were true.

Once the decision was made, Tak Gomyung shouted to his subordinates.

“You heard the leader! Gather your equipment and regroup. Today, we’ll do a good job.”

“Yes!”

The bandits of the Five Peaks Mountain Camp dispersed to their huts.

Yeon Jeokha also picked up his wooden sword, which he had recently received, and went out to the yard.

When everyone gathered, Pung Yeoncho spoke to Cheon Gideok and Han Chaeyeon.

“Like last time, you two will hide and prepare to shoot arrows. This time, don't make any mistakes.”

Han Chaeyeon responded energetically with a “Yes!”, making a smile appear on Pung Yeoncho’s lips.

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

When the sun was at its highest, about forty people began to ascend Five Peaks Mountain.

These were the merchants of the Mansu organization and their guards, with a total of seven carts, indicating a considerable-sized caravan.

Gwak Imsaeng, the caravan leader sitting in the front cart, nervously looked at the mountain peaks and said:

“I had a restless night... Won’t there be any trouble?”

To which the middle-aged man walking beside him, the Lightning Swordsman Kang Mudok, responded with a loud laugh.

“Haha! If you’re worried about the thieves of Five Peaks Mountain, don’t be. Even the Haeryong camp yields to us, the guards of the Mansu Caravan.”

A faint smile appeared on Gwak Imsaeng’s face.

Haeryong is a Nokrim camp that lives off piracy on the tributaries of the Saha River. Even those bandits fear the strong guards of the Mansu Caravan.

“Haha. It’s comforting to have the Lightning Swordsman Kang with us.”

“Yes, don’t worry. If the thieves approach, I’ll break their bones. Did you hear that? If you see any thieves lurking, catch them immediately.”

At Kang Mudok’s words, the white wolf guards energetically responded with a “Yes!”.

Only then did Gwak Imsaeng relax a bit and enjoy the scenery.

In the past five years of traveling between Jeongju, there had never been an incident on Five Peaks Mountain.

Did half an hour pass?

Gwak Imsaeng, wiping sweat from his forehead with his sleeve, frowned.

“Hmm?”

A fallen tree blocked the path.

The carts stopped one by one.

The guards carefully inspected the surroundings as they approached the trunk.

Then...

Whoosh! Paf!

A spear flew and lodged in the center of the trunk.

The impact made the green flag tied to the spear flutter violently.

Kang Mudok, with his vast experience in Murim, quickly raised his right hand.

Twelve guards quickly lined up on both sides of the carts.

The merchants, who understood the situation late, hurriedly gathered around the carts.

Prepared, Kang Mudok shouted loudly.

“I am Kang Mudok, in charge of the Mansu Caravan guards. I did not know that the heroes of Nokrim were on Five Peaks Mountain! If you tell me your name, I will pay due respect.”

Shortly after, eight bandits slowly emerged from both sides of the forest.

Pung Yeoncho, with a slightly tense face, spoke.

“This is the territory of the Five Peaks Mountain Camp, a brother camp to Daebyeol Camp. If you want to pass, you must make an offering.”

Feeling pressured by Kang Mudok’s imposing presence, Pung Yeoncho mentioned the name of the Daebyeol Camp.

Upon seeing the bandits, a smile appeared on Kang Mudok’s lips.

Nokrim was desperate to increase its numbers, even accepting small-time thieves.

“Ah! So, you’re from the Five Peaks Camp. I am known as the Lightning Swordsman in the martial arts world. What is your nickname?”

“I am Pung Yeoncho, leader of the Five Peaks Mountain Camp.”

“Pung Yeoncho is your nickname? That’s a very peculiar nickname.”

Kang Mudok smiled broadly as he looked at Pung Yeoncho.

Realizing he was being mocked, Pung Yeoncho's face flushed with anger.

“Will you see blood or make an offering?”

Kang Mudok stopped smiling and with a cold face responded.

“How dare you, insignificant thief, use Nokrim’s name to scare us! If you want to live, kneel and bow your head right now.”

Kang Mudok, fearing Nokrim’s revenge, accused them of being impostors. Then, he could say he didn’t know if Nokrim would claim.

Pung Yeoncho, with a pale face, looked at Tak Gomyung, the deputy leader.

Tak Gomyung, nervously biting his lip, shook his head.

If they knelt to save their lives, Nokrim would not forgive them.

Cold sweat ran down Pung Yeoncho’s face.

There was no other choice but to fight.

There were thirteen opponents.

But if they eliminated Kang Mudok, there might be hope for victory.

Heaven seemed to be on their side, as Kang Mudok was close to Cheon Gideok and Han Chaeyeon. If the two were attentive, they would shoot at Kang Mudok first.

With that thought, Pung Yeoncho's darkened vision began to clear.

Finally, Pung Yeoncho unsheathed his sword and shouted.

“Fire!”

Whoosh! Whoosh!

As if they had been waiting, two arrows shot out from the forest.

Coincidence or fate?

The two arrows aimed at Kang Mudok.

But Pung Yeoncho’s plan did not go as expected.

Kang Mudok’s nickname was the Lightning Swordsman.

Tack! Tack!

Two flashes of light appeared in front of Kang Mudok, and the arrows were cut down.

Pung Yeoncho was left speechless, amazed by the overwhelming skill.

Cutting arrows in mid-air?

He had never seen such a fast and precise cut before.

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