Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 11

Chapter 11: A New Member in the Five Peaks Mountain

While the guests from the Namgung Family visited the Waryong Mansion, Yeon Jeokha wandered through the Five Peaks Mountain in the south. To be exact, he was on the verge of starving to death in the Five Peaks Mountain. He had not learned how to survive in the world, so his martial arts skills were not very useful. Even if he had pearls, without stringing them together, they were worthless. This saying perfectly matched his situation. If martial arts were the pearls, he did not know how to use them to make a living.

His condition was poor in many ways. The gourd he had obtained from a martial arts master in the height of summer was very dirty. He ate slightly fermented food from that gourd while wandering, which caused him indigestion. For several days, what came out of his body was more than what went in. He was so weak that if someone passed by and brushed against him, he would collapse.

Following a group of merchants, he passed through the Five Peaks Mountain but could not continue much further. The merchants, busy with their own journey, did not care about a beggar boy trailing them. Left behind, Yeon Jeokha also lost his way.

"I'm in trouble..."

Unlike when he fled from the Waryong Mansion, he now had no urgency, going wherever his feet took him. However, when it started to get dark, he became scared. He was not afraid of bandits since he had nothing but a broken gourd. What worried him were the wild animals. He was so weak that if he encountered wolves or wild dogs, he would be devoured.

Exhausted, Yeon Jeokha staggered towards a visible rock. He preferred to rest on the rock rather than in the grass where snakes passed by. So tired, he regretted not staying in the warehouse. Sitting and resting against the large rock, he slowly lost consciousness.

A pair of dirty leather boots lightly touched Yeon Jeokha's head. However, as weak as he was, barely breathing, he could not open his eyes.

The leather boots murmured in astonishment.

"What the hell? Is it a corpse? No? What bad luck early in the morning."

A rough-looking man observing from behind laughed.

"Hehe, brother, our younger brother is tired of cooking and washing, why don't we take him?"

"Do you want to take a child who is about to die?"

"Living or dying is up to him. We're just doing a good deed. Who knows? Maybe thanks to that, our future will improve."

"Bah! Always talking about good deeds after eating at a temple."

"It's no small thing! I even received the Samigae (novice precepts)."

"A man who can't even recite a sutra talking about being a monk."

"Our master said that just reciting 'Namu Amitabha' is enough."

The man with the leather boots gently pushed Yeon Jeokha's shoulder. His body tilted and fell sideways. The man with the leather boots stepped back in fear.

"Wow! Damn! He already seems dead. Looks like a child who starved to death."

"Really?"

The rough man awkwardly approached, touched Yeon Jeokha's nose with the back of his hand, and glanced sideways at the boss, Pung Yeoncho.

"He's not dead. What do we do?"

Pung Yeoncho, twisting his beard, asked.

"How many of us are in the group?"

"Six."

"We won't go broke adding one more plate."

"Judging by the gourd at his waist, he seems like a beggar. He knows how to eat sparingly."

"Bah! Let's take him. I've never seen anyone worse off than us."

"Good decision. It's all karma."

The rough man, the subleader Tak Gomyung, lifted Yeon Jeokha onto his shoulder with a grunt of effort.

-----------

Yeon Jeokha's eyes turned to the sky.

The Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens, flying over the clouds, looked back and smiled.

"Fairy?"

At that moment, a loud, gruff voice was heard.

"Fairy?! Stop dreaming. From today on, follow the sixth brother and learn the camp chores. Understood?"

Yeon Jeokha rubbed his eyes and sat up.

The boss, Pung Yeoncho, was squatting next to him, picking lice. It seemed that seeing the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens had been a dream.

"What's wrong? Not answering?"

"Yes..."

Pung Yeoncho frowned at the delayed response.

"Slow, slow. When will you be able to pull your weight? You seem ready, but..."

Yeon Jeokha scratched his head.

For the past three days, the bandits at the mountain camp had reluctantly taken care of him. Without them, he would have already been devoured by wild animals. So when they asked if he wanted to stay, he did not hesitate.

"Kid, if you decide to be one of us, you have to work hard. You can't be lazy with your begging habits. Got it?"

Pung Yeoncho was worried about that.

Beggars tended to be lazy due to their habit of not working. He would go crazy if the kid they barely saved to do minor chores did nothing.

Watching Yeon Jeokha distrustfully, Pung Yeoncho finally stood up.

"Come with me."

"Yes."

Yeon Jeokha followed Pung Yeoncho.

The bandit camp was in a hidden spot halfway up the Five Peaks Mountain.

Pung Yeoncho climbed onto a large rock and stood there.

"Kid, there are two types of people in this world. Those who take and those who are taken. Which do you want to be?"

"Those who take."

Yeon Jeokha's eyes, standing idly, filled with resolution.

Until now, he had always been the one being taken from. He suffered oppression from his stepmother and half-brothers, and lived in a narrow, smelly warehouse.

"Good, with that mindset, you can become a good bandit."

A satisfied smile appeared on Pung Yeoncho's face.

He had been worried about the lack of energy, but it seemed the kid would be useful.

Pung Yeoncho pointed around with his finger.

"From the first peak to the left to the fifth peak right in front, that's our territory. It's pretty big, right?"

"Yes."

"To protect this vast territory, all the older brothers have to run like crazy. All your six older brothers must work outside. Since your body is weak, you must at least work hard on household chores, understood?"

"Yes."

"Damn it! You only know how to say yes. Speak from the heart."

"Yes."

"God! I'd rather die than lament like this."

Pung Yeoncho shook his head and continued.

"Anyway, while your brothers are out working, you must cook and wash. If you don't do the household chores, they can't work outside. Do you know what happens then?"

"No."

"You don't know?"

"No."

Pung Yeoncho slapped Yeon Jeokha's neck with a loud sound.

"What don't you know, idiot? If we don't do our job, we starve. If we go around lamenting, the heroes and warriors of the world will mock us. Damn it! Do you want to be a useless person and be despised?"

"No!"

For the first time, Yeon Jeokha's voice showed firmness.

He did not like being looked down upon. He detested it. He thought of his stepmother, his half-brothers who insulted him daily, and the children who threw stones at him. The more he thought about it, the more he clenched his teeth.

Seeing Yeon Jeokha's angry reaction, Pung Yeoncho patted him on the shoulder, satisfied.

"Yes, boy. That's it. In the Five Peaks Mountain, we are the kings. No one should look down on us. Those bastards, we should kill them all. Repeat after me. We are the best!"

"...We are the best."

Yeon Jeokha's voice still lacked the conviction of a bandit.

At that moment, Pung Yeoncho spread his arms and roared like a madman.

"Damn it! We are the best!"

For a moment, Yeon Jeokha felt a chill he had never experienced before.

He felt as if something solid in his chest began to crack. Then, an electric current ran through him from the top of his head to his heels.

Ah!

It was a feeling of becoming part of the Five Peaks Mountain, a sense of fulfillment.

Suddenly, he felt the burning desire to start a new life as a member of the camp. As his thoughts aligned, the Nine Heavens energy dormant in his dantian rose to his chest.

Yeon Jeokha spread his arms and shouted like the boss.

"Damn it! We are the best!"

The mist cleared, but Pung Yeoncho, who was scratching his ears, did not see it.

'Wow! Although he's skinny, he has a powerful voice.'

Pung Yeoncho, who had lived as a farmer before taking the path of a bandit, did not know internal power. He was just amazed that the beggar picked up from the mountain had such a strong voice.

-----------

Yeon Jeokha, who had wandered and begged, finally settled in the Five Peaks Mountain. He had no objections to becoming a bandit since he had learned morality only through books.

He had been raised like a dog in an orthodox warrior family, but the bandits saved him when he was dying. Thus, the line between good and evil had naturally blurred.

For the first few months, Yeon Jeokha took care of all the chores that the sixth brother used to do.

It was beneficial for both.

The bandits needed someone to do minor chores, and Yeon Jeokha still did not have the heart to stab someone.

Life in the camp was repetitive.

After breakfast, the older brothers would leave late and return at dusk.

They went out with only a rustic knife and came back with loads or bags of money.

They were not always that lucky.

There were countless days when the older brothers returned covered in blood.

Still, the seven lived well, enjoying drinks and songs.

The hot summer passed, and the cool autumn arrived.

About three months had passed since Yeon Jeokha escaped and arrived at the Five Peaks Mountain.

The once quiet Yeon Jeokha started to talk more.

He was already accustomed to kitchen chores, and now they only took about thirty minutes.

After quickly preparing dinner, Yeon Jeokha practiced swordsmanship in the backyard.

Whoosh, whoosh!

Though it was just a poorly carved stick, the sound it made cutting through the wind was unusual.

The stick, imbued with the Nine Heavens Energy, seemed as heavy as an iron bar.

Yeon Jeokha repeated the movements of striking and cutting hundreds of times.

When he felt his body was warmed up, he swiftly displayed the 'Nine Heavens Swordsmanship' and the 'Nine Heavens Supreme Swordsmanship'.

Whoosh!

The fallen leaves in the yard were drawn towards Yeon Jeokha.

As time passed, his body became invisible, covered by the swirling leaves.

A soft glow shone amid the leaves.

After a while, Yeon Jeokha performed the final technique of the Nine Heavens Supreme Swordsmanship, 'Navigating the Clouds'.

Yeon Jeokha stepped into the air.

The swirling leaves around him spread under his feet as if they were clouds.

For a moment, his body was suspended in the air, like the Mysterious Woman, who flew in the clouds.

Just as his body was about to soar into the sky.

With a dull sound, the leaves scattered and Yeon Jeokha's body fell to the ground.

Crash!

The leaves cascaded down onto his outstretched body.

"Hahaha!"

Yeon Jeokha laughed for a long time, covered in leaves.

It seemed it was still too early to imitate the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens.

He sat cross-legged and regulated his breathing according to the teachings of the 'True Classic of the Nine Heavens as One'.

The energy, which had been bubbling, quickly calmed down.

Yeon Jeokha practiced the 'True Classic of the Nine Heavens as One' tirelessly until the older brothers returned.

Someday, the time would come when he would fly freely through the sky like the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens. Although it was a naive fantasy, he could not think of anything else at that moment.

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