Chapter 41: A Sky Above the Sky (4)
By NorthBladeTL October 21, 2021
Seo Mu-Sang's eyes reddened, as if he was about the cry tears of blood.
He had gotten really close with his fellow mercenaries during these last few years in the Northern Army Fortress.
More than anyone else, Yoo Gyung-Chun and Im Won-Sang had been looking forward to going home to the Central Plains.
And yet, it was these two who were now lying in a pool of their own blood, having died at the hands of Tae Mu-Kang's Gray Wolves of Chaos.
From the traces of the battle, Seo Mu-Sang could tell that these two had fought to the very end even though they stood no chance of winning.
“Why didn't you run? You dumbasses…”
Tears flowed down Seo Mu-Sang's cheeks.
The two dead mercenaries’ eyes were wide open and their fists were clenched, as if they couldn't believe that they were dying.
Suddenly, he heard the shuffling of someone's footsteps behind him.
He drew his sword with lightning speed and spun around, only to see Jang Pae-San walking out of the woods.
“Is that you, Vice-Captain?”
Seo Mu-Sang and Jang Pae-San heaved a sigh of relief.
Reassured that at least one of his men was still alive, Jane Pae-San plopped down on his butt in front of Seo Mu-Sang.
However, Seo Mu-Sang was not happy to see Jang Pae-San alive, unhurt, and relaxed while Yoo Gyung-Chun and Im Won-Sang were lying dead in front of him.
Annoyed, he asked, “Captain, care to explain what happened?”
“Isn’t it obvious? We were ambushed by a group of wolf-like men.”
“What I mean is, why are you the only one who got away? Your group members are dead…”
“What the fuck? Vice-Captain, are you saying you’d rather I’d have died together with these guys?” Jang Pae-San replied angrily.
His teammates, Yoo Gyung-Chun and Im Won-Sang, had been attacked while he was away urinating.
They had fought back using the Blade of Blood Waves that they had just learned, but were still no match for the Gray Wolves of Chaos.
Afraid of being discovered, Jang Pae-San hid himself.
His own life was far more important than his subordinates’, anyway.
It’s enough if I get revenge for those two in the future.
But to get revenge, I need to survive.
Just like that, Jang Pae-San stayed where he was until Seo Mu-Sang arrived.
Unlike Seo Mu-Sang, he clearly did not think there was anything dishonorable about his behavior.
“They believed in you.
Those two would lay down their lives are your command.
Shouldn’t you at least show them that you are worthy of their respect!?”
“Shut up! What does their respect have to do with me? Ahh, fuck! I can just get revenge for them, right?”
Seo Mu-Sang’s eyes burned with fury.
Although he already knew that Jang Pae-San was a loathsome man, he did not think he would be this despicable.
“You rotten piece of trash.”
“What the hell was that, you motherfucker!?”
Jang Pae-San was livid, but Seo Mu-Sang didn’t want to waste any more time arguing with him.
In the time it took to quarrel with the asshole, he could save another person.
Even if he couldn’t save anyone, he could at least kill their attackers.
With that in mind, Seo Mu-Sang started marching back to the Northern Army Fortress.
Behind him, Jang Pae-San yelled, “Oi! Bastard! If you go that way, you’ll die for sure! You should be running in the opposite direction! You goddamned idiot, don’t you know it’s all over once you’re dead? Hey!”
However, Seo Mu-Sang completely ignored him and continued on his way.
When Seo Mu-Sang vanished into the distance, Jang Pae-San muttered to himself, “That fucking son of a bitch! Always pretending to be all honorable.
I guess he’s the kind who thinks dying with honor is better than living.
Ahh, he can do whatever he wants, I don’t give a shit.
I’m going to survive till the end and enjoy a life of comfort.
That’s how I’ve always lived.
Jang Pae-San glared fiercely at the direction of the Northern Army Fortress.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung pushed her Heavenly Mental Enhancement Technique to its limits, desperate to find a solution to their current predicament.
Dam Soo-Cheon and Shim Won-Ui were being mercilessly crushed by Tae Mu-Kang.
She had never imagined that things would end up like this, not even in her wildest dreams.
Tae Mu-Kang’s ridiculous strength was against the rules!
I can’t let things continue as they are, or both Mister Dam and Mister Shim will die.
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung believed that her natural intelligence was second only to her grandfather’s, and with the addition of the Heavenly Mental Enhancement Technique, no one else could surpass her at analyzing and decision-making.
If there was anything she had learned from her grandfather, it was that sometimes, you had to make some sacrifices in order to obtain the best possible result.
Dam Soo-Cheon is a man who will stand at the top of the world.
His legend must be flawless, so I cannot allow any blemishes on his perfect battle record.
He must never fail or make any mistakes.
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung glanced toward Jin Mu-Won.
It’s a pity.
Jin Mu-Won is a highly valuable—and easily exploitable—tool.
As the successor to the Northern Army, he possesses the potential to rally the young warriors of the gangho.
However, compared to Dam Soo-Cheon, he is nothing.
If I had to choose between the two, I would definitely pick Dam Soo-Cheon.
Countless thoughts ran through her head, but she quickly sifted and sorted through every possibility.
There were about three or four ways to resolve the situation.
Among these, she selected the one with the highest probability of success.
It’s a waste to sacrifice this pawn, but…
In the future she just envisioned, there would be no Jin Mu-Won.
She had already reorganized her plans to account for his death.
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung met Jin Mu-Won’s gaze and lowered her head, saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think we’ll be able to continue working together towards our dreams.”
“Is that what you’ve decided?”
“I’m really sorry, but events in the gangho rarely ever go according to plan.”
Although Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung kept apologizing to Jin Mu-Won, there was no remorse on her face.
She’s a born tactician; heartless and calculating.
She won’t allow her emotions to get in the way of her decisions.
Jin Mu-Won smiled.
He wasn’t the least bit shocked by Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung’s decision.
I kind of expected that things would end up like this.
Bloodlines are a really scary thing.
The traits and even personalities of the parents are inherited by their children.
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung might not even be aware of this herself, but she’s definitely a chip off the old block.
Seo-Moon Hwa was the one who plotted the fall of the Northern Army.
Knowing this, how could I ever trust this woman? I’m not that stupid.
In a low voice, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung commanded the Wardens, “Please hold on for just a while longer.”
She then strode toward Dam Soo-Cheon with feather-light footsteps, like a fairy on the battlefield.
Jin Mu-Won, who was observing her, gave a start as he realized what she was doing.
Every time Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung took a step, a deep footprint would appear on the ground.
Following that, the scenery would change a little.
Fog started to build up, and dark clouds obscured the sky.
Lightning flashed, thunder roared, and rain began to fall.
“Is that…a formation?”
Formations were something that only a few geniuses who had understood the laws of nature could use.
That was because in order to set up a formation, one had to use the terrain and their surroundings as a medium, but no two places would ever be exactly the same.
Even so, one thing was certain.
Setting up a formation required a large amount of effort and incredible concentration.
And yet right now, he was seeing a person creating a formation just by walking.
Not just any random formation either, but the Seo-Moon Clan’s “Footsteps of the Heaven-Devouring Tiger (虎形包天步)”. 
The formation was named after the deep footprints that it left behind on the ground and the dark clouds that would gather when it was activated, like a stomping tiger that swallowed the clear skies.
Currently, there was only one person in the world who could set up the complete “Footsteps of the Heaven-Devouring Tiger” formation.
When asked about the formation, Seo-Moon Hwa had said, “Even though this formation is completed using only thirty steps, it would prevent even the heavens from escaping.”
Unlike Seo-Moon Hwa, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung was still unable to finish setting up the formation within thirty steps, and could not fully unleash its heaven trapping ability.
However, she could still use it to disorientate her enemy, distracting and delaying them.
She knew that this little push was all that was necessary for Dam Soo-Cheon and Shim Won-Ui to escape from danger.
As Tae Mu-Kang looked around him, confused, Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung ran up to Dam Soo-Cheon and helped him up.
“We need to get out of here right now.”
“I can’t do that.” Dam Soo-Cheon shook his blood-covered head resolutely.
Although he had been beaten to a pulp due to the interference of Tae Mu-Kang’s Penetrating Energy, his fighting spirit hadn’t diminished.
There’s one thing I’ve learned about human nature… If humans do something once, they’ll do it again.
That’s why I won’t run away.
No matter how badly injured I get, no matter how much of a disadvantage I’m in… I won’t back down.
Dam Soo-Cheon was a very prideful man.
His pride would not allow him to surrender.
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung sighed. I just knew he was going to say that!
“Wha…?” mumbled Dam Soo-Cheon, before suddenly blacking out.
Shim Won-Ui stood behind Dam Soo-Cheon.
It was he who had poked Dam Soo-Cheon’s meridians and knocked him unconscious.
He wasn’t the same as Dam Soo-Cheon.
Like Dam Soo-Cheon, he had felt utterly humiliated during that battle, but he knew that if they didn’t retreat now, there wouldn’t be a next time.
He could take a loss if it meant that he would survive.
He quickly glanced over at Jin Mu-Won, who was hiding behind Eun Ha-Seol.
“What about him?”
“We’re abandoning him.”
“Woah! That’s cruel.”
“We don’t need him as a pawn anymore.
From now on, whether he lives or dies is entirely up to his luck.
We will have nothing more to do with him.”
Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung was already looking to the future, and there was no place for Jin Mu-Won in that future.
According to her calculations, he would die here, today.
Compared to Jin Mu-Won, she was more concerned about Eun Ha-Seol.
There was a possibility that Eun Ha-Seol was the disciple of the Witch of the White Night.
After all, her pupils had turned white when she used her martial art.
Most importantly, if Eun Ha-Seol had truly inherited the skills of the Witch of the White Night, then that meant that the Silent Night had secretly trained a new generation of warriors.
If I could, I would like to capture her and interrogate her, but I can only give up for now…
Eun Ha-Seol was Tae Mu-Kang’s target.
She could tell that much from Eun Ha-Seol’s reaction when she saw the giant.
Since he had bothered to chase her all the way here, there was no way he would let her live.
She was as good as dead.
“It won’t be long before that monster escapes from the formation.
Before that happens, we need to get out of here.”
Shim Won-Ui bent over and carried Dam Soo-Cheon on his back, while Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung grabbed Shim Soo-Ah’s hand.
Together, they ran out of the Northern Army Fortress as fast as their legs could carry them.
“GRARRRRR!” roared Tae Mu-Kang, busting out of Seo-Moon Hye-Ryung’s formation.
His killing intent had increased tenfold after being trapped inside a formation for so long.
Furious, he shifted his gaze toward Eun Ha-Seol and Jin Mu-Won.
 Footsteps of the Heaven-Devouring Tiger (虎形包天步): Literal translation – Tiger-Shaped Heaven-Devouring Steps.
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