it was easy for the situation to fall into chaos when something untoward happened.

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Jin Mu-Won looked at this whole situation with interest.
“Armed escort” was not a job for an ordinary warrior.
Usually, only large sects or companies would hire armed escorts to protect important people or possessions, as their lives were much more valuable than random warriors.
Thus, many looked down on escorts as disposable tools.

Old and powerful factions like the large sects and Five Great Clans had strong economic foundations and did not need to worry about finances, but the truth was, most people in the murim struggled to make ends meet.
Even the small and medium-sized sects often dabbled in businesses in order to fund their activities and expand their influence.

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However, how many people in the gangho belonged to a rich sect or clan? It was only a very small portion of the whole.
Most people had no choice but to find employment of some sort, and for a freelance warrior, there was no better paying job than being a guard or armed escort.
Not only was the pay stable and regular, they’d have access to additional benefits that they otherwise would not be able to obtain.

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These people wielded their weapons for neither honor nor fame, only for the people and treasures they were paid to protect.
They weren’t defenders of justice; they were simply people who fought for a living.

Looking at these people made Jin Mu-Won reflect on his own situation. What should I do from here on? Right now, all my efforts are focused on finding Uncle Hwang and Ha-Seol, but after that, what exactly is it that I want to do?

Whatever anyone says, I belong to the Northern Army.
That’s where my roots are, and it’s something that I can never forget or abandon.
Even now, every time I think about how the Northern Army defended the Central Plains against the forces of the Silent Night despite being at a complete disadvantage, I feel proud to call myself a descendent of such heroes.

That’s why, I can’t help but wonder: Should I take revenge against Heaven’s Summit, or should I just live my life peacefully as a total nobody?

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To Jin Mu-Won, this was an important question that he had to find an answer for, because that would dictate the way he would live for the rest of his life.

My father wanted me to live a life away from the political machinations and schemes of the gangho.
He chose to disband the Northern Army and commit suicide, so that Heaven’s Summit would not have any justification to kill me due to my ties with the Army.
That way, I’d have a chance at becoming a free wanderer who could live as I pleased.

However, is that kind of life what I really wish for? The anger and hatred in my heart just won’t fade away!

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Jin Mu-Won’s heart was racing.
He did not try this hard to survive just for the sake of living.
Something deep down in his heart was constantly egging him on, driving him forward.

He raised his head and looked at the road ahead of him.
The grassy plains stretched on endlessly, and the river a short distance away flowed without pause.
Far in the distance, he could see the hazy silhouette of a mountain range.
Above him, fluffy clouds drifted across the azure sky, carried by the wind.

I don’t know if I can live the way Father wished me to, but I will try my best.
Even if I can’t do that, I swear that I will live my life with integrity, and never dishonor the pride of the Northern Army.

Suddenly, Jin Mu-Won sensed the wagon in front of him slowing down and adjusted the speed of his own wagon accordingly.

Are we slowing down because of the river crossing?

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The last time he checked, the river was still quite a distance ahead, but while he was lost in thought, it seemed that they were already nearing the river.
At the river bank, he could see a small village and pier where they’d be able to hire boats.

Just as Jin Mu-Won predicted, the caravan stopped at the pier, where Gong Jin-Sung stepped forward, saying, “The boat that can carry horses will return to port four hours from now.
Until then, we will split ourselves into two groups and take turns resting.
One group will go grab a meal in the village, while the other guards the wagons.
When the first group has finished eating, they will immediately switch shifts with the second group.”

“Yes, Sir!”

Gong Jin-Sung then proceeded to split the escorts into two groups, and both Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung ended up in Group 1.

The two young men entered a nearby inn and sat down.
The inn had a grand sounding name, the “South Sea Inn”, but it was very small and run-down.
Thus, a few of the escorts chose not to eat there and went someplace else.

“Welcome!” greeted an energetic young waitress, as they entered the inn.
The girl looked a year or two younger than Kwak Moon-Jung, but had a very friendly attitude, suggesting that she might be the daughter of the owner.

“Are there any seats next to the window?”

“Of course, right this way please.
You’ll be able to see the pier and the river from the window.”

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“Thank you.” The two young men smiled, thanked the waitress and sat down.

“What will you be having today?”

“Just something simple and filling, please.”

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“Then how about some fried pork? We just received a delivery of really good meat.”

“That sounds great!”

The young waitress smiled refreshingly and giggled, “Heehee! In that case, please wait while we prepare the food.” She then turned around and ran toward the kitchen.

Jin Mu-Won noticed Kwak Moon-Jung staring blankly at the young girl’s back as she walked away.
He grinned mischievously and asked, “You like her?”

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“What!? N-No!” Kwak Moon-Jung exclaimed, shaking his head desperately.

Just then, someone opened the inn door and entered followed by a group of people.
Jin Mu-Won recognized some of the people who entered.

“We meet again,” Jong-Ri Mu-Hwan said, smiling at Jin Mu-Won.
It seemed that he, Chae Yak-Ran, and the other members of the Iron Brigade had also decided to eat at the inn.
They quickly chose a table and sat down.

Right behind the mercenaries, another group of people also entered and sat down at another table.

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FoodieMonster007, TheGreatT20

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