Chapter 72: Just Because We’re Travelling Companions, Doesn’t Mean We Have to Agree with Each Other (1)

Feb 14, 2022

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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!

 

Ever since the crack of dawn, the Revitalization Inn had been bustling with activity.
The escorts of the White Dragon Merchant Association hurried around preparing the luggage, loading the wagons, and hitching the horses to the wagons.
After a brief rest, it was once again time for them to continue their journey to Yunnan.

Meanwhile, the inn cooks had also prepared breakfast before dawn, and the waiters were currently busy carrying the food from the kitchen to the dining hall.

After finishing the final checks on the wagon he was in charge of driving, Jin Mu-Won headed into the dining hall.
Gong Jin-Sung and Yoon Seo-In were already there, so he approached them and greeted, “Good morning, you two sure are up early.”

Gong Jin-Sung greeted him back, saying, “You’re up early too.
We expect to be hitting the road without breaks for quite a few days and munching on dry rations on-the go, so eat well while you still can.
Not long from now, we’ll probably be desperately wishing for nice meals like this!”

“Okay, I’ll do just that,” Jin Mu-Won said, then began walking toward an empty seat.

Suddenly, Yoon Seo-In, who hadn’t been able to bring herself to talk to Jin Mu-Won for a while, stuttered, “M-Master Jin…”

“Hmm?” Jin Mu-Won turned to look at her.

Yoon Seo-In bit her lip gently to quell her nerves and stiffly continued, “About last time… I’m sorry, I went too far.”

Yoon Seo-In was a very prideful woman, which made it hard for her to apologize to anyone.
In addition, she was still upset over her senior brother’s defeat.
However, she understood that she was clearly in the wrong this time, and didn’t want to keep suffering from the guilt of not apologizing.
Furthermore, Jin Mu-Won’s strength was a great asset to her current mission.
This was not the time for her to be stubborn.

Jin Mu-Won smiled warmly and replied, “It’s okay, I forgive you.
Please don’t worry about it anymore.”

Yoon Seo-In visibly relaxed at receiving Jin Mu-Won’s forgiveness.
Seeing this, Gong Jin Sung suggested, “Why don’t we eat together?”

“But…”

“Is that okay with you, Master Jin?”

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Now that it had come to this, it would be impolite of Jin Mu-Won to refuse Gong Jin-Sung’s offer.
He sat down at their table, which was already loaded with food.

Yoon Seo-In stared curiously at Jin Mu-Won for a while, before abruptly asking, “This might sound a little rude, but would you mind telling us more about yourself, Master Jin?”

Next to her, Gong Jin-Sung’s eyes also lit up with interest.

“I don’t really have much to say about myself.
I simply learned the martial arts that have been passed down in my family for a long time, and this is my first time entering the gangho so I don’t have any stories to tell, either.”

Disappointment flashed across Yoon Seo-In’s face.
She felt that Jin Mu-Won was purposely lying about his origins.

Seeing her expression, Jin Mu-Won immediately tried to change the topic, asking, “Where’s Commander Yong? I haven’t seen him since yesterday.”

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“The Iron Brigade mercenaries all went out to run some errand last night.
They promised me that they’ll definitely return before we depart, so they should probably be here soon.”

“I see.”

Jin Mu-Won looked down at the food and was just about to start eating, but suddenly, the door to the inn opened and a large group of people entered.

“I’m so hungry, I think the front of my stomach is glued to the skin on my back!”1

“It’s not like you did much, though.
Why are you so hungry?”

“What do you mean, I didn’t do much!? I just pulled an all-nighter!”

The Iron Brigade mercenaries complained loudly as they stormed into the inn dining hall.
When Yong Mu-Sung noticed Jin Mu-Won and the two White Dragon leaders, he grinned happily and said, “Wow, that looks delicious! Mind if we join you? I’m starving!”

However, before Yong Mu-Sung could even finish talking, the mercenaries had already rushed into the dining hall, plopped down on the chairs, and reached for the food like hungry ghosts who hadn’t eaten in three months.

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Yoon Seo-In’s jaw dropped in shock.
“Just what have you guys been doing all night? And UGH! All of you reek of sweat!”

“Don’t talk to me.
There’s a starving beggar in my stomach.”

“Could you order more food? This isn’t enough.”

Having received nothing but irrelevant replies, Yoon Seo-In was left with no choice but to order more food for the mercenaries.
Similarly, Jin Mu-Won gave up on trying to snatch food away from the ravished mercenaries and simply sat there watching them eat.

The roasted duck that a waiter had just brought to the table a few minutes ago disappeared in a blink of an eye, leaving only a pile of bones on the table.
Even then, the mercenaries, who hadn’t had their fill yet, licked the oil on their fingers while waiting for the next dish to be served.

When the waiter finally brought out the next dish, it was also emptied out in an instant, leaving only the grease behind.

In the end, Yong Mu-Sung was the first person to finish eating his fill and restore enough of his senses to turn toward Yoon Seo-In and apologize, “I’m really sorry about this, Miss Seo.
I’ve been working non-stop all night long, and felt like I was starving to death!”

“What did you do last night? And why are all of you dressed like beggars?”

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“I met up with an acquaintance and had a heart-to-heart talk with him.”

Yoon Seo-In frowned.
She had no idea what Yong Mu-Sung was talking about.

Yong Mu-Sung peered at Jin Mu-Won meaningfully, as he was probably the only person outside of the Iron Brigade who knew who he had just referred to.
However, Jin Mu-Won merely wrinkled his nose in response.
The mercenaries were just too smelly!

It’s not just their sweat, they also stink of blood.

The privileged Yoon Seo-In had failed to recognize the smell, but it was impossible for Jin Mu-Won to miss it.
He was absolutely sure that the mercenaries’ dark clothes were covered in bloodstains.

Just then, Chae Yak-Ran stared unblinkingly at Jin Mu-Won.

“Do you need something from me?” Jin Mu-Won asked.

“If you’re not going to eat that, can I have it?” Chae Yak-Ran pointed at the food in Jin Mu-Won’s bowl.

Jin Mu-Won nodded blankly and handed his bowl to Chae Yak-Ran.
She bowed her head slightly in thanks, then bent down and tucked into her meal.

“What in the world…!?” Yoon Seo-In, who was watching this scene, couldn’t help but exclaim out loud.

Next to her, the corners of Yong Mu-Sung’s lips curled upward slightly as he briefly exchanged glances with Jin Mu-Won.

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After breakfast, the White Dragon caravan left the inn and slowly sped up their pace, headed for the highway.2

The Iron Brigade mercenaries were so tired from their nighttime escapade that they fell asleep on the roofs of the wagons.
Even Jin Mu-Won’s wagon wasn’t spared, as Yong Mu-Sung had clambered onto it and was happily snoring away.

Kwak Moon-Jung approached Jin Mu-Won, riding on his horse.

“Just what on earth did they do all night to be so tired?” he asked, throwing a sideways glance at the sleeping Yong Mu-Sung.

“Can’t you tell by the smell?”

“Smell? What smell?” Kwak Moon-Jung sniffed his own clothes, thinking that Jin Mu-Won was referring to him.

Suddenly, there was a clamor at the front of the caravan.

“Fire!”

“The smoke’s coming from over there!”

Jin Mu-Won and Kwak Moon-Jung looked in the direction where the escorts were pointing.
There, they saw the flicker of red-orange flames amid large plumes of black smoke that blotted out the sky.

Jin Mu-Won narrowed his eyes.

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Gong Jin-Sung called out to one of the escorts and ordered, “Go over there and find out what’s happening.”

“Yes sir!”

The escort sprinted toward the fire, and the caravan came to a halt while they waited for him to return.

“Ahh, it’s burning up so beautifully! What a sight for sore eyes! Hahaha!” Yong Mu-Sung, who had woken up, sat cross-legged on the roof of Jin Mu-Won’s wagon and burst into admiration at the scene of destruction.

“Yeah, it’s amazing indeed.
Huhuhu!”

Like Yong Mu-Sung, the Iron Brigade mercenaries had also been woken up by the noise and were now calmly observing the fire.

A shiver ran down Kwak Moon-Jung’s spine, and his hair stood on end.
The escorts who had heard the mercenaries talking, also unconsciously shuddered.

A little while later, the escort who had gone to investigate the fire came running back to the caravan.
Gong Jin-Sung immediately asked him, “So? Did you find out anything?”

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“The name of the building on fire is the Neung Family Mansion (凌家莊).”

“The Neung Family Mansion?”

“Yes! The Neung Family is the most powerful government faction in Dujiangyan.
Last night, their mansion was attacked by unknown assailants and everyone there, from the bodyguards to the Neung Family members, were all assassinated.”

“Seriously?”

“In addition, it appears that the Neung Family was planning to host a wedding a few days from now, and there were a lot of guests staying there.
As a result, the number of deaths was even greater than it should be.
Sigh, how cruel must these murderers be, to kill even the women and children…”

Gong Jin-Sung and Yoon Seo-In’s faces stiffened.
Of all the terrible timings, something like this just had to happen while they were resting in Dujiangyan.

“So, if the attack happened last night, what is going on now?”

“Well, the constables are still busy searching for the culprits.”

“Have the culprits been identified at least?”

“No.
The attack happened late at night, and there were no witnesses.”

“No witnesses!? Haa, how could something like this…” Gong Jin-Sung sighed.

Jong-Ri Mu-Hwan approached Gong Jin-Sung and said, “We don’t have time to waste here.
We should leave this to the constables and be on our way.
If we dally, we might end up getting roped into this mess.”

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Gong Jin-Sung nodded in agreement with Jong-Ri Mu-Hwan’s suggestion.
He turned toward the caravan and shouted, “Alright everyone, hurry up! We’re leaving this place asap!”

What happened to the Neung Family was a pity, but it had nothing to do with him.
The gangho was a merciless place, and oftentimes, it was better to not get involved in such matters.

Suddenly, in a low, chilling voice, Jin Mu-Won asked, “By the way, is the Head of the Neung Family a person named Neung Won-Pyong?”

“…I don’t know, maybe? Anyway, tragedies like this are the reason why us gangho folks should avoid making enemies as much as possible.
You never know when someone suddenly stabs you in the back,” Yong Mu-Sung replied from the roof of Jin Mu-Won’s wagon.

“I see.
That Neung Family must have made a very dangerous enemy indeed.”

“I guess so? More importantly, if the Neung Family owned such a large mansion, they must have been rich, right? I wonder where all their treasures went? Those assassins couldn’t have been dumb enough to burn it all, could they?”

“How should I know? Maybe they somehow managed to move away all the valuables before setting the mansion on fire.”

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“Wow, they must have struck it rich, then.
I’m jealous!”

“I don’t believe there’s any reason to envy cowards who pretend to be honorable while ignoring the cries of the innocent and committing atrocious acts at the slightest threat.
This is merely the deed of people who have given in to their fears.”

Jin Mu-Won instantly felt a number of stinging gazes directed at him.
The Iron Brigade mercenaries were glaring at him as if they wanted to devour him.

Jin Mu-Won did not avoid their stares.

Translator’s Note: I’ve allowed guest commenting on disqus, so feel free to just type in an anonymous name and fake email address to comment.
Happy Valentines Day!

Footnotes:

A Korean saying for when your stomach is empty and flat. ↩

Highway: A wide, paved road commissioned by the government that connects major cities and towns.
Except, in ancient times it was meant for horses/donkeys/buffalo carriages/wagons, not cars. ↩

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