Chapter 52: The More People Gather, the More Incidents Occur (2)

Light Novel: Volume 3 Chapter 2
Manhwa: Chapter 51

Chapter 1. The More People Gather, the More Incidents Occur (2)

The Jianghu Grand Conference was officially announced.

The number of people who had been visiting the Jade Heaven Alliance quietly exploded, and the focus of everyone’s attention was on the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Numerous heroes of Jianghu headed for the Jade Heaven Alliance, and the alliance became busy preparing to welcome these guests.

However, the busiest among them were martial artists belonging to the Outer Hall like Lee Gwak.

Due to the influx of people coming to see the heroes of the Jianghu, numerous incidents and accidents occurred.

And it was up to the members of the Outer Hall to handle and clean up most of these incidents. 

As a result, the  Outer Hall was extremely busy.

The same was true for Squad 13 led by Lee Gwak. Lee Gwak’s days had become so hectic that he was spending more days in the lodgings than going home. 

“Hoo!”

Lee Gwak exhaled deeply as he left the outer fortress.

Even though it was still early morning, a long line of people was already waiting at the main gate of the outer fortress. All of them were waiting to enter the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Most of them were martial artists who had mastered martial arts. Ordinary people weren’t allowed to enter the Jade Heaven Alliance even if they lined up, and among the queuing martial artists, only a very few were granted entry.

In the end, those who were unable to enter the fortress had no choice but to stay outside and watch the martial artists who would attend the Jianghu Grand Conference.

Lee Gwak looked at the long line of people for a moment, then began to walk home. He didn’t feel particularly tired, but after spending several days at the lodging, he missed home.

It was then that Lee Gwak quickened his pace.

“Are you leaving now?”

Suddenly, he heard a familiar voice.

Turning his head, he saw Nam Woo-gyeong approaching. However, his attire was different from usual. Instead of his usual shabby clothes, he was dressed in neat and orderly attire.

“Where are you going?”

“Why? Oh, these clothes? Don’t like them?”

“They suit you well.”

“Don’t lie. I know they don’t suit me.”

At Nam Woo-gyeong’s self-deprecating remark, Lee Gwak only smiled.

“I’m going to meet someone. Do you want to come along?”

“No, thank you.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to wear clothes that don’t fit me, either.”

“Fair enough. There’s nothing good about you coming along. Anyway, you must be tired, go inside and get some rest.”

“Yes!”

At Lee Gwak’s response, Nam Woo-gyeong waved his hand and walked away. Lee Gwak stood still, watching his retreating figure thoughtfully.

He was struck by the curious nature of human connections. He had never imagined that he would form such a bond with Nam Woo-gyeong, becoming sworn brothers with each other.

Upon returning home, instead of sleeping, Lee Gwak practiced the Floating Cloud Stride.

He had been too busy lately to even think about mastering the Floating Cloud Stride. Now seemed like the only chance he would have for a while to practice it.

He just thought it was a pity that he didn’t have the proper strokes and techniques. Nonetheless, Lee Gwak immersed himself in the Floating Cloud Stride.

The essence of the Floating Cloud Stride was to move freely and unpredictably, like clouds drifting in the sky.

Just like the clouds that flow with the wind, scatter, and gather, the Floating Cloud Stride also emphasizes flowing with and adapting to the movement rather than going against it.

Memorizing the key points wasn’t difficult. The important part was to physically master them.

Lee Gwak went out to the courtyard and moved according to the key points of the Floating Cloud Stride. However, with this being his first time practicing the technique, things didn’t go as planned.

He stumbled and fell several times. And in no time, his entire body was covered in dirt, but Lee Gwak did not stop practicing.

He knew that just as a child must endure hardship in order to grow, he knew well that martial arts required endurance to achieve desired proficiency.

Every time he fell, he got back up.

He had no idea how much time had passed.

Lee Gwak was so engrossed in his practice that he lost track of time.

“Hoo!”

It was only when his hunger reached its peak that he stopped practicing.

No matter how significantly Lee Gwak’s skills had improved, he still couldn’t survive without eating.

After rummaging through the kitchen for a while, he realized that he had run out of food supplies. There was not even any rice, let alone side dishes.

Eventually, Lee Gwak decided to go out for a meal.

He changed from his dirty, mud-stained clothes into clean ones and headed outside. After a moment’s hesitation about where to go, he made his way to the busy street near the main gate of the outer city.

Since the announcement of the Jianghu Grand Conference, the inns near the outer city were experiencing unprecedented prosperity to the point where all the rooms were booked. However, those who didn’t get a room were facing a difficult situation. This was because all of the remaining available rooms were exceedingly expensive. 

Lee Gwak considered dining at an inn for a moment but soon decided against it because of the hustle and bustle. Every inn was full, leaving no space for him to dine alone. Thus, he chose a street stall near the outer city gate.

The stall was run by an old woman with snow-white hair.

The old woman was selling Chongqing Hot Pot,1 a hot pot dish with various vegetables and meats cooked together in a spicy broth. One serving of Chongqing Hot Pot was enough without needing any additional dishes.

It was famous locally for its delicious taste, but being a street stall, it was not yet crowded with martial artists who had come from other regions.

Sitting down, Lee Gwak ordered,

“One Chongqing Hot Pot, please.”

“Hehe! Just wait a moment.”

The old woman prepared the hot pot in a small pot filled with broth and various ingredients, boiling it for a while before serving it.

“You must be hungry, go ahead and eat.”

“Yes! Thank you, I will.”

Lee Gwak enthusiastically picked up his chopsticks.

He first wrapped vegetables and meat together and put them in his mouth. The spicy taste made his mouth tingle and thick beads of sweat rolled down his face.

Though his face was drenched with sweat, a bright smile appeared on Lee Gwak’s lips. He gave a thumbs up.

“This is really excellent.”

“Hehe! Eat as much as you like.”

“Yes!”

The old woman looked on with a pleased expression, while Lee Gwak was busy eating with his chopsticks and spoon. The sweat drenched his face and ran down his neck to his chest.

It was at that moment when Lee Gwak was fervently eating.

“Is it that delicious?”

A voice suddenly asked.

As Lee Gwak stopped his chopsticks and looked up, he saw two women.

One was dressed entirely in black, while the other wore a simple outfit. Although their outfits were different, both women shared the common trait of being beautiful.

A look of embarrassment appeared on Lee Gwak’s face.

Both women were people he knew.

He put down his chopsticks and stood up, bowing in greeting.

“Outer Hall Squad Leader Lee Gwak pays his respect to the Black Martial Empress and the Dark Moon Fairy.”

They were none other than Dan Li-yeon, the Black Martial Empress, and Muk Seon-wol, the Dark Moon Fairy.

Muk Seon-wol spoke apologetically.

“I’m sorry, we didn’t mean to interrupt your meal. We were just curious because you seemed to be enjoying it so much.”

They just finished attending a meeting in the inner city and were on their way back. It had been a nerve-wracking meeting, and so they hadn’t even had a proper meal. So upon seeing Lee Gwak sitting at the stall, eating Chongqing Hot Pot so deliciously, they unwittingly walked over. 

Dan Li-yeon looked back and forth between Lee Gwak and the Chongqing Hot Pot with a slightly disapproving expression. She had never bought food from a street vendor since becoming Ja Hong-cheon’s disciple so she didn’t expect the food on the streets to taste good. 

Muk Seon-wol, on the other hand, stared at the Chongqing Hot Pot with bright, sparkling eyes. Unlike Dan Li-yeon, she was very familiar with this type of street food and had no preconceived notions.

She asked Lee Gwak.

“How does it taste?”

“It suits my taste perfectly.”

“So it’s delicious?”

“Yes.”

“That’s good. I was feeling a bit hungry. Grandma, please give us one each.”

As Muk Seon-wol boldly placed the order, Dan Li-yeon looked somewhat uncomfortable.

She still had reservations about street food. But as Muk Seon-wol confidently sat down next to Lee Gwak, she reluctantly followed suit.

“Please sit down too, Squad Leader Lee.”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak sat down with an awkward smile.

Both Muk Seon-wol and Dan Li-yeon were prominent figures of their time and held a much higher status than Lee Gwak. The fact that such people were dining with him at a street stall brought considerable pressure on him.

Whether she knew of Lee Gwak’s feelings or not, Muk Seon-wol genuinely looked excited as she waited for the food.

“It really looks delicious, doesn’t it?”

“Mmm!”

Dan Li-yeon nodded reluctantly.

Lee Gwak watched the two women for a moment before resuming his meal. Although their presence was a bit uncomfortable, he couldn’t skip eating.

Slurp!

With each sip of the spicy broth with the meat, he felt a tingling hot sensation in his mouth. As he was sweating profusely and eating, a small pot full of Chongqing Hot Pot was served in front of Muk Seon-wol and Dan Li-yeon.

Muk Seon-wol was the first to scoop up some broth with a spoon and taste it. Her eyes widened in surprise.

“It’s delicious!”

She then began to eat the meat and vegetables with her chopsticks.

Dan Li-yeon, with a slight frown, cautiously asked Muk Seon-wol,

“Is it really good?”

“It’s the best! You should try it too, or I’ll eat it all.”

“Um!”

Dan Li-yeon hesitantly used her chopsticks and carefully brought the food to her mouth. Her eyes widened in amazement.

“Ah?”

“Tasty, right?”

“Yes!”

Dan Li-yeon nodded unconsciously, and Muk Seon-wol smiled as if she had expected it.

Dan Li-yeon was genuinely surprised. Contrary to her prejudice that street food would be tasteless and dirty, it was quite delicious. The spicy flavor that numbed her mouth was particularly exquisite.

Slurp!

The conversation between them ceased, replaced only by the sound of eating.

The scene of the three of them sitting on small chairs at the street stall, eating together, looked funny yet somehow fitting.

“Phew!”

Finally, after finishing the last drop of the broth, Dan Li-yeon took a deep breath. Her face was flushed from the spicy food, and beads of sweat adorned the tip of her nose. It was the same for Muk Seon-wol.

Muk Seon-wol had a happy smile on her face.

She didn’t expect to stay for so long when she first entered the Jade Heaven Alliance, so she had entered with a light heart, but the longer she stayed, the more she struggled with the food that didn’t suit her palate.

The region where her sect, Dragon Sky Valley, was located had a distinctive heat, leading to the prevalence of spicy and salty food. The food inside the Jade Heaven Alliance, by comparison, seemed bland to her.

Despite being a street stall, the Chongqing Hot Pot she was currently eating reminded her of the flavors of her homeland. 

Muk Seon-wol looked at Lee Gwak.

“Thank you, Squad Leader Lee! Thanks to you, I’ve had a satisfying meal for the first time in a while.”

“It’s nothing. I’m glad you enjoyed it.”

“I think I’ll be visiting this place often from now on.”

Muk Seon-wol’s gaze turned to Dan Li-yeon, who nodded with an equally satisfied expression.

Dan Li-yeon had felt quite sorry seeing Muk Seon-wol struggle with the Jade Heaven Alliance’s food not suiting her taste. Therefore, seeing Muk Seon-wol’s happy smile now improved her mood too.

Muk Seon-wol said to Lee Gwak,

“Anyway, it was thanks to you, Squad Leader Lee that we managed to find such a good place, so I’ll pay for the meal today.”

“No, that’s not necessary.”

“No, really! It’s only right to repay a favor.”

Before Lee Gwak could protest further, she quickly settled the bill.

When Lee Gwak looked embarrassed, Dan Li-yeon said,

“Just accept her kindness. It’s no big deal.”

“Alright.”

“And thank you. I’ve also overcome my prejudice against food. I never thought there would be such delicious places outside the city walls. If you know of any other places like this, let me know.”

“Well, that’s…”

“I don’t mean right now. If we happen to meet again, you can tell me then. That’s not too much to ask, right?”

“Understood.”

In the end, Lee Gwak nodded. Not only was it not too much to ask, as Dan Li-yeon had said, but they couldn’t be sure when they would meet again in such a manner.

Dan Li-yeon looked intently at Lee Gwak.

Only then did she realize that Lee Gwak showed no significant change in expression upon seeing her and Muk Seon-wol.

As the third disciple of Jade Heaven Alliance Sect Leader Ja Hong-cheon, Dan Li-yeon possessed an extraordinary martial reputation that she was called the Black Martial Empress. In comparison, Muk Seon-wol was a member of the Ten Young Heavens, a group signifying the top echelon among countless talented individuals in the martial world.

Even the most powerful and recognized late-period experts in the Jianghu would usually feel intimidated by their presence. In fact, the people at the meeting they had attended before coming here were so overwhelmed that they couldn’t even speak properly in front of them.

However, Lee Gwak was different. Despite being a low-ranking martial artist, he interacted with them very comfortably. He even seemed a bit annoyed. His reaction was unlike any other renowned figures she had encountered before.

It was then that she recalled what Muk Seon-wol had mentioned in the past. 

—An interesting person?

At that moment, she had a premonition that Lee Gwak might be the person Muk Seon-wol was referring to.

“Eh? Lady Dan, Lady Muk?”

Suddenly, a voice called out.


SoundlessWind21’s Notes: 

If there are any errors, whether it be grammatical, spelling, translation, or website-related issues, feel free to let me know. (´◡`) Anyway, thank you for reading! 

  1. Chongqing Hot Pot. Raws: 마랄화과(麻辣火鍋). Chongqing hot pot also known as spicy hot pot.
    • 麻辣 málà – hot and rumbling
    • 火鍋 huǒguō – hot pot

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Mokhtar

A punching bag appeared

Reaper of the Drifting Moon
Manhwa = Novel
Chapter 78 = Chapter 125

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Chapter 52: The More People Gather, the More Incidents Occur (2)
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