The sticky sea breeze blew, tousling the man’s hair.
The man, whose skin was as white as the sand spread out in front of him and whose lips were as red as the sun in the sky, was Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol squinted his eyes, as he looked at the blue sea.
It had taken him a total of five months to reach Haimen after leaving Runan. Pyo-wol didn’t expect that his travel time would take this long.
It was all because he had stayed at Tianzhongshan for too long.
He had initially planned to stay in the mountain for ten days at most, but as he recovered his strength and reflected on his realizations, his stay became longer and longer.
As a result, he stayed for a whopping total of four months.
Pyo-wol never imagined that he would one day spend so much time in the middle of nowhere in the mountains.
When he ran out of beef jerky, Pyo-wol hunted animals to satisfy his hunger. When he grew tired of meat, he began to seek out and drink the honey of the venomous bees.
Of course, the venomous bees did not give up their honey so easily. The bees attacked Pyo-wol in order to protect their hive. However, even that became part of Pyo-wol’s training.
He showed the bees his sincerity and trained himself, and before he knew it, four months had passed without him even realizing it.
By the time Pyo-wol realized the amount of time he had spent, he was actually surprised and taken aback. He found it absurd.
It took him a month to travel from Tianzhongshan to Haimen, and it took him a total of five months to see the sea.
Pyo-wol thought he would be deeply moved by the sea, but now that he’s finally seeing it in front of him, it didn’t actually move him much.
The four months he had spent on Tianzhongshan caused a big change to his mind and body. He became stronger and more confident in himself.
Pyo-wol stood motionless for a long time, staring out at the blue sea.
Only after half an hour had passed before Pyo-wol, who was standing like a stone statue, moved again.
Pyo-wol headed towards the port with his horse.
The port was already quite busy by the time he arrived.
“Move quickly! Move quickly!”
“We need to move all the goods to the Sea Dragon Sect’s warehouse by today!”
The Red Bandana Association workers raced down the street while pushing carts.
Normally, when moving this much cargo, it was customary to load it onto large carts and move slowly. However, the workers of the Red Bandana Association loaded the cargo onto small carts and ran barefoot.
Furthermore, the speed at which they pulled their carts seemed to be faster than horses.
They diligently shuttled back and forth between the port and warehouses, never stopping to rest. Beads of sweat poured from their shirtless upper bodies like rain.
“Get out of the way! Move!”
One of the workers shouted at Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol stepped to the side of the road with his horse.
Then a heavily loaded cart whizzed past him.
If Pyo-wol had moved even a little later, he would have been hit.
He wasn’t the only one.
The same atmosphere was being staged throughout the streets.
The workers screamed as they raced down the street.
Passersby on the street looked on unfazed at the sight of the workers.
Although the situation looked dangerous, not a single person was actually hit.
This was a typical daily scene for them.
That’s why the people weren’t surprised when the workers ran right by them.
The Red Bandana Association workers had never had an accident while carrying goods before.
With Pyo-wol holding the reins, he led his horse to one side of the road. As he walked, he suddenly arrived at a place where there were many inns and brothels.
“What is it?”
“Look! Over there!”
The courtesans who saw Pyo-wol’s face went into a frenzy.
Even the toughest ladies of Haimen couldn’t remain calm when they saw Pyo-wol’s face.
The ladies gestured for him to come into their respective brothels, but Pyo-wol ignored them and headed for a nearby inn, causing many of the courtesans to sigh.
“Oh no! Why?”
“He’s so nice.”
The courtesans were ready to leave the brothel and follow Pyo-wol to the inn he was heading to.
“Hey! What are you all doing? Shouldn’t you be all working?!”
“What’s going on?”
If it weren’t for the outburst of the heads or the managers in charge of the brothels, the courtesans would have continued to run after Pyo-wol.
As the managers yelled at courtesans, the courtesans were forced to return to their places with their heads down.
Whether Pyo-wol knew about the courtesans’ situation or not, Pyo-wol arrived at his chosen inn.
Fortunately, there was a stable where his horse could rest and turn around because many escort groups and merchants frequented the inn.
Leaving his horses in the stable, Pyo-wol entered the restaurant on the first floor of the inn.
Perhaps it was already late in the evening, so there weren’t many empty seats in the restaurant.
If he waited any longer, the remaining seats would be gone.
Pyo-wol wasted no time and sat down at an empty table.
Not long after he sat down, all the seats were taken.
After a while, a servant came over and said,
“You’re lucky, sir!”
“Does every seat get taken like this every day?”
“Not really. Only when a big ship arrives do all the inns in Haimen get filled up. Today, a trading ship from outside of the Central Plains, and a merchant ship from Sea Dragon Sect had both entered the port. Since both ships are so large, and have many people on board, all the inns will probably be full.”
“Are there any rooms left?”
“Only the annex is left now.”
“Are all the other rooms taken?”
“Yes! All the cheap rooms are gone, and only the most expensive annex is left.”
Each inn here had two annexes.
“How much does it cost to stay in the annex?”
“One piece of silver per day.”
One silver coin was equivalent to the living expenses of a family of four for two weeks.
It was a lot of money to spend for just one night. But Pyo-wol had no choice. If he hesitated here, even the remaining annex they had left would probably be taken.
Besides, Pyo-wol’s pocket was actually quite good. Spending a few silver coins wasn’t something he would regret about.
He handed five silver coins to the servant.
“Let me stay there for five days.”
“And bring me some simple food for the night.”
“What about alcohol?”
Pyo-wol paid for the food and the errand in advance, then the servant rushed to the kitchen, with a happy face.
As Pyo-wol waited for the food to be served, he looked around the room. Each seat was filled with people.
Half of them seemed to be from the Central Plains, but the other half seemed to be from outside of it. More than half of them spoke in a language Pyo-wol didn’t recognize.
Yet, it didn’t feel strange at all because the atmosphere of this place was so open.
This was not only true for this inn, but the city of Haimen itself. Scenes that would have felt strange in any other cities were naturally integrated into the daily life of the people here.
Pyo-wol thought it was a strange sight.
It was then.
Someone walked up and stood in front of the table where Pyo-wol was sitting.
When Pyo-wol raised his head, he saw an old man with a yellow beard and a blonde, blue-eyed woman, who seemed to be his granddaughter, staring down at him.
As Pyo-wol made eye contact with them, the old man spoke in awkward Chinese,
“Can you possibly let us join? We came in late, so there are no seats left.”
The woman also spoke in awkward Chinese.
Pyo-wol looked at them for a moment, then said,
The two people expressed their gratitude to Pyo-wol as they both sat down.
As they sat down, the servant came running over.
Like Pyo-wol, they had rented one of the remaining annexes.
The old man breathed a sigh of relief.
“Phew! We almost had to sleep on the street.”
“That’s why I told you to hurry.”
“Who knew we’d be so late? Anyway, it’s a relief that we at least got a room.”
Despite the woman’s nagging, the old man smiled happily.
For a moment, the old man laughed, but he soon realized his mistake.
“Ah! I’m sorry! I’m late in introducing myself. I’m Tarha from the Western Regions.”
“It’s not an easy name to pronounce. This is my only granddaughter, Yul Ayeon. Her father is from the Central Plains, so they named her like that. What’s your name?”
“So you’re from the West?”
“Are you here to do some business too?”
“Trade? No. We’re actually here to collect a debt.”
“That’s all you need to know for now. I don’t think it’s something I can share with you when it’s just been our first meeting.”
Pyo-wol nodded at Tarha’s words.
It was only a passing encounter anyway.
There was no need to know each other’s detailed circumstances. Even when Pyo-wal asked, it was merely a customary response, not an attempt to find out what was really going on with the other party.
There was a moment of silence among the three of them.
It was Yul Ayeon who broke the awkward silence,
“Does Lord Pyo know this area, Haimen, well?”
“No, it’s my first time coming here.”
“So you’re not familiar with the geography of this place?”
“Then where should we go to get information about this place?”
“Yes! I think we’ll be staying here for a while, so it would be good to know the local situation as much as possible.”
“If you’re looking for information, then the Hao clan would be the most accurate and fastest.”
Yul Ayeon’s eyes narrowed.
“It’s an organization made up of poor people. There’s no other place like it when it comes to gathering vast amounts of information. But if you simply want to get information about a certain area, it’s better to find a sect in that area and ask for their cooperation.”
“Ask for cooperation? How?”
“That’s for you to figure out.”
Yul Ayeon blinked her big eyes.
Her expression was quite colorful because of her large eyes.
Yul Ayeon then turned and talked to Tarha.
They were speaking in Western language, so Pyo-wol couldn’t understand what they were saying. However, he had a rough guess on the contents of their conversation.
‘They’re discussing the credibility of my words, aren’t they?’
It didn’t matter to him if they believed him or not.
Pyo-wol had spoken the truth, and it was up to them to believe it or not.
Just then, the servant brought out the food.
Their conversation naturally ended as they all focused on their meal.
As they ate, Pyo-wol observed them.
Tarha seemed like an ordinary merchant at first glance. He was dressed the same as the other merchants Pyo-wol had seen here. But Pyo-wol knew that Tarha was no merchant at all.
His fist, which had calluses that protruded like nails, proved the fact.
He was a martial artist who learned a fist type of martial arts.
And a very special one at that.
It wasn’t just his calluses, but the color of his hands was different as well.
They had a faint reddish tinge to them, which looked somewhat strange.
The same was true for Yul Ayeon.
Her blue eyes were full of bright light, and her slender body was full of elasticity. Only someone who practises martial arts could have such a physique and flexibility.
Martial arts were not just limited to the Jianghu region.
There were also martial artists who had mastered martial arts outside the Central Plains.
They just had different names for them.
Pyo-wol suspected that the two people in front of him were one of them.
The sight of Yul Ayeon reminded him of Um Soso.
Um Soso’s eyes were just as blue as Yul Ayeon. The only difference was that Yul Ayeon’s eyes were much bluer. It was as if blue jewels were embedded in her pupils.
If she went outside, she would cause a scene. In fact, even now, many people in the restaurant were stealing glances at her.
Her exotic beauty had mesmerized them. However, they didn’t dare to approach her because they felt that Tarha’s aura around her was unnerving.
That’s when it happened.
Suddenly, with a loud bang, the door of the inn flew open. A group of people rushed into the inn.
The guests inside the inn were shocked to see the uninvited guests who had barged in.
More than ten strong men came into the inn. All of them were wearing red bandanas on their heads, which indicated that they belonged to the Red Bandana Association.
However, their aura was distinctly different from that of ordinary workers.
The man at the forefront especially had a unique atmosphere.
His huge figure was reminiscent of a whale, and his beaky eyes were like a tiger. His lips were also thick like a catfish, which made his impression very strong.
People immediately recognized him.
“That’s Yoo Cheolgwang of the Red Bandana Association.”
“Why is he here?”
People’s gazes naturally shifted to Pyo-wol.
As if to prove their suspicions, Yoo Cheolgwang walked straight towards Pyo-wol.
That dude is fooked. Coming soon.
If this guy is the rapist, I hope he dies in the most horrible way possible.