Return of Mount Hua Sect (Novel) Chapter 1673

C1673. Isn't this the Situation You Expected? (3)

A smiling man and another with a hardened face briefly faced each other.

"I wonder, how did you know?"

Jang Ilso tilted his head curiously.

"How did you know I was here?"

"It's easy to know."

A steady and unwavering voice came from the lips of the elder, Heo Dojin.

"I've thought and thought about it, for these past years, only about you."

"Oh, my, my..."

Jang Ilso slowly shook his head. A clearly displeased expression appeared on his face.

"An old man's attention is always uncomfortable."

Heo Dojin's eyes were somber.

The elders of the Wudang Sect who had accompanied him also looked at the man in the red cloak with tense faces.

'Really...'

There was Jang Ilso. Right in front of them, within reach.

They had descended the mountain following Heo Dojin's instructions, but they were skeptical. However, just as Heo Dojin had predicted, they encountered Jang Ilso here.

It was an astonishing result.

Who could have imagined it would be so easy to confront Jang Ilso after passing through the enemy troops?

No one in the world could know, but perhaps at this moment, Heo Dojin had surpassed Jang Ilso in the game of strategies. Although Jang Ilso might not know Heo Dojin, or even if he was caught off guard, the result would be the same.

And perhaps... he could achieve a result beyond a simple strategic victory.

Capturing Paegun Jang Ilso.

Restoring Wudang's honor and elevating it to the pinnacle of Kangho, that would be the monumental achievement.

'Truly... he is my sahyung.'

While everyone was absorbed in the war itself, Heo Dojin had penetrated the essence of this war.

The incendiary attack burning the mountain and the enemy invasion leading his disciples to death were not the core of victory or defeat.

The only one holding the decisive factor in this Wudang mountain was only one. This man before him, Paegun Jang Ilso.

"Well, anyway..."

Jang Ilso looked relaxed at the burning Wudang. Although he was quite far from the battlefield, the noise reached here clearly.

"Frankly, I was a bit surprised."

"..."

"You predicted I would be here, but that someone in a position to protect the mountain would come down directly. What wind blew for our old-fashioned Taoist masters? Eh?"

Jang Ilso briefly smiled.

"In the midst of all this, your precious disciples must be dying."

At those words, Heo Dojin glanced at the mountain. Then he looked back at Jang Ilso.

He was not wrong.

The Wudang Disciples were shedding blood on the mountain. Perhaps his role was to be there, leading everyone and fighting alongside them to the death.

But Heo Dojin didn't believe that was the right path. That would only be personal satisfaction.

His task was to be here. In front of this man, in the most dangerous place in the world.

"I only know what is most important."

Heo Dojin spat out the words.

"I cannot repeat the mistakes made by not enduring a brief pain. Thanks to you, I realized that sometimes one must endure and bear it."

"..."

"To save Wudang, I can endure the pain of burning in the fire of hell. That is the burden I must bear."

"...Hmm?"

Jang Ilso's eyes narrowed. That gaze, like a venomous snake, made Heo Dojin's heart pound.

Jang Ilso's lips slightly opened, revealing white teeth.

"Humans... sometimes are very foolish. They don't know what they truly desire, nor what they are doing."

"Stop talking nonsense..."

"Is that really what you wanted? Does it really seem so?"

Jang Ilso's gaze shifted behind Heo Dojin. The Wudang Elders he had brought were lined up. They should be fighting, they were Wudang's most important forces.

What did it mean for them to be here?

"Twisted pigs are desperate to cover what they truly desire with flashy wrappings. Grandiosity, justice, future... nauseating words to cover their true desires. And even they believe it."

"Paegun."

"But... I can see it. What you truly desire. That desire hidden under sugary words. You just want..."

Jang Ilso made a sharp gesture with his nail across his neck. With that single movement, everyone fell silent and focused. Jang Ilso mockingly smiled.

"You want this neck."

Heo Dojin's face hardened like ice.

"You..."

"Other words are just excuses. Isn't it? Here we are only us, be honest."

Jang Ilso's soft whisper, strangely, reached everyone present clearly. Each of his words made Heo Dojin recall the past. The relentless cliff, that horrible humiliation.

Krrr.

Heo Dojin's hand clenched around his sword.

He could avenge everything. With that neck... all his mistakes would be washed away, and Kangho would not hesitate to put Wudang back at the top of the world.

That neck could reduce the sacrifices.

That neck could regain Wudang's future.

That neck could wash away all his mistakes.

Only that neck... that...

At that moment...

"Why so solemn?"

Jang Ilso's relaxed and lazy voice cut through Heo Dojin's thoughts. His tone was completely disdainful.

"Do you really think you've done something so great as to change the course of this battle? Hmm? Do you think that by standing in front of me, something will change?"

His arrogant words struck Heo Dojin's heart.

"...Paegun."

"You seem to be mistaken. Reaching here is commendable, but that doesn't mean something will change."

Jang Ilso was smiling. No, he was mocking.

After making the painful decision to abandon his disciples, Heo Dojin was finally here. His choice. And himself.

"Do you know why?"

"..."

"Because the person in front of me is only you. Heo Dojin."

It could be considered a mere provocation. But, strangely, upon hearing these words, Heo Dojin's impassive expression noticeably broke.

"Ha, ha, ha."

Jang Ilso did not miss the opportunity to laugh maliciously.

"How pathetic. An actor who doesn't know his role has ended and continues on stage. Only he doesn't know that no one is watching."

Heo Dojin's sword trembled slightly.

He had waited for this moment. Had he not endured the time of confinement just for this moment?

However, now facing Jang Ilso, ignoring the death of his disciples and the burning of Wudang, Jang Ilso didn't even consider him an opponent.

Heo Dojin gritted his teeth and said calmly.

"As for stratagems..."

But Jang Ilso clicked his tongue and let out a cold laugh before he could finish. A light of disdain shone in his eyes.

"Stratagems? Tsk, tsk. That's how the old are. Do you still think you're worth something? Eh?"

"..."

"How pathetic."

What truly enraged Heo Dojin were not Jang Ilso's words.

It was his eyes. An indifferent look that saw something worthless. It even seemed to have a touch of compassion, as if seeing something very pitiful and primitive.

That look completely distorted the mood of the old Taoist who had practiced his whole life with dignity.

"Jang... Ilso."

"Do you call perseverance what you couldn't endure and abandonment what you couldn't overcome?"

Jang Ilso chuckled.

"How insignificant is that dao (path)."

"You..."

Heo Dojin gritted his teeth tightly.

"What do you know...?"

"Ah."

Jang Ilso slowly raised his hand.

"I'd like to play more with you, but... I have things to do. I don't have time to waste with an old withered man who only waits for death."

The rings on his fingers clinked together, making an eerie sound.

"If you really can't accept it, prove it with that old body of yours. How useless the time given to you has been until now."

Heo Dojin's hand, holding the sword, was trembling violently.

"Now... I'll make you regret those words."

"Of course you will."

"Jang Ilsooooooo!"

Heo Dojin's sword shot towards Jang Ilso like lightning.

-------------------

"Commander?"

"..."

"What's wrong? Is there a problem...?"

The aides tensed up when Ho Gakmyung, who was giving orders, suddenly fell silent. But Ho Gakmyung paid them no attention and just looked at the mountain, his eyes darkening as he spoke.

"It's too easy."

"What?"

"It's too easy."

For a moment, doubt crossed the aides' faces.

Too easy. The incursion into the enemy lines was still stalled.

The Thousand-Faced Gentleman had advanced and deployed the Southern Sea Sun Palace's force, gaining a bit of an advantage, but that was all. Moreover, knowing that Ho Gakmyung never let his guard down in any situation, it wasn't an appropriate expression.

An aide spoke cautiously.

"The enemies' resistance is still fierce, Commander."

"It can't be just fierce. The opponent is Wudang."

"Ah..."

Ho Gakmyung's eyes narrowed.

When the enemy seems weaker than expected, there are only two possibilities. One is a trap. And the other...

"Did they split their forces? No. It's not a situation for a rear attack. Then..."

Ho Gakmyung's gaze turned towards the base of the mountain, beyond where he couldn't see from his position.

Finally, Ho Gakmyung sighed and spoke in a firm voice.

"I see. They're aiming for the leader. No, have they already reached?"

"What? Commander, what are you talking about...?"

The aides' faces filled with concern. They were also capable enough to assist Ho Gakmyung in the war, so they understood the meaning of his words.

"We should send reinforcements immediately..."

"No need."

"What?"

Ho Gakmyung laughed coldly.

"Is that the best strategy they came up with...?"

A brilliant strategy? No, it can't even be called a strategy. It's just a desperate action of someone who has lost the advantage.

"Even if they knew they had to aim at the tiger, if only dogs are biting its tail, they will only be bitten to death. They thought they were tigers, but how foolish."

Or maybe... that meant Heo Dojin was more hurt than Ho Gakmyung had anticipated. Even those with great skills can fall so much.

He had seen too many cases. Those trapped in the past and losing themselves.

Either way, now he had an opportunity.

"Listen."

"Yes, Commander!"

"Use all our available forces. From now on, in an hour, occupy that cliff."

"Yes!"

The aides began to move quickly. Ho Gakmyung kept watching the cliff. And he pondered that stupid choice.

It's not the Evil Tyrant Alliance or the Southern Sea Sun Palace burning Wudang.

It's them. They themselves are the ones ending Wudang's history at this moment. With an irreversible decision.

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