Return of Mount Hua Sect (Novel) Chapter 1669

Chapter 1669: Because There Will Be a Future. (4)

"Retreat!"

The disciples of the Wudang Sect hurriedly withdrew.

Boom! Boom!

The oil bags dropped where they had retreated from exploded, and immediately, flaming arrows began to fall on them.

Whoosh!

The flames spread rapidly. The fire, so intense that it sometimes turned blue, soared well beyond the height of an adult man.

What would have happened if they hadn't escaped in time? If they had been caught by those flames?

It would have been a horrible, unimaginable scene.

"Sasuk, more are coming!"

"Retreat! Retreat for now, immediately!"

No matter how much they had trained in martial arts, they were also human. Facing such brutal flames wasn't easy. What they had learned was to cut, parry, and stab, not to deal with fire.

"But if we retreat now..."

"They are humans too! They can't keep advancing through those flames!"

Mu Jin, shouting forcefully, emphasized once more.

"Don't engage, retreat! Our task is not to eliminate the enemy but to prevent them from ascending. Do not forget your duty!"

"Yes!"

The disciples of the Wudang Sect, who had been in disarray, began to regain their composure at Mu Jin's shouts.

He was right. Fire does not discriminate between enemies and allies. If the fire was so intense that Wudang had to retreat, then the enemy couldn't advance easily either.

This meant that when the flames subsided enough for the enemy to advance, Wudang could also re-engage. Therefore, it was correct to retreat for the moment.

"More are coming!"

"Retreat!"

The Wudang disciples retreated uniformly, more precisely, ascended the slope. The Wudang technique that allowed them to ascend as if riding clouds unfolded, rising through the dense smoke.

And when their feet touched the ground again, they exhaled the air they hadn't realized they were holding.

'What about the wounded?'

There were some wounded, but only a few dead. Although painful, it wasn't a significant loss. If they retreated and reorganized properly...

"Don't let your guard down!"

Even though he shouted this, Mu Jin also thought they could take a breather.

The enemy would keep throwing oil bags and shooting arrows, but projectile weapons lose effectiveness at greater distances.

Moreover, shooting arrows upward from below would significantly reduce their force.

Therefore, as long as they didn't let their guard down, they could avoid further damage. They could take a breather while waiting for the flames to subside...

But at that moment...

"Sasuk! Look! Look over there!"

Whoosh!

The flames, burning fiercely as if they would melt the slope, suddenly parted, clearly splitting to both sides.

"What, what?"

It was an incredible scene. How could fire, which had no will of its own, move like that?

"Sasuk!"

A desperate cry echoed. And soon, a group appeared through the divided flames.

"Uh... oh..."

Mu Jin's mouth opened involuntarily.

They were the same men they had seen before.

The warriors of the Southern Sea Sun Palace, who had mercilessly thrown oil bags and shot flaming arrows, were ascending the slope through the intense flames.

"How?"

The flames receded as they advanced. But receding didn't mean they disappeared. They only reduced a bit, but the fire still burned, and the heat was intense enough to melt rocks.

So, how could these men walk through a blazing inferno with their bodies intact?

Mu Jin couldn't believe what he was seeing. At that moment, one of the Sun Palace warriors, standing amidst the flames, flashed a clear mocking smile.

"Fools of Central Plains."

He then shouted.

"Shoot! Advance to the top at once!"

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

Meanwhile, the eyes of the Southern Sea Sun Palace Leader, Jin Pyeong, were full of dissatisfaction. With a disgusted expression, he pursed his lips.

"In a place like this?"

He looked disdainfully at the back of a man watching the battle with his hands clasped behind him.

He was an insignificant man.

If Jin Pyeong desired, he could break his neck immediately. However, this man didn't even pay attention to his words, only watching the flames spreading over the steep slope.

The Sun Palace leader's face twitched slightly.

He could tolerate the arrogance of Jang Ilso, the leader of the Evil Tyrant Alliance. Although he would never admit it aloud, Jang Ilso was a man even he couldn't help but respect.

But for a mere strategist, who hadn't even reached the pinnacle of martial arts, to dare ignore him was hard to bear.

For someone like Jin Pyeong, who always believed leadership required corresponding skills, it was even more intolerable.

"Are you not listening to me?"

Finally, when his voice filled with anger, Ho Gakmyung, the strategist of the Evil Tyrant Alliance, looked at Jin Pyeong. Ho Gakmyung's impassive expression made Jin Pyeong's eyebrows twitch with discomfort.

Ho Gakmyung, the strategist of the Evil Tyrant Alliance, was known as Jang Ilso's most trusted man.

Although Jin Pyeong had heard many positive evaluations about Ho Gakmyung, he found it hard to accept his value.

After all, no matter how skilled he was, he was just a strategist.

A strategist is like a book of tactics the leader consults before making decisions. That such a person had authority and stood as the second-in-command of the Evil Tyrant Alliance was something Jin Pyeong couldn't accept.

"Do you have something to say?"

Moreover, for a mere strategist to dare look directly at the Sun Palace leader and speak so brazenly enraged him even more.

"Did you request the use of the Holy Flame just for this?"

The "Holy Flame" in the Sun Palace referred to a special oil. Although the Holy Flame was a symbolic term in some religious sects, in the Sun Palace, it simply referred to this special oil.

The warriors of the Sun Palace, seeking the ultimate expression of Yang, were naturally interested in the use of fire. Thus, the Holy Flame was born.

In the Sun Palace, the Holy Flame refers both to the special oil that produces the flames and to the fire itself.

Once ignited, the Holy Flame does not easily extinguish, neither with internal energy nor with water. It is one of the Sun Palace's most prized treasures.

But...

"Do you know how much money and effort it takes to produce a single drop of Holy Flame?"

"..."

"And do you know how valuable the Martial Artists who handle the Holy Flame in the Sun Palace are?"

The temperature of the Holy Flame's fire is much higher than that of a regular fire. Therefore, those who handle the Holy Flame are the most elite warriors of the Sun Palace, recognized for their mastery of Yang.

They are the core of the Sun Palace.

"And you brought them here for this?"

"It is not a trivial task."

"...What did you say?"

Ho Gakmyung responded to the Southern Sea Sun Palace leader with a calm look.

"It is absolutely necessary."

"Opening a slope like that? If you use the Holy Flame properly, you could incinerate several sects at once."

"...It seems the Sun Palace leader has too much confidence in what he possesses."

It wasn't the Sun Palace leader who got angry at Ho Gakmyung's words, but the Sun Palace warriors escorting him.

"What the hell is this idiot saying...?"

"Enough."

Before the commotion could escalate, Jin Pyeong raised his hand to silence them. Then he looked at Ho Gakmyung with cold, piercing eyes.

"What do you mean?"

"The Holy Flame is nothing but oil that burns well. And the opponent is Wudang. They are not people you can defeat with cheap tricks."

"...Do you dare belittle the Sun Palace's Holy Flame?"

"Who knows."

Ho Gakmyung looked at the slope with penetrating eyes.

"It seems to be happening already."

The Sun Palace leader's gaze instinctively followed the same direction.

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

Swoosh!

Another flaming arrow turned the spilled oil on the ground into flames. The Wudang Sect disciples, pale, retreated even further.

Anxious voices echoed everywhere.

"Sasuk!"

"..."

"What do we do? At this rate...!"

Mu Jin's face was also pale. In reality, he also wanted to know.

The enemies were advancing through the fire they had started. What kind of trick were they using to walk through flames that could char a person?

'The Sun Palace...'

Although it was said that the fire techniques of the Southern Sea Sun Palace were the best in the world, how could they freely walk through such intense flames?

Mu Jin could only assume that, besides the fire techniques, they were using some special method, as their bodies momentarily glowed when the flame shadows flickered. But he had no way to discover how to counter it.

"Re, retreat..."

"We're almost at the top, Sasuk! Up there is..."

The peak of Baekanam. Retreating there meant they would give up the high ground. The peak of Baekanam had a wide space, where the enemy's numbers would be even more advantageous.

What should they do? Should they retreat there despite this? Or...

They could face them with the Mu Generation Martial Artists, but asking the Jin Generation to fight on such a slope would be like ordering them to sacrifice themselves.

Then...

"More are coming!"

Swoosh!

Without time to think further, another oil bag and flaming arrows flew through the air. Mu Jin was about to shout a warning again.

Whoosh!

"Hup!"

"What are you doing?"

Someone jumped forward, wielding his sword at the falling oil bags and arrows.

The sword spun in circles, drawing the oil bags and arrows to the center of the sword technique and throwing them off the cliff.

Whoosh!

The ignited oil fell on the heads of the Evil Tyrant Alliance warriors climbing the cliff.

"What, what is that?"

"It's fire!"

From below, the Evil Tyrant Alliance warriors shouted desperately as they were hit by the unexpected fire.

Mu Jin looked in astonishment at the person who had stepped forward.

"Fire, oil, arrows..."

"Jin Hyun?"

"The Wudang sword, which can contain even flowing water, can handle this."

Jin Hyun firmly held his sword. Then, he aimed at the Sun Palace warriors climbing the slope, stepping on the flames as if they were earth.

"Isn't that right?"

Mu Jin bit his pale lips hard.

He was right. It was obvious. But he had forgotten that simple truth for a moment.

"Jin Hyun..."

"I understand your concern for us, Sasuk. But first, trust us a bit more."

With a heavy heart, Mu Jin briefly closed his eyes.

The same mistake he had so resented in his predecessors' decisions, he was also committing with his disciples.

"...I'm sorry."

"It doesn't matter."

Regaining his composure, Mu Jin raised his sword and stood beside Jin Hyun.

That's right. No matter the hierarchy. At this moment, they are all swordsmen fighting for their lives. What they need to do now is trust each other.

"Defend this place! Be it fire, oil, or whatever, the Wudang sword can face it!"

The eyes of the Wudang Swordsmen, who had only been concerned with dodging until then, began to fill with determination.

"At the cliff is Heo Gong. Defend your position with your lives!"

"Yes!"

Another rain of flaming arrows fell. The Wudang swords moved in unison.

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

"Do you say cheap tricks don't work?"

The Sun Palace leader's face showed extreme discomfort.

"You were the ones who requested to use those cheap tricks."

"Cheap tricks have their place. It's enough to make the enemy retreat a bit."

"...Then, what do we gain? Are you not saying we can't break their defense?"

"Instead, we can reduce one of the greatest losses."

"What?"

"Time."

The Sun Palace leader clenched his teeth. He still couldn't accept any of this. At that moment, Ho Gakmyung's murmured words reached his ears.

"Sacrifice doesn't matter... If we were to completely surround the slope and advance from behind the mountain, we would lose at least five shichen (ten hours). And in those ten hours, the battle could be decided."

"..."

"If we can reduce those ten hours with this fire, leader, you will have achieved the greatest merit in this battle without doing anything."

Ho Gakmyung's calmly spoken words made the Sun Palace leader squint his eyes.

"...Arrogant."

But the Sun Palace leader didn't express further discontent. He only added.

"I don't know if you underestimate the Holy Flame or overestimate those Wudang bastards, but the Sun Palace warriors will conquer not just this slope, but the entire mountain at once."

"If that happens, there will be nothing more to wish for."

Ho Gakmyung murmured without showing any expression. The Sun Palace leader glared at him and then turned abruptly. His stride was rough, as if he didn't want to stay in the same place.

Watching him from the corner of his eye, Ho Gakmyung showed a faint smile.

'Arrogant.'

Oil that burns well? If that were enough to bring down Wudang, they wouldn't have maintained their prestige for so many years.

But...

Ho Gakmyung's usually calm eyes momentarily shone with a blue hue.

Anyway, thanks to that fire, they had almost ascended the slope. Now, only breaking through remained.

'We must hurry.'

He directed his gaze westward, beyond the battlefield. In his usually unperturbed eyes, a peculiar anxiety was reflected.

'Before he arrives, the one who will change this situation.'

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