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    Meeting of the Extraordinary

     

    On the roof of a pavilion located slightly away from the Sword Spirit Hall,

    in a room exuding tranquility and neatness,

    two young men were engaged in a conversation.

    One was a youth in blue martial arts attire sitting on a chair,

    with three swords strapped to his body.

    The other was a youth in white standing by the window,

    holding a white crane fan with dark blue tassels.

     

    At a glance, both of them were outstanding talents who wouldn’t lose no matter where they were placed. Despite their young age, the energy emanating from their entire bodies rivaled that of peak masters. The youth in white scholar’s robes, who was gazing out the window as if appreciating the scenery, lightly waved his folded fan and spoke to the youth in blue robes who was quietly savoring tea.

    “He failed!”

    What could have failed? Even while delivering negative news about failure, a gentle joy could be felt in the youth’s voice.

    “Is that so?”

    “Yes. I heard he was dragged to the supervisor’s office about 30 minutes ago. It’s safe to say it’s over for him now.”

    “A ke ago… As expected, I can’t match your keen perception. You’ve already obtained information up to that point.”

    The youth in white said with a smile.

    “It’s nothing special. You know very well that the eyes and ears of our association are even more extensive and astute than this.”

    “But if he failed, it seems he had more skill than expected.”

    The youth in blue robes, with two swords with dark green tassels strapped to his back and a sword with red tassels hanging from his waist, changed the topic. The pressing matter was this. Self-praise about their organization’s information-gathering capabilities could wait, as there was plenty of time for that later.

    “Yes, it was somewhat unexpected that he failed even with those two fellows involved. I heard that almost all the first-floor mechanism devices in the Sword Spirit Hall have been reduced to useless scrap metal. Supervisor Gang will have to sweat quite a bit to clean up this damage.”

    “Is there anywhere those two don’t get involved? Isn’t their specialty turning even normal matters into a mess and greatly exaggerating them? It’s just that it doesn’t come to the surface…”

    The brows of the youth in blue slightly furrowed. And a momentary look of disgust passed over his face.

    “Your words speak the truth. Since those two fellows are involved, it won’t be easy to quietly wrap up this matter. I’ve never seen those troublemakers quietly end an incident. But this time, the scale was quite large!”

    Even in the words of the youth in white, who had a very impressive jawline, a sense of displeasure towards them could be felt. It seemed that the individuals referred to as “those two fellows” by these two people definitely did not have a good relationship with them.

    “Regardless of how the incident unfolded, Ho Cheon-gang’s failure is something we hoped for to some extent, isn’t it?”

    The youth in blue asked.

    “That’s right. We can’t let them save face through their hands. Isn’t he someone who insulted us as well? We can’t let such a person be dealt with by the joint front of the Eight Great Families and minor factions.”

    There was no hesitation in the voice of the youth in white as he instantly relegated the Ho Sect, the number one martial arts clan in the Southern Prosperity, to one of the minor factions. For him, it was a matter of course.

    “Of course. We can’t shamefully borrow someone else’s hand to wipe off the ink smeared on our faces just because it’s dirty.”

    “Indeed. It would be a disgrace to our dignity to lose face over a matter like this.”

    The youth in white also nodded in agreement. For them, it was only natural to repay the insult they and their sect had received with their own hands, leaving no room for reconsideration. Although Ho Cheon-gang may have tried to repay the insult to his sect in his own way, they couldn’t allow a mere disciple of a minor faction to take the initiative. At first glance, it may seem like a trivial matter, but for them, it was a very important issue.

    “Ah, did he finally enter this year?”

    As if suddenly remembering something, the youth in blue asked the youth in white. Upon hearing his question, the gaze of the youth in white fluctuated subtly. His left hand unconsciously fiddled with the folding fan grasped in his right hand.

    “That’s right. Coincidentally, I ended up sharing the same room as that fellow.”

    A glimpse of surprise appeared and disappeared in the eyes of the youth in blue.

    “Is that so? There won’t be any danger, right?”

    The youth in blue asked with a slightly worried voice. The fact that completely different stories were intertwining in a strange direction made him feel uneasy for no reason.

    “I can’t even imagine him having a friendship with another person. Such a thing will never happen. Don’t worry too much.”

    The youth in white spoke in a calm voice as if reassuring him. Only then did the face of the youth in blue brighten. That’s how great his trust in the youth in white was.

    “Too many unexpected individuals passed this time. Especially his existence cannot be ignored. With his participation, there is a very high possibility that the power of the Eight Great Families will increase. However, we cannot allow forces other than our Nine Sects to take the lead.”

    “Don’t worry. I am always keeping a vigilant eye and paying attention. The leadership of the Heavenly Pavilion cannot be handed over to forces other than our Nine Sects. Nine pillars are enough for the righteous faction. We cannot allow eight unnecessary appendages to intervene in an unsightly manner.”

    “I trust only you.”

    “Don’t worry. It’s as certain as the taste of the tea I brewed. I guarantee it.”

    “Is that so? Then it should be trustworthy. It’s truly an excellent skill. Your tea ceremony always amazes me.”

    The youth in blue said after taking another sip of tea.

    “Hoho, it’s just a modest hobby.”

    The youth in white, who had been gazing out the window, turned around and sat on a chair. And before the tea cooled down any further, he picked up the teacup and savored the tea. If the temperature of the tea dropped any lower than this, it would be an insult to the tea. If the temperature of the tea is too high, the heat numbs the taste buds of the tongue, making it difficult to properly taste the flavor. On the contrary, if it’s too cold, the coolness steals away the taste and aroma from the tea. He had not the slightest desire to insult tea, one of his close friends. On the sleeves of the two people quietly savoring and drinking tea, the same pattern of an elaborate dragon (龍) was embroidered.

    Bi Ryu-yeon, who had made a significant contribution to inflicting massive financial damage on the Sword Spirit Hall, one of the dormitories for the disciples of the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy, and Hyo-ryong and Jang-hong, who had contributed to the damage by merely observing him with a detached attitude, were able to avoid punishment from the supervisor and safely receive their room assignments through a miraculous stroke of luck that could be described as a crazed flood striking a desert or a bewildering downpour in the desert. Fortunately, the worst-case scenario of being expelled immediately upon entrance did not occur. Regarding this incident, various speculations later circulated among the disciples of the Sword Spirit Hall, but none of them provided a clear opinion that could quench the burning curiosity of the people. After many twists and turns, Bi Ryu-yeon was finally able to receive his room assignment. However, unfortunately, he had to live separately from Jang-hong and Hyo-ryong. They were assigned different rooms. Bi Ryu-yeon was assigned to Room 701, while Hyo-ryong and Jang-hong were assigned to Room 702. Although they were right next to each other, a wall separated them. It was deeply regrettable to part ways with the kindred spirits he had befriended.

    The dormitories for first-year disciples were located on the top floor of the Sword Spirit Hall, the 7th floor. This was the same regardless of which dormitory it was. It was an unspoken convention here for the first-years to have their dormitories at the highest level. And as the years progressed, the location of the assigned rooms gradually descended to the lower floors. The lower the floor one lived on, the higher their grade. The reason for this convention was precisely due to the difference in inconvenience caused by the length of the movement path.

    In other words, if the room was on the 7th floor, the movement path became longer, making it inconvenient. That’s why lower grades used the upper floors. Juniors had to endure the inconvenience of seniors with a steadfast spirit of yielding to elders. That was the law of this society. Even if one’s inner heart lacked a steadfast spirit of yielding to elders, one had to maintain a certain level of decorum on the outside. Otherwise, there was a risk of receiving criticism or being ostracized by those around, so it was necessary to prevent these risks in advance.

    Of course, for a martial arts expert, a height of 7 floors was like swimming while touching the ground, but this was a matter of sentiment and also related to old-fashioned etiquette, so they didn’t think of changing it easily. And no one even tried to change it. A height of 7 floors was roughly equivalent to a height of 10 jang, a place that an expert could easily reach with two leaps. The lightness skill they had painstakingly mastered was not a decorative piece or for display purposes.

    If there was someone complaining about dying just from going up and down 7 floors of stairs, one should immediately suspect their fraudulent admission. There was no way someone who hadn’t properly mastered even a single lightness technique could enter the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy. Moreover, some intentionally preferred the 7th floor for its good view.

    How should one describe this man? Perfect perfection? A once-in-a-millennium talent? A peerless beauty? His flawless appearance that was perfect to the point of being tiresome, his refined energy flow, his bright eyes, his dignified demeanor, and the ornate precious sword adorned on his waist with his white martial arts attire, his appearance alone was extraordinary. If an individual possessed all these qualities perfectly, he could rightfully be called a once-in-a-millennium genius. And he was already being referred to as a once-in-a-millennium genius in reality. Bi Ryu-yeon looked at the man standing in front of him, armed with thorough and complete perfection.

    Even though his appearance and energy flow were enough to make any man feel jealous at least once, Bi Ryu-yeon had no desire to waste his mind and time feeling such unnecessary emotions. So he just treated him casually, thinking, “I guess that’s how it is.”

    This fellow considered himself the supreme, invincible, ultimate, extreme, unparalleled, peerless beauty and genius of the eighty-four thousand worlds, all things in the universe. Therefore, there was no need for him to be provoked into feeling jealousy towards a modest(?) fellow who was at most the number one genius in the world. It’s those who don’t have much that unsightly envy and covet those who have more; there’s no case of someone who has more envying and coveting someone who has less.

    The man, who was objectively and universally evaluated as a genius of the world but was downgraded to an unremarkable talent in Bi Ryu-yeon’s eyes, was the person who would share the same room and live together with him for the next year, regardless of his appearance. This was their first encounter.

    “Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Bi Ryu-yeon. Please take good care of me from now on.”

    Bi Ryu-yeon spoke first, offering a greeting that lacked any formality. It was a casual greeting as if they were childhood friends. Of course, they were not childhood friends, and moreover, they were meeting for the first time today, so Bi Ryu-yeon’s greeting was a rude act that provoked displeasure in the other person.

    “I am Moyong Hwee from the Moyong Clan of Hanam. Please take good care of me.”

    The man’s name was Moyong Hwee. Despite receiving Bi Ryu-yeon’s poor greeting, Moyong Hwee politely clasped his hands and bowed, greeting him without any sign of displeasure. Looking at him intently, Bi Ryu-yeon said,

    “You’re really stiff!”

    “What do you mean?”

    Bi Ryu-yeon’s first impression and evaluation of his roommate was that he was a stiff and boring fellow who was good-looking but seemed to be precisely molded without even a single deviation from the standard, as if stamped out of a mold. If someone was stiff and boring, it was obvious that they would be dull, and dullness was almost a sin to Bi Ryu-yeon.

    “Isn’t it tiring to speak so stiffly? Let’s be comfortable with each other. Isn’t it too awkward between fellow classmates?”

    “I don’t want to use informal speech carelessly with someone I’m meeting for the first time.”

    Bi Ryu-yeon slightly frowned at Moyong Hwee’s blunt answer. It felt as if he was specifically pinpointing Bi Ryu-yeon for speaking informally to someone he was meeting for the first time. Of course, Bi Ryu-yeon had used polite speech with most people except for a few around him since his debut in the martial arts world. It was unusual for him to not use polite speech with Moyong Hwee this time, to the extent that Bi Ryu-yeon used polite speech. However, the polite speech he had used so far did not contain any respect for the other person, even if one were to search for it with washed eyes, and it was only filled with ridicule and mockery to the brim.

    His hypocritical politeness was nothing more than light sarcasm, not genuine respect. Except for the 10% of exceptions, 90% of the cases were the same. Therefore, the people Bi Ryu-yeon used informal speech with were only those he acknowledged. He only used sarcastic politeness towards those he did not acknowledge. Of course, Bi Ryu-yeon’s criteria for evaluating and classifying others were very arbitrary and personal. Bi Ryu-yeon muttered to himself.

    ‘He’s really stiff indeed! He might be even harder than a diamond. What a boring fellow who makes me yawn.’

    Fortunately, Moyong Hwee did not hear this as it was a mutter to himself. When had he ever been treated so trivially, being the object of others’ envy? What he had always received from those around him was only admiration, jealousy, and praise. However, there was no rule in this world without exceptions, and even if the other person was a prodigy who was the envy and expectation of the younger generation of the martial arts world, Bi Ryu-yeon was definitely not someone who would be intimidated by or care about such titles or auras.

    Therefore, Bi Ryu-yeon had no intention or need to treat Moyong Hwee with difficulty or awkwardness. Of course, he was not well aware of who Moyong Hwee was, a famous figure who had already made a name for himself in the martial arts world at a young age. If others knew about his ignorance, they would have fainted from shock.

    After exchanging their first greetings, they buried their evaluations of each other deep in their hearts, and Moyong Hwee silently began to unpack and organize his belongings. Bi Ryu-yeon’s eyes sparkled with interest as he watched Moyong Hwee take out and arrange his belongings one by one. There was something noteworthy about his packing. And the more Bi Ryu-yeon watched him gradually organize his belongings, the paler his complexion became. What was he surprised about now? After silently observing Moyong Hwee’s actions for a while, Bi Ryu-yeon put an end to his patience and opened his mouth. His question was filled with curiosity.

    “Do you have to do it like that? Do you want to do it that way?”

    “What do you mean?”

    Moyong Hwee continued his actions silently and raised his obsidian-like eyes to look at Bi Ryu-yeon. Even during the conversation, his actions did not stop and continued.

    “I mean, do you have to arrange your belongings at right angles like that? It’s not like you’re surveying or anything, so there’s no need to arrange your belongings so neatly as if measured with a ruler, right? Isn’t it tiring and troublesome?”

    “This is my original habit, so you don’t need to mind it!”

    Moyong Hwee answered bluntly. His belongings and luggage were so neatly arranged that it was enough to elicit admiration, as if measured with a ruler. Even just looking at the bedding, the corners were perfectly squared, making the edges look like terrifying weapons.

    It wasn’t as if he was risking his life for cleaning and organizing, but judging by how he meticulously and flawlessly organized each and every one of his belongings, Moyong Hwee seemed to have a kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. A terrifying disorder characterized by an excessive love for cleanliness, unable to obtain peace of mind if one’s surroundings are messy. It is also called “Infinite Cleaning Disorder.” The exact treatment method for this disorder, which cannot tolerate even a single speck of fine dust floating in the air, has not yet been revealed.

    It was a thorough and meticulous arrangement that made one suspect symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder, without a single misalignment or deviation to be found. It was incomparable to Bi Ryu-yeon, who roughly scattered everything. However, although Bi Ryu-yeon admired Moyong Hwee’s perfectly angled and flawless arrangement of his belongings, it was purely an admiration for his perseverance and courage in wasting his time and energy. It was merely an admiration for his uniqueness, and he had no intention of doing the same. He still firmly believed himself to be a normal person.

    Watching Moyong Hwee, Bi Ryu-yeon recalled the saying, “Excess is worse than deficiency”. That’s how much his obsessive-compulsive disorder and perfectionism were excessive. Just a moment ago, he had been worried that the year might be boring, but the moment he saw Moyong Hwee’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, he suddenly thought that it might not be quite so. Of course, it would never be pleasant.

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