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    Obtaining Intelligence on Bi Ryu-yeon

    At the same moment Bi Ryu-yeon turned Wi Ji-cheon’s sleeve into a blood-soaked rag, Baek Mu-yeong, the brain of the Nine Profound Society, was suffering from a constant headache because of two men. He was overworking his brain with a thought process that was easily three times greater than usual due to those two. He was on the verge of his brain exploding from another piece of new information that had just come in.

    “Is this true?”

    Of course, it would be true, but it was such an absurd piece of information that Baek Mu-yeong momentarily stared at Il Bi, who was standing in front of him. There had never been an error in the information brought by Il Bi, a member of the intelligence unit directly under the Bi-yeong Pavilion, and he firmly believed in his abilities. After all, he was the leader of the Ten Shadows Division, the best intelligence organization that the Heavenly Martial Academy boasted of. He quickly and frankly admitted his mistake.

    “I misspoke.”

    Il Bi also silently nodded his head. It was a sign that he wouldn’t take it too seriously. Baek Mu-yeong looked at the report again with a solemn face. He seemed displeased that the report contained facts that would shock him. He didn’t want to overwork his brain any further, but the surrounding circumstances didn’t seem to allow it.

    “I never imagined that he would have a connection with Master Blazing Blade. I can’t believe that person, who dislikes socializing with others so much, caused an incident with him.”

    Baek Mu-yeong referred to Blazing Blade as a master. It was because he had already become one of the warriors of the Heavenly Martial Academy. The content written in the report was about a very unpleasant incident that had occurred at the Tiger Fang Manor some time ago. He had speculated that Bi Ryu-yeon might have some connection to the Tiger Fang Manor incident, but he had not expected him to be so deeply involved with an unexpected person.

    “Then, should we consider him as Master Blazing Blade’s successor?”

    First, he hypothesized whether that man named Bi Ryu-yeon could be Blazing Blade’s disciple. However, it seemed unlikely.

    “According to the witness’s testimony, it didn’t appear to be the case.”

    “Of course. Even looking at the color of his hair, there is no indication that he has mastered the Wha-ryeong Divine Art. If he was skilled enough to rank first in the special exam, it’s clear that he possesses martial arts above a certain level, but it’s evident that his martial arts are not the Wha-ryeong Divine Art. The martial arts he used in the special exam were not the Wha-ryeong Divine Art either. The weapon he currently carries is not a sword…”

    Thinking about it, he realized that Bi Ryu-yeon did not carry a weapon on his person.

    “Right now, the most reasonable assumption would be that he is a master of bare-handed techniques. If that’s not the case, he could be a truly fearsome individual.”

    “Why is that?”

    Il Bi, who had been silent until now, opened his mouth and asked. He knew very well that the person in front of him enjoyed answering when asked questions like this occasionally. Responding to the superior’s amusement was also one of the subordinate’s duties.

    “It’s obvious. How could someone who possesses the skills to conceal his true techniques and enter the Heavenly Martial Academy, even ranking first, be an ordinary person?”

    “That can’t be.”

    Il Bi readily agreed with his opinion. As always, there was no room for rebuttal in Baek Mu-yeong’s opinion.

    “I hope this prediction is wrong. It would be best if it ended up being a mere misunderstanding. If even this prediction turns out to be true, we will have another formidable competitor. That would be a truly sad tragedy.”

    If another rival of similar significance appeared in a situation where things were already complicated with just Moyong Hwee alone, the situation would become so entangled like a mess that it would be impossible to handle. The current state of confusion was no different from their defeat.

    “Currently, the situation is uncertain with just Moyong Hwee, the Seven Absolute Divine Swords. If another major variable emerges besides him, we may not be able to handle it. Shall we eliminate him?”

    Baek Mu-yeong said, looking at Il Bi. Although he said that, both Il Bi and Baek Mu-yeong knew very well that they couldn’t do that. They couldn’t unnecessarily expand the matter beyond what was needed. After all, they were the descendants of the orthodox and prestigious Nine Profound Society. If they tried to change the situation through cowardly tricks, how would they be any different from the evil sect? As long as their minds were intact, they had no intention of committing the folly of smearing their own faces with excrement.

    “I will increase surveillance.”

    “And please focus more on gathering information. There is a severe lack of information compared to other individuals.”

    Baek Mu-yeong added.

    “Understood. I will mobilize the Bi-yeong Pavilion agents and concentrate more on intelligence gathering.”

    Since he had made a promise, Baek Mu-yeong would be able to face the piles of reports on his desk within a few days. He trusted Il Bi. And so far, Il Bi had never disappointed him.

    “He really likes to associate with peculiar individuals. Every person he has met cannot be taken lightly.”

    Il Bi neither commented nor objected to his words. He simply melted into the darkness and listened to his words.

    “Just based on the individuals he has met so far, he qualifies as a dangerous person. Jin Seong-gon, Im Seong-jin, the Heavenly Academy Twin Ghosts Dang Cheol-gi and Cheon So-hae, Bi Yeon-tae… He seriously lacks the talent to meet decent human beings.”

    It was simply amazing how he could consistently meet and interact with such dangerous and mentally questionable troublemakers. However, for Baek Mu-yeong, he could not welcome Bi Ryu-yeon’s bizarre social skills. Bi Ryu-yeon’s actions gave him the impression of firecrackers connected in a long line. It was common sense that the power of firecrackers combined into one was dozens of times greater than when they were scattered as individual units. Reciting the names of the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy’s notorious individuals, each considered a major risk, Baek Mu-yeong was lost in thought for a moment. If left as it was, it was unpredictable in which direction the situation would develop. In the unlikely event that the possibility was very slim, if the firecrackers tied together exploded simultaneously from a stray spark, the Nine Profound Society swept up in that explosion would not survive unscathed. The mere existence of a possibility, no matter how small, was a sufficient reason. It was imperative to minimize the risk of a situation that was extremely dangerous and likely to lead to the worst-case scenario.

    “Let’s impose some restrictions.”

    He finally made a decision. It was a much more constructive idea than standing by and getting hit in the back of the head. Besides, wouldn’t there be much more to gain by probing into it?

    “Who will you send?”

    “Since they belong to the Sword Soul Hall, let’s send Chul Il-tae of the One Silver Shadow.”

    “You mean him?”

    Il Bi’s brow slightly furrowed. It was an attitude that he could not actively support Baek Mu-yeong’s opinion.

    “Are you uncomfortable with entrusting the task to him?”

    Baek Mu-yeong asked, sensing Il Bi’s displeasure. He was not the type to easily reveal his emotions like this. Il Bi answered as if he had been waiting.

    “He is too frivolous to be called a member of the Nine Profound Society. Have you already forgotten what kind of person he is? It would be better to be more prudent in selecting personnel.”

    Il Bi was cautious in every way.

    “I have also heard that he has forgotten his duty to the sword and is absorbed in the art of concealment and stealth. I heard he even obtained a nickname related to that. ‘One Silver Shadow,’ it seems to be an expression of his confidence in being able to conceal his body without a shadow even in broad daylight.”

    “He is a descendant of the Nine Profound Society, yet he neglects the sword and is absorbed in trivial techniques. I fear that entrusting a task to such a person will once again bring disgrace to the honor of the Nine Profound Society.”

    “You don’t trust his character and disposition.”

    “Of course. Rather than trusting his character…”

    Il Bi barely swallowed his words, trying to say that he would rather trust the character of a stray dog passing by.

    “He is a person truly entangled in distrust. But wouldn’t that make it more interesting?”

    “Pardon?”

    It was a remark that was hard to believe coming from the mouth of someone who knew better than anyone that this matter was not something to discuss for fun.

    “There is a saying, ‘Fight poison with poison.’ If both sides harm each other, there is nothing more I, no, we, the Nine Profound Society, could ask for. Wouldn’t it be a waste not to utilize what can be utilized?”

    Although his character and integrity were not trustworthy, his skills could not be disparaged. Objectively, in terms of martial arts, he was someone whose skills could not be ignored by anyone. It would have been perfect if his character matched his skills, but not everything in the world goes as smoothly as one would like.

    “I understand.”

    As if convinced, Il Bi nodded his head. And he secretly hoped that he would be dealt with together on this occasion. ‘If only that could happen, there would be nothing more to wish for.’

    “But there is one thing I’m curious about.”

    Baek Mu-yeong, who had barely convinced Il Bi, asked.

    “What do you mean?”

    “I didn’t know that you, as a member of the Bi-yeong Pavilion, had such a low regard for the art of concealment and stealth. Trivial techniques, you say? It’s truly unexpected.”

    Come to think of it, that’s right. For an intelligence agent of the Bi-yeong Pavilion, who lives and breathes secrecy, the art of concealment and stealth was the most important skill. It was a matter of life and death. Yet, to dismiss it as a mere trivial technique…

    “I am also a member of the Nine Profound Society. Compared to the boundless path contained within the sword, the art of concealment and stealth is just one of the insignificant derivative techniques. I learned it out of necessity, but I do not like it.”

    Il Bi’s thoughts were resolute.

    “That is truly a contradiction. You, who possess the most outstanding concealment techniques in the Ten Shadows Division, dislike concealment techniques the most. It’s the exact opposite of Chul Il-tae. It’s understandable why you dislike Chul Il-tae so much.”

    “Are there any specific instructions to give?”

    Il Bi changed the subject, as it was not a topic that would be good to prolong. Baek Mu-yeong did not persist any further.

    “Tell him that the method is up to him. After all, even if I tell him the method, he’s not the type to act according to it, right? It would be a waste of effort to teach him clever tricks.”

    He didn’t want to waste his mind in vain. Il Bi actively agreed with Baek Mu-yeong’s opinion this time. It was unimaginable that someone as whimsical as him would properly carry out the instructions. As expected of the Heavenly Martial Academy’s top brain, his ability to judge people was accurate. And he also knew well how to use them most efficiently and effectively.

    “Understood.”

    “Then, good luck.”

    It was a signal to leave. Il Bi, having finished his business, disappeared like a phantom as always. Even if he himself disparaged his own concealment and stealth techniques, no one could disparage his skills.

    “The pillar of the righteous faction is none other than our Nine Great Sects. We have no intention of handing it over to anyone else. Therefore, it is time to prepare ourselves.”

    In the dark office where he was left alone, he muttered to himself. Baek Mu-yeong, who wanted to rest quietly, soon found himself holding his head again as the collision between Bi Ryu-yeon and Wi Ji-cheon was reported. The rest he was taking now was a precious but fleeting rest. For the time being, he would be in a pitiful state of not being able to rest comfortably even if he wanted to. The cause of all this stemmed from Bi Ryu-yeon.

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