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    Chapter 25: The Main Road

    In front of the main gate of Wongak Pavilion, on the street around noon.

    A maid from the Wongak Pavilion maid team was almost monopolizing the attention of those around.

    “Heh. I’ve always heard that the maids of Luoyang Sword House are beautiful, but I never imagined even a mere maid would be this stunning.”

    “It must be that she was specially selected to serve the Eldest Young Master, right?”

    As two people in splendid silk clothes spoke, another joined in.

    “Perhaps she’s a maid designated for receiving guests, don’t you think?”

    Fitting for those from merchant families and businesses, they naturally mingled and conversed.

    “Haha. That must be it, right?”

    “Such maids wouldn’t be seen emptying chamber pots, doing laundry, or engaging in menial outdoor tasks.”

    “Of course. Besides, there would be servants for that. Why would maids like her get their hands wet?”

    The middle-aged men in silk laughed together.

    Just then, another middle-aged man with a long beard joined the conversation, clicking his tongue.

    “It seems many of you haven’t had much experience with the Luoyang Sword House.”

    Although his words were somewhat blunt, those who could take offense at just this wouldn’t have survived in the cutthroat world of commerce.

    “Are you someone who frequents the Luoyang Sword House, then?”

    “Could you enlighten us on what we’re missing?”

    The bearded middle-aged man stroked his beard and gestured towards the maid.

    “Do you see the sword she carries on her back?”

    Everyone nodded in agreement.

    “We have eyes, too. How could we not see the sword?”

    Then, the man with the long beard spoke in a lower voice.

    “People from the Luoyang Sword House never carry swords just for show or decoration.”

    “Is that so?”

    “Why is that?”

    As everyone showed interest, the man with the long beard looked proud.

    “To bear a sword in the Luoyang Sword House signifies readiness to draw it at any moment. It’s a declaration of one’s status as a martial artist.” 

    The people around were impressed.

    “So, are you saying that this maid is also a sword master?!”

    “Surely she’s not a martial artist with internal energy?”

    Everyone waved their hands dismissively.

    “Haha. Make some sense. How could a sword master with internal energy be merely a maid?”

    “Just because one is a warrior doesn’t mean they’re all martial artists. Even for the renowned Luoyang Sword House, that’s just common sense.”

    Then, a woman’s voice was heard.

    “In our main family, a warrior with internal energy is not called a martial artist but a warrior.”

    As they turned around in surprise, the Eldest Young Master’s maid, who had been the topic of their conversation, was there.

    Their surprise stemmed not only from the maid’s impressive martial skills, which allowed her to overhear their private conversation.

    But there was something even more astonishing.

    “Oh dear, my apologies.”

    “We were not speaking ill behind your back, please understand.”

    “Your martial skills are truly remarkable.”

    Their conversation took place in front of Wongak Pavilion, at a pavilion.

    And it was on the second floor.

    Astonishingly, the maid from Wongak Pavilion was now standing on the railing of the second floor, speaking to them.

    With a smile on her lips, she said to them,

    “And it seems you were curious, I am both a steward of Wongak Pavilion and a warrior.”

    Her hand flashed.

    None of those present could follow the movement of her hand.

    It seemed as if only a breeze had passed by, but the colorful purses they had been carrying at their sides were all now in her hand.

    “Wow! Impressive!”

    “What excellent skill!”

    Everyone clapped and did not skimp on their praise, their faces lit up with excitement.

    Even those who had been watching from the sidelines sent their applause her way.

    As they each retrieved their purses one by one, she bowed slightly in response to their compliments.

    “If I am a maid to the Eldest Young Master, not just any maid of the Luoyang Sword House, I must live up to that.”

    They all nodded, snorting in agreement.

    “Indeed, befitting the Eldest Young Master.”

    “A maid worthy of the Eldest Young Master of the Great Luoyang Sword House!”

    They were aware that Yeon So-hyeon was sometimes called a ‘swordless master’ in some circles, but as people from the merchant class, none of them cared about such matters.

    “Hehe, thank you.”

    She asked them politely,

    “You do know that the master is not receiving guests without prior appointments, right?”

    Everyone nodded.

    “We’ve already heard from others.”

    She inquired further,

    “Then, why are you waiting here?”

    Their answers were not much different from what she had heard from others today.

    “Heh, in our trade circles, if someone important is involved, we dispatch someone just to keep an eye on the situation.”

    “Exactly. Moreover, it’s not just anywhere but the Eldest Young Master of Luoyang Sword House ending his seclusion. How could a trading company or merchant association in Hanam Province not check on this?”

    “And if we get to meet someone working inside and get acquainted, wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake?”

    They laughed heartily.

    She covered her mouth and laughed along.

    “Since we’re talking about fate, let me clear up one of your curiosities.”

    Eager eyes from the crowd gathered around the maid.

    “Oh! I’m curious to know what you’ll clarify.”

    With a graceful smile, she began,

    “There are no servants in Wongak Pavilion.

    All the menial tasks are handled by the maid team I belong to.”

    She added,

    “Emptying chamber pots, doing the laundry, and even the dirty work outside, it’s all done by us.”

    She had been bustling along the main road, listening to their entire conversation.

    “Even plowing the fields and tending to the cows, hehe.”

    Just as they were about to feel embarrassed, she bowed to them.

    “I must leave now, as I have duties to attend to.”

    As she elegantly flipped through the air to land on the main road, they burst into admiration from behind.

    “Maidens tending to fields and cattle?!”

    “Did you say a maid team? So, each one of them is a martial artist?!”

    “To have such maidens under his command, truly befitting the Eldest Young Master of the Great Luoyang Sword House!”

    At that moment, someone from another pavilion shouted.

    “It’s the Medicine King! The Medicine King has appeared!”

    Everyone rushed to the railing.

    Not just at that pavilion, but all along the main road, people from each waiting area were craning their necks to see outside.

    “Ahem. These folks. Seeing a renowned elder like myself in person is a rare opportunity, and it seems they’re all out of their minds with excitement.”

    The one who emerged with a swagger was the Medicine King, returning home early today.

    However, the crowd’s reaction was not quite what he expected.

    “…That old man is the famous Medicine King?”

    “He looks shabby? Not much to look at, either.”

    “With the way he’s strutting around, that old man can’t possibly be the Medicine King. I’ve heard he possesses the dignified aura of a lofty immortal.”

    The Medicine King’s face turned a mix of red and purple as the harsh words flew at him from the surrounding buildings.

    “These people… have eyes only for decoration, do they?!”

    Just then, a woman dressed in Wongak Pavilion’s maid uniform appeared in front of the Medicine King with graceful light-footedness and offered a polite greeting.

    It was the same maid who had been asking about the business of those at the pavilion.

    “Your Excellency Medicine King. You’re returning home early today.”

    She took a small bundle from the Medicine King.

    His mood improved immediately, and a pleased smile spread across his face.

    “Mm, I have to go out again around evening.”

    “Being as busy as you are, Medicine King, must be quite the task.”

    “Heh, well, yes. For someone like me, it’s inevitable to be swamped with both public and private affairs.”

    Walking beside the maid, his eyes grew drowsy.

    “It seems you might occasionally suffer from chest pains, right? A few times of palpation by me, no, not just a simple massage, and I could quickly tell.”

    She covered her mouth and laughed.

    “Our health is directly looked after by our master, so we are in good hands. But thank you for your concern, sir.”

    “Ah?! That wretched guy again?!”

    As they passed through the gate and entered gracefully, people murmured among themselves.

    “…It seems he really is the Medicine King.”

    “Seeing him in person, he does seem a bit eccentric for an old man, but well, aren’t all rumors somewhat exaggerated?”

    Some nodded in a different context.

    “Only someone as renowned as the Medicine King could receive such hospitality and enter Wongak Pavilion like that.”

    “Goodness, shouldn’t we be more amazed that the Medicine King is staying at Luoyang Sword House’s Wongak Pavilion?!”

    “Ah, now that you mention it, indeed!”

    While they were buzzing with conversation and exchanging thoughts, someone shouted from across the main road.

    “The elder of Luoyang Sword House is approaching! Show your respect!”

    At that command, everyone straightened up and adopted a more formal demeanor.

    However, they didn’t stop looking outside.

    Those in less advantageous spots poured out onto the street, taking up positions on both sides.

    Ahead of them, a procession of armed warriors arrived first.

    The sight of these warriors, who would be respected anywhere in the Central Plains, marching in step, caused a stir among the crowd.

    “Fully armed warriors…!”

    “Look at the flag they’re carrying. It reads ‘Sword Mountain Breaker’…”

    “Sword Mountain Breaker Yeom Gwak-chu…!”

    “Is that the same Sword Mountain Breaker who defeated the Sword Lord of Huashan with a thousand moves?”

    “The hero of the Northern War!”

    Following the warriors, the maidens of Elder Yeom moved with modest grace.

    “Those maidens are quite beautiful too!”

    “Heh, I’d take any one of them as a bride in a heartbeat.”

    Yet, there was also this reaction from some:

    “…But doesn’t that maid from Wongak Pavilion feel more special?”

    “Probably because those maidens are just beauties, and that maid was a warrior.”

    Their whispers ceased as their eyes widened like lanterns.

    “The White Tiger!”

    “Have you ever seen such a large tiger before?!”

    “Look at it matching steps with the others! It must be a spiritual creature!”

    And on the back of that White Tiger, they could see a woman riding sideways.

    She was dressed in an incomparably elegant court dress, with her face veiled.

    “Have you ever heard of such a lady in the Sword House? Her grace is unparalleled.”

    “She must be related to Sword Mountain Breaker. Perhaps she’s a beloved lady or maybe an acquaintance accompanying Sword Mountain Breaker.”

    From the back, people began to fall silent one by one.

    Soon, the crowd was engulfed in silence.

    They dared not lift their heads, only staring at the ground.

    Emerging behind the giant White Tiger, accompanied by guards, was a figure with the build of three strong men tied together.

    Yet, more than his size or his fierce appearance, what drew more attention was the dark-colored greatsword hanging on his back.

    That greatsword, which an ordinary person wouldn’t dare to lift, was the very one known to have defeated the Sword Lord of Huashan with a thousand moves.

    As the procession reached the main gate of Wongak Pavilion, he stepped forward.

    The woman riding the White Tiger followed him.

    The special task force guarding the main gate spotted him and simultaneously performed a fist salute, shouting,

    “We welcome the elder of the main house!”

    He graciously acknowledged their salute with a formal gesture.

    “Notify the inside. This Elder Yeom of the main house humbly requests an audience with the Eldest Young Master, accompanied by his daughter.”

    ~ End of Volume 4 ~

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