The warrior’s Rebirth Chapter 64

The Warrior's Rebirth

Chapter 25. The Grand Opening -03 >

Seok Jin-ho’s face grew cold as he read the letter without hesitation.

The more he read, the more preposterous the contents seemed to be.

This prompted Seok Jin-ho to crumple the paper he was halfway through reading roughly.

There was no further need to read on.

Whoosh!

“Still hasn’t come to his senses, I see.”

Seok Jin-ho cleanly burned the letter with the technique of Sammaejinhwa, then tore open another one, this time from his second brother Seok Gi-ryong.

He could guess what it might contain, but Seok Jin-ho still unfolded the letter to check.

“Hmph.”

As expected, the message was much the same.

The tone differed slightly; although Seok Jin-ryong’s words bore a disrespectful bluntness, Seok Gi-ryong maintained a semblance of politeness. However, the substance was identical.

Seok Jin-ho’s brow furrowed when the letter mentioned Baeknyeonhongpae – whether Seok Mi-ryong had deliberately leaked information or the two brothers had luckily uncovered it was unclear.

“From Seok Mi-ryong’s perspective, either situation isn’t too unfavorable.”

Muttering to himself and stroking his chin, Seok Jin-ho pondered.

In any case, both outcomes seemed not to harm Seok Mi-ryong.

Although it was slightly disadvantageous if the information had been revealed involuntarily.

“A dispute over succession is bound to surface at some point.”

If it had been exposed, Seok Mi-ryong would have been the one to exploit it.

However, the problem was the annoyance it caused Seok Jin-ho.

“Well, either way, it doesn’t matter. I have a monopoly on it for the time being.”

While burning the letter from Seok Gi-ryong, Seok Jin-ho murmured to himself.

He could sell the information covertly, but he had no intention to do so.

Unlike Seok Mi-ryong, Seok Jin-ho had no particular friendship with the others, nor a good relationship, so he decided to ignore them.

“But I think I need to warn them at least once. After all, I’m not subordinate to them.”

Recalling the insolent tone of another letter from Seok Jin-ryong, Seok Jin-ho spoke coldly.

The boy hadn’t even secured the position of Master of the Collection yet and was issuing orders as if he were the head of the Seok family, which Seok Jin-ho found preposterous.

At the same time, he felt it curious.

They still seemed to think of him as the same old Seok Jin-ho, one to be looked down upon.

“Lacking sense of reality, or just refusing to acknowledge the truth. Or perhaps it’s both.”

Seok Jin-ho chuckled, then walked to the window with Heukhwi perched on his shoulder, having heard a familiar voice from the backyard.

“Are you okay?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Don’t act tough. It’s clear you’re having trouble walking.”

Chae So-seol smacked her brother on the back, but unlike his usual unaffected self, Chae So-gang winced noticeably.

“Augh!”

“See! How can you say you’re okay?”

“It’s just the first day. It’s only because I’m using muscles I haven’t used before that they’re a bit sore.”

“I still think you should give up on learning martial arts. It’s too dangerous.”

Chae So-seol looked at Chae So-gang with concern.

Knowing the reasons behind his decision made her want to dissuade him all the more.

“There’s no such thing as a safe job in this world. Even people who are not martial artists meet unforeseen ends. I’d rather learn martial arts than that.”

“What about me? Do I have to wait in fear every day for my brother?”

Chae So-gang’s decision wasn’t made without thought. “And you know this is a big opportunity, don’t you?”

“…”

Instead of responding, Chae So-seol bit her lower lip.

Although young, she was not ignorant of the world.

She realized the opportunity to be under Seok Jin-ho’s tutelage was rare, yet her worries overshadowed any joy.

“I’m not just looking at martial arts. You know how much the head of the house takes care of the innkeeper, as well as our two elder brothers, right? Despite not sharing a drop of blood, how carefully he takes care of them.”

“It’s still dangerous. What about your own life?”

“Rather than being dragged around by the world without making any choices, this is much better. And don’t be mistaken, it’s not a decision made just for you. It’s a decision I made for myself too.”

“Hmph.”

Chae So-seol gave Chae So-gang a sidelong glare with moist eyes.

She knew all too well that beneath his indifferent words, he cared deeply, and no matter what she said, he wouldn’t change his mind.

“It was a good offer for me. I also thought I should repay the kindness of the innkeeper, or should I say, the madam. You remember who reached out to help us when we were most in need, don’t you?”

“…I’ll repay her too.”

“So let’s repay her together, okay? If one is indebted, one should always repay it. That’s the way of humans.”

“Don’t talk like Dad. You’re only a year older than me.”

Chae So-seol wiped her eyes roughly with her sleeve and pouted. There was only an 11-month difference between them, yet he spoke as if he were her father, which she found incredulous.

Nevertheless, Chae So-gang was firm.

“Even if there’s not much of an age difference, I’m still your older brother, and that’s an unchanging fact. And I’m the head of the family.”

“Hmph!”

As if all her troubles had blown away, Chae So-seol sniffed and turned her back.

With defiant footsteps, she walked toward the kitchen, and Chae So-gang smiled the smile of a father.

“I’ll make sure you’re happy. Because your happiness is my happiness.”

In a voice that Chae So-seol could not hear, Chae So-gang murmured softly, as though making a promise.

However, he was unaware that Seok Jin-ho had heard those words, which he thought were murmured to himself.

Meow.

And, a cat had joined the scene.

As dusk approached, the first floor of Ha Jung Inn was bustling with customers.

Since the food was both delicious and reasonably priced, it naturally attracted more patrons.

Moreover, in the evening, the trainees of Seungcheon Martial Arts Hall would come in after completing their training, which made the inn seem even more successful and attracted curious customers.

“The food here seems even better than what we get at Seokpung Couriers.”

“Me too. Honestly, the food there isn’t great. It’s just that since it’s free, we eat it.”

“If only there were a greater variety of choices.”

“Then buy it.”

Two individuals who had joined Seokpung Couriers around the same time teased each other while eating stir-fried hard tofu and fish soup.

Thanks to the inn’s location near the coast, the fish soup was surprisingly rich, despite seeming lacking in ingredients, and it made them exclaim in admiration once more.

“Where would I get the money for that? I’m barely earning a salary as I’m in training.”

“At least we’re growing stronger every day. If we had to choose all over again, we’d still pick Seungcheon Martial Arts Hall.”

“Of course. Do you think opportunities like this come often? I bet the competition will be even fiercer next time.”

“I heard they might start selecting based on potential in the next round. Maybe they’ll only choose the ones who show some promise.”

As his companion spoke, Wi Seung-cheok nodded.

He, too, thought the competition would become steeper.

Not that they had dramatically increased their martial prowess in a mere month, but everyone felt it.

They had noticed a change in their own bodies.

‘Our qi hasn’t grown much, but our physical abilities have improved significantly.’

On the surface, it might seem like relentless drilling, but astonishingly, it had been effective.

Wi Seung-cheok knew this better than anyone, and each day, he became more confident.

Although he was constantly being defeated by Tak Yoon, he felt that with a little effort, he could catch up to Jeong Ma-ryung.

“Ah, I really want a drink. Even a sip of cheap Zukyeop cheongju would be amazing right now.”

“I feel the craving for a drink too, but if you drink now, you’ll be kicked out the same day. Absolute sobriety during training.”

“That’s why I’m complaining. If not for that rule, I would’ve ordered some time ago.”

Mok Chun-gap licked his lips longingly.

As he did so, his eyes enviously scanned the others around who were indulging in their drinks.

He was desperately tempted to stealthily sip just one glass of liquor, but knowing how uncompromising Seok Jin-ho’s temperament was, he dared only to imagine it.

“Doesn’t it seem like there are more customers lately?”

“I heard it’s even hard to find a vacant room now.”

“How did you know that?”

“I’ve become friendly with the staff who clean the rooms. We chat when we see each other.”

Wi Seung-cheok looked surprised.

Unlike himself, who barely exchanged greetings, Mok Chun-gap’s way of socializing was very different.

“That’s interesting.”

“I’m not as cold as you. Living like a rounded stone makes life smoother, you know? Even if it’s hard just to take care of oneself, being too isolated isn’t good. You never know what might happen.”

“Are you trying to learn a snippet of martial arts?”

“Hey. Whether it’s you or me, we’re permanent second-grade couriers. And saying second-grade makes it sound nicer than it is—we’re really just third-grade couriers with a bit more experience.”

Mok Chun-gap spoke self-deprecatingly.

Being second-grade couriers, they were always at risk of being outpaced by any third-grade courier.

And that’s why they were so eager to join the Seungcheon Martial Arts Hall.

“Why are you getting so serious? Let’s just enjoy our training and be in good spirits. And maybe our time in the sun will come someday.”

“You think it really will?”

“Surely putting up a struggle is better than lying around doing nothing.”

Wi Seung-cheok shrugged his shoulders.

As he did so, he thought of Seok Jin-ho.

Once scorned and ignored by his family, he had now become a person whom the Seok family head wanted to bring back by any means necessary—all in less than a year.

So Wi Seung-cheok believed there was also a chance for him and Mok Chun-gap.

“How dare you call this food!”

Smack!

As they were trying to shake off their thoughts about alcohol and fill their bellies, a loud voice sounded from not too far away, accompanied by the noise of a slap across the face.

“Sir, I swear everything was fine when I served it.”

“You saying I’m lying? Huh?!”

Jum So-i stumbled back to his feet after having been hit on his left cheek, which now sported a distinct handprint from Jang Han’s slap.

But before he could fully stand, Jum So-i was knocked down again when Jang Han slapped his other cheek.

This caused both of Jum So-i’s cheeks to swell up instantly.

“To bring… new food…”

“You’re trying to pass this off with some new food? My stomach’s already upset from this! What if I get sick from it tonight?”

“What, what should I do for you?”

Blood vessels in Jum So-i’s eyes looked like they were about to burst from the assault, his face red and shaking as he barely managed to pick himself up and speak.

He tried to force a smile, but it was hard with his bleeding lips.

“What should I do for you? Is it me who should find a solution or you? Huh?! Where’s the owner? Come out this instant!”

The teenage Jum So-i’s pupils shook violently when prompted to call the innkeeper unexpectedly.

And not just him – all the other servers who were restlessly watching the scene were equally anxious.

“Sir, please calm down a bit, and…”

“Do I look calm to you?! Finding a rat tail in the food I ordered!”

As Jang Han shouted, people from both the first and second floors, who had been eating, turned to look.

In turn, Jang Han’s voice grew louder, as if he was intentionally attracting attention.

“Man, that’s really noisy.”

“What bastard is that!”

“I’m staying here, you son of a—”

Wi Seung-cheok stood up.

At that moment, Jang Han faltered a bit.

His eyes quickly swept over Wi Seung-cheok’s body, noticing the short saber hanging at his waist.

And the threatening glint in Wi Seung-cheok’s eyes made Jang Han’s pupils waver for a second.

“Who are you to interfere!”

But the stage was set.

Retreating now would do him no good, so Jang Han raised his voice even louder.

“If there’s a problem, we should settle it quietly. It’s not just you here, but other guests as well. Don’t you think it’s too loud? This is a public inn, and respect and courtesy towards others are necessary. And…”

Chapter 25. The Grand Opening -03



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