The warrior’s Rebirth Chapter 8

The warrior’s Rebirth Chapter 8

Chapter 5. Gathering Gazes -01

Seok Jinho’s quarters had changed a lot in the last few days. Previously, people would only come to deliver food ingredients or clothes, but now there were visitors almost every day. It was mostly the servants who came unnecessarily, loitering around the residence.

“Is the young master in the backyard?”

“Should we sneak a peek inside?”

“What reason do we have to go in? Have you forgotten how Jang Chil got in trouble when he went without thinking?”

“Well, that’s true.”

A servant in his mid-teens swallowed his saliva. He’d witnessed with his own eyes his close brother, Jang Chil, boldly seeking out Seok Jinho and being scolded severely, which left him stuttering unintentionally. He still couldn’t forget the chilly gaze from that time.

“It was terrifying, wasn’t it?”

“It was no joke. He spoke logically and clearly that I had nothing to counter with.”

“He really has changed. And gotten much stronger.”

“It’s all thanks to his daily training routine.”

The gaze of the youth who replied scanned the surroundings of the residence. It wasn’t just the two of them loitering near the Moon Gate; there were servants of various ages blatantly hanging around, waiting for Seok Jinho to appear.

“But where did he learn his martial arts? The techniques in the martial arts storeroom are all of a low level. The advanced techniques that could be called supreme skills are supposedly managed by the head of the household.”

“There are countless eccentric characters in the martial arts world. Maybe he was secretly taught a secret supreme technique by a hermit. Or, he might have had some fortuitous encounter.”

“And Tak Yun brother reaped the benefits of that, huh.”

The pupils of the two boys shone brightly. The rumor that Tak Yun had saved some servants from back alley thugs in the marketplace had spread across the entire Seokga Village in less than half a day. For the warriors, it might have been nothing significant, but for the servants, it was a profound shock, particularly because Tak Yun, who was also a servant and of third-rate skill, had learned martial arts and managed to beat up the ruffians who practice brawling every day. He didn’t just take down one, but five all by himself, which is why the news spread so quickly among the servants.

“If we catch the young master Seok Jinho’s eye, we too could become warriors.”

“It would be a complete reversal of our lives!”

“There’s no reason for us to remain servants forever, right? Even if we only learned second-rate martial arts, we could work as couriers for a courier service. We could skip over being carriers.”

“And maybe even become a first-rate warrior. Like those high-guard warriors.”

Their young faces carried a dreamy expression as they imagined themselves as powerful martial arts masters dominating the martial arts world. And that same sentiment was shared by all those lurking around them.

“Hey, Tak Yun.”

“Yes, brother.”

“Is there really no way? Even when I’m asking this much?”

“Well, that’s…”

Tak Yun’s face contorted in discomfort. It wasn’t just anyone asking, but Jung Ma-ryong, a close acquaintance who once took care of him when he had no other friends, so Tak Yun couldn’t bring himself to outright refuse the request. If they were only acquaintances, he would’ve firmly declined, but because of the bond they shared, he ended up trailing off awkwardly.

“It’s not too much to ask. Just casually mention it in passing, can’t you? We’re no ordinary acquaintances, after all. And do you think I’ve come empty-handed?”

“Ah, I can’t accept this.”

Tak Yun’s face turned to shock as he felt the familiar texture of what was thrust into his hand, and he vigorously shook his head. It wasn’t a large sum, but even so, he couldn’t accept it – he wasn’t naive enough not to know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

“Please, just this once, can’t you convey a message for me? You know what I’ve always dreamed of.”

“…Yes, I do.”

“And you know I’m running out of time. Plus, young master Seok Jinho will turn eighteen in nine months. Time really is of the essence.”

Despite Tak Yun’s repeated refusals, Jung Ma-ryong spoke with a face that looked ready to cry at any moment. At this point, Seok Jinho was his only hope. Moreover, Seok Jinho had transformed Tak Yun into a martial artist in such a short time, and he was only a year younger than Tak Yun.

“Although, as you know, I don’t have that ability.”

“I know, but you could at least try to mention it. Even if not by blood, you and the young master are like brothers, having grown up together. If you mention it, perhaps he might arrange a meeting?”

Jung Ma-ryong’s voice trembled fiercely. Ever since he began to dream of becoming a warrior, he had traveled through every courier service in North Hubei province. It made sense for him to, as some of the larger courier services would teach basic martial arts to their porters. Unfortunately, Jung Ma-ryong had never been able to enter such courier services, and instead drifted from one place to another before finally ending up in Seokga Village. However, he did not give up his dream, as Seokga Village boasted several prominent high-guard warriors and direct family protectors; he was determined to catch their eyes.

Yet, here he was, with nothing to show for it.

“Urgh!”

“This is the last time. If it doesn’t work out this time, I’ll truly give up. I’m not getting any younger.”

He hadn’t wasted a single moment; he could proudly claim he’d lived more diligently than anyone else. It was just that he lacked talent and had not learned any exceptional martial arts. Nevertheless, Jung Ma-ryong had almost five years of practice in the Three Talents Energy Technique, the Three Talents Sword Technique, and the Three Talents Steps.

“I’ll try talking, but don’t get your hopes up too high. You know the young master’s personality.”

“Thank you so much! I’m really grateful!”

Jung Ma-ryong’s face was etched with gratitude. This was an immense opportunity for him. Although Tak Yun was sincere and kind-hearted, that didn’t mean he was altogether naïve. He had a good memory and clearly remembered those who’d treated him poorly or differently since childhood, which is why only a very few could enter Seok Jinho’s quarters.

“It’s still early to be happy.”

“To even offer to talk is more than I can ask for. Look around, there are plenty of kids just loitering. You know, right?”

“How could I not?”

Tak Yun nodded. How could he not know, when people dragged him aside daily to plead with him?

“What’s all this racket about?”

“Young master.”

“Aren’t you getting too distracted by these kids?”

Sweaty as if he’d come from training, Seok Jinho frowned as he spoke. Despite the unpleasant expression on his face, Jung Ma-ryong felt his legs go weak as if he were a prey in front of a predator – he instinctively swallowed.

“It’s not that bad.”

“Chase them all out then. You can do that much now, right? If anyone talks back, use my name. It’s about time for that.”

“Hehe.”

Tak Yun chuckled at the confidence oozing from Seok Jinho’s demeanor. To others, it might seem arrogant, but he looked incredibly cool to Tak Yun, who knew that Seok Jinho had the ability to back up his words.

“Yo-young master!”

“What is it, you?”

“I am Jung Ma-ryong!”

As Seok Jinho’s gaze turned to him, Tak Yun felt the oppressive atmosphere lighten. Seizing the moment, Jung Ma-ryong didn’t waste the opportunity he had been yearning for, bowing down before Seok Jinho.

“Jung Ma-ryong?”

“Yes! I mainly work in the kitchen, so I haven’t had many opportunities to meet you.”

“Seems likely. I can’t recall seeing you before.”

“Then we can grow familiar with time, ha ha!”

Jung Ma-ryong laughed affably. However, with his eager posture close to full prostration and his bright smile, he looked nothing more than a flattering eunuch. Oddly enough, he seemed to fit the part rather well.

“Your nerve isn’t bad. You seem to get along with Tak Yun.”

“We’re like brothers!”

“If you weren’t, you wouldn’t have been able to get this far.”

“That’s correct!”

Jung Ma-ryong responded with a booming voice. To him, Seok Jinho was his final lifeline. Should he fail to be recognized by Seok Jinho, his life’s peak might just be a third-level courier in a medium-sized courier service.

“Is your goal martial arts?”

“Yes!”

“You’re surprisingly honest.”

“Since you already know, I didn’t think there was any point in beating around the bush. Cunning people are hard to trust, are they not?”

“So, you’re trustworthy?”

Seok Jinho grinned. There was something amusing about the way Jung Ma-ryong spoke. After all, if rhetoric could be counted as a skill, then he had it. Besides, if he were on good terms with Tak Yun, his character must not be deplorable.

‘Even though I experienced discrimination in my youth and had almost no friends, for him to approach me with that face must mean he’s earned trust for a long time.’

Seok Jinho’s gaze shifted to Tak Yun, who was visibly restless and struggling to speak. It was clear he had something he wanted to say.

“At least you seem like a man who keeps trust.”

“That’s quite important in human relationships. But I don’t know you as Tak Yun does, nor do I have a reason to know you.”

“You’re right, sir. There’s no reason for you to spare your time for me personally. That’s why I’ll show you. Having many hands is better than few, isn’t it? I’ll show you what I can do that even Tak Yun can’t.”

“Hmm.”

Seok Jinho appeared interested by the passionately yelled words. Indeed, he wasn’t wrong. And Tak Yun was more like family than a servant. In that sense, Jung Ma-ryong’s words drew Seok Jinho’s curiosity.

“You there.”

“Yes, young master!”

Jung Ma-ryong carefully lifted his head, still not rejected outright, looking up at Seok Jinho with hopeful eyes.

“Do you know that you lack talent?”

“…Yes.”

Jung Ma-ryong’s face fell. Oddly enough, he took Seok Jinho’s evaluation at face value, despite the young master being a year younger than him.

“And yet, you still want to learn martial arts?”

“Yes. It was the first dream I ever had.”

“Being a martial artist isn’t as glamorous or as great as you think. A wandering warrior? It’s just a nice way of saying busybody. And there are no true wandering warriors, just those who need the pretense of honor.”

Seok Jinho let out a sardonic chuckle. He had met only genuine three wandering warriors in his many lifetimes. The others were either politicians or fabricated wandering warriors.

“But the opposite is also true, isn’t it? That’s the value. Ah, not that I want to become a wandering warrior. I just want to live freely as a martial artist, to say what I want. I know the weight of martial arts and that at any time and place, I could die.”

“Even if you become a martial artist, nothing will change. You’ll still be in a world where the strong prey on the weak. If you’re weak, you get eaten, used by others.”

“That’s something I have experienced firsthand. Moreover, I believe dreams aren’t dreamed for a reason.”

With clear and unwavering eyes, Jung Ma-ryong responded. Seok Jinho was momentarily reminded of a memory from long ago.



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