‘Huh, where is the girl?’
Hyeonu instantly raised his magic power and used Mysterious Sky Steps. He was familiar enough with Buncheonru to walk around with eyes closed. The direction in which the girl disappeared was to the right. Currently, Hyeonu was on the fourth floor of Buncheonru, which was full of food stores. It was also a dead end.
“There is only one store on that side.’
It was a store that sold dumplings. Hyeonu soon appeared in front of that store. He took a light breath and entered it.
“Is anyone here?”
The store was ordinary. It was as colorful and moderately clean as any other store in Buncheonru.
“Do you have a group?” The staff member politely asked Hyeonu.
“I’m alone. Can’t I enter alone?” Hyeonu cocked his head. He looked relaxed and didn’t seem like he had chased someone. “What does this store sell? Dumplings?”
“Other guests usually say that our shrimp dumplings are the most delicious.”
“By the way, are you running it alone?”
Hyeonu replied with a smile, “It just seems different from other stores. The other stores are very crowded. There doesn’t seem to be any guests or staff members here.”
“Ah...! There is one more employee, and they’re coming soon. This is a store that I run together with my daughter.” It turned out that the man Hyeonu thought was an employee was actually the owner of the store.
A deep smile appeared on Hyeonu’s face. “Is that so? Why can’t I see anyone here then? I definitely saw someone come in here...”
Hyeonu’s words caused the store owner to emit a bloodlust-filled pressure. “Who are you?”
“What is this? I’m a guest who came to eat dumplings. Why are you looking at me like this? Is it the first time you’re seeing a guest?” Hyeonu ignored the owner’s pressure and acted casually.
“Then quietly eat the dumplings and get out.” The store owner turned his back to Hyeonu and headed to the kitchen.
Hyeonu spoke to the owner, “I don't know if the sky is clear. It looks like it will rain...”
The store owner’s shoulders shook subtly. Then he acted like nothing happened and went to the kitchen to prepare the food for Hyeonu. After a while, the dumplings came out, and Hyeonu’s eyes trembled upon seeing them. To be precise, he was looking at the person who brought the dumplings out, not the dumplings themselves.
The person was a long-haired girl. The girl who had been chased by Hyeonu had come out of the kitchen with the dumplings.
“The dumplings you ordered are here,” she said.
Hyeonu stared at the girl. There was something covering her face.
[Dignity of the Sect Leader is activated.]
[You can limit the movements of those who have learned the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art.]
It was proof that Hyeonu hadn’t come to the wrong place.
“Delicious. The dumplings, I mean,” Hyeonu remarked with a strange smile.
Inwardly, he was making a strong prayer. It was to prevent the girl in front of him from using magic power. At this moment, a voice that Hyeonu believed was the girl’s rang through his mind.
-P... Please stop for a moment, the girl stuttered with pain.
‘What? Is this a technique used by NPCs?’
Nevertheless, Hyeonu didn’t stop restricting the girl as she had a precedent of escaping.
‘Still... I have to listen in order for the quest to continue.’
The girl’s voice continued to run through Hyeonu’s head, insisting on her innocence. However, Hyeonu never stopped.
-I... I didn’t be... tray. He is my watcher...
The girl spoke up to there. She fell to the ground without finishing her words. It was the price of using magic power against the restriction.
“What’s going on?!” The owner in the kitchen rushed out when he heard the noise coming from outside.
“She just fell suddenly. I don’t know what’s going on,” Hyeonu stated.
The owner went over and hugged the fallen girl. Meanwhile, Hyeonu threw strange words toward the owner: “Ah, by the way. Do you know the store named ‘Department’? It is somewhere in Buncheonru, but it doesn’t seem easy to find. Can it be that I haven’t found it at all? Or...”
The owner carefully laid the girl down in a corner of the store. Then he said, “Department... I don’t know it. If you’ve finished eating, I’d like for you to pay the bill and leave.”
Hyeonu smiled at the store owner and lifted the plate of dumplings. “There are still many dumplings remaining.”
Hyeonu raised a steamed shrimp dumpling to his mouth and ate it. At the same time, he spat out words that made the store owner angry: “Oh, I mistook the name of the store. It isn’t Department; it’s Gucheon Secret Department. Do you know the Gucheon Secret Department?”
‘Let’s see how long you can stand it.’ Hyeonu enjoyed the situation that occurred after the girl who learned the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art appeared. To relieve his stress, Hyeonu taunted the owner and ate delicious dumplings. In any case, the clue for the quest had finally entered Hyeonu’s hand. He focused his senses on the girl. It was because he really couldn’t miss it this time.
Eventually, the store owner couldn’t stand it and swung a knife toward Hyeonu. “Die!”
The situation that Hyeonu desired was created.
“Who will die? You are too bloodthirsty,” Hyeonu said.
Along with his mischievous words, Hyeonu poured out everything he had toward the owner. Dignity, fighting energy, magic power, and Area Proclamation—they were all things that could limit the other person’s movements. A black-red energy grabbed the store owner’s body.
“What is this?!! Why am I not moving?” The store owner tried to move his body, but he was shaking uncontrollably and couldn’t actually move the way he wanted. The gap between him and Hyeonu was so large that Hyeonu could control the store owner’s movement itself.
“What should I do now?” Hyeonu asked quietly.
The store owner didn’t seem to understand the situation and screamed at Hyeonu, “Can’t you release me right away?”
However, Hyeonu wasn’t asking the store owner but instead the girl lying behind him. Hyeonu changed his plans when he was told this man was the girl’s watcher. In any case, he decided to listen to the girl. The girl’s closed eyes opened instantly.
“Kill him. He is just trash. After Master passed away, every day has been hell,” she said with a cold expression.
Hyeonu looked at the store owner and asked, “Did you hear that?”
“No!!” The store owner cried out.
Then Hyeonu stretched out his fist toward the man who couldn’t move. A black ray of light stretched out from Hyeonu’s fist and swallowed up the man. The black pure energy wiped him out without leaving any blood behind.
“Then talk now. What is going on? I’ll pretend to be deceived and listen once. Why betray the sect?” Hyeonu smiled while revealing his white teeth.
“I didn’t betray the sect. Really,” the girl expressed her innocence.
Her eyes were filled with resentment, but Hyeonu wasn’t going to believe it.
“So let’s talk. What is going on? Why did the sect leader die, and why are there so many people in Buncheonru who have learned the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art?” Hyeonu questioned.
“That... It is because of Chen Tai,” the girl answered.
“Chen Tai?” Hyeonu cocked his head at the name he was hearing for the first time. Still, he felt like he knew who this person was.
‘The other disciple. He said there were two.’
“What about him? In the letter I saw, it was written that both disciples are traitors. I don’t like useless avoidance. Isn’t it better to ask for forgiveness and then commit suicide?” Hyeonu came out strongly. Arena was a virtual reality game, not reality. He would only get the right results if he went out strongly.
“It really isn’t me. That guy... He is the child of the secret department leader. It’s said that he is aiming to be the next leader of the Gucheon Secret Department by learning the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art. I didn’t know about it until later.”
“So why didn’t you talk about it? Why didn’t you tell your master?”
“At that time, Master was doing something important and didn’t have time for Chen Tai and I. I was looking for an opportunity to speak... Then they came. I was taken to this place by Chen Tai,” the girl explained desperately.
She was trying to appeal to his emotions, but Hyeonu was expressionless.
‘The content is correct, but...’
The girl’s words fit the situation too well for Hyeonu to treat them as lies. The Mysterious Sky Sect Leader must’ve trained hard to get familiar with the complete Mysterious Sky Demonic Art that he acquired, so he would’ve naturally neglected his two disciples. The timing of the attack on the Mysterious Sky Sect was also right. It was written in the letter that he hadn’t passed on the complete Mysterious Sky Demonic Art. In an attempt to pay attention to his disciples again, he found out that they were spies from the secret department and was attacked.
‘There is nothing wrong with her words. So why isn’t the quest being updated?’
There was only one reason why the girl’s words were questionable—the quest. The quest wasn’t updating. Thus, he couldn’t believe the girl’s words.
“Then I will ask about Buncheonru.”
Hyeonu prepared the next question. It was about the forces hidden in Buncheonru. He wanted the place where the gold written in the ledger of the Seongho Group's master was sent, so he was going to ask for it.
“Yes, I will tell you everything I know,” the girl replied like she still had hope of being able to convince Hyeonu.
“How many places are related to the secret department here? Tell me everything. Don’t hide a single thing.”
“I know of three places—the jeweler ‘Golden Calf’ on the first floor, King Dumplings on the fourth floor, and the seventh floor.”
“The seventh floor?” Hyeonu pushed the girl who didn’t finish speaking.
‘Why isn’t she saying anything?’
Shouldn’t she say which place on the seventh floor was related to the Gucheon Secret Department? Hyeonu frowned. When the girl noticed that, she rushed to answer, “The entire gambling hall on the seventh floor belongs to the Gucheon Secret Department.”
“The entire seventh floor?” Hyeonu realized why so many gold coins were sent here to Buncheonru. The gambling hall was a space where a huge amount of gold was moved. It would never be known from the outside. This meant the flow volume couldn’t be determined.
“So this is how the Gucheon Secret Department is hiding so well. I heard it had no contact with merchant groups...” Hyeonu muttered to himself.
Then one question passed through his mind.
‘Why doesn’t the empire know about this?’
They were the only empire in the East Continent, and yet they couldn’t figure out what was going on in their own capital?
‘There are two possible reasons.’
One reason was that the Gucheon Secret Department was a force great enough to escape from the eyes of the Yuxin Empire. The other reason was that...
‘The Yuxin Empire is the Gucheon Secret Department itself.’
It made sense if the imperial government used it as a means to contain the local nobles. Why would they establish a fictional power called the ‘Gucheon Secret Department’ to keep in check the local nobles and create tension? This was so that it was impossible for the local nobles to bother the imperial family. It was indeed a clear and simple reason.
‘It doesn’t matter either way.’
The reason was irrelevant to Hyeonu. In any case, the Mysterious Sky Sect was already destroyed and wouldn’t re-establish itself in the East Continent.
‘I will either throw it at Lebron or train them in the territory I get later.’
Hyeonu imagined having hundreds of knights who had learned the Mysterious Sky Demonic Art. The possibility of having knight divisions made up of such people—it was fantastic to think about. Still, there was something that further improved Hyeonu’s mood.
[Information about the Gucheon Secret Department 1/1]
(Submission Final Date: 15th November)