Reincarnation - Chapter 14
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
“I see you, my Lord!”
“I see you, my Lord!”
The gatekeepers saluted in a unique way of the martial art family.
Each martial art family has strict discipline. Especially Pyoguk, where the knife is the main tool for business, so the etiquette between the upper and lower classes was like an army.
Jang-sam and I also took a step back, putting our hands in the middle, and bending our backs slightly.
Lee Jong-san, who rode his horse close to me, threw his glance upon the package in Jang-sam’s hand.
He was asking what it was.
“I’m on my way from the government office to get an identification card and a road pass.”
Lee Jong-san looked indifferent. Instead, he showed interest in Namgoong So-so, standing a little behind me.
“Who is he?”
“You don’t have to be concerned.”
A rather impertinent but nerve-wracking remark.
Then I turned my head back and spoke slightly nervously to Namgoong So-so.
“What are you doing? If you’re done with your business, please go.”
Unlike my talking, however, I pulled out my tongue as much as I could and pointed at my side.
I meant to come to my side and introduce herself.
If I am in need, I will do it. Though I didn’t know ventriloquism, I could act according to circumstances. I didn’t care.
As I saw Namgoong So-so in the Baeksun Restaurant, she was very sensible.
She walked two steps to my side and bowed politely with two hands holding together.
“I am Pung Jin-yang, a friend of Jeong-ryong. We met at the government exam. I am from Yangju. It is a great honor to meet my Lord. You are famous around the world.”
It was an intense greeting. She was a born Confucian scholar.
In a word, she got used to manners. This must be what family traditions are like.
By the way, she said we were friends. This was not planned.
“A friend of Jeong-ryong?”
“Yes, I am.”
“It’s the first time to see his friend visiting here.”
I came to my senses.
My original plan was like this.
For the past five days, the Confucian scholars and the martial artists, who came to congratulate Lee Byung-ryong, have counted hundreds.
But I didn’t have a single guest even though I had won first place in the exam.
Furthermore, I had no mother nor maternal family congratulate me, asking to have dinner together.
My older brothers, who said they would teach me about the business of Pyoguk, feigned ignorance after I did win the first place.
In the meantime, an acquaintance came to congratulate me and asked to show her the Pyoguk.
Wouldn’t this be enough to stir my father, Lee Jong-san, at least once?
It was a gamble on the most uncertain variable of human compassion, but I knew from the experience of my previous life that this method had worked surprisingly well.
Moreover, on the first day of my reincarnation, I once touched Lee Jong-san by saying, “The only thing my father has ever offered me over the last 20 years is a knife to kill myself.”
As long as he was a human being, I was sure he was still indebted.
But Namgoong So-so suddenly changed her from my acquaintance to my friend.
She might think this was a good opportunity to tie me up with her, which made the story even more dramatic.
I pretended to be embarrassed once more, and as I looked at Namgoong So-so, I got angry in a low voice, but sound enough to be heard.
“Why am I your friend?”
I played as a son who didn’t know how to make friends or who was not good at making friends.
A normal man came to visit his son, who frequented brothels or gambling houses every day.
As a father, he would have to be impatient. My prediction was right.
“You stay still.”
“Did you take the exam together?”
“Yes, I did.”
“May I ask the results?”
“I have just passed the exam.”
Hmm? What was that supposed to mean?
I was startled inside.
Since a woman could not take the exam, she must have used a false identity and took the exam.
But she passed the exam? What the hell was she going to do?
Wait, then the reason she asked me to teach her the secret was not to take the exam again but to prepare for the upcoming public exam in a month?
“You are so great.”
“I am ashamed and embarrassed. I cannot be praised for taking the 10th place in front of Jeong-ryong, who has won the first place? Please stop praising.”
At the moment, I doubted my ears again. She had won the 10th place, and this was a surprise.
‘Hold on, she is lying about all this?’
If she was lying, it was not as same as acting charming.
Anyway, it was an insult to my father, the Lord of Pyoguk. I couldn’t stand it.
‘You’re such a naughty girl!’
“The Confucian scholar, Pung Jin-yang from Yangju, was a friend of Jeong-ryong. So nice to meet you. Isn’t it right, my Lord? Hahaha.”
The person who spoke was Kwak Seok-san, General chief of messengers.
He loved Lee Jeong-ryong because he taught him martial arts for a while as a child.
He was as happy as Lee Jong-san when a nice scholar came to see me as my friend.
What a relief. The post even had the name Pung Jin-yang on it, so it wasn’t a lie.
So amazing girl. I did win the first place where I knew the topic beforehand.
But she had achieved it without knowing it at all.
Just from an acquaintance to a friend, from a friend to a top 10 student in the exam.
The dull scheme of fraud changed even more dramatically. How could it be so easy?
But how does Kwak Seok-san know that? He won’t even remember the names of the students up to the 10th place, by looking at posts once or twice while passing by.
‘He just looked at the posts attached to every corner? You have no place to brag about, so you want to show off to the general chief of messengers and the guards?’
I quietly turned to Lee Jong-san, who told Namgoong So-so with a more benevolent look.
“Why are you ashamed of being the tenth in the exam? Being too polite is not a good manner.”
“Your parents must be very happy to have you passed the exam at a young age.”
“I haven’t seen them yet.”
“I’m going to take the public exam in Beijing a month later, and I will stay in Hangzhou, where there are many large bookstores and outstanding Confucian scholars.”
“Do you have any place to stay?”
“My brother is working as a Janggwe at a small teashop in Hangzhou. I am staying there well.”
The Namgoong family bought the entire small forest from the era of the Song Dynasty in Hangzhou and opened a luxury resort.
I heard that the brother of Namgoong So-so came there for a while to manage.
It was a small forest in humble words, but it was a mansion with ponds and a backyard as well as a separate pavilion.
But what did she mean that her brother was a Janggwe? It was not wrong to say what he was doing, but it was too much. Because he was a genius of swordsmanship that he might come out once every 100 years.
“What do your parents do?”
“My mother passed away early, and my father is working hard to develop his family business after my grandfather.”
He must be training martial arts hard to lead the Namgoong Family after his grandfather, Namgoong Yu-ryong.
She was making up a good story without any lie.
Lee Jong-san was not a person who treated anyone recklessly because he or she was young.
When Namgoong So-so did not mention her family business specifically, he did not ask if he thought there must be a story behind that.
“But what are you doing here?”
It was time for me to step in.
“He came to return the borrowed book, but I was going to kick him away because he was bothering me to show him around for a while. Don’t worry too much. He’ll go soon.”
Lee Jong-san ignored me and asked Namgoong So-so.
“You want to look around the villa?”
“Although the Cheonryong Pyoguk is big, this villa is practical for the family business. If you want to feel the taste for the arts and old scholars, you should go to Wonlim(Park Forest). Hangzhou has many famous ancient forests. If you want, I can recommend one.”
“I didn’t mean to see the beauty of the villa, but I was just wondering what kind of people lived and what they were doing. For a normal Confucian scholar like me, the Pyoguk is a very strange place.”
“Do you go sightseeing in all the unfamiliar places?”
“As Confucius said, going into the lives of normal people is the biggest study and the foundation of Confucianism. I didn’t know what it meant before, but I think I understand a little bit about it when I saw Jeong-ryong who won first place at the government exam…….”
Then she made a lonely face. She was good. It was perfect.
Lee Jong-san’s eyes looking at Namgoong So-so subsided.
This seemed to have stirred him enough. It was time to get to the point.
I should tell that she did not just want to visit the villa, but she wanted to watch the meeting of delivery allocation.
“Well, this guy’s weird…….”
It was then. With the noise of laughter, six or seven young men appeared on horseback.
Lee Byung-ryong and his friends whom I saw in the store a few days ago were all unpleasantly drunk.
‘At this critical moment!’
Lee Byung-ryong, who discovered Lee Jong-san, and the other guys rushed down from the horse and hurried to greet the Lord.
“I see you, my Lord.”
“I see you, my Lord.”
“Where have you been?”
“I’m on my way back from having a normal dinner with my friends. Even though I said I’d go back alone, they said they would take me to my house…….”
A shameful excuse. Looking at him, it was clear that he was drinking during the daytime and then pushed them to his house for another drink in the evening.
He might be confused with the joy of passing the exam and the sadness of losing Cho Young-young.
I did not know about other times, but I thought I could understand now.
“It’s good to have friends to share the joy with when you’re young. Go and have more fun.”
Lee Byung-ryong and his friends were so anxious because they thought they would be in trouble.
However, everyone was dumbfounded when Lee Jong-san did an unexpected favor.
Lee Jong-san then asked, looking back at Namgoong So-so.
“Do you know about the meeting of delivery allocation?”
It came out, even from Lee Jong-san. Oh, my God.
Namgoong So-so glanced at me. She was embarrassed, too.
“He wanted to watch the meeting, so I was yelling, ‘Don’t talk nonsense, we don’t show it to outsiders.’”
“Would you like to join?”
Hooray. It couldn’t be more perfect.
During the day, there had been seventeen different kinds of requested objects of thirty-six wagons.
There was a fierce competition to win one more good delivery from each other.
However, most of the requests were divided evenly among the five groups representing the Cheonryong Pyoguk.
Among them, Gangryong-dang and Bokryong-dang, which were led by Lee Gap-ryong and Lee Eul-ryong respectively, took more than half of the requests.
Each man had his way that he mastered.
In this way, these two of the five groups were well-known for many professional heads and messengers.
The rich-get-richer and the poor-get-poorer cycle were exiting everywhere in the world.
It was not only a request to escort the goods.
Some asked to deliver letters to people far away, some asked to deliver money, and so on.
On the other hand, some cases were asked to protect villas, brothels, stores, or companies that were threatened by martial artists, for a certain period.
Most of these small requests were taken by sub-group, which had about a dozen or so messengers.
It was customary not to touch those small requests by the five groups unless it was a special case, so that small groups could afford their businesses.
“There are a lot of requests.”
“Today we have shown only the requests that can be disclosed because of the sudden presence of guests. The wagons with red flags over there will be distributed directly to the parties in secret under the authority of the Great Janggwe.”
The guests I mentioned were Namgoong So-so and friends of Lee Byung-ryong.
Lee Byung-ryong heard that his brother and his friend were attending the meeting, so he couldn’t just drink.
So, Lee Byung-ryong joined the meeting with his friends.
“What’s in it?”
“Something like silver coins sent from most battlefields to branches in other cities, jewelry for ladies, bribes from local government officials to higher officials, etc. Things that should not leak information to bandits or pirates.”
The meeting, which had begun early in the evening, did end around midnight.
Now they could take the hard-won requests to their respective groups and sub-groups, then packed them early in the morning and got final approval from the responsible Janggwes before they left for delivery.
An extensive delivery would begin.
“Well done, everybody.”
Lee Jong-san, who remained in his position until the end, stood up with a word.
The moment when all the group heads, including the Great Janggwe, stood up from their seats for greeting.
Lee Jong-san, who was about to go outside, stopped walking.
Gwak Seok-san (General chief of messengers), Son Ji-baek (Great Janggwe), and the heads of each group.
All the fifty leaders gathered at Cheonnyong-gak began to harden their faces with a slight time lag.
Even friends of Lee Byung-ryong, including Namgoong So-so, who was sitting with me, tilted their heads.
Like the last moment at Pyowang-bu, they heard something I couldn’t hear.
But after a while, even I could hear it.
A ringing sound that began quietly.
The night when everyone was asleep, the whole world seemed to be frozen when such sound rang in the Pyoguk.
Women hid under blankets with fear, and young messengers and porters held their breath for fear that they would be called.
If you didn’t have a strong heart, you should refrain from going outside until the sun rose.
If you went outside for curiosity and ran into them, you would have a bad dream for a month.
I was a porter with 30 years of experience. Nevertheless, I couldn’t adapt to the sound of ringing.
But this time was different. It was a sign that the very delivery goods, which I had been waiting for, arrived.
‘They’re finally here!’