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Chapter 1

The Nine Heavens Swordmaster



Translator/Editor: Ryuu
Discord: https://dsc.gg/wetried


Chapter 1: The Esteemed Guest of Crouching Dragon Estate


Crouching Dragon Estate was the largest martial family in the Dongbian Yanshi, east of Luoyang. The master of Crouching Dragon Estate, situated in the Yeon clan's village, was a swordsman named Yeon Moo-Ryong.

Yeon Moo-Ryong was known in the martial realm by the moniker, Moon Slashing Swordsman.

This title was bestowed upon him after he was rumored to have slain the notorious witch, Moonlight Sage.

As the name of the Moon Slashing Swordsman gradually became known in the martial realm, he suddenly returned to his hometown, established Crouching Dragon Estate, and entered seclusion.

At that time, he was thirty-four years old.

Despite opposition from his family, Yeon Moo-Ryong did not venture back into the martial realm. Before long, his name faded from people's memories.

On the first day of the fifth month.

The Crouching Dragon Estate, usually quiet, was bustling with noise.

This was because Baek Mi-Ju, the lady of Crouching Dragon Estate, was in the courtyard, ceaselessly giving orders to the servants.

"You all will sweep the courtyard once more. Steward?”


The steward, Yeon Mu-Dok, quickly stepped forward to Baek Mi-Ju.

"Please find the children immediately and send them to the inner quarters."

Despite addressing the steward, Baek Mi-Ju made her request politely. Not only was he older than her, but being a cousin of her husband, Yeon Moo-Ryong, made it difficult for her to deal with him.

"All of them?"

Yeon Mu-Dok looked at Baek Mi-Ju with a meaningful gaze.

Yeon Moo-Ryong had four children, three boys and a girl, with the first three being Baek Mi-Ju's offspring.

However, the youngest, six-year-old Yeon Juk-Ha, was born to a concubine who was also Baek Mi-Ju's maid.

Since Baek Mi-Ju usually did not care for the maid's child, Yeon Mu-Dok needed confirmation.

Baek Mi-Ju nodded calmly.

"Yes, it must be so. We wouldn't want rumors to spread that the Crouching Dragon Estate looks down upon those born out of wedlock, tarnishing his clear reputation."

"Understood, sister-in-law."

After giving a slight bow, Yeon Mu-Dok left.

Baek Mi-Ju bit her lip as she watched Yeon Mu-Dok's retreating figure.

She had no intention of calling Yeon Juk-Ha on a day like today.

But she also didn't want to hear whispers behind her back about being narrow-minded.


A soft sigh escaped Baek Mi-Ju's lips.

Today was a day she particularly wanted to keep Yeon Juk-Ha away.

It was the day Sword King Namgung Byeok, the head of the Divine Sword Clan, was scheduled to visit Crouching Dragon Estate with his family.

The Divine Sword Clan was a respectful term for the Namgung Clan of Zhili. The five strongest martial families that influenced the current martial realm were referred to as "Sects".

Among them, the Namgung Clan was the foremost.

Merely the name was enough to resolve almost any conflict.

Suddenly, Baek Mi-Ju turned her head and surveyed the estate.

The modest sight of Crouching Dragon Estate was fully visible.

It was small.

The Crouching Dragon Estate was just one among countless martial families.

'For now...'

Baek Mi-Ju wished to elevate Crouching Dragon Estate to the status of a ‘Sect of the Martial Realm’.

The person who first dreamed of this was Yeon Moo-Ryong.

However, that dream was shattered.

The person who broke that dream was her maid, and Yeon Juk-Ha's mother, Lee Bu-Yong.

During his short period in the martial realm, Yeon Moo-Ryong was fortunate enough to form a connection with Sword King Namgung Byeok.

Namgung Byeok had stumbled upon Yeon Moo-Ryong, who was struggling against a cult called the Dark Spectral Sect.

Ultimately, with his assistance, Yeon Moo-Ryong defeated the Dark Spectral Sect and even gained the nickname, Moon Slashing Swordsman.

Afterwards, he developed a brotherly relationship with the martial realm's oddity, Sword King Namgung Byeok.

That was six years ago. And that was as far as it went.

Returning home to recover from his injuries, Yeon Moo-Ryong fell for his serving maid, Lee Bu-Yong.

Foolishly smitten, he abandoned his grand dream of establishing a martial sect.

He even took Lee Bu-Yong as his concubine, retiring from the martial realm despite opposition from the Yeon clan.

'Ungrateful wretches...'

Thinking of the two, Baek Mi-Ju ground her teeth.

The more she thought, the angrier she became.

His lips no longer whispered love to her.

Though she hated to admit it, even the establishment of this small Crouching Dragon Estate was for Lee Bu-Yong. It was to escape from the Yeon clan's nagging, finding peace in this secluded estate.

Those in the Yeon clan who knew the inside story claimed Yeon Moo-Ryong was cursed by the Dark Spectral Sect. Otherwise, why would someone intent on creating a martial sect seclude himself for just a maid?

However, the love affair between Yeon Moo-Ryong and the temptress Lee Bu-Yong didn't last long. Lee Bu-Yong died from childbirth complications with Yeon Juk-Ha.

At that time, everyone thought Yeon Moo-Ryong would return to the martial realm.

But it didn't take long to realize that Yeon Moo-Ryong's heart had died with Lee Bu-Yong.

Yeon Moo-Ryong lost interest in everything.

Gradually, he stopped stepping outside of Crouching Dragon Estate altogether.

Then came a visit from his sworn brother, Namgung Byeok.

Namgung Byeok, who hadn't visited even when Yeon Moo-Ryong first secluded himself six years ago, was now making his way to this remote Dongbian Yanshi.

As Baek Mi-Ju slowly walked towards the inner quarters, she murmured to herself.

"Is this an opportunity granted by the heavens...?"

Namgung Byeok's eldest son, Namgung Cheon, was eighteen and had already earned the moniker, Earnest Sword, for his exceptional martial prowess. In contrast, his second daughter was merely eight years old.

'Should I propose a match between Seol-Ju and Namgung Cheon?'

However, the age gap is too significant.

With Seol-Ju being only nine years old, proposing her to Namgung Byeok would be out of the question.

What remains is to match one of her sons with Namgung Yeon.

The eldest, Mu-Baek, is fourteen, and the second, Seung-Baek, is eleven, making them suitably aged for eight-year-old Namgung Yeon.

The problem is that she's unsure how close her husband, Yeon Moo-Ryong, is to Sword King Namgung Byeok.

Namgung Byeok's ultimate destination was not Crouching Dragon Estate. He mentioned stopping by on his way to the Wudang Sect. Moreover, he hasn't been in touch at all thus far.


Baek Mi-Ju gritted her teeth as she brooded alone.

'I must somehow bind my sons and Namgung Yeon together.'

And if that fails?

She plans to ask Sword King Namgung Byeok to take her eldest, Yeon Mu-Baek, under his guidance.

After all, Yeon Moo-Ryong has no ambition for the martial sects.

In that case, it must be done through Mu-Baek.

She intends to mock an elderly Yeon Moo-Ryong in the distant future, boasting that she achieved the dream he abandoned while he was entangled in a courtesan's skirts.


Inside a carriage drawn by four horses sat two men and two women.

They were Sword King Namgung Byeok, the head of the Namgung Clan, his wife Jang Ha-Eun, and their children Namgung Cheon and Namgung Yeon.

Twelve swordsmen on brown horses escorted the carriage from the front and back.

With their prominently protruding temporal veins and sharp gazes continuously sweeping the surroundings, they were undoubtedly the Changcheon Squad, the most formidable military force boasted by the Namgung Clan.

Surrounded by the Changcheon Squad's escort, the carriage appeared peaceful.

Namgung Cheon, looking bored out of the window, cautiously asked, "Father, why did Uncle Yeon choose to live in seclusion? He's still in his prime."

Hearing his son's words, Namgung Byeok let out a hearty laugh.

"Ha-ha! You're the one in your prime, boy. Uncle Yeon is now of the age of forty."

"But father, you're older than Uncle Yeon and yet you roam the martial realm.”

"That's because your mother is by my side."

Namgung Byeok, who had a devoted nature, always traveled with his wife.

"Eh? Doesn't Uncle Yeon have a wife as well?”

Namgung Byeok looked at his son with a troubled expression.

"Hmm, it might be better to tell you in advance. Cheon and Yeon, remember what I say and be careful not to misspeak at Crouching Dragon Estate. Understand?"



The lively Namgung Cheon responded energetically.

Meanwhile, the usually quiet Namgung Yeon just nodded.

Unlike the curious Namgung Cheon, Namgung Yeon's expression was indifferent. Still, her clear black-and-white eyes were fixed on Namgung Byeok's face.

"Uncle Yeon had two wives. The current senior wife and the junior wife. But Uncle Yeon was particularly close to the junior wife. His seclusion was also due to the junior wife’s poor health."

"Ah! Has the junior aunt recovered?"

The compassionate Namgung Cheon asked urgently.

In contrast, eight-year-old Namgung Yeon still maintained an impassive face.

'Tsk, tsk!'

Namgung Byeok shook his head at the contrasting expressions of his two children.

The grown man babbles like a girl, while the young girl is as silent as a sage wise in the ways of life.

For a moment, Namgung Byeok wondered how nice it would have been if their personalities were reversed. He sighed deeply soon after.

"Ha! The junior aunt died six years ago while giving birth. Since then, Uncle Yeon has lost his zest for life."

Namgung Byeok turned his gaze outside the window.

That was all he knew from the letters Yeon Moo-Ryong sent a long time ago.

"So, when we arrive at Crouching Dragon Estate, let's not bring up the junior aunt's story. It's better to pretend we don't know, for Uncle Yeon and the senior aunt's sake. Got it?"

"Yes, we'll be careful."


The sensitive Namgung Cheon replied with a saddened face, while Namgung Yeon merely nodded with the wisdom of an elder.

Namgung Byeok gently stroked his young daughter Namgung Yeon's head.

This child resembled him in his younger days.

Although now he lived so fiercely that people called him eccentric, he too had been closed off until after his twenties.

Had he not clashed with others with a sword in hand, he might still be like his daughter.

However, through practicing martial arts and reaching the pinnacle, he shattered his ego countless times.

The new personality that emerged from that process is the confident figure he is today.

'Someday, you too will break out of your shell.'

Namgung Byeok felt nothing but pity for the precocious Namgung Yeon.

On the other hand, his wife Jang Ha-Eun seated opposite him seemed amused.

Her husband, known throughout the land as the "Sword King" and bearing such a title, was advising caution at Crouching Dragon Estate.

It meant he genuinely respected Yeon Moo-Ryong.

Why hadn't he visited such an important person in the past six years?

"I find it fascinating that someone as fastidious as you formed a sworn brotherhood with Great Hero Yeon."

"Am I fastidious?"

"Ha-ha, aren't you? You've met with the head of the Sunwoo Clan so often yet never became sworn brothers. But with Great Hero Yeon, you did so after just one meeting?"

"Just one meeting? Who said that..."

"You've had several disputes with the head of the Sunwoo Clan over this. Don't you remember?"

"That's just a story made up by the Sunwoo Clan head. I spent a whole seven days with Brother Yeon."

Jang Ha-Eun chuckled and said, "But you've known the head of the Sunwoo Clan for over twenty years, and yet you always keep a formal distance, addressing each other as 'Clan Head.'"

"Knowing someone and connecting with them are different things."

"Oh, but it seems to me that you get along quite well with the head of the Sunwoo Clan?"

"The connection I have with Brother Yeon and the Sunwoo Clan head is qualitatively different."

"How so?"

All eyes in the family turned to Namgung Byeok.

Feeling the attention, Namgung Byeok coughed awkwardly.

"Ahem, to put it simply, if my interaction with Brother Yeon involves life-and-death matters... With the Sunwoo Clan head, it's more about sharing joys and sorrows."

"Tch! That's why the Sunwoo Clan head is displeased with you."

"Displeased? There are more important things to be concerned about."

Namgung Byeok dismissed the idea with a wave of his hand.

Life-and-death bonds don't come about just because one side desires it. It's a connection bestowed by the heavens. Namgung Byeok was confident that he and Yeon Moo-Ryong shared such a bond.

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Chapter 1

The Nine Heavens Swordmaster


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