Millennium Snow Ginseng (千年雪蔘)
The name of the village where I lived was Small Bird. It’s a good name, but it’s also where I have nothing but nightmares about the past. No wonder it had all the shortcomings of closed farming villages, and it was a place where bullying was frequent and everything was controlled according to the will of the village chief, who held absolute power.
Fortunately, the chief was quite capable of making money off the village in connection with the nearby Plum Blossom courier company. That's why it did not matter when he made such a fuss over the fact that he forced a wife of a neighbor to be his concubine and mobilized the townspeople for as his private service.
A village where the tyrant has lived!
That was my appreciation for hometown.
In fact, I was able to escape in the past when the chief allowed me to do so when entering the courier company. His influence was also strong within the company, and if something went wrong at that time, I might have been a servant for a lifetime.
I was appalled when I thought that my life could've been controlled by one of the chief's emotional changes.
I felt complicated when I entered Small Bird village.
‘Shall I leave them still standing?’
If I want, I can now leave here without fear.
If I covered my face with a mask, during the dead night, I could slaughter the chief’s entire family.
There is no better opportunity than now if I try to undo my past.
But I walked to the village shaking my head because I had made up my mind before coming here. It felt a little tense but all difficult steps began with a step forward.
As I walked along the countryside, several young men were also walking along the same direction and I pretended not to know them.
“Hey, this is cow dung!”
"Wow! Long time no see! Haha.”
Five or six young men clustered together; if I recall, they would often eat well, and were the servants of the village chief. The young men had been previously persecuting me for three years. I was beaten up by these guys and used to run errands for them. They were a few years older than myself and they walked around in groups, so it was almost impossible for me to resist.
I said with a cold smile.
“Long time no see. How are you guys?"
The boss of the group gave me a surprise look, but soon he smiled a wickedly.
“You guys? I guess you lost the fear of us because you haven’t been hit in three years.”
“Then we’ll have to make you listen to us more!”
I just looked at them with blank unforgiving eyes.
There was no such thing for me as a mental phobia about being bullied. My hands were itching now because I wanted to kill these guys every day. I was suppressing my murderous spirit, but I didn’t feel comfortable having their heads cut off once I unsheathed my sword, perhaps such a fate was too easy for them.
'These guys are much weaker than five bandits armed with weapons. Even ten bandits attacking me, I can still slaughter them within a short time.'
What on earth were they thinking?
I worried about it for a moment, but soon realized that they did not know the reason I had left the village. Otherwise, they would not ignore me because I left to become a disciple of Blue Dragon Martial Academy (青龍武館).
If someone is a martial artist of Murim (武林:the world of martial artists), it is normal to avoid him on purpose.
The village chief might have hidden why I left town.
When I deduced a rough idea of what to do, I chuckled for a bit. It was a relief to think that I could do what I first thought.
One of the young men standing at the front punched me.
The blow sounded but it was the sound of his arm painfully bent in a strange direction. A funny turn of events now happened that his arm has become lame. At the same time, he was quickly hit with two kicks at the pit of his stomach, and fell falteringly forward. The young men were upset because they did not know what to do in a sudden situation.
I lightly grabbed two heads and head-butted them together. The two men fainted with their eyes turned over in one breath. I sighed and said as the rest of the crowd stepped back in confusion at the unfolding reckoning.
“Haha, can you see my movements? You don’t even know what you’re doing, do you?”
It's not likely a response is forthcoming.
I haven’t played around for three years. I trained with malice aforethought because I had nothing to do but practice martial arts, a desperate yearning to become strong. Although my talent was normal and I did not rise to the level of first-grade, I was quite different from the ordinary people.
“Son of bitch…”
“Hey, you three. Tell me what my name is… Then I’ll let you go free.”
Shaking their bodies at my request, they seemed not to work out nor believe the reality before them. They painfully sensed that they were no match for me.
“If you try to make a fuss, I’ll hit you once more.”
I caught the neck of a young man screaming, and smashed him on the ground.
The man who just had his face smashed in the ground broke his nose and front teeth dislodged. He must have realized the difference since I moved at the speed of a flying bird.
“Talk to me.”
The brutal group of servants who ganged up on me in the past had their faces whitewashed. Then they looked at each other, but they were still as mute as a fish for a long time. I was shocked at the fact that they really didn’t know my name.
'I’ve kept the memories of my suffering for nearly fifty years, and they didn’t even know my name!'
For these guys, cow dung was nothing more than a good toy to tease properly. I felt something boiling inside and furiously bust out laughing wildly.
“Haha! That’s great. That’s great!”
"…What’s the matter?"
“I’ll eat well if I have many sacrifices! Don’t you think?”
I laughed my head off.
“Then fuck your ass!”
After a while, their necks were broken and they could no longer breathe among the living.
I killed them all with heavy blows, and it was only a matter of time while they slowly suffocated painfully in their own blood.
After waiting a half-century for revenge, there was a slight mixture of depression and an intense pleasure. But my hands were shaking with joy or anger, I could not decide.
I did it!
I killed all of those sons of bastards!
'Is vengeance in vain? Damn it! It’s just a bunch of crap from people who have never done it!'
I clenched my jaw with resolute determination.
Blood boils all over my body… I wish to tear down all my former persecutors and leave their guts lying on the ground.
I felt as if I had been dragged into a corner and beaten over a few hours with a stick, and I remembered being beaten like a dog with a stick, hanging on a wall.
It must be avenged!
I swore to make that fact a belief of my life in the future.
Then I settled down a bit from the excitement and walked slowly towards the village chief's house.
I walked on a mountain path for about an hour, and I noticed a large house which was not suitable at all for a small village. I could see that there was very little movement and most people were not around.
When I opened the front door and walked in, I came across a woman who was the concubine of the village chief. She beheld a startled look on her face as she noticed me, while drawing water from a well. I quickly approached her before she could even yell, and grabbed her Mute Hole (亞穴). When her voice failed, she struggled to escape. But I grabbed her arm and sat her gently at the threshold. Then I spoke coldly.
"I don’t want to do any harm to you, as you can say that you are also the victim of the chief. But don’t interrupt what I am about to do. Otherwise, I can’t guarantee your son’s life.”
She had a three-year-old son. When she came into this house as a concubine, she eventually birthed a son. But the son has also been despised by the village chief and his son, Kim Man Jae.
“If you understand, nod your head. I'll release your Yaxue, so don't scream out."
She nodded and I relaxed. She cleared her throat a few times and looked at me with fearful eyes.
“Baek Woong… What is this scary thing you will do? I heard that you became a disciple of Blue Dragon Martial Academy. Without a word, you suddenly break into the main house."
I spoke frantically.
“I have no grudge against you. You didn’t do much to me when I was rotting in the barn. If you stay still, you and your son will not be hurt.”
“No… what are you trying to do? Are you going to kill the village chief?"
When her voice shook, I smiled coldly.
“Don’t worry. I won’t kill him. I just come back to this town because I have something to do. Don’t interfere with me and remain calm.”
“Where is the village chief?”
“He travelled to another town to obtain rent fees from a tenant."
She seemed to understand the situation well. She knew that she would suffer damage if she stepped forward, so she decided to step down quickly.
“When will he come back?”
“About two hours later… He’ll come when the sun goes down.”
It was just the right time. I nodded and said.
“Where are his main wife and Kim Man Jae?"
“In the inner quarters… and Kim Man Jae lives in the dormitory of the school. He'll be with a prostitute at the Red Brothel around this time."
That is indeed for sure.
When I was serving as a servant, I was once sent over to the Red Brothel on a money errand for Kim Man Jae. At that time, he was rolling around with a woman, while making a disgusting smell.
I laughed at her coldly, but her expression did not change much. Maybe she knew that he was corrupted and was addicted to sex instead of studying. I felt a little bitter when I saw her.
She was a poor woman who came in as a concubine to the chief, perhaps she was even sold for money. It was often rumoured that she was a very good-looking and pure-hearted person.
Even now, her appearance is still so young and beautiful that it is unbelievable that she is only in her early thirties. She is a woman who is not fit for the village chief.
However, I did not want to say anything anymore and continued.
“Now I will press your Acupuncture Point (點穴) and you will not be able to move. Even if you hear something outside this room, do not pay it any attention."
I pressed down her Acupuncture Point and put her in the room. She looked frightened, but she seemed determined to listen to me.
I walked into the main building and headed for the village chief’s wife.
Sitting back, she was flickering. When she saw me, she suddenly shouted.
“You bastard! How dare you come into this house!”
“Be quiet. If you don’t want to die.”
When I flicked a dagger out of my bosom and embedded it in the pillar next to her face, the chief’s first wife shut her mouth up. She knew I have apparently come with a murderous intention. She looked around with terrified eyes, but she recognized in her bones that she would be killed if she yelled out. She said trembling.
“Whoa… What do you want? I will give you any amount of money…”
“Shut up, I’m not here to talk to a craven bitch like you.”
I snarled fiercely and continued.
“To make a deal with me, today is the last day of your family.”
I also took Acupuncture Point of the first wife and stored her in another room. I quickly suppressed the servants who were moving around and moved them into the same room, too.
However, it is difficult for me to exert the amount of strong pressure required for Acupuncture Point, and after two hours later, they will be able to eventually move.
I calmly sat in the master bedroom and leaned my back against a wall.
After a while, I could finally meet the person I've been waiting for at the appointed time. The village chief looked around his house in wonder and walked into his room. As soon as he opened the door, he could see that I was leaning against the wall with a spear casually in my hand.
“Hey, village chief… It's been a while.”
The village chief held a startled look for a moment, and then stood there calmly studying me. Then he said.
“You are back …”
“Well, I’m back. Didn’t you expect it?”
He kept his mouth shut and stared towards me nervously.
I stared at the chief and said.
“Just sit there. I have something to tell you.”
The chief sat down with a puzzled look. Still, he remained calm as befitting a dictator for Small Bird village, the supreme commander of the canine family.
I watched the chief slowly and started talking.
“You knew I had a grudge against this town and this family, but you still allowed me to travel the outside world. If you have something to say to me, go ahead and say it now.”
“Yeah, that’s right. I knew you would come back like this three years ago.”
The village chief sighed as if he were walking out for a moment.
“It looks like you have become a first-grade martial artist at Blue Dragon Martial Academy. There’s been a big commotion in the lower part of the village… Is that something of what you did?”
“Well? I’ve never heard of it.”
I said with a cynical smile.
"As soon as I stepped into the house, I wanted to kill everyone – even all the brood chickens, and burn this place to the ground. I especially wanted to tear you apart the most.”
“But I decided to bite the bullet and talk to you first. Because I was curious about why you'd allow me leave that day, even though you had expected it three years ago.”
I was curious to know why he let me go, knowing that I would come seeking revenge.
The chief was not a fool, and he knew that if I went out into the world, today's event would happen. Nevertheless, it did not make sense to send me to Blue Dragon Martial Academy.
"Yes… Thank you for not slaughtering people of my house."
“What were you thinking about?”
“I believed in you.”
I wanted to hear what this sounds like, so when I looked at village chief, he said nervously but with a trembling voice.
"I am sorry that my family did what they could not do to you and bullied you instead. But I felt sorry for your parents, and tried to keep you out of the way when the time was right. What I had intended for you as a harsh life like a servant, was to make it easier for you to stand on your own two feet, when you finally stepped out into the world on your own.”
I clenched my jaw. Blood vessels flickered on the forearms holding the spear.
"Hehe… It is much better than my wildest dreams. What is it that makes a man live as a servant when cleaning cow dung in the stalls?”
“That’s a good excuse for taking me away from Blue Dragon Martial Academy."
I spoke decisively.
“You never thought I would be a member of Blue Dragon Martial Academy from the beginning. You just thought it would be nice if I died in a ditch somewhere. You wouldn’t have expected for events return tenfold so badly."
The village chief mumbled, knelt, and bowed.
“I’m sorry! I was such a selfish fellow that I didn’t feel like treating you well.”
“Please help me. Please …”
The village chief made it clear whether he decided to gamble it at all. I heard what I had expected and became very upset. When he bowed to me and dawned on me, I felt an impulse to break the strings with the spear.
But -hold on. If I kill him here, I’ll only be the same person.
I said so, barely enduring.
"Haha… Village chief, if you hadn’t taken me in, I would have starved to death somewhere in my journey as an orphan or become a beggar. But since you gave me some sort of place to live, and allowed me to enter Blue Dragon Martial Academy, I will still be indebted to you.”
He looked up at me nervously.
I said it with a grin.
“But I must be rewarded for the physical and mental damage I have suffered so far.”
“What can I do?”
“Give me five hundred silver coins (fifty thousand dollars).”
He opened his eyes wide in exclamation.
Five hundred silver coins!
With that much money, more than half of everything the village chief owned, he is about to collapse. He has a limit on what he currently owns as a chief of a small village, even if he makes a lot of money.
He begged and said.
"Please… If all my financial income disappears now, the whole village will die of starvation. I’m also paying a little towards the Plum Blossom courier company to add to the town’s employment, and that’s just….”
“That’s crazy. I was referring to your hidden personal funds.”
He shook as if lightning had hit him.
“I know that there is a silver safe somewhere within the house.”
“Huh… no such thing.”
My spear moved at a tremendous pace and stopped in front of his nose. If I had moved one more inch further, I would have been able to plunge the tip into the brains of the village chief. It did not fit in my aptitude, but it was a first-grade spearmanship.
“Do you really want to die?”
“Uh…! How did you know that?"
I chuckled for a bit.
"I heard it from your son, Kim Man Jae."
In the past, when Kim Man Jae was drunk, he used to reveal the secrets of his father.
"My father has a safe full of silver coins he has collected over the years, and the amount of money is much more than five hundred silver coins."
After a while, the village chief started to walk around me. He then pressed carefully on the wall I was leaning on in his room, which, to my surprise, opened out parting to both sides with a creaking screech.
'He has installed a mechanical engine driver within his room. He is a very wealthy man.'
It was a door big enough for one person, and he walked inside a small corridor. After a while, he walked out with a silver chest full of treasures.
I opened his silver safe and raised my hand slightly because of too much glimmering light.
In his silver safe was a mass amount of silver coins! It was not full of silver coins but preserved silver bullion. I felt in my bones that this lump was worth more than five hundred silver coins.
He handed me the safe and said.
“You… You have enough, don't you?”
“Yes. Now I’m going to leave. I will never come to this town again.”
“Of course, if you report today’s incident to the authorities, your family will not survive another day.”
“Don’t be so bitter about this. It’s much better than having your son squander this money.”
“Don’t you know that Kim Man Jae is addicted only to sex within the Red Brothel instead of studying at school these days? He’ll spend the rest of his life splurging your fortune anyway.”
I laughed at the chief when I told him the truth, but he unexpectedly displayed a gloomy face. I noticed in such a scene that he was already aware of his son's corruption.
'Uh? What…? Did the chief think that his son was studying hard?'
I said it just in case.
“Chief, did you know that?”
He said in a scuffling voice from the floor.
"Of course. The owner of Plum Blossom courier company and I are close friends, and I know Gaibang (丐幇:Beggars' Faction) in the neighboring village."
I shook my head in embarrassment.
"Then why do you send him to the school? It's a waste of money. Do you think it will be possible for your son to pass the imperial examination?"
I never saw him open a book to study when I was running errands for Kim Man Jae.
It is hard for him even to become a top student.
Then the village chief bit his lip. His eyes were slightly bloodshot.
"You don’t know… No matter what others say, parents should trust their children and hope they will do well to the end. He may be distracted now, but he’ll wake up someday. I believe in my children.”
I don’t know.
When I was too young, my parents died, and I never married or had children in my previous life. It didn’t work out even though I tried to understand what the village chief was saying about the mentality of parents. But something burning in my mind was happening.
I took one of the ten silver ingots in the safe and threw it at the chief. He was in a hurry to catch it when I clucked.
“Hum… I’ll leave you a little. Be good from now on.”
I left the place without looking back.
Even if I said so, he would still not become a good man.
'Where am I heading off to now? I do not want to return back to Blue Dragon Martial Academy.'
The village chief is not likely to report this matter. But he already acquired everything he wanted, and could manage to make things worse.
'He can report it to the local government office and hire a high-grade martial artist, but at that time, I’ll kill the whole family.'
I thought I’ve acted a little too casually.
'But let’s not think about past any more. I can finally move forward. The aggrieved lump in my heart has been cleansed. From now on, I want to travel around the world and do what I've always wanted to do before returning back.'
Then there was something that came to mind.
“Oh, yeah- Millennium Snow Ginseng!"
As I immersed myself with only practicing in Blue Dragon Martial Academy, I totally forgot about it.
'Now that I have been compensated enough silver bullion from the chief. Let's look for the elixir in Huangshan.'
Editors: T0ngan, Calvis