Reincarnation - Chapter 15
“What’s that sound?”
“Don’t be surprised. You’re going to see a very bizarre scene from now on.”
The sound stopped for a moment.
Several Janggwe, including Jeon Lib-sung, rushed out.
After a while they returned, they approached the Great Janggwe and said something.
Son Ji-baek, the Great Janggwe, had a strange nickname, “Three masters,” as he was a 70-year old man, aged in Pyoguk.
This is because he was well versed in three things: First, he knows everyone in Gangho. Second, he knows everything in the world. Third, he knows every story under heaven.
Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t so surprised.
Soon, Son Ji-baek said.
“Open the door.”
The door of Cheonryong Gak was wide open.
The paused sound began to ring again.
As the sound grew louder, a skinny middle-aged Taoist with a white uniform and a Taiji do-rag on his head came in waving his ornament.
‘They’ appeared behind him.
The beings with red amulets attached to their foreheads and with their hands straight forward jumped in a row.
Namgoong So-so jumped up from her seat and tried to tell.
Nine frozen corpses were brought by the Taoist. All their pants were torn and worn under their knees.
I could see how hard it took them to get here after they died.
They were in the late 20s to early 50s approximately. Seven men and two women.
Soon the ornament stopped. The Taoist briefly introduced himself and explained his circumstances.
“I am Do Hong-gyeong, a disciple of the Mosan faction. Five days ago, a devil massacred hundreds of soldiers and civilians in Sunha Hill, southwest of Zhejiang Province, and fled. There were a lot of martial artists who were passing by, and they were chasing the devil in unison. They fell victim to a catastrophe. I am taking some of the dead to their private factions at the request of their friends. I came here to ask my brothers in Pyoguk to help me.”
“I am Son Ji-baek, the Great Janggwe of the Cheonryong Pyoguk. I am expressing my respect to you, a Taoism companion of Mosan faction, for your righteous work on behalf of the Kingdom.”
After a short greeting, a close-talk began between the Taoist and Son Ji-baek.
I couldn’t hear it because of a small voice and long-distance.
But based on my experience, they were talking about the identities of the dead, the exact destinations, the conditions, etc.
I thought it was quiet for a while, so I turned around and found Namgoong So-so looked pale.
“Are you very surprised?”
“It’s my first time seeing frozen corpses in person. I didn’t know they were the same as a living person.”
“No worries. Only alive man is scary. The dead can’t do anything. Even a frozen corpse is just a corpse running around according to the man’s spell.”
“Maybe the frozen corpse is also for delivery?”
“It’s not a respective delivery, but if there’s a delivery going in the same direction, it means we need to add another wagon and take the deceased into the coffin.”
“Is there often such an order?”
“When an epidemic breaks out, war starts, or a big battle between fighters, it’s a normal deal. However, usually once or twice a year?”
“Why don’t the Taoists take them?”
“There are many reasons. There are too many to carry or there might be signs of rotting. Or because of bad weather. Maybe their family requested since it’s hard to see them having difficulties, though they are already dead.”
“There is a variety of delivery.”
“Frozen corpse has a peculiar stench, which drives people crazy. Furthermore, porters will have bad dreams while taking them. Thus, normally people are reluctant to take the order.”
“However, they’ll pay high?”
“Moreover, the cost is cheap.”
“The first is just putting one more wagon on the existing delivery team, and the second is because of the myth that if you make a big profit against the dead, you’ll be unlucky for three years.”
“It was not a modesty when the Taoist asking a favor, but he was asking for help.”
According to the memory of my past life, the Cheonryong Pyoguk would accept the delivery through the necessary procedures.
As a result, dozens of messengers and porters for the delivery would be killed.
The only way to stop it was to refuse the request by fair means or foul.
Soon after the negotiation, Sohn Ji-baek said, looking at the heads of each Dang, Gak, and messengers.
“I have decided to accept the escort of the deceased. The destination is Mount Gamak in Namjikye. The Taoist of Mosan faction had already messaged to 3 factions 5 days ago, so by Mount Gamak, they will come for you.”
Son Ji-baek briefly checked the books in his hand and then continued to speak.
“First of all, I’ve decided to leave it to one of our deliveries going in a similar direction. Twelve deliveries are leaving for Namjikye tomorrow morning. Now, which group will take this request?”
Since then there has been a tedious nerve war.
Just dead body was better. The frozen corpse, prevented against decomposition with spells and medicines, was a corpse in the name. It was very scary because of the same appearance as they were alive.
Moreover, there were many things to do, such as opening a coffin cap every night, spraying a medicine, and checking for amulets.
Also, the awful stench was so terrible.
A person with a sensitive stomach would be sick because he or she would not be able to eat during the delivery.
There was a little reward compared to hard work.
Thus, the heads were only looking at each other, and no one did not come forward.
“You can just add another wagon for 9 coffins. It’s cool autumn, so there’s no fear of decay, and it’s not far away. Are we sure we don’t have any volunteers?”
Son Ji-baek asked, again and again, looking around.
But people were all just looking away.
I wish they could refuse the request as it was, but it won’t happen. I must force them to refuse in the end.
I was about to raise my hand and speak.
“We have to decline this request.”
Suddenly Lee Byung-ryong jumped up from his seat and said,．
He was the third Gongja of the Cheonryong Pyoguk, but at the same time, he was also a head of Chil Gak, which had about thirty messengers.
Lee Byung-ryong said.
“The Taoist of the Mosan faction may be in trouble, but why don’t you send another telegram to the factions which the dead belong and ask them to take those corpses in person?”
Why was Lee Byung-ryong saying that suddenly?
He wanted to show his presence in front of Lee Jong-san and his friends.
But there must be a cause. If it was plausible, it could reveal his presence, but if not, he would become a fool.
The Taoist asked.
“May I ask you why you refuse to accept my request?”
“Those dead were all martial artists, and the story of the dead was also based on the battle between fighters. I’m afraid the Cheonryong Pyoguk will get caught up in unnecessary disputes.”
First, he started the right topic.
I shouted for delight inwardly.
“You’re misunderstanding something. Those dead men died trying to take down the devil at risk. Describing it as a fight between martial artists is too simplistic.”
“Just because several people attack one person doesn’t mean it’s not a fight between martial artists, even if the opponent is a vicious devil, and that’s entirely based on what the senior from Mosan faction told”
Usually, what you want to say is the last word.
Lee Byung-ryong was now claiming how to believe a man and his words. Because he just appeared in the dress of Taoist.
It was quite a plausible argument, and it was something that someone in the Cheonryong Pyoguk should have pointed out.
However, whenever Lee Byung-ryong spoke, the lips of his friends sitting next to him were slightly moving.
They were ventriloquizing.
‘That’s right. I doubted he was talking pretty well.’
But this was also an ability. In some sense, it’s a very scary ability.
He knew about his lack and used his smart friends around him.
The reason why Liu Bei was able to win the Battle of Red Cliffs was that he knew he could make good use of Zhuge Liang and other talents under his leadership, not because he was invincible.
Lee Byung-ryong said to Son Ji-baek again.
“Please reconsider, Great Janggwe.”
Instead of answering, Son asked, looking around.
“Are you all thinking like the head of Chil Gak?”
There were as many as 40 chief messengers in this place, including heads of Dang and Gak.
However, not a single person gave a clear answer.
It seemed to mean to approve Lee Byung-ryong’s words, and against him, there is no justification for rejecting the order if they would be asked to escort.
The Taoist frowned. He looked very disappointed.
Namgoong So-so asked me.
“Why don’t we just say no because it is not profitable and everyone is reluctant to do? Why are they in agony?”
“It has been a long custom in the Cheonryong Pyoguk not to refuse the requests for the escort of the dead whatever the cost unless there is a particular reason.”
“Spelling for the frozen corpse was created to transport the dead bodies from the battlefield to their families. Without them, there would be no country. No country, then no Pyoguk. It is now a tradition to escort the dead at a low price.”
“But they’re not died fighting for the country. I don’t think we should be forced to take this job due to tradition or convention.”
“They were chasing the devil, who had massacred hundreds of soldiers and civilians and fled, and were killed. They were not the war dead, but they also sacrificed their lives for the country, because people are country.”
But I had to refuse because we could not lose twice as many lives trying to take the dead home.
But something was wrong.
Not only Lee Jong-san, but also Kwak Seok-san, Son Ji-baek, and everyone here looked at me and Namgoong So-so.
“I think people are looking at us.”
“I think it’s not us, it’s you, Jeong-ryong.”
“I think they just heard what you had said.”
“How can they hear our talking?”
“Because they are all top masters.”
“Oh, my God!”
I tried to lower his voice, but it was too late.
I had never been a master, so I didn’t have any sense like ‘Top masters can hear this sound.’
I was trying to be careful.
Then said Son Ji-baek.
“I am already acquainted with the Taoist from Mosan faction here. I fully believe in what he told us. I will take what the fourth Gonja has just said to his friend as my answer.”
Lee Jong-san, Son Ji-baek, Kwak Seok-san, and the Taoist looked satisfied only then.
Particularly, Lee Jong-san showed a subtle pride as a father who had brought up a good son after losing his wife.
Lee Byung-ryong, who became a small-minded man without knowing Gangho’s morality, sat down with anger at me.
On the contrary, I felt like I was hit hard on the back of my head with a hammer as I became a Confucian scholar full of chivalrous spirit.
‘Oh, this isn’t it.…’
Son Ji-baek commented to disturbed heads of Dang and Gak.
“I’ll leave the dead to the delivery group led by Head Jang of the Bokryong Dang. Head Jang, please take good care of the dead during the escort.”
Suddenly, he assigned Jang Liang-gi to the task.
Not long ago, he was the head of messengers who had had problems with me, because Ko Jung-tae did some tricks on the delivery goods.
Once the Great Janggwe has decided, it could not be changed even if the Lord intervened.
Zhang Liang-gi stood up, covering his bad expression, and said,
“I’ll take orders.”
The other heads were relieved only then.
This determined all the deliveries.
At that time, Lee Eul-ryong started to argue.
“I don’t want this kind of unilateral notification.”
Son Ji-baek narrowed his eyes.
“Do you have anything to say to me, Head of Bokryong Dang?”
“The delivery team led by Head Jang will be headed to Yangju. The destination for the dead is Mount Gamak, which takes five days more.”
“As you know, after 15 days, our Bokryong Dang is scheduled to ship 1,000 bags of rice from Manpo Sangbang to Fujian Province. This is something that all the messengers and the porters of Bokryong Dang should do their best, and the delivery team led by Head Jang should return as soon as possible.”
“I understand what you want to say, but everyone has a situation. Unscheduled delivery has been added, so please understand that we’ll support them with few messengers and porters of other Gak.”
I was in a hurry—there was still one more way.
But under the current situation, it would encounter many resistances.
But I could not pretend not to know.
Well, I did not care.
I stood up with my hands raised.
If I could not stop the delivery, I could follow it and stop the disaster.
It was not what I wanted, but there was no other way.
People focused on me again.
Everyone was surprised. It was only a month after the government exam, and they were just told that I would join the delivery all of sudden, which made people surprised.
Even it was a delivery of a frozen corpse.
It was Lee Jong-san who was more surprised than anyone else.
He, who had looked at me as proud as he could before, was now staring at me like he was going to kill me.
‘Phew, is it time for victory or defeat?’