Reincarnation - Chapter 21
I called Yeom Wang-do and Dok Gak-mang around the port boiling leftover of dog meat.
“Who are you?”, asked Dok Gak-mang impolitely.
“Be careful of what you say! I’ve been representing Cheonryong Pyoguk, not the new messenger who came to greet you!”
Yeom Wang-do stood by me.
He must have completely forgotten that just a moment ago his underboss had been beaten to death by me.
Dok Gak-mang glared for a moment, but he seemed to hold back whether he knew it was only a loss if he tried to provoke me.
“Okay, what is the position of Cheonryong Pyoguk?”
That was it. I got the start on them. I told Namgoong So-so, “Take out all of the two bags.”
Originally, she had received three bags, but when I told her to give them all, but saying 2 bags, Namgoong So-so looked at me slightly embarrassed.
‘What do you want me to do? ‘
‘Give me two.’
‘You told me to give you everything. ‘
‘I told you to give me two.’
‘That’s what you think.’
Despite her embarrassment, Namgoong So-so took out two bags and put them down on the floor.
And she covered them with her body so that the messengers and the porters could not see.
I spoke so quietly that even the three people in this place could barely hear it.
“Each bag has fifty coins, all one hundred coins. That’s all we can offer.”
Yeom Wang-do was surprised by the amount twice as large as usual.
Dok Gak-mang looked like, “Did you get this much for blocking the way?”
Namgoong So-so shook her head when she realized she was involved in something ridiculous.
“Cheonryong’s position is simple. First of all, we don’t care which party controls Jangsa Gok road. We don’t want to get involved in the dispute. Please you two distinguish between right and wrong later.”
“Second, our schedule is tight today, so I’ll give all this money to the one who helps us to cross the road. As the leader of Daebyeol Branch may know, this amount is twice as much as usual. It’s kind of an express charge.”
I said I didn’t want to get involved in the dispute, but in fact, there’s no way to get involved more clearly than this.
It was natural that a person who passed our cart over the blocked road would be the master of the road.
Yeom Wang-do tried to calm down and said, “That’s impossible. As I said to Head Jang earlier, there’s no way to cross the road until the water is drained.”
“Do you feel the same way, Head of Gyoryong Group?”
“We can pass you over right away.”
Dok Gak-mang smiled and raised one hand.
Then two large, thick planks of 15 meters slid out of the deck of a sailboat anchored by the river.
The planks banged one end to the ground and stopped.
Those were joint planks that connected the deck of a ship with the ground obliquely.
At the loading dock, porters loaded or unloaded using those planks.
“We will carry goods on our back onto the ship. For carts, we will adjust the distance of the planks to the width of cartwheels and tie the carts with ropes to pull them onto the deck. Then, we will unload them in the same way.”
It was only about 100 meters. It happened because we could not cross the short road.
“Cheonryong Pyoguk will pay a toll on the Gyoryong Group.”
“Excellent decision, Hahaha!”
Dok Gak-mang laughed loudly.
Yeom Wang-do frowned and asked me calmly.
“Is this the decision of Cheonryong Pyoguk?”
“I know how you feel, but I hope you understand that we can’t help it. I also hope this doesn’t hurt our relationship with Daebyeol Branch.”
“What nonsense are you talking about, betraying us in a moment? We have been working together for a decade. I declare here that any delivery of Cheonryong Pyoguk will never cross the mountain.”
“Then, you can take away Gyoryong Group blocking us and pass us the way. We are paying the toll for that, right?”
“I don’t know why you’re blaming Cheonryong Pyoguk for what happened to you. To be honest, aren’t you trying to put us in a fight when you cannot fight against Gyoryong Group?”
“You seem to ignore our Daebyeol Group due to a small den. Can you handle the Bandit Alliance?”
Yeom Wang-do talked clearly.
The words from his tight molars guessed his anger.
This was what I was after.
He was angry and had to leave.
He should never look down at Cheonryong Pyoguk or Gyoryong Group easily.
“Are you serious?”
“Hmm, you must know the Bandit Alliance is scary.”
“One fire burns all the fields, and one stone creates a thousand waves. Can you handle it?”
“Are you threatening?”
“You’re saying that if the Bandit Alliance joins, you’ll go to war against Cheonryong Pyoguk. I am asking you can make a sudden decision, Head of Daebyeol Branch. Additionally, I can do that.”
At that moment, Yeom Wang-do’s eyebrows wriggled. If there were a war between Cheonryong Pyoguk and Bandit Alliance, the alliance would win.
Because they had more people. However, they would also get a severe loss.
After that, every one of them would try to get a position and it would take at least 10 years to clear up the mess.
Yeom Wang-do decides such a serious matter?
It was not even worth half a penny of estimation. Was this old man trying to use a trick?
“How can you do?”
“The Lord of Pyoguk is my father.”
“I am the fourth son of Jong-san, the Lord of Cheonryong Pyoguk. You don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jang Liang-gi gave me the lead and that I knocked down your underboss, right?”
It was all fraud, but Yeom Wang-do had no idea what was going on.
Negotiation usually started with a half-lie. I bluffed properly.
“But the fourth son won first place in the government exam……. I was wondering how you are very eloquent with an extraordinary appearance. You are the fourth son of Cheonryong Pyoguk. I did not recognize you. Hahaha.”
Dok Gak-mang suddenly greeted me.
I thought he lived only on the water, but he must have heard the news.
Once again, Yeom Wang-do frowned.
He must have been wondering why a young newbie was coming out instead of a healthy leader, and now he was confused.
“Would you like to ask me again? Did you declare a war? Then I’m going to send someone to my father to let him know the situation. Of course, I’m going to be in a lot of trouble for being rash, but you’re going to have to risk your life.”
Yeom Wang-do stood up and shouted nervously at his subordinates behind him.
“Everyone, let’s go!”
As the bandits departed, Dok Gak-mang told me.
“I respect your courageous determination, the fourth Gongja”
“As you can see, Cheonryong Pyoguk has burned a bridge to Daebyeol Branch, and the relationship with the Bandit Alliance is likely to be uncomfortable. Don’t forget this.”
“Of course, our Gyoryong group and the Pirate Alliance will never forget the favor of the fourth Gongja, and I hope that the relationship will become stronger.”
He emphasized the word ‘Fourth Gongja’.
He secretly hinted that he would give me strength if there was anything to help in any feud between brothers of Cheonryong Pyoguk.
He seemed to be mistaken that I was trying to break the long-standing relationship with Daebyeol Branch and establish a new relationship with Gyoryong Group.
“I need you to save my face right now. And you can see from the back that they’re all looking ridiculous because I broke the long-standing alliance without a discussion.”
“What shall I do for you?’’
“I’ll give you a half-day from now on. Until then, please move all our wagons and belongings across the water to dry land.”
“Of course. Take a rest.”
Dok Gak-mang looked back at his men and shouted.
“Load all the goods and wagons on board!”
When I returned to the camp, all of them were as solid as stone statues.
Jang Liang-gi told me with a serious face I had never seen before since I came to know him.
“You can’t do this.”
“We should never take a side because we have to look at both the Daebyeol Branch and Gyoryong Group, and on a big scale, the Bandit Alliance and Pirate Alliance. Especially, we must not take the side of Gyoryong Group, which suddenly popped out and broke the balance.”
“The more I screw things up, the better it is for you, Head Jang?”
“As you seem to know, I’ll be honest with you. Just before I left the trail, I was ordered to give you as many opportunities as I can.”
“They must have wanted me to fail every time and end up out of the eyes of my father and the people. It has been done as they wanted. By the way, why?”
“Before I am the man of the second Gongja, I was also a messenger of Cheonryong Pyoguk. When he and you were 12 and 6 years old respectively, I came to Cheonryong Pyoguk and started working at the bottom. Cheonryong Pyoguk is where I dedicated my youth.”
“What kind of operation is this?”
“No matter what kind of fight you have between your brothers, I’ll have no choice but to follow anyone. But I don’t want to contribute to any harm to our Pyoguk. I don’t want to do it as a messenger.”
“Changing the package of the white fox is no good for the country.”
“You may not believe it, but I was not involved in it.”
“It looked different when I saw you beating Ko Jung-tae to silence him.”
“Is this such a big deal?”
“If there’s simply a dispute between the Daebyeol Branch and the Cheonryong Pyoguk, I’m confident I can handle it myself even if a couple of bandits are dead.”
“But that’s not it?”
“The problem is that you have taken the side of Gyoryong Group instead of Daebyeol Brach. A son of the Lord did, not a messenger. Then, the Bandit Alliance will intervene.”
“Can we be enemies to the Gyoryong Group to continue the relationship with Daebyeol Branch? Behind Gyoryong Group is the Pirate Alliance.”
“And if you’re so worried, you should do from the beginning. Why are you doing that after you already did it?”
Jang Liang-gi sighed and said,
“I thought you were going to run away from two old men. Then, I was going to come forward and coax the head of Daebyeol Branch.”
“That’s why you gave me all the money, didn’t you?”
In his previous life, Jang Liang-gi did indeed, but he could not appease Dok Gak-mang, who had already determined, with a few pennies.
“I understand what you think, but it’s not over yet, so please wait. If anything goes wrong, I’ll take full responsibility.”
Unknowingly, I talked to him politely.
Because I saw the unexpected appearance of the messenger, Jang Liang-gi.
Jang Liang-gi stopped trying to say something more.
Then, Namgoong So-so approached. She sat close enough to reach my shoulder.
She tapped into her bosom and whispered not to let other people notice.
“How do I do with this?”
“A money bag. You know, there’s one left.”
“Keep it well and give it to me when I ask.”
“Why are you leaving this to me?”
“You said that you will do your best to help me, right”
“At the time, I thought you were only trying to settle the dispute. I never dreamed that you were planning to embezzle the funds in the middle.”
“A man’s word is as good as a bond. If you have offered to help, help me to the end. Be extra careful not to let the messengers and porters notice.”
“Look at this, Jeong-ryong…….”
It was then.
The wagon plunged into the river as a plank connecting the sailboat and the land was broken.
It had been a mess since then.
Pirates quickly ran into the river and pulled out the wagon.
Fortunately, only one wheel was broken.
What was more fortunate was that it was an empty wagon, and what was much more fortunate was that it wasn’t human that fell.
After a while, Dok Gak-mang came to me and said,
“Can I have a word with you?”
“I think we’ve got a problem.”
“Is the wagon used in Pyoguk that heavy? We’ve broken the plank that has not had a problem in ten years.”
“We’ve been using it for a long time, so we cut the oak trees that grow on the beach and fill them with oil. It’s heavier than it looks. It costs a lot.”
“I think I’ll have to go back to Gyoryong Group, get some more planks, overlap them, and then work on them again, until tomorrow…….”
“Tomorrow, the water will drain and the road will be cleared, so there is no reason for us to take the old-fashioned way of loading and unloading wagons on the ship.”
“There is no other way.”
“You can’t do this now. I trusted you and antagonized Daebyeol Branch.”
“Please save my face in front of my men this time, and I will pay you back.”
“You mean it doesn’t matter if I lose my face to save you face? And why else would I do that?’
I looked back and they were all in bad mood.
The pirates were at a loss for their embarrassment, and the Jang Liang-gi and messengers were clicking their tongue.
“What do you want me to do?”
“I have a plan to save your face and my face, so would you like to hear it?”
“What is it?”
“You can connect 30 boats in a row, and then make an adjunct bridge by laying planks on the joint of boats. Then carry wagons and goods by using the bridge.”
“We have enough boats, but there are no planks. I can use the broken plank, but the wagon is too heavy and we have not enough planks.”
“How about fixing three small arm-thick logs together and using them as a plank instead? Like a baby log bridge when you cross a narrow stream in every village.”
“It’s a good idea, but now you have to climb up to Mount Kun to get a good tree because it’s all steep slopes and rocks around here.”
“You can go up. It may take an hour each for climbing up, cutting trees, and taking them down.”
“Then, Daebyeol Branch will not only watch us doing it. No matter how many people we have, we cannot fight against bandits in the mountains. Not a few will die. We cannot do it just for getting some trees.”
“So tell the Head of Daebyeol Branch about the situation and ask for his cooperation, or as you say, there’s only war.”
“You want me to visit that mountain animal and bow my head? I can’t do that. If my people find out that I went to the den and begged for a tree, I will become an object of ridicule to the brothers of the Pirate Alliance. “
“I’ll go then.”
“Isn’t there anything I can help you with?”
“Me too, but you fought with Yeom Wang-do……… can you go?’’
“You and I, we’re not in no position to be picky. As you might know, this is my first trip. If I quit here, I’ll be forever labeled incompetent and stupid in the Pyoguk.”
“I am ashamed, by the way, but I am not sure if Yeom will allow you to do so.”
“I’ll try to make it happen. Just give me the money back.”
“Why money back?”
“You want me to visit Daebyeol Branch empty-handed? And you failed what you promised me. You need to ask Yeom for help. Thus, it is right to give me money.”
“I see what you mean.”
Then Dok Gak-mang took a money bag out.
Namgoong So-so, whose eyes were wide open, tried to take it quickly.
I tapped her wrist and said in a subdued voice.
“What is this?”
“Daebyeol Branch and Gyoryong Group are moving the objects together, so shouldn’t you split the cost evenly?”
“If you’re going to do this, you can go yourself.”
“Why, am I wrong?”
“Put yourself in his position. If you were Yeom, would you allow him to cut off a tree for fifty coins?”
“Just as you and I have a face, so does he. He will not allow me even though I give him all of 100 coins. He may ask you to come to the den and apologize to him. Then, he will demand you to do as everything never happened.”
“Then you want us to work for free?”
“Why is this free? I handed over the entire road to Gyoryong Group by breaking the relationship with Daebyeol Branch. Why are you thinking that way?”
The face of Dok Gak-mang hardened and was lost in thought for a long time. Then he asked in a cold voice as before.
“Maybe you’re trying to get back together with Daebyeol Branch?”
“If you keep arguing over the little things, I can’t help but think about the way, and I can say that which one I’m going to choose is my business. Don’t force me.”
He stared at me. I, too, glared at him.
“Hahaha. I see.”
Dok Gak-mang held out two bags as if he had made a big decision.
Namgoong So-so, who looked at me and money bags alternately, looked at what the hell was going on.
And yet, she was quickly picking up the bags.
So, all the three money bags from Jang Liang-gi returned.
But there’s still one more thing left.
“Give me the repairing charges, please.”
“I’m trying to save your face, so please save my face. Everyone has seen the wheels of the wagon broken, and if I just let it go, the messengers and the porters will call me a pushover.
“Hoo-hoo. Rumors are rumors. You were quite different from what I’ve heard. All right, how much do you want?”
“Give me fifty coins, please.”
“Why is that so expensive?’’
“You must know. The wagons of Pyoguk are different from normal ones. We have extra wheels, so we can change it. But what if it was broken, you should have given me two hundred coins.”
“Okay, even though the beginning is so bad, I hope nothing happens afterward.”
“You are right. Clouds always follow the sunshine. Think that all the bad things will be finished on the first day. I’ll think so, too.”
“I feel much better now that you have said so. Hahaha.”
Dok Gak-mang took out one more bag and now he handed it over to Namgoong So-so naturally.
Namgoong So-so took it frantically.
Now, the only thing left was to go to the bandits, coax them well, and then make one last big push.