Solo Swordmaster

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Solo Swordmaster

[Translator –  woni]

[Proofreader – sharlottle]

 

Chapter 91: Is There a Reason?

 

Wang Ki-neung pressed on further, displeased by the informant’s silence.

But there would be no response. The informant was scared of Wang Ki-neung, but he was also frustrated by the situation.

‘I would do something else if I could.’

‘I didn’t know things would be like this.’

‘Agh!’

Even though they had used every shadow master in the clan and spent millions of dollars on tracers, they were no closer to catching the culprits. They were chasing ghosts.

‘But a ghost would’ve been better. That way, the worst that happens is that we become a laughingstock of the clan.’

The problem was that other subsidiaries were getting attacked. After taking over the investigation for Guardian, it placed the responsibility of catching the criminals solely on the Shanghai Royal Family.

Dishonor wasn’t a problem anymore. The way things were going, their entire noble clan might be jeopardized. 

That’s why everyone rushed to find a solution, but no appropriate plan came to mind.

“What if we request help from Guardian?” a quiet voice broke the silence. 

Everyone turned their heads to the military leader. He was not one to speak up in these situations, and his suggested alternative was instead unexpected.

“Are you saying we should accept that we can’t catch them ourselves?”

“It’s better to have an extra gun dog. And Guardian is one with an extremely good sense of smell.”

“Hmm.”

“That’s…”

The other members murmured in unison. The military leader had a point. They prepared to go to any lengths for their goal when they pulled out their cash and hired tracers. And not to mention, Guardian had been effective in stopping attacks.

Considering they were also responsible for the clan’s security, it was the most logical plan.

“No.”

Wang Ki-neung adamantly turned the suggestion down. 

“Asking for their help after having told them we would handle it? How would that look?”

“Is it not the family’s precept to prioritize reality over our egos?”

“Now is not the time for that.”

“…Is it too late?”

“Much too late.”

Wang Ki-neung shook his head. If only they had accepted help from the beginning. Despite the continuous attacks over the last month, the culprits were still at large. If the Shanghai Royal Family begged Guardian for help with their already weak status, they wouldn’t be able to call themselves a noble clan ever again.

‘If I knew that catching these culprits would be such an obstacle, I would have prepared other methods…’

Wang Ki-neung sighed. No one would have expected the Seven Dragons Association to fail in finding the criminals—maybe save for one person.

‘Did you decline my offer knowing this would happen, Master of Swords?’

Limon had declined to accept his support yet granted his selfish request. At the time, he took it as the foolish pride of a traditional swordsman to turn down rewards.

But was that the case? If Limon accepted Wang Ki-neung’s offer, all the criticism would have been directed at Guardian instead. People would accuse Limon of being tempted by greed and making him give up the chase while the family could play the victim card and receive sympathy. By turning down Wang Ki-neung, Limon saved himself. In fact, his reputation had only gone up since. What if it wasn’t a coincidence? What if Limon had known from the beginning?

The Master of Swords was not just some hard-headed swordsman. He could see over all the mountains in the land and was a king who only moved when victory was inevitable. He was an old yet cunning tiger.

‘I should have known when the Master of Swords didn’t protest.’

He lamented at his foolishness. However, it was the best call then. If he had another chance, he would have done the same again.

“Forget about Guardian. The only way to protect our family is to catch the culprits using our own power,” Wang Ki-neung commanded. Staring at the destroyed mural still stained with the blood of his cousin, he muttered lowly, “No matter what.

 

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“Is that so?” Li Chingwei stamped her signature on the document and moved on to the next one. “So the Shanghai Royal Family has decided to stick to their current plan.”

“Yes,” Yo Ouin, an elderly man in a suit, confirmed. “Family Head Wang is directing more resources to the situation and increasing the intensity of their search.”

“They would’ve caught them already if they put in that effort from the start.”

“It appears that anxiousness blinded them.”

“That is a shame. Someone as sharp as him shouldn’t be so deaf to his circumstances and waste so much of our clan’s resources.”

“Would you like to reprimand him?”

“Not necessarily, no. Anyone would have done as he did in his place.”

She knew that Wang Ki-neung was not incompetent.

“Do you think it is the work of a skill?”

“It is rare to be so hidden from our shadow arts and tracers…”

“Even if such a skill exists… Would it be enough to escape Wang Ki-neung’s grasp?”

“That would be difficult for even a monarch…” Li Chingwei curtly agreed.

It may be the Iron Age, the time of players, but they were the Seven Dragons Association. They held the world’s wealth and the amount of influence to match. It would be hard to perfectly hide from such an organization, regardless of how great a player one was.

“But that’s if they don’t have support.”

“You think this is an attack from another organization?”

“So says the Master of Swords’ intuition.”

“Indeed… Then, it would be easier to track down the organization backing them.”

“You believed me faster than I expected.” Li Chingwei tilted her head slightly.

Other clans would have laughed at her for believing in the intuition of some dead weight, but Yo Ouin knew that Limon was still in his prime.

With a grave expression, he replied, “He is the Master of Swords. He stopped our grand scheme that took many meticulous centuries to prepare. There is no reason not to trust in his intuition.”

“He is keen indeed.” Li Chingwei grinned as if she was the one receiving the praise.

Was the reason you made a security company to make use of his intuition for situations like this?” Yo Ouin questioned.

“No. I just thought it was something the Master of Swords would find the least troublesome… Of course, it would be a lie if I said I had no expectations for him.”

Countless thoughts ran through Yo Ouin’s mind. The princess intentionally gave Limon an overwhelming amount of power to raise his status in the clan, settle the pressure of the elders, and prepare for incidents—such were the benefits of putting Limon in charge of Guardian. He was perplexed that she was brushing those to the side.

“How are the other noble clans looking?”

“They are very concerned.”

“As expected.”

“This isn’t something to take lightly,” Yo Ouin advised. The princess’ calm demeanor was hard to read. “It was going all right, yes. But then, Guardian’s predictions stopped being accurate. All our subsidiaries’ income has decreased.”

“That is… not good.” Li Chingwei looked troubled.

Despite their former status as a demonic cult, the Seven Dragons Association was now a strict enterprise, running on income and benefits instead of faith and fear.

Their main priority, income, getting hurt was in some ways worse than losing hundreds of employees to attacks. Li Chingwei could be next on the chopping block after the Shanghai Royal Family. And since regaining her status in the clan was necessary for her end goal, the current situation was a challenge.

“How about you ask the Master of Swords, princess?”

Yo Ouin rarely voiced his opinion on matters, but the circumstances were far from ordinary.

“To catch the culprits?”

“That’s right. We are under no obligation like the Shanghai Royal Family is to refuse Guardian’s intervention.”

Li Chingwei tilted her head. She wasn’t expecting Yo Ouin’s input. 

“If the Master of Swords steps into the frontlines, both you and he will stand to gain more favor.”

“It seems like there is no doubt in your mind that the Master of Swords can find the culprits immediately if he tried.”

“He is the Master of Swords.”

If he unsheathed his sword, who could hide?

Li Chingwei stared at Yo Ouin in silence. Finally, she nodded with a smile.

“I think so, too.”

“Then—”

“But I will not be asking the Master of Swords.”

“…May I know why?”

“Family Head Wang personally requested the Master of Swords to keep out of the investigation. What would become of him if Limon intervened now?”

“The Master of Swords would not mind.”

“He probably wouldn’t, but the Shanghai Royal Family will. They will resent the Master of Swords.”

For the Shanghai Royal Family to protect their noble status, they had to catch the criminals. Limon suddenly butting his head in again and single-handedly getting rid of the criminals after handing them the reigns would be enough reason for the family to detest him.

“Regardless of their status, the Shanghai Royal Family is still a noble clan. If they oppose Limon, that will rub off on the others.”

Resentment scars deeper than grace. The grace shown to a hundred clan members cannot possibly compare to the resentment of any single Shanghai Royal Family member. It would also persist that much longer—especially since the subject matter was Limon Asphelder.

“Is there a reason for the Master of Swords to step in if that is the end result?”

 

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