The Shaolin temple, which was at the foot of Sungjeong Mountain, was one of the five famous mountains of the Song Empire.
The Arahan, well, Buddhism was spread to the Song Empire, and countless monks produced it.
The Shaolin temple wasn’t just respected by the people but also the Imperial family. It was because whenever the nation was in turmoil or the nation was facing trouble from the external forces, they also stood up.
As a result, the people going to the Shaolin temple didn’t stop.
However, that particular day, the temple had many special worshippers.
Gold studded ornate wagons and armored horsemen.
The men in the temple stepped back seeing the unusual number of men who had come.
“This is amazing. Which clan’s warriors are they?”
“You ignorant fool! Can’t you see the flag that is hanging in the front? That is the royal army!”
“Oh, then the person in the wagon…”
“If you know, then put your head down already!”
It was the Imperial family that could use the Eorim troops as escorts and the immediate members of the Imperial family.
It wasn’t just the common people who knew about the wagon but even the high ranking soldiers knelt down and bowed their heads.
People were curious as to who the man in the golden carriage was, but the men of Kang Ho were rather interested in an old man—a horseman.
It was because the energy given out by the old man in red armor was as huge as a mountain and went very well to how he looked.
‘Lee, Lee Yong-mu.’
‘That old man is the general of Eorim troops, the red dragon king, Lee Yong-mu…?’
‘He is the monster everyone is talking about!’
Lee Yong-mu, the Red Dragon King, was known to be the guardian of the Imperial family.
A descendant of Lee Seo-woon, the man who had made a 4 legged monster of Apostasy bend down 200 years ago, had already made a name for himself in his teens as the Demon slayer in Kang Ho.
Unlike the members of his family whose bones were buried in their clan’s residence on Kang Ho, Lee Yong-mu left his clan and made a name and merit for himself in the army.
Among the enemies he had defeated over the decades were the Kita Empire of the nomads who had the power similar to the Song Empire, as well as the local rebels who fought for the throne.
However, the most famous was the match that happened 35 years ago against a swordsman Yeon Ga-ram.
Yeon Ga-ram was a warrior from Yemaek called the strongest swordsman of all.
The two men had fought as the representatives of Moorim arts and the military power during a mid-autumn festival of the Empire and fought for three days and nights. As a result, Lee Yong-mu had lost with a difference of one second.
Although he had lost the match, people admired the bravery he had showed and gave him the nickname ‘Red Dragon King’.
And subsequently, Lee Yong-mu was regarded as the strongest and the most absolute force in the Song Empire.
However, for a man who scared everyone around him, there was a man he was scared of.
It was prince Jo Won-ki of Song Empire, who was in the golden wagon.
“General, I feel dizzy. Please give me some opium.”
“I am sorry, but no. The emperor has asked us not to.”
“My feet and hands are shaking! So just hand it over to me, you old man!”
When the condition of Jo Won-ki began to degrade, Le Yong-mu felt bad and uneasy.
It was because the tantrum the prince was throwing was in the midst of the crowd where everyone could hear.
‘You bastard, if it wasn’t for Your Majesty’s request, you would have already been dead in my hands!’
The reason why Lee Yong-mu was going to the Shaolin temple was to get the prince treated from the opium he had gotten addicted to.
The empress, who wanted her son’s addiction fixed, heard about Nanda, the famous priest of the Shaolin temple.
She begged the Emperor to care for the prince with tears in her eyes, seeing that the Emperor had granted her one last chance to bring back the prince to his normal state.
It was the Emperor who had selected Lee Yong-mu, who was practicing in the Imperial palace as the escort captain.
“Tch Tch, even the general is suffering.”
“Yeah, he is worshipped like a king in Kang Ho…”
“I understand why the men of Kang Ho aren’t doing well. Such self-respecting people are made to endure such behavior.”
The voices of the passing men made Lee Yong-mu feel more bitter.
When he was thinking about it, a messenger from the capital came ahead.
“What is it?”
Lee Yong-mu had intended to send a messenger to the capital after the mass was held, but he had gotten a letter before he could send it. He opened the wax sealed letter.
His eyes, which were looking at the content, were wide with shock.
“What the?! The 3rd crown prince was attacked near Nanjing a week ago? And the Eorim troops that were sent as escorts got destroyed. Why am I only just hearing about this?”
The messenger was hesitating.
“It was because getting in touch with Angyong took a while…”
“Does that even make any sense?! Doesn’t that mean that the men of the Imperial army were just playing around!”
If they wanted to get in touch, they could have used the telegram.
Nevertheless, information being delayed could be regarded as negligent action or deliberate actions of someone.
“Send the Eorim to Angyong right away! If they get there any later, I will take their necks!”
Even after the messenger had moved away, the troubled expression on Lee Yong-mu’s face didn’t fade because of what happened on the 3rd crown prince, who had gone to the south due to a problem that the region was facing.
‘If I could, I would head there directly, but I can’t go past the request of His Majesty…’
Lee Yong-mu had no other choice but to continue his role and pray that the 3rd prince was safe.
Soon after the party of Lee Yong-mu arrived at the Shaolin temple.
The monks and the others in the temple were already waiting as if they were informed of their arrival in advance, and Lee Yong-mu greeted them on behalf of Jo Won-ki, who had taken a drug and passed out.
“We are very sorry for hindering your schedule, chief.”
“No, not at all. In the world of Buddha, this too will have a meaning.”
Lee Yong-mu was already over 80 years old.
Although he was older, he had to take a step back when talking to the head of the Shaolin temple that was in Kang Ho.
“But, Saint Nanda?”
When Lee Yong-mu asked and looked, the chief pointed to an old monk who was standing close.
“He is Nanda.”
When Nanda stepped forward and bowed his head, Lee Yong-mu looked at his eyes.
However, it only increased his doubts.
‘This man is Nanda?’
He had heard the rumors about Nanda, but it was his first time meeting him in person.
However, it was difficult to see if the Nanda in front of his eyes was really the one who had got enlightenment on physical pain.
His body was average, and his clothes were similar to the other monks around him.
And it wasn’t like he was giving out any unusual energy or something.
‘In the end, will the man be able to cure the prince?’
And his suspicion only increased when Nanda went to treat the prince, who was lying in his quarters.
‘No, he can’t just!’
As Nanda moved his hand over the body of Jo Won-ki, his hand began to give out mysterious light. The energy of opium that was blooming all over the prince’s body disappeared clearly.
It wasn’t just that, healthy blood was hovering in the lean and slender body of the prince, and his hazel eyes were back to normal.
The prince, who had been holding onto his consciousness, was surprised at the improvement in his condition.
“How is it, Crown Prince?”
“It feels very refreshing, General. It is almost as if I am a kite flying in the sky.”
At the halftoned question from Lee Yong-mu, the words of the prince followed.
“Now I can smoke the opium without any worries.”
“P-prince!” Yelled the general.
“Was it Nanda? I really like you. How about you come and be my exclusive doctor in the future?”
The orders from Jo Won-ki turned Nanda bitter.
A person’s body was the only thing he could heal with his powers.
A rotten mind filled with greed and sloth were things he wasn’t able to heal.
“The treatment of the prince is only temporary. How the illness dies depends on the hands of the prince himself.”
Jo Won-ki’s eyes turned red, yet he said nothing more.
“You have grown up till now without feeling a lack of regret on anything, so you don’t know anything about patience or temperance. Since you have come here, how about learning the teachings of enlightenment?”
“You are asking me to be here?” Asked the crown prince.
“I think that it will be better for the people and the nation if you stay here. A lazy, greedy monarch can find thousands of ways to make people unhappy.”
The face of the prince was turning red with anger.
Although he hadn’t expressed it, Lee Yong-mu was completely agreeing with the words of Nanda.
Jo Won-ki, the crown prince and the eldest son, was always lazy and neglected his studies.
Even if it wasn’t for the opium, he was never the right vessel to become an Emperor.
Jo Won-ki pulled out the sword that was hanging by his waist.
Startled, Lee Yong-mu had come out, but before he could react, the blade had already fallen on Nanda’s head.
However, before getting hit by the sword, Nanda’s body became a cloud and scattered away!
Flustered, Jo Won-ki and Lee Yong-mu heard the voice of Nanda, which echoed in their ears.
“Abandon greed. That is the only way you can save yourself and others.”
Unlike Jo Won-ki who looked like he had seen a ghost, Lee Yong-mu seemed rather inspired.
‘As I heard, he indeed is a person with divine magic!’
What Nanda did was neither martial skill or Zen skill. It was clear that he had given up on all human desires.
It was shocking and puzzling too.
Why was a man who was as good as him still living in such a stained world?
‘Does this mean that the Song Empire is in such a mess?’
Lee Yong-mu wasn’t sure. However, he wasn’t confused… because the things happening around him were unusual.
“S-Saint Nanda, catch him!”
“Prince, we are done with your treatment. We need to get back to the Imperial palace.”
Lee Yong-mu tried to calm the prince who was ordering the escorts loudly.
However, Jo Won-ki only raised his voice louder, disregarding the words of Lee Yong-mu.
“Aren’t you going to follow my words? Catch that sassy man right now!”
“What are you doing?! Get the prince inside!”
At the shout from Lee Yong-mu, the escorts started to lead Jo Won-ki back into his wagon.
Lee Yong-mu reassured the chief of the temple when he saw the prince being taken in an unruly manner.
“This is nothing to worry about. I will explain everything to the Emperor.”
“T-thank you, general.”
The chief of the Shaolin temple expressed his gratitude.
“Then, we will head back now.”
As a thanks, 1000 gold coins were given to the temple for helping out their prince.
And the reason why he did that was because of the mess he had brought from the Imperial palace.