Invincible Teacher Chapter 44
45 Chapter 44
It was now the next day.
As soon as the individual groups woke up, they split into two, alternating between standing guard, and practising morning Qigong.
Oh-Tae stared at Kang-hyuk, who was in the midst of his Qigong practice. He then shifted his gaze towards Cheon Hae-gwang, who was standing by his side in guard. Lastly, he shifted his gaze to Deuk, who too was by Kang-hyuk's side.
Unfortunately, the Deuk right now seemed entirely different in appearance to the Deuk he had encountered the night before. He looked like a cute puppy rather than a wild beast.
'Damn it! Who would believe me when he looks like that!'
He could only sigh.
Though delayed, he was beginning to realize the error in his actions, and so, a sense of guilt was also rising up within him.
He reflected that the version of himself he had been displaying of late wasn't his normal self.
He felt as though he was going mad.
Despite the rain stopping partway through the night, due to the ground still being quite wet, they still had to reside within the cave.
Preparations for breakfast had begun.
The meal preparation was done with the help of maids, like the evening meal of the day before.
This was mainly due to the students' lack of cooking skills. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary food and energy wastage, the Academy had decided on using the assistance of the maids.
Byeok Ae-rin was preparing for the meals alongside Oh-Tae's maid.
"Then, I'll start boiling the broth."
"I'll leave it to you."
Byeok Ae-rin had naturally gravitated towards the role of leadership over Oh-Tae's maid in the meal preparation.
She was also teaching the students simple meals that they could make in an outdoor situation.
"There's nothing better than warm broth in cold weather. You can add the meat to the water after washing the blood off."
She seemed to radiate boundless kindness and patience whilst teaching the young students.
'Looking at her now, no-one would imagine that she was the infamously ruthless Byeok Ae-rin. Hahaha.'
Kang-hyuk exited the cave with a wide smile plastered across his face.
He left the cave as there were a few herbs that needed to be added to the broth after the meat had been put in.
Deuk followed behind him.
Kang-hyuk asked Cheon Hae-gwang to look over him while he left, but Deuk refused to stay put, insisting on coming with him.
He was after all, a spiritual wolf, renowned for their loyalty.
Suddenly, a voice that seemed to be calling Kang-hyuk rang out.
It was Ok Hae-mi.
Her gaze was then instantly drawn towards Deuk.
"Huh? What's with that puppy?"
Kang-hyuk smiled at the sight of Ok Hae-mi tilting her head towards the side at Deuk, and then replied.
"His name is Deuk! I acquired him yesterday evening."
Ok Hae-mi did not realize that Deuk was none other than the injured wolf they came across in the cave.
She bent down to look at Deuk more closely.
"Ah, so you're that legendary white breed of dog!"
Kang-hyuk inwardly smirked.
'He's not a white dog, he's a white wolf.'
After stroking Deuk a few times, she stood up, and then asked, "Anyway, where are you going?"
"I'm going to forage some herbs."
"It's for the soup broth. Where are you off to, Ok Seonsaeng?"
She pointed outside of the cave in response to his question.
"I too need to forage for some herbs."
"Why are you personally going?"
"It's because I'm part of the Beoneuijo group."
Kang-hyuk then realized that she, along with Eun Myeong-myeong, and dozens of warriors and other teachers, were part of the 'Beoneuijo' group.
Therefore, she was most likely personally foraging the herbs as part of her duties of serving Eun Myeong-myeong.
"I said that I would look for the herbs while the maids were taking care of making breakfast. I'm looking for the Treasured Delicacy Grass."
Kang-hyuk was a little surprised at her mention of the 'Treasured Delicacy Grass.'
"I too am looking for the Treasured Delicacy Grass."
Whilst the Treasured Delicacy Grass was considered to be a sacred herb, it was, at its core, a kind of medicinal plant.
If the leaves of the plant were placed in a soup broth that contained meat, it had the effect of removing any unpleasant odours from the meat, as well as adding a satisfyingly fresh flavour to the broth.
However, there weren't a lot of people that knew of these properties of the Treasured Delicacy Grass.
This was due to the fact that most people that knew of the grass were unable to actually obtain it.
The grass had a striking resemblance to wild chrysanthemums, and so, many couldn't distinguish between it and the actual Treasured Delicacy Grass. It was also quite difficult to find the grass regardless.
Therefore, Ok Hae-mi's spoken intentions of foraging for the Grass meant that she had the ability to actually find it.
"Well then, we should go and look together!"
"Ah! That would be good!"
There was an awkward silence for some time until Kang-hyuk spoke up.
"You know, I'm quite surprised. I didn't think that there were many that had the ability to find the Treasured Delicacy Grass, but to think that one of the rare few that do is Ok Seonsaeng!"
Ok Hae-mi smiled bitterly in response.
"When I was younger, I used to collect herbs to sell so that we could survive."
"I didn't think that such a young child would be able to distinguish"
"My late mother taught me how to identify the herb. We barely made ends meet due to that knowledge."
Kang-hyuk was a little doubtful.
From what he had observed, her style of martial arts and Gyeonggong certainly indicated that she was a child of the Ok Family.
To this day, the fame and prestige of the Ok Family was widespread. The family had produced many renowned talents of Moorim.
He couldn't believe that someone with such a background would experience poverty in their childhood.
This was the primary cause of his suspicion.
"You seem to have endured a lot. Did your mother teach you your martial skills as well?"
"No, my martial skills. were taught to me by my family."
"I was eight when I met my grandfather. I guess.it's a long story."
Her eyes were filled with deep regret. Kang-hyuk felt as though he couldn't enquire any further.
"Anyway, where do you think we could find the Treasured Delicacy Grass around here?"
Ok Hae-mi's expression changed in a short instant.
Kang-hyuk finally understood something. He realized that her ever cheerful countenance was actually a guise, hiding her true emotions.
The woman that Kang-hyuk was looking upon was in truth, sorrowful at core.
She was a little pitiful.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
Would Kang-hyuk's feelings really be displayed so clearly onto his face?
As Ok Hae-mi stared at him, Kang-hyuk hurriedly coughed in embarrassment.
"Are you pitying me because of the hardships I experienced in life?"
Kang-hyuk shook his head.
"Pitying you! Not at all! Do I even have the right to pity you? It's not as though I had been present and able to help you in your times of hardship."
"I was merely thinking of how proud I was of you, and how admirable you are."
Her eyes widened.
"Well...you managed to overcome your difficulties, and you're even a teacher at such a respectable establishment such as the Hwacheon Academy!"
Ok Hae-mi smiled at his words.
"I'm surprised. I didn't think that I'd hear those words."
"It's the first time I've heard anyone say that they are proud of me, and that my accomplishments are admirable."
Kang-hyuk's words resounded within Ok Hae-mi again and again.
She had never received any kind of praise. Not from her grandfather, her teacher, and not even from the warriors of her family.
Ok Hae-mi was quite dazed.
She couldn't fathom why these words spoken by Kang-hyuk reminded her of her affectionate late father.
Without her even realizing, it suddenly felt as though tears were welling up from within her, ready to overflow.
She lifted her hands to her eyes, wiping them as though dust had gotten stuck within them.
But there was no dust.
Though it had stopped raining awhile back, there were wet droplets of water on her hand.
They were tears.
Despite her having thought that her tears had already dried, and that she had no more tears to shed, there were tears flowing down from the corners of her eyes.
"Huh? A-are you okay?"
Kang-hyuk, who felt a little uncomfortable, didn't know what to do.
Ok Hae-mi had spoken those words, but she was clearly not okay. As she wiped her tears, more replaced them, continuously flowing down her face.
Kang-hyuk was perplexed. He had no idea that his words would have such an effect.
Deuk, who had been witnessing the scene, looked up at Ok Hae-mi, tilting his head.
Kang-hyuk reached into his sleeve, taking out a handkerchief, and then offered it to Ok Hae-mi.
"Please use this."
"Ah, thank you."
After some time, having exhausted all of her tears, Ok Hae-mi had red eyes, and seemed to be feeling embarrassed.
"Please excuse me for my behaviour. I'll return the handkerchief to you after washing it."
"No! It's common courtesy for me to do so. And also, I would like to express my gratitude. Kang Seonsaeng, you're really kindhearted."
Kang-hyuk felt a little awkward.
As a man that was known as the 'Invincible Warrior', and had even undergone age reversal, he wasn't used to situations such as these.
"Th-then we should get going. I know where the habitat of the Treasured Delicacy Grass is."
"What? The habitat of the Treasured Delicacy Grass?"
"When we were looking around the cave yesterday, I happened to see some in the vicinity."
"As expected from a Horticulture teacher!"
In a short while, they had reached the Treasured Delicacy Grass' habitat. Ok Hae-mi's mouth dropped at the sight of the wide space which the herb seemed to have filled every inch of.
"Oh my! This is all Treasured Delicacy Grass?"
"I can't believe that there's such a habitat!"
"It wouldn't usually be found so widespread in its usual habitats, but the conditions of this particular place seem to be optimum for its maximum growth."
Kang-hyuk spoke as he stuffed the leaves of the herb into a bag.
"But we should only harvest enough for our needs, and no more, seeing as this is the private property of the Clan Leader."
"Would you mind helping me? We need to be back before they finish cooking."
As Ok Hae-mi began to collect the Treasured Delicacy Grass with Kang-hyuk, she glanced at him with her peripheral vision.
A strange feeling rose up within her while seeing him bathed in the morning sunlight.
'What's wrong with me? Am I feeling weird because I cried today?'
Unable to recognize her own feelings, Ok Hae-mi concentrated on harvesting the herb.
Byeok Ae-rin was stirring the bubbling broth inside the cauldron around with a ladle.
She made a meat broth with the deer meat that had been hunted that morning, and to balance the meal out, dried rice cakes were added.
'There's something missing.'
She was, however, unconcerned.
Prior to his departure, Kang-hyuk had telepathically notified her that he would be going out to forage for some Treasured Delicacy Grass.
"Thankfully, he's not late."
Byeok Ae-rin called out for Kang-hyuk, her expression showing that she was glad to see him.
Deuk, who was following behind Kang-hyuk, let out a bark in greeting upon seeing Byeok Ae-rin. He was happy to see her, as she cared so much for his well-being.
"Here you go."
Kang-hyuk handed her a small bag.
"It's the Treasured Delicacy Grass."
"Thanks to you, we'll be eating delicious food out in nature!"
Dang So-mun spoke up in response.
"Isn't the Treasured Delicacy Grass a precious medicinal herb that removes offensive smells from meat, and adds its own fresh aroma to the food?"
It was evident that he was the son of Sacheon's Dang Family.
"Indeed, it is that herb."
All of a sudden, teachers from the other groups began to gather around Kang-hyuk as they laid their eyes on the contents of his bag.
"Kang Seonsaeng! Thanks!"
"Thanks to you, the food will be truly delicious!"
"There's nothing worse than eating tasteless food."
"Hahaha! It's all thanks to you!"
"You are a talented Horticulturist after all!"
Kang-hyuk then equally distributed the herb that he gathered with Ok Hae-mi amongst all of the groups.
Even the martial arts subject teachers, who had had a hostile attitude towards Kang-hyuk all this time, were grateful to him.
Kang-hyuk, however, was the picture of modesty and humbleness.
"It's nothing at all! Isn't helping fellow colleagues basic human nature?"
Oh-Tae, was, as usual, irritated at the sight.
After everyone had finished their meals, which were made delicious through Kang-hyuk's deeds, the groups all exited from the cave.
Everyone attention was focused on Eun Myeong-myeong, who was standing on a platform in front of a boulder.
"Right then, I will now assign the task to all of you."
He preferred to keep his words short and simple, cutting out useless filler words.
"Listen well to what Ok Seonsaeng is about to say."
Ok Hae-mi stepped up onto the boulder, and then calmly began to explain the task.
"The task of this field trip will be to find a 'Red Ribbon'. As this is the first day, you will be able to seek the help of the teachers, but you will not be able to obtain any points today."
She then continued her explanation.