That was the first thing Seol-Hwi noticed after he died.
There was just enough light to judge his surroundings, but it was still dark and humid all around.
It doesn’t seem like the road to the afterlife.
The space was less than a hundred square meters. There was a bookshelf to the side, and a crumbly-looking wall. Right in the middle, there was a hall of about thirty square meters.
What? The old training hall? Seol-Hwi’s brows raised when he saw the white flagstones. They looked familiar; upon investigation, he realized it was the practice room at the back side of the main building.
“How is this…?” Seol-Hwi couldn’t help but laugh at the absurd situation.
[空 : 0, 一 : 1, 二 : 2, 三 : 3, 四 : 4, 五 : 5, 六 : 6, 七 : 7, 八 : 8, 九 : 9]
[Addition: +, Subtraction: -, Multiplication: x]
Seol-Hwi’s mouth clicked shut.
“I was dead…” But now he was alive. He’d ambushed and run through with a spear. He could clearly recall his wounded arm and even the clothes he was wearing, just like he could remember staying here before that meeting…
“Was it a dream?”
No. It was too realistic to be a dream. The sights, the feeling of air in his lungs, even the thoughts in his head.
This was beyond “realistic”... it was safe to say he’d been revived.
Just as he was contemplating how and why he was here, he found a long-haired man walking towards the training hall.
“...Jeok-Myung?” Seol-Hwi’s eyes narrowed. The sight made his skin crawl.
There was a brief silence. And…
“Kuak!” Seol-Hwi’s body bounced back. Before he noticed, he’d been struck by a fist.
“My hand slipped.” Jeok-Myung grinned at him, fist still clenched.
“You have to say “Captain”, Flying Faction Squad Leader.” Unlike Seol-Hwi’s squad of six, this man led about 100 people: the Black Moon squad, which reported directly to the Supreme Pavilion.
“Huak! Kack!” Seol-Hwi was in too much pain to respond.
“What? Beaten after one hit? You think you can treat me like this with the few subordinates you have?”
Seol-Hwi’s eyes fluttered.
It wasn’t just the pain.
It was the situation.
He’d definitely experienced this before.
“Just one hit. Cheeky bastard.”
“What? Beaten after one hit?”
One line was missing, so it couldn’t be said that the events matched perfectly. But it had started differently last time – it was like “What is going on?”.
If I’m right, the next thing he’ll say is “If you don’t have skills, your brain…”.
“If you don’t have the skills, learn to use your brain first.”
“...What is happening?” What the hell was this situation? How could he remember things before they happened?
Seol-Hwi heaved his hurting body up and bowed politely to the other man. There was no other way to make it stop.
“The Master of the Supreme Pavilion is calling.”
The same words! Goosebumps rose all over his body. Every word spoken right now matched what he had “experienced” in the past.
“What, can’t hear me?”
“I understand.” Seol-Hwi hurriedly shook his head. In his memories, he got kicked again because of his late reply.
“And.” Jeok-Myung interrupted Seol-Hwi’s sigh of relief. “I’ll give you a piece of advice.”
Seol-Hwi froze. Because it differed from his memory? No.
Strange words hovered over the head of Jeok-Myung. That hadn’t happened in the past.
He belonged to what was known as the “Mani Sect”. In the past, it worshipped Ahura-Mazzda and sought peace and harmony as much as the Buddha Sect.
But now, they obeyed the right of might. Few incidents happened in the sect, because so long as orders were followed—Of course, that excluded people like Seol-Hwi.
There were some definite advantages of this sect over normal ones. The sect used demonic martial arts. It was known that normal martial artists could rise to “First Rate” after honing their skills for at least a decade, but students of the Mani Sect could do it in just three years. It was said that quite a few reached the peak of martial arts before the age of thirty.
However, every light had its shadow: your lifespan would be reduced.
Demonic arts always came with a risk. It was only by sacrificing their lifespan that their growth period could be so short. Other peak martial artists could live till the age of 60, but those of the Demonic Sect would rarely do so.
They were known as “Supreme Demon” and “Extreme Demon”.
For the Justice faction, they are “Entry Realm” and “Ascended Realm”.
“Squad leader Seol-Hwi of the Flying Faction is here.” Seol-Hwi stood before the gate of the Supreme Pavilion and cleared his thoughts. Everything that happened still rattled his mind. Perhaps it was like ripping open the old scars of his painful past—it was difficult to accept this situation.
“You may enter.”
Seol-Hwi cautiously moved into the office. The first thing that greeted him was the pungent smell; the next was the painted screens on the left and right of the walls.
The four gentlemen. The plum blossom, the orchid, the bamboo, and the chrysanthemum. It terrified him to see them in this hellish place.
Seol-Hwi’s gazed turned to the front. There sat Sama Gwi and an old, overweight man.
As expected, a member of the Wu Tian Pavilion is also present. This too matched the past.
Five pavilions, including the Supreme Pavilion and Wu Tian Pavilion, were working together. The old man there was the head of Wu Tian Pavilion.
One slithery bastard and another loose-handed bastard. Sama Gwi was as skinny and ugly as he remembered. Just looking at his wide eyes and protruding cheeks made you feel unlucky. Regardless, Seol-Hwi bowed.
“The squad leader of the Flying Faction has arrived by command of the Master of the Supreme Pavilion.”
“This is the one I told you about a while ago. Seol-Hwi.”
“Ho ho! Is that so?” The fat man eyed Seol-Hwi strangely. He got a good look and rubbed his chin. “Like you said, he seems talented. See how he holds his head high?”
Seol-Hwi immediately slammed his head to the floor.
“P-Please forgive me for the rudeness I have shown. Our Lord asks use to be less formal when entering his office so—”
“Hahahaha. Wu Tian Pavilion master, please don’t be too strict.” Sama Gwi interrupted his apology. His intentions, however, did not match his words. “Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if you act like you’re interrogating my people? I honestly don’t know what to say, Pavilion Master.”
“Hahah. It’s no fault of yours, Lord. It’s because of that cheeky kid.”
“But it’s all because of my poor teaching, hehe.”
I’ve already seen this once, but it makes my stomach churn. Only four days ago, Sama Gwi told Seol-Hwi to simply bow and greet him. But now he was playing games with him.
If only knowing what would happen could make the fear vanish.
I just need to get through this first. Seol-Hwi still didn’t understand what was happening. Nevertheless, he followed his memories all for the next words.
“Hm, hm. Enough of that.” Sama Gwi changed the topic. “Do you have any intention of taking over as a worker in the Cheon-Il office?”
“You wanted to learn martial arts, so I paid special attention to your needs.”
The Cheon-Il office was located in the fifth hall. Though it didn’t have a place for itself, it housed tens of thousands of secret books.
That was his bait.
“It would be an honor, Lord!” But Seol-Hwi hid his true intentions. Reality or dream, if he acted the same things would progress the same.
“I know. However, since this is such a great honor, I was wondering if I should give you a mission along with it.” Sama Gwi waved his hand.
The bait was cast, and Sama Gwi’s real intentions were revealed. If he was right, he would bring up the Mount Hua sect.
“I have something to tell—huh!”
“...Well?” The two old men shot him puzzled looks, but Seol said nothing.
When Seol-Hwi saw that, he could no longer deny that he’d died once before.
It wasn’t some lucid dream, but reality.
And the cursor…
▷ [Receive another mission]
▶ [Cut off your right arm]
…followed his gaze.
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