Chapter 11 - Three Lives Presented by the Earth Demon (1)

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▶ Become a core warrior.

-Return as a vassal after entering the military.

✯ Difficulty (★★)

The Military Academy—or "Demonic" Academy, as it's known—was the premier education center of the sect. It was qualitatively different from the basic training centers—this one supervises all education. One hundred people were accepted per year, with the aim of producing only three or four of the very best.

It had benefits, but it had shortcomings too: that is, your life wasn't guaranteed. And death was the only way out.

▷ Become a bodyguard.

-After personal guidance from Nok Jeong-Gwan, become the Earth Demon's personal bodyguard.

✯ Difficulty (★★★)

Elder Nok Jeong-Gwan was ranked 94th in the sect; his personal guidance was bound to help Seol-Hwi improve by a lot. However, his fiery personality would make the training quite a trial—he'd need to think about situations where the training got out of hand, and he ended up crippled again. Still, there was a lot to be said about becoming the Earth Demon's bodyguard.

It might even be possible to eliminate the Lord of the Supreme Pavilion with the right title.

Of course, a lofty position would grant him an in-depth understanding of the sect's politics, but this was the Demonic Sect: titles had to be earned with strength.

▷ Become a secret warrior.

-Assassinate a person of importance.

✯ Difficulty (★★★★★)

This one confused Seol-Hwi. "Person of importance"? Did that mean he had a choice? It gave off ominous vibes.

Let's take the easiest option. No matter what he chose, survival was his top priority. So long as he was alive, he had a chance to turn the situation around.

[You have selected: "Become a core warrior."]

"That's good." The Earth Demon nodded. "However, there are six more days until you can join. I'll head down and talk with the clerk on the first floor, so wait in the basement floor. Do something useful there."

"Thank you."

"Well, this much is expected.

"—Ah, by the way: down there, you should find a book called the Three Primary Essences Instruction Manual. There must be martial arts in it that you can use."

Seol-Hwi was startled when the Earth Demon brought up the book he'd used in his previous life.

"I'm serious."

Didn't that imply he was keeping an eye on Seol-Hwi? Seol-Hwi began to understand how the Earth Demon had acted in the past.

Wait. Seol-Hwi remembered there were two arts in the book he didn't get to learn.


"I think it was here…" Seol-Hwi made his way to the basement as soon as the Earth Demon was out of sight and beelined straight for the pile of books in the corner. However, he couldn't find the right book—it'd been glowing in the past, but not anymore.

"It was definitely around here somewhere." Seol-Hwi quickly shuffled through the books. He knew a text message would appear when he picked up the right book.

<What martial arts would you like to learn?>

▶ White Light Demonic Arts (Learning)

▷ Fiery Bare-Handed Demonic Arts (Possible)

▷ Peak Flourishing Demonic Arts (Possible)

"Yes!" Seol-Hwi's body trembled with excitement. The martial arts the Lord of the Supreme Pavilion had learned, and many more, lied in these pages—and now they were his.

▷ White Light Demonic Arts (Learning)

▶ Fiery Bare-Handed Demonic Arts (Possible)

▷ Peak Flourishing Demonic Arts (Possible)

▶ Fiery Bare-Handed Demonic Arts ▶ Red-Hot Palm

No choices this time? With the White Light Demonic Arts, Seol-Hwi got to choose what he wanted to learn; this time, there was only an unfamiliar art called the "Red-Hot Palm".

Ah, "hand". Probably because it's a fist-type art…

A pale shadow appeared in front of him, as it had in the past. However, it wasn't holding a sword this time. The shadow curled its fingers into a fist and slowly demonstrated how the body had to move. The body, too, changed.

The movement. Seol-Hwi immediately noticed that the red dots appearing one by one represented the body's blood points. All the energy flowed through the blood points towards a single destination: just below the belly button. It lingered there and then was delivered to the hands.

"Ah!" Soon, Seol-Hwi gasped in admiration. He saw the shadow's fists turn gray as they collected energy—then, the shadow began to use its fists. The energy in its hands spread in both directions, smashing through walls and ceiling. Even as an illusion, its bizarre destructive force could not be overlooked.

And now it was his.

Next is…

<What martial arts would you like to learn?>

▷ White Light Demonic Arts (Learnt)

▷ Fiery Bare-Handed Demonic Arts (Learnt)

▶ Peak Flourishing Demonic Arts (Possible)

Seol-Hwi couldn't suppress his expectations: this was a great martial art, second to none. It was also used by the Lord of the Supreme Pavilion fairly often; Seol-Hwi never could have imagined acquiring this kind of power before.

▶ Peak Flourishing Demonic Arts ▶ Explosive Flaming Force

<You have selected "Explosive Flaming Force". A video will be shown.>

The shadow appeared once again, wielding a sword this time. The blood points were drawn on the body, and energy traced a path from point to point.

Then, the shadow's sword struck.

The energy exploded outward like a mighty tidal wave. It punched clean through wall after wall without slowing down.


Seol-Hwi worked hard in the basement.

<Fiery Bare-Handed Martial Arts>

-Red-Hot Palm (Imitation)

"Learnt" doesn't mean "Implemented"—not perfectly, at least. Surely he would become stronger when he mastered it, so he tried his best to change the text.

<Peak Flourishing Demonic Arts>

-Explosive Flaming Force (Imitation)

It was obvious after comparing against the shadow: even though he'd learnt all three with the help of the system, he couldn't match the energy the shadow released. Even when he used the White Light Demonic Arts, he could only scrape the walls and ceilings, not break them.

Probably because of:

Internal Energy: 80/250

If he could generate a greater internal flow, he might one day use the same force the shadow did.

Well.

<White Light Demonic Arts>

-Swordsmanship (Imitation)

-Fist (Imitation)

-Footwork (Imitation)

At least he'd gained all the options from one art this time around.


Six days passed.

A middle-aged man came down to the basement the day Seol-Hwi was supposed to enter the Military Academy.

"Seol-Hwi, was it? I am Goeun. The Earth Demon asked me to guide you."

Seol-Hwi removed his sword and was about to pay his respects.

"Take this." Goeun offered him a gray pill.

<You have obtained an Internal Energy Pill.>

Huh?

"It's a pill. Just one will give you ten years worth of internal energy."

"But such a precious—"

"Don't say anything. This is the minimum you would need to survive there."

"Thank you." Seol-Hwi didn't ask any more questions and just swallowed the pill. He knew he had to get stronger.

<Internal Energy has risen significantly.>

Health: 205(↑85)/205

Internal Energy: 2,250 (↑2,000)/2,250

Such luck! Seol-Hwi's expression brightened. His stat had gone up by a whole 2,000, but that wasn't all.

[Passive Skill]

-You have mastered Mind-Reading!

What? He'd never even seen this ability before.

-Mind-Reading (Obtained) (New)

○Description: Understand others' Status; Strengthens your perception.

Is this because of my increase in internal energy? It seemed that when certain conditions were met, stronger abilities were created. Seol-Hwi was obviously delighted by this unexpected boon.

<Since you mastered the Mind-Reading Skill, you can see the Status Window>

[Status]

Goeun [Earth Demon's Bodyguard]

Condition: Normal

He could see other peoples' status windows, albeit only partially.

Hostility: 77% (Warning)

No… Something he'd never seen before; Seol-Hwi couldn't help but doubt his eyes.

Hostility: 77% (Warning)

-A subordinate of the First Disciple of the Heavenly Demon. Double agent. Spy.

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