Chapter 43 - Treasured Book Reinforce (2)

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“Truly incredible…” Seol-Hwi couldn’t hide his shock.

He could use this martial art with both hands—but that wasn’t all. His entire body could be a weapon now.

<White Light Body Demonic Martial Arts> Imitation

Of course, he couldn’t pull it off in his current state. Presumably he’d need to be a little more proficient.

Still, there was something he could do: even at the imitation level, he could match the destructive power of swordsmanship. A martial art like this was higher than any expert-level martial art.

“Would it even be stronger than the Four Peaks Demonic Martial Arts?”

He couldn’t raise the Four Peaks Demonic Martial Arts higher than imitation, anyways. Seol-Hwi wanted to raise this new martial art to the highest level.

“Let’s keep trying.”

He put a few things in and out of the box, and managed something else.

<Flaring Heat Fist Demonic Martial Arts has been completed.>

He had combined the Fiery Bare-Handed Demonic Martial Arts and the Explosive Flaming Force. The power of flame energy had been increased, and it used less internal energy. Oddly, however, it had changed from a close-combat art to a fist art.

“Hmm. What else?” Seol-Hwi wasn’t satisfied, so he kept trying new things; however, they didn’t match up. He decided to settle for what he had now.

[Martial Arts]
<Unified Light Demonic Martial Arts> Advanced
<White Light Body Demonic Martial Arts> Imitation
<Flaring Heat Fist Demonic Martial Arts> Imitation
<Four Peaks Demonic Martial Arts>

The list had been cut to four; it made his desire to raise the level of the Four Peaks Demonic Martial Arts rise for turn-based combat.

“There has to be something more…” A mysterious pop-up window, maybe.

Seol-Hwi was starting to question things. He went digging through the closet. He fumbled at the walls, too, and gave up. He searched up and down and couldn’t find anything special.

Finally, he gazed out the window and saw the warm sunlight seeping in.

“A new year.”

Life is a mysterious thing. It gave him the chances at the crossroads of life and death, and gave him a path of light in the darkness.

<Please set a schedule for the 1st month of year 96 (5/36)>
▶ Learn martial arts
▷ Accept a mission
▷ Warrior training
▷ Walk around

Seol-Hwi chose martial arts.

<What would you like to learn?>
▶ Guided education <Beginner>

The other choices had disappeared, leaving this one. How many months would it take to learn?

<You will now receive the guidance of an instructor.>

His eyes sparkled.


The Guidance hall, a villa in the forest, was a space for educating and nurturing the members of the Hidden Truth squad. It was staffed by a head teacher and about thirty officers.

When the light stopped, Seol-Hwi found himself in a training hall. The person standing in the center, about three steps away, was Jeokpa.

“I heard that the Earth Demon wanted to nurture you, but… the members who come here are evaluated as innate talents and it takes them three years to finish the course—you, it took four months. Truly amazing.” Jeokpa’s expression was bright. Seol-Hwi couldn’t feel a hint of killing intent or hostility, not even a trace of demonic energy pressure trying to taunt him; he was just like a kind old man.

He truly is a knowledgeable man. His green eyes were still just scary enough to keep Seol-Hwi on edge, but he actually felt quite comfortable around the old teacher. Jeokpa was beyond the craving for power.

And his skills?

[Status]
Jeokpa
Health: 6.6 million
Internal Energy: 5.6 million
Super Master Level Warrior
Combat Power: 8.5 million

It was only natural for him to be this strong. The only strange thing was that his combat power was higher than his health and internal energy.

“However, you won’t be able to help the Earth Demon with that kind of ability.”

“...What do you mean?”

“How powerful do you think the Heavenly Demon’s disciples are?”

Seol-Hwi silently pondered the weighty question. He wanted to know why Jeokpa was asking, but he was even more interested in the answer. Seol-Hwi was certain that that knowledge would be essential for securing his life in the future.

These were the Heavenly Demon’s hand-picked disciples—they had to be strong. The more he trained them, the better their chances of becoming the next leader of the sect.

“Please tell me. I will remember it.” Seol-Hwi bowed to show his sincerity.

“The first disciple…” Jeokpa looked up at the ceiling. “Around him, there are as many as three—maybe more—peak masters. The first disciple is an expert in Peak Demonic Martial Arts, so we can say there are four giants, including him.”

“Peak Demonic…” Seol-Hwi knew that those at that level were absolute.

The ultimate realm is “Martial God.” It was said that Mount Hua already had people who had exceeded that level.

“The second disciple has two peak masters. One thing that cannot be ignored is the dozens of high-level warriors he has as well.”

That meant the select few who had passed the wall. It was also a group of the most horrible and bloodthirsty people. No normal man would ever escape the natural realm—only monsters could reach above the Peak level.

“The third disciple has two Peak Demonic Martial Artists on her side. There are others whose identities remain unknown, but there are definitely Masters with her, among others supporting her from behind the scenes.”

“The Earth Demon…”

Seol-Hwi frowned. Even if Jeokpa didn’t say it, he knew.

“...Unfortunately, none.”

“Huh?” Seol-Hwi thought he’d misheard, but Jeokpa didn’t seem to be lying.

The other disciples had two or three—but not the Earth Demon.

“Honestly, those who hit Peak Demonic level…”

“How many are there?”

Seol-Hwi could once again feel the burning desire for power.

“How is the Earth Demon still alive?”

Rash, but he had to ask. Fortunately, Jeokpa didn’t seem to mind.

“Curiously… it is also because of the fourth disciple’s power.” Jeokpa made a face both concerned and worried. “...Do you know of the Heavenly Killing Star?”

“No way…!” Seol-Hwi’s voice trembled. “The fourth disciple is the Heavenly Killing Star?”

The Heavenly Killing Star was a child born under the star of heaven, once in a thousand years. It was also a name for a person with the skills to learn any kind of martial arts and the strength to rise to untold levels without any training.

It is said that once the Heavenly Killing Star learns martial arts, they’re unstoppable, like a human with wings.

“But I heard they cannot live past sixteen.”

The Heavenly Killing Star was usually mad with bloodthirst and would die early, but the Earth Demon was clearly alive.

“This is why the Heavenly Demon chose him. He’s different from what we know.”

The fatal flaw of the Heavenly Killing Star was their lifespan. They are strong, but by the time they turn sixteen, they burn away their internal energy and die.

And yet, the Earth Demon survived.

“They wouldn’t the fourth disciple be the likeliest candidate for sect leader?”

“No.” Jeokpa shook his head. “No matter how lucky he is, the Earth Demon dies the moment he uses all of his power.”

There was no way to guess when that would be. At least he would be stronger than the others.

“He is destined to die if he uses his own power.”

Only then did Seol-Hwi understand what the ∞ symbol in the Earth Demon’s status meant.

The power of the Heavenly Killing Star was infinite.

He’s a monster…

The Earth Demon had defied fate; it was no wonder that the other disciples didn’t dare fight him.

“Now you understand what I mean? Your skills are of no use to the Earth Demon.”

“I understand.”

The Hidden Truth Squad was a trivial thing in comparison to the Earth Demon himself.

“Why do his squads exist, then?”

If his life was like a shooting star, then what compelled people to gather by his side?

“Our goal is to disrupt information so that the other disciples gain nothing. The battle should only be between the disciples in a fair manner—one fight to decide it all.”

He intended to eliminate all external factors which could influence the final battle. A strategy that was defiant in the face of guaranteed defeat; walking an honest path, even though destiny had been decided.

“No disappointments. No one knows what life is like; in that sense, this should be fine.” Jeokpa looked at Seol-Hwi. “If you want to become captain, you cannot do it at your current level—but with my training, you will rise to a higher level.”

“...I will do anything!” Seol-Hwi clenched his fists. This was no time to worry about his future; he just had to get stronger.

He needed power.

“Good. Then let’s start training.”

Seol-Hwi bit his lip in excitement. A new level—what kind of training would he get?

“Horizontal slash, vertical slash, diagonal slash. Ten thousand times a day.”

“Upward stab, forward stab, downward stab.”

…What? What was he saying?

He didn’t seem to be messing around.

[Becoming a Peak Warrior, Day 1]
<Slash>
Horizontal Slash [1/10,000]
Vertical Slash [0/10,000]
Diagonal Slash [0/10,000]
<Stab>
Upward Stab [0/10,000]
Forward Stab [0/10,000]
Downward Stab [0/10,000]

An absurd training schedule.

Jeokpa spoke before he could say anything.

“Start.”

Absurd!

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