Chapter 16 - The First Test (1)

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Dozens of smaller gates were superimposed on the large gate ahead.

Despite being uniquely shaped, the gate was thoroughly designed.

At first glance, one might not understand it, but when looking at the gate’s mechanism, one can see the woven design.

“Huh! Damn it!”

A large boy who was pushing against the gate, cursed.

The gate in front of the boy was around 7 feet wide.

And it was the smallest of the huge gates, but despite his large figure, he was unable to open the gate.

“Hey! Now that you’re done, give up! There are people behind you!”

Behind the boy were several others waiting to try.

They were all waiting to take the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy's entrance test.

Mo Il-hwa, who went and stood on the carriage’s footrest to get a better view, clicked her tongue.1

“This is the first gate of the entrance test?”

Hae-ryang, who was near her, answered.

“Yes. With so many people gathered, conducting the test in an orderly fashion wouldn’t be possible.”

“And the gates just need to be pushed open?”

“That’s right. The only problem is that it isn’t easy to open them.”

“Are they heavy?”

One could tell by just looking at them that their weight was unusual.

In addition, the gates were so closely attached that it didn’t seem like they would open with just force.

“It was said that they were specially made so that they wouldn’t open unless a certain amount of internal energy was applied. Even the smallest door weighs four hundred pounds and is fully equipped, so that no third-rate warrior can open it.”

Jin-hyuk frowned at Hae-ryang’s words.

“You mean that no third-rate warrior can get in?”

The ones called third-rate warriors were also people who mastered martial arts.

They were much stronger than ordinary people, but clearly the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy had high standards.

‘So this is where they get rid of warriors who have minimal training. So people with basic skills will not be taken in.’

After thinking that he glanced at Mumu.

From listening to all that was said, it looked like first-rate warriors could get in and test their strength.

It seemed like the gate would open in response to the internal energy of a first-rate warrior. He knew that Mumu had a lot of strength, but would the gate open with just strength?

Curious, he asked Hae-ryang.

“Will that gate open with just pure strength and not internal energy?”

To that question, Hae-ryang smiled timidly and responded.

“Strength? Anyone who could do that would have passed the gate already.”

“Right?”

If Hae-ryang’s words were true, then Mumu wouldn’t be able to get in.

Jin-hyuk, who felt better, licked his lips and looked at Mumu who was looking at the gate.

‘I hope we end up on different paths.’

Mumu was strong, but he wasn’t sure if Mumu could pass the test.

That was when Hae-ryang came to his side and whispered something into his ear.

“This is important information, I heard that the gate was designed by the head of the Jegal Clan, and it was made so that no one could pass without applying the set amount of energy.”

It was just like the Lower District Clan to have such information.

This wasn’t information that most Murim clans had.

With that, Hae-ryang drew a circle with his index finger and said,

“Now that information is actually worth a hundred silver. This is my present to build a friendship with Mr. Jin-hyuk. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. However, nothing will be free from now on, you need to pay a reasonable price.”

‘… price.’

Jin-hyuk looked at Hae-ryang and went silent.

The information he provided was for his friendship.

But that was lame.

‘One hundred silver…’

Expensive.

Because of his brother’s hard work, his family’s situation had improved, but he couldn’t use money carelessly.

Mo Il-hwa, jumped off the carriage and asked.

“What do you mean by a hundred silver?”

Hae-ryang whispered the same thing into her ear.

And she said something like, ho ho ho.

“It isn’t that expensive. I will need more information in the future.”

Jin-hyuk clicked his tongue.

Apparently, for her, a noble, a hundred silver wasn’t a huge deal.

“Oh my, thank you. Please ask whenever.”

After saying that, Hae-ryang smiled and bowed his head.

As if the woman was his main customer, his eyes shone.


Around 2 hours had passed since Mumu and the others arrived near the gates.

During those 2 hours, around 10,000 people had challenged the gate.

Although there was no need for an instructor, three people were standing on the upper wall and observed everything that was happening.

One of them was Hak-gyu, who was a middle-aged man with a long beard.

In Murim, he was called ‘Strong Simple Fist,’ and he was serving as a teacher for second years, and this year he was appointed as the supervisor for new recruits.

After drinking something, Hak-gyu looked somewhere and said,

“Nam-kyung. Are you taking it down?”

“Yes. I'm taking it down very well.”

There was a nineteen-year-old stout looking young man with thick eyebrows writing stuff down, he was Yeon Nam-kyung a second year at the academy.

He was called by Hak-gyu to help him.

‘One is having fun drinking and the other is working.’

The kid was complaining inside.

He was only staying silent because of his grades, but he was still dissatisfied.

Whether he liked it or not, Hak-gyu was drinking alcohol and watching the test takers.

“Tch. There aren’t many good ones this year. Out of ten thousand only thirty opened up the first gate.”

In order to open the gate, one had to be a first rate warrior.

It was known that one had to be talented to reach that level at the age of 17 or 18.

But in the academy, they wanted even more talented kids to enter.

Yeon Nam-kyung who kept writing, said,

“Still, three people managed to open three gates, right?”

As he said, three people managed to completely open three of the gates.

Outstanding talents from clans such as the Nam-gung Clan and the Mudang Clan appeared.

Opening three gates meant that they had reached the Master Level.

“Those people had to do it, since they’re from the Five Great Clans.”

Said Hak-gyu in a cold voice.

As he said, the Five Great Clans had a reputation to uphold, and even they must have sent the strongest in their clans to the academy.

Because of that it wasn't strange that they sent people of the Master Level to the academy.

Most of the participants came to the academy to raise the reputation of their clans.

But what Hak-gyu wanted was an original one, not a member of some prestigious clan.

“Someone like Yu Jin-sung would be nice.”

“Isn’t Yu Jin-sung a special case? It isn’t easy to find someone like him.”

“You’re right.”

With those words, Hak-gyu took a sip.

Even now, he likes Yu Jin-sung.

Among the people that he taught, there were few who were hard working despite their talent.

That type of person was truly hard to find.

“By the way, teacher. I think I heard that Yu Jin-sung’s brother is taking the test this time.”

“Right. It must be him.”

Hak-gyu pointed to someone in the distance.

He recognized Yu Jin-hyuk at a glance as he approached the gate.

He could recognize him right away because the faces looked similar.

“Does he have the same talent as Yu Jin-sung?”

“We’ll find out once we watch him.”

‘We’ll know if he’s a snake or a cat.’

Hak-gyu didn’t really have high expectations for the younger brother as he knew people like Yu Jin-sung were rare.

“More than that, I’m looking forward to seeing the descendants of those people this year.”

“Who are you talking about?”

“You don’t know? The daughter of the Southern Sword of the Emperor and the third disciple of Eastern River Blade Master.”

“I’m more interested in fist users.”

“Of course, but I’m more interested in looking at flowers.”

Yeon nam-kyung answered.

He was more curious about the appearance of the Southern Sword of the Emperor’s heir.2

On the other hand, Hak-gyu wasn’t even the least bit interested in the young girl’s appearance.

Rather, he was more interested in those who would succeed the Four Great Warriors.

‘The Fist of the Northern Heaven’s grandson and the third disciple of the Poison Air of the West were admitted last year, so this year, the descendants of all four will be here. This will be fun.’

Last year the competition was brutal, so he couldn’t imagine what it would be like this year.

And since the descendants of the Four Great Warriors were monsters, he wondered what the daughter and the disciple would show him today.

However, it would be difficult to know who they were unless they revealed themselves, but then it happened.

At that moment, a cry was heard near the gate.

“Hong Hye-ryung. 17 years old. For the sake of my family and my father, the Southern Sword of the Emperor, Hong hwa-ryun, who taught me, I will take the test.”

“Huh!”

Yeon Nam-kyung, was startled by those words and looked down the wall.

The entrance was completely engulfed in the noise of people talking.

“His successor!”

“D-Damn it!”

“Let me see her face!”

People pushed each other to get a look at the person.

Unlike before, an extremely famous warrior had appeared.

But soon, sighs escaped from the people’s mouths.

“Ah…”

Her face wasn’t visible.

She had a bamboo hat covering her face, so not many could see her.

Yeon Nam-kyung sighed in disappointment.

And Hak-gyu yelled at him.

“Stop staring at her and take down the notes already.”

“… yes. Understood.”

Yeon Nam-kyung grumbled and sat down while Hak-gyu looked at her with an interested face.

He couldn’t see Hong Hye-ryung’s face, but the large sword on her waist caught his attention.

It had to be the famous Giant Fire Sword which had mysterious patterns on it.

‘Did he pass it down to the one and only person who can inherit it?’

He heard that the Southern Sword of the Emperor had no other kids.

But this was surely interesting.

For a slender woman to have such a big sword on her waist.

‘How strong is she?’

She was the descendant of one of the great warriors.

Everyone had high expectations for her.

He thought that she would at least open three gates.

At that time, Hong Hye-ryung, stood in front of the gates.

And she stretched her palms out towards the gates.

Everyone held their breath as they looked at it.

Kik!

Soon the gates moved.

“Oh oh, oh, she’s able to move about 3 gates!”

“Then is she as strong as…”

“Not as strong as I thought…”

They thought that at first, but the thing that followed shocked everyone.

No one has opened more than three gates until now.

But all of a sudden, five started moving.

“Ha!”

An exclamation escaped from Hak-gyu’s mouth.

Only those of the Master Level were able to open three gates, and if she could open five, then the woman had to be a Super Master.

‘Did she already reach that level?’

If that was the case, it could be said that she was at the level of the academy’s instructors.

Everyone was shocked, but the moving gates stopped.

She removed her palms, and then her breathing turned ragged.

‘Ahh!’

Unfortunately that was it.

It didn’t seem like she reached the beginning of the Super Master Level yet.

She just seemed to have the same level of internal energy as a Super Master.

Thud!

Perhaps, that prediction was right, the woman gave up on opening 5 gates, and gently opened what she could.

Of course, that alone caused cheers.

“Woah!”

“Amazing!”

“Indeed she is his daughter!”

“She did well, she could have opened five gates!”

“She isn’t a descendant of one of the strongest for nothing.”

Everyone couldn’t help but marvel at it.

Hak-gyu admitted that this year, there didn’t seem to be anyone who could outperform this girl.

If there was someone, it would be the third disciple of the Poison Air of the West.

‘Kuk. Alcohol tastes so good now.’

Despite not seeing any unexpected ones right now, he could tell that this year was going to be amazing.

Meanwhile, Hong Hye-ryung opened the gate.

She was able to enter and she seemed like she enjoyed their cheers.

‘Ahh. Shout more! This is exciting.’

Below the bamboo hat, her face had turned red with excitement.

  1. ="I thought they walked away from the carriage, but apparently they are still near it. ↩️

  2. The Southern Sword of the Emperor is one of the Four Great Warriors. ↩️

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