Chapter 17 - The First Test (2)

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“Why are you leaving the gate open and standing still? Aren’t you doing it for cheers? Attention seeker, attention seeker.”

Mo Il-hwa looked at Hong Hye-ryung, who opened the door, with tons of displeasure.

“…”

At her tone of voice. Jin-hyuk bit his tongue.

Still, she was the daughter of a noble, who was a high ranking official, and her tone of voice was no different from when a person would look down on others.

She said stuff like ‘Yah, aren’t I a lot cuter than her?’ It was difficult for him to understand, since he was the young son of a scholar.

“Isn’t she just jealous?’

It was difficult for him to understand women's feelings.

While everything was going on Mumu yawned with a tired expression.

“I don’t understand why the door is opening and closing or why people are cheering.”

“That’s how high the standards are, young master Mumu.”

“High?”

“Because the more gates someone opens, the higher their internal energy level.”

Hae-ryang of the Lower District Clam answered.

Both Mo Il-hwa and Jin-hyuk were supposed to be stepping stones for him.

The clan member of the Lower District Clan looked at the three people in front of him.

He was always advised that it was important to win the hearts of those around him and attract high-end customers.

‘He’s someone who will fail at the first gate.’

So an investment in Mumu wasn’t worth it.

Meanwhile, Hong Hye-ryung entered through the gate and the test continued.

As always, most people couldn’t open any of the gates, and if they could they barely opened the first one.

Now Mumu and the others’ turns weren't that far away.

But while they were waiting, there was a boy standing alone with a serious expression on his face and looking at the gates, maybe he was just nervous.

He was wearing a red robe with a black ribbon tied around his forehead.

‘Indeed as expected of the Southern Sword of the Emperor’s descendant…’

The boy was thinking back on the girl who passed through the gate earlier.

He expected her to be strong, but not that strong

At the age of just 17 and with a woman’s body, she had amazing strength.

He came in with determination, but it didn’t seem like the test was going to be easy.

‘I need to teach them the pain of losing blood.’

With such a strong mind he mastered martial arts.

He endured hellish training in the White Valley for this day.

Everyone gathered near the gate was still looking peaceful.

But his hopes of showing them despair wasn’t far away.

‘I, Ha-ryun, who inherited the will and blood, will burn the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy which is full of detestable vicious people…’

“Yah! The place ahead of you is empty, aren’t you going?”

A shrieking voice came from behind him.

Ha-ryun turned and looked back.

It was Mo Il-hwa, who was talking to him with an annoyed face.

‘What is with this bitch?’

Her face was pretty, so it was hard to miss her among the crowd.

But he didn’t like her attitude.

“What? Now that I told you to move forward, are you trying to act hard?”

‘Hard? What kind of woman speaks so vulgarly!’

Ha-ryun, who stared at her, calmed down and then took a step forward.

Revealing himself wouldn’t be the right choice.

And the burden he was carrying was huge.

“Get going hard-head.”

‘This bitch!’

In an instant, Ha-ryun turned back and almost threw a dagger at her neck.

This woman was deliberately provoking him.

It was then.

“Young-chun. 18-years-old. I’m a disciple of the Eastern River Blade Master, and I’m about to take the test.”

‘Eastern River Blade Clan?’

Ha-ryun’s eyes, which were angry, turned to the boy in front of the gate with a large wooden box and a blue robe.

He was in front of the gate and facing it, so his face couldn’t be seen.

“Eastern River Blade Master!”

“Woah! Are everyone's disciples taking the test this time?”

“This is absurd!”

“The Southern Sword of the Emperor and the Eastern River Blade Master too!”

Everyone’s attention turned to Young-chun, the third disciple of the Eastern River Blade Master, one of the Four Great Warriors.

At the people’s attention, Young-chun’s innocent face distorted into that of a demon.

But then he soon calmed himself.

“Hold back! Calm down.”

He was someone who desperately hated being cheered for by people who knew nothing of him.

Even his teacher, who would praise him, began to cut back when he noticed how much Young-chun didn’t like it.

Young-chun approached the gate.

Hak-gyu, the instructor, looked down and patted his beard.

“He seems to have a variety of facial expressions. This one who comes under the training of a dignified warrior.”

“What are you saying?”

Yeon Nam-kyung was curious.

Hearing that, Hak-gyu just shook his head and said.

“What will you do by knowing? Just do your work.”

‘… this is supposed to be your work’

It was so mean.

He was having a student do the task he was supposed to.

Yeon Nam-kyung’s stomach was raging, but he calmed down.

And then came the sound of the gates rattling.

Young-chun, the third disciple, was using his skills in earnest.

Kik!

In an instant, three gates moved.

And before long, four gates flinched.

Even though Young-chun had already tried his best, seeing a small number of gates move made him furious.

‘If I seem weaker than that man’s daughter, the others will keep making fun of me.’’

Push!

As he thought that, his face distorted.

And the gates swung open with a bang.

As soon as the gates opened, the others cheered.

“Woah!”

“Four gates opened!”

“Indeed he’s the disciple of a great warrior!”

“I guess he’s their disciple for something! Ugh. I can’t even dream of doing that!”

“Damn it. He didn’t have to go to that level.”

“Are you really saying that now?”

It was a mess.

As a result, the gates opened.

Hak-gyu who looked down at him took a sip.

‘It’s funny that a disciple of the Eastern River Blade Master came in.’

It didn’t look like the man had a temper, but seeing his emotions all out of control, it felt like he was a walking bomb.

Regardless of that, two strong people had already passed the first test.

Would there be another on par with them?

‘Don’t know.’

Actually, there didn’t seem to be such people.

It was almost impossible for people that age to open the fourth gate.

And only the descendants and disciples of strong warriors showed great performances.

Then, to add to that, Moyong Wol of the Moyong clan and Bae Yu-seok of the Bae-yang Mountain Clan opened three gates and made a lot of noise, but since then not a single person managed to open two gates.

After a long time, Mumu, Mo Il-hwa, and Jin-hyuk’s turns were near.

“Woah! I waited for three hours.”

Mo Il-hwa shook her head.

If she knew that this would happen, she would have left earlier.

Meanwhile, Ha-ryun, who was standing in front of her, shouted as he walked towards the gate.

“Ha-ryun. 17-years-old. I was taught by the people in the White Valley and I’m about to take the test.”

At those words the test takers went silent.

‘White Valley?’

The White Valley is one of the three places that Murim doesn’t touch.

Those places were uninhabited, but the boy called Ha-ryun said he belonged to one of them.

‘So there were people hiding in there…’

The onlookers were shocked.

It’s known to be poisonous, since it’s full of poisonous insects, and it wasn’t accessible to normal people.

However, anyone who met the qualifications could go to the Heavenly Martial Arts Academy.

Just because he came from the White Valley, wasn’t enough of a reason to reject him.

‘We’ll see what kind of a guy he is.’

While everyone’s attention focused on him, Ha-ryun approached the gate.

Normally people would ignore the clanless warriors, but since he mentioned the White Valley, they were interested in the man.

And Ha-ryun didn’t like it.

But he knew that the more attention he got, the more he would be able to achieve his goal.

“Sigh.”

He cleared his breath and stood in front of the gate.

And he slowly raised his energy from his dantian.

The veins around his neck began to bulge like spider webs and energy gushed out.

“Ugh!”

Kiiik!

Ha-ryun moved his energy towards the gate.

The gates squeaked and rattled, and gates 1, 2 and 3 moved.

The onlookers were shocked.

Unlike the past participants who came from strong families and clans, this was the first time a clanless warrior performed so well.

And that wasn’t the end.

‘I’ll show you the true power of the Majestic Dragon!’

Kug! Kung! Kung!

His heart started beating faster and faster.

To showcase the Majestic Dragon, he used a different technique that would temporarily increase his internal energy.

The moment the veins bulging on his neck reached all the way up to his chin, a loud bang was heard.

Bang!

The gates were opened wide.

And crazy screams erupted from all over.

“Woahhhh!”

This was completely different from the ones who performed similarly.

The onlookers cheered from the bottom of their hearts.

It was because a non-famous warrior managed to do something great.

And they were even more supportive because it gave hope to the other warriors.

“Ha….”

Hak-gyu, who was looking down, clicked his tongue.

He did feel something unusual, but he never thought that the man would open the gates just like the disciples of the Four Great Warriors.

It was completely unexpected.

“Sir. You said that this time we seem to have strong ones.”

Even Yeon Nam-kyung was trembling.

He agreed with what his teacher said.

And when he saw a warrior without a strong name behind him, he even felt a little glad.

‘This is different.’

Hak-gyu felt like he had to watch the man a little more.

Meanwhile, Mo Il-hwa who watched him, was shocked.

“He! What is with him! Why does he have so much energy?”

“I-I know!”

“You’re from the Lower District Clan, right? Spill it!”

“T-That information!!!”

‘Ah shit!’

Hae-ryang couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

It was his first time seeing the man too.

Even if he belonged to the Lower District Clan, he couldn’t know everything, but if there was a person as strong as Ha-ryun, then he had to be widely known.

‘But it’s my first time seeing and hearing about him.’

It was absurd that he came from the White Valley.

Because it was a forbidden place.

But the man spoke honestly.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know. This is my first time hearing of someone living in the White Valley.”

Jin-hyuk agreed with that.

He heard about it from his brother.

The White Valley located in the southwest of the Yunnan province is known to be a poisonous place.

And this man was claiming to be from there.

‘Was it Ha-ryun?’

He walked through the third gate.

And with that, the burning passion of the warriors began to die down.

Jin-hyuk didn’t think that his year would be full of monsters.

‘Maybe I won’t be as strong as my brother?’

That was his concern.

While he was thinking, voices of protest were heard from behind.

That was when Mo Il-hwa spoke to him.

“Yah, you go first.”

“Huh?”

“I can’t do it right now.”

“Why? Feeling unwell?”

“No. It will be embarrassing to open the gate right after that one.”

“… that’s your reason?”

“Yes.’

Mo Il-hwa knew how strong she was.

She could barely open the first gate.

Of course, that alone was a passing grade, but she was too conscious of going after a strong person.

‘I just hate it.’

She didn’t want to be compared.

Which was why she told Jin-hyuk to do it.

But Mumu intervened.

“Can I go first?”

“Uh? You’ll go?”

“It’s boring to stand here.”

Jin-hyuk’s eyes shone at Mumu’s words.

He was earnestly praying for Mumu to fail and return home.

And he knew for sure that Mumu would fail.

“Fine. Then go first.”

At Jin-hyuk’s sudden words, Mumu stepped ahead and stretched his body.

Seeing that, Jin-hyuk spoke to Mo Il-hwa in a worried tone. 1

“Will he be fine? He never learned martial arts?”

She was shocked to hear that.

It was shocking because Mumu broke her brother’s wrist before.

According to Jin-hyuk, Mumu was all muscle strength.

“We’ll know once he tries.”

Jin-hyuk answered with a smirk.

It was because he wanted Mumu out.

“This is a test for internal energy.”

Hae-ryang said that it was something that could only be opened with internal energy.

Then how could a person who didn’t learn martial arts open it?

He had doubts, and Mumu stood in front of the gate.

‘What should I say? Ah!’

Mumu looked above the wall and then shouted like the people before him did.

“Mumu. 17. No clan, and I don’t know martial arts.”

‘Huh?’

Hak-gyu looked down and frowned.

He watched a lot of test takers, but this was a first for him.

‘No martial arts?’

Then why come here?

This was an academy to nurture martial artists.

And if he didn’t learn martial arts, he was an ordinary person, so why come here?

Thinking that, Hak-gyu then spoke for the first time.

“Was it Mumu?”

“Yes!”

“You really haven’t learned anything?”

Mumu thought for a while.

He wasn’t trained in martial arts, but he did train his muscles by referring to the books given to him.

‘What should I say?’

Mumu who thought, shouted.

“Muscle training!”

“… what?”

It was absurd.

Hak-gyu doubted his ears for a second.

He trained his muscles?

Hearing the way the man talked, it seemed like he was a villager who didn’t even know about martial arts.

“Puahh!”

“Muscle training?”

“What the hell!”

“Where is he from?”

Laughter erupted from all around. Jin-hyuk asked Mumu to take the test first, and the laughter made him think that Mumu would give up.

‘Right. This isn’t a place for you.’

It would be nothing but trying to shame martial artists if an ordinary person comes and tries to claim their place with physical strength.

While Jin-hyuk was thinking, Hak-gyu sighed and said.

“Yah, this isn’t a place for you to joke around. There are so many other candidates waiting. Don’t you feel bad for them?”

“I’m here to take the test, why should I feel bad?”

‘… ha, that bastard.’

He didn’t seem to have a problem talking back to an adult.

Raising his voice Hak-gyu spoke.

“Enough. Walk away. Otherwise I’ll come down and kick…”

At that moment Mumu went close to the gate and put his hand on it.

Hak-gyu’s face trembled at that.

He had seen all kinds of people, but it was his first time meeting someone like Mumu.

‘He doesn’t even listen.’

If so, nothing can be done.

He had to teach the kid a lesson.

‘You idiot. You can’t even open the gate so why…’ 2

Kikkiii!

Hak-gyu was shocked at the sound of the gates opening.

Mumu leaned and pushed into the gates and they wobbled.

‘How? He?’

The gates didn’t open, but then the gates kept trembling.

The kid seemed to have more power than an average person.

‘It’s no use.’ 2

The gate was designed by the head of the Jegal Clan.

It was specially made to only open when a certain amount of internal energy was put into it.

It could never be opened by force.

‘Haha.’

Jin-hyuk laughed inside.

He was a bit concerned when Mumu leaned into it, but then seeing that the gates didn’t move, his worries calmed down.

“Phew…”

Mumu exhaled.

He trained extremely hard so far, but this was his first time running into a real challenge.

His mouth twitched, wanting to laugh.

‘I will really get stronger if I go here.’

He didn’t have any interest in Jin-hyuk or his martial arts, but he was surprised when the gate wouldn’t open.

‘The world of training is wide.’

If so, it was worth entering this academy to learn.

Mumu, rolled up his sleeves.

And the bands around his wrists were turned to 5.

‘This should be enough, right?’

Seeing that, Hak-gyu snorted.

“Yah, you know how hard it is now. So stop and come out…”

Clank! Rumble!

It was then.

The entire gate began to shake violently.

‘!?’

Hak-gyu’s eyes fluttered at the strange phenomenon.

He wasn’t the only one shocked.

Those who were making fun of Mumu went silent.

Crack!

Mumu’s hands dug into the gate.

It was a sight so absurd that anyone would end up thinking that the gate was made out of some weak metal.

‘Who is he?’

Hak-gyu’s eyes went wide.

What kind of a bizarre sight was he seeing?

But the shock didn’t end there.

Rumble!

The gates which shouldn’t open unless internal energy was used were moving.

The things connecting the gates moved, and when Mumu grabbed the gate and shook it, the entire wall began to shake.

“Huh!”

“Teacher! The walls are shaking.”

Needless to say, it was going to break.

It was unbelievable.

Crack!

The gates, which couldn’t withstand the power of Mumu, were torn to the third gate.

‘!!!’

Everyone was at a loss for words.

The gate had never been damaged, but it was now torn.

Hak-gyu, who lost the strength in his legs, looked down and muttered.

“… is this a dream? Or not?”

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

  2. Jin-hyuk is the one who thinks these things. ↩️ ↩️

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