In a room with a gorgeous interior and dinner on a table was a middle-aged man with stiff, half-white hair who was drinking.
“The director of the Murim Association has no choice but to be lonely in order to achieve justice. I’m lonely.”
“Kuk. It’s always wonderful to hear the stories of the head.”
“Haha. Is that so? Anyway, they’re all my stories. The remnants of black sword, the bastards who took money from the groups and among those bastards, there was a letter of appreciation to our Association.” (1)
The middle-aged man who looked around raised his glass and spoke with a voice full of determination.
“And Dan Pil-hoo, the lonely director of this Association, captured them all.”
“Indeed! Director Dan is the best.”
“We were able to trust them and send some kids out because someone with the same level of camaraderie is at the academy.”
“Right. That’s true.”
It was a harmonious banquet.
But then a warrior entered the luxurious room and whispered something into the ear of the man called Dan Pil-hoo.
Dan Pil-hoo frowned, then smiled and spoke to the officials of the factions.
“Excuse me, something urgent has come up. We have plenty of drinks, so stay and enjoy.”
After saying that, Dan Pil-hoo stood up and left.
And when he went out, a large middle-aged man covered in bandages was standing there.
He was Byeok Yimun, one of the teachers in the academy.
It was unbelievable to see him like that, so Dan Pil-hoo asked.
“Can’t you see this? Director.”
It was hard to believe.
Someone who hasn’t learned martial arts did that?
He couldn’t call this a careless act. The kid took down a Super Master and cracked their arm.
That was amazing.
Taken aback by that fact, Dan Pil-hoo asked.
“So, for this test taker called Mumu, you want me to pressure your academy’s director and ask him to take in the student?”
“You don’t have to pressure him. Just please ask him to be lenient.”
At those words, Dan Pil-hoo stroked his beard and smiled.
And then said,
“Did you really like him so much that you came to me after only seeing him for a couple seconds?”
After hearing that, Byeok Yimun smiled and said,
“If the director sees him, I’m sure that your heart will be moved too. I wonder if that child could be of great help to director Dan in the future.”
Yimun believed that the child could become a great warrior.
At those words, Dan Pil-hoo felt his heart stir.
‘Interesting. Nice. We’ll see.’
He wanted to check the kid out once.
Ha-ryun looked at the boy he was sharing a room with.
It was Hae-ryang from the Lower District Clan.
He looked so weak that Ha-ryun couldn’t even understand how the guy passed.
And after getting inside the room, Hae-ryang started gathering information on other people, so Ha-ryun put him to sleep.
In this place where beasts roamed, this guy looked useless.
Ha-ryun sat down.
Now that the annoying one was asleep, he had to treat his hand.
While looking at his swollen purple palm, Ha-ryun grunted.
‘That dog-like bastard!’
What amazing strength.
Of course, Mumu didn’t use his full strength, but he still used enough force to crack his palm.
It would have healed after a while if not for the poison.
Ha-ryun pulled out the antidote and carefully began to apply it to the injured area.
‘I’m glad that the poison is weak right now.’
Since the poison takes time to work, this wasn’t fatal.
But if it went untreated, then he’d be in trouble.
Little by little, he applied the antidote.
“Who did that to you?”
The voice that came from behind startled him.
Ha-ryun hadn’t heard the sound of the door opening or someone walking.
But they were already behind him.
Cold sweat ran down Ha-ryun’s back.
This meant that the person was as strong as his teachers in the White Valley.
“W-Who are you…”
“One of the Eight Evil Guardians”
As soon as he heard that, Ha-ryun looked shocked.
He suddenly remembered the words of his teacher.
[‘He’ will be waiting there.]
This person had to be the ‘he’ his teacher mentioned.
Soon, without hesitation, Ha-ryun fell flat on the floor.
“Ha-ryun of the White Valley greets teacher Heo.”
After hearing that, the man looked down at him with indifferent eyes.
“I’m disappointed. I was looking forward to this because I was told you were a talented person who passed the White Valley test in 30 minutes.”
“You got injured during the entrance test?”
At that, Ha-ryun bit his lip.
This was an unexpected accident.
There was no way he could be injured during such low-level tests.
“Don’t raise your head.”
Ha-ryun almost lifted his head to explain but then immediately bowed down.
His teacher said to never look at teacher Heo.
He almost made a mistake.
That was when he heard the words of teacher Heo.
“It would be best if you don’t disappoint me any further. You’re seventeen. Prepare and never involve yourself in other matters, and don’t bring doubts onto yourself.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Wait for my instructions.”
With that, the shadow vanished.
Ha-ryun, who had his head lowered, slowly raised it.
The teacher was gone.
He was so powerful that his presence was unknown.
Their first meeting went wrong because of that idiot.
His honor in the White Valley was tarnished.
He decided he would never forgive that guy.
Ha-ryun, who was frustrated, left the room, thinking he had to get some fresh air.
However, around five 17 to 18-year-olds were rushing through the hallway.
‘What? What is with them?’
“Where is that bastard's room?”
“I heard that it’s on the last floor. That must be true because a member of the academy said it.”
“Because of him, we couldn’t even see the introduction ceremony and were locked up in our rooms for hours!”
“But is this fine? He’s said to be the brother of Yu Jin-sung…”
“Ha! What do you mean? I’m Kang Seo-ryong. My older brother is Yu Jin-sung’s senior. I’m not turning back.”
“Ha. Who can stop Kang Seo-ryong?”
“Don’t be too worried. We all suffered because of the guy who isn’t even from a Murim family. A guy like that needs to be brought to his senses before he does anything else.”
Ha-ryun smiled after hearing that conversation.
‘This is fun.’
It seemed like these people had to wait for a long time.
Seeing that, he felt like his anger would soon be satisfied.
Such people were present everywhere one went.
But it looked like Kang Seo-ryong and the others were slightly above the level needed to pass the test.
At that level, they wouldn’t be able to do anything to Mumu.
However, with a little bit of help, things could change.
Thinking that, Ha-ryun stretched out his arms.
‘What floor was it?’
Jin-hyuk went to Mumu's room right away while feeling unpleasant.
This wasn’t something he liked.
But this was something his father and mother had asked of him, so he wanted to follow that.
Jin-hyuk opened the door and entered only to frown.
The room was empty besides one bag that looked like Mumu’s luggage.
And Mo Il-hwa wasn’t there either.
‘Where are they?’
He couldn't have gone anywhere else, especially since he told Mumu to wait there.
Jin-hyuk looked around the room then closed the door and sat on the bed.
‘He must have gone to apologize.’
That could be it.
After all, he did tell Mumu to go and apologize to the supervisors.
‘Mumu would probably smile brightly and nod to anything.’
His father seemed to have raised a good fool.
No matter how powerful Mumu was, he was naïve and didn’t know how to get angry, so deceiving him seemed easy.
‘But why is he still not coming ba…’
Someone knocked on the door.
And then Jin-hyuk approached the door and carefully opened it.
A hand squeezed through the gap as he opened the door and threw dust into his face.
Jin-hyuk, who was taken by surprise, inhaled the dust.
As he coughed, he hurriedly opened the door fully.
But the culprit couldn’t be seen.
He wasn’t sure, but the person who did this didn’t seem friendly.
‘Is it poison?’
Flustered, he closed the door, went into the room, and began to circulate the energy in his body.
If it was poison, then it was bound to react with his energy.
However, no matter how long and thoroughly he circulated his energy, there was no reaction.
And his internal energy seemed normal.
‘What is this?’
If so, then this was outrageous.
'Or was it someone with a grudge towards Mumu?'
It was hard to say; Mumu had stopped the tests and delayed the ceremony, so many people could harbor malice towards him.
He came here with a good heart but was suffering now.
This is why kindness is bad.
He frowned since he was getting annoyed.
Then he felt rushing in the hallway.
There were five people, but he was sure that neither Mumu or the one who threw dust at him were among them.
He was puzzled, but then the door slammed open.
Jin-hyuk, who was sitting in meditation, abruptly stood up.
“What? How can you enter someone else's room like this?”
The boy who was followed by four others seemed to be around 18 and he asked.
“Is your brother Yu Jin-sung?”
Jin-hyuk sighed. Wherever he went, his brother’s name was the first thing mentioned.
He respects his brother, but sometimes, it was too much.
“Right. But why did you come into someone else’s room to find me? No, whatever the cause, it doesn't appear like you came here for a good reason..."
Before he could even finish, the boy ran up and punched him.
Jin-hyuk took half a step back and crossed his arms, blocking the fist.
“What are you doing?”
“Are you asking because you don’t know? It seems like a person from a lowly family believed in his older brother and became arrogant. Today, I will teach you where you stand.”
The boy then tried to knee Jin-hyuk.
However, Jin-hyuk blocked it with his hand and kicked the boy in the head.
The boy who got kicked in the head ended up moving three steps back.
And seeing that, the other boys shouted.
“Are you okay?”
Kang Seo-ryong, who was being checked on by the others, wiped the blood from his lip.
He was feeling dizzy, but he couldn’t show it. He was from a Murim family.
Kang Seo-ryong’s opponent was stronger than he thought, so he was surprised.
But before coming here, Kang Seo-ryong had sat down, checked his body, and then properly spread his internal energy so he could demonstrate his skills.
While looking at him, Jin-hyuk’s eyes narrowed.
‘He withstood a 7th level kick.’ (2)
He kicked the guy in the head while using internal energy.
Nevertheless, he endured it. This guy, called Kang Seo-ryong, seemed to be as strong as him.
He couldn’t be reckless anymore.
Even though he thought that, Jin-hyuk’s eyes were flaring up little by little.
This would be his first time fighting with someone his age.
That was why his heart was pounding so hard.
His teachers said that growth was exponential when one competes with many people.
This seemed like an opportunity.
So Jin-hyuk raised his internal energy, but…
That was when he felt his body lose strength.
His whole body felt powerless, and he was unable to even make a fist.
‘Was it that?’
At that moment, Kang Seo-ryong flew in.
Even though he took a defensive stance, he couldn’t block the punch since he was losing strength.
Jin-hyuk, who was hit in the chest, fell down.
“As expected of Seo-ryong.”
Seeing that, all his lackey’s cheered for him.
They wondered if Kang Seo-ryong could lose, but he didn’t disappoint.
Then Kang Seo-ryong shouted.
“Get up. This is just the beginning.”
Hearing that, Jin-hyuk clenched his teeth.
He wanted to get up, but there was nothing he could do. His strength was nowhere to be seen.
Seeing that, Seo-ryong laughed.
“I don’t understand how such a person could even delay the tests.”
At those words, Jin-hyuk was shocked.
Could it be that these people had mistaken him for Mumu?
After all, it was strange for someone he didn’t know to attack him.
‘Mumu that bastard…’
Now all of his previous affection is gone.
At that moment, Kang Seo-ryong gestured to Jin-hyuk and said,
“We still have a lot to do. Get up. If not…”
“I think you’ve misunderstood something… you got the wrong person.”
At those words, Kang Seo-ryong snorted.
“Crazy bastard. You said you're Yu Jin-sung's brother, but now you're claiming that we mistook you for someone else since you're in a bad situation?”
At that, Jin-hyuk looked somewhere, took a deep breath and exhaled, then said.
“The guy you’re looking for is behind you.”
At that, all of the guys turned their heads.
And they saw Mumu standing near the open door, tilting his head.
The boy snorted at the appearance of Mumu, who gave off a simple air.
“Since you’re unable to do it, now you’re blaming it on another guy?”
And then one of the boys walked over and tapped Mumu’s shoulder and said,
“Yah. Do you know him? I don’t know what your relationship is, but if you get involved in this, you’ll end up like him…”
“Are you guys harassing Jin-hyuk?”
“Harassing? What you’re looking at is fair treat…”
At that moment, the head of the boy answering pierced the ceiling and got stuck.
The eyes of the boys who witnessed that scene were trembling.
‘W-What is this…’
All the new guy did was slightly raise his hand, and this happened.
The boy who was stuck in the ceiling seemed to have fainted since his body was drooping.
Kang Seo-ryong, who was bewildered, shouted.
“You… who are you?”
“Me? I’m Mumu.”
With that, Mumu approached them with an expressionless face.
Even Jin-hyuk gulped when he saw Mumu's unusual appearance since he always saw him smile without a care in the world.
Editor’s Note -
(1) He’s just spitting examples of these ‘stories’ out, so we have no context. Really this whole banquet part is just about introducing Dan Pil-hoo to the story, nothing more.
(2) The author used this weird number strength scale before, but he still hasn’t explained it, so when or if he does, I’ll let y’all know.
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