Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon
Translated by : betterdays
3 – Second Chance (2)
From the depths of Woon Seong’s new body, there was a fundamental change occurring internally.
His muscles stretched and contracted. His bones started to become reforged and remolded themselves to become more durable. His veins and capillaries pumped and pumped; speeding up his blood circulation. His very body was changing slowly and his mind was clearing up.
Woon Seong practiced the Heavenward Soul Earthen Body Technique diligently and circulated his internal qi throughout every nook and cranny of his body.
It was a different source of energy that affected his soul and was increasing his talent levels. Since the technique was working with the soul, it didn’t interfere with his circulation of internal qi. This was because they were fundamentally two different types of energy.
Slowly but gradually, and meticulously, he was sculpting his body to become an unparalleled retainer for holding internal qi.
How long had it been?
Finally the sounds of his bones creaking and blood circulating, finally stopped.
The very quality of his own soul had slightly increased again.
‘It’s changed again this time.’
Woon Seong opened his eyes, feeling refreshed.
It wasn’t very noticeable, but the eyes on the body of No. 900, Woon Seong, were slightly different compared to last night.
Since the change was so miniscule, nobody would be able to notice it unless they tried to dissect him.
However, Woon Seong himself was clearly aware of his own change.
He clenched and unclenched his fist while trying to get adjusted to his new changes.
The candle’s flame last night had burned out already and it was early in the morning.
It was a new day of training today.
And it was also the perfect chance for Woon Seong to test his new strength through this training.
Woon Seong nodded to himself with a satisfactory smile.
Looking at the burnt out wick, Woon Seong guessed roughly what time it was.
“Is it almost three o’clock?”
It was probably around the end of night and about to break into the early morning dawn.
It was time for the children who were sleeping in their rooms to start waking up.
Some of the children could not wake up yet due to the injuries they were sustaining.
If the children broke one of the ‘3 nots’ they would get a slap with a stick by one of the instructors.
Of course this wasn’t just some light, little slap. It was bone crushing and bruising. Hency why some of them were not waking up.
Of course Woon Seong never got beaten, since he did his best to not only survive but grow here.
BONG- BONG- BONG-
“Everyone, gather around a few minutes!”
There was a loud shout that could be heard from one of the instructors outside the children’s rooms.
At the sound, Woon Seong opened the door of the stone chamber assigned to him, and went outside.
Thanks to practicing the Heavenward Soul and Earthen Body technique at night, Woon Seong did not need to rest and all of his bodily fatigue had gone away.
For the past year, all the children in the Cave of Latent Demons had been learning how to defend themselves and develop their bodies through endurance and strength training.
However, they had many more ordeals and different kinds of training to undertake.
The Cave of Latent Demons was a 10 year-long training program.
Therefore, it was paramount for the children to develop their bodies before undergoing any of the later tests.
There were always very small numbers of children who had developed early on and had a better start than others by learning some qi cultivation techniques or body cultivation techniques through their family backgrounds.
They might not have been the types to practice during their sleeping hours, but they must have practiced and developed themselves prior to coming here.
Of course, the original owner of No. 900 was an orphan, so he never had any opportunities to learn any of them.
In other words, his internal qi and body was incredibly weak when he first inherited the body.
Of course, the amount of energy Woon Seong could collect was minimal since his body wasn’t that talented yet. But he was able to hide his internal qi due to a special technique.
If an orphan without any kind of history or prior teaching had somehow cultivated internal qi in the Cave of Latent Demons, anyone would be suspicious of him.
For that reason, it was almost a miracle that Woon Seong had been able to secretly cultivate about 3 years worth of internal qi in only half a year.
It was all due to the knowledge and experience of his previous life.
Although Jwa Do-Gyeul was the bastard who had murdered him and his master, he had developed a technique known as intimidation qi. It was a technique that allowed the user to mask his true levels and hide the amount of internal qi he had cultivated.
Thanks to this, none of the instructors in the Cave of Latent Demons were able to notice any internal qi from Woon Seong.
Of course, he also had to cultivate his body slowly as well.
Many children were eliminated in the early trials of the Cave of Latent Demons due to not having the physical limits to cultivate, but there were still children who were enduring it.
In addition, most of them, like the previous owner of No. 900, had any knowledge of what internal qi even was.
All of these brutal training were being endured with the small body of a child.
As long as Woon Seong knew that, he couldn’t use any of his previous techniques to physically develop his body at an accelerated rate even if he got bruised or broke any bones.
Of course, it was hard enough to not to die but he couldn’t die here early.
On the other hand, he felt quite proud when he thought about it.
While practicing this grueling training as a child, it was hard to enjoy life in a cave. But, when Woon Seong thought of the long road ahead of him and how well he was progressing towards it, he felt empowered.
As Woon Seong was lost in thought, the children gathered one by one at the gathering place.
Woon Seong was located in Shiwan Hall.
The Cave of Latent Demons consisted of four halls. Two hundred and fifty children were placed in each hall.
The number of children who had survived until now, were about 130.
It was cruel but it was a fact that nearly half of the children died after a year of training.
More would die though.
They were still only in the first year of the 10 year training.
On the other hand, he felt compassion for them.
However, Woon Seong had to keep his mind steeled towards his goal.
He didn’t have time or feelings to spare for the other children who would die, since he needed to survive as well and get his revenge at all costs.
‘If it were my previous life, I would not have hesitated to help these children survive. But I can’t. Not in this life.’
He had no intention of walking the path of a demon, but he had to walk the bloody and long road of vengeance.
For that purpose, he had to take advantage of every opportunity he could get.
Woon Seong closed his eyes for a moment, thinking about it.
His brief look of pity of compassion was erased and only determination could be seen in his eyes.
Then the instructors who ordered the assembly appeared.
‘Looks like the morning training is about to begin.’
Morning training in the Cave of Latent Demons was hiking.
It seemed very simple, but that didn’t mean it was by any means easy.
No wonder since they were located in the Daecheon Mountains, otherwise famed as ‘the ends of the world’.
The reason for such a heavy name, was because the peaks of these mountains were incredibly steep. This made the climb incredibly difficult to grasp your footing, and was by no means easy to traverse 3 miles up a mountain and downwards for any 10 year-old child.
But, the children from the Cave of Latent Demons climbed these peaks every single day when they woke up.
That wasn’t all however.
Originally, no matter how hard it was to climb a mountain as difficult as these, if you kept climbing the same mountain, one was bound to find little areas to rest and certain places that were easier on the body to climb.
In order to prevent that, the instructors changed the order of the mountain peaks the children had to climb every 10 days.
Thanks to this, even simple climbing became very difficult training.
On top of that, today was the designated day that the peak they had to climb would change again.
The children slowly all gathered into the hall, and stood there shaking off their early morning fatigue.
Just then, the last five instructors came into sight.
They were carrying a large sack on their backs, and when they put it down on the floor, a loud thud rang out inside the cave.
At a glance, it was clear that whatever was in the bag weighed a lot.
Though they were young, the children were no fools and also noticed it.
Due to the harsh training up till now, if the children didn’t adapt a fast sense of wits, they would die inevitably.
“What is that?”
At the moment when all the children’s attention was focused on the bag, including Woon Seong’s, the senior instructor, who was at the forefront, smiled grimly and put his hand in the bag.
He pulled out several iron weight bracers.
“From today onwards, the level of difficulty in your training will increase! All of you will step forward and take these!”
As soon as the senior instructor finished speaking, other instructors turned the sacks over their shoulders and poured the iron bracers on the ground that were inside their respective bags.
‘Hm, arm and leg bracers.’
As soon as Woon Seong had seen the weights get pulled out, he immediately realized what they were for, and how he could benefit from this.
It was one of the most primitive ways to strengthen a martial artist’s body and muscles. Yet, surprisingly as countless years and different methods of training were found. This simple weight training was still incredibly effective. He remembered a time when he had tried something similar in his previous life.
‘It felt like each of my limbs would fall off.’
Thanks to trying this method in his past life, Woon Seong knew the benefits of this training. He would have incredibly well built muscles in his legs and arms that could be as strong as brick; and his stomach and abdomen area would flow and bend freely like an elastic band.
If the children wore these bracers and climbed up the mountain peaks for their morning training every day, it was inevitable that those who endured would attain incredible benefits for their own bodies.
Although some of them might die at a faster rate, it was also a high risk high reward type of training.
‘As simple as it is, this is actually something amazing for me.’
Thinking so, Woon Seong received his bracers from one of the instructors handing them out and attached one to each of his limbs.
The weight of each iron bracer that he received was about 7.5 kg.
Wearing one on each forearm and ankle, Woon Seong placed them in the places that would help distribute the amount of strain evenly throughout his body and keep his strength balanced.
Among the children, there were some children who could not stand from the sudden increase of weight applied to them.
In order to adapt properly and climb the mountain, the children would need some time to adapt to the sudden increase of weight applied to them
But the instructors were harsh.
There was no time to adapt, since in reality this was not just a simple training session. They needed to nurture the strong ones that would bring a bright future to the Cult.
“I’ll give you 4 hours. Climb the mountain, take a flag and bring it back here. There are only 100 flags. Those who do not bring one down, will not receive breakfast.”
The meals that were served to the children in the Cave of Latent Demons, were incredibly nourishing and well balanced. However, they were small in portion and that meant every meal of the day was crucial.
Missing a meal, would mean even more pain and possibly death by starvation.
When the words hit the children’s ears, their eyes turned fierce and determined.
Since there were only 100 flags, around 30 of them would not have breakfast.
Some of the children had already bolted out of the hall and started climbing the mountain.
On the other hand, the children, who were a bit more calculative with their actions, did not immediately climb the mountain but rather, seemed lost in thought.
Seeing the scene unfold in front of him, Woon Seong clicked his tongue.
‘The ones waiting, will strike the weakened ones and take their flags.’
He knew what they were thinking.
As it was such a steep and arduous mountain to climb, adding weights on top of the already exhausted kids was bound to make them incredibly tired and exhausted.
These calculating kids who were lost in thought, were most definitely going to attack these weakened kids.
‘He must be thinking the same thing.’
Woon Seong glanced at a boy across from him on the other side of the hall.
He was one of the larger boys who had pretty good talent, he was known as No. 185. Though not exactly on the same level as No. 17, 1 and 109, he was definitely one of the strongest kids in the hall.
Most of the children, if attacked by him as they descended down the hill would lose their flag.
‘What’s disappointing is that he doesn’t even know the value of hard work, and wants to take the shortcuts to power.’
Woon Seong clicked his tongue in disgust and turned away.
Of course, it wasn’t like Woon Seong was an upright and moral person either, he even thought about it for a brief moment as well.
He would be able to definitely eat his breakfast easily without much trouble.
But eventually, the star began to move.
This was an opportunity to train and get stronger. With his goal in mind, he would do anything to achieve it. That being said, to achieve his goal, he needed to climb this mountain without complaints.
‘No. 17 just started to move.’
Woon Seong saw that No. 17 had started to move. He wasn’t sure why she was ranked 17th, because as far as he could tell with the experience of two lives, she was definitely the most monstrous talent in this entire Cave of Latent Demons.
Woon Seong closed his eyes and took a deep breath in.
And then he shot forwards towards the peak.
Chapter 3 – Fin
Hope you’re all having a wonderful Friday – betterdays