Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon
Translated by : betterdays
7 – Change (2)
“Starting today, you are all going to begin training with weapons!”
It was exactly a year ago when Woon Seong first showed any proficiency with pole-type weapons. A direct result of this, was beating on the other children with a flag-pole on the first day of the mountain climbing with them.
Over the past year, the surviving children had become stronger and the number of children dying had decreased significantly.
Therefore, the children that had made it this far, were somewhat confident in their abilities.
In addition, the weight of the iron bracers the children were given had increased to 45 kgs.
Of course, it was no longer a weight that was possible to climb the mountain without using internal qi.
Woon Seong was also no exception to this even with his newly strengthened body from the Heavenward Soul Earthen Body, was no exception to this. However, this also gave him the opportunity to practice circulating his new cultivation technique.
Of course, Woon Seong did not stop at just circulating his new technique and internal qi. He began to penetrate the clogged veins and muscles that were strained or tightened within his body and cleansed his body of any impurities on a microscopic level.
‘It’s going to be a lot to learn for the other children, since learning about the basics of whatever weapon they choose on top of their already incredibly tight training schedule will be difficult.’
In any case, it wasn’t much of a problem for Woon Seong since he knew exactly what weapon he would choose and already was incredibly well versed in the mastery of it.
But for the other children, they were incredibly excited about finally learning about the types of weapons they wanted to choose, because it was a tell-tale sign of finally becoming a recognized martial artist.
In front of these excited children, the senior instructor and other instructors at the Shiwan Hall took out three carts.
“As you know, these are the weapons that are the staples of the martial arts societies today.”
The instructors each took out a single-edged and heavy sword, a light double-edged sword, and the spear.
They were called the Dao, the Jian and the Spear
But what they put down was the most basic appearance of the three weapons.
“You will choose one of these weapons and learn it’s corresponding martial arts. If each of you has a weapon you want, go and stand in front of it.”
The children began to hesitate at the words of the senior instructor.
It was evident that each of them were agonizing over which weapon would be the best for them.
But there were also children who were moving fast among them.
One was the No. 17 and the other was Woon Seong.
Ah-young walked without hesitation and stood before the Jian.
It was pretty much an absolute given fact that Woon Seong darted right over to the spear.
The next one to move was No. 185. No. 185 looked at Woon Seong and Ah-young, and stood before the Dao with an uncomfortable expression.
No. 17, No. 185 and No.900. The three strongest children in this hall had picked their weapons.
Only after this, did the other children begin to move hesitantly.
“Decide carefully! This weapon will be with you for the rest of your life!”
The instructor’s warnings and instructions continued, as the children stopped and moved again as if to think again.
Most children chose the Jian, of course. It was the most classic and commonly used weapon in Murim. It offered balance, strength and mobility in a proportionate manner.
Next, the number of children who chose Daos was the second highest, and the number of children who chose the spear was… the lowest.
It was a natural result because there was a certain amount of reverence for the spear due to its complex mastery compared to the other weapons.
Even the children that had not heard much about the spear or the respect masters of the spear received, they knew from a glance that using a spear was no easy feat.
‘That has nothing to do with me.’
The instructors also looked over what each child chose and advised them if one weapon would be more suited to them or not.
The children were then given three books each on their individual weapon, leaving them with quite a bit to look at when learning the basics of their respective weapon.
‘Is it the Seven Stars of the spear?’
Two of the books were the basis of movement techniques involved and a manual for the weapon titled ‘The Seven Stars of the Spear’.
Woon Seong recalled old memories when he saw the cover of it.
‘I felt really excited when I first learned it.’
The other two books that were added to that were the Six Combinations of the Fist and the Cloud and Wind Movement technique.
The knowledge of all basic, intermediate and some advanced techniques were ingrained into Woon Seong’s very soul.
After setting up the foundation of his body and mind with the Heavenward Soul Earthen Body, he had developed an incredibly high-level qi cultivation technique and now… he finally had the spear.
“From now on, you will have time to study and learn about the martial arts of your weapons on your own! The instructors will be waiting here, so if you have any questions or things you don’t know, we will do our best to teach you!”
The senior instructor spoke to the children in a more lenient manner compared to the first time he started here.
He wasn’t acting generous without reason though.
‘I’ll help you learn, and in return learn about how many of you will survive in half a year. Hehe, if you don’t learn how to do it properly, you’ll probably have a hard time surviving. Even if you survive, you’ll be half-dead.’
He was just having the same mentality as always since it provided him the opportunity to report more in detail to his superiors.
The instructors’ eyes that were set on the children were shining with a rather frightening look.
Woon Seong took his booklets and went to the corner of the cave.
He looked through the booklet first.
He knew everything, but he read it one more time just in case there was anything new since he had died.
There was nothing new it seemed.
He already knew every single thing in the book, so he only looked at the book as a cover to his skills from the instructors.
‘The basics of spearmanship, the thrust, the strike and the cut.’
Picking up the spear, Woon Seong smiled faintly and started to move.
The Cut, picking up the spear and letting it bounce and whip with sharp movements like a hummingbird.
Striking, winding the spear like the spiral of a conch shell and exploding it forward with force.
The Thrust, stab forwards with unwavering confidence and precision .
Those were just the three most basic movements of spearmanship. Combine those with parrying, blocking, twirls and many other fundamentals, it created an infinite series of possibilities.
There were 36 moves within the spearmanship manual. Putting those numbers and multiplying them by each other was just another reason why spearmanship was regarded as the most complex and yet the most revered weapon of choice.
The spear in the hands of Woon Seong moved with utmost elegance, precision and rampaging ferocity. He did this in a quiet corner of the cave to avoid others eyes. Yet… there were three sets of eyes that were secretly watching his every move with all 3 having different expressions on their faces.
The senior instructor, Ah-Young, and lastly No. 185.
* * *
No. 185 had been constantly looking for a chance at revenge on Woon Seong ever since his humiliating and embarrassing defeat to him.
Having lived in the world of Murim and seeing his Master get killed in front of his very eyes by people that plotted against him in the dark, Woon Seong knew very well what those people looked like.
Those with violent tendencies and not much brain to their brawn tend to die early on in life. Those who plot in the darkness and take their chances carefully and only act when absolutely needed to. No. 185 however, was not the smartest child in the Cave of Latent Demons.
In fact, he didn’t hesitate to fight with other children or start unnecessary arguments.
In addition, he rarely lost to the other children.
It was because he was quite big compared to others his age, and he had been trying his hardest to get back at Woon Seong.
However, he couldn’t even think about challenging Woon Seong yet.
‘How the hell am I supposed to defeat that monster?’
He couldn’t think of any method or scenario in his head where he could possibly win against No. 900.
In addition, the group attack by some of the other children not too long ago had failed miserably. Even trying to use numbers against No. 900 was useless.
Woon Seong had clearly set himself apart from the other children when he smashed apart the group attack the others had tried.
But what frightened him even more, was seeing Woon Seong wielding the spear in the corner of the hall.
It had only been one hour since Woon Seong had received the book on basic spearmanship and there was no way for anybody to read all of the contents within the book in under an hour. Yet, Woon Seong was shattering all sorts of common sense within No. 185’s head right now.
The way he was wielding the spear was skilled. Too skilled.
No. 185 sighed deeply and grinded his teeth in anger.
‘Fuck you, you bastard.’
No. 185 did not forget the humiliation of being thrashed and made a fool by Woon Seong.
Whenever he saw him, his broken arm from that time felt like it was still throbbing. His body trembled with anger when he remembered the day he was still in pain for weeks after, even though the instructors said there was nothing wrong with his body.
He was going to get revenge no matter what. He just had to play it safe and hide his ambition and anger until it was ripe.
Only stupid people would show their anger and pick a fight when they were clearly outmatched.
And the eyes of No. 185, which gritted its teeth, was the eerie and frighteningly talented No. 900.
* * *
“I guess No. 900 really has changed.”
Sang In-hyo nodded as he listened to the report from the senior instructor in charge of Shiwan Hall.
Surely as the report says, it was clear No. 900 had changed. It was so baffling and almost unexplainable how this child was deemed so low in terms of talent.
Now even Sang In-hyo was visibly interested in the changes from No. 900.
“It wouldn’t be too difficult for him to pass the Gates of Life and Death in half a year.”
Sang In-hyo nodded at the words of the senior instructor.
The Gates of Life and Death was the first gate of trials symbolizing the Cave of Latent Demons.
This event was an event so dangerous since almost half of the children would die from this trial alone, which was incomparable to the past trials they had been facing up till now.
If they could cross this Gate, you could be officially recognized as a Demonic Soldier within the Cult of the Heavenly Demon.
A Demonic Soldier was the lowest of ranks within the Cult of the Heavenly Demon, as there were the Demonic Captains, then the Demonic Generals and even after that, the Great Demons which were ranked just below the 10 Demonic Masters and the Heavenly Demon himself .
In particular, the 10 Demonic Masters were almost never seen in public and directly served under the Great Heavenly Demon directly.
However, a Demonic Soldier was by no means an easy rank to achieve.
Fewer than 10,000 of the 100,000 members who made up the entire population of the Cult, were able to become recognized as Demonic Soldiers..
What made the Cave of Latent Demons so special as a training program, was the fact that kids under the age of 15 were able to become ranked as such.
Reaching that level of martial arts in Murim was very difficult.
‘But it’s the Cave of Latent Demons. We don’t hold this program just to produce mere Demonic Soldiers. Reaching that rank should be the bare minimum of talent required.’
The Cave of Latent Demons was made as a special program to produce Demonic Captains.
Only 2,000 members of the Cult could be strong enough to be called Demonic Captains.
In addition, this Cave of Latent Demons was a little more special than the previous generations that came from the Cave.
‘We have to produce a few Demonic Generals. It would be even better if we could somehow produce a Great Demon….’
In fact, Sang In-hyo knew expecting to raise a Great Demon was too much. He himself was barely ranked within the ranks of the 200 Great Demons in the Cult.
In any case, even if only one or two were able to reach the levels of Demonic Generals, it would be already considered an incredible success.
“How’s the preparation going for the Gates of Life and Death?”
“We sent out some of our own to buy and even train some of the beasts within the trial. By the time the Gates of Life and Death open, they will definitely not be normal beasts.”
At the words of the senior instructor, Sang In-hyo nodded satisfactorily.
“Okay, let’s reward those who pass the Gates of Life and Death with 3 Demonic Medicinal Pills of the Ayu Kalpa and also open the Divine Treasury of the Demonic Sea. After all, it was the rewards the Heavenly Demon himself personally ordered to give them.”
At Sang In-hyo’s words, the chief instructor shouted with his head down.
* * *
Half a year had passed within the Cave of Latent Demons.
In the meantime, the children had become accustomed to their respective weapons.
Of course, each of them had mastered the basics of those weapons.
In addition, after learning martial arts, the weight of the iron bracers on their arms and legs no longer increased.
As a result, the children were moving much more freely than before, even though they wore 45 kg bracers on all 4 limbs at all times.
They were moving as if they weren’t even wearing the iron bracers at all anymore.
The same was true for Woon Seong.
In addition, Woon Seong gained one more achievement unlike the other children.
‘I have finally completed the True Tempered Blossom to it’s finest form.’
He had successfully fused them before completely. But only now, did the two methods resonate in harmony!
Creating one’s own qi cultivation technique was by no means an easy task. Completing in successfully creating a high-level technique? It was something only the greatest of legends within all of Murim could have been said to accomplish.
It was proof. Proof that Woon Seong was making the strides and preparations necessary to exact his revenge!
What was very interesting about this cultivation technique was that it had a special form of energy that Woon Seong could now utilize in earnest.
Intimidation Qi was what he had used to mask his levels of cultivation before. Now he could finally materialize that specific energy outside of his body.
It was incredible.
Then one day, there was an unusual announcement made.
The senior instructor standing in front of the confident children, slowly opened his mouth.
“Half of you will die today.”
Chapter 7 – Fin