Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon
Chapter 60 – Young Leader (1)
Translated by : moonchildkhz
After following the young boy’s directions, the young woman from Qingcheng arrived at what remained of the Sandstorm of Death’s headquarters.
The only thing that she found, other than the worn down buildings, were the dozens of skeletons left to rot in the desert.
No, wait… none of these are his body…
Where is he… ?
She saw a familiar sword in the distance. Rushing over, she reached out and picked up the sword, which was now dull and rusted. However, the words engraved onto the edge of the sword could be no mistake: “Heaven, Earth, Men”.
The young woman trembled as she ran her fingers over these words, collapsing onto the floor.
This was the sword of her martial brother.
Her eyes teared up.
The skeleton by the sword was confirmation of the Sword of Men’s death.
At the same time that this young woman learned of her martial brother’s death, there was a great commotion in the Cult of the Heavenly Demon.
“Hey, did you hear about that?”
“About the Young Leader? Of course I did!”
“The position of Young Leader has been vacant for a long time…”
“Do you think he’s good enough to be the Vice Leader?”
“Of course he is! His martial arts and contribution to the Cult are both exceptional.”
“Haha. I heard he destroyed a whole Orthodox branch at the age of twenty.”
“I’ve also heard that he’s already achieved the rank of Demonic King.”
“That’s no rumor! I saw it with my own eyes at the Banquet.”
All the noise was about the Captain of the Charred Dragon Unit, Hyuk Woon-seong, being appointed as the Young Leader.
Baek Woon-ji and Gwan Tae-ryang were walking down the street in the village looking awkward. It felt strange to hear people talking about their captain. The awkwardness was from how instead of their whole unit being complimented, their captain was singled out.
Gwan Tae-ryang suddenly laughed out loud, the sound booming through the street. The people turned to stare at him in annoyance. The young man only shrugged off the stares.
How embarrassing… Baek Woon-ji ducked her head in shame. “Why did you do that? You didn’t have to add your qi to the laugh…”
It was obvious that Gwan Tae-ryang had done this to get attention.
The man in question was only slightly embarrassed and scratched the back of his neck. “I was just curious how many people would recognize me…”
Baek Woon-ji burst into laughter, “You’re such a kid sometimes… But don’t worry about that. People of the Cult are already praising you by calling you the ‘Great Demon of the Champion Blade’ (敗刀大魔).”
Gwan Tae-ryang had performed well in the Banquet of the Heavenly Mountain and Divine Flame, rising to the rank of Great Demon. Although it was only a Great Demon, there were only 300 of them in the Cult. It was a formidable rank for such a young age. After all, the rank of Great Demon meant that Gwan Tae-ryang now also had the authority to lead one of the Twelve Supporting Units.
“Really?” Gwan Tae-ryang was quite pleased with himself. He continued on with a smile, “But still, I’m nowhere close to our captain.”
“Of course not,” Baek Woon-ji nodded with a proud smile on her face. “Our captain is constantly breaking records within the Cult. Not only did he graduate the Cave of Latent Demons as the top when he started as Number 900, but he also became a Demonic King. To be honest, as a person who joined the Cave of Latent Demons as Number 700, I know how incredible that is. Our captain is a role model for people like me.”
Woon-seong’s achievements could not technically be considered unparalleled. Throughout the history of the Demonic Cult, there were other geniuses who had reached similar levels.
However, they were all of the Heavenly Demon’s bloodline, set to become the next Cult Leader.
Woon-seong wasn’t of the Cheon Family, but the result was similar. His talent had actually beaten out the Heavenly Demon’s bloodline!
Well, it was now public knowledge that Woon-seong was to be the Young Leader. If there were no mishaps, he would no doubt become the next Cult Leader.
A new conversation soon made Baek Woon-ji’s smile drop, however.
“By the way, if he becomes the Young Leader, what happens to the bloodline of the Leader?”
“The position has been exclusive to the Cheon Family throughout the whole history of our Cult, right?”
Hyuk Woon-seong was definitely not of the Cheon Family, that was something to note.
Baek Woon-ji scowled, glaring at the road ahead. Gwan Tae-ryang had also heard this strand of conversation, but could only follow her in confusion.
“Oh come on. There’s obviously a way to get around that. I thought you already knew about it.”
Just because the position of Cult Leader stayed within the Cheon Family didn’t mean that all of the Cult Leaders were actually descendants of the Cheon Family. Throughout the thousands years of Cult history, it was impossible for no one like Woon-seong to pop up.
“Remember how the Leader has a daughter? Just make the two get married and you retain both the martial art skills and the lineage!”
That was not a new idea.
Marrying into the family had indeed occurred several times in the past.
“That makes sense! They could keep the bloodline going on with the Young Lady!”
Publicly thought, very little was known about this rumored Young Lady. People speculated that she should be around the age of twenty and should be an excellent martial artist, thanks to the lineage of the Heavenly Demon, but were unsure. This was because the Young Lady had never appeared in public after she turned 10 years old. Her past and current whereabouts were a strict secret, unknown to even the Ten Demonic Masters.
There were thus numerous rumors about her.
Perhaps she was being homeschooled. How strong must she be if her father had taught her himself? But wait, if she was so powerful, why was Woon-seong the Young Leader…?
Maybe her bloodline was defective and the Heavenly Demon was embarrassed of her. She wouldn’t have been killed, right…?
If the Young Lady wasn’t weak, had she gotten into an accident and become horribly disfigured? Or maybe her beauty was too enchanting for the public…
Many people within the Cult talked about her, but no one truly spoke the truth.
In another area of the Cult, a young woman was hurriedly making her way into the White Ape Unit’s building.
Having survived life and death together, this young woman was one of the few Demons who knew the truth behind the hidden Young Lady.
“Hmm? Dang Boo-ah! Why are you in such a hurry?”
“How about having a drink with us?”
Some of her friends called out to her.
“Not now! I’m busy!”
She ignored them. There was something that she had just heard and had to tell her captain immediately. Everything else could wait.
She ran up the stairs, heading into the highest room in the building. In her haste, she mastered the art of stepping five stairs at a time.
She slammed the door open and shouted, “Captain! Did you hear the news!?”
“You’re here, Bu-Ah,” Cheon Ah-young, Captain of the White Ape Unit, turned towards her. She nodded without any emotion, “… It’s nothing unexpected.”
“But how can they appoint the new Young Leader when there’s you…?”
“A stronger person is becoming the Young Leader. That should be good news for our Cult, don’t you think?” Ah-young smiled. “And I couldn’t help but admit it after I saw Woon-seong fight the Demon King of Dark Pursuit. It actually felt relieving to just let go and admit it. And then I looked back at myself. I’m the Captain of the White Ape Unit, one of the Twelve Supporting Units. And it made me think that I wasn’t doing too bad either. Woon-seong’s life is his; mine is mine. Each of us just needs to do the best that we can with what we have.”
Father also acknowledged me…
Ah-young closed her eyes.
She remembered Cheon Hwi’s eyes on the day she was promoted as Captain of the White Ape Unit.
While his gaze had not been one of a proud father, his eyes had also never once left her.
He was the Heavenly Demon, but definitely also her father. He distinguished between family and work; he worried for her, but could not favor her too much.
My father was still the same.
Cheon Ah-young slowly opened her eyes.
Dang Boo-ah stared at Ah-young, unconvinced. She says that, but Captain hasn’t realized something… About the fact that she’s started calling the Captain of the Charred Dragon Unit by his name…!
“…Then did you also hear about the marriage?”
“Marriage?” Ah-young tilted her head.
Dang Boo-ah immediately started to explain the accompanying gossip, which was arguably more important.
“You didn’t know? About how they are saying that you need to sleep with the Young Leader to continue the bloodline of your family…”
Ah-young’s expression became stiff.
After Dang Boo-ah left, Ah-young was left alone in the room. She lowered her head, hugging her knees to her chest and burying her face in her knees. This was her habit when she was troubled or embarrassed.
This is nice and cozy… it helps me calm down.
Marry…?! I can admit that Woon-seong is stronger than me. But a marriage… I never thought about that.
Ah-young shook her head. That wasn’t correct.
No… deep inside, I probably saw this coming.
The ways to fulfill what my father said while continuing the lineage of the Cheon Family. It was either I became the next Cult Leader or I married the Leader-to-be.
It wasn’t that Ah-young hadn’t thought about the second option, just that she wanted her father’s acknowledgement and only cared about the first.
Maybe I didn’t have time to search my feelings because I was too busy seeing Woon-seong as a rival…?
Getting married… I don’t know about any of that stuff…
Under the moonlight coming from the window, the tips Ah-young’s of ears and her cheeks were tinted pink.
“Hah…” The person sitting down laughed drily. “It seems like things have resulted in a strange way! I was only planning to punish him a little, but destiny is quite unpredictable.”
Oh, destiny and fate were unpredictable indeed.
I thought he was a pesky flea, yet he grew rapidly and became part of the Leader’s side. This is annoying… he will get in my way.
He became the Young Leader. Which means, even if the Leader dies like how I planned, there’s another person who can legitimately inherit the position…
The Leader is poisoned and he will die one day. It doesn’t matter how powerful he is. He can’t survive that poison. That poison is something you would only find in legends.
The important part is, after the Leader collapses, the Cult will be divided into factions of the Vice Leader and the Young Leader.
The Leader has one year max until the poison consumes him. Objectively, that isn’t enough time for the new Young Leader to build up a large faction of his own.
Nevertheless, let it be small or large, they will be an obstacle to the plan of I, Joo Moon-baek.
The man, who had been sitting, crushed the table in front of him with his hands. Clenching his fists, a huge plume of flame shot out from his palms, incinerating the wood. Black ashes fell onto the floor.
However, I shall not let that happen. I shall burn every last one of them!
If I can’t make the Young Leader one of mine…
It would be impossible to take the throne while the Cult was divided. The problem had to be resolved somehow. Obviously, some weird sort of equal-standing partnership was not possible. 
… I’ll just have to kill him.
I’ll have to hire someone powerful, like how I hired the Death Curtain. Or in the worst case, I’ll have to step in myself.
In the darkness, Joo Moon-baek began to move.
 The Vice Leader and Young Leader are technically of equal rank. The technicality comes from the fact that the Vice Leader is usually stronger, but the Young Leader is the legitimate next-in-line.