Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon
Chapter 65 – Ambush (2)
Translated by : moonchildkhz
Where is this?
The surrounding space was entirely gray. Despite walking forward, there was nothing else visible.
What… Am I doing…?
No, it wasn’t correct to call it ‘walking’.
There were no floors to walk on, nor walls and ceilings for reference, just a vast gray expanse.
Chun A-young was floating in the middle.
Who is it? Who’s pushing me? Where are they taking me?
A-young was moving because she was being pushed by something, but she had no idea who or what it was. Thus, she wandered around the unknown space for a long time, being driven forward by this unknown force.
How long has it been? I don’t know…
“Ugh.” A-young groaned without her realizing.
It’s hot…! She suddenly felt a wave of heat from within the gray space. Turning her head, A-young saw a flame blazing vigorously some distance away. Wait, fire?!
The blazing flame flashed towards A-young in an instant, burning the space around her as it approached. The searing heat become more intense, burning her skin.
A-young swung her arms forward, attempting to protect herself. She tried to keep the fire at bay using a wall of qi, but nothing happened.
I can’t draw qi from my core?!
As she was panicking, the intense flame consumed her.
It’s not hot? I’m sure I was feeling the flames just a moment ago. But now it feels warm and comfy, like I’m in my mother’s arms.
A-young wondered a bit about how much she really enjoyed this feeling.
Then, the fire made one final change.
What’s it doing…?
The flame gradually decreased in size, reducing to the size of a palm and digging into A-young’s chest.
A-young’s whole body was suddenly engulfed by burning pain. Screaming, the heat coursed through her body.
She woke up from a dream.
When she woke, A-young was soaked in sweat. She muttered, puzzled, “That was a dream…?”
Apparently it had only been a dream, indicated by the fact that she was still in bed and the moon hung high in the sky.
The feeling of a burning flame and the warmth inside me… was all of that just a dream too?
When she realized it was only a dream, A-young breathed a huge sigh of relief.
However, she didn’t know what that dream represented…
An assassin, huh…
Woon-seong had returned to his room. Unable to sleep however, he thought about what had happened earlier.
Based on what the Demon King of Dark Pursuit had told him, Woon-seong was sure that the assassins from the Valley of Thousand Spirits were somehow related to the assassins from tonight.
There can’t be many within the Cult of the Heavenly Demon that would dare target me…
Woon-seong boiled some water for tea, but got up and walked towards the terrace without drinking anything.
The problem is… who? And why? I don’t have a single clue. It’s clear they were targeting me. They attacked me knowing who I am… yet I don’t have even the slightest idea of who my enemy is.
I don’t like this. Woon-seong growled with irritation, gripping the banister so hard that the wood splintered. It’s getting on my nerves.
It was natural for Woon-seong to be angry, but he shook his head.
My rage doesn’t give me access to the information about the enemy. This is going to be tough…
The men at the Valley swallowed poison without a moment’s hesitation. The men I encountered today came with bodies that were physically impossible to interrogate. I don’t know who’s behind them, but they were thoroughly prepared.
Woon-seong sighed. He took a deep breath before turning around and heading back inside. Sitting down, he poured himself some tea.
Without the Leader’s qi sensitivity training, I wouldn’t have survived. A sickle might have broken my bones or a viper might have killed me.
And looking at how my senses were improved in such a short time, I can’t help but admire the Leader’s skills as a teacher.
So he’s the Heavenly Demon for a reason.
Woon-seong’s gaze deepened as his mind moved past the ambush earlier. But after a while, there was a commotion that woke him up from his thoughts.
“May I enter?”
It was the voice of Gwan Tae-ryang.
Although this voice had woken him up, Woon-seong wasn’t particularly angry. It wasn’t like he had been meditating or sleeping anyways. Plus, he’d gotten distracted from his earlier distraction.
With his captain’s permission, the other man entered the room. Given that Woon-seong had been training with Chun Hwi from dawn until dusk, the two hadn’t seen much of each other recently.
“Excuse me. It’s been a while, Captain!”
As Gwan Tae-ryang entered, Woon-seong brightened a bit and swept his gaze over the other. Are those metal bracers…?
Maybe it was because Gwan Tae-ryang realized that Woon-seong was staring at his arms. He raised one arm, looking down at the bracer and shrugged. “I tried copying your methods since I couldn’t keep up with you. This is the least I can do to try and get to your level.”
“Not bad.” Woon-seong smiled and nodded, praising the other.
Gwan Tae-ryang grinned at the praise.
That wasn’t the only change.
“And I assume you’ve also improved your martial arts?”
“Yes. I think I got better than before.”
Though Gwan Tae-ryang had smiled, Woon-seong felt like something was not right. It was probably what had brought the lieutenant here so late.
“You ‘think’ so…? Then how good are you now?”
At his questioning tone, Gwan Tae-ryang smiled awkwardly. He seemed surprised that Woon-seong had read his thoughts.
“Your words seem to lack confidence for a reason.”
Gwan Tae-ryang smiled stiffly. “The thing is… After I’ve seen some improvement, it looks like I’m not seeing any more improvement at all.”
“If so…,” Woon-seong laughed lightly. Then he looked out the window, looking at the garden surrounding the Charred Dragon House. “The moon is bright tonight. I’ll take a look myself.”
Woon-seong shrugged, clipping his metal bracers back into place. “Is that a problem for you?”
“Of course not.”
As soon as he heard that, Woon-seong leapt through his window and landed in the garden. He had jumped from the third floor, but there was no problem.
Like Woon-seong had jumped, so had Gwan Tae-ryang.
Woon-seong pulled his White Night Spear out, pointing it towards the other.
“Let’s see how much better you’ve become since you left the Cave of Latent Demons.”
Woon-seong snapped his fingers and Gwan Tae-ryang threw his metal bracers off, rolling his shoulders.
This is giving me shivers down my spine… “Heh heh…” Gwan Tae-ryang chuckled to himself. It reminds me of the moment when I lost back then. With those memories clear in his head, he couldn’t help but be afraid. He gulped.
“It won’t be easy like last time.”
“How about actually proving that, Lieutenant.”
Woon-seong smiled faintly, egging the other on.
It was at that moment that Gwan Tae-ryang leapt forward, swinging sharply with his blade.
It sank into the ground, leaving a gash in front of Woon-seong.
The blade had missed by a fraction of an inch.
I thought that was a sure hit! Gwan Tae-ryang was momentarily startled. He dodged slightly backwards, the moment right before my attack landed. So this is how good Captain is… Though he was still afraid, he was now more motivated in this fight. Good! Just what I would expect from the captain I follow!
Thanks to his training with Chun Hwi, it hadn’t been hard for Woon-seong to dodge that blow.
To understand why Gwan Tae-ryang is having a problem, he was thinking to himself, I first need to understand his movements.
Woon-seong examined the other’s movements like a hawk, observing the other’s coordination and movement flow. Just like during his training, he was getting better at reading muscle movement and qi flow.
He’d found a discrepancy and his eyes glowed as focused.
There are moments of hesitation between his attacks. That must be why he felt like he had halts in improving his skills.
Woon-seong soon became lost in thought. Threatening attacks whistled by his ears, but none of them came close to touching him.
Thus, Gwan Tae-ryang swung his blade wildly until he exhausted himself.
“Huff, huff, huff.”
Was there this much of a gap between us? Gwan Tae-ryang was sitting collapsed on the ground, breathing heavily. Captain didn’t even break a sweat…
Just as Woon-seong had known there was a clear gap in their skills, Gwan Tae-ryang was also aware of it now.
“Captain, huff… What do you, puff… Think?”
Woon-seong laughed, looking at the exhausted lieutenant.
“I understand why you weren’t improving.”
At these words, Gwan Tae-ryang swallowed his words and held his breath.
Woon-seong’s next words were still casual though.
“You said you had a major breakthrough recently, correct?”
Woon-seong swung his spear, scratching a straight line into the dirt.
“That’s the wall that you recently overcame.”
Gwan Tae-ryang looked at the line, then muttered, “Wall…”
“But overcoming the wall doesn’t mean the end of it.” Woon-seong swung his spear again, erasing his previously drawn line. “Walls are simply measures made within the martial society for an easier understanding. Just because different people overcame the same wall doesn’t make them martial artists of the same level.”
Gwan Tae-ryang nodded his understanding. There would always be some stronger and some weaker.
“You just overcame a wall. That means you need to put more effort into getting used to the new area you’ve found beyond the wall. And it only makes sense that you’re having a hard time understanding it — it’s uncharted territory, after all. But one thing for sure is that there is no easy way to adapt to this new strength.”
“So what should I do?”
Woon-seong shrugged, setting his spear down. There wasn’t any way for someone to quickly adapt to these changes.
“All you can do is take your time and get used to it. Don’t be impatient. The devil visits your heart when your mind goes astray… Focus on your path and you’ll eventually get there. That’s how martial arts works.”
Woon-seong spoke as if he had deep confidence, but Gwan Tae-ryang wasn’t entirely convinced.
Still, Woon-seong was someone that Gwan Tae-ryang had known for a long time. The other was also the Captain of the Charred Dragon Unit, the youngest Demonic King. There was nothing wrong with listening to him, so Gwan Tae-ryang let his mind relax.
“Your words make me feel better. Thank you, Captain…”
As the two youths turned their heads, they could see a dim glow emerging from behind the mountains.
“The sun’s rising. It looks like I’ve been taking too much of your time.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Woon-seong smiled, looking over at the other. “Teaching his men is also part of a captain’s duty.”
Gwan Tae-ryang had gotten up, but still looked exhausted. “Is that so… Thank you, sir.”
Woon-seong sighed softly.
It’s already morning. I was just planning to take a look at Gwan Tae-ryang’s skills for a moment. And it ended with him showing me everything he’s got…
But thanks to him, I was also able to go back to the basics. It wasn’t a waste of time at all.
I should be patient too.
Woon-seong adjusted his sleeves, thinking about his plans for revenge.
Though, it looks like I’m not getting any sleep today.