I was going to make a joke about how this chapter was longer than usual, but I suck at jokes. Enjoy the chapter.
Chapter 44. The Young Master of The Heavenly Demon Church
The place known as Nanman was actually a really hot place. The place was full of southern trees, and the mountains were filled with edible fruit.
A land where no one had to worry about getting starved to death.
But this land was often avoided by travelers and merchants. There were fierce predators roaming about everywhere, and it was also filled to the brim with bugs that contained lethal poison.
Only a certain group of people occupied this land that was both blessed and cursed by god.
Nanman Beast Gate. This land was practically made for them by god.
“You seem excited. I haven’t seen that in a while.”
“Is that right?”
The owner of the Nanman Beast Gate. The one holding the title of the Beast King, and the god of the Nanman region.
Gu Ma Byuk (九魔劈).
He looked at his oldest child, while emitting a kingly aura.
“It seems that your trip this time was pretty amusing. You look unusually excited.”
He didn’t deny it. After all, he was indeed excited right now. That day, he managed to see the fight between Gongson Chun Gi and Baek Mu Ryang. There, he managed to see something that others did not get to see.
Each and every scene of that battle became nutrients that helped Gu Hui’s growth, and made him feel a feeling of excitement unlike what he had ever felt before.
“I saw the power of the mainland.”
This experience would possibly help him form the schedule for the future.
The ambition of the Nanman Beast Gate. The experience he had in the mainland would definitely help him achieve that.
“So, were you able to grasp their size?”
Gu Hui smiled, as Gu Ma Byuk brought his cup to his mouth.
Gongson Chun Gi and Baek Mu Ryang. The two experts who fought for supremacy. Gu Hui had clearly engraved their battle in his mind.
From the heavy breaths of the experts, to every single strand of hair that shone from sweat. Gu Hui did not miss a single scene.
“So, what is your conclusion?”
Gu Hui paused a bit at Gu Ma Byuk’s question. He simply stared at his father, the shining sun of Nanman, without speaking. His face clearly reflected worry and hesitation.
“You don’t have to hide it. Just tell me what you saw.”
Gu Hui looked at his father for a few more seconds, then spoke with some difficulty.
“…….Please let me be the one to carry on our ambition. It’s impossible to achieve the ambition of the main gate in your generation.”
That’s right. It was possible to take care of Baek Mu Ryang, but not Gongson Chun Gi. Gongson Chun Gi was a monster. That was the conclusion Gu Hui reached.
But unexpectedly, Gu Ma Byuk didn’t really show a reaction when he heard that.
“Is that right?”
“Yes. I don’t know about Baek Mu Ryang, but Gongson Chun Gi is definitely going to be difficult.”
Difficult. When he heard that, Gu Ma Byuk rested his chin on his fist, and looked at his child. He wasn’t angry. After all, he was expecting something like this already.
Perhaps it was because of the unique environment, but the Nanman region always managed to produce heirs who possessed a terrifying degree of talent.
Even among all the talented individuals of the Nanman Beast Gate, Gu Hui stood out in particular. That was because the boy’s intelligence was unprecedentedly great.
‘So, there’s no hope.’
Gu Ma Byuk fell deep in thought with a bitter smile in his mind. Yes, Gongson Chun Gi’s name was well known, even in a place like Nanman. That was because Nanman was actually closer to the Heavenly Demon Church than the Alliance.
Thanks to that, Nanman knew about the church’s power very well. The people of Nanman were able to notice the huge amount of strength hidden away in the church.
Even if the church was infested with powerful experts, there was only one man that Gu Ma Byuk was worried about.
He only got a chance to get a glimpse of the Pope a long time ago, but the memory of the aura that the Pope exuded back then still remained in his mind, as clear as day.
Gu Ma Byuk put his cup in his hand on the table, and opened his mouth.
“Is it ok if I entrust the future of the main gate to you?”
The future of the Nanman Beast Gate. Their old ambition. It would be advancing into the mainland. Gu Hui knew this well. That’s why he looked into his father’s eye without any fear or hesitation, and spoke.
“Only I will be able to accomplish the ambition of the main gate.”
A confident voice. Gu Hui had conviction. He was confident that there was no one as strong as he, at least in his generation.
Gu Ma Byuk too, believed that if it was his child, then surely the main gate’s dream would be achieved easily. After all, his son was a monster.
‘But there are many monsters in this world.’
Yes. The world was needlessly big. That’s what got Gu Ma Byuk a little worried.
* * *
‘To think it was Borrowed Power…….’
Cho Ryu Hyang was in a state of shock. He had a lot of expectations for this book, so naturally the shock he got when he found out that this book didn’t teach martial arts was naturally also great.
Gongson Chun Gi gleefully stared at his disciple’s dumb expression.
‘Do you really think I’d be ok?’
Cho Ryu Hyang wanted to shout this in his teacher’s face, but stopped himself. He simply looked out the moving carriage with dull eyes.
Why did his teacher give him a book like this? Cho Ryu Hyang had seen a user of Borrowed Power in a circus a long time ago with his father.
It was an intriguing new world he had discovered. There were people who could break rocks with a mere shout, and freely control giant balls of fire.
It really looked amazing to him at the time. But that was it. It just looked amazing. He couldn’t defeat the Alliance with that.
Cho Ryu Hyang leaned on the carriage wall with a dark face, and began to fiddle with the door crack with his fingers.
He wanted to say something, but didn’t know how to say it. Gonson Chun Gi, looking at that, couldn’t take it anymore and exploded in a fit of laughter.
“Puhahaha! Looks like our little disciple was very, very disappointed with what he found.”
It would be a lie to say that he wasn’t disappointed. Seeing the person who knew that better than any other laugh like that, Cho Ryu Hyang began to laugh a little, too.
So he laughed. He laughed with a gloomy face. When Gongson Chun Gi saw this strange scene, he gripped onto his stomach and began to laugh again.
Just how long had he laughed? Gongson Chun Gi somehow managed to become calm again, looked at his disciple, and spoke.
“Humans have neither powerful claws nor teeth like predators.”
“That’s why humans began to make tools to hunt these predators. These tools soon became ‘weapons’ as time went on, and this weapon kept advancing so that it became more and more efficient at murder.”
What was his teacher talking about, all of the sudden? When Cho Ryu Hyang made a confused face, Gongson Chun Gi smiled and said this.
“I knew it. You haven’t read any more of the book after the part where it said ‘how to be a user of Borrowed Power’.”
Indeed. He didn’t read any more than that part. He had put the book aside in a box in disappointment.
“The true form of the Moon Edge Blade Technique is quite amazing. I’ll guarantee that. It starts to reveal itself after the part where you got disappointed. So don’t be so sad.”
Cho Ryu Hyang put his head down. He didn’t know how to respond to his teacher’s words.
“You’re getting too hurried after Jo Gi Chun’s death. But the thing you want to achieve can’t necessarily be done by being hurried. You need to look at your surroundings with more of a relaxed mind. Isn’t that right?”
Again, Cho Ryu Hyang couldn’t really say anything. He just looked at the floor with guilt.
“We’ll be arriving at the destination soon. Just rest for now today.”
He felt a bit ashamed. Cho Ryu Hyang began to fiddle with the door crack with his fingers again, with an entirely different mind this time.
* * *
Cho Ryu Hyang opened the Moon Edge Blade Technique again. They were going to arrive at the Ten Thousand Great Mountains tomorrow. The symbol of fear, the Ten Thousand Great Mountains. It was the land where the Heavenly Demon Church resided.
Almost nothing was known about the insides of the Ten Thousand Great Mountains. The Heavenly Demon Church was, after all, a society shrouded in secrets.
But right now, that wasn’t really important to Cho Ryu Hyang. He was only focused on the Moon Edge Blade Technique.
Like teacher had said, the more important parts began to appear after the part where he stopped reading.
‘Turning the human body into a weapon……’
This was an interesting concept. The body itself becoming a weapon.
A weapon that can’t be broken by anything, but in turn can destroy anything. The technique was all about taking the body’s strength far above human limits.
‘And that would be the Lian (練).’
The first part of the total thirty parts of the Moon Edge Blade Technique was known as Lian. The learning of this Borrowed Power begins from Lian. Like that, Cho Ryu Hyang slowly fell into the Moon Edge Blade Technique.
* * *
“We’re here. Get down.”
Cho Ryu Hyang got off the carriage with a tired face. When he stepped down, he froze like a statue. The giant mountain in front of him. When he saw that, he realized that he was at the Ten Thousand Great Mountains.
“This is my house. Looks good, doesn’t it?”
Cho Ryu Hyang just nodded. He couldn’t respond because his mouth was wide open.
The Ten Thousand Great Mountains. It was a giant fortress. There were castle walls that encompassed the whole mountain.
And there was that. That thing in front of him. That enormous red door.
‘Blood Lightning Gate (血雷門)’
This was the famed Blood Lightning Gate. The gate that was said to have turned red thanks to the blood of the countless enemies that attacked the church in the past. This was the symbol of the bloody history of the church.
At the top of the gate, was a big sign that was written with thick, strong brushstrokes.
『Heavenly Demon Church (天魔神敎) Headquarters (總本他)』
Gongson Chun Gi ruffled his surprised disciple’s hair a little, and spoke.
“This is the place the martial world refers to as the Ten Thousand Great Mountains. And this is going to be your home from now. How is it?”
What should he say? There was some kind of a feeling boiling up inside him, but he couldn’t really explain what it was.
While he had been searching an answer in his mind, the giant red gates began to open in front of his eyes.
The door opened with a stiff sound.
When the door completely opened, Cho Ryu Hyang was able to see the splendor that lay inside. When he saw that, he froze once more. That was because he was able to see the reason why the Ten Thousand Great Mountains was feared by martial artists of the world.
Inside the gates. There were people.
“They did a troublesome thing.”
Gongson Chun Gi slowly walked in with a smile on his face. Once he entered the door, the man on the front began to shout.
“Heavenly Demon Bow (天魔仰伏)!”
A voice that shook the mountain itself. But the sound that came in response was even bigger than that.
“May the church rule under the heavens (新敎天下)!”
A sound that seemed loud enough to shake the very earth itself.
Because of the sound of the feet hitting the floor simultaneously, Cho Ryu Hyang was unable to come back to his senses. The martial artists that were standing in a line on two sides were all welcoming Cho Ryu Hyang and Gongson Chun Gi.
“Looks like the old guys really put some efforts into this.”
Gongson Chun Gi grinned, and walked through the door. The Pope had gotten used to greetings of this scale a long time ago.
But that wasn’t the case for Cho Ryu Hyang. He experienced something similar to this before, but not on a scale this big. Seven out of the ten groups in the church came out.
Just for the Pope, and the Pope’s disciple. The energy these veterans were exuding from their body really was overpowering.
The energy they were exuding was so great, that just watching them rendered Cho Ryu Hyang unable to breathe. His head was beginning to turn blank.
[Don’t get intimidated. These guys are on your side.]
Cho Ryu Hyang only came back to his senses when he heard the Pope’s playful message. After swallowing his spit, he put on his usual, calm face again.
‘Yes, they’re not my enemies.’
The enemies were the Alliance. These guys were allies. The most reliable allies in the world. Cho Ryu Hyang burned that thought into his mind, and followed Gongson Chun Gi.
Gongson Chun Gi, after walking for a bit, stopped at a certain point. There were some people standing in front of him.
About twenty people. The man at the front of this group bowed to the Pope, and spoke up.
“Welcome back, Your hHoliness.”
“Yeah. You must’ve been tired.”
“I just did what I had to do.”
The bald middle-aged man with thick eyebrows. Starting with him, everyone behind began to greet the Pope.
When they finished doing that, their gazes all focused onto Cho Ryu Hyang. Every single one of them had intense gazes that burrowed into the boy. When Gongson Chun Gi saw this, he smiled.
“Heh, old men……. I almost forgot to introduce him. This is my disciple.”
When Gongson Chun Gi said this, everyone’s face turned bright. They were waiting to hear this.
“Inner Commander Gang Chang greets the young lord!”
“Outer Commander Ugil greets the young lord!”
“Church Instructor Jang Gak greets the young lord!”
Every single one of them had an immense voice. Many others greet Cho Ryu Hyang after them, and every single one of these people had one emotion in their voice.
The eyes that looked at Cho Ryu Hyang, the voice that came out when talking to Cho Ryu Hyang was filled to the brim with happiness.
‘Was it to this degree?’
Their expectations for the heir of the church literally emanated from their bodies.
But strangely, their expectations didn’t seem very pressuring. It seemed something about himself had changed.
“I am called Cho Ryu Hyang.”
He had just replied, but everyone shouted in glee. Cho Ryu Hyang wondered just how much these people had waited for a disciple.
Their happiness simply served to show how much they had worked to find a disciple previously.
“Che, you’re overreacting……. get back to your work. I’ll stay and rest with this boy. Also, let the boys you brought out here have some rest, too.”
Gongson Chun Gi spoke, while observing the Inner Commander direct everyone back to their respective places.
“You might not know right now, but they’re all quite talented people. I’m a lucky person.”
Cho Ryu Hyang nodded, and opened his mouth.
“They look talented in my eyes as well.”
The Inner Commander was able to direct that many people without causing even a bit of commotion, and the people were able to follow the commander’s commands quickly.
Gongson Chun Gi glanced at Cho Ryu Hyang as he walked up a set of staircases. He put on his usual playful smile, and spoke.
“You should take in the people who will serve you here.”
“What do you mean?”
“Choose a guard who will protect you with his life. That’s what I mean.”
“I could choose for you, but that guard would be my subordinate, not yours, right? You find the the person you want on your own. Entrust your life to that person.”
Entrust his life? What did that mean? Cho Ryu Hyang fingered his glasses, and made a serious face.
“I’m sure you know, but the martial world is a place filled with unexpected things. In a place like this, a person who can protect you is very important. Especially when you are weak like this.”
It was true. But who should he choose? When Cho RYu Hyang put on a serious face, Gongson Chun Gi spoke.
“Well, we can handle that in the future……. Did you see the Moon Edge Blade Technique?”
Cho Ryu Hyang nodded.
“Yeah? How was it?”
“…….It was hard.”
“I’m sure it was.”
Gongson Chun Gi paused a bit, then opened his mouth.
“Want some advice?”
That was what he had wanted. Cho Ryu Hyang’s eyes sparkled as he looked at his teacher.
Gongson Chun Gi rubbed his chin, and spoke.
“Don’t think about it too hard. There’s a need to see everything easier sometimes. After all, the truth is usually simpler than you might think.”
There’s a need to see everything easily? How? That was the advice? Gongson Chun Gi put on a mysterious face, and walked up ahead.
“I’ll take you to the place where you’ll stay for now. Think about it over there.”
Gongson Chun Gi’s teaching method. It was a way to make one to think and feel by oneself, and reach the truth. It was completely different form Jo Gi Chun’s method, which explained everything for the student.
Cho Ryu Hyang, while thinking about his teacher’s advice, followed Gongson Chun Gi to the back part of the church. As the back part of the church was placed on a high place, Cho Ryu Hyang only reached the top when he was nearly exhausted.
What lay in front of him was a well-decorated park with a small pond. The centre of the pond held a small pagoda that seemed to be created by a master builder.
It was something that was neither simple nor fancy. But that somehow gave one the feeling of the master of the pond being a high-class person.
“That place over there is the place where you’ll stay.”
Dragon Tower. It was a house that contained a small library inside it. When CHo Ryu Hyang stepped into the castle, he could see a big room filled with expensive furniture.
He liked it the moment he saw it. Gongson Chun Gi smiled when he saw that.
“I’ll go talk to the old men for a while. Let’s eat a meal together when I return.”
“If you need anything, just pull that rope over there. Some boys will come to help you out.”
Cho Ryu Hyang went back out after Gongson Chun Gi disappeared. This place was strangely comforting, even though it was his first time here.
While he was thinking about the Moon Edge Blade Technique while walking around, he could feel someone watching him.
When Cho Ryu Hyang turned left, he saw someone. That person froze when Cho Ryu Hyang turned.
It was a girl in fancy clothes. She had a beautiful blonde hair, with mysterious emerald eyes. The girl looked at Cho Ryu Hyang a bit, and blinked. She opened her mouth.
“Who are you?”
This was the first meeting between her and Cho Ryu Hyang.