Sorry for such a late update. I was swamped (kind of?) with tests last week. I should be able to release 2 chapters this week, and one next week (another test yay)
Chapter 62. A Tenacious Man
In the past, when Gongson Chun Gi was crowned as the heir of the church, there were two senior brothers above him.
The two of them were people of great talent, as they were chosen personally by the Pope at the time. It was unfortunate that they were at the same generation as Gongson Chun Gi.
One of them realized that Gongson Chun Gi had more talent than he, and left the church when Gongson Chun Gi became crowned. The other stayed secluded from the church, abiding by the church’s rules.
The Church had something known as the Law of Blood. This made it so that the former disciples of the Pope would be unable to stay within the church once the Heir was crowned.
This happened due to the fact that the Pope’s influence might be affected by the former disciples. It was normal for the former disciples to either be expelled from the church, or be killed off.
But Gongson Chun Gi let the two ‘seniors’ stay within the church.
This event took place when Gongson Chun Gi took in a disciple, and the time when the rumor that the Pope took in a disciple began to spread.
“Master, I heard something strange when I went out today.”
“They were talking about how the Heir was already chosen?”
“Yeah. I heard, too.”
“What’s going to happen to us now, then?”
“What do you mean, what’s going to happen? We’re basically screwed.”
“…….N, no. You told me you’d make me the Pope!”
“As you can see, doing that’s nearly impossible now. Please understand.”
“I’m sorry. This master of yours is incompetent. You should find your own path now.”
“Don’t give up already, and do something!”
No Jin Nyung (努珍寗) cried out whilst ripping out his hair.
The old man in front of No Jin Nyung was watching his disciple silently. That old man was Gongson Chun Gi’s senior brother, Gwon Gang Min (勸狂憫), the Berserking Blood Demon (血手狂魔).
The man took away the fishing pole he held in his hand out of the pond water, and shook his head.
“It’s a person that Gongson Chun Gi chose personally. There’s no way you can win. It’s better to give up.”
The man said this with a very clear and concise voice.
But No Jin Nyung just couldn’t take it. After all, this matter concerned his life itself.
“…….You clearly told me that I was unmatched under the heavens, and that we could conquer the heavens together!”
Gwon Gang Min widened his eyes when he heard this from his disciple.
No Jin Nyung desperately spoke out to his master. Gwon Gang Min became a little troubled when he saw his disciple like this.
No Jin Nyung. The boy was someone he took in when he started to get older. And it wasn’t a lie when he told the boy that the boy’s talent was unmatched under the heavens.
Gwon Gang Min scratched the back of his head. The thing was, his disciple had a terrible weakness.
‘To put it nicely, he has a very straightforward and honest personality…….’
No Jin Nyung trusted people too easily. And once he was told to do something, he would try to finish the task he was given without stopping.
At one point in time, Gwon Gang Min got tired of No Jin Nyung pestering him, and told the disciple to go count all the pinecones on the mountain. He found his disciple still counting the pinecones half a year later.
His disciple was just that ‘pure’. But Gwon Gang Min saw his disciple in a different light.
‘This guy’s an idiot!’
Right. This guy was an idiot. At least, that was how it was to Gwon Gang Min.
After all, the world used the word ‘pure’ and ‘stupid’ the same way. Gwon Gang Min looked at his disciple for a moment with a sorrowful face.
‘He’s already a peak expert…….’
Come to think of it, No Jin Nyung was already 28.
But was it because of his ignorance of the outside world? The man looked like he was in his late teens. But the man himself trained day and night when he should’ve taken the time to go out and play a little.
No Jin Nyung really was too pure.
Gwon Gang Min thought hard. Honestly, No Jin Nyung’s talent by itself was good enough to enter the top ten in all the world.
‘But one doesn’t become a Pope with just strength.’
Of course, strength was something one needed when becoming the Pope, but with just that, it was impossible to become a Pope.
The Pope is a leader. The Pope needs to be able to have good decision-making skills, determination, motivation, and the power to be able to gather people to his side.
No Jin Nyung definitely was a very talented child, but he also had downsides that were almost as big as his talents.
‘Did I go too far…?’
To be honest, Gwon Gang Min nowadays was very bored. Well, as his position as the senior brother of the Pope, he could live the rest of his life without any worries at all.
But it wasn’t like he had much power within the church itself. Instead, he had to stay in the church trying to be as quiet and unnoticed as possible. This made Gwon Gang Min feel quite useless, which led him to taking in a disciple. And that disciple was No JIn Nyung.
’This is retribution.’
When he thought back on it, everything was his retribution. And the greatest victim of this was his disciple.Gwon Gang Min realized that the heavens never missed out on anything, and became mesmerized by the thought.
Gwon Gang Min nodded after staring at the sky for a bit. It was his responsibility to take back the seeds he sowed.
Gwon Gang Min steeled himself, and began to put down the fishing rod on his hand. Then, he immediately thought of something, and lightly pushed away his crying disciple.
“Be calm. We still have a chance.”
No Jin Nyung’s eyes immediately sparkled fiercely. Gwon Gang Min actually flinched a little inside when he saw this, but pretended to not see it as anything significant, and opened his mouth.
“As long as you show that you have more talent than the Heir, you should be able to succeed.”
“How would I do that?”
Gwon Gang Min felt a bit of guilt when he saw his disciple’s eyes clear of any suspicion. But he had to do it.
“You can do it as long as you get into the harmonious stage. As long as you do that, becoming the Pope won’t be a dream.”
“…….As long as I become a harmonious expert?”
“Yes. You’ll have a chance if you manage to do it.”
This would be an impossible task, even with that massive talent his disciple had. The only reason he suggested this to his disciple was because he thought the boy would give up after hearing it.
Gwon Gang Min looked up at the heavens, and prayed for forgiveness.
But as always, the will of the heavens wasn’t something a mere mortal could comprehend.
No one could ever suspect that the idiotic disciple would actually break into the harmonious stage in just a few weeks.
Gwon Gang Min just didn’t know if he should laugh or cry when he got faced with this situation.
“Master, I can become the Pope now, right?”
He just couldn’t manage to tell the truth in front of this overly excited disciple of his.
‘Dear God, isn’t this a little too much?’
Only now did Gwon Gang Min truly regret his actions.
* * *
From a young age, No Jin Nyung liked simple things. He just didn’t like complicated things by nature.
Even when fighting other kids his age to pick the boss out of the group, No Jin Nyung never lost, even when being matched up with bigger kids.
To him, the other kids were making unnecessarily complicated movements.
To No Jin Nyung, even the punches and the kicks performed by the children seemed too complicated. This was why the kids couldn’t win against No Jin Nyung.
‘As simple as possible.’
Simple and easy. Simple and fast (單純明快). This was the one thing No Jin Nyung always lived by.
One day, during the time when No Jin Nyung lived in the small mountain town, a large amount of bandits invaded the town.
“Kill everyone except for the females!”
Like any other thieves and bandits, these people were here to steal. They were here to take away lives, and steal anything that could be of value.
At the same time, these people kidnapped all the young women in the town. To them, this small town was a very good hunting ground that had little to no resistance against them.
‘Am I about to die here?’
No Jin Nyung watched his house burn away from a nearby shack. His family died in front of his eyes, but he couldn’t do anything to save them.
The bodies of his parents were still exuding hot blood.
Young No Jin Nyung was sad. He was so sad and mad at the same time, he just wanted to run out and throw a stone at the bandits.
But he didn’t. He just decided to think simply instead. If he runs out now, he dies. And dying here would truly be foolish.
When he thought like this, the sadness he felt strangely subsided a little. While he had been consoling his mind like this, the bandits started setting fires everywhere.
Because of this, the shack was no longer a place that could shelter No Jin Nyung. This was because the bandits set fire to that, too. The smoke from the flames made breathing much harder.
His lungs stung, and his breathing became irregular. If he went outside now, though, he would die. No Jin Nyung thought as fast as possible while suppressing himself from coughing.
‘What should I do?’
No Jin Nyung tried to think as simply as possible. After all, he was always supposed to think simply, and easily, right?
‘Staying inside would kill me, and going outside would kill me.’
Then which one would hurt less?
‘Getting stabbed to death sounds a little better than burning to death…….’
When he thought about it, his reasoning made sense. Because of this, No Jin Nyung crawled out of his hiding place. Thankfully, the bandits were gone.
It seemed they went to a different part of the town after setting fire here. No Jin Nyung sighed in relief, and began to look around a bit. The outside was horrifying to behold.
No Jin Nyung’s family was dead, and his neighbors shared the same fate along with their burnt houses.
Young No Jin Nyung began to think immediately in this situation. As simple as possible. He began to think about what he could do at that moment.
Survival came first. To accomplish that, he had to avoid getting caught by the bandits.
While he had been organizing the tasks he had to do in the simplest manner, the heavens sent him a savior.
“I just came here to eat……. what’s with all this mess?”
An old man was observing the destroyed town while scratching the back of his head. When he saw the corpses lying on the ground starting from the town entrance, he sighed.
“Just how much of a sinner was I in my past life?”
The man walked towards the bandits while sighing.
The boss of the bandit group watched the old man approach them, and frowned.
“I told you to kill everyone, didn’t I? Why’s an old man like that still alive? Do you guys have a death wish or something?”
The old man, Gwon Gang Min, laughed bitterly. This was because he could see the bandits surrounding him.
“The heavens are testing me again.”
He wanted to avoid unnecessary murder, but the heavens would sometimes tempt him with events like these. And Gwon Gang Min happened to be a person who fell for temptation quite easily.
One of the bandits surrounding him tried to chop Gwon Gang Min’s neck.
“I should get back to the church soon…….”
Gwon Gang Min, who had been speaking to himself, flicked away the sword with a finger, and opened his mouth with a sorrowful face.
“Try to be a kinder person when you get reborn, okay?”
“K, kill him!”
A cyclone of blood spouted upwards as soon as the bandit boss issued his command. The hundred bandits that was in the area were instantly killed due to the huge difference in martial prowess.
“Ohh, my waist…….”
His body wasn’t like it was in the old days. Gwon Gang Min lightly massaged his waist a bit, and entered a random house right next to him. He could find No Jin Nyung, who was petrified in place with a dumb expression on his face.
“Mind if I have a meal here?”
No Jin Nyung just stared at his future teacher with a dumb face.
The movements of the old man just now wasn’t complicated at all. It was very simple, and easy. The movements were almost at the pinnacle of simplicity itself. Simple movements without anything wasted.
“Me? I’m Gwon Gang Min.”
The relationship between the two began here.
* * *
No Jin Nyung didn’t tell this to his teacher this yet, but he was actually extremely close to breaking through into the harmonious stage already.
It was right there in front of his eyes, almost as if he could catch it with his bare hands. He even felt that he could actually grab hold of it with enough work.
Others would practice day and night in order to break through when they reached this state, but No Jin Nyung wasn’t like this. His reason for this was very simple.
‘I’ll get there eventually, anyways.’
The harmonious stage was definitely something within No Jin Nyung’s grasp.
These words would make others extremely surprised, but to No Jin Nyung, this statement wasn’t much.
The Godly realm that was far above the harmonious stage seemed too far for him, but the harmonious stage itself seemed reachable. This was the reason why he didn’t try too hard to break through.
‘I’ll get there all in due time.’
That was how No Jin Nyung thought. But one day, there came a time when he had to start working harder.
‘The Heir has been chosen.’
The news was extremely shocking to him. He was thinking of becoming a Pope all his life, and then this happened? He immediately went to his master to talk about this matter.
But as always, his master was neutral on this matter. This was because his master was a person who always went with the flow of the world.
‘This isn’t right.’
Even if the master was someone he had revered and respected all his life, the decision his master made seemed wrong. Then, his master gave him an answer.
“You can become the Pope once you reach the harmonious stage.”
Right. As expected, his master was amazing. His master always seemed so neutral on everything, but usually took everything very seriously in reality.
‘I just have to reach the harmonious stage.’
No Jin Nyung decided to think simply. If he gets into the harmonious stage, he becomes the Pope. It was as simple as that.
And so he worked. He forcefully grabbed onto that thing that was right in front of him all this time. Thanks to that, a new harmonious expert was born in this world.
And No Jin Nyung would become a figure that heavily influenced Cho Ryu Hyang in the future.