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TL: FoodieMonster007; ED: TheGreatT20 If you see this, you are at the wrong site!


Meteor Iron: A type of metal ore that can only be found where a meteor has fallen. It is so uncommon in fact that it is said that one would need luck that is blessed by the heavens in order to find it. Not only was it used to make the weapons of many top murim experts, in the hands of a competent blacksmith, it could even be forged into a divine weapon.

In my past life, I had only seen a weapon made of meteor iron once.

The Blood Demon Sword…

My heart skipped a beat. Even now, the freezing cold aura of the blade remained fresh in my memory.

That was a sword that carried within it the violent history of generations of Blood Demons; a blade that amplified the power of the Heaven Defying Divine Art.

Sometimes, after waking up in this body, I’d randomly daydream about the past.

If back then, the sword that the Blood Demon used wasn’t made of Meteor Iron…

No, if I had a similar sword…

Well, all those ‘ifs’ are meaningless now.

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The Meteor Iron that the Blood Demon Sword was made from is now right in front of my eyes.

Although, this piece of Meteor Iron looks a little different from the one used to make the Blood Demon Sword…

That slab of Meteor Iron had a subtle reddish glow, while this one glowed blue instead.

Still, even though the color was different, Meteor Iron was the only metal ore in the world that could emit such a powerful spiritual aura. There was no mistaking it.

“What is this rock? Why are you so mesmerized by it?” Dad suddenly asked, waving his hand in front of my face.

Dad might have been well-versed in herbs and medical techniques, but it seemed that he knew nothing about Meteor Iron.

“This is…”

I thought about it for a while, then decided to be honest to him. If he ended up talking about this rock because he didn’t understand its value, then there was a chance that he would get us in deep trouble without knowing it.

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“…Meteor Iron.”

“Meteor…WHAT!?” Dad’s eyes widened in shock.

He couldn’t recognize the Meteor Iron, but as a murim warrior, it was impossible for him to not have heard of it before.

“What do you mean, it’s Meteor Iron? Don’t go making random assumptions, you little punk…”

“Do I sound like I’m joking?”

When he saw my serious expression, Dad stiffened. However, he didn’t ask me why I could recognize such a thing.

I guess I have the original Baek Su-Ryong to thank for that, as that guy had a habit of reading all sorts of books related to the murim and making notes on interesting topics.

After a long pause, Dad concluded, “…Keeping something that is beyond our means is basically the same as asking for trouble. We may have gotten lucky finding this, but that doesn’t mean that we have the strength to protect or hide it.”

Dad was right. Precious treasures had a tendency to summon manmade disasters. Every time precious treasures such as the martial arts manuals of deceased masters, divine weapons and armor, and miracle elixirs appeared in the murim, it had always been accompanied by countless bloodshed.

Meteor Iron was undoubtedly such a treasure.

“If news of this gets out…a lot of people will spill blood over it. Even us, the ones who discovered it, won’t be exempt.”

“Couldn’t we sell it on the black market?”

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Dad shook his head and replied, “If it was a normal treasure of unknown origin, we could probably do that, but Meteor Iron is such a priceless treasure that the buyer would probably do everything they could to identify and eliminate us. They won’t take chances with the possibility of us talking to others about their purchase.”

“…I guess they would, huh.” I nodded in agreement.

I already knew that selling Meteor Iron to the black market would be risky, but to avoid Dad’s suspicions, I had to at least suggest it to him.

Relieved by my unquestioning acceptance of his reasoning, Dad continued, “The person who built this place must have known that as well, so they ignored the Meteor Iron, left it here, and hid this place using illusion formations.”

…No, that’s not it. Master Maeng was just too stupid to have recognized Meteor Iron.

I couldn’t reveal my true thoughts out loud, so I simply said, “I don’t think that’s quite right…”

“Then what? Do you really want to take this back with us and cause a storm of bloodshed in the murim…!”

“It should be fine if we just kept it hidden instead of selling it.”

“That’s even more dangerous!”

Dad glared daggers at me as if he couldn’t accept my decision, so I decided to try using cold, hard, logic on him instead.

“…Even if we just left like this, someone will eventually find this place. What then? When people hear that Meteor Iron was found here, they will swarm our village, which is closest to the White Cloud Mountain Range. Do you think we’ll remain safe if they do that? Knowing those people, they’ll force their way into our homes and use them as bases of operations while they search the mountains for more Meteor Iron!”

“What…?” The color drained from Dad’s face.

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“The people from the orthodox sects may retain an outward sense of decency, but what about those from the unorthodox sects? They’ll rape the village women and kill anyone they don’t like. Do you think you’d be able to protect them all, Dad?”

“……”

I smiled bitterly and continued my drivel, saying, “Do you get it now? Even if we pretend that we never found this place, when someone else does, we’re going to regret not doing anything.”

“Hah. That’s quite the convincing excuse you’re fabricating.”

“You wouldn’t be making that face if you thought that I was just making excuses.”

Dad sighed. Although he was now a mere village martial arts instructor, he was once a student in one of the Five Great Academies and a member of the orthodox sects. He could not so easily abandon the ideas of chivalry that he had learned at the academy.

Sure enough, with much difficulty, Dad mumbled, “…So what do you propose we do?”

“We’ll take the Meteor Iron and hide it. Without this mystical atmosphere, I doubt anyone in the village would be able to recognize this rock for what it truly is. Besides, even you didn’t recognize it until I pointed it out to you, right?”

I might have exaggerated a little, but technically, there was nothing wrong with my reasoning. I delivered the final blow to Dad, saying, “As long as the two of us keep our mouths shut, no one will question the existence of a pretty-looking rock in your bedroom. They’ll think that you bought a shiny new decoration, and nothing more. So…”

“Okay, okay, I get it.” Dad nodded resignedly, then suddenly broke into a grin and taunted, “Knowing you, if I insisted on refusing, you’d probably get down on your knees and beg me, right?”

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…Damn! If I had known that would work, I would’ve already done it!

What a waste of my time and efforts.

Dad smiled helplessly and continued, “Fine, I’ll take this and hide it, just like you suggested.”

“HELL YEAH!”

I took the Meteor Iron out of the water, put it in a bag, and tightly closed the drawstrings.

As for whether I really wanted to hide the Meteor Iron at home?

I’m not crazy, I’m definitely taking it with me to the Azure Dragon Academy.

This piece of Meteor Iron was far too small to be melted and made into a sword, so one of the ways I could use it was to create an alloy by mixing it with another metal, and then forge a weapon out of that alloy.

In fact, the Blood Demon Sword that I saw back then wasn’t made of pure Meteor Iron, but an alloy of Meteor Iron and Frost Iron (寒鐵).

Alternatively, I can opt for a small weapon…

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As I sifted through the many possibilities in my mind, I couldn’t help but smile in anticipation.

“Shall we head back?” I asked, shoving the tiger’s inner pearl and the Meteor Iron into my backpack. In my arms, I gently carried the cloth package containing the three tuber fleeceflower roots.

Since I went and took the three most precious treasures, Dad was now empty-handed.

After all, as a filial child, helping our parents carry things is the right thing to do, no?

Well, there was one more valuable treasure, but my arms were already full. I had no choice but to leave that one thing to Dad.

“Sorry, Dad, but it seems like you’ll have to carry that one yourself.”

I pointed toward the tiger carcass that was as large as a house.

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Dad’s face twitched.

“Am I supposed to carry that thing alone?”

“I could help you, but…” I paused for a moment and looked down at my weak, unhealthy, and sickly body, then continued, “If I faint while helping you, you’ll have to carry me as well…”

“Ugh!”

Eventually, Dad gave up and slung the giant tiger over his shoulder. Even then, the tiger’s hind legs were still dragging on the ground.

“You know, if you weren’t my son…or if you were a normal, healthy boy…I’d definitely…Guh!”

GRUMBLE GRUMBLE MUMBLE MUMBLE.

As we hiked down the mountain, Dad never stopped complaining, even for a moment.

On the other hand, my steps were light as a feather.

Not only did I get the elixirs I wanted, I even got a spirit tiger and Meteor Iron as a bonus… Wait, the bonuses are actually worth more than the elixirs I was gunning for! Lucky!

“You just wait, you little punk…AHH! S-Slow down a little, I almost tripped…!”

…Boys and girls, this is the exact reason why you have to train your lower body strength.

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sep

As soon as I returned home, I washed the dirt off the three tuber fleeceflower roots and dried them in the sun. When they were completely dry, I then carefully removed the skins from the tuber roots and ground them into powder.

“Finally…”

I prepared a big bowl of warm water, poured the tuber fleeceflower powder into the bowl, and stirred it until it formed a uniform suspension.

“Hoo…”

Before taking the medicine, I took a few deep breaths. Right now, Dad was busy selling the tiger parts in a faraway market and would not return for a while.

In other words, I was alone in the Baek Academy.

“DO NOT eat the medicine until I come back. YOU HEAR ME? Taking medicine without proper guidance or supervision is extremely dangerous…”

“Don’t worry, I’m not that stupid. Go sell that tiger, and make sure you don’t get cheated!”

Sorry, Dad, for lying to you.

I briefly paid a silent tribute to Dad, who was cheated by me.

Although, it really couldn’t be helped. The qi meditation technique I was going to use now was so different from every other technique, I couldn’t show it to anyone, not even Dad.

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Besides, he would flip out if he found out that I was practicing a demonic art, and the Heaven Defying Divine Art at that.

“I just have to bear with getting scolded later.”

GLUG GLUG GLUG!

I gulped down the entire bowl of tuber fleeceflower water in one go.

“Gah!”

My stomach immediately started heating up. I sat down cross-legged, closed my eyes, and concentrated on the flow of qi around my belly.

Move.

The herbal energy (藥力) in my stomach started to move according to my will. Normally, a martial artist would have to meditate for months just to be able to sense energy, but thanks to my previous life’s experience, I didn’t need to do that.

I slowly circulated my qi just as the Heaven Defying Divine Art instructed.

I’ve gone through this exact same process before, but…in my past life, I did not suffer from the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians…

As expected, my qi quickly ran into a blocked meridian.

“Khh…!”

Cold sweat dripped down my forehead.

This is worse than I expected…

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Not only were most of my major arteries and veins blocked, a large amount of contaminated qi had accumulated near the blockages over time.

This was a body cursed by the heavens.

Even if I did nothing but live normally, the contaminated qi would keep building up until my blood stopped being able to circulate throughout my body. As long as I didn’t do anything about it, I would most certainly be fated to die before reaching the age of thirty.

I’ll take the risk!

Like the first generation cult leader of the Blood Demon Cult, the creator of the Heaven Defying Divine Art and fellow sufferer of the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians, I had no intention of quietly resigning myself to fate.

As stated in the martial arts manual, the method to heal the Heavenly Yin Blocked Meridians is to…gather and concentrate all of the contaminated qi in my dantian! 1

If I had to describe such an idea in one word, I’d definitely choose the word “insane”.

SSSSSSSHHHHH…

I shaped the herbal energy into a thin needle and forced it into one of my blocked meridians.

The pain that resulted was indescribable.

“KUWAA…!”

I clenched my teeth, endured the pain, wrapped the contaminated qi up with herbal energy, and slowly guided it toward my dantian.

And then I did it again.

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And again.

I concentrated my qi like I was building a power source in my dantian.

SHIVER…

My body trembled uncontrollably with pain, but I did my best to ignore it and focus on my task.

Blood flowed from between my clenched teeth.

If I relax now, it’ll be game over for me.

Finally, I was left with the last and most important process of setting my foundations: the creation of a protective layer made of the Heaven Defying Divine Art’s qi around the contaminated qi sphere, thereby forming an Inner Pill!

“KEUAAAAAAAK…!”

The whole process hadn’t taken a long time, but it felt like a million years to me. Even so, I succeeded.

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By creating an Inner Pill, I had reached the First Stage of the Heaven Defying Divine Art.

“Whew…”

I opened my eyes and sluggishly got to my feet. Initially, I stumbled a little from dizziness, but my head soon cleared up enough for me to stand up straight.

My entire body dripped with sweat and the smell coming from it was enough to make anyone puke.

However, I still smiled proudly.

“I did it.”

My body was so light, I felt like I could fly. The contaminated qi that was clogging my circulatory system was now concentrated within my dantian, freeing my body from its burden and improving my five senses.

I clenched my fist, feeling the changes.

This is just the beginning.

In order to reach the Second Stage of the Heaven Defying Divine Art, I’d need a lot more herbs, elixirs, and treasures. However, now that I had set my foundations, my lifespan had increased by three years, giving me more time to earn money and collect the things I needed.

In addition, I now had some qi, so I could formally begin my training in martial techniques. 2

I shouldn’t start with the martial techniques of the Heaven Defying Divine Art, though. They consume far too much qi. Even if I learned them now, I wouldn’t be able to use them at all.

Forcefully using martial techniques that one’s body could not handle would only result in irreparable damage.

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That was why, my first goal was to strengthen my body.

And it just so happened that I knew the perfect martial art for physical conditioning.

“The Eighteen Strikes of the Outlaw.”

The external martial art3 that Maeng Ho-Ak, the Bandit King, had passed down to me. A martial art equal to the Unbreakable Vajra Body of Shaolin Temple.


Footnotes:

  1. Dantian: Qi center where qi is stored. It is found in the lower abdomen, under the belly button. 

  2. Martial techniques: Martial arts are divided into 2 categories: meditation techniques and martial techniques. Meditation techniques are used to increase and circulate qi, while martial techniques are used in battle. 

  3. Internal and External Martial Arts: Internal Martial Arts are occupied with the spiritual, mental or qi-related aspects of martial arts, whereas External Martial Arts are focused on the physiological aspects. External Martial Arts are generally considered inferior to Internal Martial Arts, as anyone can train their bodies and exercise. However, there exist some very powerful external martial arts such as the Shaolin Temple’s Unbreakable Vajra Body (Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Jin Yong), and the Trillion Blows Art from Peerless Dad. 

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