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

“Sorry, but I can’t allow that.”

To a certain extent, Noh Gun-Sang’s answer hardly came as a surprise. Still, I wanted to know why he was so adamant about it, so I asked, “Why not?”

“Mr. Namgoong is the pillar and face of our academy. You’re not the only one who thinks of him as a competitor. In fact, you could say all of the instructor candidates are aiming for him. However, do you think I can let him fight everyone?”

“That’s an excellent excuse. Did you prepare this in advance?”

“When you’re in a position like mine, you always have several excuses prepared beforehand,” Noh Gun-Sang laughed softly and sipped his tea. “In any case, I won’t allow you to duel Mr. Namgoong,” he added firmly.

Unfortunately, I would not be easily dissuaded. “Nothing lasts forever, and the current Star Instructor of the academy won’t always be the Star Instructor. Just as the river always flows, it’s only natural for the new to replace the old.”

Noh Gun-Sang set down his teacup and chuckled, “Are you saying that you’re going to surpass Namgoong Su and become the new Star Instructor?”

“You don’t think that’s possible?” I asked, smiling leisurely. welcomes you.

Noh Gun-Sang smiled back at me. “On the contrary, I think it’s quite possible.”


“However, it’s still a little too early for that, so I don’t want you to fight Mr. Namgoong for now.”

“Are you saying that I’ll lose to Namgoong Su?”

“Hmm, let me think…” Noh Gun-Sang crossed his arms and closed his eyes.

I could tell that he was simulating a duel between me and Namgoong Su using a type of mental imagery training exclusive to martial masters.

Several minutes later, Noh Gun-Sang opened his eyes and grinned wickedly. “Interesting,” he remarked.

Curious about the outcome, I asked, “So? Who won?”

“It wouldn’t be fun if I told you.”

“It doesn’t matter, I already know the result.”


I didn’t say that out of arrogance, but confidence. After all, I was sure that Noh Gun-Sang couldn’t see the full extent of my skills.

Noh Gun-Sang smiled like a grandfather watching his grandson’s antics. “Anyway, I’m sorry, but I’ve already chosen your opponent. I can’t change it anymore.”

“In that case, it can’t be helped.” I shrugged and nodded. No point acting like a spoiled brat when it wasn’t going to work. welcomes you.

“Is your goal to become a Star Instructor?” Noh Gun-Sang suddenly asked.

“Yes. That’s why I came to the Azure Dragon Academy.”

“In your opinion, what is a Star Instructor?”

A little taken aback by the sudden line of questioning, I thought for a moment before answering, “An instructor who is the best at teaching martial arts, and someone who is trusted by the trainees…I mean, by the students and the school.”

There was no such term in the Blood Cult, but if there were, I would certainly be the best Star Instructor in the Cult, having taught thousands of trainees, including several geniuses who would go on to become famous.

In response to my blunt answer, Noh Gun-Sang smiled slyly like he had succeeded in luring me into a trap. “I agree with you to a certain extent, but you missed the most important factor.”

“What did I miss?” I asked.

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“You can’t become the Star Instructor by only being good at teaching and strong in martial arts. For example, even though your grandfather is both an excellent teacher and a distinguished swordsman, Namgoong Su is the only Star Instructor in the Azure Dragon Academy. Do you know why that is so?”

Of course I do.

“Namgoong Su is young, handsome, and very popular with the students, but I won’t lose to him when it comes to that.”

“…Uhh.” Noh Gun-Sang choked on his next line.

Clearly he hadn’t expected me to bring up that particular point. It seemed like he wanted to teach me something, but… I wasn’t responding exactly the way he predicted I would, and it was throwing him off.

He gathered his scattered thoughts, reorganized his words and continued, “…You have a point, but that’s not what I meant.”

“Then what? Is there some secret to becoming a Star Instructor?”

“Maybe. How would I know that?”


“If I knew that, I’d be a Star Instructor myself.”

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Is this guy kidding me? I stared at him in disbelief, and Noh Gun-Sang averted his gaze and fiddled with his teacup as if he was embarrassed.

“Ahem, what I’m trying to say is this: You’re certainly a capable and confident young man, and you have the potential to become a Star Instructor, but…just not the way you are right now.”


“Don’t rush and take your time to search for the missing link. I have high hopes for you, or I wouldn’t have come to see you personally.”

Noh Gun-Sang stood up and patted me on the shoulder. “I know that there are a lot of bad rumors about me, but I want to restore the Azure Dragon Academy to its former glory. In my eyes, you are the most outstanding talent I’ve seen in a long time.”

“Thank you.”

“By the way… You remind me of the first time I met Mr. Namgoong. You two are really alike.”

“Just how the fuck are we similar…!!!”

“Although he’s doing his best for the academy, I don’t really like the current Mr. Namgoong. Can you guess why?” Noh Gun-Sang looked at me with hope-filled eyes.

I answered honestly, “I don’t know.”

“…Is that so?”

I recalled my previous encounters with Noh Gun-Sang, who seemed to favor me from the moment we met during the interview. He defended me from Namgoong Su, who openly expressed his dislike for me, emphasized my abilities during the demonstration lecture, and finally came to see me personally.

Is this some kind of academy politics? Is he trying to get me on his side and keep Namgoong Su in check? Nah… there’s no way a famous martial artist who’s already the school principal would do something like that…

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“Principal, why are you being so nice to me?”

Noh Gun-Sang gave me a thoughtful look, then nodded to himself and said, “I’m just nagging at you because I think you’ll eventually become a Star Instructor, but before that, I want you to be a good teacher.”

“……” I hesitated for a moment, unsure how I should respond.

Noh Gun-Sang laughed and shook his head. “Sorry, I’ve been talking like a drunkard even though I’m sober. I should get going.”

He stood up, and I offered to escort him back to the academy. As we walked, I replayed the whole conversation in my mind.

“You should go back to your friends before they start worrying about you again,” Noh Gun-Sang suddenly said.

“They’re adults, they can drink by themselves.”

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“They’re good young folks, so please treasure them and don’t bully them too much. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“…See you tomorrow too, Principal.”

Noh Gun-Sang walked down the dark streets lit only by moonlight. Just as he was about to go out of earshot, I suddenly called out to him, “You told me to be a good teacher… Does that mean that it’s not necessary?”

“…I won’t force you to do it. It’s your choice.”

The old man turned around, and our eyes met for a moment.

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Noh Gun-Sang stared at me for a good long while, then smiled. “I look forward to tomorrow. Next time, let’s chat over a nice drink instead of tea.”

“I’ll remember to put away some good liquor for you. Good night.” I bowed to the old man in respect.

When I lifted my head, Noh Gun-Sang had vanished as mysteriously as he had appeared. I turned around to return to the inn, but as I walked, the things he said kept nagging at me.

A good teacher…

Although I was one of the best martial arts instructors in the Blood Cult, no one ever called me their teacher, mentor, or master. Most of my trainees referred to me as Instructor, Chief Instructor, Devil, Demon, Monster, Bastard, Son of a Bitch, and so on.

I smiled wryly.

Those kids never called me Master either.

I had raised four children to be the cult’s secret weapon for conquering the murim. Because they were learning the four masters’ martial arts and the Demon Strategist wanted them perfectly under control, from an early age, I was forced to turn them into killing machines completely devoid of emotions.





I didn’t allow myself to become attached to them, as at that time, I was already planning my escape from the Cult. As a result, I ended up pushing them harder than any other trainee I had taught before.

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“I’m just nagging at you because I think you’ll eventually become a Star Instructor, but before that, I want you to be a good teacher.”

For some reason, when I was talking to Noh Gun-Sang earlier, I couldn’t help but remember them… and the terrible way I had abused them.

“Instructor, I’m really tired, can I rest for a while…?”

“You want to rest? If you die, you’ll get to rest forever. Do you want me to make that happen?”

“I-Instructor! I can’t feel my arm, is there something wrong with it… AHHHHHH!”

“It seems that you can feel it after all. If you try to fake another injury, I’ll break your arm for good.”

“I-Instructor… Please…”

“Oh, are you rebelling as a group now? Get up, damned punks!”

“…Instructor, what will happen to us if we give up?”

“The Cult has plenty of replacements for you. You’ll be abandoned and left to die.”


“Do you have any more questions about what we learned today?”


“Very good, those are the kinds of eyes you should have. Maybe you’ll be a little useful to the Cult now.”

My time with them was filled with nothing but reminder after reminder of how badly I had failed those children.

Agitated, I stormed into the inn and groaned, “Ugh, I’m too fucking sober to be thinking about this shit. Waiter!”

I ordered a bottle of hard liquor and gulped it down on the way back to my room.

“You want me to be a good teacher? Me?”

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That was something that was never expected of me in the Blood Cult. I was valued and envied by my competitors precisely because I was the instructor who produced masters more efficiently and faster than anyone else. Results were the only thing that mattered, not the trainees’ welfare.

“Although he’s doing his best for the academy, I don’t really like the current Mr. Namgoong. Can you guess why?”

The truth was, I knew the answer to Noh Gun-Sang’s question. After all, when I first saw Namgoong Su, my first impression of him was how much he resembled my former self. Of course, he would never treat his students as harshly as I did, but his teaching philosophy was probably quite similar to my own.

The reason I didn’t say anything was because what Noh Gun-Sang really wanted to know was whether there was a kinder but equally effective teaching philosophy.

“I’ve never bothered trying to think of any other way before…” I mumbled to myself as I pushed open the door to my room.

Immediately, my nose was assaulted by the stench of alcohol.

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“Huh? Hyung-niiiiim~ Where have you been~” Ak Yeon-Ho crooned. He was lying on his stomach on the floor, flailing his arms and legs as if he were swimming.


Suddenly, he pounced at me and tried to hug me, but I dodged to the side. As he sailed past me, I reached out to poke his shoulder acupoint and seal his movement.


As expected of a peak level martial artist, he instinctively sensed danger and counterattacked.

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Fingers clashed and palms met over a dozen times as he defended himself from my attempt to bind him.

“Hyung-nim…?” Ak Yeon-Ho mumbled, looking dazed.

“Have you sobered up?” I said, before smirking at him and throwing my empty wine bottle at Myeong Il-Oh, who was sleeping on a chair with his mouth hanging wide open.


…I thought he would dodge it or block it, but the bottle ended up landing squarely on his forehead.

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“Ow! Which bastard…!” Myeong Il-Oh howled as he looked around for the culprit, a big bump appearing on his forehead.

I raised my hand.


“If you’re awake, let’s go outside to exercise away the drunkenness.”

I led the two of them to the yard behind the inn. The moon was slightly obscured by a passing cloud, and the yard was only dimly lit.

It reminds me of my past life when I often stared blankly at the moon, unable to sleep at night.

“This is a story that I heard somewhere,” I said suddenly, lost in my memories.


“Once upon a time, a group of disciples tried their hardest to please their harsh teacher. However, their teacher refused to get emotionally attached to them, for he knew the day they perfected their martial arts was the day he would be killed.”


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“Still, he did not have a choice but to teach them, so he trained them mercilessly and cruelly. They grew stronger and stronger each day, even as their emotions became fainter and fainter, until the day came when they lost their humanity and perfected their martial arts.”

As I close my eyes, I see their faces one by one.

As time went by, the timid boys and girls grew older, and their various expressions became fewer and fewer.

“…Not wanting to die, the man ran for his life, executing an escape plan that he had been preparing for quite some time. Unfortunately, his plan went awry, and the disciples stood in his way as he fled.”

The kids couldn’t be said to be alive anymore. They were simply emotionless dolls who would kill me on command.

“With his companions by his side, the man was forced to fight his own disciples to the death.”

I was silent, and then, unable to contain his curiosity, Ak Yeon-Ho asked cautiously.

“What happened next? Did the man escape? Did all the disciples die?”

“…Maybe they died, maybe they survived. I don’t remember the rest of the story.”

“That’s a strange story.”

“Yeah, it’s weird.”


I drew Moon Shadow and performed the Unlimited Sword followed by the Eighteen Strikes of the Viridian Forest. Then, I danced in the starry sky with the Ice Moon Goddess’s foot technique and slashed at the moon with the Crazy Demon’s Asura Blood Heaven Blade.

As I practiced the martial arts that my four masters had left me and that I had taught to my former students, I mourned them all night long.


The next day, we traveled to the Azure Dragon Academy for the final part of our practical exam.

Proofreader’s Note- That last bit got me in my feels. 🥲

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