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


“How in the world are all of you quietly putting up with that bullshit?” I said, then observed the students’ reactions.

At first, they were all like: What the hell did I just hear? Only the student council president’s face immediately contorted with anger. Was his name Dokgo Jun? That’s a good reaction.

Eventually, though, the atmosphere heated up as the stunned students came to their senses.

“…What did he just say?”

“He asked us how we put up with that bullshit?”

“Hah, I can’t believe it…”

“Does he think he’s already hired?”

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Many of the students went red with fury, and some were even emitting killing intent. In particular, the girls who had been blushing and winking at me went pale and stiff.

…I was actually relieved about that.

Still, the students shouldn’t be the ones most enraged by my statement. I turned to look at the Azure Dragon Academy instructors.

With a puzzled face, Noh Goonsang asked, “What are you talking about?”

“I’m just telling you what I heard on the way here, and what I think about it.”

“…Why did you say such a thing at this time and place?”

“For a reason.”

I nodded firmly and was about to continue when a voice so icy that the very air froze interrupted, “Get down from there now, before I drag you down myself.”

It was Namgoong Su, and he was glaring at me with a murderous expression far worse than what he had shown Myeong Il-Oh during their match.

“Why? Did I say something wrong?”

“It’s not your place to judge the Azure Dragon Academy.”

“……”

Out of all the people present, Namgoong Su was probably the one most infuriated by what I had just said.

I quietly stared at him, the human held together by pride and competitive drive. For a moment, I thought I was looking at my past self.

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I smiled bitterly and said, “And who are you to say that?”

“…Are you trying to test the limits of my patience?”

“You won’t be able to change anything if all you do is run away from reality.”

“It’s easy for those who know nothing to babble. We’re all trying our hardest to keep the Azure Dragon Academy afloat here.”

“Really? Because no one here looks like they’re on a sinking ship.”

“I’m not playing a word game with you…”

Suddenly, in a voice enhanced by qi, Noh Goonsang shouted, “THAT’S ENOUGH, BOTH OF YOU!”

The two of us immediately shut our mouths.

Noh Goonsang looked at me and said, “Candidate Baek Suryong, please finish what you were going to say.”

“Principal!”

“Mr. Namgoong, please stay silent for now. If I feel that Mr. Baek has crossed the line, I will deal with him myself.”

I met Noh Goonsang’s gaze. His eyes were not the same as those of the old man who had said, “I hope you will be a good teacher.” They were those of a man who was both the principal of the Azure Dragon Academy and one of the world’s greatest martial artists.

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“If you have something to say, go ahead and say it. However, if your intention is to slander the Azure Dragon Academy and me… I will punish you personally.”

ROAAAAAAR!

The terrifying aura Noh Goonsang emitted made the hairs on my body stand on end. He might kill me if I say the wrong thing… but that won’t be happening, because everything is happening exactly as I planned.

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to voice my opinion.” I bowed politely to Noh Goonsang, then turned to face the students, most of whom were staring at me with displeasure.

Yeah, this is how it should be.

From now on, they would be evaluating and judging my every word.

“I know what I just said may have sounded offensive to some of you, but I’d like you to listen to me for a moment.”

I paused for a moment to let my words sink in, then mixed some qi into my voice and said, “Observing people is my specialty and hobby. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been people watching for the sake of survival, and it’s become a habit.”

“…?” Confusion appeared on the faces of the students.

“I’m sure you’re wondering why I said that out of the blue, right? You see, if you closely observe a person’s demeanor and appearance, you can roughly estimate their martial arts prowess and even make a good guess about their personality, profession, and life experiences.”

“Hah! So you weren’t a martial arts instructor, but a fortune teller?” someone yelled, and a few snickers erupted. Sarcastic and mocking faces filled my field of vision.

Unperturbed, I continued, “On my way here from my hometown, I met quite a few people.”

I looked around, searching for a certain person in the crowd. When I found him and our eyes met, Kwak Duyong’s eyes widened in shock.

I gave him a toothy grin.

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“Someone told me that the Vermilion Phoenix Academy was the best and dismissed the Azure Dragon Academy. He was confident that becoming an instructor at the Azure Dragon Academy was as easy as pie.”

GULP.

Kwak Duyong gulped nervously and shook his head desperately, as if begging me to please not tell everyone that he was that person.

Smiling sheepishly, I looked away from Kwak Duyong and turned my attention to the other new instructor applicants around him.

“That wasn’t the only incident. A student from a rich family invited me and many other prospective instructors to a party and… well, some of them acted like sycophants.”

“…!!” The faces of the applicants who attended the party that day paled.

I glanced over them one by one and scolded, “Have you no self-respect? You are teachers, yet you ingratiate yourselves with a student and even pour him drinks.”

“W-What…”

“Since when did we…”

Worried that I would drag them through the mud, the applicants’ faces clouded over. A few of them even sent me death threats, pleas, and profanities through telepathy.

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[You’re not getting away with this!]

[Mr. Baek, as fellow teachers, let’s not do this to each other…]

[Fucking son of a bitch, how dare you slander me!]

I brushed off most of them, but there was one person I couldn’t ignore: Mae Geuklyom.

[Why are you bringing that up? We’ve already resolved that incident…]

[Don’t worry, Grandpa. Please trust that I’m doing this for the good of the academy.]

My goal wasn’t to tell the students how pathetic the new instructor applicants were or to expose their corruption.

“Enough about the instructors, now let’s talk about you guys.”

I surveyed the students in the audience. Most of them were strangers to me, but I recognized a few familiar faces.

Oh, that punk came, huh. I exchanged gazes with Hyonwon Kang, who was staring down at me from afar.

“By the way, not long after I arrived in Nanchang, I bumped into a very talented little punk. He was drunk and rowdy, and if the rumors I’ve heard are true, he’s the current number one delinquent.”

“Fuck…!” Hyonwon Kang cussed as all the students automatically glanced at him. It was immediately obvious who I was talking about, and no matter how brazen he was, there was no way he was okay with being called out as a delinquent in front of the whole school.

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I grinned at the snarling boy and said boldly, “Even though I felt that this student had a tremendous amount of talent, he’s wasting his life away like an old man who has nothing left to lose.

“Shut up! What do you know about me?!”

“Then if I ask nicely, will you tell me about yourself?”

“GO EAT SHIT!” Hyonwon Kang roared as he stomped out of the audience stands.

“Well, he’s not the only talented kid I’ve seen here.” I looked at Dokgo Jun, Tang Soso, and Peng Sahyuk in turn.

Feeling my gaze pause on him, Peng Sahyuk squirmed uncomfortably.

“There’s also a student from a good family who invited prospective instructors to a party for no other reason than to display his dominance.”

“……”

Peng Sahyuk was trying very hard to maintain a poker face, but I could see that his fists were tightly clenched.

“So I wondered, what would make a person do such a thing? Are some people just assholes from birth? Or does playing childish power games make them feel more adult…? Well, I don’t think it’s any of those things.”

Realizing that he was now the new center of attention, Peng Sahyuk ground his teeth.

I clicked my tongue and continued, “Rather, I suspect it’s because they have an inferiority complex.”

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“How dare you…!”

I ignored Peng Sahyuk’s threat and turned back to the numerous students whose names I still didn’t know.

“Contrary to what I’ve heard, however, the Azure Dragon Academy that I’m seeing now is no trash heap, but a pile of unpolished jewels.”

“……” The students’ faces softened with hopeful anticipation, even though there was still some unhappiness left.

They seem taken aback by my sudden compliment, but they won’t like hearing what I have to say next. Regardless, this is something I need to tell them.

“Do you know what you all have in common?” I smiled wryly, then sharpened my tone and continued, “All of you suffer from an inferiority complex. You’re so discouraged by the fact that your school is last among the Five Great Academies that you’ve lost the will to improve yourselves.”

The student’s hopeful looks shattered in an instant.

“You can’t change reality, so you get drunk, bully your instructors, and dream that you’re too good to be in this shitty school. You make excuses every day and fool yourselves into thinking that you’re better than you really are.”

CRASH!

With an earth-shattering boom, Dokgo Jun, the student council president, jumped to his feet and shouted, “You’re wrong! This year will be different from the previous ones. We’re ready to work to the death, and we’ll show you the results of our efforts!”

Oh? I like this kid’s ambition and boldness, but unfortunately, guts alone aren’t enough to produce results.

“What is the Student Council aiming to achieve this year?” I asked.

“To perform better than we did last year in the Heavenly Martial Festival.”

“How much better?”

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“Uhm…” Dokgo Jun hesitated.

Tang Soso answered on his behalf, “We’re aiming to beat the White Tiger Academy.”

Wait, d**idn’t the White Tiger Academy get fourth place at last year’s Heavenly Martial Festival? What kind of a goal is “I don’t want to be last place”?

I let out a deep sigh.

“…Why are you sighing? You don’t think we can do it?” Tang Soso bit her lip so hard that it bled.

I looked at her, Dokgo Jun and the other student council members. Look how anxious they are. Even they don’t believe they can achieve the goal they have set for themselves.

I then turned to observe the other students. From the moment they had heard the words “ Heavenly Martial Festival”, most of the students’ faces had clouded over.

How much of a gap is there between us and the other academies for them to be like this?

Ever since arriving in this city, I heard a lot of people discussing the Heavenly Martial Festival.

“Damn it, we’ve been dead last for ten years in a row now…”

“The student council said that this year would be different.”

“They say that every year. If it was ever going to happen, it would have happened by now. Besides, it’s not the fact that we came in last that hurts most. It’s that we received so few points that the fourth place school had double our score.”

“But we have Dokgo Jun this time…”

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Since I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I didn’t know the extent of the gap between the Azure Dragon Academy and the other schools. However, it was clear to me that the very mention of the event terrified the students.

Looking at the frightened and intimidated faces in the audience, I said in a gentle tone, “Everyone, I’m here at the Azure Dragon Academy today to become a Star Instructor.”

The instructors and students stared at me in disbelief.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s that difficult.”

My words were met with snorts and sneers, but I was undaunted.

“But then, someone said to me, ‘I think you’ll eventually become a Star Instructor, but before that, I want you to be a good teacher.’”

“……”

Ever since he said it, I couldn’t get Noh Goonsang’s words out of my head, and every time I thought about what he said, I remembered the faces of my former trainees.

“Thanks to that person, I spent all of last night thinking about what it means to be a good teacher. It’s definitely harder than being a Star Instructor. You see, all a Star Instructor needs to do is train a lot of martial masters, but to do that, one can’t exactly be a good teacher…”

If I taught these kids the same way I used to in the Blood Cult, it wouldn’t be long before I was promoted to Star Instructor, but that would mean repeating the mistakes of the past.

“As such, I’ve decided to change my goal. I’m going to become both a Star Instructor and a good teacher.”

I smiled at the students. If all went well, we would get to know each other as we learned from each other and hung out together.

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“So…”

I wonder what these guys would think of me a year from now?

“First, let me help you get rid of your inferiority complexes. Then, at this year’s Heavenly Martial Festival, I will lead the Azure Dragon Academy to victory,” I declared casually but sincerely.

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