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


“Twenty times?” the old man asked, raising an eyebrow.

Sometimes one has to be bold to get what one wants. A little nervous, I replied, “I deserve at least that much, sir.”

The old man stared at me with an expression that said, “This is daylight robbery.”

“If I’m going to be your tutor, I’ll focus only on you,” I explained.

“It’s not like there are any other applicants anyway?”

Fuck, he found out… But I didn’t hear anything… I ignored the old man’s words and continued, “Normally, tutoring involves one hour of martial arts training every three days. However, considering your age, it’s clear that that won’t be enough. From what I can see, you’re skilled in the inner arts but lacking in the external arts, am I right?”

He nodded. “I do some Qigong exercises every day to maintain my health.”

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As expected. I sighed, “You wish to enter the Azure Dragon Academy knowing only Qigong? That’s out of the question, and you know it. Moreover, to help you pass, not only do I have to train both your internal and external arts, I’ll also need to continually monitor your health and adjust your diet accordingly.”

I paused for a moment, then looked him straight in the eye to show my commitment. “I’m talking about twenty times the time and attention, so I don’t think it’s an unreasonable sum at all.”

“I see,” the old man said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. “So how much does this twentyfold service cost? You didn’t put the regular price on the flyer.”

“Six thousand silver.”

“What a rip-off.” The old man complained, though he didn’t seem angry or dismissive.

He’s filthy rich. Just who is he? Six thousand silver is beyond the reach of most commoners and a considerable sum even for wealthy families, but when he heard the amount, he barely flinched.

“So six thousand pieces of silver will guarantee my admission into the Azure Dragon Academy?”

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“As long as you faithfully follow my instructions…”

“Elder!” The woman in the black martial arts outfit suddenly shouted, squeezing between me and the old man. She glared at me, her eyes glittering with fury, and added, “You don’t need to listen to this fraud any longer!”

“Shadow, I wasn’t finished…”

“There’s nothing more to hear!” Shadow interrupted again, her hand hovering over her sword as if to draw it. “Don’t you think it’s crazy for an old man to learn martial arts?” she snapped at me.

“No, I don’t. What’s wrong with it?”

“Elder isn’t just old, he’s sick. He returned here to his hometown because he needs to rest and recuperate.”

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“Don’t worry, I’ll adjust the teaching to his physical condition. He’ll be much healthier within a month.”

“How dare you…!” Shadow’s face twisted in anger. “Who do you think you’re fooling?”

In an instant, her sword was drawn and pointed at me, her eyes filled with the intent to kill.

“Are you threatening me?” I asked calmly.

“Shadow!” The old man shouted.

At the same time, Hyonwon Kang and Wiji Cheon rushed over with drawn weapons, ready to confront Shadow.

"”Teacher!”” they exclaimed in unison.

I narrowed my eyes at the woman called Shadow, noticing that the tip of her blade never wavered. She’s more skilled than I thought. Not someone who would normally willingly serve another.

Shadow paid no attention to the kids, her gaze fixed on me. “This is your last warning. If you dare to deceive the old man again, I’ll cut you down.”

Why aren′t you reading this at northbladetldotcom?

“I haven’t lied to him.”

“Looks like you won’t confess until I…”

CLACK!

The sound of a cane striking the floor echoed throughout the room. It was soft, and there was no use of the inner arts, but for some reason, the irritated tap carried an aura of absolute authority.

“Shadow,” the old man said firmly.

Shadow froze. The old man was the one person she could never disobey.

“That’s enough, you’re embarrassing me. Mr. Baek did not do anything wrong. Can you not even trust my judgment?”

Read this at northbladetldotcom, or else.

A shiver ran down Shadow’s spine. There was a gravelly quality to the old man’s voice that she had never heard before. “O-Old man, I mean… Sir, I apologize. Please forgive me…” Shadow stammered, trembling.

“Put away your sword and step aside.”

There was no need for martial prowess. Just the intense presence emanating from the old man’s diminutive frame pressured Shadow into lowering her sword.

She knelt before him and begged, “Please forgive me…”

The old man strode past Shadow and said to me, “I apologize for my subordinate’s unseemly behavior.”

“No worries, rather, I envy you for having such a loyal bodyguard.”

“Hehe, I’m glad you think so,” he chuckled. At the same time, the intimidating aura he had just exuded vanished like a mirage.

“Let’s get back to what we were discussing. If I receive martial arts instruction from you, can I truly gain admission to the Azure Dragon Academy and become a martial arts master?” The old man asked, his gaze both gentle and probing, as if trying to discern my true intentions.

I replied sincerely, “Truth be told, because of your age, you’re not likely to reach the peak-level. However, if you’re lucky, you might become a second-rate, or even a first-rate expert.”

“Lies…!” Shadow muttered under her breath, wincing in frustration, but when the old man shot her a stern look, she fell silent.

The old man regarded me with a wistful expression. “If I’m lucky, huh… I’ve never been a particularly lucky person, though.”

“Well, luck seems to have favored you this time,” I remarked.

“Hmm? What do you mean?”

I smirked and pointed at myself. “You were lucky to meet me.”

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The old man’s eyes widened. “Fuhahaha, you’re really brave for saying that even after Shadow had her sword at your throat!” he burst out laughing.

“Uhm, I didn’t really see her as that much of a threat.”

“Is that right? Puhahahaha!” The old man roared, laughing so hard that he dropped his cane.

“……” Shadow continued to glare at me, her frustration palpable.

After a few minutes, the old man wiped a tear from the corner of his eye. “You know what? I’ll pay you thirty times the amount,” he offered, a genuine smile on his face.

“What!?” Did I hear him wrongly?

“Nine thousand silver coins. No, I’ll round it up to ten thousand. Half up front, and the other half when I pass the entrance exam.”

I have no reason to decline. With my guidance, he’ll definitely pass. Most importantly, the higher the pay, the more motivated I get!

“I’ll make sure you pass,” I declared confidently.

“You’d better.” The old man’s lips curled into a gentle smile, but his words carried a subtle edge. “Because if I fail, I will be very disappointed in you, perhaps even angry.”

This is blackmail. I wonder what he does to those he doesn’t like… Nah, I don’t think I want to find out.

“I assure you, I won’t let you down.”

“I look forward to it. So when does the training begin?”

“Let’s strike while the iron is hot and start today.”

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“…Today?”

“Yes. Please follow me inside.”

The old man’s eyes widened, genuinely puzzled. Before he could voice his surprise, however, I led him inside White Dragon Manor, with Shadow reluctantly trailing behind us.

“Also, I might not have made myself clear earlier, but you have to stay here for the next month.”

“Is that really necessary?” the old man asked, looking a little troubled.

I firmly repeated myself, “Unfortunately, yes.”

Admitting a sixty-five-year-old into the Azure Dragon Academy was no small task. Extreme measures were needed.

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“We will begin classes this evening. Meanwhile, there are plenty of vacant rooms in the manor for you to choose from.”

“Hmm, I see.”

And so began the training camp for the oldest applicant in the history of the Azure Dragon Academy.

sep

That evening I had Elder Gong (he refused to divulge anything more than his last name) show me his daily Qigong routine in the training hall. Impressed, I complimented him, “You’re in better shape than I thought.”

“Huff… Didn’t I tell you? I’ve been practicing Qigong for a long time, huff…” Elder Gong replied proudly.

But you’re gasping for breath… I decided not to say that out loud and instead remarked, “It wasn’t just Qigong, was it? There were Taichi movements mixed in.”

The old man’s eyes sparkled. “Oho, you have a keen eye, Instructor. You’re right. Although I’ve never formally studied martial arts, I’ve been practicing this form of exercise for over thirty years. I’m confident that my physical strength is on par with that of young people… Cough! Cough!”

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“Old man!” Shadow shouted, rushing to Elder Gong’s side.

“I’m fine, I just got a little carried away and overexerted myself. Hoo…”

“Slowly, take a deep breath. Nice and easy now…”

As Shadow helped the pale-faced old man regain his composure, I picked up the cane that he had put aside. ‘Physical strength on par with young people’ my ass… Hmm?

The cane didn’t feel balanced. I pressed a button on the cane’s handle and a two-inch awl slid out of the end.

“I was wondering why you used a cane when you can walk independently. So this is why…” I handed him the cane, amused.

He chuckled wryly, “Hehe. As you can see, it’s for self-defense. I’ve never had to use it, though.”

“As long as I’m around, you will never need to use it,” I assured him.

You ought to read this at northbladetldotcom.

Determined to make her presence known, Shadow added, “You don’t have to worry as long as I’m here.”

Elder Gong giggled at her desperation and looked at me expectantly. “What do you think? Despite my age, isn’t my body in pretty good shape?”

“No, not at all.” You should look at your pale face in the mirror before you say that…

“Hmph!” Elder Gong pouted.

There’s a saying that old people become like children… Anyway, even though I said he wasn’t in good shape, his stamina wasn’t as bad as I thought.

The old man had the minimum physical ability required for martial arts training. His body was more flexible than I expected, and he was eager to learn.

I’ll make up for his lack of stamina by teaching him the Eighteen Strikes of the Viridian Forest. Now that I’ve finished the initial physical assessment, it’s time to go deeper.

“Elder Gong, do you mind if I examine you with my inner qi?”

“Didn’t you check my pulse earlier?”

“That was a cursory inspection. I’d like to do a more in-depth examination by circulating my qi through your body…” I said carefully. It was taboo to infuse someone’s body with inner qi without their consent, as it could cause serious damage or even permanent injury.

Shadow’s expression hardened and she shook her head vigorously, indicating her disapproval.

However, the final decision rested with Elder Gong. He looked at me for a moment before nodding, “It would be silly of me to refuse now that I’ve already come this far. Go ahead.”

“Please take a seat over there.”

As the old man sat down, I positioned myself behind him and placed my palms on his back.

Shadow continued to stare at me, her eyes radiating killing intent. “If you so much as hurt a hair on the old man’s head, I’ll lop off your head,” she growled.

I dismissed her concerns and said, “Understood, now please behave yourself.”

With that, I let my qi flow into Elder Gong’s body.

Huh? What in the world is this? I furrowed my brows in confusion.

If you see this, you are at the wrong site!



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