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

Three students stood behind Namgoong Su: two boys and a girl, all roughly the same age as Wiji Cheon. Judging by their steady breathing and good posture, they seemed to have a solid foundation, typical of those who have trained in martial arts since they could walk.

“Master, who is Wiji Cheon?” The boy in the middle asked Namgoong Su.

He bore such a resemblance to Namgoong Su that I couldn’t help but wonder if he was a miniature clone of the man. Could he be Namgoong Su’s son?

The boy shook his head, mumbling, “Wiji Cheon… I thought I had memorized the names of all the prodigies I should pay attention to among this year’s examinees, but I don’t remember that name…”

Namgoong Su patted the boy on the shoulder and smiled sheepishly. “I don’t know who he is either, but there’s no point finding out more. Even a hedgehog favors its own children, so it’s only fair that Mr. Baek should be free to think that the students he teaches are brilliant.”

“Ohh, I get it.”

I was appalled. What the fuck? How are these two so adept at “comforting” me?

Mae Geuk-Lyom, who seemed to share my confusion, changed the subject with a slight frown. “Mr. Namgoong, why don’t you introduce me to the kids behind you? Since they’re going to be freshmen this year, it wouldn’t hurt for me to get to know them beforehand.”

The boy resembling Namgoong Su stepped forward and greeted Mae Geuk-Lyom with clasped hands. It was a respectful gesture, indicating that he was from a prestigious family. “Greetings, sir. My name is Namgoong Seok. I am honored to meet the legendary Sword Addict.”

“…There’s no need to be overly polite. Are you of the Namgoong Clan?”

“Yes. My father…”

Namgoong Seok launched into a lengthy explanation, tracing his lineage from his father to his great uncle twice removed, all of whom seemed to express the deepest respect for the Sword Addict.

Sigh… Why are orthodox sect people always so long-winded?

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Looking slightly annoyed, Mae Geuk-Lyom raised a hand to halt Namgoong Seok’s rambling. “Enough, that’s too much information for me to remember.”

“…My apologies, sir.” Namgoong Seok bowed his head, then quickly stole a glance at me. Unlike when he faced Mae Geuk-Lyom, his eyes were cold and the corners of his mouth slightly upturned in a subtle smirk.

Wow, he’s already such a cheeky punk? I shot Namgoong Seok a threatening look.

His expression changed instantly as he offered me a conciliatory greeting as well. “Please forgive this foolish newcomer for not knowing your great name and title.”

“……” Though outwardly polite, I sensed a subtle undercurrent of disregard and mockery from him. Sneaky little bastard.

With a smirk, I introduced myself, “I am Baek Su-Ryong.”

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“Baek Su-Ryong…” Namgoong Seok muttered, still puzzled. My anonymity was unsurprising; I was neither a renowned murim master nor a scion of a prestigious clan.

“Baek Su-Ryong? Ah, that braggart!” The skinny boy on Namgoong Su’s left giggled, covering his mouth. He was slightly taller than Namgoong Seok, and had the fiercest eyes of the three.

“Watch your mouth, Cho Mak-Saeng. There’s a chance he could be our teacher this year,” the girl to Namgoong Su’s right scolded the boy.

How on earth did Namgoong Su get such a normal student…?

“…Well, he’ll probably be gone after three months though,” the girl added, snorting.

Never mind, scratch that. They’re all mini clones of Namgoong Su.

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“Kukuku, aren’t you being a little too harsh on Mr. Baek, Jinjin? Look at his stern expression.”

“Shut up. I told you not to call me by that name, it’s disgusting.”

“Why the fuss? It’s not like I’m interested in you.”

“What did you just say…”

“Stop it, both of you,” Namgoong Seok interrupted.

"”……”” The bickering ceased immediately, highlighting the Namgoong boy’s authority.

Namgoong Seok then bowed to me and apologized, “Please forgive them. Come on, you guys, apologize!”

“I’m sorry.”


All their heads were bowed, but their cocky eyes and bad attitudes remained unchanged.

Whoever taught them did a thorough job. It’s obvious that they think of me as a nobody who will be fired in three months. Oh wait, their teacher is Namgoong Su. No wonder.

Namgoong Su stepped forward, looking like he had thoroughly enjoyed my little exchange with the kids. “I hope you don’t take what they said to heart, Mr. Baek, they’re just children. I will make sure to punish them when we return.”

“Haha, of course I won’t. I trust in your impressive methods for character education, Mr. Namgoong,” I replied, my tone dripping with sarcasm.

In truth, I really wanted to smack him, but thanks to the intervention of Noh Gun-Sang, the Principal of the Azure Dragon Academy, the two of us had to hide our animosity towards each other and maintain the appearance of getting along, leaving us only the option of playing word games with each other.

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Mae Geuk-Lyom sighed, “Do you two really have to be like this?”

Dear Grandpa, I’d love to call it quits, but that bastard doesn’t want to budge.

Namgoong Su fixed me with a frosty glare. “I heard you had Hyonwon Kang move out of the dormitory recently.”

“He’s got potential, so I’m considering mentoring him.”

“He is indeed talented,” Namgoong Su conceded, his tone laced with mockery. “But he’s lazy and weak-willed by nature. For three years, he’s done nothing but lament his fate.”

“So you suggested he drop out and threatened to prevent him from graduating?”

Namgoong Su nodded. “I took into consideration the fact that he also tarnished the academy’s reputation multiple times without a hint of remorse.”

“…Hey, why did you suddenly bring his name up? Are you that upset that he rejected your offer? Do you bear a grudge against him?”

Not long ago, Hyonwon Kang told me what had happened between him and Namgoong Su on that rainy day.

“I’ll give you one last chance to turn your life around. Take my hand and join my class starting tomorrow.”

“I don’t need it, you hypocrite.”

Namgoong Su had extended a hand to Hyonwon Kang, but the punk chose to shrug it off. That rejection must have wounded Namgoong Su’s pride.

“No, this isn’t personal. I simply believe it’s best for him to leave the academy without further delay, and I stand by that decision even now,” Namgoong Su clarified.

“You’re not at all upset?”

Namgoong Su snorted, his gaze unwavering. “Of course not. If anything, I’m disappointed he chose you over me.”

I smirked. “Well, he couldn’t have found a better mentor. If you haven’t noticed, he has quite a good eye for people.”

“He found a mentor suited to his capabilities. They call that birds of a feather,” Namgoong Su retorted.

“Is that so? Then I guess your students…”

“ENOUGH! Will you two cease this incessant bickering?” Mae Geuk-Lyom yelled.

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We immediately shut our mouths, but instead locked gazes in a silent battle of wills.

In the end, Namgoong Su was the first to turn away. However, he couldn’t help but squeeze in the last line, “Hyonwon Kang is a failure. Do you really think you can win the Heavenly Martial Festival with a guy like that? We’ll see how many days you last. Let’s go, kids.”

“Yes, Master!”

Namgoong Su walked away, seeming to believe he had said his piece.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite finished with him.

“Namgoong Su, do you want to make a bet with me?” I called out.

“…A bet?” Namgoong Su sneered. “You seem to enjoy bets, Mr. Baek, even though you can’t afford to lose.”

“Don’t hide behind lame excuses. If you’re scared of losing, just admit it.”

“…I’ll at least listen to your proposal. What do you want to bet on?”

“Baek Su-Ryong!!!” Mae Geuk-Lyom’s shout rang out from beside me, but I ignored him.

Hyonwon Kang is a failure? No one talks about my student like that. I’m the only one allowed to insult Hyonwon Kang.

“Shall we bet on whether your student or my student will do better on this year’s entrance exam?”

“…Pfft!” Namgoong Su burst into laughter.

“What nonsense…”

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His students joined him.

Namgoong Su looked at me incredulously. “You can’t call something with impossible odds a bet.”

“If you’re afraid, admit it.”

Namgoong Su smirked. “Let’s say I accept. What are the stakes?”

“If I win, I’ll substitute for one of your classes this semester.”

His expression turned stern. “How dare you… And if I win?”

“I haven’t thought about it, but if you have a wish, say it.”

Namgoong Su smiled slyly. “If I win… you’ll clean my room every morning and night.”

“……” This motherfucker sure knows exactly what to say to piss me off to the max! I clenched my teeth and replied, “Fine. You sure that’s what you want?”

“Just don’t go back on your word when you lose.”

“That’s my line. Still, to make sure that doesn’t happen, we need a witness…”

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We turned to Mae Geuk-Lyom.

“Mr. Headmaster…”

“Mr. Mae…”

Mae Geuk-Lyom’s expression changed from anger to resignation. “And you call yourselves adults… Whatever, have it your way.”

With the bet settled, we parted ways.

The Azure Dragon Academy entrance exam was one month away.

I was determined to flatten Namgoong Su’s stuck up nose.

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