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

“Huff, huff, huff, puff… T-Teacher, I can s-still…g-go on…” Gongson Su panted after swinging a wooden sword a few times. His skin glistened with cold sweat, and his complexion was as pale as a someone about to cross the Sanzu River.1

Shadow, observing from the sidelines, asked concernedly, “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Huff, huff… Yes, I’m f-fine. Teacher, please treat me the same the other students!” Gongson Su forced out.

I assessed the old man’s condition. Gongson Su’s spirit was commendable, yet his wobbly legs and the wooden sword he was leaning on for support undermined his conviction.

I glanced at Shadow, who shook her head, conveying telepathically, [He’s at his limit.]

Yeah, I can tell. With a sigh, I said firmly, “Student Gongson Su, you need to take a break now.”

“What? I can still…do more…”

“Go look in the mirror. You need rest.”

“I’m really fine, I can overcome this much with willpower…” Gongson Su protested, frustration clearly visible in his eyes.

Looks like just words won’t be enough. Closing the distance, I sent a wave of killing intent at him. “Student Gongson Su, are you ignoring my instructions?”

Gongson Su flinched, and Shadow eyes widened in surprise. Even Hyonwon Kang and Wiji Cheon diverted their attention from training to witness the exchange.

“That’s not it…”

“This isn’t training. All you’re doing is abusing your body. Are you trying to commit suicide?”

Gongson Su’s face flushed with discontent, even as the sweat constantly dripping down his face and his puffy, bloodshot eyes betrayed his worn-out state. It was evident that his untrained body had reached its limit.

Still, I noticed a flicker of envy in his gaze as he sneaked a glance at Hyonwon Kang and Wiji Cheon.

Why aren′t you reading this at

“Student Gongson Su.” I softened my tone, placing a hand on his shoulder.


“I know you’re upset that your body won’t cooperate, but this is reality. It’s not just your age; you can’t expect to do the same training as the other students if you’ve only been doing simple Taichi exercises until now.”

“…I know,” he admitted, resignation coloring his voice.

I sighed. Unlike Hyonwon Kang and Wiji Cheon, Gongson Su was neither young nor a martial arts genius. He did not have the resilience of youth nor an instinctual understanding of his physical limits.

The old man can never train like those two. If a sparrow tries to keep up with a hawk, it will only meet its death. I need to take a different approach with him.

“Regardless, please don’t be impatient and trust me. I’ve tailored an “Azure Dragon Academy Entrance Exam” training regime just for you. You’ll definitely be accepted.”

…And that’s also when I’ll squash that bastard Namgoong Su’s stuck-up nose flat.

“…Yes. I guess I’m being overly ambitious.” Gongson Su lowered his wooden sword, finally relenting.

Guiding him to a nearby pavilion, I instructed, “I want you to report your current physical condition accurately.”

“My back, shoulders, knees, wrists, and ankles ache.”

“……” What the hell?

“My fingers are sore from holding the sword for so long, my neck is kinked… my eyes seem to be a little sunken in… hohoho…”

“……” The corners of my mouth twitched.

Seeing my stiff expression, Gongson Su hastily tried to justify himself, “Well, it’s still bearable. With some bandages and acupuncture, I’ll get better in no time, and I have some quality medicine on me…”

“Student Gongson Su, lie down right now.”

“What?” Panic flashed across Gongson Su’s face.

Shadow looked equally puzzled but before she could speak, I clarified, “Lie down so that I can loosen your strained muscles for you.”

“…Ah, okay.” Gongson Su visibly relaxed and complied.

I began to massage his tense muscles, applying pressure methodically as I had done for Hyonwon Kang. Gradually, his initial tension melted away, replaced by a contented sigh.

“Ohhh, that’s good, yeah, there, just a little further down… fufu. Heheheh, this is paradise…”

…Am I supposed to be a martial arts instructor or a professional masseuse?

Suppressing my doubts, I finished massaging his back and gently urged him to turn over.

“Hoho…” Gongson Su groaned in pleasure, sincere admiration gleaming in his eyes. “Teacher, I’ve had many massages at the Imperial Palace… but even there I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as good as you. If you are ever in need of a new job, would you like me to introduce you to the Imperial Palace as a masseuse?”

“…No need.”

Although he didn’t know it, I had quite a bit of job experience, having been a demon instructor in the Blood Cult. Still, even at that time, I had never taught a sixty-five year old trainee.

Wait, did he just mention the Imperial Palace? I knew he wasn’t a regular old man…!

What kind of person had a powerful presence that could intimidate another despite never learning martial arts? What kind of rich and powerful individual could casually offer to pay ten thousand silvers and have a martial master of Shadow’s caliber as his personal bodyguard?

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No, why someone with so much wealth and power would want to learn martial arts is beyond me, but… some things are better left unknown. My job is to get Gongson Su into the Azure Dragon Academy, that’s all.

I massaged Gongson Su’s stiff thighs and asked, “Is the training hard?”

“It’s hard, but it’s a lot of fun.” Gongson Su replied with a wide smile. Although his body was old, his eyes still shone with the sparkle of a child. “Teacher, did you know? When I was younger, I was smaller and weaker than others, and would catch a cold every few days.”

Oh? So he was born with a weak constitution. That explains why his body accumulated so much more impure qi than others.

“Fortunately, I’m very intelligent, so I was good at studying. As my mother was a single parent, however, she had no money to hire a private tutor and could only afford to send me to school. My nose bled every day from the exertion of going there, but I studied hard… and eventually rose to prominence and enjoyed wealth and power. Unfortunately, my mother was already dead by then… if only she could have lived just a few more years to see it.” The old man’s wistful eyes filled with melancholy. “But even as I worked toward academic success, I never stopped envying the other kids.”

“What did you envy about them?”

“Whenever I walked to school carrying heavy books, I would always see boys my age going to martial arts academies with swords at their waists, white martial arts uniforms, and headbands on their foreheads. Because they were big and strong, while I was short and frail… I would stare at them jealously, but whenever they made eye contact with me, I needed to quickly look away. Well, just once, I was too slow and got beaten up pretty badly for annoying them with my staring.”

Shadow bit her lip hard.

Gongson Su chuckled, “Hoho, that’s all in the past now. Anyway, even though my schoolbag was already heavy, I never failed to carry a martial arts novel with me at all times. I read it whenever I was free. A nameless swordsman wandering the world with a single sword, slashing through countless demonic practitioners of the evil sects, and finally barging into the Blood Cult all by himself to plunge his sword into the heart of the Blood Demon… but no one knew about it, and he died in loneliness.”

“What a third-rate novel.”

Gongson Su laughed wryly, “Everyone likes such stories when they’re young, right? In fact, back then, there was a lot of talk about why the Blood Cult suddenly became weaker, and I wrote a lot of novels imagining the reason.”

“Were there such rumors? I’ve never heard them before.”

“Hoho, that’s because it’s an old story.”

An old story, huh… I wonder what Gongson Su’s face would look like if he knew that he was learning martial arts from the same instructor who raised the Blood Cult’s martial masters. And if he knew the real reason for the Blood Cult’s demise… I fantasized about his reaction for a moment, then shook my head. Thinking about such hypothetical situations was pointless.

“Now that I’m old and back in my hometown, I often find myself reminiscing those days. To think that I’m going to attend a martial arts academy past my sixtieth birthday, hoho… everyone will look at me and say I’m senile.”

“……” I listened to Gongson Su’s story without saying anything.

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He stood up and smiled cheekily at me. “But what can I do? I’m really enjoying learning martial arts right now.”


“Although my body is sixty-five, I feel like I’m back to being fifteen.” Gongson Su looked at me with clear eyes. A slight, childlike smile of innocence crossed his lips. “Thank you,” he suddenly said with a tone of respect.


“Thank you for making me feel this way. Thank you for giving meaning to the life of an old man who was just waiting to die.”

“What…” I couldn’t help blushing.

“I promise you now, I won’t blame you even if I fail the entrance exam, and I’ll pay you in full. No matter how this crazy endeavor turns out in the end, I am already greatly indebted to you.”

“……” Gongson Su’s unexpected declaration left me speechless for a moment. However, I soon forced a smile and said. “…I thought I told you to show respect to your teacher.”

“Hoho, I understand, I’ll be careful in the future, Teacher!”

What a shrewd old man. I was ashamed that I had revealed my embarrassment before him.


“What. Do. You. Two. Think. You’re. Doing?” I looked at Hyonwon Kang and Wiji Cheon, who had gathered around us. They must have heard all of Gongson Su’s story, because their faces were grim.

Wiji Cheon held Gongson Su’s hand, sobbing, “Grandpa… I’ll be by your side cheering for you all the way!”

“Hoho, thank you, let’s pass together.”

Hyonwon Kang thumped his chest and confidently said, “Grandpa, feel free to ask me anything. As an Azure Dragon Academy senior, I can give you some advice.”

“Hoho, thank you, senior.”

I sighed and smacked both of them on the head. “Go back to your training, you punks. How about solving your own problems before you get involved in someone else’s?”

“That’s too much…”

“You cold-blooded bastard, how can you listen to this and feel nothing!”

“Ohoho, don’t be so hard on the kids.”

“Hey. I thought I told all of you to show me proper respect.”


As I bantered with the students, I suddenly realized that I was smiling. I raised my hand to cover my mouth awkwardly, but somehow, I didn’t hate this feeling.

I swore I would return to being the Blood Cult’s Demon Instructor… but it seems like it’s impossible to go back to those days now.


  1. Sanzu River: The East Asian version of the River Styx. 

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