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


(Translator’s Note: Back to Baek Su-Ryong’s perspective)

“Elder!” Shadow dropped the bags she was holding and hurried to Gongson Su’s side.

“Hoho, you’re here?” Gongson Su laughed.

“How are you feeling? Does it hurt anywhere?”

With a pale face, Shadow quickly grabbed Gongson Su’s wrist and checked his pulse. At the same time, she took out medicine and golden needles from her breast pocket. “Please eat this and take off your clothes. I’m going to start treating you with acupuncture now!”

“W-What are you doing?” Gongson Su pushed Shadow’s hand away, refusing the medicine and her attempt to undress him. “For heaven’s sake, don’t make such a fuss. It’s just a minor injury.”

“You were ambushed! You can’t call that trivial!”

“Look, I’m fine, aren’t I? Besides, even though I wasn’t the one who did it, that kid lost an arm. In the end, I was the one who came out victorious…” Gongson Su boasted.

You don’t look like a victor with all those bandages though… I swallowed my retort.

Shadow’s eyes flashed with rage. “So he hurt you, but all he lost in return was an arm? I’ll go and skin him alive right now…” she muttered, reaching for her sword.

Gongson Su grabbed her arm. “Mr. Baek! Don’t just stand there, help me restrain her! I have a feeling that something really bad will happen if we let her go like this,” he shouted.

I resigned myself to doing as Gongson Su asked. “Calm down, Shadow! Didn’t Elder already tell you that he’s fine!”

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“No! Unhand me! That damn Cho Jin-Saeng or Cho Mak-Sang bastard must die! Let me go this instant!! “

Several minutes later, we finally managed to stop Shadow from committing murder. Sighing, I asked Wiji Cheon, “I got the gist of the story on my way here, but I want to hear your version of events. What exactly happened, Cheon? Spare no detail.”

“Well…” Wiji Cheon explained everything that happened during the duel. “…Suddenly, Cho Mak-Saeng screamed and rushed at me out of nowhere. His eyes turned bright red and gray sword qi coated his dagger…”

“Wait. What color sword qi?” I interjected sharply.

Shocked by the intensity of my voice, Wiji Cheon widened his eyes. “H-Huh? It was gray…”

Gray? The color of sword qi varies greatly depending on the practitioner’s inner art technique, so gray or black sword qi isn’t unheard of, but for a child taught by Namgoong Su to have qi of that color…? Is that possible? I turned to Gongson Su and asked, “Elder, according to Cheon, that boy was determined to kill you. Did you provoke him to such an extent?”

Gongson Su shook his head. “I highly doubt it. During my time in the Imperial Palace, I have pressured several misbehaving youngsters into depression, but… that child wasn’t such a meek or sensitive person.”

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Then, Cho Mak-Saeng’s sudden outburst probably stems from his impulsiveness. No, that’s not enough to explain it. The boy doesn’t seem to be a complete idiot. Would he really lose control and attempt murder in broad daylight just because he lost a duel? Even among demonic arts practitioners, such recklessness and thoughtlessness is…

“No way…” I mumbled to myself.

“Teacher? Did I say something wrong?” Wiji Cheon asked anxiously.

Gongson Su, on the other hand, noticed my agitation and solemnity. “Is something bothering you?”

I faked a smile. “Nah, it’s nothing.”

Since I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I can’t be sure. The signs are there, but… I should meet that kid in person soon.

BAM!

Suddenly, the door slammed open and Hyonwon Kang burst in looking like a disheveled wreck. “Elder! Elder, are you here? Oh, thank goodness…”

Relief visibly washed over him at the sight of Gongson Su. “Elder, are you okay? I heard that you were injured in the duel! Which bastard did this to you? Just wait, I’ll teach him a lesson…”

BONK!

Hyonwon Kang winced and held his head in his hands. “Ouch! Why’d you hit me?”

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“The matter has already been settled. Don’t go and cause more problems now.”

“Ugh, even though I rushed here out of worry…”

“Excuse me, there are other patients here. Please keep it down,” a passing physician interjected, scolding us sternly.

“Oh yeah, got it,” I acknowledged.

“I’m sorry!” Wiji Cheon apologized.

“……” Hyonwon Kang shut his mouth.

Only Gongson Su, the sole patient among us, chuckled, “Hohoho, to think there’d come a day when so many people would worry about me, even though I only got a few scratches… My luck seems to have improved with age.”

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sep

The next night, at Namgoong Su’s mansion.

“M-Master, please don’t abandon me. Forgive me just this once…” Cho Mak-Saeng, his left shoulder tightly bandaged, kowtowed to Namgoong Su and begged.

Namgoong Su, however, remained unmoved as he fixed his icy gaze upon Cho Mak-Saeng. “I already told you, you no longer have the right to be my student.”

Cho Mak-Saeng raised his head to meet Namgoong Su’s gaze. “It really was an honest mistake! Please give me one more chance. I will definitely take revenge on those people…”

“Revenge? You still haven’t come to your senses.” A hint of wrath flickered across Namgoong Su’s furrowed brow.

Cho Mak-Saeng froze, realizing his mistake, but it was too late.

“Throw him out,” Namgoong Su commanded.

“Yes, Master.” Namgoong Seok and Jin Jin, who were quietly watching from the side, seized Cho Mak-Saeng and dragged him away.

“Master, Master!” Cho Mak-Saeng cried out, struggling to free himself, but it was futile. Even before he lost an arm, he stood no chance against the two.

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“What an ungrateful orphan,” Jin Jin snorted as she dumped him in front of Namgoong Su’s mansion. With an expression of disgust, she pulled out a handkerchief to clean her hands. “You should be thankful that it ended this way. Master could have chosen to destroy your qi center and meridians, but he was kind,” she spat, then promptly turned around and returned to the mansion.

Desperate, Cho Mak-Saeng crawled over to Namgoong Seok. “S-Seok! Can you put in a good word for me? After all, you and Master are from the Namgoong Clan… I’ll do whatever you ask from now on. Please?”

Namgoong Seok crouched down in front of Cho Mak-Saeng, grabbed his hair roughly, and pulled the unkempt boy close to him. “Don’t you dare go around telling people that you were Master’s, no, Namgoong Su’s pupil. If I ever get wind of such a rumor, I’ll come and kill you myself,” he warned, his eyes burning with murderous intent.

“Ugh…”

Namgoong Seok loosened his grip on Cho Mak-Saeng, slipped a few silver coins into the trembling boy’s pocket, and sneered, “Well, as a former classmate, I sincerely hope it never comes to that.”

“I-I understand…” Cho Mak-Saeng nodded desperately, frozen with fear.

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“Now get out of my sight.”

With wobbly legs, Cho Mak-Saeng staggered away from Namgoong Su’s mansion. Afraid that Namgoong Seok might be watching, he dared not look back.

Fuck, fuck, fuck! Why me? This isn’t fair! I hate it! This shitty world and everything in it should just crash and burn! Cho Mak-Saeng cursed, his eyes bloodshot.

“Oh, I know. It’s all because I’m an orphan, that’s why,” he muttered to himself.

Abandoned at the tender age of five and raised in an orphanage, Cho Mak-Saeng had no memory of his parents. Yet fortune favored him. The orphanage was sponsored by the Namgoong Clan, and every child there was taught the basics of martial arts. Those with talent were given the opportunity to serve a member of the Namgoong Clan, paving their way to a bright future.

It was with this goal in mind that he had trained tirelessly and had finally caught the eye of Namgoong Su.

“You’re quite talented. Join my class and take the Azure Dragon Academy entrance exam this year.”

While others paid large sums of money for martial arts lessons, Cho Mak-Saeng received them for free. Namgoong Su had even written the letter of recommendation for his application.

“This is Namgoong Seok, and this is Jin Jin. Both of them are much more skilled than you, so watch and learn.”

“I’m Namgoong Seok. Nice to meet you.”

“You’re an orphan? Cherish your good luck and work hard.

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Despite the head start his peers had, it mattered little. All he needed to do was to get accepted into the Azure Dragon Academy, and his bright future would be assured. At least, that was the way it should have been…

“All because of a stinking old man and a stupid brat! Yeah… none of it is my fault. Losing my arm, being cast aside by Namgoong Su, getting expelled from tutoring… The world just hates orphans like me. If Namgoong Seok was the one who had lost his arm, would Namgoong Su have treated him the same way he treated me? No fucking way. So this isn’t my fault. It’s that old man, that kid, Namgoong Seok, Jin Jin, and Namgoong Su’s fault…!”

Feeling like a victim of the world, an uncontrollable rage burned within him like a volcano on the verge of eruption.

“Ufufu…” he chuckled, wandering aimlessly through the streets. When he finally stumbled upon a dark alley, he slipped into the shadows and leaned against the wall. “Fufu… I’ll kill them all. That punk Wiji Cheon, the old man, Jin Jin, Namgoong Seok and Namgoong Su. One day, they’ll all die at my hands.

But first, I must vent. Anyone will do, a drunk relieving himself, a merchant taking a shortcut, a lost child seeking refuge…

“Fufufu, I’ll tear them apart…”

“Well well, lucky me. If you’re like this, I won’t feel a shred of guilt,” a man’s voice suddenly cut through the air.

”!!” Cho Mak-Saeng jumped, “W-Who…”

Slowly, a figure emerged from the darkness of the alley. Fortunately, it wasn’t Namgoong Seok or Namgoong Su, but it was still someone he recognized.

“…Baek Su-Ryong?”

“Show some respect, you insolent brat. Wait, on second thought, never mind. Call me whatever you want,” Baek Su-Ryong smiled, approaching Cho Mak-Saeng.

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“W-Why are you here…”

“Let’s not waste time, shall we?” Baek Su-Ryong added, swiftly seizing Cho Mak-Saeng by the throat.

“Cough, cough!” Dangling in Baek Su-Ryong’s grasp, Cho Mak-Saeng’s eyes widened. Despite being on guard, Baek Su-Ryong had still moved too quickly for him to react. Why is he doing this? Is it because I tried to kill the old man? Because of Wiji Cheon? Did Namgoong Su tell him something? Or… is it because I’m an unwanted orphan? Whatever it is… I don’t want to die here!

“P-Please spare me…” Cho Mak-Saeng begged, feeling as if his neck would snap at any moment.

“I’ll decide after hearing your answer,” Baek Su-Ryong replied emotionlessly, as if murder was nothing more than a routine chore to him.

Cho Mak-Saeng shivered. The Baek Su-Ryong he had met in the Azure Dragon Academy was nothing like this. Compared to the insane monster in front of him, Wiji Cheon’s killing intent was child’s play!

“Are you a spy for the Blood Cult?”

Cho Mak-Saeng’s eyes turned completely red.

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