3 days ago, after my grandfather, Ha Seong-wun woke up, I shared everything with him.
It started when I got kicked out of the Ikyang So family with my mother passing away and then being treated like trash.
‘So Ik-heon, that bastard!’
My grandfather couldn’t hold back his anger. Who would have known that his grandson would be treated in such a manner within a family that willingly took him?
In addition, he was more angry when he came to know about his dantian being destroyed and being kicked out.
‘So what happened after being kicked out?’
‘I got kidnapped by the Blood Sect.’
‘What? Blood Sect?’
It was natural for him to be shocked. He knew of the ties with Blood Sect disappearing to his family.
‘And you still managed to live?’
‘How can that… No. So you got kidnapped and the dantian was recovered?’
He had too many things going in his head. I talked about things which had happened.
From the the time when I was a low ranked warrior of the sect to meeting the Ghastly Monster Hae Ack-chun and him kidnapping me.
‘That man is still alive?’
‘You know him?’
‘How can I not know? Even on the day when I met with the Southern Heavenly Swordsman, he showed up to provoke the man.’
This was my first time hearing about it. And it seems like my teacher was obsessed with beating the man.
Of course, he never did it.
With those words, I took out Iron Sword from the sheath and showed it to my grandfather who was so shocked.
‘Is’t this the Southern Heavenly Swordsman’s sword? How did you get this?’
I mentioned that the man died in a fight with a mysterious warrior and his body was found by Hae Ack-chun and I learned martial arts from him.
At these words, he reacted for the first time.
‘I see! Now I understand the progress you have achieved. You have his excellent martial arts and learned it at such a young age. Hehehe.’
The Southern Heavenly swordsman was one who was renowned to be the next generation’s Great Warrior, so my grandfather being happy made sense.
However, when I told that I was the disciple of Hae Ack-chun, his expression changed.
‘G-ghastly Monster? Wasn’t he one of the Four Venerable Dignitaries in the Blood Sect?’
My grandfather seemed to have guessed that the martial arts of the South Heavenly Swordsman helped me escape from the Blood Sect. However, he sighed when he came to know I turned into a disciple for one of the Four Elders within the Blood Sect.
‘My grandson is a disciple to that…’
According to my grandfather, the Flying Moon Order’s first head didn’t agree with the Blood Demon so he left the sect and even changed his name.
And it seemed like a shock that I, who had his blood, was a disciple to someone in the Blood Sect. The problem was… this wasn’t the end
I told the story of the Great Doctor recovering my dantian and ending up under Baek Ryeon-ha, one of the two candidates for the position of the Blood Demon, and then I fell off a cliff when there was an attack by the Murim Alliance on the valley.
‘No, did you mean that you learned string arts too? From that man, the slaughterer?’
My grandfather was shocked to know that I inherited not just the arts of South Heavenly Swordsman but also of a manic killer, along with Hae Ack-chun.
Although they were not one of the Eight Great Warriors they were all well known within Murim. And learning their martial arts was really shocking thing.
‘I cannot ever imagine all this happening.’
‘It isn’t the end yet.’
‘Phew. And what more happened?’
There I met with Sima Young, the daughter of Sima Chak, with whom I participated in the Murim Alliance tournament to get hold of the Blood Demon Sword.
‘No. That means you moved in as a spy?’
‘Yes… It turned out like this.’
The old man wouldn’t stop sighing.
It was because everyone knew how dangerous it was for a member of the Blood Sect to enter the castle of Murim Alliance.
‘The mission must have failed, the Murim Alliance, they are smart, it is impossible to steal the Blood Demon Sword from there.’
‘No. It actually worked out.’
I brought out the Blood Demon Sword from the sheath and showed it. Seeing that, he was at a loss for words. Who would have known he would see the legendary sword in front of his eyes?
‘T-this is Blood Demon Sword? How did you get this?’
‘Because I am the Blood Demon.’
The words were enough to make his face harden. I thought showing it would give him an answer, so I used the Heavenly Authority and turned into Blood Demon.
‘The Blood Demon Sword recognized me as its lord.’
My grandfather who saw my crimson hair and pupils was shocked to the extent that he didn’t close his mouth.
‘How… how… how can this…’
He touched his chest as he continued to mumble.
The fact that I was the Blood Demon, the peak of Blood Sect, was a shock my grandfather couldn’t easily get used to.
After a while, he calmed down and I told him everything except for the fact that I had come back to life.
Excluding things related to that, I just told him about what happened in this life and this was a start. And hearing all that, my grandfather couldn’t stop sighing till the next day.
-He seems more concerned of you being the Blood Demon than being with the daughter of Four Great Evils, it is strange if he accepted it right away. But how come he didn’t have a heart attack at this?
What Short Sword implied was right. It was wrong to expect people to just accept things.
And it wasn’t until early morning that he spoke.
‘The fate that we have been avoiding has taken you back to the original place in this generation. If all of this is fate then I have to accept this.’
It was a voice of him accepting it and feeling lost.
‘There is something you need to know.’
‘What is that?’
‘A sword can kill people with its sharpness. However with that sword you can protect and save people too.’
‘I have always regretted things. The blood of the man and the hatred his descendants held. Even if fate is taking you there, the path the Blood Demon walked doesn’t have to be your destiny.’
‘Even if you become Blood Demon, do not worry about that and walk the path you want to. I will dedicate what is left of my life to you.’
I thought speaking the truth to grandfather was right. And I never had the intention of being bound by the fact that I was the Blood Demon.
Dual Martial Forces.
Even before the return, I just heard of them but never actually went there.
I was surprised at the size of the castle which was bigger and grander than the Murim Alliance. As I entered the castle I thought that it would be a good idea to disguise myself like my grandfather said.
Among the crowds of warriors, I saw those I knew. Among them were quite skilled ones who attended the Murim Tournament.
Maybe people might have recognized me if I hadn’t borrowed the human skin mask from Sima Young.
The fact that I was here couldn’t be confirmed by the Murim Alliance or Baek Hye-hyang.
-You wore a mask then why put on the eye patch? Why not take it off?
This was a preparation for a situation where my middle dantian gets opened up in unknown situations. I know it wouldn’t happen–
But trying to find balance within this body with too many people around was tough. Still, after the patch I felt a lot better than before.
-And the mask is normal looking because the face looks ordinary.
Well, I wasn’t wearing this patch to look fancy. Somehow it seemed like Short Sword liked this look.
-Oh my, I just want you to be cool.
The voice was one of the swords I had. Because I couldn’t bring Blood Demon Sword into this place and avoid being in risk and having Iron Sword would give out my identity, I brought a new sword at a nearby forge.
However, after knowing that he was only here for a temporary time, he continued to chatter.
-Heng. That doesn’t mean you always get to stay with Wonhwi.
When Short Sword was talking to him, he turned sullen. If she did this, it felt like I would be too sorry to return it.
-Amm. Sorry. Still, you are better than the Blood Demon Sword. If you listen carefully to me. I will tell Wonhwi to keep you.
-Ah, thank you!
‘These guys are truly fun.’
Just hearing the voice made me want to fall down and laugh. Anyone would know that Short Sword was the real deal.
Well, I entrusted Blood Demon Sword to Sima Young, I used black iron powder on Iron Sword just in case.
-Rather than that, it seems to be more of a problem to compete with these many people, Wonhwi.
As Iron Sword said, there were too many warriors here. Who would want to miss the chance to become a successor of one of the Eight Great Warriors.
Trying to compete with them itself made me sigh.
-Just go find your father and tell him you are his son.
I was doing this for that!
I was told that my father was Jin Song-baek, the Invincible Wind God, who was at the top of this castle tower.
Until his successor was decided everyone would have to go through this since he wasn’t meeting anyone.
All I could do here was win this tournament and make sure there was no one who could take me down.
-Wonhwi. But why are the people ahead opening space for us?
At Short Sword’s words I noticed it, people were moving back.
Did someone come before?
I moved with curious thoughts and frowned at the familiar faces. As I squeezed through the crowd and approached the entrance, people mumbled.
“Are you sure you want to compete with them?”
“That friend. Doesn’t he know who they are?”
‘Eight Great Warriors?’
Then one of the two people standing ahead turned their heads and ah…
I never thought I would see them here.
-Isn’t that the pathetic one?
Jin Young, the grandson of Jin Gyun. The guy was looking at me with a frown.
The guy next to him turned to me and his eyes shone.
-Hmm? The disciple of the Alliance leader.
Why was that guy here?
I was quite shocked at the two most unexpected people here. I think I knew why the Murim people began to step back.
-No, why would they be greedy with those people around here?
But the most surprising one wasn’t Jin Young but Lee Jung-gyeom.
That guy was the disciple to the Alliance leader, he represented the Murim alliance. I couldn’t understand why such a guy was coming here to covet the position of successor to another force. And Jin young turned to me–
“You are willing to take the test too.”
Perhaps because he was in front of many people, he was looking at me with an arrogant look but the tone felt polite.
I wondered where the innate personality of this guy went, but I had to answer now.
I changed my voice. I had a mask on, but I was nervous since we actually met before this.
And I thought he would recognize me. Fortunately he shook his head like he didn’t understand.
“I don’t know who you are friend, but let’s see.”
See this bastard!
He hadn’t changed a thing since our first meeting. Or was he trying to do this because we were in front of people?
I bowed my head.
“How could I not recognize warrior Jin Young, the grandson of Jin Gyun and warrior Lee Jung-gyeom, one of the most known disciples of Alliance?”
At my words, Jin Young’s face was distorted. I guess he wasn’t stupid.
This was because I said it in a way where the people who trained them were more worthy than their actual own made names.
I could hear a chuckle from here and there by people who understood what I was saying but it didn’t last long with Jin Young’s eyes glaring.
“With your skills, it will be difficult to climb to even the top floors alone. What will you do? Ah… there won’t be chances again.”
He was deliberately provoking. The intention was obvious. The voice telling me to stay in my lane.
-That guy, he doesn’t seem to understand your skills.
It was natural for him to not learn.
When we met before, that time too he was chuckling at me like I was lower than him just because my lower dantian was the only thing I opened.
On the other hand, Lee jung-gyeom wasn’t like that. He looked at me with the greatest interest.
-Think he noticed it?
‘It seems like it.’
Lee Jung-gyeom was not releasing his qi and it seemed like he was a lot stronger than the tournament. It was said that he had a body which came up once in a hundred years, but the growth rate he held was normal.
But I had to respond back.
“Thanks for the advice. Still, I came a long way so I will try this.”
Jin Young’s lips twitched at my polite answer and then he turned back. Like this wasn’t worth talking about.
If there were no people around he would have jumped right at me.
-Look how he turned out. Tch, tch.
It didn’t matter
There was no reason for us to extend this either. At that time, a muscular middle-aged man standing with crossed arms at the entrance of the tower, opened his mouth.
“Looks like there are no more contestants. The three of you can come in.”
The door to the tower opened with a metal creaking sound.
I walked inside solely following the two who moved ahead and as we entered, the door closed behind us.
Inside of the tower was lit with torches as if it was meant to block the light entering.
‘Like a sparring ground.’
No other object, just a stone floor inside. Looking at the ground, it was full of broken debris and bloodstains.
Seeing the bright blood on it, it seemed like the test happened quite a few times.
‘How is this possible?’
I heard that the first test was to climb up. And it was said that each floor had warriors who had mastered martial arts of this sect, and I thought with each floor, the one who tested would get stronger.
Just then, 20 men in gray uniforms poured out of the door from the other side.
Do they want us to deal with all of them?
While I wondered, a middle-aged man with a mustache stepped ahead from the gray robed men and said.
“I am Yoon Jaso, in charge of the first floor. I am in charge fist related martial arts.”
At his words, all three of us bowed to him and Yoon jaso nodded.
“The eight classes of the Storm Shadow will be divided into 8 stages to cross. Fist, Palm, Kick, Body, Claws, Blade, Sword and Spear. There are warriors of the sect on each floor so the first one will be to endure what is happening here and move up.”
As soon as he said that, three warriors in gray robes stepped ahead. They were all above first rate warriors. And all of them aimed their attacks at us right away.
‘Was having a successor not their goal?’
It looked like they were trained to kill us rather than test. if we have to deal with so many warriors on the first floor itself, we would be exhausted.
And this made me wonder if this was their purpose.
Yoon Jaso said.
“They will deal with you by adjusting their strength, qi and skills so do not speak about fairness in this.”
Contrary to my concerns it seemed like they were doing it fairly. Well, if not then the dissatisfaction of those who participated would continue.
“I will give you a chance even now. If you fail the test, you will have to stay as a guest for three years, as promised.”
Yoon Jaso looked at us in turn and Lee Jung-gyeom scratched his head and said, “If I pass, I get to go upstairs?”
“Good. I was afraid I would be made to wait.”
At that Jin Young glanced at me and chuckled.
“I see. It is good to hear that we don’t have to be bothered to wait for someone else.”
Did he think that what Lee Jung-gyeom was saying was for me? It seemed like that considering the manner he was speaking.
“If you want to take the test, stand in front of the warriors.”
As if tired of waiting, Lee Jung-gyeom went ahead first.
It was the one with the strongest skills of the three who came close to us. Jin Young glanced at the other to check who of them was the weakest one and then raised an eyebrow looking at me.
Man he could not stop suffering
‘Such an insane guy he is.’
I went over to the one left and stood in front of him. A man with long hair looked at me with a sad expression.
It seemed like he felt bad that I came in with the disciples of Eight Great Warriors.
Yoon Jaso raised his hand.
“Welcome everyone who wants to take the test. Then let’s start! Open!”
With his cry the test began.
Jin Young relaxed his muscles and took off the black cloth that covered his sheath and from it came a blade. It seemed unusual.
And pulling the blade as if he wanted me to listen to it.
“I don’t know if you can come up, even at a slow pace.”
And with that he ran for the opponent. The opponent was someone who was already in a stance and used his fist while avoiding the blade.
In an instant, the blade and fist techniques collided for about three seconds and the long haired warrior in front of me asked me to attack.
“I will give you the chance, young warrior.”
Was there any reason to reject this?
I smiled and clenching my fist, I walked. When I didn’t take a stance or a weapon or a technique to fight, the man frowned.
Before he would even say anything, I rushed for him.
When I suddenly got that close he panicked and punched the forehead but I just avoided it by tilting the head, and hit his abdomen with my fist.
Being hit in the stomach made him fall to his knees. And I I said.
“I did it right.”
“You… you are…”
It wasn’t me who was careless but the opponent. Or was it wrong to believe that the ability which I showed was a valid attack?
In any case, it was settled as he fell first, looking to the side I could see Jin Young still fighting.
And I shouted to him.
“I am heading up first. Come up slowly.”
Hearing those words he turned his head with a bewildered face.