Thanks to the sudden fart, I was humiliated. Short Sword was teasing me by saying I am good for a boring person, but it’s still quite disturbing. The humiliation was also short-lived.
‘It is strange.’
-What is strange? You farting? Puahahaha!
‘Ha… not that.’
‘The pain has completely stopped.’
-Good. I was worried for you.
-Of course. We are destined partners. Anyway, I won’t feel different even if we’re not that.
‘Funny, I’d rather trust a bug over you, but it isn’t that. Something feels different.’
‘What should I say? There is no sense of incongruity. I feel refreshed.’
It was like that in my previous life. After accepting the blood parasite, there was this peculiar feeling within me.
A worm the size of a finger would wiggle inside my body. It’s something difficult to adapt to at first.
I could tell by looking at those who have eaten their bloodworms and returned to their places.
The twins, too, were grabbing onto their chests with disgusted expressions.
-You mean you aren’t like them? Isn’t that because you are used to it?
‘Not at all.’
It wasn’t something that someone can get used to. Surprisingly, it was shocking that my body even felt this nice despite still adjusting to it.
Was there something wrong with the blood parasite in my body? Actually, there was a simple way to answer it.
-What is that?
‘I can stimulate internal qi to check the blood parasite.’
-If you do that…
It was then.
Song Jwa-baek, who sat next to me, convulsed as he collapsed. Shocked, Song Woo-hyun grabbed his older twin.
“Hyung (brother)! Hyung!”
I clicked my tongue while looking at them.
If you tried to control the blood parasite with their qi, the worm inside would run wild. Then it would make you hurt to the point of fainting. Unless one was an expert at controlling internal qi and can control it in their blood, this was a shortcut to death.
Gu Sang-woong, who was on the podium, pointed to Song Jwa-baek and said,
“See that? That happens if you try to control the blood parasite with your stupid tricks. Do you understand?”
All the kids who heard his words answered him immediately.
At that sight, Gu Sang-woong smiled. Maybe it was because I had set an example. It’s not my intention to help them, but I wanted to do something to reduce the sacrifice that would end up happening.
-What? Is your purpose to look good to them?
I had no intention of ending as some third-rate spy here. I wanted to rise up in rank and pay respects to those who toyed with my life.
To do that, I had to prove that I’m not some card which can be tossed away but a hidden card they had no choice but to use.
When everyone was done eating the blood parasite, Gu Sang-woong, the commander, took out a small nail-sized ball.
That was the Life Pill.
“If you don’t take the Life Pill In my hand once every 12 hours, you die.”
After hearing that, the faces of the kids immediately darkened. The only way the Blood Sect could continue its legacy after its defeat by the Murim Alliance was to increase the number of people under its banner. This was the most effective way.
If you don’t take the pill for 12 hours, the parasite within your body would feed on your heart.
“There are four balls in the bottle you will be given now. If the supply of the Life Pill isn’t carried out promptly, the consequences will be immediately obvious.”
Gu Sang-woong looked at the corpses in rags in front of the podium, and I could see everyone around me feel their despair rising from within.
Controlling servants through fear was the most effective way.
“Well. Once your loyalty to the sect is proven. In that case, the distribution will happen regularly, and our sect will put great importance on you.”
He pointed to the leaders in the front and said.
“Do you see the belts around the leaders’ waists here?”
They were all senior warriors with blue belts.
“That belt represents that they are important to the sect. If you become a high-ranking warrior of the cult, in recognition of your skills and achievements, we will remove the blood parasite within the body.”
Hearing these words, the children’s faces lightened up slightly as they heard of a way to get their parasites out.
One cannot run a sect with just whips and punishment alone. There must be a slight hint of hope to turn them into full-fledged members of the sect.
“Become recognized by the sect, and you will receive your just reward.”
He was instilling false hope. In the end, they and I were nothing but monkeys to them. Gu Sang-woong looked at everyone and said,
“I sincerely welcome you all to the sect. as of today, you have become our sect’s trainees.”
As soon as he finished saying that, I shouted.
“Long Live the Blood Sect!”
And those watching me, the other kids, followed me.
“Long Live the Blood Sect!”
Thanks to me as an example, no other kids would be killed today. An escape for at least one more person.
Leader Oh, no matter what I did, he seemed to hate me.
“From now on, I will start organizing you in ranks. Leaders start.”
Hearing the commander’s order, the leaders standing behind us moved to the front.
Behind the podium was the entrance to a cave leading inside the cliff of a mountain. There were three entrances to the cave, and three leaders went into them individually, leaving the fifth leader and the female leader outside.
The sect members cleared away from the podium and led the children to the caves’ entrance. As the children approached the entrances, the commander standing in front showed something similar to a wooden plaque and said.
“This is to check the abilities. You should do your best to get a good rank.”
The wooden plaques in the commander’s hand had markings that read Upper, Middle and Lower.
In my previous life, I had received a lower ranking evaluation. That was the worst.
-Why is that the worst?
‘If you receive that, you will start as the lowest ranking warrior.’
And it doesn’t end with that. It meant they could discard you at any time. Even if I had to struggle, I needed to get at least the Middle rank.
-But will that be fine? You said you wanted to check your body, but your dantian is broken.
For some reason, the short sword seemed worried.
“I will wait on the other side. I hope you get a good rank.”
With that, Gu Sang-woong, the commander, went inside the cave. The two other leaders followed behind him.
However, Leader Oh, who is going into the cave, glances back and smiles at me.
‘He is up to something.’
It was as if he had prepared something already. As the leaders entered, the middle-rank warriors took control of the trainees.
The trainees’ clothes were marked, and they were markings made when we were kidnapped. Of course, my clothes had marks too.
Since my mark said ‘middle’, I must enter the middle cave. When I, who was in the front row, got up to enter the middle cave, one of the sect members stopped me.
“You go in last.”
I jumped at first when I heard that they wanted me to go in last. Leader Oh probably had a hand on this.
-Leader Oh is acting like a child.
‘… I agree.’
I thought something might be up, but it was happening too fast. I watched as the other kids went in one after another. Song Jwa-baek, who was next in turn, spoke in a determined voice.
“Eh! If this happens, I might be an upper-rank warrior. I will be ahead of you!”
“Right. Go first.”
“Yah. If it isn’t your turn yet, sit down.”
Song Jwa-baek snorted back at his younger brother, who was about to follow him, and bravely entered the cave.
I am no match for anyone here. Why even bother showing me that brave face?
‘I envy him.’
-Why? Does he get an upper rank?
‘Yeah. It was confirmed.’
On the surface, they might look sloppy, but they were quite skillful. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have gotten the famous nickname of the White and Black Swift Swords.
I remembered that their skills were something that definitely got recognized. After half an hour, all the trainees entered the cave. It was now my turn.
But I wasn’t allowed to go in right away. A middle-rank warrior continued to ask me to wait before finally letting me go in.
Well, I will find out what they prepared.
The cave was lit with torches. In this cave, one person stayed to grasp each trainee’s qualities and skills. The leader who entered the middle cave is called Hae Gyeom. He was known to have a generous personality compared to the other leaders.
However, a completely unexpected person was waiting for me instead. The man appeared to be in his late 30s and had a moustache and an eye patch, Noh Songgu.
‘Ahh… so this is what you did.’
So that was the reason why Leader Oh looked happy. Noh Songgu looked much younger than when I first met him in the past. However, rather than feeling pleased, I instead hated this situation.
It was at that moment.
Noh Songgu flew like a weapon and grabbed me by the neck.
There was no way to escape. I couldn’t even comprehend how a person can be this fast.
-Ugh. As if you can handle this! Get me out.
Short Sword shouted at me to get it out, but even if I unsheathed it, it couldn’t handle this person. Noh Songgu was a senior warrior, an expert.
Even if I took the sword’s help, my body couldn’t keep up with this man’s movement.
Noh Songgu kicked my leg, and I proceeded to fall.
It felt like my back was breaking.
At that time, he drew his blade out and aimed it at me as he spoke in a voice of anger.
“You said your maternal grandfather was one of my father’s subordinates?”
He pushed the blade slightly against my neck as soon as I said it.
“Ack! What are you doing? Are you trying to kill me?’
At my question, he replied.
“Ha! You were the one who wanted to die. Did you think that I, as a member of the squad, wouldn’t remember the people I had trained with?”
I was at a loss for words. I was losing it.
Noh Songgu grunted through his teeth.
“What is your true identity?”
If I didn’t speak the truth, I would die right here. My heart was pounding.
What did I think about when I tried to run with this plan?
Was it because I already died once?
I grabbed his blade and spoke to him, not caring if the sword cuts into my hand.
“Let’s make a fair deal!”
Noh Songgu’s eyebrows rose at my words.