Chapter 103 – Opening Act (1)

“Why are you smiling like a cat that ate the canary? What, did something good happen? You’re not planning on doing something crazy again, right?”

“Geez, old man. You make it seem like I always do crazy things.”

“Hmph! Are you saying you don’t?”

The Martial King laughed at the elder who looked back at him suspiciously. Well, he supposed that he did do a lot of crazy things when he was younger, and somehow, it was the elders who always ended up paying the price. “Today is the day.”

“The day?”

“To see how great our son-in-law is.”

“Ah, that’s what you meant.” The elder nodded in understanding. The elders knew Yeon-woo had received permission to enter the Skill Archive for four days with the ridiculous goal of creating a Mugong in that period of time. “Is Edora planning on giving the Yin Sword to that guy?”

“Looks like it.”

“I suppose it’s to be expected. He defeated someone like Jang, who climbed thirty floors right after finishing the Tutorial at such a young age. It won’t be easy to find anyone like him again. It’s a shame that we can’t see his face though.”

“I’m sure he’s good-looking.”

“Hm? How do you know that?

The Martial King just smirked without giving him a response. However, his laughter clearly indicated that he was hiding something up his sleeve again. No one could stop him whenever he felt like doing that, not even the Psychic Medium, to whom the Martial King was supposed to submit.

“Anyway, you shouldn’t overburden the boy. Asking him to finish Mugong in four days? What kind of ridiculous quest is that? I know you only wanted to make him understand his shortcomings, but if you push him too far, he’ll rebel.” The elders didn’t think that Yeon-woo would complete the Martial King’s quest. Even the Martial King, who had been considered a prodigy in his youth, didn’t have the ability to do that.

However, the Martial King only smiled mysteriously and changed the subject. “What’s the situation with the egg? How are things going?”

“The more we try, the less we understand.”

“So, is it a Legendary Beast?”

“Well.” The elder organized his thoughts because he didn’t know what to say, and then he said a serious tone. “It’s definitely at that level, but we’ll tell you the details later. We can’t say anything for sure right now.”

“Seems like it’s a big deal. All right.” The Martial King got to his feet, ready to check on Yeon-woo. “Now, shall we see how our son-in-law is faring?”

***

“Dang. This kid has shrunk to half his original size! Edora, what have you been doing? Haven’t you fed him at all?” The Martial King laughed in surprise at how much weight Yeon-woo had lost.

There were black circles under Yeon-woo’s eyes behind the mask, as well, but his eyes were sharper than ever. The Martial King understood everything after looking at those eyes. ‘This kid has achieved more than I ever expected.’

Yeon-woo asked, “Should I show you here?”

“Sure.”

As soon as he received permission, Yeon-woo activated his Magic Circuit.

[The newly completed Heaven Wing Mana Control (Elements: Fire, Darkness, Electricity) is being revealed outside.]

[‘Heaven Wing Mana Control’ skill proficiency has increased. 12.9%]

A hot wind spread out from Yeon-woo, whipping around and making a shocked Edora jump back as it tickled her chest in passing. It was a warning not to get too close. Wherever the wind passed, the air heated up, the earth cracked as though there was a drought, and the grass turned golden brown and sparked into flames. Fire began to spread until a column of fire grew around Yeon-woo, the heat pushing people near him down.

Edora could see his silhouette inside the flames as though he were a divine being wearing an armor of fire or an angel with blazing wings. No, not an angel—with his black armor, he looked like a devil.

Yeon-woo had adorned the Tendon Transformation Scripture foundation with the Yukyanggong to create a perfect, complete Inner Cultivation. It was a great show of martial power, and Edora was tongue-tied at the sight. As she looked with Insight to check Yeon-woo’s magic power, her eyes trembled. ‘More than twice the original amount! No…thrice?’ She couldn’t believe the creation of a new Inner Cultivation could have this outcome. What exactly had he created?

A thought occurred to her: ‘How inefficient was his magic power before? And even though it was so inefficient, he was still so powerful. How much stronger has he gotten now with Mugong?’

With only the beginner’s Inner Cultivation, he was already showing so much potential. If his Inner Cultivation developed even more and the Martial King kept his promise of Mugong lessons, Yeon-woo’s power would grow exponentially. It was impossible to predict how powerful he would eventually become.

“Huh, this kiddo’s a monster!” The Martial King looked at Yeon-woo and chuckled. He’d only expected Yeon-woo to complete the quest, not create such spectacular results. There were areas that needed improvement, but he’d still pulled off an amazing feat. “But…this…”

Edora and Phante had brought home someone incredible, and the Martial King felt his heart pulsing wildly. After the rise of the Nine Kings, he had gotten so strong that he found it difficult to find a proper rival, and it was the first time in a long while that he’d felt a sincere curiosity about someone. The kid in front of him was a beast—just like him. Not realizing that he was baring his teeth, the Martial King asked, “You copied me, didn’t you?” He’d immediately noticed the similarities when Yeon-woo used Mana Control to the Supreme God’s Grace that he’d mastered.

Yeon-woo didn’t deny it. “Yes. You’re the most powerful person I’ve met.”

“Haha! You don’t have to flatter me like that, even if it’s true.” The Martial King smirked and looked Yeon-woo over, his eyes gleaming as he observed Yeon-woo’s Mana Control. “Hmm. Looks you used the Tendon Transformation Scripture as a base and combined it with the Third Inner Cultivation. Then, you added Thousand Dragon Gong to balance it out. For color—did you choose Yukyanggong, Opposing Acupoints Magong, Lightning Strike, and Light Inner Cultivation?”

Yeon-woo clucked his tongue as the Martial King figured out all of his Mugong’s details. He didn’t think anyone would recognize them so easily but the Martial King was the Martial King for a reason.

“Seems like you focused on increasing attack and destructive powers, and you added Light Inner Cultivation to even it out. But I think if you fix it here a little bit like this, it would be better.”

Realizing that the Martial King was giving him advice, Yeon-woo stood a little taller. No amount of information in books could compare to advice from the Martial King. “May I ask why?”

The Martial King snickered. “Just because.”

“What?” Yeon-woo accidentally blurted out his thoughts.

The Martial King said jokingly, “Because that seems like the right way.”

Yeon-woo didn’t know what to say.

“Why are you looking at me like that? It seems like the right way, how else can I explain it? Geniuses like me know instantly after seeing something.”

Yeon-woo really wanted to curse. When he had first started learning about mana, his patience had really reached its limits because of how badly his brother and Yul had explained it. Were all geniuses blessed with a latent talent for arrogance?

“Still, this is enough. Congratulations. You’re the third person to ever pass my test.”

[You have reached a high level of Mugong. The quest (The Martial King’s Test) has been completed with the highest marks.]

[You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma will be rewarded.]

[You have acquired 2,000 karma.]

[You have acquired 1,000 additional karma.]

[You have received the qualifications to learn from the Martial King. Please learn from the Martial King to move to a higher tier.]

[You have received the skill book Eight Extreme Fists. Request it from the Martial King.]

[You have received the inheritance of the Yin Sword. Please discuss the details with the Martial King. You can ask for more rewards.]

[All stats have increased by 15 points.]

[‘Heaven Wing Mana Control’ skill proficiency has increased by 5%. 26.1%]

The congratulatory messages rose in front of Yeon-woo’s eyes, signaling the completion of his quest.

“Take it.” The Martial King threw an object to Yeon-woo before he even finished reading all the messages.

Yeon-woo caught it easily. It was the book Eight Extreme Fists. With his Draconic Eyes, he was able to see a lot of densely packed imperfections inside. ‘That means it’s an extremely high-quality book.’ He tried to figure out what type of Mugong it was. From the title, it seemed like a book about fighting techniques.

“As I promised, from now on, I will help you master Mugong. I’m planning to teach you the Eight Extreme Fists. Of course, you can’t say no.” The Martial King said humorously. “As you already know, we have to go to war soon, so you’ll just have to be my disciple for a while. Mind you, I won’t teach the same thing twice.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes gleamed. Sticking next to the Martial King meant that he’d have a chance to see his performance in the war. His Draconic Eyes would definitely improve, and if the Martial King taught him directly, he’d have an opportunity to improve his physique, which hadn’t grown since he’d spent all his time looking for hidden pieces. The quality of the software was pointless if the hardware couldn’t catch up to it. “There’s something I want to ask.”

“Go ahead.”

“I got something called the inheritance of the Yin Sword. What is it?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Of course, you can reject it if you want. Anything else?”

“You said I was the third person to pass this test. May I ask who the other two were?”

“Haha! This kid is unbelievable. You’re already curious about them? You’ve probably heard about one of them before. He’s quite famous.”

“Who is it?”

“The Sword God.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. The Sword God was the leader of the Cheonghwado’s five Martial Gods. No one could compare to his swordsmanship, and even Allforone acknowledged his skills. So that was the first person to pass the test.

“That guy was originally my disciple,” the Martial King dropped the shocking information as though he were talking about the weather.

Yeon-woo was even more surprised. This was something his brother hadn’t known either. ‘The relationship between the Cheonghwado and the One-horned tribe is closer than I realized. If I end up fighting against the Cheonghwado, will I have to go against the One-horned tribe too?’ Yeon-woo gulped.

“Well, it’s been a while since he’s been excommunicated from the tribe. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that you’ve got an amazing teacher, so you should be sincerely thankful and treat this teacher with more reverence. Got it?” The Martial King continued to compliment himself.

“Who’s the second?”

“It’s a secret. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you, but you won’t even know who it is if I tell you.”

Yeon-woo thought it might be a skilled player who preferred to stay low-key. The Tower was overflowing with talented players, and some just wanted to climb on their own without attracting any attention. “I would like to make one last request.”

“What is it?”

At that moment, Yeon-woo’s eyes gleamed. “I would like to see the real strength of the Martial King.”

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