Chapter 70. <The World of Dead Constellations. (2)>
Translator: thursdays Editor: Sasha
So Baek-hyang thought in the middle of a snowy field.
Buried in white snow, the world was colorless, odorless, and silent.
The world was just a cold, blank sheet of paper.
Her flesh was cold. Her bones were cold. Even her blood was also cold.
So Baek-hyang thought.
‘My stomach is numb.’
‘I think my internal organs are filled with ice.’
‘It’s too cold here.’
She thought and thought. As she continued to think, her insides became increasingly frozen. Eventually, her thoughts and even her head became cold.
Another cold world.
Her mother’s silhouette.
How much time had passed?
The silence broke.
-It’s weird. How strange.
The smell returned.
-It’s already been 10 days since it snowed here. The snow is at least 5 feet deep. How is it that this child is still breathing?
Finally, even the colorless landscape broke apart.
So Baek-hyang looked ahead with young, childish eyes. There was an old man standing in front of her. He had dug up the snowfield and made a noise. When he grabbed her wrist, he smelled like an old man. The eyes of the old man looking at her were black.
-You’re not an ordinary child.
That old man was an old master of magic.
-You were born of ice and snow. The coldness of the world will soon be a part of your energy. Curiouser and curiouser. A young kid spends ten days buried in a snowfield and emerges like this… It’s like something out of a book!
-Child. What is your name?
So Baek-hyang parted her lips.
-I don’t know.
She couldn’t recall her name.
-How old are you?
-I don’t know.
-How did you end up in this snowfield?
-I don’t know.
She couldn’t remember anything.
It was cold. Her thoughts froze, her head and ability to think froze, and all the words in her head and heart seemed to be frozen.
-Poor thing. A young one already sent to the elements…
The old master groaned.
-However, you are the perfect vessel for learning martial arts. The Master of the North Sea will take you even if he has to pay a billion gold pieces. What wonderful fate! But for what purpose? Will our school be a gift to you, or will you be a gift to our school? It’s very difficult to assess with my old eyes.
So Baek-hyang did not understand. From before, she could hardly understand what the old man was saying. The person in front of her was using words that were too difficult for her.
The old man smoothed So Baek-hyang’s hair.
-Child. Will you follow me?
-I will feed you and get you a place to sleep.
These words were easy to understand.
As she nodded slowly, the old man spoke again.
-You don’t smell of anything. Since you don’t have a name and don’t know your birthplace, you are probably a child born from the snow. I will give you my last name. And I will call you Baek-hyang, the scent of the white snow.
The scent of the snow.
-From now on, you are a student of the Demonic Sect, So Baek-hyang.
So Baek-hyang remained quiet for a while.
Then, she spoke.
-Where am I going?
The old master smiled.
-It is a place where children like you gather.
“—It’s impossible!” the Heavenly Demon said.
“I have never had a disciple in my life. Even though the world has become twisted, my rules remain unchanged. A disciple?! Absolute nonsense!”
The cave with the hot spring.
We had left the snowy field and were in the stronghold of the last survivors of this world. The Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord said, ‘To think there were still survivors…’ They were surprised, but they gladly welcomed us as guests.
However, they only accepted us only as guests.
It seemed that the Heavenly Demon had no intention of accepting me as a disciple.
“Hey. Demon lord. Why are you being so stingy?”
From the side, the Murim Lord chewed on an energy bar.
“I’m glad that the children of the outside have survived. And not only did they survive, but they also came through rough conditions to be taught by you. That’s meritorious and quite charming. What are you still being so stiff for?”
“It’s meritorious and charming.”
The Heavenly Demon hmmed and snorted.
“Even so, the rules for accepting a disciple are strict! At our school, we do not senselessly accept all people. Only children who have been abandoned by their parents and abandoned by the world can enter the Demonic Cult.”
“Tsk, tsk. You always call me an outdated old fart, but you’re more discriminatory than me.”
The Murim Lord shook his head.
“Child. That’s what she said. Why don’t you let go of this petty, Demonic Cult junk and take me as your teacher? I am Namgung Un. I am from the great Namgung clan and am the head of the Taesang family, as well as the leader of the Righteous Sect. If you become my disciple, I will treat you with great affection—”
“Why are you saying you can’t accept me as a disciple, Heavenly Demon-nim?”
I asked, ignoring the old man. The Murim Lord was a little shocked, exclaiming, ‘What! Could it be that my name isn’t well known in the outside world…?!’ It was a little pitiful, but I left it alone.
The Heavenly Demon furrowed her brows.
“Didn’t I just say it? Only children who are abandoned by the world can enter the school.”
“The world has changed,” I replied.
“People have turned into Jiangshi because of a mysterious disease. The Murim world’s sects and families have all been destroyed. Since the world has abandoned humans, we are all abandoned by the world. Whether you like it or not.”
“Heavenly Demon-nim. Haven’t the conditions for admission been automatically satisfied?”
The Heavenly Demon closed her mouth.
Probably because I was right.
And more than that… I was a hunter. I was also an orphan who abandoned the world outside and committed myself to climbing the tower. It was a little embarrassing to say that I was abandoned by the world, but I could say that I had abandoned the world. The [admission conditions] that the Heavenly Demon spoke of would be more than satisfied.
The Heavenly Demon stood up from her seat.
“If you’re confident, show me your Three Calamities Swordsmanship.”
She glanced down at me.
“I shall check with my own eyes if you are entitled to inherit the teachings of our school. It’s obvious that you’re just all talk and no skill, anyway.”
I also got up from my seat.
“Thank you for the opportunity.”
I pulled out the Holy Sword.
The sound of a sword being drawn echoed in the wide cave. People were looking in my direction. They were quietly waiting to see the kind of swordsmanship I would demonstrate.
Of course, I had no intention of showing off the Three Calamities Swordsmanship.
[Your skill is being activated.]
Infernal Heavens Demonic Art.
After all, there was a skill that I learned for this very moment.
When the skill was activated, countless movements were drawn in my head.
Weird and strange sword forms.
However, seeing the road in front of me and driving on it were completely different matters. I didn’t have a deep understanding of the Infernal Heavens Demonic Art yet. If I tried to show off the swordsmanship like this, my body would only tear like a crow-tit chasing a stork.
‘If it’ll be torn anyway.’
Therefore, this came to mind.
‘It should be torn properly.’
The scenes of the [traumas] that I experienced so far.
I swung my sword while painting them in my mind, one after another.
To open the path to the demonic arts.
I’d witnessed groans and screams while climbing the tower thus far. The moaning and the screaming were always raw and vivid. I remembered these sounds as if I had just heard them a moment ago. Their voices colored my heart.
「Save me, please. I’m so hungry. Please give me something to eat.」’
The basement of the mansion.
I recalled the voices of children who were trapped and tortured.
「I want to live.」
The children had been bound in chains. When the mansion was caught on fire and burned, the children stared at the flames in front of their eyes. Trapped in the chains, they could not escape. They had to patiently wait until they were thoroughly burned.
「I wanted to play a little longer.」
With the children’s screams in my heart, I swung my sword.
“Ma, Madu! That swordsmanship…”
Nearby, I heard the Murim Lord exclaiming in bewilderment. But I ignored it. He wasn’t what I had to focus on right now.
Slowly, not hurrying, step by step.
I swung my sword, thinking of what I had to think.
「Burn the witch’s nest!」
I remembered the voice of a demon who tried to save the sick at the edge of a continent.
「You are all humans.」
The demon had shed black tears from her eyes. The paradise she made. The small village was burning. The sight of a man burning another man was engraved in the demon’s eyes.
「You know about the beauty and tears of life, so why?! Just why?!」
「You called us monsters. That’s why you didn’t hesitate to burn us!」
「Are we not also human?!」
With the screams of the demon in my heart, I swung my sword.
My sword moved faster and faster. The Infernal Heavens Demonic Art that I gained from my death took shape. The trauma that had been transplanted after I died pulsed with anticipation. I felt like I would get lost in the middle of this, but then, I called forth my Aura and forced myself to continue the sword forms.
-Look at this kid…?
Bae Hu-ryeong said that the demonic arts were nails that scratched the world.
However, as I practiced the Infernal Heavens Demonic Art, my mind changed a little.
Perhaps it is more of a scream than a nail.
The path of my sword continued and continued, then finally became a sword dance.
-Now I see that if you were born in the Murim world, you’d have entered the Demonic Cult.
In the end, my sword dance was not beautiful. It was immature. It was clumsy. There was no scent of flowers, only the smell of fire. If swordsmanship had a face, my sword was the face of a person with a burn scar.
It was only a scream.
No matter how admirable yin and yang were, the world born from them was only full of grief.
No matter how clever the script of the Three Character Classics was, it could not overcome a single scream of a lowly human.
The sword containing the grief of the world was sharper than the sword of yin and yang.
A sword that wielded a single scream was stronger than a sword that moved according to a wise saying.
The deeper the grief, the coarser the scream, the stronger the sword.
That was why we were strong.
Survival of the fittest.
That was the doctrine of the Demonic Sect.
「War has forgotten chivalry, and chivalry has forgotten war. Say it.」
「If you say this, I will kill you as you want.」
The Heavenly Demon was the epitome of this doctrine.
The highest sky.
The Heavenly Demon knew of all the screams of her sect members and knew how to release them all with a sword. The sword form that the Heavenly Demon used must be a scream that faced the world, move by move.
It was proof that somewhere in this world, there were those who had screamed and yelled in agony.
「The whole world has become empty.」
「Decades spent in vain, completely futile.」
She was that sort of sky.
Even the Heavenly Demon screamed in the final moment.
「Ahaha. Ha, hahaha!」
She laughed madly.
「Ahahahaha! Ha, ahahaha…」
With that laughter in my heart, I swung my sword.
I swung my sword.
I swung my sword.
“Did I not tell you to stop?!”
Suddenly, my sword stopped.
I didn’t stop because I wanted to stop. There was a cane. The Heavenly Demon lifted a wooden stick and stopped my blade. Her dark inner energy echoed on the cane.
“You…” the Heavenly Demon muttered in a low voice.
“Where did you learn the skills of our school?”
Her eyes were pitch black.
“You can’t fool my eyes! No matter how messed up and inexperienced your forms are, what you’ve done right now was definitely the Infernal Heavens Demonic Art. In this world, only the members of the Demonic Sect can learn this skill, but I, the head of the cult, have never seen your face.”
“Speak. From where did you steal it?!”
I realized then that I was more tired than I thought. I had run out of breath. My whole body was wet with sweat. The Holy Sword in my right hand felt as heavy as a rock.
I looked around. The Murim Lord was, of course, but even the other people in the party were watching me with bated breath. From the open ceiling of the cave, the starlight of the night sky was pouring down. Maybe more time had passed than I thought.
I forced my mouth to open.
“Am I worthy enough?”
“Do I have the qualifications to be Heavenly Demon-nim’s disciple?”
The Heavenly Demon was silent.
After being silent for a while, the woman turned her back. She walked to the dark side of the cave. Her back was refusing everyone, so nobody could chase after her.
If I had a little more energy, I might have followed her…
“D, Death King-nim?”
My knees collapsed.
“Death King-nim! Are you okay, Death King-nim?!”
Everything was hazy. I thought it must be because I consumed too much Aura at once, and my head blanked. I would probably pass out and stay like this overnight.
I tried to smile at the Alchemist to reassure her, but even that was difficult. The scene in front of my eyes was already dark.
Just before I fainted. I heard Bae Hu-ryeong’s voice.
-You pushed yourself to the verge of death by using martial arts above your level. Little crow-tit. That’s why people keep saying you have to build up from the basics.
Bae Hu-ryeong sighed.
-It wasn’t too bad, crow-tit. You’re an admirable bastard.
I lost consciousness.
 Three Calamities Swordsmanship – A cliché name in martial arts novels for the most basic skills in swordsmanship, which are typically cutting vertically, cutting horizontally, and stabbing.
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