It was at the time when I was the sole one climbing the 77th level, 「Realm of Inflammation」. The most humanity had explored of Rakshasa Mountain was up to the 81th level, or at least officially it was. I was in the midst of challenging to see which level I could climb to by myself, and I had succeeded in exploring up to the 78th level.
The reason why I had met the Rakshasa old man on the 77th was also because I was in the middle of going back, as my progress had been impeded by a gigantic monster that controlled the atmosphere on the 78th level, the ‘dark fire beast’. At the time, the old man had many injuries to the extent it wouldn’t have been strange for him to die immediately. He had appeared to have been done in by some other, and it was with apparent desperation that he had handed over the sword manual of the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade to me.
ㅡI would rather…you have it! This should also be fate and karma!
I had tried potions and healing type skills, but it didn’t work on the old man. At the same time, I could tell at a glance that the black clouds rolling over from the south were ominous.
ㅡGo! They will not be able to find you, an ‘usurper’!
I remember having no choice but to retreat, my back pushed away by the old man. After that I realized the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade wasn’t any ordinary sword art, and practised it like mad. The 9th level…the boundary called shedding at which one becomes capable of using force.
The book which the old man was reading appeared familiar to me as well.
‘Heartless Soul Stealer Blade?’
The old man was reading the book which had the same name to it, even the same appearance, when he put it back on the bookshelf, as if it was of no particular importance.
“Pay no mind. Had I wished none to enter, you would have been chased off by the white monkeys from here.”
He was of soft speech in contrast to his rather fierce-looking features. Hwarang Gu raised his head slightly.
“Thank you. But to see sir Wolcheon in the library, I think it a rare sight.”
“All martial arts are gathered here. Continuous reading may at times grant new enlightenment. You have not seen me because while I come here often, you do not.”
Hwarang Gu scratched his head as if pricked by the truth.
“Ahh…because well, the dizziness I feel when breathing in the air of this place is like the symptoms of enlightenment to me.”
“Tut tut, it must be that you simply dislike reading letters. They say Yaksha as of late only understand the ‘outside’ and never try to comprehend the ‘inside’. I can see why, seeing you now.”
“Haha. I shall take it as a compliment.”
“Like an old fox, you only resemble Hwacheon in this aspect.”
Unable to spit on a smiling face, Wolcheon simply shook his head as Hwarang Gu laughed contentedly. He then turned his gaze to look at me.
“This child is? I think it my first time seeing him.”
“It seems sir Wolcheon has yet to hear. Rakshasa Citadale is in upheaval because of this rascal.”
“Hmm, seeing as he has the Ascendant’s Cape, apparently a Yaksha has carried out the Rakshasa’s ritual.”
“You can tell?”
His gaze became sharp, causing goosebumps to break out over my body. The gaze of the old man in my memory was of desperation, but merely facing the Rakshasa before me called Wolcheon and it felt like another ‘wall’ was towering over me. Carefully I opened Mind’s Eye.
Name: Wolcheon (Value – 919,500)
Class: Twelve Heavenly Generals
🌑 Wolcheon (Lv9, all stat +5)
Special Note: A Rakshasa who governs the 12 realms of the Rakshasa Realm. Has succeeded the name of Wolcheon(Heavenly Moon), one of the Twelve Heavenly Generals.
Equipped Gear: Ascendant’s Gauntlet (Mag +5)
I could see through everything except his skills. It must be the limit of what I could see with the Authority of Mind’s Eye, something close to a defensive zone.
I was slightly shocked. Although it definitely wasn’t a match for demon lords, he possessed a peerlessly powerful ability ranked right below them. Uriel Diablo’s overall stats was 555. Wolcheon was 514. Though there may be some slight differences in other areas as well, Never before had I seen an overwhelming being like this among ‘other races’…with the except of just one person: The Elf Queen.
However, he was named as one of the Twelve Heavenly Generals, meaning there were 12 such individuals like this in this place. At the same time, a question rose in my mind. Just who exactly could kill a powerful individual like this? The Wolcheon of the past was clearly fatally wounded by another. He had appeared wretched, cornered to the edge of death.
Looking at me with interest in his eyes, Wolcheon spoke.
“So there was a reason why the other Rakshasa were paying attention to the ‘Stigma Tournament’ this time.”
“What say sir Wolcheon also take this opportunity to select a ‘successor’?”
“I shall consider it if ever a child to my liking appears.”
“I hear you were like that even before I was born. The rumours are wide-spread. That sir Wolcheon will never take a successor.”
“It seems some loose-tongued fellows have been spreading it thoughtlessly?”
The atmosphere became cold rapidly. Hwarang Gu hastily covered his mouth with both hands. He had realized his slip of the tongue. Finally, Wolcheon patted Hwarang Gu on the shoulder as he began moving.
“I shall be off now, so make sure to cause no incidents. Escpecially your sister.”
“Haha, she’s already out of my hands so…”
A black fog gushed up from the ground to envelop Wolcheon’s body, and then he completely disappeared.
“Ha! A ghost-like technique as ever. Sir Wolcheon should be the sole person able to so freely use space movement techniques like that. Ah, this guy. You can breathe now.”
Hwarang Gu’s words became the trigger, and I could finally gasp for air. Only then did I realize my breathing had been stopped. Perhaps it’s because I had encountered a ‘wall’ which I was incapable of confronting with my current ability.
“You are fortunate. Because sir Wolcheon is very busy, he is harder to meet than the other sirs.”
“I will…read books. I find this place to my liking.”
I recovered my senses and told Hwarang Gu. Hwarang Gu said as he chuckled,
“The Yaksha who find this place for the first time all say the same thing as you did. And at most 3 days, they would give up to go outside and exchange blows with the white monkeys.”
It seemed that Yaksha weren’t particularly friendly with letters. As I appeared to look through the library, Hwarang Gu shrugged his shoulders.
“Anyhow, my guiding ends here. Do as you wish with the remaining 34 days.”
Hwarang Gu gave a long yawn and turned around to leave the library. He had drawn a line as if to say this was as far as his obligation went. Immediately I took out the book which Wolcheon was reading. Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. The name on the book was definitely the same as what I had learnt.
‘The contents are different.’
But the contents differed slightly. What’s more, it only contained knowledge of up to the 10th level, not the 12th level. A suspicion grew in my heart as to why the content differed even with the same name, and why Wolcheon was reading it with interest.
‘I should take a look at the other books too.’
It was like all the martial arts of the world were gathered here. This place was a gold mine. It was a strange fate handed out to me by heaven, and an opportunity that mustn’t be lost. I sat on the spot and began reading the books from beginning to end.
World Sovereign Step, Iron Blood Beast Fist, Heavenly Demon Mind Art. I endlessly came across skill books with grandiose names, and they recorded surprising contents worthy of such names. Even in the past there was no books with such systematic and technical martial techniques, because humans learnt magic or techniques as skills, not from books. The vast majority of people didn’t even know how mana actually moved when they used skills, meaning they only literally had superficial knowledge.
I was the same as well. I had thought myself different, but I could realize how ignorant I was after entering this library and reading countless books.
‘I never knew it was this systematic…’
It was surprising. Going above the level of surprise, it was awe-inspiring. The chakra which they spoke of. The mana which we spoke of. The two was definitely the same thing. But these people didn’t neglect their study of chakra. They had explored further deeply the inner aspects of it, going through enlightenment, seeking truth and the like. By contrast, humans had approached the subject scientifically. It was only natural for no proper findings to result from that.
A whole new world had opened. Hwarang Gu had claimed that I would give up and leave within 3 days, but I immersed myself in reading books even going so far as to reduce intake of food and drink. Often times I wouldn’t even touch the food, water and the like which the white monkeys brought me. I wasn’t even sleepy. The things placed around me right now was much too amazing for those things. If I could go to the outside with the knowledge in this library contained in my mind, then perhaps the birth of countless ‘supermen’ would come about much faster.
‘What is clear is that sword arts, fist arts, kick arts are all prerequisites for the mind arts.
Mind arts; it was a way to train the mind, and therefore cultivate chakra. At the same time, I found the answer as to why I was unable to move past the 9th level of Heartless Soul Stealer Blade.
‘I have no matching mind art.’
What’s certain was that ‘Heartless Soul Stealer Blade’ was superior to all the other sword techniques in this place. No, Heartless Soul Stealer Blade contained the basics of all skill books, including sword techniques. That’s why every time I read these countless books I could ‘understand’. But the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade was, in the end, also incomplete. Thousands of kinds of mind arts existed, but there was no mind art which perfectly matched the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. Did it truly not exist? Or perhaps…
‘Wolcheon. Maybe he would know.’
My heart stirred. But I couldn’t easily ask either. If I were to inform him that I had learnt the real Heartless Soul Stealer Blade, then I need to have him understand that I had come back from the past. I had no way of predicting what action Wolcheon would take in that process. The possibility of being killed was obviously high. Wolcheon of the past had handed over the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade out of desperation. He had done so it hide it from someone. Probably, it was highly likely that his death was also related to the original copy of the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. That’s why I needed to take even more care in approaching the topic.
‘Successor. I should be able to learn if I were to become his successor.’
I was still uncertain as to what the Stigma Tournament was. But I knew that the Rakshasa were looking for ‘successors’ through that tournament. Wolcheon…hadn’t he said this also? That he would ‘consider it if there is anyone to his liking’. If he selected me as his successor, perhaps…I may come to learn the mind art which matches the Heartless Soul Stealer Blade. Or else I might find even a small clue related to it.
I continued to bury myself in books. The books remaining were aplenty. Perhaps there were parts that I had overlooked. Also, all the martial arts here were what became the ‘foundation’ to other Yaksha or Rakshasa. This meant that if I absorbed and understood all the martial arts of this place, it should become much easier when facing other Yaksha. At the same time I ruminated on the things I had learnt, and discovered the things which I had to learn from now on. I organized the things I had to learn without fail and saved it in the storage of my mind.
‘Hundred-step Ghost Fist, Vajra Body. I should make sure to learn these two.’
The inside of my mouth was dry, my eyes were thoroughly bloodshot, but I didn’t mind. Who knew when an opportunity like this would come again. I was using my time in a most significant way.
“Look look. He’s come out.”
“Scholar-nim has finally stepped out of the library.”
“So he’s the Yaksha who finished the Ritual of Ascension? I should have a look at his skills.”
All the attention of the Yaksha was gathered to one place in the sparring hall. Hansung Oh…the center of all rumours, the Yaksha who had passed the Ritual of Ascension! He stood before a rank 3 white monkey. A rank 3 was the lowest rank in the sparring hall, the basic level at which any Yaksha who had passed the Warrior’s Ritual could deal with.
“Pfft haha! What, is he playing around?”
“Look at him tripping over himself. Is that what he calls the Hundred-step Ghost Fist?”
“Drunken fist, more like!”
But his performance was pathetic. Each and every one of the Yaksha laughed in derision and clicked their tongues. His footwork was foul for a start, and he wasn’t even capable of dealing with a single rank 3 white monkey. He only earned a beating, far from even striking back, so for the Yaksha, who revered strength, it was only natural for them to laugh in ridicule. Had the rumours been exaggerated? Or perhaps it turned out that the Ritual of Ascension wasn’t much for the mere likes of that Yaksha to pass it.
“Hwarin. Look look. It’s so funny.”
“Kukuk! There’s no way he’s doing that on purpose to make us laugh, is he?”
But among them there was one Yaksha with no interest in the spectacle. The Yakshi with crimson long hair called Hwarin Gu took one look at him before whipping her head around to say,
“I’ve no interest in weaklings.”
Another chapter is out, click next chap:)