The next day at dawn
Chung Myung stretched his body.
His dantian, which used to be small and feeble, was now in a period of noticeable growth. The energy which accumulated had grown to be clearly recognizable.
With every breath he took, Chung Myung could feel his energy resonate and purify his body.
Bright and clean energy.
Even Chung Myung was taken aback; despite having lived for decades, he had never witnessed such a clean and transparent energy before. His dantian was now accumulating this energy. Although the size was limited and wielding enormous strength would be difficult, with time, more power would accrue, and he would be able to reach new heights he had never reached before.
"…How long will it take?"
After cultivating, Chung Myung's face distorted.
In order to reach his former peak and even exceed it, he needed time. Mount Hua was facing its doom now; would it wait for him to gain power?
Chung Myung pushed aside and suppressed his anger as he analyzed the situation.
'Let's get this straight.'
The problems in Mount Hua are innumerable. If he had to pick one out, Chung Myung wouldn't be able to decide which was most important. However, there were three things he knew.
"No money, no martial arts, and no talent."
So, what is wrong?
Any one of these issues was bad enough, but when they were all piled on top of each other, he could feel his stomach curling in on itself.
What was the biggest problem?
Chung Myung simplified it.
Money could be earned, and he has a wealth of martial arts knowledge that could be taught naturally.
'So, where do we get talented youth?'
Talent wasn't something Chung Myung could influence.
He couldn't just go out and kidnap talented kids to save Mount Hua. And finding out who was talented and who wasn't simply by looking at them was impossible.
If so, he would have to go for the children of prestigious families.
'So, I need to make use of them.'
Chung Myung clenched his fists.
What would change even if he blamed himself? He had no choice but to make the best of what was available to him.
It was clear that the people here weren't very good, and there was a shortage of teaching staff. But, if the people here are deficient, they must be taught, and if they are broken, they must be fixed.
"Of course, I never took in a disciple."
Old memories came to his mind.
When he was old enough to accept a disciple, Sahyung asked.
-Now is the time to take in a disciple. How do you plan on teaching your disciples?
-Do you even need to ask?
-What do you mean?
-Spare the rod, spoil the child. Should they make a mistake, they will be beaten. Even dogs will walk on their hind legs if trained to do so. I assume humans can't be too different, right?
-…let's talk again later.
After that, Sahyung never brought up him taking on a disciple again.
"I never expected to receive so many disciples at once."
Chung Myung's lips curled into a smile. If anyone had seen that, they would surely think of it as a wicked smile.
"… I am sleepy."
"Why do we need to gather at dawn?"
"Great Sahyung. Isn't this too much?"
Yoon Jong closed his eyes.
'Just be quiet, will you! You bastards.'
The rules of Mount Hua are relatively strict, but the children weren't yet forced to give up on worldly affairs. They are children from families that control their own regions, even if they are not from famous families. As a result, they can't stand being inconvenienced and aren't used to being patient.
Even though it had only been half a day since they had been beaten, they still let loose with their complaints.
Yoon Jong lifted his head and looked at Jo Gul. At least Jo Gul kept silent in this situation.
It wasn't that the others didn't understand the situation. Despite complaining, everyone did come over here as requested.
Yoon Jong stared at the dorms.
'Where did that monster even come from?'
Chung Myung wielded a broken chair leg with a demon-like appearance, defeating over 30 kids in an instant.
When he thought about it, chills passed through his body.
"… but who the hell is he?"
They were words that expressed everyone's feelings.
"As if I could know."
"There were more than 30 people. Is it even possible for the seniors to control a crowd like that?"
I don't know
But what was certain was that even the great disciples wouldn't be able to imitate what that monster did.
"That kid only joined us yesterday. He must have learned martial arts somewhere else already, right?"
"haaa, anyway. Does it make sense to be here without even having anything to eat?"
Everyone was confused.
Even Yoon Jong, who was older and lived longest in Mount Hua, couldn't figure it out, but he knew that something was up.
"Is he going to hit us again?"
It wasn't known who said it, but everyone went stiff upon hearing those words.
"Is that possible?"
"It could be that he wants us to remember last night's embarrassment…"
"What if we fail?"
Worry spread among the crowd. Everyone turned their heads. Jo Gul, who was standing there, spoke.
"If you all don't want to be hit again, then just stay quiet and follow what he says."
"… sahyung Jo Gul"
Jo Gul was known to have the best skills among the disciples, and even he was shaking.
Get hit again?
Get hit and end up stuck in the ceiling? Jo Gul was confident in his skills. But even he couldn't compare to this monster despite being called a genius in Mount Hua.
In the end, martial arts are something people learn. Even without sufficient teaching and good martial arts, he was confident that he could even stand toe to toe with the genius disciples of the most prestigious sects.
However, that confidence flew away after just one punch struck his jaw.
"Then, why were we asked to gather here?"
The disciples tilted their heads, looking at the strange tools ahead of them.
"Right, how do you use these?"
Long wooden rods and then a sturdy pouch, large enough to fit a person's head, filled with something and…
"Why prepare pebbles and sand pouches?"
"Do I look like I know?"
As everyone was groaning, the door swung open.
All the clamoring mouths went silent at once and looked at the person. Chung Myung slowly walked out.
But on his face, the annoyance was evident.
'Why does he look bothered!'
'If you are so bothered, don't gather us like this!'
Chung Myung stopped and then looked around as he asked.
"Is everyone here?"
"Keep quiet or the Sasuks will wake up."
Chung Myung stretched his neck and then said.
"Well, we are going to be living together for the foreseeable future. Though I don't know how it will turn out, maybe we would even end up spending the rest of our lives together."
'I will go home even if that means death!'
'I'll make it down. I'll make it down the mountain at any cost!'
Even those who had decided to live and die with the Mount Hua sect had second thoughts upon hearing those words.
"But in my opinion…"
Chung Myung smiled.
"You people are too weak."
The most insulting and disgraceful word to those who walk the path of martial arts is "weak." Even if they were only here from merchant families to build a name for themselves, it was painful to take such an insult to their faces.
The problem was that they couldn't object to it.
These were the words of a person who beat 30 people at once without being hit. No one could deny it.
"Well, even I agree that martial arts aren't everything in life. But, you all chose to study and learn as Mount Hua sect members. Then, you should aim to be as strong as you can be, right?"
"So, starting from today, you will practice with me every morning. It's nice, right?"
As if that would be nice!
Someone raised their hand when they saw Chung Myung's shameless attitude.
"What is it?"
"Do we have to do this?"
Chung Myung looked at the one who asked the question with a bitter gaze and then turned to Yoon Jong.
Yoon Jong who looked at Chung Myung flinched as he said.
"It's…because not everyone was there at that time…"
There were people who didn't get hit.
Some didn't participate in that bullying. Even if word of what happened had spread, not many would believe that and step back, right?
"You don't want too then?"
"You seem like a newcomer, so why are you talking all this nonsense? No matter what, you should at least mind your manners."
Chung Myung nodded at those words.
"Yes. A person must be polite. In that sense, those who have no intention of becoming strong or training. Raise your hand!"
If a hundred people gather, there will be at least one or two who don't care, and as those one or two hands come up, others will start to raise.
Roughly a dozen or so.
"Right, right. Martial arts aren't everything. Come on, let's go inside."
"Can we go?"
The faces of Jo Gul and Yoon Jong went pale at those words.
'You idiots! 'Let's go' is different from 'you go'!'
'They are walking into a hell of their own making!'
The children, unaware of their situation, smiled brightly and entered the dorms. And Chung Myung followed them with a smile.
The door was neatly closed behind them.
No one dared to open their mouths as they looked at the dorm.
Contrarily, there were no screams either.
Yoon Jong looked at the dorm. The entire building was swaying slightly, and it was obvious what was happening inside.
A short time passed.
The door opened.
And from the inside, the kids sprinted out with their might as if they had seen a ghost. And then came over and took their positions.
Chung Myung, who came out, began to speak once more.
"Who among you doesn't want to practice?"
"Be quiet! Others will wake up."
Chung Myung clapped once and began to move.
"I, as an instructor, like to make people strong. The future of Mount Hua is bright! I will do everything I can to make you stronger."
"Now, let's begin."
Seeing the sun rising in the distance. Yoon Jong tightly closed his eyes.
The future of Mount Hua was bright, but their future seemed bleak.
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