I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

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I Became the Youngest Disciple of the Martial God

[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

 

Chapter 22

“Damage it?”

“Breaking it will be too difficult for you, so damage it. Bend it or even make it crack. I’ll let you go if you do.”

“...”

Calzark looked at our expressions and smiled.

“Why? Do you think it’s too easy? Then go ahead, try it.”

Arzan looked at me as if to ask for my consent.

Despite her still-expressionless face, I sensed she was strangely motivated; she probably didn’t want to remain here for half a year either.

“Try it.”

“...Excuse me.”

Arzan laid the scale down on the ground, then took a dagger from her sleeve.

I still didn’t understand how she was able to store that dagger in that sleeve.

Arzan glared at the scale like it was her sworn enemy before striking down toward it with the dagger in a two-handed grip.

Clang!

It sounded like she hit a sheet of metal, and Arzan seemed to nearly lose control of her dagger. If her form had been off even a little bit, her wrist might have broken.

“This...”

Calzark turned his head to look at the scale, which had been deflected to the side.

“I’ll tell you now, its current scales are much stronger than this. It’s been a while since this scale fell from that snake bastard’s body.”

“...”

“But you, who can’t even destroy a single one of the gem beast’s scales, what...? You want to kill it in three days? Don’t make me laugh.”

Arzan shut her mouth. Her face was still expressionless, but she seemed a little down.

Her lips were quivering slightly like she wanted to get back at him.

Calzark told us, “Now that you understand the situation...”

I picked up the scale and spoke before he could continue.

“So I just need to destroy this?”

“...Were you even listening to me?”

“I was.”

I looked down at the scale for a second. I could feel my hand holding the scale getting a little cold.

The scale itself was emanating yin ki.

If this scale had been separated from the body for a while as Calzark said yet was still emitting this much cold energy... actually fighting the snake might feel like fighting a snowstorm.

So that’s why Osel prepared such a poison...

In that case...

The one holding the key to defeating the Sapphire Snake might not be Calzark... but me.

“Sure. Try it. What weapon are you going to use? Should I lend you my sword?”

“It’s fine.” 

I flicked the scale into the air and caught it like a coin again and again.

Calzark crossed his arms—well, he moved his one arm like he was crossing it with another, which looked pretty funny—as he looked at me.

After I’d flicked the scale into the air maybe five times, I threw it high up.

Ting.

While the scale was flying up, I took my stance.

I had gained an understanding of its texture after touching it a few times, and I had learned how strong it was as well.

Naturally, I tried to figure out the best technique to attack that scale, that gem beast, that Sapphire Snake.

As the scale fell before my eyes, I pushed the fire ki within my body into my fist.

 

White Sun Form, Sixth Technique.

Falling Flame.

 

Crunch!

With the sound of cracking ice, the scale scattered to the side.

The aftereffects were destructive, but thankfully, both Arzan and Calzark were strong. They were able to dodge or block the fragments of the shattered scale.

“Sorry.”

“...”

“...”

Even with my apology, the silence didn’t break easily. Calzark and Arzan were both looking at me with similar expressions.

I don’t know if this is the right comparison, but they look like they just saw a tap-dancing dog.

It might sound a little cocky, but I’d expected the two of them to be surprised, so I gave them a moment to catch up.

The first one to snap out of it was Calzark. 

He seemed quite conflicted as he stomped toward me.

“That, just now,” he stated. “It’s a martial art with multiple forms.”

“That’s right.”

“Who did you learn it from?”

“I made it myself.”

At that, Calzark’s brow furrowed.

“Don’t lie to me. There wasn’t just a few years of essence within your movement. It held the essence of a master who’d spent their entire life polishing their martial art.”

As expected of the Instructor of Swords and Blades; his insight was incomparable even compared to Kayan.

However, since I couldn’t actually tell him the truth right now, I just pushed on.

“It really was made by me. But I referenced a lot of books.”

Calzark silently stared at me with suspicion in his eyes, but he wouldn’t be able to learn anything just from looking at me.

Honestly, I didn’t have anything to feel guilty about either. It wasn’t completely wrong to say that I made it, and it wasn’t like he’d find anything even if he tried to look into my past later.

“But... No, since you’re Dellark’s son...”

Calzark groaned as he thought to himself, but then he suddenly raised his head.

“Kid.”

“Yes?”

He was looking straight at me. He wasn’t going to not accept my answer, was he?

While I was thinking this, Calzark said something unexpected.

“You, become my disciple.”

Arzan had a shocked expression on her face.

“Uh, no.”

Now, Arzan looked even more shocked.

***

The obsession that the family head of Bednicker—the Lord of Blood and Iron—had with bloodline was beyond imagination.

To be exact, he was obsessed with his children.

 

—Possibility is latent in one’s blood.

 

Such words were so symbolic of the Lord of Blood and Iron that even people within The Empire knew about it.

He was more serious about nurturing his children than anyone else, and if he could see even a sprout of possibility, he didn’t hesitate to give them all the support they needed.

They would be given all sorts of mystic elixirs, they would consume potions like food, and they would inherit the great swords stored within the house.

In pursuit of growth, they would receive excessive treatment comparable to a royal.

However, there was one exception. No matter how much the Lord of Blood and Iron cared for his children, there was one thing that he could not provide for them.

He could not teach them.

When people spoke of the strongest beings within The Empire, they naturally talked about the skills of the Lord of Blood and Iron.

Of course, children look up to their parents the most, and they desperately desire to receive even a word of advice from their father. 

But this was physically impossible.

* * * * *

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[Translator –  Jreaming]

[Proofreader – Gorm]

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The Lord of Blood and Iron was the best demon hunter in The Empire, the sword of the imperial palace, and the executive of the Great Houses on top of being the family head of House Bednicker.

His work would be difficult enough even if he had two bodies, so he didn’t have the time to overlook the training of his precious children.

That was why the Lord of Blood and Iron personally traveled around The Empire.

He was personally inviting those who could teach his children. That was how the role of “grand master” had been created within Bednicker.

A total of ten grand masters, each a master of a different category of study.

From masters of the sword, spear, ax, bow, and other weapons, to scholars who taught manners, culture, and history. There were even masters at the peak of theology, spiritcraft, and the arcane arts.

All these individuals were at the peak of their craft, and they had all been personally recruited by the Lord of Blood and Iron.

Among all these masters, the children of the Lord of Blood and Iron were most interested in the Instructor of Swords and Blades.

Calzark knew this as well. It was only natural, after all; the weapon of choice of the Lord of Blood and Iron, the family head, was a sword.

For the children who mostly looked up to the family head, it was natural that they would show the most interest toward the Instructor of Swords and Blades—Calzark himself.

That was why Calzark was so confused by this situation.

What the hell is this kid?

What did this kid just say to him?

 

—Uh, no.

 

That was what he’d thought he heard. And since his ears still worked, he hadn’t heard wrong.

So Calzark thought about other possibilities.

“Did you say the wrong thing? That’s natural. I’ll be nice and ask you again. Kid, do you wish to become the disciple of the Instructor of Swords and—”

“No.”

Calzark’s jaw dropped.

***

Even at the sight of Calzark’s shocked expression, my decision did not change.

“You...” Calzark said after suddenly regaining his mind, “don’t you understand just how precious of an opportunity this is? Or do you think I’m lying to you? Aha, now I get it. You’re doing this because you think I won’t follow up on my words later, right? Hey, I’m not such an underhanded bastard. I never go back on my word.”

“Really?”

“Really! So think hard about it one more time...”

“I’m fine.”

“...Hah. Hahaha.”

Calzark laughed like he had lost his mind. But then, as if his target had changed, he turned to Arzan.

“Hey, your young master here seems to be out of his mind. Do you have anything to say as his butler?”

Arzan took a moment to think before looking at me and speaking in her characteristically calm voice.

“Young master, this is a great opportunity. Forming a master-disciple relationship with the Instructor of Swords and Blades doesn’t just mean you’ll receive his martial arts. If you receive the recognition of the grand master, the way the elders look at you will change, and before long, the news will reach the ears of the family head as well. At the very least, this could be the first step in changing your poor image.”

“...That argument is a bit too political, but good enough.”

Calzark gave Arzan a thumbs-up before looking at me.

This old man, whose beard was long enough to touch his collarbone, was looking at me with such sparkling eyes. It wasn’t a good look.

But she’s not wrong.

I knew what Arzan was talking about. Beyond even everything she’d just explained to me, there were a lot of benefits to taking Calzark as my master.

“I’m still fine,” I said.

I wasn’t refusing this opportunity because I was stupid.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure why I was being so rigid about this either.

But after thinking about it for a second, the reason became obvious: I didn’t want to take another master when I already had the Strongest Under the Heavens, Baek Nogwang.

“No, but—”

“Let’s end the disciple talk there. Since I broke the scale, you agree to my schedule, right?”

Calzark paused for a moment. Then, still looking a little displeased, he spoke.

“Even if you did, Arzan wasn’t able to break it.”

“She’s hiding her strength, so it’s fine.”

Calzark probably understood this better than me.

They’d had that conversation before I woke up, after all. I assumed it was related to her.

As expected, Calzark hesitated for a second before letting out a sigh.

“...There’s no point trying to repeat something to a son of Dellark. It’s not my problem whether you live or die.”

“I won’t die.” I smirked. “Let’s go together, Senior.”

***

Three days was the ideal timeframe I came to after thinking about a lot of factors and situations.

Not just considering the condition of my allies but also the remaining food, the information we had, and even the time it would take for us to get to the main house.

“This is blindingly delicious. Any more?” asked Calzark.

“Oh ho. You need to eat them sparingly,” I replied.

Calzark had become addicted to the jerky.

I’d been wondering how he’d sustained himself in here, but evidently he’d been drinking the water that leaked out of the cracks and eating moss and the occasional bat that came into the cave.

With that in mind, it was understandable that a hard chunk of meat jerky was like a feast to him.

After the short meal ended, I heard about the gem beast—the Sapphire Snake—from Calzark.

“Did you know that there are ranks amongst gem beasts?”

“Yes. I heard that the ones the family head killed were mid-to-low rank.”

Calzark nodded.

“That’s right. And the Sapphire Snake is definitely a high-rank gem beast. You can tell just by its size.”

Calzark took a sharp rock and scratched a drawing of the snake on the wall.

“Mass. This is an important factor in combat. Even a snail becomes a disaster at that size, but it’s a snake on top of everything else. It’s uncharacteristically crafty for its size.”

“Hm.”

“A direct confrontation is suicide. That’s why I was observing it for so long, and in the fight before our last...”

Calzark’s snake drawing was more impressive than I’d expected, and he was drawing pretty well with just his left hand. Just judging by this drawing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d always been left-handed. 

“...I found it’s weakness!”

Calzark cracked the stone on a particular spot on the snake drawing.

Crack!

“It has a flipped scale under its chin. That is its weak point.”

A flipped scale.

I thought about the imugi I once killed on Spirit Mountain.

“...Reverse scale.”

“Did you say something?”

“No.”

Calzark habitually stroked his beard before looking into the air as if reminiscing.

“While we were fighting chaotically, I ended up tapping that scale. It thrashed around like it had been kicked in the balls.”

Arzan suddenly clenched her fist.

So, she liked jokes like that? That was surprising.

“If I’d struck it deeper, it would’ve been a fatal injury.”

“So even though hitting it there might not instantly kill the Sapphire Snake, it will turn the tide of the battle in our favor?”

“That’s right. The strategy is to silently approach it while it’s sleeping and strike its weak spot before the fight starts.”

Calzark looked a little embarrassed.

“Honestly, there have been a few opportunities during my stay here, but I am terrible at moving silently.”

This was true for me as well. Hiding my presence wasn’t my specialty.

My gaze naturally turned to Arzan.

Calzark, who probably knew more about her than I did, also turned to look at her.

Arzan immediately recognized her role.

“Then I’ll take on that mission.”

“Will it be fine?”

“Yes.”

“All right.”

After that, Calzark shared a few more points that I needed to be careful about.

I’d been worried that maybe he was forcing himself to go along with my schedule, but upon hearing his passionate explanation, I realized those worries had been unfounded.

In truth, Calzark was much more serious about hunting this gem beast than either Arzan or I.

After the explanation ended, I exercised, trained, ate, slept, and talked with Arzan.

Of course, there was an annoying thing as well.

“Hey, are you really not going to be my disciple?”

“...”

When he saw me training, Calzark started to be annoying again.

When I’d refused him on the first day, I had still tried to maintain a level of respect for him, but his continued yapping since then was causing my patience to hit rock bottom.

“If you have nothing to do here, please go away. Let me train alone.”

After sending him away as if he were a peddler, Calzark shouted, “You rude bastard! Fine!” and left.

But he soon returned to say the same thing.

Honestly, chasing Calzark away was more tiring than my actual training.

As these chaotic encounters continued, three days passed in an instant.

“...Are you ready?”

“Yes.”

“Let’s go.”

“All right.”

Crack.

As Calzark stretched his neck joints, he mumbled to himself, “...After this is over, let’s eat some snake meat.”

The day of the snake hunt was upon us.

 

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