All the cadets were dismissed from the training ground right after the second test. They were light-footed as they were the ones who had passed the test. Contrary to their expectations of hearing the details about the third test, Lee Hameng, the Left Guardian and the Chief of the Demonic Academy, gave them a vacation.
“I applaud each and every one of you for passing the second test. You will be given three days of rest.”
All students rejoiced with a shout. The past three weeks had been busy for them. These three vacation days was for the students so they could take the time to recover, but it was also for instructors who needed rest.
At the office on the first floor of the main building, there was a long meeting table with piles of documents which the instructors were shifting through. Someone came up to Lee Hameng with a pile of organized documents.
“This is the evaluation and information regarding the failed cadets through the fifth group.”
Lee Hameng recieved the documents and flipped through the pages as he shook his head.
“We have a lot of failed cadets.”
“Are you talking about ones from the high-ranked clans?”
“Yeah, they lost a good chance.”
Hameng continued looking through the documents. There were a lot of individuals who would have passed easily if it wasn’t for the group testing. Even Chun Wonryou who was one of the candidates to the throne was included.
“Well, isn’t that why we’re here to do this work?”
“Haha, yeah. That’s true.”
The Demonic Academy was open for once every ten years for four years only. The academy was strictly based on competition and gave no second chances to the failed students or talented individuals. This had been an issue with various families, and after through meetings, a reasonable amount of compensation was created.
“If we strictly base everything off the original rules of the academy, we wouldn’t be doing this.”
“Yeah, but you will be hearing all those complaints from the various clans.”
The compensation was to give a fair evaluation to the invidiuals and give them proper ranks and jobs that suited their skills. Failing the second test meant that no one would be a third-grade warrior, but that was deemed to be a waste of talented individuals. Therefore, it was changed.
But why was it not announced earlier? That was because of the academy’s talent-based system. If the students found out that they would be given a fair evaluation and title worth getting even if they failed, why would they risk their lives in the competition?
The students who failed were missing out on the Black Dragon Balls and access to the libraries, but the compensation was acceptable.
“Hmph. By the way, they should be crawling over to the library by now.”
Hameng thought as he stretched for a break. And as he had guessed, the entrance to the library was crowded with over hundreds of students trying to get in.
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‘There are a lot of them.’
Most were here to go up to the second floor, and Chun Yeowun was one of them. There were more at first, but half of them returned to the dorm to try another time.
‘I’ll be going to the first floor anyway.’
It was Yeowun’s first visit to the library. Most of the cadets had already used their time on the first floor, but Yeowun had used that time to do a simulation with Nano. The choice to do so was also partly because of Submeng’s advice.
‘Concentrate on learning my blade and breathing skills until you get to the second stage. That will increase your chances of moving on.’
‘Of course, Teacher. But shouldn’t I visit the library too?’
‘No. You have learned martial arts that would be on the fourth or fifth floor of the library, so don’t waste your time delving into the ones on the first floor.’
He had a point. The Butterfly Blade Dance and Breathing of Thousand Martials were some of the best martial arts placed in the upper floors of the library. Chun Yeowun heeded the advice and focused on training his skills. When he got the three-day vacation, he decided to visit the first and second floor of the library.
That was the time limit given for the first floor. It was a very short amount of time to look through books, but it didn’t matter to Yeowun.
‘I’ll scan as many as I can.’
His goal was to scan as many as he could within the time limit. The library was shaped like a tower, and each higher floor had less space. There were no windows and the only entrance was from the entrance on the first floor.
‘I should give up on trying to sneak in.’
Chun Yeowun was shocked to see this. The library had one of the top security measures throughout the entire Demonic Cult castle.
“Hey, get in line!”
All the cadets lined up to write their names, and they each received two red candles. One of them had a line which showed how many hours they had spent. One of the candles was placed at the entrance, and the other was for cadet to carry around to keep track of time.
“What? One and a half hours?”
“Why is it so short?!”
Some cadets were sighing at the entrance. It seemed like the time given for the second floor wasn’t that long either. And then it was Chun Yeowun’s turn to enter.
“No, sir. First floor.”
“What? You didn’t visit the first floor yet?”
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The instructor looked at Yeowun suspiciously and flipped through the book that recorded all the entrances to the first floor to check if Yeowun’s name was there.
He became curious as to why Yeowun had not visited the first floor yet, but it didn’t matter to him so he placed him on the last page of the booklet and said, “Write your name down there.”
Yeowun then received two candles. His candles were shorter than the candles that the other cadets going to the second floor received.
“You will be allowed one hour. If you go over the limit, you will be dragged out and punished. Make sure you check the time.”
“Yes, sir,” Yeowun answered casually and entered the library. A guard at the entrance gave him a box with a handle so that Yeowun could put the candle inside. This was to protect the books from accidental fire. As he walked in, he saw entire walls covered with bookshelves full of books. In addition, there were bookshelves all over the place. The many rows made it hard to count how many books there were.
Yeowun was astonished. He had never seen so many books in his life. He then quickly went over and took out the first book he saw. The cover of the book said: Sword of Five Martials.
‘I don’t have time.’
The first floor had less important books, but it was better to know more than nothing. Since all the cadets were on the second floor, it was good for Yeowun to concentrate alone.
‘Nano, I’ll look through pages. Scan all of them.’
Yeowun then began flipping through the books. It only took him about a minute to go through the entire book.
He then continued looking through any book he could find and went on to read any book he could get his hands on. Nano kept telling him whenever the scan was complete. Once Yeowun was able to scan over fifty-five books, his pace became faster. He then moved toward the middle of the floor to look at the books in the middle.
At the center of the library, there was a giant stone monument that glowed faintly in blue. Next to it was a middle-aged man with a long beard sitting on a chair. It seemed like he was the guard who watched over the first floor.
‘What’s with this stone?’
As he walked past it with a curious look, the middle-aged man looked at Yeowun’s tag and spoke to him.
“This was left by our founding father, Chun Ma.”
Yeowun became intrigued after knowing the secret behind this blue glowing stone. The man then got up from his seat and added, “It was created with blue pearl stone.”
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Blue pearl stone was stronger than any other type of stone as it was hard to even scratch without proper internal energy. There was also a poem written on the stone which looked like it had been engraved by a finger.
“Was this written by hand?”
“Isn’t it amazing? We can’t do this with our swords, but Father Chun Ma did it with his finger.”
Even the most powerful warrior would say that it was impossible to leave such an engraving on blue pearl stone.
“Most are too busy looking at the books that they miss out on seeing this, but you seem to recognize your ancestor’s greatest achievement.”
“I almost missed it too.”
The man grinned at his words.
“Yes, but it is only natural. Who would care about a mere stone that was left by a person in ancient times when you are busy digging through books?”
He had guarded this place for twenty years but he never saw anyone who took a good look at the stone. It was same for even those who had the blood of Chun.
“Well, I took too much of your time. Go on with your business.”
“Thank you, sir.”
They only talked for less than a minute, so Yeowun smiled and walked past him toward the opposite side of the stone. He couldn’t scan the books when the man was watching him, so he glanced back at the stone that his ancestor had supposedly put there. He then noticed that the stone had sharp scars. It seemed like it had been done to cover something up.
Yeowun then walked closer to check the marks. It seemed like it had been made with sharp weapons.
‘Nano, analyze these.’
[Scanning the surface of the blue pearl stone.]
Nano began to analyze the surface through Yeowun’s eyes. Soon, Nano finished the analysis.
[Complete. It is a mark left by a sharp sword.]
“A sword mark?”
Yeowun was surprised. Who would have done such a thing on the stone that was left by the founding father of the cult? Nano then added some additional commentary.
[After further analysis, it seems that the marks were left by two different entities.]
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