Chapter 24. The Young Lord of The Heavenly Demon Church
Gongson Chun Gi stared up at the sky, and muttered.
[This one will go get a coat as fast as I can.]
“Don’t. It would just be a waste of time.”
After saying that, Gongson Chun Gi began to walk amongst the silver slivers of water mindlessly. Not even the rain from the sky could wet him.
There was an invisible shell that surrounded his entire body. A person that surpassed human limits. That was the pope of the Heavenly Demon Church, Gongson Chun Gi.
[Yes, your holiness.]
“You’ll have to stay outside. No need to have you get shamed.”
Gyum couldn’t really believe the pope’s words, but who was he to disobey? Lim Hak Gyum hid himself behind a pillar, and stationed himself there. Then, Gongson Chun Gi massaged his shoulders and spoke.
“If I just walk out later without a word, just follow me and don’t ask any questions.”
“Damn it, to think just getting a disciple would be this hard.”
After complaining in a small voice, Gongson Chun Gi opened the door and entered.
“You waited for me?”
Looking at all this from the back, Lim Hak Gyum smiled. His holiness always looked outgoing and relaxed.
But it seemed that when it came to mental stress people had with disciples, he was the same as everyone. This was something unfamiliar, but it was something good to see. Lim Hak Gyum always looked at Gongson Chun Gi with reverence and respect.
* * *
“That’s it? There aren’t any other conditions?”
“That’s not very bad. Well, we’ll go with what you want.”
Cho Ryu Hyang was getting confused, because the pope agreed to this too quickly.
The Pope had an unflustered reaction. Cho Ryu Hyang put away all the plans he had in mind to persuade the pope, and stayed quiet for a while. Soon, he asked a question.
“Just what is it that you like about me?”
Gongson Chun Gi smirked at Cho Ryu Hyang’s question.
“What? You want me to confess my love to you, now? That’s embarrassing.”
Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t react to Gongson Chun Gi’s joke, and kept a straight face. That was because he couldn’t really understand this whole situation.
The Pope looked like he would agree to any condition as long as Cho Ryu Hyang became his disciple.
It wasn’t very believable.
‘No one ever does anything for someone that much without a motive.’
No, something like that did indeed happen. The love a parent shows to their child. Cho Ryu Hyang believed that nothing in the world was free, other than that.
“You weren’t very attractive to me in the beginning. But once I realized your true value, I changed my mind.”
Gongson Chun Gi stopped there. He then spoke with a serious face.
“Anyways, you were truthful about becoming my disciple?”
It was the truth.
The Pope of the Heavenly Demon Church. This was a chance to become the heir to the church. It would be a lie if Cho Ryu Hyang said he wasn’t tempted to become the heir.
“I’ll give you one last chance. If you don’t want to do this, now’s the time to run.”
Cho Ryu Hyang looked at Gongson Chun Gi. Unlike what he had said earlier, Gongson Chun Gi’s eyes looked quite shaken. The man was regretting what he said just now quite a lot, it seemed.
Cho Ryu Hyang smiled when he saw that.
“I will never run. Neither now nor the future.”
Gongson Chun Gi took a look at Cho Ryu Hyang’s face, and made an embarrassed face/
“……..Did I look anxious, by any chance?”
Cho Ryu Hyang stared at the complaining man in front of him.
He didn’t know if the Pope was acting all this out or not, but the Pope’s reactions still eased his mind a little.
“Hey, promise me something.”
“The moment you go out, you’ll be my disciple. That means that you’ll have to start thinking highly of yourself.”
What does that mean?
“You asked me earlier, right? What I liked about you?”
“To be honest, I was ready to agree to any condition that you’d throw at me. That’s how much you’re worth.”
Wasn’t the hope thinking too highly of Cho Ryu Hyang? The boy made an embarrassed face when a compliment came at him.
“You heard the rumors about me in the martial world, correct?”
The strongest man under the heavens.
And the living god of the Heavenly Demon Church.
The rumors in the martial world hinted that the Pope was actually a being that resided in the heavens.
“This is a secret, but I’m actually even more amazing than the rumors. I am indeed worthy of your respect.”
It was an extremely shameless and a brazen statement, but strangely, it didn’t seem that out of place when the Pope said it.
While Cho Ryu Hyang showed a bit of a dumb face because of the previous statement. Gongson Chun Gi grabbed onto Cho Ryu Hyang’s shoulders, and spoke.
“A great person like me chose you. So it’s ok for you to be a little prideful.”
Did the Pope want to say that? Cho Ryu Hyang smiled, and nodded.
When Gongson Chun Gi saw that, he made a serious face and spoke.
“I’m not telling you this to make you feel good. Keep this in your mind. You’re a person that I recognized. So don’t go bowing down to anyone other than me. No, don’t bow down, even to me. Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Cho Ryu Hyang, at that moment, had to redetermine his impression of the Pope. The Pope wasn’t just a shameless person. He was prideful and ambitious, which was what made him say that.
Cho Ryu Hyang felt something right then. It was a feeling that implied that perhaps he might actually come to respect the person in front of him someday.
Cho Ryu Hyang stared into Gongson Chun Gi’s eyes, and spoke.
“I’ll keep teacher’s words in mind.”
After hearing that, the stiff face of the Pope turned into a grin.
“I wanted to hear that.”
Gongson Chun Gi pat the boy’s back, and spoke.
“Congratulations on becoming my disciple.”
“Thank you. Teacher.”
“The proper ceremony will take place once we get to the main church, but you will be regarded as a heir to the church from now on. Because of that, you’ll be treated accordingly.”
Be treated accordingly? What did that exactly mean?
When Cho Ryu Hyang made a curious face, Gongson Chun Gi grinned.
“You’ll see soon enough.”
It took Cho Ryu Hyang less than an hour till he understood what the Pope meant.
* * *
Gongson Chun Gi looked at the figure outside the door, and smirked.
That was because Guardian Ju was standing next to Lim Hak Gyum with an anxious face.
Guardian Ju rushed out the moment Gongson Chun Gi walked out the door.
“Is that boy……. No, is he your Holiness’s disciple?”
“Yes. He’s my disciple.”
Leaving Guardian Ju, who had an ecstatic expression on his face, behind, Gongson Chun Gi began thinking about something else entirely.
‘This is the start.’
What should he teach his disciple? It seemed that the boy didn’t know a single thing about martial arts……. Gongson Chun Gi began to list out all the martial arts that he knew in his brain.
Guardian Ju came to his senses at that point. After looking at the cabin next to him for a moment, he slipped away. He had to be somewhere else.
* * *
“Young lord, this is Um Seung Do.”
“Yes, please come in.”
The door opened, and Um Seung Do walked in respectfully. The moment he saw Cho Ryu Hyang, he dropped down onto his knees.
When Cho Ryu Hyang widened his eyes in surprise, Um Seung Do spoke.
“I heard that you became the heir of the church.”
Rumors spread fast, it seemed. When Cho Ryu Hyang thought that, Um Seung Do bowed down to Cho Ryu Hyang.
“Please forgive this one’s crimes up till now, young lord!”
How should he respond to this? While Cho Ryu Hyang was acting a bit troubled over this, Um Seung Do began to talk with a determined face.
“If you want, I will pay for it with my life.”
Cho Ryu Hyang slowly opened his mouth when he saw that Um Seung Do was actually prepared to take his own life.
“……..I really can’t get used to this.”
Was this the so-called way of the martial artists? It was true that Cho Ryu Hyang didn’t really know what he should do when he looked at Um Sung Do. He thought that he would just have to get used to it, but it seemed that that wouldn’t really work out.
What should he do, then? Honestly, he didn’t really have to think of anything. There was an easy solution to all this.
Cho Ryu Hyang sighed, and opened his mouth.
“I’ll forget about everything that happened before. So you can stop. Please stand.”
Um Seung Do didn’t even twitch.
He seemed immovable.
Just what did he not like?
When Cho Ryu Hyang was about to ask that question, Um Seung Do spoke.
“You can act as you want, young lord.”
“There is no need to act politely to any of us in the future. There is no need to ask us to do anything. Just command us. You have the right to do that.”
Cho Ryu Hyang closed his mouth. When he heard Um Seung Do’s words, he realized just what kind of a choice he had made a while ago.
The heir to the church.
It was one of the biggest positions one could get in the martial world.
Cho Ryu Hyang, who was in a dazed state for a brief moment, looked at Um Seung Do, who was still bowing at him, with a complicated face. He slowly opened his mouth.
“You may……. stand.”
To think commanding someone would be this awkward.
Um Seung Do stood up with frightening speed. And spoke.
“Is there anything else the young lord would like?”
“There is……. nothing.”
Um Seung Do lightly bowed with a polite expression. After that, he opened his mouth to say something.
“The elder wishes to meet the young lord. I’ve been ordered to escort you to him.”
“Yes. He is one of the eight guardians of the church, elder Ju Sang San.”
Cho Ryu Hyang nodded.
“When do we leave?”
“Now would be the perfect time.”
What was going on?
Cho Ryu Hyang felt a bit suspicious, but he still stood up.
“I will guide the young lord.”
When Cho Ryu Hyang followed Um Seung Do, he was able to see an auditorium far away.
For some strange reason, his heart was beating quite loudly. It felt like something big was about to happen.
Cho Ryu Hyang entered the auditorium with a strange feeling. There, he saw.
He saw the reason why everyone in the world feared the Heavenly Demon Church. A part of that reason was awaiting him.
It was a giant auditorium.
However, the whole place was packed. A total of 5000 people. Everyone in the Gansu branch of the church was waiting here silently.
A breathtaking feeling of solitude.
Cho Ryu Hyang walked up to the pedestal, guided by Um Seung Do.
While Cho Ryu Hyang was looking at these people with a dumb face, Um Seung Do came up next to Cho Ryu Hyang and looked at the people down below.
He then gathered energy from the pit of his stomach, and shouted.
“Heavenly Demon Bow! (天魔仰伏)”
The moment Um Seung Do’s roar rang across the auditorium, the people in the auditorium all simultaneously put their feet together, and knelt down.
A vibration, resembling that of an earthquake, shook the auditorium. After that, they all paused a bit, then shouted.
“The Godly Church Under The Heavens! (神敎天下)”
Cho Ryu Hyang opened his mouth.
A shout that made his hair tremble.
It was his first time seeing this many people gathered in one place, and the aura exuded by each of them was really no joke. It was absolutely breathtaking.
It wasn’t a bad feeling. He was surprised by how excited he felt when he stood in front of all these people.
A pool of spit gathered in his mouth, and his body started to get hot. This whole thing was an experience that he couldn’t really put to words.
“Everyone here are the people that will follow the young lord in the future. Please look after them.”
Two old men, one wrinkly, and one big, could be seen next to him. When Cho Ryu Hyang looked at them, the wrinkly old man introduced himself.
“The name’s Ju Sang San, young lord. I wasn’t able to prepare much because of the time. Forgive me…….”
Since he didn’t know the manners of the church yet, it was kind of awkward for him to speak. Guardian Ju stepped back, as if he realized that.
“If you were surprised by this, I apologize.”
“No, there is no need to apologize. You should’ve at least done this much, after all.”
When Cho Ryu Hyang turned his head, he could see Gongson Chun Gi approaching him with a smile.
“Were you surprised? By just this much?”
How could he not be surprised? Gongson Chun Gi pat Cho Ryu Hyang’s hair a bit, and stood on the center of the pedestal as if this was the most natural thing he could do in the world.
Once he stood in the center, everything went quiet. After taking in the silence a bit, Gongson Chun Gi looked at the 5000 martial artists standing there in rows.
He slowly opened his mouth.
“A heir to the church has been decided.”
A tiny whisper. But there wasn’t anyone in the auditorium, who was unable to hear these words. After saying that, he put Cho Ryu Hyang, who still had a shocked look on his face, in front of him.
“This boy’s the one who will take care of the church for the next hundred years. What do you think of him?”
The whole area was engulfed with shouts.
This was the first meeting between Cho Ryu Hyang, who would be known as King Shura in the future, and the Heavenly Demon Church, which would be known as the Absolute Religion (絶代神敎).