The Demonic Cult had the six clans, three guardians, and hundreds of small clans and groups. The Demonic Academy was opened once every ten years to train a new elite individual. This current one had candidates that were the heirs to the Lord, so everyone labeled the academy as an Heirship competition. And this was a wonderful opportunity for many small clans to side with the future heir to the Lord.
Thousands of boys and girls all gathered to join the academy. The Great Training Ground located right past the entrance of the academy was large enough to fit all the students inside. All of them looked excited and nervous about what's to come. It was because this was a chance to see the Lord himself who would join the opening ceremony.
"Look! It's the Left Guardian!"
"If he's here, the Lord will be here soon."
"I'll get to see his face for the first time in my life!"
There was a middle-aged man with long red hair walking out from the left side of the giant stage, scoffing at children down at the ground.
'Fools. We only have fools this time. Or it may be the last time.'
The middle-aged man was the Left Guardian, Fire King Lee Hameng, or the closest advisor to the Lord. The Lord had three guardians with him. The Great Guardian, Left Guardian, and Right Guardian only acted on the Lord's orders. They ranked within the top ten of fighting prowess within the Demonic Cult.
'Hmm. Are those the heirs from the six clans?'
Hameng glanced at the boys standing in front of all children. All students who entered the academy were given a round name tag with numbers. They were given the numbers based on the order they entered, but these princes were exceptions.
'They are quite something as kids.'
The other children were all lined up neatly, but these six princes arrogantly stood at the front as if they were telling everyone that they were on top of them all. Unlike others who had a white tag with black numbers on them, these princes had black tags with red numbers according to their rank to the succession.
1. Wise Clan Chun Muyeon.
2. Sword Clan Chun Kungwun.
3. Loyal Clan Chun Mukeum.
4. Poison Clan Chun Jongsum.
5. Blade Clan Chun Yuchan.
6. Lust Clan Chun Wonryou.
They only had numbers on their tags, but Hameng knew their names. There were two girl candidates last time, and although there was only one girl this time around from the Lust Clan, he didn't really care.
'Everyone else is here, but I don't see him.'
Hameng swept his glance across everyone, but he couldn't find the one he was looking for. There was one boy who was getting all the attention from the higher ranks of the Demonic Cult.
'Oh, there he is.'
Hameng finally found the boy. He would not have found him if he didn't have a black tag. At the entrance, at the very end of the line, Chun Yeowun stood there alone.
'The heir candidate not from the six clans.'
He was still a son of the Lord, but he couldn't come up to the front. And it also seemed like the other kids around him were shunning him. Therefore, he stood there alone.
'He's receiving attention in an interesting way.'
That was the end of the interest. Hameng knew that the boy did not train in martial arts, so he was going to fail the entrance test.
'There are so many.'
Chun Yeowun was able to see the thousand children standing in front of him. He wasn't late, but he was told that his tag was missing and had to wait until the end. So even with the black tag, he couldn't go up to the front. It was certain that it was the work of someone from the six clans, but it didn't matter to him.
'It's best I avoid trouble with them from the beginning anyway.'
Chun Yeowun liked that. They wanted to kill him even before joining academy, so it was better to not see them at all.
The horn sound blared across the field, and people began to mumble. It was due to the person who had just entered. Thousand boys and girls began to chant with shouts. A man with the character 'Sky' on his black silk clothes got up and sat down on the throne up on the stage. It was the Lord, and one of the Five Strongs of Wulin, Chun Yujong. Even without his title, his presence was overwhelming even in front of a thousand people.
"I can't even look at him directly."
The boys had lost the courage to even look up to him. Next to the Lord was the lead guardian, Great Guardian King Marakim. He had a special mask on his face so that no one knew what he really looked like.
And to the right of the throne was a ragged clothed man who seemed to be having a hard time standing up as if he were drunk. He was the Right Guardian, Submeng, the Crazy Blade. He acted silly, but he was still ranked within the top ten strong men in the Demonic Cult.
"What're you lookin' at?"
Submeng spat at Hameng who looked at him with a disgusted look and took a sip from his bottle of liquor. Marakim then walked onto the stage and shouted,
It was a voice laced with internal energy that spread through to everyone. The training ground went silent at once.
"The most honorable one, it is ready."
Marakim turned back and spoke quietly, and Lord Chun Yujong got up from his throne.
"To all who have entered the academy, you will be the future of our cult."
And unlike Marakim who shouted, the Lord spoke softly. However, his voice was crystal clear in the ears of the thousand boys and girls. It was proof of Chun Yujong's sheer power.
"I welcome you in joining the academy. I hope you train and play your part in our cult."
And that was it. Chun Yujong turned and Great Guardian Marakim spoke to him.
"That was a wonderful speech."
The Lord then walked off the stage with Marakim guiding him. It was so short that it made the students fall silent, but soon they shouted and chanted.
"FOR THE DEMONIC CULT!"
Chun Yeowun wasn't sure how he felt. He had never seen his father for fifteen years, but he met his eyes with him for the first time. The Lord had found Chun Yeowun standing in the farthest part of the training ground as soon as he got up on the stage, but his gaze was so cold.
'I don't care anyway.'
He didn't appear when his mother, Lady Hwa, died. There was no disappointment when he didn't care in the first place. That's when people fell silent as Fire King Hameng stood up on the stage.
"With his speech, we will begin now."
Hameng's voice pierced through the air and the students shut up.
"I'll keep it simple. Listen up."
Hameng began to explain the system of the Demonic Academy.
"The academy will last for four years and six stages."
Everyone knew the academy lasted for four years. But there were some who had teachers or parents who did not attend academy, so they began to focus on the tests on each of the six stages.
"You can take the six stages in steps, and you can take it only once."
Students began to mumble about only getting one shot at each stage. One failure meant that they would be cast out.
"You seem to get it pretty quickly. If you do not pass, you will be expelled right away."
There was only one chance to rise up. That's when a handsome boy standing in the front row raised his hand.
"I have a question."
It was the boy with number 2 on his tag. In second place for the throne, it was Chun Kungwun of the Sword Clan. Hameng was in the middle of his speech, but Kungwun confidently interrupted him. However-
"Who said you could ask questions?"
Chun Kungwun's handsome face grimaced. He had been treated with respect from everyone around him because he was a prince, but it was shocking to be treated with hostility.
"Oh? So you have a problem with my attitude? 'Prince'? You want to be expelled even before the competition?"
Left Guardian Lee Hameng spat angrily. Chun Kungwun was angered, but he couldn't say anything. He was reminded of what his guard warned him about the other day.
[Once you're in the academy, every privilege you had for being the son of the Lord will be removed. And whoever is appointed as the Chief of the Academy, never cross his lines.]
He didn't mind it when he heard it, but he now realized it after experiencing it. He was against one of the strongest in the Demonic Cult.
"I apologize, sir."
Chun Kungwun bowed and the other five heirs smirked.