Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 14

October 27, 2023 • 11 min read • 329 views

Episode 14 Burning with ambition Alone(1)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Lee Gwak glared at Seo Jong Myeong.

Seo Jong Myeong beckoned him to attack, but Lee Gwak couldn’t rush in easily.

Even though Seo Jong Myeong’s stance seems full of openings, oddly, Lee Gwak found no point of attack.

Lee Gwak tried to attack Seo Jong Myeong several times, but each time his breath hitched, strangely disabling his ability to attack.

“Kuh!”

Lee Gwak saw a vision.

He saw a terrifying vision of Seo Jong Myeong’s sword piercing his chest the moment he swung the blade, making it impossible for him to move easily.

“Why can’t you attack?”

“Kuh!”

“It’s the difference in our levels. No matter how diligently you learn the Luminous Sword Art, you can’t escape this level of mediocrity. That’s why I’m telling you to not waste your energy that crap”

Seo Jong Myeong sneered.

Clang!

Lee Gwak gnashed his teeth in frustration.

He knew in his heart that Seo Jong Myeong was right. But accepting his words would be like denying all the efforts he had put in until now. That was something he couldn’t accept.

“Chaht!”

Lee Gwak, shaking off the pressure and fear that bound him, swung his blade towards Seo Jong Myeong. It was the Luminous Sword Art.

Shing!

With a swooshing sound, Lee Gwak’s blade flew at a terrifying speed towards Seo Jong Myeong. He didn’t believe that this would be enough to overpower Seo Jong Myeong, but he thought it could at least push him back.

At that moment.

Flash!

“Cough!”

Lee Gwak suddenly flew backwards, coughing up blood. Before he realized it, the tip of Seo Jong Myeong’s sword was embedded in his vital spot.

After tumbling on the ground for dozens of rounds, he crashed into a wall. The blade he was holding flew far away and stuck into the ground, and the fresh blood flowing from his mouth stained his chest red.

“Kuuuh!”

The shock of near-disintegration didn’t even allow him to breathe, and the world turned white before his eyes.

Lee Gwak couldn’t even scream, he just gagged. If it wasn’t for Seo Jong Myeong’s skillful touch at that moment, he would have died.

“Huu, huu!”

Seo Jong Myeong squatted in front of the panting Lee Gwak and asked,

“Do you understand the sword technique I displayed?”

Lee Gwak shook his head.

He could breathe now, but his breath was still rugged, disabling him from speaking.

A smirk spread across Seo Jong Myeong’s lips.

“It was just a basic sword technique. Yet, you couldn’t react at all. Do you get it? The martial art you cling to is that pathetic. Instead of learning such a worthless martial art, it’s better to find and learn another martial art. If that’s not possible, it’s better to give up.”

“Kuh!”

“Lee Gwak, don’t waste your energy on useless things, rather enjoy life. It’s a waste of your youth to expend your life on such a worthless martial art.”

“Dog…”

“What?”

“You bastard!”

“What?”

“Son of a bitch!”

“What?”

“I… say you are a son of a bitch.”

“Ha! What is this bastard saying? Has he lost his mind?”

At Seo Jong Myeong’s question, Lee Gwak barely shook his head. A sinister glint appeared in Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes.

“Why am I a son of a bitch? If you can’t explain properly, you will die right here.”

It was a definite killing intent.

A killing intent Lee Gwak, in his current state, could hardly bear.

Lee Gwak’s face, pale to begin with, turned ashen. If he was exposed to this killing intent any longer, even if his life was spared, something within him would definitely break.

Seo Jong Myeong shoved his face close to Lee Gwak’s.

“Explain! Why am I a dog?”

“You impose a dog’s life on me. Just like yours.”

“….”

For a moment, Seo Jong Myeong’s expression hardened like stone.

He looked at Lee Gwak, seemingly shocked.

Lee Gwak didn’t avoid his fierce gaze. Though it felt like his eyeballs would burn, he gritted his teeth and endured.

Sometimes, a casual remark thrown by someone becomes a sharp blade that stabs another’s heart.

Lee Gwak’s words were just that.

The fierce look in Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes softened, and the hand holding the sword hilt loosened. Only then did breathing become easier for Lee Gwak.

Seo Jong Myeong rose to his feet and muttered.

“Shit! Seems like having been leashed like a dog for so long, I became a dog myself. Ah shit!”

After glancing at the sky for a moment, Seo Jong Myeong turned his gaze back to Lee Gwak.

“Lee Gwak!”

“Yes!”

“I admit I went a bit far this time. I came to the outer hall to cool my head for a while, but I spoke too much from my perspective. You must have your reasons too, and it seems I pressured you too harshly. I won’t say anything from now on, even if you learn Luminous Sword Art. But make sure you learn it properly.”

“Please guide me.”

“Am I your master? What guidance? Just learn it on your own as you have been.”

“…”

“I will tell the outer hall head. If you find any useful martial art books in the outer hall storage, take them.”

“There’s a storage in the outer hall?”

“Well, seems like there’s a warehouse where various books are collected. Don’t know how useful they are, but anything you pick there would be better than Luminous Sword Art. The outer hall head won’t say a word even if you take one.”

“Thank you.”

“Enough!”

Seo Jong Myeong waved his hand dismissively as he walked away.

Watching his receding figure, Lee Gwak thought.

‘He came to the outer hall to cool off? Does that mean his status is higher than the hall leader’s?’
***
Creeaak!

With the scream of the rusty hinges, the warehouse door opened. The one who cautiously entered was none other than Lee Gwak.

A bitter expression floated on Lee Gwak’s face as he looked around the warehouse. It was too pitiful a sight to be called a storage.

On the large shelf inside the warehouse, there were barely about ten martial art books and various other items.

This was the essence of the outer hall library.

It seemed too modest to be called a library.

All the manuals here had been collected by the outer hall. Quality martial arts techniques were taken to the inner court or the main court, leaving only those deemed worthless here.

Put simply, only the scraps remained. The reason the outer hall leader, Maeng Hee Cheon, willingly opened this library was because he knew there was nothing valuable to take.

However, Lee Gwak was not disappointed. Even if the techniques here were unremarkable, they would still be better than the Luminous Sword Art he had learned.

Lee Gwak began to carefully examine the manuals in the library.

There were several kinds: the Five Sound Sword Art, the Yoo Family Spear Art, the Six Steps Flying Blade, the Eight Sects Sword Art, and the Heaven and Sword Art, to name a few.

Lee Gwak settled down right there and began reading.

He turned each page with reverence, engrossed in the texts.

Seo Jong Myeong might have had his reasons for this act of kindness, but for Lee Gwak, this was a rare opportunity not to be missed.

Now more than ever, Lee Gwak thirsted for knowledge and martial arts techniques. Especially after mastering the Eight Snakes Art, his desire was at its peak.

Strangely, the characters on the pages appeared clearer than ever. He noticed his memory and comprehension had greatly improved.

In the past, he would have struggled to remember much from a single book, but now, everything was vivid in his memory.

This change began after mastering the Eight Snakes Art and awakening his fourth serpent. Awakening each serpent led to noticeable changes in his body, and he eagerly anticipated the changes that the fifth and sixth serpents would bring.

The only sound in the tranquil library was the rustling of pages.

Lost in time, Lee Gwak diligently read each book, stacking the finished ones beside him.

“Phew!”

Finally, after reading all the books, Lee Gwak let out a deep sigh.

Indeed, the techniques in this library surpassed the Luminous Sword Art. They were more potent and challenging to master.

The real question was which technique to adopt.

After much contemplation, Lee Gwak decided against sword and spear techniques. He was more familiar with blade techniques, having mastered the Luminous Sword Art.

He settled on the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Its direct, linear moves and potent offensive power had a distinct military feel to them.

Although simple, mastering it would unleash the true potential of the blade. The technique didn’t come with a corresponding mental cultivation method, but Lee Gwak felt the Eight Snakes Art might complement it.

He trusted his intuition.

Even after selecting the Eight Sects Sword Art, something seemed missing. His eyes settled on the Invisible Puncture Art.

This technique utilized a meteor hammer – a weapon consisting of a metal spike attached to a rope. A single-ended version was called a “Solo Meteor” and a double-ended one, “Twin Meteors.” Despite its versatility, it was hard to master and ineffective against top martial artists, which led to its decline in popularity.

Many believed that one might as well learn the whip technique instead. Perhaps that’s why the Invisible Puncture Art had ended up in this outer hall library.

“I’m not sure if this will work…”

Nevertheless, Lee Gwak included the Invisible Puncture Art in his collection.
Whether he’d be allowed to take it or not, it was worth trying.

Armed with two scrolls, Lee Gwak went to see Maeng Hee Cheon, the head of the Outer Hall.

“Hm! The Eight Sects Sword Art and the Invisible Puncture Art.”

Maeng Hee Cheon alternated his gaze between the manuals and Lee Gwak, a hint of scepticism evident in his eyes.

While many regarded the manuals as mere useless texts, it wasn’t a place open to just anyone. The only reason he granted Lee Gwak access was due to Seo Jong Myeong.
Seo Jong Myeong was a figure even the head of the Outer Hall found tricky to deal with, and he preferred to avoid any issues with him whenever possible.

Thus, Maeng Hee Cheon was inclined to cater to his requests. But the real question was why Seo Jong Myeong wanted Lee Gwak to have access to these scrolls.

Lee Gwak was a low-ranking martial artist of the Outer Hall.

The only reason Maeng Hee Cheon remembered him was due to an unfortunate incident that left Lee Gwak partially paralyzed. It was a hushed topic not just in the Outer Court, but also in the Main Court. Thus, Maeng Hee Cheon couldn’t forget it.

Of course, afterward, Lee Gwak was quietly confined to an isolated room.

“How’s your health?”

“There’s no issue with movement.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Thank you.”

Lee Gwak replied calmly.

In the past, standing in front of Maeng Hee Cheon would’ve been overwhelming for Lee Gwak. Now, he felt an inexplicable calmness, attributing it to the effects of the Eight Snakes Art. He stared at Maeng Heecheon.

Maeng Hee Cheon slightly furrowed his brows. Lee Gwak’s composed demeanor was somewhat unsettling. Yet, upon closer inspection, nothing seemed amiss.

Maeng Hee Cheon decided not to dwell on it.

“Normally, only one manual can be taken, but on my authority, I’ll allow another.”

“Thank you.”

“If you feel it’s not enough, shake off that feeling.”

“I hold no regrets.”

“Good. Now, leave!”

“Yes!”

After bowing, Lee Gwak left.

Maeng Hee Cheon’s gaze lingered on the departing figure.

“Hm! For someone who’s been bedridden for a year, he seems quite fit.”

His gaze sharpened.

Just then, someone entered Maeng Hee Cheon’s quarters.

“Shall we keep an eye on him if you’re suspicious?”

A man in his mid-thirties with a slender face resembling a greyhound approached. He was Yoon Hogwang, the deputy head of the Outer Hall.

Maeng Hee Cheon shook his head.

“It’s unnecessary. What threat can a man bedridden for a year pose? How’s the reorganization of the Outer Hall coming along?”

“We’re wrapping it up.”

“About time. Our Hall can’t always be overshadowed by others. We need to evolve.”

“I understand.”

“With rumors of another grand battle with the Celestial Demon Troupe looming, our chamber might suffer the most casualties. To increase our odds of survival, we need to prepare.”

“Do you really think another great battle with Celestial Demon Troupe will occur? Isn’t it just a rumor?”

“I thought so too, but our superiors advise caution.”

“They never make things easy.”

“What can we do? If they want to complain, let them.”

Annoyance was evident on Maeng Hee cheon’s face.

In his mind, Lee Gwak was already forgotten. More pressing matters demanded his attention.