Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 109

March 21, 2024 • 11 min read • 136 views

When the Thread of Fate is Reconnected… (3)

Novel-Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Naturally, the residence of Yong Cheon Myeong was the largest and most splendid in Siege Fortress. It still paled in comparison to the accommodations within the Jade Heaven Alliance. However, Yong Cheon Myeong did not feel any dissatisfaction about this.

‘A martial artist living in the Jianghu should naturally know how to adapt to the natural challenges of life.’

That was always Yong Cheon Myeong’s principle, so it didn’t matter that his living quarters were crude and unremarkable.

In the spacious room, only Yong Cheon Myeong and Seo Jong Myeong were seated.
Yong Cheon Myeong was the first to speak.

“Is everything ready?”

“Yes!”

“You’ve worked hard, brother.”

“Jang Gwang, the lord of Siege Fortress, was a great help. Thanks to him, we could finish smoothly.”

“Jang Gwang is a talent worth promoting later. That’s why he’s in charge here in Siege Fortress. When I become the leader of the Alliance, I will surely call him to my side.”

“If you become the leader, that is.”

“Why, do you think I can’t become the leader?”

Yong Cheon Myeong’s gaze was sharp. It was a fearsome look that could make an ordinary person wet their pants. However, Seo Jong Myeong was no ordinary person.

“It’s clear you’re the closest to becoming the leader. But Woon Dae Yon is not someone to be underestimated easily. I’ve heard he’s already making connections with the Myriad Merchant Troupe.”

Woon Dae Yon, a disciple of Ja Hong Cheon, became a rival to Yong Cheon Myeong.
Yong Cheon Myeong smirked.

“The very reason he took on the mission to the Myriad Merchant Troupe is because of that. Known to the world as someone indifferent to power, in truth, there’s hardly anyone as obsessed with power as Dae-yeon”

“I know. Both you and Dae-yeon dream of becoming the leader of the alliance, and you’re both going all out to achieve that dream. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

To the world, Woon Dae Yeon was known to be indifferent to power. But Seo Jong Myeong knew that was not the case.

Yong Cheon Myeong and Woon Dae Yeon were competing for the leadership of the Jade Heaven Alliance. Although Yong Cheon Myeong was currently leading, it wasn’t to the extent that Woon Dae Yeon could be entirely disregarded.

Not long ago, Woon Dae Yeon had strengthened his relationship with Eun Il Myeong, the successor of the Myriad Merchant Troupe, essentially securing the most robust financial support in the world. And this had triggered Yong Cheon Myeong’s sense of crisis.

“Once this mission is complete, I will become the next leader.”

“You don’t need to push yourself so hard; you will become the next leader regardless.”

“So, you dislike participating in this mission?”

“Not at all! How much I’ve wanted this opportunity.”

“I knew you would say that, brother.”

Yong Cheon Myeong nodded his head.

The hatred Seo Jong Myeong held towards the Celestial Demon Troupe, who had taken away the Diancang Sect and the Shadowless Squad like his own flesh and blood, was indeed profound.

After Seo Jong Myeong’s sect was destroyed along with the Shadowless squad, he became an ordinary Squad Leader at the Outer Hall and entered the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall on Mount Sohua, excavating talents and forming the new Shadowless Squad.

The New Shadowless Squad formed by Seo Jong Myeong had made remarkable achievements on the battlefield, but his thirst for revenge against the Celestial Demon Troupe had not diminished at all. On the contrary, his hatred grew larger as days passed.

Yong Cheon Myeong had dragged Seo Jong Myeong along on this mission because he was aware of this resentment.

The Shadowless Squad was like a well-trained hunting dog. Acquiring such a hunting dog was never easy.

Yong Cheon Myeong, holding a teacup, said,

“If this mission is successful, I will indeed rebuild the Diancang Sect for you.”

“There’s no need for such empty promises. I know better than anyone how futile it is to rebuild the Diancang Sect now.”

Seo Jong Myeong had a realistic assessment of his situation.

He might be able to become a hunting dog or a wolf, but he was not the material to lead a sect. He had neither the confidence nor the intention to revive and rejuvenate the Diancang Sect.

All he wanted was revenge for the Diancang Sect and the Shadowless Squad. What happened afterward didn’t matter to him.

A smile appeared on Yong Cheon Myeong’s lips as he looked at Seo Jong Myeong.

The world knew Yong Cheon Myeong as a person of integrity. However, Yong Cheon Myeong was not such a righteous person. He was merely hiding his true nature to become the leader of the Alliance. And the person who knew this fact best was Seo Jong Myeong.

They had known each other since childhood. Therefore, they knew each other well. That’s why Yong Cheon Myeong hid himself thoroughly in front of others but showed his true colors in front of Seo Jong Myeong. He wasn’t worried because he knew Seo Jong Myeong would never talk about such matters.

Thud!

Yong Cheon Myeong put down his teacup and said,

“I will definitely become the leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance. I will marry Yul Seon as my wife from the highest position in the Jianghu.”

“Are you talking about that girl from the Musical Performance Hall? You seem to be quite smitten.”

“She is the flower that suits me best.”

“Flower?”

“The most beautiful and flamboyant flower that can sing the loveliest songs in the world. Who else would be more suitable for me than her?”

Yong Cheon Myeong wore a matter-of-fact expression.

From a young age, Yong Cheon Myeong had always been told he was the best. Naturally, he believed that the best woman should be by his side.

Geum Yul Seon was the ideal type Yong Cheon Myeong desired.

He didn’t realize how shocked he was when he first saw her. At that moment, he resolved to have her by his side. And his wish was fulfilled.

Seo Jong Myeong, holding his teacup, said,

“You handle that matter yourself. I just want to take revenge on the Celestial Demon Troupe.”

Yong Cheon Myeong smiled satisfactorily at Seo Jong Myeong’s response.

As if suddenly remembering, he said,

“By the way, I plan to involve the martial artists from the outer hall in this mission.”

“The outer faction, you mean the 12th squad?”

“No, the 13th Squad.”

“What are you thinking? Do you think the outer hall suits this mission?”

“It doesn’t matter if it does or not, it’s my will.”

“Cheon Myeong! Why are you doing this? You know that Lee Gwak from the 13th squad is my Cub?”

Seo Jong Myeong’s voice rose.

Yong Cheon Myeong’s eyebrows twitched slightly at his sharp words. However, he pursed his lips as if he didn’t want to say anything more.

“Is it because of So Gun-myeong of Sky High Castle? Are you doing this because Lee Gwak upset him?”

“It has nothing to do with that.”

“Then why?”

“I’m tired. Please leave.”

“Cheon Myeong!”

“Let’s end the personal talk here.”

“You?”

“Please maintain decorum, Lord Seo.” Yong Cheon Myeong addressed him with his official title, signaling an end to any further personal discussions.

Seo Jong Myeong glared, but Yong Cheon Myeong did not flinch.

“Young Master, you have a visitor.”

Had the voice of the guard not been interrupted at that moment, Seo Jong Myeong might have grabbed Yong Cheon Myeong by the collar.

“We’ll talk again later.”

“My decision will not change, Lord Seo.”

“Ugh!”

Seo Jong Myeong’s face twisted angrily.

At that moment, the door opened, and someone entered.

He was a middle-aged martial artist, thin as bamboo. His eyes were as emotionless as a viper’s, and his skin was as pale as if he had never seen sunlight in his life.

He passed Seo Jong Myeong indifferently and approached Yong Cheon Myeong.

Seo Jong Myeong, gritting his teeth, stormed out.

Bang!

The door slammed shut with a bang, but Yong Cheon Myeong paid it no mind, focusing instead on the middle-aged man.

The man greeted with a fist salute, “Hidden Blood Squad’s leader Cheol Geuk jin greets the Young Master.”

“Welcome, Lord Cheol.”

A cold smile appeared on Yong Cheon Myeong’s lips.
****

Lee Gwak rummaged through the kitchen of the outbuilding.

Fortunately, there was some rice and meat, among other ingredients that the members had stored.

He lit the stove and started cooking rice. Then he started to stir-fry the meat with various vegetables.

Although not comparable to Bang Ye-in’s culinary skills, Lee Gwak’s cooking was also impressive.

Han So Cheon sat on a stool at one side of the kitchen and watched Lee Gwak cook.

Despite the scorching flames, Lee Gwak didn’t blink an eye and moved his hands diligently.

Even after a long time since their separation at the Jade Heaven Alliance, Lee Gwak hadn’t changed at all.

He didn’t ask how Han So cheon lived or what she did, even though he had many questions, which made her feel at ease.

If Lee Gwak had asked, Han So cheon would have thought a lot about how to answer. But he didn’t ask her if he knew her heart or anything.

He simply prepared food for her as if it was the most natural thing to do.

“Here, I quickly made this, so I’m not sure how tasty it will be.”

“It’ll be delicious.”

“What?”

“Because everything Oraboni makes is delicious. So, this time will be no different.”

“Thanks for believing in me.”

“I’ll enjoy it.”

Han So cheon immediately began eating the food Lee Gwak had prepared.

Lee Gwak sat opposite her, watching.

Han So cheon’s white hands diligently played with the chopsticks. Lee Gwak didn’t miss the new scars on the back of her hands.

A faint scent of blood emanated from Han So cheon. Lee Gwak knew that such a scent came from those who had taken many lives.

His gaze deepened.

Whether she knew of his gaze or not, Han So cheon focused solely on her food, quickly finishing a bowl of rice and the stir-fried meat.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had such a delicious meal. Thanks, Oraboni! I enjoyed it.”

“I’m glad you liked it.”

“I’ll do the dishes.”

“Sure!”

Han So cheon took the empty dishes to the well and washed them thoroughly. A gentle smile lingered on her lips as she did the dishes.

While she was washing the dishes, Lee Gwak put the kettle on the stove. Once the water was heated, he took out a small paper bag from his pocket. Inside were the tea leaves he had brought from the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Although it wasn’t a famous high-quality tea, Lee Gwak had selected these leaves with care. Once he added the tea leaves to the pot, a fragrant aroma filled the air of the Outbuilding.

Chororok!

Lee Gwak poured the tea into the cups he had prepared.

Just then, Han So cheon, who had finished washing the dishes, returned. She casually raised the teacup to her mouth.

A faint smile appeared on Han So cheon’s face. The tea brewed by Lee Gwak suited her taste.

“Is this the tea we had before?”

“You said it was tasty.”

“So you brought it with you?”

“Yes!”

Han So cheon’s smile deepened, but then her expression darkened.

“You came here accompanying the Young Master?”

“Yes!”

“I hoped you wouldn’t have to come to a place like this.”

“…”

“This place is hell. Anyone who comes here, even if they were decent before, becomes numb to their own humanity and turns into a monster without realizing it. Like…”

Han So cheon swallowed the last words, “like us.”

Her seemingly pure white hands were stained with the blood of many. Though she appeared unharmed on the outside, the deep scent of blood that clung to her tormented Han So cheon.

“I’m fine, So cheon!”

“Oraboni?”

“Don’t worry. I’m not as weak as you think.”

Lee Gwak smiled.

Unknowingly, Han So cheon nodded. Somehow, Lee Gwak’s words felt trustworthy. She wanted to believe them.

Lee Gwak asked,

“What about you? Have you been here all along?”

“No, this is also a first for us. Our leader brought us here, saying we had a new mission.”

“A new mission?”

“I only know it’s related to the Young master. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more.”

“That’s okay.”

“Still, I’m glad to see you here. I never dreamed I’d meet you in this place.”

Lee Gwak suddenly looked up at the night sky.

The gentle moonlight that had illuminated them had vanished, leaving only darkness. The impenetrable darkness felt akin to life itself, where one can’t see what lies directly ahead.

He hadn’t expected to meet Han So cheon again in the thick of such darkness.

‘Is it fate?’