Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 121

March 28, 2024 • 12 min read • 136 views

The Struck Remember, But the Striker Forgets Easily (3)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

The Divine Demon Temple was located in the deepest part of the Celestial Demon Troupe. Among the countless martial artists of the Celestial Demon Troupe, only a very few had the privilege to enter this place. And they were all leaders of the Celestial Demon Troupe.

The master of the Divine Demon Temple was none other than the Solitary Divine Demon, Jin Gwang Hon.

He was known as the absolute martial artist, owning the most formidable martial force in the world alongside Ja Hong Cheon, the leader of the Jade Heave Alliance. Jin Gwang Hon spent most of his days in the Divine Demon Temple.

Jin Gwang Hon appeared ordinary.

He seemed to be in his early fifties, with gentle eyes and an ordinary appearance, complemented by a friendly smile. Nothing about him seemed extraordinary. However, no one in the Celestial Demon Troupe considered him ordinary.

He was considered the most powerful martial artist after the first Alliance Leader, Geom Yul Cheon.

He had perfectly mastered the Thunderclap Flow, a technique that only the troupe leader could learn, and he had reached the realm of the Thunder God. So, he was often referred to as the Thunder God instead of the Solitary Divine Demon.

Before him knelt Ohn Ja Wol.

Even Ohn Ja Wol, one of the Ten Blood Demons, dared not raise his head to look at Jin Gwang Hon. Such was the extent of Jin Gwang Hon’s authority within the Celestial Demon Troupe.
Ohn Ja Wol, daring not even to breathe loudly, lifted his head to look at Jin Gwang Hon.
His face was filled with immense respect.
It was a while before Jin Gwang Hon spoke.

“Do you think Gwan Il Hyeon will handle the negotiations well?”

“This young master is obviously a remarkable martial artist, but unfortunately, he is not a good negotiator.”

“Why do you think that?”

Even when his disciple was being criticized, Jin Gwang Hon did not get angry. Instead, he looked at Ohn Ja Wol with curious eyes, wondering why he had made such an assessment.

“The second young master has never conducted a negotiation before. Negotiation is inherently an act performed by equals to achieve their desires without harm or loss. However, he has never needed to negotiate. He could always get what he wanted, and everyone would willingly concede and support him. Negotiation does not suit him. The word ‘plunder’ might be more appropriate.”

“That’s quite harsh.”

“My apologies.”

“Not at all! I think the same.”

A smile formed on Jin Gwang Hon’s lips.

As Ohn Ja Wol said, Gwan Il Hyeon was not suited for negotiation. Yet, Jin Gwang Hon sent him for negotiations with the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Ohn Ja Wol suspected that Jin Gwang Hon did not want peace. If he really wanted peace, there would be no reason to choose Gwan Il Hyeon from among many others.

The Celestial Demon Troupe was full of intelligent people, including many who were skilled negotiators. Choosing Gwan Il Hyeon over such people was proof that Jin Gwang Hon did not seek peace.

To Ohn Ja Wol, the seemingly ordinary man was the most formidable monster among all the martial artists he knew.

Even the master of the Ten Sects could not compare to Jin Gwang Hon.

It had been a hundred years since the Celestial Demon Troupe was pushed out by the Jade Heaven Alliance, and settled in the southwestern part of the Jianghu.

During that long time, the Celestial Demon Troupe accumulated tremendous power. They were looking for an outlet for this accumulated force.

For Jin Gwang Hon and the Celestial Demon Troupe, war was an excellent opportunity to release the built-up power and dissatisfaction. Yet, the reason Jin Gwang Hon engaged in the formal act of peace negotiations was singular.

Celestial Lunar Palace

The founder of the Celestial Demon Troupe, Geom Yul-cheon, was wary of the leader’s power becoming excessively centralized. He believed that if too much power concentrated on the leader, there would be no one to check and balance, leading to a dictatorship.

The predecessor of the Celestial Demon Troupe, the Demonic Sect, eventually caused a great chaos under the heavens and brought misery to many because of this. To prevent such a situation, Geom Yul-cheon intentionally established the Celestial Lunar Palace to check the power of the leader.

The master of Celestial Lunar Palace has always been a Saintess, and her influence within the Celestial Demon Troupe was anything but small.

In particular, the current Saintess, Gu Muhye, was known to have the ability to foresee the future to some extent. Therefore, many within the Celestial Demon Troupe trusted and followed her spiritually.

From the very beginning, she was strongly opposed to the war between the Celestial Demon Troupe and the Jade Heaven Alliance. It was at her insistence that the peace negotiations took place.

Jin Gwang Hon did not desire peace, but he had to comply for the sake of others.

A smile appeared on Jin Gwang Hon’s lips.

He was reminded of the face of Yong Cheon Myeong, whom he had met the day before.

Yong Cheon Myeong had a lot of ambition. He hadn’t hesitated to speak his mind in front of Jin Gwang Hon, insisting that the Celestial Demon Troupe would have to make many concessions if peace negotiations were to proceed.

Jin Gwang Hon found Yong Cheon Myeong admirable for boldly stating his opinions before him, and also felt pity for him.

“Come to think of it, Ja Hong Cheon is also a remarkable person. Sending his first disciple as an envoy to the enemy territory. Does he trust Yong Cheon Myeong that much? Or does he underestimate me?”

“No matter how great he is, how can he compare to you, Master?”

“There’s no need to flatter me. Ja Hong Cheon is the only rival I acknowledge. Someday, we will settle our scores at the summit. Whether I win or he wins, the victor will claim supremacy of the world.”

“You will surely win, Master.”

Ohn Ja Wol asserted.

Jin Gwang Hon was the strongest person he knew. The thought of him losing was unimaginable.

After a moment of silence, Jin Gwang Hon suddenly asked as if he just remembered.

“By the way, what is he doing?”

“He’s in Isolated Training.”

Although the subject was missing, Ohn Ja Wol cleverly understood and replied.

Suddenly, Jin Gwang Hon’s gaze became grave.

“It hasn’t even been that long since he came back and he’s already back to training?”

“Yes.”

“Huh! If I were to be killed by anyone, it would be by him.”

“Master, how could you say such a thing…”

For the first time, a puzzled look appeared on Ohn Ja Wol’s face.

Jin Gwang Hon looked at him and smiled.

“I’m just saying.”

****
It had been half an hour since Gwan Il Hyeon entered Yong Cheon Myeong’s residence. What conversation took place between the two was unknown.

It was when Lee Gwak was about to return to his lodging.

“……”

His complexion slightly hardened.

It was because he felt someone approaching again. But the feeling was peculiar.

It felt as if ants were crawling all over his body. It was his first time experiencing such a bizarre sensation, so Lee Gwak frowned and looked towards the main gate.

At that moment, the gate opened, and a new visitor appeared.

There were seven women.

Each of them exuded a unique aura and had their faces covered with veils.

Ji Gyeon-chang recognized one of them.

“The Guide?”

“That’s right.”

One of the women with her face covered by a veil nodded and spoke.

She was the guide, who had guided the delegation.

Ji Gyeon-chang’s gaze naturally moved to the other women behind her.

“And who are they?”

“Please say hello. She is the saintess and they are the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies.”

“The saintess?”

A look of astonishment appeared on Ji Gyeon-chang’s face.

He’d heard of the saintess’s position in the Celestial Demon Troupe during his journey here.

The Lunar Shadow Six Fairies were the women who served the saintess closely, and the 2nd fairy Oh Cho Hye was one of them.

They were guarding the saintess, surrounding her.

Then, the saintess, surrounded by the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies, stepped forward. She too wore a veil like the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies, but her aura was completely different.

The moment Ji Gyeon-chang saw the saint’s eyes revealed above the veil, he felt as if his mind was becoming distant.

It was as if he was dreaming, and the dreamy eyes seemed to contain all the wisdom of the world. Looking into her eyes made Ji Gyeon-chang feel as if he was about to dream as well.

The saintess spoke in a voice that almost seemed like a whisper.

“My name is Gu Muhye. May I see master Yong Cheon Myeong?”

“There’s already a guest here…”

“You mean master Gwan. Could you please ask anyway? Tell him I request an audience.”

“Ah, understood. I will deliver the message myself.”

Ji Gyeon-chang hurried off to Yong Cheon Myeong’s residence in a fluster.

Lee Gwak frowned. Clearly, something was off.

Suddenly, Gu Muhye’s gaze turned towards Lee Gwak.

A flash of interest appeared in her eyes. She was surprised by Lee Gwak’s demeanor, his expression unchanging even as he looked at her.

Gu Muhye asked in her whisper-like voice, “Who might you be?”

“I am Lee Gwak, an outer hall squad leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance.”

“Lee Gwak?”

It was then that Gu Muhye tilted her head slightly.

“For a mere outer hall squad leader to stand so proudly. Can’t he show some respect to the Holy Woman?”

Jin Ryeong, the eldest among the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies, burst out angrily. The formidable aura she released momentarily caused her veil to flutter.

Jin Ryeong looked ready to strike Lee Gwak down then and there.

At that moment, Gu Muhye spoke quietly, “It’s okay.”

“But…”

“Jin Ryeong.”

“Understood.”

When Gu Muhye called her name, Jin Ryeong reluctantly stepped back. However, her gaze towards Lee Gwak remained fierce, conveying her resolve not to let it go if they met again.
Gu Muhye shook her head at Jin Ryeong’s behavior.

The Lunar Shadow Six Fairies were her loyal subordinates, but sometimes their excessive loyalty caused problems. Just like now.

Gu Muhye then turned her attention back to Lee Gwak.

The dreamy look in her eyes suddenly cleared, as if dawn’s light was shining through.

“You are quite an interesting person, Leader Lee Gwak.”

“Are you referring to me?”

“I never expected to meet someone with an Unbending Will here.”

“Unbending Will?”

“It was the nickname of the first leader of the Celestial Demon Troupe. Someone who never bends, no matter the situation…”

“I am not such a grand person.”

“People with an Unbending Will can never live an ordinary life. Regardless of their own will, the world won’t simply leave them be.”

“……”

Feeling overwhelmed by her gaze, as if she knew everything, Lee Gwak remained silent.
Meanwhile, the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies looked back and forth between Lee Gwak and Gu Muhye with eyes full of astonishment.

Having observed Gu Muhye for a long time, it was the first instance they saw her speak in such a manner to someone who was not a martial artist of the Celestial Demon Troupe.

Gu Muhye’s reverence was not merely because she inherited the title of Saintess. She indeed possessed a degree of precognitive ability, capable of seeing people’s futures.

Many sought even a single word from her about their future, but she was extremely cautious with her words, and genuinely advised only a rare few.

For Gu Muhye to say such things to a mere martial artist of the Jade Heaven Alliance was an event in itself.

Had the leadership of the Celestial Demon Troupe known about this, they would have immediately investigated Lee Gwak.

A look of sorrow appeared in Gu Muhye’s mystical eyes.

“It’s quite ironic that heaven has made us meet at this time.”

“What do you mean?”

“You and I are caught in the same web of cause and effect. Tangled in both bad and good fate… But it seems the bad outweighs the good. I might end up both hating and admiring you.”

“…”

“I hope you don’t come to hate me too much.”

“Do you see the future in your eyes?”

“It’s not certain. The future isn’t fixed; it changes. My eyes only see fragments of it, and I can’t see or know everything.”

Gu Muhye smiled.

Lee Gwak thought her smile was strange. At first glance, she looked like she was smiling, but on closer inspection, it looked like she was crying.

At that moment, Ji Gyeon-chang, who had gone to tell Yong Cheon Myeong the news, came back running, so the conversation could not continue.

Ji Gyeon-chang to Gu Muhye, “The young master says to come in. I will escort you.”

“Thank you.”

Gu Muhye followed Ji Gyeon-chang with a smile, and the Lunar Shadow Six Fairies followed her, casting sidelong glances at Lee Gwak.

While the other fairies looked on with full curiosity, the 2nd fairy ‘s face was filled with perplexity.

She had led the delegation of the Jade Heaven Alliance from the Crimson Blood Fortress to here. Despite spending a long time with the delegation, she had never thought of Lee Gwak as someone special.

But for Gu Muhye to show such interest, he couldn’t be ordinary.

‘Lee Gwak!’

The name etched into the 2nd fairy’s mind.

At the same time, she shivered with an ominous premonition, her body reacting involuntarily the moment she recognised Lee Gwak’s presence.