Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 123

March 28, 2024 • 12 min read • 137 views

The Dead Rise to Kill the Living (2)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Lee Gwak woke up early at dawn.

He was feeling unusually restless.

Despite the splendid banquet the night before, its afterglow didn’t linger for Lee Gwak.

He quietly got up and cleaned his sword.

The way he wiped the grease from his sword with a white cloth was almost reverent.

After carefully cleaning the sword, he inspected the meteor awl on his wrist. It had been used heavily and was badly bruised.

Lee Gwak decided he should repair the meteor awl as soon as he returned to the Jade Heaven Alliance.

He also checked and maintained every item he had brought from the Jade Heaven Alliance, including the silk rope, steel darts, throwing knives and hand axes, making sure nothing was overlooked.

He strapped the sword to his waist and wrapped the meteor awl around his forearm. Inside his belt, he stored the throwing knives and hand axes, and tucked the silk rope and steel darts into the inner pockets of his robe.

Lee Gwak opened the door and stepped outside.

Outside, the members of his squad had already gathered. They too had finished preparing for their departure.

“Let’s go!”

At Lee Gwak’s command, his squad nodded and moved out.

Waiting in front of the guesthouse, the delegation gradually began to appear.

Today was the day the delegation was leaving the Celestial Demon Troupe.

Returning without any achievements, the expressions of the delegation were uniformly grim.

After a while, when the entire delegation had gathered in front of the guesthouse, finally, Yong Cheon Myeong and the leaders came out.

Yong Cheon Myeong’s expression was stern. He glanced over the people gathered in front of the guest house and said,

“As I said yesterday, today we return to the Jade Heaven Alliance. Everyone, be on your guard.”

Yong Cheon Myeong was brief.

After highlighting a few points of caution, he immediately ordered the departure.

Leading the delegation, they moved outside.

As they stepped out of the guest house, they saw a group of martial artists. They were from the Celestial Demon Troupe, all lined up.

One of them approached Yong Cheon Myeong.

He was a man with a sharp look and a mustache. He greeted Yong Cheon Myeong with a fist salute and said,

“I am Buk Ho Kyung, leading the Dark Phantom Squad of the Celestial Demon Troupe. I will escort the delegation to the border area.”

“Isn’t the second fairy going to guide us?”

“Her task was to bring you all here. That mission is now complete.”

“Is that so?”

“We will be more capable guides than her. You won’t have to worry about losing your way.”

“Then we’ll be in your care.”

“Leave it to us.”

Buk Ho Kyung smiled and stepped back.

Returning to the Dark Phantom Squad, he shouted,

“Depart!”

The main gate of the Celestial Demon Troupe opened wide, revealing Shinji.

The Dark Phantom Squad led the way out, followed by the delegation.

The people of Shinji were curious to see the delegation leave. However, they were intimidated by the imposing presence of the Dark Phantom Squad and did not dare to approach, but watched from a distance.

Through slightly opened windows and over tall fences, people peeked out.

Yong Cheon Myeong, feeling uncomfortable under their gaze, did not relax his stern expression. He felt displeased, as if being made a spectacle.

‘How insolent!’

A flash of killing intent appeared and then vanished in his eyes.

Biting his lip, Yong Cheon Myeong spurred his horse.

Guided by the Dark Phantom Squad, the delegation soon left the outskirts of Shinji.
Suddenly, Lee Gwak lifted his head, feeling as if someone was intently watching him. However, all he saw was a small manor surrounded by tall walls, with no sign of people.

‘Wu Family Manor?’

The nameplate of the manor caught Lee Gwak’s eye. But the main gate of ‘Wu Family Manor was firmly closed, making it impossible to see who was inside.

Lee Gwak found it difficult to look away from Wu Family Manor. His attention only shifted when the delegation moved far enough from Shinji the Manor was no longer visible.

Once out of Shinji, the Dark Phantom Squad and the delegation picked up the pace.

Unlike the previous guide who engaged in various conversations, Buk Ho Kyung and the Dark Phantom Squad didn’t initiate any conversation with them.

The Dark Phantom Squad and the delegation traveled day and night, arriving at a remote gorge far from the Celestial Demon Troupe.

It was called the Blue Mist Canyon, a gorge always shrouded in mist, where light reflects to create a perpetual soft blue glow, hence its name.

Yong Cheon Myeong looked puzzled.

“This isn’t the way we came.”

“It’s a shortcut. Going through here will get us there faster.”

“Is that so? Then why didn’t the second fairy take us this way?”

“Only a very few know of this path. It’s natural for someone like the second fairy, who spends most of her time in the Celestial Lunar Palace, to be unaware of this place.”

Yong Cheon Myeong nodded at Buk Ho Kyung’s explanation and looked around. The sight of the ethereal blue mist dancing freely between the steep cliffs of the gorge was truly spectacular.

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

“It’s a beautiful place. We can begin now.”

“Begin what?”

When Buk Ho Kyung looked puzzled, Yong Cheon Myeong stepped back and said,

“I hold no personal grudge against you.”

“What do you mean?”

“But we are enemies, aren’t we? Since the negotiations have fallen through, there’s no longer any reason to observe courtesies.”

It was then that Buk Ho Kyung sensed the killing intent in Yong Cheon Myeong’s words.

“Are you saying you will attack us, who have come to escort you?”

“Wasn’t it the same for you? That’s why you brought us to this secluded place, isn’t it?”

Buk Ho Kyung’s face momentarily showed confusion.

“Why would we attack the delegation?”

“It will be known outside that the Celestial Demon Troupe attacked the delegation first, and we had no choice but to retaliate.”

“You?”

“After all, isn’t the Celestial Demon Troupe known as a wicked organization? Who will the world believe? Celestial Demon Troupe? Or us?”

Yong Cheon Myeong made no effort to hide his intent to kill.

Soon, Jwa Ryoon leading the Mystic Martial Squad and Seo Jong Myeong leading the Shadowless Squad gathered around him.

With a swift motion, they all drew their weapons.

Buk Ho Kyung stepped back and ordered the Dark Phantom Squad,

“Block them!”

At his command, the Dark Phantom Squad attacked the delegation without hesitation.

“Attack!”

“Kill them!”

Within the narrow gorge, the delegation and the Dark Phantom Squad’s martial artists clashed in a chaotic battle.

Meanwhile, Buk Ho Kyung fled.

Though the Dark Phantom Squad was strong, but the delegation was stronger.

Knowing this, Buk Ho Kyung did not hesitate to choose escape.

‘I must inform the main headquarters of this immediately.’

He bit his lip until it bled.

The Dark Phantom Squad wasn’t just any group of subordinates. They were as good as blood relatives to him, sharing everything but blood. The fact that he had to abandon them and escape alone brought tears of blood to his eyes. However, he felt a responsibility to inform the Celestial Demon Troupe, even if it meant sacrificing all of them.

‘I will never forgive you, Yong Cheon Myeong!’

He vowed to take revenge on Yong Cheon Myeong and executed his Qigong. Once he escaped the Blue Mist Canyon, he was confident he could shake off any pursuit.

Whoosh!

Suddenly, a sharp cutting sound echoed in the Air.

Buk Ho Kyung instinctively twisted his body. At that moment, something sharp sliced through his side.

Puq

Blood spurted from his side, accompanied by a burning pain.

“Gah!”

Buk Ho Kyung screamed and tumbled to the ground. Standing before him was a man.

“Seo… Jong Myeong?”

Buk Ho Kyung’s eyes wavered as he recognized the man’s face.

The one who had pursued and attacked him was Seo Jong Myeong, holding the sacred weapon of his Diancang Sect, Bisa.

Buk Ho Kyung clenched his teeth and stood up.

“Are you also partaking in Yong Cheon Myeong’s madness? Don’t you realize this will only worsen the relations between the Celestial Demon Troupe and Jade Heaven Alliance?”

“Since the negotiations have already fallen through, what more could worsen?”

“The moment our communication is cut, the main headquarters will send a pursuit team.”

“It doesn’t matter. Let them come. I’ll kill them all as they arrive.”

Killing intent swirled in Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes.

This much was not enough to appease his rage. His anger was far deeper than Buk Ho Kyung could possibly fathom.

“Tch!”

Buk Ho Kyung, pressing on his wound, drew his sword.

He realized that without defeating Seo Jong Myeong, he couldn’t escape from this place.
Seo Jong Myeong, caressing Bisa, said,

“This sword is the sacred artifact of the Diancang Sect, which you all annihilated.”

“Diancang? You mean you’re related to the Diancang Sect?”

“Yes. I am the last descendant of the Diancang Sect.”

“Urgh!”

“Now you know how much I hate you.”

Seo Jong Myeong aimed Bisa at Buk Ho Kyung.

During his time in the Celestial Demon Troupe, he had desperately restrained himself, fighting the urge to draw his sword and kill every living being from the Celestial Demon Troupe.

All of that restraint was for this very moment.

Swoosh!

Seo Jong Myeong swung Bisa, and charged at Buk Ho Kyung.

“Do you think I will just let you attack?”

Buk Ho Kyung clenched his teeth and countered Seo Jong Myeong’s assault.

Clang!

Their swords clashed.
***
“Die!”

“Argh!”

Screams and cries of terror erupted from everywhere.

The martial artists of the delegation and the Dark Phantom Squad fought fiercely, with no hint of human dignity or reason in their actions.

Thud!

A martial artist from the Shadowless Squad drove his blade deep into the chest of a Dark Phantom Squad’s martial artist. Then, another martial artist ambushed from behind, wounding the Shadowless Squad martial artist.

Blood spattered, screams echoed, and the ground turned red.

“What is this?”

“Brother!”

The 13th squad gathered around Lee Gwak.

They couldn’t comprehend the rapidly unfolding situation.

No matter how deep the enmity was, the idea that martial artists of the delegation would commit slaughter within the Celestial Demon Troupe’s territory was beyond their understanding.

Lee Gwak and the 13th squad withdrew from the battlefield.

As soon as Yong Cheon Myeong gave the order, the martial artists of the delegation attacked the Dark Phantom Squad as if they had been waiting for the signal. It was clear they had been tipped off in advance. However, the 13th squad received no such hint. They were utterly excluded.

Lee Gwak’s eyes deepened with contemplation.

He knew Yong Cheon Myeong didn’t favor him, but he didn’t expect to be so thoroughly ostracized.

Roar!

Yong Cheon Myeong, surrounded by a silver aura, massacred the martial artists of the Dark Phantom Squad.

Wherever he passed, the bodies were so brutally mutilated that they were unrecognizable. He was unleashing the anger that had accumulated from being mistreated in the Celestial Demon Troupe onto them.

“Ugh!”

“How can this be!”

Fear flashed across the faces of the Dark Phantom Squad’s martial artists.

They never expected the Grandmaster of Jade Heaven Alliance to execute such merciless slaughter.

The deputy leader of the Dark Phantom Squad glared at Yong Cheon Myeong and shouted.

“Even after this, do you think you can escape from here unscathed? Celestial Demon Troupe will send a pursuit team to exact vengeance.”

“Huh! Celestial Demon Troupe won’t have the luxury to do so. They’ll be too busy trying to manage the internal aftermath.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“There’s no reason for me to explain to someone who’s about to die.”

“You bastard!”

With a foreboding sense of doom, the deputy charged at him. However, before his sword could even reach Yong Cheon Myeong, the swirling aura around Yong Cheon Myeong engulfed him.

Boom!

With a loud noise, the deputy was crushed as if his body were tender meat. It was a horrific display of power.

The scene was quickly being settled.

The martial artists of the delegation were finishing off the surviving members of the Dark Phantom Squad who were whimpering with injuries.

“Huh!”

A satisfied smile appeared on Yong Cheon Myeong’s face.

The pent-up anger he had been harboring was somewhat alleviated.

Then, someone approached Yong Cheon Myeong. It was Seo Jongmyeong, returning from his pursuit of Buk Ho Kyung.

“Where’s Buk Ho Kyung?”

Seo Jong Myeong silently showed the blood-dripping Bisa.

Yong Cheon Myeong grinned, revealing his white teeth.

“By now, the Hidden Blood Squad must also be in action.”

“Yes! It will be a sea of blood. But undoubtedly, the sacrifice will be great.”

“That’s why they were cultivated as weapons. Such sacrifices must be accepted.”

Yong Cheon Myeong’s cruel words made Seo Jong Myeong’s face darken. But he didn’t argue back.

It was a strategy they had agreed upon.

They had anticipated a certain level of sacrifice. The question was whether they were willing to accept it or not.

They had willingly accepted the sacrifice of the Hidden Blood Squad.

That was their agreed-upon course of action.

However, there was one who could not accept this.

“What are you saying? The Hidden Blood Squad?”

A man who had until now been pushed to the background finally stepped forward for the first time.