Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 124

March 28, 2024 • 11 min read • 125 views

The Dead Rise to Kill the Living (3)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Through the slightly opened door of Wu Family Manor, the outside scenery was visible.

A long line of people was passing on the main road.

The Dark Phantom Squad, the delegation, and Lee Gwak…

A faint expression of relief appeared on Han So Cheon’s face as she spotted Lee Gwak walking at the rear of the delegation.

“Sigh!”

She took a deep breath and leaned against the door.

Her usually expressionless face showed a small crack of emotional disturbance. Such displays of emotions were exceptionally rare for her.

‘Oraboni will safely escape.’

Han So heon felt relieved at that thought.

She firmly imprinted Lee Gwak’s face in her mind.

The face of the only man she had ever loved.

With that alone, she felt her pounding heart calm down a little.

That’s when it happened.

“So Cheon!”

A familiar voice woke her from her thoughts.

Opening her eyes, she saw a man with a large build in front of her. It was Cheol Gwan Ho, the leader of the first squad of the Hidden Blood Squad.

“What are you doing here?”

He looked puzzled.

“Nothing.”

“Hmm!”

His brows furrowed deeply.

Cheol Gwan Ho instinctively realized that Han So Cheon was hiding something.

Normally, it was impossible to guess Han So Cheon’s thoughts due to her unchanging expression. However, there were rare occasions when her face showed slight changes.

Very occasionally, when she returned to the Jade Heaven Alliance and slept alone, away from the rest of the squad, a subtle disturbance would appear on her face.

‘Is it because of a man?’

If there was anyone who could bring warmth to the face of the woman known as the Ice Witch, it naturally had to be a man.

Cheol Gwan Ho’s expression hardened momentarily.

He noticed he was clenching his teeth, realizing that his feelings had been drifting towards Han So Cheon for some time.

Cheol Gwan Ho found this change in his emotions both unfamiliar and frightening. He deliberately denied his feelings, speaking brusquely on purpose.

“The leader has ordered everyone to gather.”

“Understood.”

Han So Cheon nodded and started walking towards the interior of Wu Family Manor. Cheol Gwan Ho watched her go for a moment before following.

Inside the largest hall of the Wu Family Manor, the entire Hidden Blood Squad, who had secretly infiltrated Shinji, was gathered. Their leader, Cheol Geuk-Jin, was at the center.

Even as Han So Cheon and Cheol Gwan Ho entered, Cheol Geuk-Jin did not react, merely keeping his eyes closed.

Everyone watched Cheol Geuk-Jin silently.

Among them was Go Jeon-Ok.

Go Jeon Ok’s heart was pounding more fiercely than ever before.

He had volunteered for this mission, which was more dangerous than any other, but completing it successfully would ensure his rise to power.

‘I will succeed at all costs.’

He had staked everything on this mission. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to pretend to be caught in the explosion with the Hidden Blood Squad and jump into the river.

After emerging from the river and making contact with the Wu Family Manor’s coachman, he had orchestrated the plan to infiltrate the Hidden Blood Squad up to this point.

It’s a mission that even the deputy leader of the Heavenly Intelligence Hall, Ha Gong Wol, was hesitant to undertake. If he succeeded in this mission, he would be able to ascend to a higher position than Ha Gong Wol.

Then, Cheol Geuk-Jin opened his eyes, and his sharp glare burst forth.

His gaze settled on Go Jeon-Ok.

“Go Jeon-Ok!”

“Yes, leader.”

“Is the escape route secure?”

“Absolutely. Everything has been prepared in advance.”

Go Jeon-Ok responded confidently.

“Go ahead and wait there.”

“Understood.”

Go Jeon-Ok left for the outside after responding.

Cheol Geuk-jin’s gaze then turned towards Gong Ha-Seong, the master of Wu Family Manor.

“What about the infiltration route?”

“Do not worry. I’ve been preparing for a long time, so it’s certain. I’ll guide you with my life on the line.”

“Can we trust you?”

“Trust me. I’ve risked my life operating undercover here for today.”

Gong Ha Seong replied with a grave expression.

From the moment he entered, Gong Ha Seong had abandoned any attachment to his life. Acting as a spy in enemy territory, the likelihood of returning alive to the Jade Heaven Alliance was nearly impossible.

Even if he were to die, his family remaining in the Jade Heaven Alliance would be able to live well and comfortably. Gong Ha Seong considered this more than a fair trade.
Cheol Geuk-Jin’s gaze turned towards the Hidden Blood Squad.

“Everyone is aware of their roles, correct?”

“Yes!”

The Hidden Blood Squad responded in unison.

Cheol Geuk-Jin looked at each of their faces, continuing,

“Today’s mission is more dangerous than ever before. However, if we succeed, it will deal a significant blow to the Celestial Demon Troupe. It might even turn the tide of the current stalemate in one fell swoop. Therefore, we must succeed. Understand?”

“Yes!”

“The hunt for the old tiger begins.”

With that declaration, Cheol Geuk-Jin moved into action.

Gong Ha Seong led Cheol Geuk-Jin and the Hidden Blood Squad to the underground of Wu Family Manor.

There, a dark tunnel gaped open.

“This tunnel leads to the underground of the Celestial Demon Troupe. If you follow the tunnel, it connects to a well in the backyard of the Celestial Demon Troupe.”

“Are you sure?”

“I dug it myself. It’s certain.”

Gong Ha Seong replied with confidence.

The Five Elements Earth Escape Technique he had mastered was a martial art specialized in digging tunnels through the ground.

After taking over Wu Family Manor, he used the Five Elements Earth Escape Technique to dig the tunnel every night, completing it just a few days ago.

Without hesitation, Gong Ha Seong entered the tunnel, followed by Cheol Geuk-Jin and the Hidden Blood Squad.

Han So Cheon looked back one last time. After observing the empty space for a moment, she entered the tunnel with a resolute expression.

***
Seo Jong Myeong was taken aback, not expecting Lee Gwak to suddenly appear at this moment.

He blocked Lee Gwak’s path, saying, “Lee Gwak! Just stay put.”

“I need to go in. The Hidden Blood Squad, what are you talking about?”

“Return to your place. I’ll explain everything to you later.”

Seo Jong Myeong, glancing at Yong Cheon Myeong, tried to send Lee Gwak back to his spot. But no matter how much force he applied, Lee Gwak stood immovable as if rooted to the ground.

Lee Gwak’s gaze was fixed on Yong Cheon Myeong.

Yong Cheon Myeong’s eyebrows twitched at the sight of Lee Gwak daring to look him straight in the eye.

Yong Cheonmyeong then spoke to Seo Jong Myeong.

“Brother, step aside.”

“Don’t worry about it, Cheon Myeong. He just doesn’t know the ways of the world yet, not knowing when to step in and when not to.”

Seo Jong Myeong desperately defended Lee Gwak. However, it was insufficient to quell the budding rage in Yong Cheon Myeong’s heart.

“I told you to move, brother!”

Finally, with a soft sigh, Seo Jong Myeong stepped back.

With no obstacles between them, Yong Cheon Myeong menacingly glared at Lee Gwak and approached him.

“What did you say?”

“What have you done to the Hidden Blood Squad?”

“It’s classified.”

“Are you planning to sacrifice them?”

“There are always sacrifices in war.”

“Is this how it always is? To resort to assassination just because negotiations failed. It’s a cowardly act, not even the leaders of the Jianghu would stoop to.”

“I have no righteousness to uphold for the likes of the Celestial Demon Troupe.”

Not a hint of wavering existed in Yong Cheon Myeong’s eyes.

He truly believed in his justice and was convinced of it.

“A hundred years ago, when the Great Heavenly Blood War was fought, if the great powers of the time had been more vicious, the war would have ended much sooner. If they had been more vigorous, the war would have ended sooner. The only way to end the war as soon as possible is to win by any means necessary and to end the war as soon as possible.”

Silence followed.

“No one wants to step into the mud. They hate the idea of staining their bodies with filth and tarnishing their honor. They only covet the sweet fruits that come with the glory of victory. Who else in this Jianghu would have the courage to throw themselves into the mud without hesitation? Who else is prepared to throw everything away to eradicate Shinmareon? Only I am. Only I have the determination and the courage to act.”

Silence again.

“Only I can. Only I can bring peace to the Jianghu and end these troubled times. I am the only hope of Jianghu.”

Yong Cheon Myeong’s eyes blazed red.

A wild rage inhabited his gaze.

It was unmistakably madness.

Yong Cheon Myeong was releasing the madness he had repressed and hidden away.

The die had been cast.

The Hidden Blood Squad was in motion, and they had annihilated the Dark Phantom Squad.
They had crossed the point of no return.

All that was left was to safely escape the Celestial Demon Troupe’s territory before the enemies realized that the Dark Phantom Squad had been annihilated and sent a pursuit team.

Unexpectedly, Lee Gwak, who was merely an outer hall squad leader, was challenging his authority.

Contempt and disdain were clearly visible in Yong Cheon Myeong’s eyes,.

“How dare someone like you question my decisions? A worthless outer hall martial artist like you…”

“Why did you bother bringing such a worthless outer hall martial artist here?”

“What?”

“As you yourself have said, everyone knew that the 13th squad didn’t fit in with the delegation. Yet, you deliberately included the 13th squad in the delegation. Why? Why did you include the 13th squad, which you look down upon and consider insignificant, in the delegation?”

A grinding sound came from Yong Cheon Myeong’s mouth in an instant.

Lee Gwak’s words had touched his raw nerve.

‘Yul Seon!’

The only woman he loved.

She was perfect in every way, except for one flaw.

Before Yong Cheonmyeong, she had briefly dated another man.

Yul Seon kept it well hidden, but no secret lasts forever in this world. Especially not for Yong Cheon Myeong, the Grandmaster of the Jade Heaven Alliance, for whom there were no secrets within the Jade Heaven Alliance that he was not privy to.

The fact that ‘Yul Seon had once dated another man, who was nothing but an outer hall squad leader, caused Yong Cheon Myeong to lose sleep for days.

It was an unbearable humiliation for him, feeling as though he was being equated to merely an outer hall squad leader.

For someone who had lived his entire life being adored and respected by others, it was akin to an insult.

That’s why he had brought Lee Gwak along.

He was curious about the man ‘Yul Seon had once given her heart to.

Traveling with him, Yong Cheon Myeong secretly felt a sense of superiority.

While he rode on horseback, Lee Gwak walked; while he slept comfortably in luxurious lodgings, Lee Gwak barely sheltered from the rain and wind in shabby accommodations.

The mere confirmation that Lee Gwak was as lowly as a piece of trash healed his wounded pride.

He knew that it was an act that others would never understand, and that it was cowardly, so Yong Cheon Myeong felt a little guilty in his heart.

But when Lee Gwak directly challenged him, rage erupted within Yong Cheon Myeong like a volcano.

“I have no reason to explain myself to someone like you.”

“Is it because of Yul… Seon?”

“How dare you!”

Boom!

Suddenly, with a loud noise, Lee Gwak’s figure was thrown backwards. Yong Cheon Myeong, unable to contain his anger, had struck him.

Everyone thought that this blow would have seriously injured Lee Gwak.

Yong Cheon Myeong’s martial arts were not weak enough to be blocked by a mere outer hall squad leader.

However, the scene that unfolded defied everyone’s expectations.

Lee Gwak stood firm, blocking the front with his sword sheath.

He had blocked Yong Cheon Myeong’s attack with his sword sheath.

The sword sheath vibrated as it absorbed the impact.

“Lee g…wak!”

Surprises appeared on everyone’s faces.

Lee Gwak, standing up straight while firmly holding the sword sheath, seemed unfamiliar to them.