Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 128

March 28, 2024 • 12 min read • 150 views

Some Depart, Some Flee (3)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Han So Cheon was exhausted.

From the endless missions and killings, and from the deaths of her comrades who were used and discarded.

If she had underachieved when she was recruited into the Hidden Blood Squad, if she hadn’t caught the eye of Cheol Geuk jin, it might have been Han So Cheon who would have learnt the Blood Explosion Magic Art instead of them.

She was pushed to her mental limits, and the old man noticed Han So Cheon’s condition.

“Your fate seems quite harsh indeed. Then again, how many of those involved in the Jianghu lead a normal life?”

Despite having received a fatal wound from her, the old man did not bear any resentment towards Han So Cheon. Instead, he looked at her with eyes full of sympathy.

The old man asked,

“How many of you entered here?”

“About twenty.”

Han So Cheon found herself answering honestly without even realizing why. For some reason, she felt that she had to.

“Then excluding those who died by my hand, about fifteen remain? The rest must be assassinating others, right?”

“Yes!”

“Then you are a sacrificial lamb.”

“Excuse me?”

“Do you know who I am?”

Han So Cheon shook her head.

She didn’t know the old man’s identity or name because Cheol Geuk jin hadn’t told her.

“My name is Yang Sangwol.”

“…”

“I am the brother of Origin Demon Palace’s lord, Yang Guang-baek, and the guardian of the current Lord, Jin Gwang Hon.”

Han So-cheon blinked in disbelief for a moment. It all seemed too surreal.

She knew that the lord of Origin Demon Palace was Yang Guang-baek, known as the Single Moon Demon Sword.

The leader of the previous generation’s martial artists of Celestial Demon Troupe, known as the Ten Blood Demons, and a monster who had lived for over a hundred years.

She had never heard that he had a brother.

Yang Sangwol smiled bitterly.

“I was destined never to step forward from the beginning. Guang-baek was far more talented than I, and the martial arts we practiced only needed one successor. Thus, I chose the shadows. I became the guardian in the shadows for the young Lord.”

The current lord of the Celestial Demon Troupe, Jin Gwang Hon, was a man who needed no master.

He possessed a genius talent and had mastered Celestial Demon Troupe’s secret manuals through self-study, without a master.

But even a mighty tiger needs its mother’s protection in youth. Yang Sangwol volunteered to be Jin Gwang Hon’s guardian and protected him.

Although it was a very short period, Jin Gwang Hon deeply appreciated Yang Sangwol’s kindness.

Even after becoming Lord, Jin Gwang Hon treated Yang Sangwol with great respect, visiting him at least twice a year to share drinks and conversations.

Single Moon Demon Sword Yang Guang-baek, the leader of the Ten Blood Demons, also held his brother in high regard.

For the two of them, who were over a hundred years old, they were each other’s only remaining family. That made them cherish each other all the more.

In recent years, Yang Sangwol’s health had significantly deteriorated. He was barely keeping alive using his formidable internal energy, and his days were numbered.

This place was a special residence given to Yang Sangwol by Jin Gwang Hon, so he could spend his remaining days in peace, without even security guards around.

“The moment they learn of my death, Lord and my brother’s wrath will be focused on you.”

To them, the death of others wasn’t very significant. They had a replaceable human resource. But Yang Sangwol was different.

His death would inevitably invoke their wrath. They would surely concentrate all their efforts to find the murderer of Yang Sangwol.

“…Then the net aimed at the other assassins will inevitably loosen. Do you see now? Why I called you a sacrificial lamb. By killing me, who is practically a cripple, all of Celestial Demon Troupe’s efforts will be focused on chasing you, making it easier for the others to escape.”

“That’s… unfair.”

“Heh! Perhaps…”

Yang Sangwol’s voice grew fainter.

His remaining life was coming to an end.

“Hurry on your way before they catch up…”

“…”

“As fast as you can, to somewhere far… It would be too unjust to die having been merely used…”

Yang Sangwol could no longer continue. His breath had stopped.

Han So Cheon’s eyes wavered.

Though she had said it was an assumption, her mind thought Yang Sangwol’s words might indeed be true.

“I’m… sorry.”

Han So Cheon apologized to the deceased Yang Sangwol. It felt like the right thing to do.

That was when it happened.

Peep!

Urgent horn sounds echoed from various directions.

It was the sound of martial artists rushing over after sensing the disturbance.
Han So Cheon quickly left the scene.

Shortly after, a group of martial artists arrived.

They found Yang Sangwol’s lifeless body and wailed.

“Master!”

“How could this be! Quickly, we must inform the Lord and track down the murderer.”

They were the White Mist Ghost Phantom Squad, one of the Celestial Demon Troupe’s elite forces.

The White Mist Ghost Phantom Squad started to follow the faint traces left by Han So Cheon on the ground.

****

A man suddenly burst into the residence of the Lord, the Divine Demon Temple. The martial artists always guarding the Lord’s residence didn’t dare to stop the man.

The man who rushed in like a vagrant was Ohn Ja Wol, one of the Ten Blood Demons. As soon as Ohn Ja Wol entered the Divine Demon Temple, he called for Jin Gwang Hon.

“Lord! There has been a grave incident.”

“A grave incident?”

Jin Gwang Hon’s eyebrows twitched. He didn’t like Ohn Ja Wol making a fuss.
“What happened?”

“Assassins have killed our leadership. Seven have already died, and a dozen are critically injured.”

“Is that so?”

Even then, Jin Gwang Hon showed little reaction.

He was a beast who had survived in a world of the survival of the fittest to reach this position. He had seen countless deaths and killed many with his own hands.

While the fact that assassinations occurred within the Celestial Demon Troupe was unexpected, he wasn’t particularly upset.

If a martial artist could be killed by an assassination, they were of little use in his philosophy.
Although the audacity of the Jade Heaven Alliance sending an assassination squad incited anger, it was something that could be avenged.

He didn’t know who had died, but there were plenty more within the Celestial Demon Troupe to replace them.

“Among the deceased is Elder Yang.”

However, Ohn Ja Wol’s following words made his expression turn stone cold.

“Elder, Yang… Sangwol?”

“I’m sorry.”

Silence fell in the Divine Demon Temple.

Jin Gwang Hon pressed his lips tightly together, saying nothing.

Ohn Ja Wol didn’t dare to continue speaking, bowing his head.

Even without seeing his face, it was clear how immense Jin Gwang Hon’s anger was.

Thud, thud, thud!

The entire Divine Demon Temple trembled as if an earthquake had occurred.

At its center was Jin Gwang Hon.

“Elder Yang has passed away, you say? Elder Yang… who had not long to live. A person who desired nothing but to pass away quietly. The Jade Heaven Alliance couldn’t wait even a few days…”

Boom, boom, boom!

The Divine Demon Temple shook violently, as if it would collapse at any moment. Ohn Ja Wol, however, didn’t dare to attempt to calm Jin Gwang Hon.

The Divine Demon Temple shook violently, as if it would collapse at any moment. Ohn Ja Wol still didn’t dare to stop Jin Gwang Hon.

‘Just how far has Lord’s realm progressed?’

He himself was a member of the Ten Blood Demons, confident in his supreme mastery. Yet, even Ohn Ja Wol did not dare to intervene with Jin Gwang Hon.

Fortunately, just before the Celestial Demon Troupe headquarters could collapse, Jin Gwang Hon managed to control his emotions.

“So, the assassin?”

“The White Mist Ghost Phantom Squad is pursuing them.”

“Tell Il Hyeon to lead the Phantom Armored Cavalry and follow.”

“Il Hyeon, you mean?”

“Yang Sangwol greatly cherished that boy. If it’s him, he will surely exact a terrible revenge.”

“Understood. I will convey your message.”

“Remember! Even if all others escape, the assassin who killed elder Yang Sang Wol must not be let go at any cost.”

“I will bear it in mind.”

Ohn Ja Wol bowed deeply, his forehead bleeding, but he did not care.

“And tell Jin Ui-hon. Find and execute a strategy of retaliation against the Jade Heaven Alliance immediately.”

“Understood.”

Jin Gwang Hon mentioned Jin Ui-hon, who was responsible for the Celestial Demon Troupe’s strategies at the Blood Heaven Institute.

A single move by an absolute master would only kill a few hundred people, but if he moved, thousands and tens of thousands of lives would be lost.

Jin Gwang Hon was declaring a bloody vengeance.
****

Han So Cheon returned to the Wu Family Manor through a passage under the well.

The Wu Family Manor was already empty.

Without hesitation, Han So Cheon used her qigong to head towards the primary rendezvous point.

The primary rendezvous point was a small forest outside of Shinji. The Hidden Blood Squad had already agreed to gather in the forest as soon as the assassination was successful and to escape from Celestial Demon Troupe’s territory.

Shinji was already filled with Celestial Demon Troupe’s troops.

They were searching for the assassins who dared to carry out an assassination in the Celestial Demon Troupe.

It was not anywhere else but in the main base of Celestial Demon Troupe.

The martial artists of Celestial Demon Troupe were furious, and the people living in Shinji were willing to cooperate with them.

Anyone who looked even slightly unfamiliar was captured, and the streets were filled with fear.

“Sigh!”

Han So Cheon let out a soft sigh.

She intuitively knew that it was impossible to sneak out quietly.

Tap, tap!

The sound of footsteps came from the passage she had left. It was the sound of those pursuing her.

Han So Cheon’s eyes became determined.

It was not the time to hesitate, but to take a risk.

Han So Cheon climbed onto the roof of the Wu Family Manor and used her qigong.

She ran across the rooftops of Shinji at a terrifying speed like a gust of wind. Her qigong was very unique, so it hardly made any sound. The martial artists of Celestial Demon Troupe passing by on the streets did not notice her passing overhead.

Han So Cheon’s identity was almost revealed when she was about to leave Shinji.

“Over here. Someone is running on the roof of our house.”

Someone living in Shinji shouted towards the martial artists on the street. They had coincidentally looked up and discovered Han So Cheon running on the roof of their house.

“There!”

“It’s an assassin. Capture her!”

Like a pack of wild dogs, they ran towards Han So Cheon.

Han So Cheon drew her sword.

Swoosh!

Her sword sliced through the air.

Two of the Celestial Demon Troupe’s martial artists rushing towards her fell with holes in their foreheads.

Han So Cheon did not have time to confirm their deaths as she moved forward. But before she could take a few steps, she was surrounded by Celestial Demon Troupe’s martial artists.

“Die!”

“No, we need to capture her alive!”

The martial artists of Celestial Demon Troupe rushed towards Han So Cheon like demons.

Han So Cheon cut down the martial artists blocking her way as she advanced. Her body was quickly drenched in blood.

She did not know how long she had wielded her sword.

When Han So Cheon regained consciousness, she had already escaped Shinji. Her body was stained red with blood.

Most of it was the blood of her enemies, but some was her own.

It was impossible to escape the pursuit of her enemies with an unscathed body from the beginning.

Han So Cheon had also sustained several wounds. Fortunately, she had not received any fatal injuries.

Han So Cheon forced herself to endure the pain and used her qigong.

It was not the time to sit down and treat her wounds. The priority was to quickly reunite with the others and escape from this place.

Han So Cheon ran through the bushes.

Her breath was short, and a sweet taste came from her mouth, but she did not stop even once.

‘There it is.’

Han So Cheon’s eyes lit up.

Because she saw the meeting place.

The small clearing next to a pond in a small forest was the primary rendezvous point.

Go Jeon-ok was supposed to wait for her and the Hidden Blood Squad, after arranging an escape route. So, if she could join him, escaping from here would not be a problem.

But what was waiting for Han So Cheon was an empty clearing.

There was no one in the clearing.

Neither Go Jeon-ok nor the Hidden Blood Squad who were supposed to be there earlier.

“This can’t be!”

A look of despair appeared in Han So Cheon’s eyes.

On a small rock in the empty clearing, there were letters that seemed to have been carved with a sword.

Each man for himself!

At the moment she saw the words, Han So Cheon realized that Yang Sangwol’s words were true.

She was the scapegoat.

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