Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 138

April 12, 2024 • 11 min read • 177 views

He Who Stands Up Once, Can Stand Up Twice(1)

There was grain in everything.

Even the pebbles rolling around on the ground had grain, even the highly refined lumps of iron, and even the condensed qi, though not many knew of its existence. And even if they did, they did not dare to attack the grain of qi.

But for Lee Gwak, it was possible.

He saw the grain of the Blood Light Hand.

Its turbulent flow, the force of destruction like a raging river.

There was a huge difference between being able to see it and destroying it, but it was still worth the risk.

Crack!

Lee Gwak’s blade sliced through the grain of Go Geom Wol’s Blood Light Hand.

With this move, Lee Gwak gambled everything.

Thump! Thump!

As the Qi shattered and dissipated under the tremendous pressure, Lee Gwak’s body trembled and blood gushed from his nose and ears.

Yet, Lee Gwak did not stop.

Like a salmon swimming upstream against the torrent, he vigorously ascended through Blood Light Hand.

Crash!

The moment the Blood Light Hand was destroyed, Lee Gwak and Go Geom Wol’s eyes met.
Lee Gwak saw it.

In Go Geom Wol’s eyes, which seemed to transcend everything in the world, human emotion flickered.

After all, Go Geom Wol was human.

Just a martial artist stronger than Lee Gwak, not a completely different being.

If so, he too could be hurt, could be defeated.

Lee Gwak proved that fact.

Swish!

As Blood Light Hand was destroyed, a deep gash appeared on Go Geom Wol’s palm. Lee Gwak’s blade had wounded Go Geom Wol’s flesh.

Drip, drip!

Blood dripped from Go Geom Wol’s clenched fist.

“Huff! Huff!”

Lee Gwak used his blade as a support, gasping for air.

His muscles felt as if they had been ground on a millstone, too weak to move his arms and legs. However, Lee Gwak did not collapse.

There was no longer any trace of despair in his eyes.

Go Geom Wol was also human, like him.

Not a being in a sacred realm unreachable by hand.

“Phew!”

Suddenly, Go Geom Wol sighed and looked at his wounded hand.

A wound so deep that the bone was visible had formed. He could hardly remember the last time he had received such an injury.

Heavenly Gift.

He was born with a talent bestowed by heaven.

He could grasp the essence of any martial art after seeing it just once, and could easily master it. He soared through the mastery of martial arts and, after turning fifteen, he had reached a state where he no longer needed a teacher.

Since then, he had never been wounded in the flesh. At least, as far as he remembered.

‘Was I too arrogant?’

While he verbally claimed that Lee Gwak was his heaven-sent rival, deep down he had underestimated him. The wound on his hand was the price he had to pay.

Go Geom Wol’s gaze changed.

“You, Lee Gwak!”

“……”

“I, Go Geom Wol, am thankful to heaven. For sending someone like you before me to awaken my vigilance. Using you as a stepping stone, I will soar to even greater heights.”

Swoosh!

Go Geom Wol drew his sword.

It was the first time in years that he had unsheathed his sword.

Shura.

It was the finest sword of the Celestial Demon Troupe.

A sword worthy of being called a divine or demonic sword. It was now aimed at Lee Gwak.

In an instant, Lee Gwak felt as though something invisible had pierced his heart.
Go Geom Wol without a sword and Go Geom Wol with a sword were completely different people.

Whoosh!

Shura emitted a fierce sword cry.

“Phew!”

Lee Gwak straightened his back.

His body felt like it was falling apart, but there was no time to rest.

Now was the time to fight.

Snap!

Lee Gwak launched himself towards Go Geom Wol again.

Swoosh!

A meteor awl shot out from his left hand like a viper.

For a moment, a hint of disappointment flashed in Go Geom Wol’s eyes. He was disappointed that Lee Gwak used a trick instead of pure martial arts.

At least, Go Geom Wol wished for a fair and square fight, maintaining the pride of a martial artist.

But Lee Gwak thought differently.

He had thrown away such pride of a martial artist long ago.

Fighting with pride against a martial artist far stronger than himself was foolish.

Of course, he did not think he could wound Go Geom Wol to that extent.

What Lee Gwak wanted was to distract Go Geom Wol’s attention, even if just for a moment.
Go Geom Wol swung his sword towards the meteor awl.

Swoosh!

The meteor awl was shredded to pieces and scattered in the air.

Whoosh!

In that instant, Lee Gwak threw a hidden axe and launched a dagger.

Clang, clang!

However, both the axe and the dagger were deflected before they could even reach Go Geom Wol.

Unfortunately for Lee Gwak, Go Geom Wol no longer showed any openings to him.

Swoosh!

Go Geom Wol’s sword descended upon Lee Gwak.

Battle Sword Technique.

This secret sword technique was unleashed towards Lee Gwak.

In an instant, Lee Gwak felt his consciousness fading.

It was as if an invisible giant sword had pierced through his body.

If he gave up now, that would certainly be the end.

“Yaaaah!”

Lee Gwak roared.

Even if he were to die, he would not die in such a disgraceful manner.

If he were to die, it would be a meaningless struggle, like a wriggling worm underfoot.

Lee Gwak squeezed out all his remaining strength and swung his blade.

Eight Sects Sword Art, Thunder Blade Arts, or the Moonset Blade Technique.

He did not know which technique he was using.

He just swung his blade with all his might, aiming to cut through Go Geom Wol’s sword wave.

It was neither a specific blade technique nor a specific blade move.

It was simply a cut.

But within it was everything Lee Gwak had learned and accumulated up to this point.

Crash!

The sword and the blade collided.

The entire gorge shook as if an earthquake had struck, sending ferocious waves of qi in all directions.

Rumble!

Eventually, a corner of the canyon could not withstand the shock and collapsed. A huge amount of earth and rock came crashing down in a landslide.

The sight of boulders the size of houses mixed with the earth was terrifying. The gorge, once a beautiful landscape, was devastated by the landslide.

After the landslide passed, the gorge was eerily silent, as if everything was a lie.
Someone rose from the dust cloud.

It was Go Geom Wol, who had emerged unharmed from the landslide that had completely changed the landscape of the gorge.

He looked around. But Lee Gwak was nowhere to be seen. He had been swept down the gorge by the debris.

Go Geom Wol silently looked down at the gorge for a while, then suddenly caressed his left shoulder. He felt a cold sensation.

A broken piece of the blade was embedded in his shoulder.

“Lee Gwak!”

Go Geom Wol’s gaze deepened.

Had his blade not broken midway, he might have suffered a deeper wound.

It was a fleeting moment, but even Go Geom Wol felt a dizzying threat. Lee Gwak’s last attack was that powerful. That made it even more regrettable. The fact that he could no longer face Lee Gwak.

Go Geom Wol looked down at the canyon for a while longer.

He considered continuing to pursue Han So Cheon but felt no urge to do so.

Go Geom Wol turned away.

***
Lee Gwak was swept away by the landslide into endless darkness.

A horrific wound gaped open from his right shoulder to his left lower abdomen. It had been inflicted by Go Geom Wol.

The gaping wound seemed about to spill his intestines at any moment. Yet, Lee Gwak was still breathing, albeit as precarious as a candle in front of a typhoon.

But Lee Gwak clung tenaciously to the thread of breath not letting go. His willpower kept the spark of life from going out. But his consciousness was fading.

That’s when it happened.

A voice broke into his fading consciousness.

“Child!”

With a harsh voice, someone grabbed Lee Gwak by the neck and pulled him up.

‘Who?’

Lee Gwak tried to open his eyes to see who it was. But contrary to his will, his consciousness slipped into deep darkness.

“Phew!”

The person who pulled Lee Gwak out of the gorge sighed.

It was an old man wearing ragged clothes that felt as if they would crumble to the touch. Ferocious eyes that sparkled with madness could be seen through his white hair.

With those mad eyes, the old man looked at Lee Gwak, whom he had pulled from the rubble of the landslide.

Lee Gwak’s condition was truly terrible.

Among the numerous wounds, those inflicted by Go Geom Wol were so gruesome that they were hard to behold.

It was unbelievable that he was still alive despite such injuries.

Gradually, the madness in the old man’s eyes faded.

“Unbelievable. That same kid…”

Despite the passage of many years, the old man remembered Lee Gwak.

A young martial artist who stood his ground when all others fled in fear. Though his martial arts were poor, his pride and will were as high as the sky. That’s why he remembered him.

It was also a moment of lucidity, but it was such a strong impression that it remained in his
memory.

The old man who saved Lee Gwak was none other than the Lunatic Pugilist, Gwang Noh ya.
Gwang Noh ya silently looked at Lee Gwak.

He couldn’t believe that Lee Gwak was still breathing after suffering such serious wounds.

Suddenly, a sigh escaped Gwang Noh ya’s lips.

“Is this also fate?”

He thought there was no longer any attachment or destiny left in the world for him. That’s why he wandered the land aimlessly. But he had not expected to encounter such a faint connection here.

He had once told Lee Gwak to abandon the habits of a dog and become a wolf.

The Lee Gwak he saw today was a wolf.

Even in absolute disadvantage, his fighting spirit was unbreakable.

Gwang Noh ya instinctively realized that his fate was intertwined with Lee Gwak’s.

“If it is the will of the heavens, I will no longer resist.”

Gwang Noh ya searched his belongings and took out a small wooden box.

Upon opening the box, a black pill wrapped in gold leaf paper was revealed.

It was an elixir he had obtained long ago, when he was still sane, and while it was of little use in curing his own madness, it was excellent in protecting Lee Gwak’s vital channels.

After giving Lee Gwak the elixir, Gwang Noh ya pressed down on his neck. With a rumbling sound, the elixir instantly dissolved and went into Lee Gwak’s throat.

Pop! Pop! Pop!

In an instant, Gwang Noh Ya pressed thirty-six vital points on Lee Gwak’s body, stopping the bleeding. However, one major problem remained. The deep wound on his chest.

If left untreated, such a deep wound, almost exposing the innards, would render even the finest elixir ineffective.

Rip!

Gwang Noh ya tore a long strip of Lee Gwak’s robe and tied it around his chest. It was so tight that there was no gap for blood to pass through, forcibly closing the wound on his chest.

This wouldn’t heal the wound immediately, but it would at least stop it from getting worse and buy some time. But it wasn’t enough to save him. It merely prevented his breath from stopping.

More extreme measures were necessary to save Lee Gwak.

After a series of actions, Gwang Noh Ya threw Lee Gwak over his shoulder.

Carrying Lee Gwak, Gwang Noh ya launched himself forward.

He quickly left the Sword Mountain behind and headed south.

After three days of running, he reached the southern wilds, a jungle.

The jungle in the southern wilds was tens of times larger and more vast than any green forest. It was so dense that one could not see even a foot ahead, filled with numerous dangers. That’s why even the natives of the southern wilds hesitated to enter the jungle.

Gwang Noh ya, carrying Lee Gwak, fearlessly leaped into the dangerous jungle.

After wandering through the jungle for two days, he arrived at a large swamp.

It was like a graveyard where venomous creatures of the southern wilds came in their final moments. The swamp was a poison pond, formed by the accumulation of venom from these creatures over a long time.

Gwang Noh Ya tied a long rope around Lee Gwak’s waist and put a reed pipe in his mouth. Then he threw him into the poison pond.

Lee Gwak’s body slowly sank into the poison pond.

Gwang Noh ya leaned against a large tree near the poison pond and closed his eyes.