Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 144

April 24, 2024 • 11 min read • 396 views

The Disciple Resembles the Master (4)
Disaster struck without any signs or warnings.

Darkness enveloped the world.

In the darkness so thick one couldn’t see even an inch ahead, people panicked.

Giant birds that flew without flapping their wings lost their direction and fell, and massive carriages that raced across the land collided and tangled with each other.

Lights went out in skyscrapers that pierced the sky, and people screamed as they ran into the streets.

The streets consumed by darkness were filled with malevolent energy.

Within it, people lost their way.

They screamed and sought help.

Many succumbed to the malevolent energy and lost their lives. The streets were filled with the dead.

That was the first disaster.

It took over a month just to clear away the bodies of the dead.

During that time, a plague sprouted from the corpses and spread.

This new type of plague, previously unknown, quickly spread across the entire world.

More people died from this second disaster than from the first.

After the second disaster, the world lost its vitality.

People lost hope and lived each day shivering in fear. Even those alive were not truly living.

Life without hope was exhausting, and it slowly gnawed away at people’s sanity. Light vanished from their eyes.

In a world without light, a world without hope, everything gradually became desolate.

Then they returned.

The long-dead came back.

They acted as calmly as if they were alive, truly believing they were living.

The dead replaced the living, and the living became subservient to the dead.

It was a hellish world where the rules of the living no longer applied.

But this hell was just the beginning.

Three more hourglasses of judgment remained. Each hourglass, belonging to different realms, was rapidly running out, and the moment they did, the barriers would fall, allowing invasion into the human world.

Suddenly, the world shook as if an earthquake had struck.

Cracks appeared throughout the entire world, like pottery about to break.

“It’s a dream.”

He then realized he was experiencing a lucid dream.

The scenes before him weren’t reality but fragments of a distant past remembered by his consciousness. No, they were visions of a future seen in the distant past.

A future that had not yet come but was bound to happen someday.

It might have been irrelevant to him.

It was an event that would never occur in his lifetime.

He could have lived comfortably, ignoring it, without anyone to blame. But he couldn’t do that.

He had to make a choice.

Whether to enjoy luxury and die comfortably or to sacrifice himself for descendants he knew neither the names nor faces of.

He chose the latter.

It might have been a foolish choice to others, but he made it without a moment’s hesitation.

He always had been that way.

Thinking of others more than himself, believing in the purity of people, and trusting the friend who saw the future with him.

His friend said there was a way.

A heretical great method to suppress his spirit and put his body in a vegetative state to extend his predetermined lifespan.

He followed willingly because he trusted him.

He thought he would wake up in the future after sleeping. However, the world was not so easy, and his friend was not as pure.

His friend thoroughly used him.

He became a puppet and committed numerous atrocities.

The original sin of his past tightly constricted his heart.

“Huh!”

Suddenly, anger surged from deep within his chest.

He tried his best to suppress the anger. He knew from experience what would happen if it took over his mind.

“No!”

He cried out.

But his voice merely echoed inside him without escaping.

Flash!

He opened his eyes.

With madness in his eyes, he looked around.

“Master?”

A young man was looking at him,

His face seemed familiar.

He felt a sense of kinship. But soon, the madness invading his brain took away the last bit of sanity in his eyes.

The whole world was dyed red.

Hostility boiled up from the depths of his heart.

“Aaah!”

A roar filled with madness burst out.

After that, there was no memory.

When he regained consciousness, everything around him was destroyed.

The ancient trees that had lived for hundreds of years, the giant rocks that had been rooted in the same place for thousands of years. All were destroyed, leaving only remnants behind.

As if a meteorite had fallen, everything in the vicinity was destroyed. In the midst of all this destruction, the only thing left intact was his disciple.

But his condition was not good either.

He was injured and bleeding all over. Some of these injuries were potentially fatal.

Using a broken sword as a support, he barely managed to keep his upper body upright.

“Mas… Master!”

The one who struggled to speak was Lee Gwak.

He, Gwang Noh ya, asked,

“Did I go mad and rampage again?”

Lee Gwak silently nodded.

Gwang Noh ya looked up at the sky and muttered,

“You’ve managed to survive, somehow.”

***

“Huff! Huff!”

Lee Gwak tried to calm his heavy breathing as he looked at Gwang Noh ya.

Gwang Noh ya’s madness had exploded without warning.

There had been signs.

While sleeping, Gwang Noh ya had been twitching and showing signs of distress. But Lee Gwak hadn’t taken Gwang Noh ya’s reactions seriously.

Anyone could have nightmares and thrash about in sleep.

Shortly after, Lee Gwak regretted his complacency.

As Gwang Noh ya’s restlessness grew, the energy emanating from his body also became stronger. Only then did Lee Gwak realize something was terribly wrong and tried to wake Gwang Noh ya up.

But Gwang Noh ya woke up on his own before that could happen.

There was no sanity to be found in the eyes of Gwang Noh ya who had just awakened.
Hatred and madness had taken over Gwang Noh ya.

From the moment he opened his eyes, Gwang Noh ya went on a frenzied rampage.

Everything was destroyed by the tremendous force he emitted.

The power that had once crushed the martial artists of the Jade Heaven Alliance and the Celestial Demon Troupe into dust was fully unleashed.

Gwang Noh ya wielded the power of a storm with a human body.

Lee Gwak tried to calm Gwang Noh ya down, but it was futile.

Gwang Noh ya’s madness was directed at Lee Gwak.

At that moment, Lee Gwak saw his own death.

The might of Gwang Noh ya, exploding with madness, was on a completely different level from any martial artists Lee Gwak had encountered before.

Lee Gwak swung his sword not to win or to suppress, but purely for survival. He extracted every last drop of his internal energy to resist.

Fortunately, as time passed, Gwang Noh ya’s madness gradually subsided, and eventually, he regained his sanity.

Lee Gwak had fought with all his might to live.

He fully unleashed his Revolving Steps and desperately swung the Six Stances Sword Technique. By the end, he couldn’t even remember how he had wielded his sword.

“Pant! Pant!”

His breathing wouldn’t calm down.

Every hair on his body stood on end, and the goosebumps wouldn’t settle. His muscles, squeezed to their limit, screamed in agony.

Eventually, Lee Gwak lay sprawled on the ground, gasping for breath.

Whirr!

Suddenly, the Eight Snakes within him stirred.

He thought he had no internal energy left, but the serpents absorbed external energy, expanded, and then surged throughout his body.

The Great Serpent rushed up his spine to the seventh gate. It hesitated for a moment in front of the seventh gate, then as if deciding, it struck the gate with all its might.

Boom!

An explosion erupted within Lee Gwak, audible and felt only by him.

The seventh gate broke open, and the seventh serpent appeared. The Great Serpent immediately devoured it.

The seventh serpent willingly became part of the Great Serpent and began to sing.

Wooong!

Listening to the serpent’s cry within him, Lee Gwak lost consciousness.

“Phew!”

Gwang Noh ya sighed and sat down beside the unconscious Lee Gwak.

He realized that Lee Gwak had entered a new phase.

Some individuals turn crises into opportunities and advance even further in extreme situations. Such people have changed the history of the Jianghu.

His disciple was one of those individuals. Thus, Gwang Noh ya believed that Lee Gwak, too, would somehow change the history of the Jianghu.

Although he was still an unripe bird with undeveloped wings, he would soon gain the large wings to soar through the skies.

“Krugh!”

Suddenly, Gwang Noh ya’s complexion changed. He felt a constricting pain in his heart. Black blood seeped through his lips.

The stench of dead blood was evident, mixed with the poison of the God’s Blood Tear. Just smelling it was enough to almost lose consciousness.

‘How long can I last?’

A shadow fell over Gwang Noh ya’s eyes.

His body was severely damaged after the explosion of madness. And the God’s Blood Tear took this opportunity to attack Gwang Noh ya’s body further.

As of today, his body would deteriorate rapidly.

It seemed ironic to him.

He had longed for death for so long. But now he was worried about his remaining lifespan.

It was all because of Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak absorbed his teachings like a sponge absorbing water.

Teaching had given Gwang Noh ya joy for the first time in his life. Seeing Lee Gwak readily accept and even advance his teachings was more than satisfying.

Gwang Noh ya felt no need to teach his own profound techniques to Lee Gwak. Lee Gwak already had a solid foundation.

The Eight Snakes Art that Lee Gwak had mastered was in no way inferior to the deep cultivation techniques Gwang Noh ya had practiced. Although still lacking in some areas, Gwang Noh ya could help refine it.

What Lee Gwak needed was not a new martial art but guidance to refine what he already had and to steer it in the right direction.

Fortunately, Lee Gwak was well-receptive to Gwang Noh ya’s teachings and was even making progress.

As a teacher, Gwang Noh ya could not ask for more.

‘I am a relic of the old era; the new era must be opened by young warriors like you.’

Gwang Noh ya thought he should have died a long time ago, back when he could scare the world with just his fists.

Under the wildly tousled black hair were fierce black eyes. Hidden beneath the black robe were those fists.

Although his memory was hazy and he couldn’t remember much, his memory of that man was clear.

That man was terrifyingly strong.

Even if Gwang Noh ya had been in his right mind, he couldn’t guarantee victory against him. It was his defeat in that battle that allowed Gwang Noh ya to escape from the great curse.

If it hadn’t been for him, Gwang Noh ya would still be lost in a dream, causing chaos in the world.

‘Dam Ho of Mount Hua Sect.’

He only learned about him relatively recently.

After regaining his sanity, he looked into it.

And he was sure.

That man, like himself, had seen the Six Paths. He had ended the war and changed the future Gwang Noh ya had seen.

After the war, there was no trace of Dam ho. As if he had disappeared from the world without leaving a single trace.

Even if he had gone into hiding, there should have been rumors if he was still of this world. But there was not even a whisper about him.

‘Has he deliberately vanished into the annals of history? Or has he truly disappeared from this world…’

Suddenly, a chill ran down his spine. An unfounded thought crossed his mind.

It was a thought without any basis.

A delusion, perhaps. But Gwang Noh ya thought it might be true.

“Are you still fighting there…?”

His voice was lost in the wind.