Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 16

October 27, 2023 • 11 min read • 369 views

Episode16 (When the ties are severed, no regrets remain (1))

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Whoosh!

A gust of wind whipped across the vacant lot in front of the inn. At the heart of this gust stood a razor-sharp straight sword.

The master of the sword was Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak was like a dragon piercing through the clouds, slicing the air of the vacant lot with his sword.

The Eight Sects Sword Art unfurled in his hands.

Mountain Splitting Slash..

Raging Tidal Force.

Shadowless Strike.

These three basic forms flowed out seamlessly.

With his persistent training, he had at least mastered these three techniques to perfection.

The Eight Sects Sword Art was seemingly simple. At least mastering the basic forms wasn’t too challenging. But mastering only the basics didn’t mean one achieved true mastery.

One had to grasp the essence embedded within each form and harmonise their internal energy with the technique. Only then could they harness its true power.

As Lee Gwak demonstrated the Eight Sects Sword Art, he channelled the Eight Snakes Art.

The Eight Snakes Art and the Eight Sects Sword Art were harmoniously intertwined, as if they were made for each other. Or perhaps it was the adaptability of the Eight Snakes Art that seamlessly embraced the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Yet, he had to tread carefully.

This was an uncharted path.

No one had guided Lee Gwak, no teachings, no directions. Everything was to be deciphered by Lee Gwak himself.

Had he tried to incorporate the Eight Sects Sword Art with any other internal energy technique, it could have disrupted his energy flow, causing severe repercussions. In this aspect, the Eight Snakes Art was remarkably flexible.

With its essence rooted in the mysteries of diversion, when faced with obstacles, it knew when to retreat and never exerted undue stress on the body.

Whenever he faced a hurdle, Lee Gwak contemplated, and if the energy didn’t flow right, he’d find another way, integrating the Eight Snakes Art with the Eight Sects Sword Art.

It was an immensely challenging period, but for Lee Gwak, it was both precious and exhilarating.

The experience of burning one’s soul and everything one has for the sole aim of becoming stronger isn’t something everyone could easily endure.

Lee Gwak immersed himself completely.

He repeatedly practiced the same forms, rectified errors, and channeled the Eight Snakes Art.

He lost awareness of everything around him.

The memories of being paralyzed for a year, the pain of being abandoned by Geum Yul Seon, and the entirety of his current circumstances were forgotten.

Now, all that consumed Lee Gwak’s gaze was the sword he clutched.

Its silver arc painted captivating paths in the air.

Suddenly, he felt a faint itch at the base of his neck.

It was right at the depression, what many refer to as the ‘Large Vertebrae Acupoint’.

The itch began as insignificant as an ant’s bite, but with passing moments, it grew more pronounced. Yet, undeterred, Lee Gwak continued with his Eight Sects Sword Art.

He had reached a profound state of trance, a state of ‘no-mind’.

It felt as though the Large Vertebrae Acupoint was on the verge of bursting open, but instead, it began to spin like a vortex.

The first of the serpents stirred, prompting the second to wake; together they roused the third and fourth until they moved as one.

As one entity, the serpents plunged into the swirling vortex at the base of his neck.

In that ephemeral moment, ecstasy washed over Lee Gwak.

These four serpents fused, transforming into a singular, magnificent creature.

‘The fifth serpent!’

Only then did Lee Gwak grasp the awakening of the fifth serpent.

Freshly roused, it tore through Lee Gwak’s insides with wild abandon.

A soft popping resonated within him

It was the sound of the fifth serpent unblocking obstructed meridians.

Having been paralyzed, many of Lee Gwak’s meridians had twisted and blocked, hindering the seamless flow of his Qi.

But now, the fifth serpent maneuvered through, realigning these pathways, surging with unbridled vigor.

Lee Gwak simply let it run its course.

All the while, his body meticulously executed the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Transitioning from the Blood Dragon’s Roar, his blade readied itself for the Lone Scorch Demon.

At that moment, a subtle quiver ran through Lee Gwak’s blade.

A barely visible mirage began to form, so faint that it would be missed without keen observation.

His swordplay smoothly shifted from the Lone Scorch Demon to the Shadowless Strike..

In a heartbeat, the frenetic fifth serpent within Lee Gwak darted out, swiftly merging back into the blade, revealing a sight to behold.

A sharp whoosh!

A Qi, nearly a foot in length, enveloped Lee Gwak’s blade.

This was the essence of Sword Qi.

It signalled the ‘Realm of Synchronized Spirits’, the ‘Pinnacle of Mastery’.

It’s the realm where the inner and outer Qi resonate, with the emerging Qi manifesting in tangible form. Lee Gwak had now treaded into the domain of supreme swordmasters.

A wave of intense euphoria surged within him.

The sensation of the fifth serpent coursing through Ikwa’s body felt akin to mercury fluidly navigating its path. A rejuvenating sensation paired with a ceaseless Qi gave rise to an unparalleled confidence in Lee Gwak.

Without stopping, Lee Gwak unleashed the techniques of the Eight Sects Sword Art.

From the first to the sixth stance, he executed them flawlessly. However, the moves of Heaven Shattering Iron Blood and the Eight Gateways of Destruction eluded him because their essence remained undiscovered.

Yet, disappointment did not cloud Lee Gwak’s spirit. He recognized it as a mere matter of time. If he continued honing his martial arts, perfection would soon be within his grasp.

“Gasp! Gasp!”

Exhausted, Lee Gwak lay on the ground, gasping for air. Though drained of energy and physically exhausted, he felt exhilarated.

With a smile, he looked up at the unblemished blue sky.

It was then.

“What are you doing, sprawled on the ground, chuckling like that?”

A familiar face suddenly interrupted his view.

Gazing down at him with furrowed brows was none other than Seo Jong Myeong.

“Boss!”

“You’ve been training again, haven’t you? Your tenacity is truly commendable,”

Seo Jong Myeong remarked with a tinge of sarcasm.

Forcing himself to sit up, Lee Gwak inquired,

“Where have you been? Haven’t seen you for days.”

“That’s true. I came here to rest, but ended up busier than ever.”

“Why so busy?”

“If you knew, it would put your life in jeopardy.”

“I’ll refrain from prying then.”

“Smart move. On the bright side, you get to relax thanks to my bustling schedule.”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak nodded.

Seo Jong Myeong wasn’t someone who blended well with the outer hall. While the reasons for his stay in the outer hall remained unknown, it was certain he would depart someday. Getting too entangled with such a person would be unwise.

Lee Gwak cherished his current way of life.

The tranquility and the opportunity to wholly immerse himself in martial arts were priceless. He didn’t know how long this serene life would last, but he sincerely wished to savor it for as long as possible.

“You seem… different,”

Seo Jong Myeong observed.

“What do you mean?”

“Hmm.”

Suddenly, Seo Jong Myeong’s gaze pierced through Lee Gwak, who maintained a calm facade.

He didn’t have any great faith in the Jade Heaven Alliance, so he wanted to hide his Martial advancements as long as he could.

“Hmm!”

A thoughtful sound escaped Seo Jong Myeong’s lips.

Something had undoubtedly changed in Lee Gwak, but he couldn’t tell for sure.

“Ah! It must be my imagination.”

Seo Jong-Myung shook his head.

Although circumstances kept him in the outer hall, his martial arts prowess was so great that even the head of the outer hall, Maeng Hee Cheon, seemed beneath him. It was impossible for an ordinary martial artist of the outer hall to deceive his keen eyes.

It was commendable that Lee Gwak was deeply committed to martial arts. However, his skill level was basically too low. Seo Jong Myeong believed that even if Lee Gwak learned a worthy martial art technique, it would take at least a decade of dedicated practice to achieve true mastery.

The “Eight Snakes Art” that Lee Gwak was mastering was unique in the Jianghu. In particular, the method of channelling energy, starting from the Hwaeum point and moving along the spine, was something only those who experienced it firsthand could understand.

“You, come with me.”

“Where to?”

“You’ve rested enough. It’s about time you earn your keep.”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak nodded in agreement.

He was a bit regretful, but as an outer hall martial artist, he had no choice but to follow orders.

Brushing off his buttocks, Lee Gwak stood up.

Seo Jong Myeong led the way.

“Let’s go.”

“Yes.”

Lee Gwak didn’t ask where they were headed. He knew he’d find out upon arrival.

***
The destination Seo Jong Myeong led him to was a large hall within the outer hall.
Clear Pavilion, it was where the distinguished guests of the outer hall gathered for banquets.

“Today, we’re guarding this place.”

“Just the two of us?”

“Do you think so? Three teams from the outer hall have already been dispatched. You’ll recognize many faces; just stay with them.”

“And the team leader?”

“…”

“I understand. I won’t pry.”

At Lee Gwak’s response, Seo Jong Myeong flashed a faint smile.

As Seo Jong Myeong had said, familiar faces greeted them when they arrived at the Clear Pavilion.

“Gwak! Over here!”

“Gwak!”

“Hey? Isn’t that Gwak?”

It was Seok Yi-Cheon and Gok Chaebong.

They approached upon seeing Lee Gwak.

“This guy, you’ve truly recovered.”

Especially Gok Chaebong greeted Lee Gwak warmly.

While Seok Yi-Cheon had witnessed Lee Gwak’s recovery firsthand, Gok Chaebong had only heard about it.

Lee Gwak asked,

“Are you both in the same team?”

“We’ve been assigned to the eighth team.”

“I’m relieved. At least you two are together.”

“What’s there to be happy about? I still have to listen to my elder brother here,”
Gok Chae-Bong grumbled, but there was a smile on his face. Seok Yi-Cheon swiftly tousled Gok Chaebong’s hair.

“Who exactly has to listen to whom? Do you know how much trouble I go through cleaning up after you? Why are you always so careless?”

“Hehe! It must be karma from being with you.”

“Hmph! Times were better when Gwak was the youngest.”

Seok Yi-Cheon shook his head and bickered with Gok Chaebong. Watching the two of them, Lee Gwak also wore a smile.

“Anyway, it’s good to see you’ve recovered enough to stand guard.”

“Yes!”

“Where’s your team leader?”

“He went somewhere.”

“You obviously don’t know where.”

“Indeed.”

“He’s truly like a ghost. Have you heard anything about him?”

“Nothing.”

“You don’t know either? There’s no one in the outer hall who seems to know anything about him. I wonder where such a person came from,”

Seok Yi-Cheon pondered.

Lee Gwak changed the subject,

“What’s the occasion here today?”

“A distinguished guest has arrived.”

“Who is it?”

“Berserk Dragon from the Martial Sword Troupe.”

TL/N- Martial Sword Troupe(Martial Sword Alliance)

A look of awe appeared on the faces of Seok Yi-Cheon and Gok Chaebong.

The Martial Sword Troupe was one of the Ten Sects.

Founded with the former Southern Murim Alliance at its core, it was also known as the Southern Sect.

The founder of the Martial Sword Troupe was Hae So-Wol, a woman who made significant contributions during the Great Heavenly Blood War a hundred years ago. Recognizing the need to unite the Southern Murim Alliance, she established the alliance.

Berserk Dragon was an alias for Woo Mun Pae, the prime disciple of the current Martial Sword Troupe leader, Yu Mun Sang.

Woo Mun Pae was a member of the Ten Lesser Skies. The term referred to successors of the top Ten Sects, symbolizing the most talented martial artists of the current generation.

He held a very important position in the Martial Sword Troupe and was not someone who would casually roam around.

The mere fact he had come to the Jade Heaven Alliance indicated the importance of today’s event.

Lee Gwak looked at the Clear Pavilion with renewed interest.

Then it happened.

A soft strum!

A familiar sound of a pipa emanated from within the Clear Pavilion.

For a moment, Lee Gwak’s pupils trembled.

The familiar pipa was reviving memories that had begun to fade.