Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 20

November 1, 2023 • 10 min read • 470 views

Episode 20(Another Thread of Fate Connects (2))

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Lee Gwak stared at the dishevelled man silently.

His unruly hair concealed his face, making his age hard to determine. However the vigor in his voice suggested he was young. But it wasn’t the man’s appearance that caught his attention.

The moment he looked at the man, Lee Gwak felt an overwhelming pressure, as if he was facing a huge bear he had seen in his childhood. There was a raw, unbridled aura emanating from the man.

Instinctively, Lee Gwak’s eyes grew cautious, sensing danger. This brought a broad grin to the dishevelled man’s face.

“Quite perceptive!”

“What are you talking about?”

“For an ordinary martial artist, you have a keen intuition. That’ll serve you well in life.”

“…”

“No need to be so guarded. I mean you no harm.”

Despite the man’s words, Lee Gwak remained on edge. His instincts told him it wasn’t yet safe to relax.

“My name is Nam Woo Gyeong. And yours?”

“It’s… Lee Gwak.”

“Nice to meet you, Lee Gwak. A word of advice, though – stay away from that little demon. If you get too involved, she might rip out your liver and gallbladder.

Nam Woo Gyeong pointed at Lim So Bo, who immediately blushed with rage.

“Are you going to keep spouting nonsense? Stick to our agreement.”

“Didn’t I say I would consider it? Go on, tell your master that too.”

Nam Woo Gyeong casually flicked his ear with his little finger.

“Humph! Fine. Just don’t regret it.”

“Regret? What regret?”

“You’ll see! Asshole.”

“If I’m an asshole, then stop pestering me, young girl!”

“My name is Lim So Bo.”

“To me, you’re just a kid. You’re not trying to seduce me, are you? Leave! I have no interest in youngsters like you.”

“Humph! Humph!”

Lim So Bo snorted several times in disbelief. Her expression was adorable, almost bite-worthy in its cuteness.

Nam Woo Gyeong waved a dismissive hand at her.

“Go Go. This isn’t a place for you to linger.”

“I’d leave even if you didn’t ask.”

“So, hurry up and go.”

“Ugh!”

Lim So Bo approached Lee Gwak.

“Shall we, Oraboni?”

“Huh?”

“Are you planning on staying here?”

“Not exactly, but…”

“Then let’s go.”

Pulling on Lee Gwak’s hand, she began to lead him away. However, Lee Gwak couldn’t tear his eyes away from Nam Woo Gyeong.

“Farewell, Lee Gwak!”

Nam Woo Gyeong waved.

Lee Gwak gave a slight nod in his direction.

As Lee Gwak and Lim So Bo disappeared from sight, Nam Woo Gyeong brushed back his hair, revealing his true face.

He appeared to be in his late twenties. At first glance, he might seem benevolent, but another glance might suggest something sinister – an enigmatic demeanour.

Nam Woo Gyeong muttered to himself,

“Persistent, Yeo Joong Wol.”

Just then, someone appeared soundlessly behind him.

A golden-haired elder with gray eyes stood there. His features hinted at a Western origin, yet his skin tone and overall aura were akin to Central Plain’s. To anyone observing, he appeared to be of mixed heritage.

The elder spoke to Nam Woo Gyeong,

“It seems I might need to relocate. As long as I stay here, Yeo Joong Wol will keep sending that young girl.”

“It will be the same wherever you go. At least within the territory of the Jade Heaven Alliance, evading his gaze is impossible.”

“Tsk! What a bothersome individual.”

“Do you think he’s called the world’s best brain for no reason? There’s always a reason behind such titles.”

“Indeed.”

“That young girl isn’t ordinary either. Though still raw, she has qualities surpassing even Yeo Joong Wol.”

“That significant?”

“It’s not just her tantrums. Her reactions, her gaze, and her constant assessment of her surroundings were obvious. She may look like she’s being led by me, but even that is a calculated move on her part. She’s quite the cunning fox.”

“Annoying. As if it wasn’t enough to deal with Yeo Joong Wol, now his disciple.

“Precisely.”

Nam Woo Gyeong nodded in agreement.

“What about that Lee Gwak fellow? That young girl seemed particularly close to him.”

“I’m not entirely sure. At first glance, he seems ordinary, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.”

“What do you mean?”

“Despite being an outer hall martial artist, there’s a clarity and depth to his gaze. And he’s rather stoic. It was impressive how he doesn’t easily reveal his emotional turmoil.”

“Should we look into their relationship? They seemed quite close.”

“It might just be a ruse on the young girl’s part. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to investigate.”

“Proceed with it, then.”

“Be cautious. We wouldn’t want to give Yeo Joong Wol a reason to target us.”

“Of course.”

The elder gave a nod and then disappeared soundlessly.

Left alone, Nam Woo Gyeong suddenly burst into laughter.

“Heh! What an intriguing place this is!”
***
“Who was that man from earlier?”

“Who? The pervy guy?”

“Yes!”

“He’s just some rogue who enters people’s homes without permission.”

“A thief?”

“Either that or a trespasser.”

Lim So Bo replied nonchalantly.

“But why didn’t you drive him away?”

“He’s not someone to be taken lightly. And he holds quite the grudge.”

“…”

“It is unsettling to keep him at a distance or too close. Either way, he’s a headache for a tenant. That’s why even my master is wary of him.”

Lim So Bo talked on and on, even about things that weren’t asked. Yet, she didn’t touch upon the crux of the matter. And Lee Gwak didn’t probe further.

Lee Gwak felt it too. The chatty Lim So Bo walking beside him was no ordinary person.

He had a lot of questions, but he also didn’t want to get involved with her.
Suddenly, a tingling sensation touched his cheek. It was because Lim So Bo had stopped to stare intently at the side of his face.

“Why are you staring?”

“You seem different.”

“How so?”

“You have a changed aura, and your eyes seem deeper.”
Lim So Bo’s eyes sparkled like the first stars of the evening. Overwhelmed by her intense gaze, Lee Gwak deliberately avoided eye contact.

“Do I? I hadn’t noticed.”

“You’ve definitely changed.”

“How can you be so sure? We’ve only met once, and that was a whole year ago.”

“I never forget a face. I remember everything as if I’ve sketched it in my mind. Even our master admits that he can’t match my memory.”

“Ah! You must be a prodigy then.”

“Hehe! I’ve heard that quite a few times since I was a child. Where have you been all this time? You’ve been off the radar.”

“I was confined in the outer court for some business.”

“What business?”

“Do you always have to be so curious about everything?”

“It’s just my nature. Hehe!”

Lim So Bo playfully stuck out her tongue.

Although she was only twelve years old, her beauty was already beginning to show. In a few years, she would undoubtedly make the hearts of many men flutter.

However, Lee Gwak didn’t feel the slightest bit of attraction towards her.

Having recently severed ties with Geum Yul Seon, and with an impending assignment away from here, he wasn’t interested in establishing a closer relationship with Lim So Bo. Lee Gwak silently took his leave, but Lim So Bo quickly followed.

“What happened to you?”

“…”

“I won’t tell anyone. Just tell me.”

As Lim So Bo’s persistence continued, Lee Gwak was about to shake his head firmly when suddenly…

“Sis, are you causing trouble here again?”

A cheerful boy’s voice suddenly called out.

Lim So Bo’s face instantly crumpled.

“You, always nagging!”

“Who’s the nagger? It’s you, sis.”

A boy, appearing younger than Lim So Bo, retorted as he approached.

The boy, like Lim So Bo, didn’t seem to be an ordinary boy. He bowed slightly to Lee Gwak and said,

“Please accept my apologies on behalf of my sister.”

Lee Gwak recognized him as Lim So Bo’s younger brother. Though the memory was faint, he retained the image from a year ago.

‘Was his name Lim Ji Moon?’

For a moment, Lee Gwak couldn’t hide his surprise.

Was his memory always this sharp?

To remember the name of a child he’d only briefly encountered a year ago?

Definitely not.

While he had often been told he was sharp-witted, it was never to this extent.

‘Is it because of the Eight Snakes Art?’

The only plausible reason he could think of was the Eight Snakes Art.

He had no idea that the Eight Snakes Art, which he had learned by accident under unavoidable circumstances, could have such a great effect.

Lee Gwak felt newfound gratitude for Han So cheon, who introduced him to the Eight Snakes Art. Come to think of it, she never visited him since that day.

‘I hope she’s well.’

Since she entered the main court, she must be deeply immersed in learning martial arts by now. Lee Gwak sincerely hoped that she was doing well.

Just then, Lim Ji Moon recognized Lee Gwak,

“You seem familiar. Have we met before?”

Like his sister, Lim Ji Moon seemed to have an extraordinary memory.

“Don’t get pushed around anymore?”

“Ah, the man from that time?”

Only then did Lim Ji Moon clearly recall Lee Gwak. That alone spoke volumes about his impressive memory.

Ji Moon’s face turned red,

“Of course! It’s been a while since then. Those bullies are nothing to me now.”

“Of course! If you can’t even handle that, you aren’t fit to be Lim So Bo’s brother.”

“Seriously…”

Ji Moon shook his head in exasperation at his boastful sister, Lim So Bo. However proud he was of her, her arrogance was something he could never get used to.

“Stop nagging and follow me.”

“Why?”

“Our master is looking for you. He’s getting impatient waiting.”

“Ugh! He always has chores for me, and now he complains when I don’t show up on time?”

“That’s because you’re always wandering off elsewhere!”

Lim Ji Moon looked at Lim So Bo with disbelief. So Bo, in response, playfully pretended not to hear by flicking her ear with her pinky.

Lim Ji Moon felt a rush of emotions, his face reddening again. But he suppressed his anger and turned to Lee Gwak,

“Brother, we must go now. We’ll meet again.”

“Sure!”

“Come on, you witch!”

Lim Ji Moon forcefully took Lim So Bo’s hand and dragged her away.

Lee Gwak watched their receding figures for a moment before heading to his quarters.

“Whew!”

Upon entering his quarters, Lee Gwak heaved a sigh of relief, feeling inexplicably exhausted. But without pausing, he took out his whip and the awl.

Carefully connecting them, he formed a magnificent meteor hammer.

A smile crept onto Lee Gwak’s face. For a makeshift weapon, it was quite impressive. Both its texture and weight felt perfect in his hands.

He began to practice swinging the meteor hammer.

Although he was proficient with most weapons, this was his first time with a meteor hammer. Naturally, he was clumsy.

It was a martial art technique that was easy to launch but difficult to retrieve. If he didn’t control the force correctly, he was bound to get hurt when he retrieved it.

Unsurprisingly, Lee Gwak’s unfamiliarity with the Invisible Puncture Art left him with minor injuries all over. Nevertheless, he persisted.

Whoosh!

The shadow of the long meteor hammer, reminiscent of a snake, danced across the courtyard.