Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 21

November 1, 2023 • 12 min read • 428 views

Episode 21(Another Thread of Fate Connects (3))

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

A month flew by in the blink of an eye.

During that time, Lee Gwak had immersed himself in mastering the meteor hammer. Handling the meteor hammer was more challenging than he had anticipated.

Especially since its string was not ordinary but a resilient whip, which made it even harder. A slight exertion of force would change its trajectory, and due to this, he sustained several minor and major injuries.

Though hidden by his clothes, bruises and wounds littered Lee Gwak’s body. Even a slight touch to his clothes brought sharp pain, yet a faint smile lingered on his lips.

He felt he had finally begun to grasp the art of the Meteor Hammer. Now that he had some idea of how to use the Meteor Hammer, he could move on to the Invisible Puncture Art

Lee Gwak gently touched his left forearm and felt the coiled meteor hammer hidden underneath. Though hidden by his sleeve, he knew it was there.

He had told no one about his training with the meteor hammer. Even Seo Jong Myeong, the closest to him, was unaware of its existence.

Lee Gwak was certain that the meteor hammer would be his secret weapon.

“Phew!”

Lee Gwak sighed softly.

Today was the day Seo Jong Myeong had spoken of. As Seo Jong Myeong had mentioned, Lee Gwak was dispatched for an external mission.

Seo Jong Myeong inquired,

“Have you packed everything?”

“Yes!”

“Then let’s go. Everyone’s waiting.”

“Understood.”

Lee Gwak followed Seo Jong Myeong to the main entrance of the outer hall.

About a hundred martial artists awaited them in the open ground outside the outer hall. Among them, Lee Gwak recognized some familiar faces: Seok Yi Cheon and Gok Chaebong.

Lee Gwak felt somewhat relieved. Being around familiar faces would ease the loneliness.

“Good to see you,”

“You’ve been dispatched too?”

Both men warmly welcomed Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak looked around and said.

“It seems that our outer hall is not the only one that was dispatched”

“Do you see those in green robes? They’re from the Creation Pavilion. They are the main force, and we’re here to support them. Additionally, there are many formidable martial artists among us.”

Following Seok Yi Cheon’’s words, Lee Gwak observed the men in green.

While the outer hall symbolised itself with brown, the Creation Pavilion was represented by green.

The Creation Pavilion was an internal support organisation within the Jade Heaven Alliance.

They oversaw both the internal and external affairs of the alliance and directed various events and training sessions. Unlike the outer hall, they operated independently.
And at that moment…

“Silence, everyone!”

An elderly martial artist, who appeared to be in his late thirties, stepped forward and let out a booming voice. The strong, deep voice overwhelmed the onlookers.

“He’s the leader of the Creation Pavilion.”

“Is even Leader Dan joining this mission? What could be so important to get him involved?”

The middle-aged warrior was none other than Dan Mok Wol, the leader of the Creation Pavilion.

He was a man reputed for his formidable martial arts prowess and brilliant intellect, making him a perfect leader for the Creation Pavilion. Yet, it was rare for him to personally engage in any mission.

The mere fact that Dan Mok Wol was personally stepping forward signified the gravity of the impending task.

Dan Mok Wol continued,

“I know you all have questions. All will be revealed once we reach our destination. From now on, follow my lead. Make sure no one falls behind. Conserve your energy. Understood?”

“Yes!”

“Good! The martial artists of the Creation Pavilion will lead the way, and the outer hall will follow. Move out!”

With Dan Mok Wol at the helm, a large crowd began their march out of the gates of Jade Heaven Alliance.

The procession was extensive.

Among them was Lee Gwak.

Walking silently with the group, Lee Gwak suddenly looked back. He spotted some figures standing on the walls of the Jade Heaven Alliance. Although they were too far away to make out their features, he sensed that they were high-ranking members of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

“So, the journey finally begins.”

He wore a light blue robe and a hero’s sash tied tightly around his neck. With eyes as cold as glass and an expressionless face, he was none other than the Inner Court Leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance, Joo Shin Yoon.

Standing beside him was an imposing-looking martial artist.

His face bore scars and wrinkles, and one of his eyes was covered with a dark eyepatch. From his remaining eye, a terrifying glow emanated, overwhelming those around him.

Of all the martial artists in the Jade Heaven Alliance, only one possessed such a distinctive and intense demeanour.

The Dark Blood Assassin, Nam Il Geuk.

He was the leader of the main court and one of the few surviving veterans of the Great Heavenly Blood War War a century ago.

The Great Heavenly Blood War claimed his right eye and four martial arts sects. Thus, his hatred for the Celestial Demon Troupe was unparalleled.

He was the only one who had objected to the Celestial Demon Troupe’s request for cooperation in the matter of the Lunatic Pugilist.

Nam Il Geuk opened his mouth to speak.

“It took quite a while. But fortunately, we can now reopen the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall.”

“All thanks to your fervent advocacy, Master Nam. Without you, who knows when it would have reopened.”

“It was your support that made it possible. All that remains is to rigorously train the young talents in the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall.”

“Heh! Everything will work out.”

Joo Shin Yoon smiled.

During the Great Heavenly Blood War, the fate of the Jianghu hung in the balance.

The number of absolute masters and peak masters was far inferior to that of the Demonic Sects, and their overall strength was also inferior.

To counteract this, Jade Heaven Alliance’s first leader, Cho Yeon Woon, established the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall to hone the skills of martial artists.

Young martial artists entered the Training Ground, and those who passed through all its challenges emerged as the top masters of the Jianghu.

They played a pivotal role in the Great Heavenly Blood War, contributing to the peace of the Jianghu. Some of those who survived the war evolved into Absolute Masters.

The Steel Hell Blood Training Hall was said to push individuals to their limits, allowing them to surpass their boundaries. There was no better place to train those with exceptional talent.

However, due to various political issues, the Training Ground had been closed for a long time. The biggest issue was its location, not within the Jade Heaven Alliance’s territory, but somewhere else.

It was near the foothills of a volcano, which was considered the front yard of Mount Hua.So cooperation from Mount Hua was necessary.

After leading the Jianghu during the Great Heavenly Blood War, Mount Hua strangely curtailed their activities. Not only them, but other dominant sects such as the Wudang Sect and the Shaolin Temple sealed their doors and refrained from outside activities.

These three sects, collectively known as the Hidden Rulers, were one of the Ten Sects. Their influence and power might even surpass that of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

The Hidden Rulers were like sleeping giants.

Even if the Jade Heaven Alliance was the most powerful in the Jianghu, they couldn’t casually deal with the Hidden Rulers. This was because of the legend of the Greatest Martial Artist Ever in Mount Hua.

A legendary figure, whom even the seasoned masters of Jianghu feared.

The Steel Hell Blood Training Hall was believed to have been jointly created by the first leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance and this legendary figure.

Two months ago, the Jade Heaven Alliance finally reached an agreement with Mount Hua to reopen the training ground, and decided to send the young talents from all over Jianghu to train there.

The group that left the Jade Heaven Alliance today consisted of those who would assist in this training. Some were instructors in martial arts, others took care of miscellaneous tasks, and some would oversee the training devices.

Both Joo Shin Yoon and Nam Il Geuk had been actively preparing for this day for the past month.

“The ones who pass through the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall will dominate the future of Jianghu.”

The smile on Joo Shin-yoon’s face deepened.

Beside him, Nam Il Geuk nodded.

Nam Il Geuk was also among the martial artists who had passed through the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall.
***
The party rested during the day and marched during the night.

When Lee Gwak asked about their destination, Seo Jong Myeong evaded the question and said that he would know when they arrived.

Seok Yi Cheon and Gok Chaebong were equally in the dark about their destination. It seemed that only a select few martial artists, including Dan Mok Wol from the Creation Pavilion, knew of their end goal.

‘Where on earth are we headed?’

It was impossible to judge their destination by the surrounding scenery or direction because they rested during the day and travelled only at night.

“Phew!”

Eventually, Lee Gwak gave up trying to discern their destination.

After all, he’d find out once they arrived. In the meantime, he diligently practised his Eight Snakes Art.

After mastering the fifth stance, each time he channelled the Eight Snakes Art technique, there was a noticeable increase in his internal energy. However, no one around him seemed to realize it.

Even Seo Jong Myeong was oblivious to the fact that Lee Gwak’s inner energy was powerful enough to manifest external qi.

The greatest advantage of the Eight Snakes Art was this secrecy. And Lee Gwak made full use of this. Thus, despite the strenuous march, he didn’t tire.

It was almost twenty days after they left the Jade Heaven Alliance that they finally reached their destination.

“We’re finally here.”

“I can’t move another step.”

Exhausted sighs echoed everywhere.

Many collapsed on the ground, drawing heavy breaths. Their fatigue left them with little energy to take in their surroundings.

Lee Gwak surveyed the area with a calm demeanour.

As dawn broke, the concealed landscape slowly revealed itself.

“Ah!”

Lee Gwak exclaimed involuntarily. In the vast clearing, ancient, moss-covered buildings stood, barely retaining their original forms. Some looked as if they would crumble at the slightest touch, more than half of them already in ruins. Among the intact structures, a single red hall stood out in the distance.

“Where is this place?”

“It’s Mount Hua Mountain.”

“Mount Hua?”

“Yes! During the Great Heavenly Blood War, it served as the last stronghold of the Jianghu. Inside the mountain, there are facilities and chambers designed to push martial artists to their limits. They call it the “Steel Hell Blood Training Hall”.

During the Great Heavenly Blood War, the martial artists found themselves cornered by the now-defunct demonic sect. Mount Hua, one of the major sects, who sheltered them.

Mount Hua offered refuge to martial artists on Mount Hua, where they built up their strength.

It was then that a young martial artist voiced an opinion.

He believed in the need for a more structured and rigorous training method and suggested that the entirety of Mount Hua be equipped with facilities and mechanisms for such training.

The beginnings were humble. However, through constant refinement, collaboration, and the incorporation of visions from various martial arts sects, a training facility as rigorous as hell itself was born.

The martial artists who gathered at Mount Hua deeply cherished the unique characteristics of their respective sects. They loathed the idea of a martial artist from another sect breaking through their training challenges. As a result, these challenges became dangerously deadly, and lives were risked for mastery.

The Martial artists challenged themselves daily in this hellish training facility. However, very few succeeded, and even they bore significant scars.

Whenever someone successfully passed through a challenge, the leaders immediately rectified any weaknesses in the facility. Then, the next challenger would give their utmost to find a way through, and once again, any vulnerabilities would be addressed. Through this positive feedback loop, the training facility became an impenetrable fortress.

Those who managed to pass through this rigorous training played pivotal roles in the Great Heavenly Blood War and became key figures in the Jianghu.

Jianghu’s progress owed much to this training ground. However, it had been sealed off for the past century.

After the Great Heavenly Blood War, Mount Hua, on whose territory the training ground was located, closed it down. As a result, no one had set foot in it for a century.

“It remained closed for a full century?”

“It seems Mount Hua believed the Jianghu no longer needed the facility.”

Throughout the years, many in the Jianghu pleaded with Mount Hua to reopen the training grounds. But the sect remained silent to their pleas.

“Why did Mount Hua change their stance now, after a century of silence?”

“The circumstances have changed.”

“How so?”

“While you were incapacitated, a key force within the Jade Heaven Alliance clashed with the new demon cult. They were annihilated, leaving only one survivor.”

“…”

“That’s when the Jade Heaven Alliance realized that the peace with the Demon Cult wouldn’t last. Then they persistently asked Mount Hua to reopen the facility, and the decision was finally made a month ago. Now you can see why we are here.

A fierce light emanated from Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes, which left Lee Gwak feeling overwhelmed.

“This training ground isn’t just for the Jade Heaven Alliance. Soon, notable figures from every sect will flock here. This place will become a mini Jianghu