Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 24

November 6, 2023 • 11 min read • 413 views

Episode 24(Shadows Fade in the Sunlight (3))

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

“Whew!”

Lee Gwak sighed as he returned to his quarters. Today had been a very tiring day.

Seo Jong Myeong was nowhere to be seen today. As usual, there were only a few days when he showed up at the lodging. It was nice to be alone, but it was also a bit lonely.

‘So Cheon!’

His thoughts drifted to Han So Cheon, whom he’d met earlier in the day.

Something had changed about her, though he wasn’t sure what.

“Time has indeed passed.”

Two years were by no means a fleeting span.

It was enough time to change the course of a person’s life. In retrospect, Lee Gwak had also undergone significant changes in those two years. It would have been more surprising if Han So Cheon had remained the same.

“Perhaps it’s for the best? After all, coming here must be a stroke of fate for her.”

It was remarkable that an orphan who had lost her family had been recognized for her talent and accepted into the main court. Moreover, she had been selected for the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall, a testament to her outstanding martial prowess.

Only the most talented were gathered here in this training hall, and Han So Cheon was undoubtedly one of them, demonstrating remarkable skills.

“Whew!”

He couldn’t help but sigh.

While the other talents might be afraid of the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall, Lee Gwak envied them for being able to train openly to their hearts’ content.

Standing still, he gazed towards the lodging where Han So Cheon and the others resided.

At that moment, his wavering heart found a strange sense of peace.

“They have their way, and I have mine. They walk the path they’ve chosen, and I walk mine. That’s all there is to it.”

It was a simple realisation, but it calmed his unsettled heart.

Lee Gwak saw this as evidence of his own growth.

Swoosh!

The meteor awl wrapped around his arm unravelled.

Laid out on the ground, it resembled a long snake slithering through grass.

“Hu!”

With Lee Gwak’s breath, the previously limp snake raised its head.

Clink!

Sssss!

The black snake whipped menacingly across the courtyard with an eerie sound. Twisting, thrusting, and coiling, all the techniques that could be used with the Meteor Hammer were demonstrated by Lee Gwak’s hands.

Lee Gwak exhausted himself, executing the Invisible Puncture Art.

“Heh! Heh!”

When he finally finished, Lee Gwak had no strength left to move.

Though he’d usually have a refreshed expression, now his face was shadowed.

The more you know, the more you see.

As his martial arts skills improved, Lee Gwak felt an invisible barrier. A wall so high that its end couldn’t be seen and so thick that its width was immeasurable.

Had Lee Gwak had a proper master, he would have been shown a way over this wall or guided to the right path. But Lee Gwak was alone.

Like a wanderer feeling his way through a dark night, it was even harder for him. But Lee Gwak didn’t give up.

Even if the path wasn’t visible now in the darkness, he believed there was a way. Eventually, he’d find the right path if he kept moving forward.

He believed so

Lee Gwak went to the well and took off all his clothes, revealing his well-trained body under the dim moonlight.

Although his body was a bit thin, it was well muscled. Since the awakening of the Fifth Serpent, his body had reflexes and elasticity unparalleled from before.

Lee Gwak drew water from the well and poured it over his head. The cold touch rejuvenated his senses, washing away the complicated thoughts that had been weighing him down.

With a refreshed smile, Lee Gwak redressed. At that moment, Seo Jong Myeong returned to their lodgings.

“It seems you’re gaining quite a reputation?”

The first words from Seo Jong Myeong, visiting after a long while.

“What are you talking about?”

“I heard many are seeking you at the Creation Pavilion. Is that true?”

“It just turned out that way.”

“Heh! Even a worm can turn.”

Seo Jong Myeong chuckled.

Lee Gwak silently looked at Seo Jong Myeong, who laughed heartily for a while.

Suddenly, Seo Jong Myeong ceased laughing and patted Lee Gwak’s shoulder.

“You did well. It has made things much easier for me.”

“What do you mean?”

“Thanks to you, I no longer have to worry about the only member of the squad. Keep creating opportunities.

“I understand.”

Seo Jong Myeong was probably the only one who neglected his only squad member.

Then, Lee Gwak wrinkled his nose, catching a faint scent of blood. The source was definitely Seo Jong Myung.

“Are you hurt?”

“Hurt, me? What nonsense!”

Seo Jong Myeong tilted his head, causing Lee Gwak to briefly furrow his brows.

“My mistake. I must have been mistaken.”

“Stay sharp. We’ve barely begun. If you’re this scattered now, what will you do later?”

“What do you mean we’ve barely begun?”

“Heh! You’ll see.”

Lee Gwak had a bad feeling at Seo Jong Myeong’s words.

Lee Gwak saw the red glint in Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes. It was madness, as they say. But in the next moment, as if it had never been, the madness in Seo Jong Myeong’s eyes vanished.

“I’ll be busy for a while, so keep doing what you’re doing.”

“Yes!”

“Then, I’ll be off. Hehe!”

Seo Jong Myeong lightly patted Lee Gwak’s shoulder and left the room.

Lee Gwak watched Seo Jong Myeong’s retreating figure with a contemplative gaze.
Seo Jong Myeong was a mystery.

It had been over a year since he became the leader of their squad, yet Lee Gwak knew next to nothing about him.

The scent of blood from earlier resurfaced in his thoughts.

It was definitely not a mistake.

Lee Gwak moved with a burdened step, his shoulders weighed down by a cart full of weapons. These were the weapons distributed at the Battle of all Things that morning.

Lee Gwak was in charge of delivering the weapons to the group that included Han So Cheon. Although the load was heavy, his steps felt light.

As he opened the door to the barracks, he noticed the disciples lingering in the courtyard. Unlike them, Han So Cheon was sitting calmly on a platform off to one side.

“What’s going on?”

The disciple who had spoken to Lee Gwak the previous day reacted sharply. Lee Gwak bowed his head slightly and responded.

“I’ve been ordered to distribute weapons to you all.”

“Weapons?”

“Yes!”

Lee Gwak put down his load. Immediately, the disciples approached and examined the weapons on the cart. All they found were about twenty swords that looked identical.

“What is this?”

“Why are they so shoddy?”

The disciples, holding the swords, burst out with dissatisfaction.

The swords were clearly of poor quality. The blade was uneven, the weight distribution was all over the place, parts of the edge were missing, and even the hilt was slippery.

Lee Gwak had never seen such terrible swords before.

The same disciple who had raised his eyebrows earlier inquired suspiciously.

“What kind of swords are these? Did you bring the wrong ones?”

“I simply brought what I was ordered to.”

“Are you sure? You didn’t steal it along the way?”

“…”

“Why aren’t you answering? Seems suspicious.”

“I’m just at a loss for words.”

“What?”

“Do you think someone as low-ranking as me would have the power to swap out the weapons?”

“Look at him, talking back every time.”

There was a hint of anger in his eyes as he looked at Lee Gwak

He was already unhappy with the sword he was given, and Lee Gwak’s demeanor only fueled his anger..

The eyes of the disciple, whose name was Geum Si Woo, were filled with a subtle fierceness.

Geum Si Woo was a student of a renowned martial arts sect, the Jin-hon Martial Hall. From a young age, he had shown extraordinary talent.

He remembered the excitement he felt when he was secretly summoned by the sect leader some time ago.

There were rumors that the Jade Heaven Alliance was recruiting talent.

It was said that if one could pass through their training hall, one would become a top martial artist in the JIanghu in no time.

For several days after hearing this, he could hardly sleep. Amidst such high expectations, the fateful day arrived when an envoy from the Jade Heaven alliance came for him. The envoy then took him to a secretive location.

The shock there was immense for Geum Si Woo.

In the Jin-hon Martial Hall, he was praised as the most talented martial artist. But here, in this place where the messenger had brought him, there were countless martial artists who were as talented as him, if not more so.

Such prodigies gathered here that his own talents seemed almost ordinary in comparison. Anxiety gnawed at him. He was trying to calm down, but the crappy sword Lee Gwak handed him ignited his anger.

He felt the urge to draw his sword against Lee Gwak right there.

But at that moment,

Someone unexpected stepped forward.

“Enough.”

The icy cold voice belonged to Han So cheon.

The color drained from Geum Si Woo’s face.

‘That Bitch?’

She was among the people he felt uneasy around.

The martial artists here instinctively sized each other up and established a pecking order. Just by their gaze, aura, and posture, they could discern each other’s abilities.

Geum Si Woo felt a peculiar unease when it came to Han So cheon.

Although she seemed younger than him, her eyes were inscrutable. There was something oppressive in her deep, cold gaze. He just couldn’t put his finger on it.

“Are you talking to me?”

Geum Si Woo’s voice rose.

His eyes glinted with menace, trying to impose dominance.

Everyone here was a potential rival.

While performance was the key to progressing through the Steel Hell Blood Training Hall, not being dominated by competitors was even more important. If he showed weakness here, his status could be fixed. So Geum Si Woo escalated his aggression.

“I asked you, are you talking to me?”

“Yes!”

Han So cheon responded without a change in her expression.

“You siding with that nobody?”

“What are you implying?”

“Do you have a crush on that insignificant bastard, and that’s why you’re arguing like this with me, a member of the same group?”

“That’s a pretty good level of bullshit.”

“What did you say?”

“Talk more nonsense, and I’ll smash all your teeth.”

A frosty threat lingered in Han So cheon’s eyes.

Her previously emotionless face turned cold as if covered in frost. Geum Si Woo flinched, but he did not back down.

An icy aura passed between them.

That’s when it happened.

“Hey, both of you, cut it out. It’s not just the two of you here.”

A deep voice echoed, and a massive shadow intervened.

A face that would stand out anywhere because of its imposing presence. But most striking was the sheer size of this individual.

His stature dwarfed both Geum Si Woo and Han So Cheon. When he stepped in, they couldn’t even see each other.

Geum Si Woo looked up at the massive figure.

“Why are you getting involved? This is between me and her.”

“I told you. It’s not just the two of you. It’s our issue too.”

“What?”

“Like it or not, we’re in the same group. Whatever the future holds, for now, we share the same fate. So, how could I not intervene?”

“Shit!”

Geum Si Woo’s grip on his sword tightened, causing the giant’s eyes to turn colder.

“What? You want to try? But it’ll cost you your life.”

The already intimidating face now held a fierce light. Geum Si Woo involuntarily gasped.

“No, I didn’t mean that.”

In the end, Geum Si Woo was the one to back down. A smile spread across the face of the towering man.

His name was Cheol Gwan Ho, undoubtedly the most notable individual among those who had entered the Iron Steel Hell Blood Training Hall.

Cheol Gwan Ho murmured in a soft voice,

“You’ll be thankful to me.”

His gaze subtly shifted from Geum Si Woo to Han So cheon.

Despite Cheol Gwan Ho’s intervention, Han So cheon’s expression remained unaltered. What particularly captured Cheol Gwan Ho’s attention were her eyes.

Eyes that seemed to carry an empty void, a detachment. Cheol Gwan Ho, from his experiences, recognized what those eyes meant.

‘She’s definitely killed before. Fascinating!’

Geum Si Woo can never beat Han Socheon.

The difference between someone who has taken a life and one who hasn’t is larger than one might think.

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