Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 44

December 5, 2023 • 10 min read • 272 views

Episode 44(Walking Slowly, But Never Stopping 1)

Lee Gwak and Cheonwol walked through the streets at a brisk pace.

Cheonwol still hadn’t taken his eyes off the sword in his arms, and Lee Gwak smiled, knowing how he felt.

Only those who have experienced it know how much it means to a warrior to have his own sword. Even if it’s a cheap one.

He remembered the first time he was issued a weapon, but his thoughts were abruptly interrupted.

“Uh, Oraboni?”

A clear, melodious voice rang out, jolting Lee Gwak back to reality.

Looking toward the source of the voice, he saw a beautiful young girl approaching him.

He recognized her at a glance.

“Sobo!”

“It’s been a while, Oraboni.”

The girl, Lim Sobo, greeted Lee Gwak with warmth.

A flash of astonishment crossed Lee Gwak’s eyes momentarily.

He recalled asking Nam Woo Gyeong about Lim Sobo during the drinking session.Woo Gyeong had revealed that Lim Sobo was the disciple of Yeo Joong Wol, the military genius of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Lee Gwak was surprised because he knew that Lim Sobo was no ordinary girl, but he didn’t expect her to be a disciple of Yeo Joong Wol. Nonetheless, he conversed calmly, keeping his knowledge of her identity to himself.

“Where are you heading?”

“To that devil Ahjussi.”

“Who? Woo Gyeong?”

“Huh? You’re already on brotherly terms?”

“It just happened.”

“Heh! That’s impressive.”

Lim Sobo looked at Lee Gwak with a puzzled expression.

Knowing how selective Nam Woo Gyeong was in his friendships, her reaction was understandable.

Lim Sobo’s gaze then shifted to Cheonwol, who was still engrossed in his sword and hadn’t noticed her.

Seeing a beautiful girl like her in front of him and not giving her a single glance, Lim Sobo frowned slightly.

“Who’s that?”

“Oh, he’s Cheonwol, a new member of our squad.”

“Cheonwol?”

“Say hello, Cheonwol. This is Miss Lim Sobo.”

Lee Gwak’s words brought Cheonwol to his senses and he looked at Lim Sobo.

‘Wow!’

Sobo’s cheeks flushed at Cheonwol’s innocent gaze. His features were so sharp and clear, they seemed almost radiant.

While Cheonwol hadn’t completely shifted his attention from his sword, he greeted her politely.

“Nice to meet you, Miss Lim”

“It’s just Sobo. You can call me that. I’ll call you Oraboni too. Hoho!”

“Huh?”

“Let’s get along. We’ll be seeing each other often since you’re part of Gwak Oraboni’s squad.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m quite close to Lee Gwak Oraboni.”

Lim Sobo playfully hit Lee Gwak’s arm, eliciting a bewildered look from him. Then she winked at Lee Gwak, making sure Cheonwol didn’t see.

‘Huh!’

Lee Gwak was surprised by this new side of Lim Sobo, but he didn’t want to spoil the mood, so he kept his thoughts to himself.

“I must go now, but I will visit the outer hall later. See you then, Oraboni.”

“What? Okay!”

Cheonwol looked perplexed by Sobo’s forwardness. She smiled at him one last time before dashing off.

Watching Sobo vanish from sight, Cheonwol mumbled in confusion.

“What was that about? Who is she?”

“Who knows.”

Lee Gwak shrugged and continued walking, with Cheonwol quickly following.

Back at their quarters, the entire squad celebrated Cheonwol receiving his sword.

“Shouldn’t we have a drink on a day like today? Leader.”

Go Cheon Gwang suggested, and the others agreed.

“Of course! It’s a special day for our youngest member.”

“Okay, fine. Let’s meet at the corner inn after today’s shift.”

Excited, the group decided to meet at the tavern after their duties.

The ‘corner inn’ was a simple place without even a sign, named so because it was located at the end of the western street.

Then, Ki Jin Hwi spoke up.

“Leader, I have something to attend to. Can I join you at the inn later?”

“Of course.”

“Thanks, Leader. See you in the evening.”

As Ki Jin Hwi left, Seok Yi Cheon grumbled.

“Is he off to see some prostitute again? Always sneaking out. Eh!”

Since everyone knew that Seok Yi Cheon was close to Ki Jin Hwi, they just smiled at his remark.

At the end of the day, the Thirteenth Squad met at the corner tavern and congratulated Cheonwol. And so Cheonwol became an official member of the Thirteenth Squad.

***

Lee Gwak was summoned to the outer hall.

The long table in the hall was empty, but Lee Gwak wasn’t perturbed and took his usual seat at the far end.

As he waited, familiar faces began to arrive.

“Oh, you’re already here.”

“Long time no see.”

Lee Gwak stood up to greet the other leaders of different squads individually. As the youngest, he had to stand up twelve times.

“By the way, what’s the matter with the leader summoning us all?”

“Indeed! Does anyone know?”

Like Lee Gwak, the other leaders were also unaware of the purpose of their gathering.

Thud!

The door opened and the outer hall leader, Maeng Hee Cheon, entered.

The leaders stood in unison to greet him.

“We greet the outer hall leader.”
Maeng Hee Cheon nodded and took his seat at the head of the table. Only then did the others sit down.

“We’ve gathered here because of an upcoming event.”

A look of curiosity appeared on the leaders’ faces, but none dared to interrupt. They knew Maeng Hee Cheon disliked being cut off.

Maeng Hee Cheon’s sharp gaze swept over them.

“Soon, the Jianghu Tournament will be held at our Alliance.”

Silence fell over the room, the word ‘Jianghu Tournament’ resonating heavily.

“The alliance leader has decided to unite the forces of the Jianghu against the Celestial Demon Alliance. Envoys will soon visit the various clans with personal invitations from the alliance leader.”

No matter how mighty, no one could ignore an invitation from the Alliance leader. They had no choice but to attend the Jianghu Tournament.

“This is the first Jianghu Tournament in a hundred years. Many renowned masters, clan leaders, or their equivalent representatives will attend. It will be the largest gathering of outsiders since our alliance’s founding, so everyone must be on your toes. Understand?”

“Yes!”

“The meeting is still a secret, so don’t tell your subordinates, only the leaders should know.”

“We understand.”

“The outer perimeter of the Jade Heaven Alliance is our responsibility, so don’t forget that if anything untoward happens, we’ll be the ones to blame. Make sure to check your respective areas and strengthen your vigilance.”

Maeng Hee Cheon paused for a moment and looked at the faces of the leaders with a ferocious gaze. They waited nervously for Maeng Hee Cheon’s next words.

“If the Celestial Demon Troupe learns of the conference, they will try everything to disrupt it. A breach in our defences could spell disaster, so be extra careful.

“Yes!”

The leaders responded in unison, satisfying Maeng Hee Cheon.

“Keep this information among yourselves for now. Dismissed!”

“Yes!”

“Wait, the leader of the thirteenth squad, stay behind.”

Lee Gwak, puzzled, watched as the other leaders left.

Once alone, Maeng Hee Cheon addressed him.

“Lee Gwak.”

“Yes!”

“Do you know Maa Doo Won of the Creation Pavilion?”

“Yes, I know Master Ma.”

“How?”

Maa Doo Won’s voice was sharp, but Lee Gwak remained composed.

“I assisted him with chores when I was dispatched to Mount Sohua.”

“Hmm, so that’s why.”

“What is it?”

“The Creation Pavilion has requested your assistance, specifically you.”

“Me?”

“You’ll be working there starting tomorrow.”

“But what about the outer perimeter?”

“Your group is exempt until your assignment ends. There aren’t many of you, so it won’t make much difference.”

Maeng Hee Cheon’s words carried a hint of disdain for the thirteenth squad.

It couldn’t be helped, the squad leader was new and there were only a few members.

In the current situation, it was not easy to secure new squad members, so for the time being, they had to operate with a small number of people.

Maeng Hee Cheon thought this worked out well.

“If we had reassigned another squad, it would have created a significant gap in our defences. But your squad’s absence won’t be as noticeable.”

“Maa Doo Won is a key figure in the Creation Pavilion. Assist him well, and make sure you don’t cause any trouble.”

“I understand.”

“Dismissed!”

Lee Gwak bowed and left, heading straight to the Creation Pavilion to meet Maa Doo Won.

Passing through the main court and towards the Creation Pavilion, Lee Gwak had to verify his identity multiple times. Despite his frequent visits, there were no exceptions.

By the time he reached the Creation Pavilion, he was tired but not upset. The Creation Pavilion was an important place, and he was to be dispatched there.

The guard at the Creation Pavilion inquired about his visit.

“Why have you come?”

“I’m Lee Gwak, leader of the thirteenth squad from the outer hall. I’ve come to see Master Ma.”

“Oh, you’re the one Master Ma requested. Please, come in.”

“Thank you.”

Lee Gwak nodded to the guard and entered. He found Maa Doo Won’s room easily, having been there before.

“I’m Lee Gwak from the outer hall. May I enter?”

“Come in!”

With Maa Doo Won’s permission, Lee Gwak cautiously opened the door and entered. He saw Maa Doo Won sitting in a chair, but his body was not in a normal state.

Maa Doo Won’s right arm was bound with a splint, wrapped tightly with white cloth. It was clear he had sustained an injury.

“What happened to you?”

“I hurt myself while tinkering with a mechanism. Damn it!”

“Are you alright?”

“I’ve been told not to move my arm for a while. That’s why I called you.”

“Me? What do you mean…?”

“You will have to be my hands and feet for the time being. Have you heard about the Jianghu Tournament?”

“Yes!”

“Because of that, we need to thoroughly check the mechanisms of the Jade Heaven Alliance. You just need to follow me and do as I say. Understand?”

“Yes, I understand.”

Lee Gwak nodded, but his doubts were not completely resolved.

“So, are you taking charge of the mechanism inspection?”

“No, someone else will handle that.”

“Who?”

That’s when it happened.

“May I come in?”

A young voice called from outside.

At that moment, a smile appeared on Maa Doo Won’s lips.

“Enter!”

With Maa Doo Won’s permission, the door opened, and a young man and woman entered the room.

A young boy and a woman in her early twenties. As they stared at each other indifferently, Lee Gwak’s eyes lit up.

“You are?”

“Huh? Brother!”

The boy’s gaze met with his.