Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 49

December 12, 2023 • 11 min read • 333 views

Episode 49( True Value Shines in the Face of Crisis(3))

Returning home, the first thing Lee Gwak did was to examine the secret manuals he had received from Maa Doo Won.

The first thing he opened was the ‘Sun Splitting Sword Art’.

The Sun Splitting Sword Art was a secret sword scripture of the Zhuge clan, which was annihilated by the Demon Cult during the Great Heavenly Blood War a hundred years ago. Their secret martial arts had since dispersed into the Jianghu, with the Sun Splitting Sword Art being one of them.

A strange light of excitement flashed in Lee Gwak’s eyes.

He quietly flipped through the Sun Splitting Sword Art, his eyes half-closed.

The only sound in the quiet room was the rustle of turning pages. He read every word meticulously.

Lee Gwak was so engrossed in the Sun Splitting Art that he lost track of time.

Nearly three hours had passed when he finally closed the manual.

“Phew!”

Lee Gwak sighed softly, fully opening his half-closed eyes. For a moment, a clear light flashed in his eyes and then vanished.

“The Sun Splitting Sword Art does not suit me,”

This was the conclusion Lee Gwak had come to after reading the entire manual.

Setting aside the differences between sword and blade techniques, their intrinsic natures were vastly different.

The Eight Sects Sword Art had a straightforward and heavy power. Naturally, as it was Lee Gwak’s primary style, his martial arts inclination was similar.

On the other hand, the swordsmanship of the Sun Splitting Art consisted of simple, fast, and agile techniques. It seemed more suitable for women and assassins.

Lee Gwak put the Sun Splitting Sword Art aside and opened the Thunder Blade Arts.

[Only a bolt of lightning pierces and connects heaven and earth.]

This single line was all that was written in the manual’s preface.

It seemed a simple sentence, yet Lee Gwak couldn’t take his eyes off it.

“Pierce and connect?”

After repeating the words over and over again, he suddenly shuddered.

Suddenly, he was filled with a sense of enlightenment and joy.

It was the essence he had been seeking in the Eight Sects Sword Art but hadn’t found.

To others, it might seem a mere sentence, but to Lee Gwak, it was a ladder overcoming the wall in front of him.

A single drop of ink turns a basin of water black. Similarly, a single line of text was enough to organise the numerous confusing techniques in Lee Gwak’s mind.

Mountain Splitting Slash.

Raging Tidal Force.

Shadowless Strike.

Blood Dragon’s Roar.

Lone Scorch Demon.

Shadowy Assassinate.

Heavens Shattering Iron Blood.

Eight Gateways of Destruction.,

The eight forms of the Eight Sects Sword Art swirled chaotically in his mind.

He had practised them thousands, tens of thousands of times, but only now did they unite into one.

The wave of techniques, connecting like a thick line, was and wasn’t the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Everything Lee Gwak had accumulated exploded simultaneously.

The intricacy of the Invisible Puncture Art and the precision of the Mechanism Art added to the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Like beads strung into treasure, all combined into a new whole.

Unable to contain his excitement, Lee Gwak rushed outside.

In his hand was the sword he had bought from the Eun Family Steelsmith.

Whoosh! The sword cleaved the air.

Starting with the Mountain Splitting Slash, the eight forms were released like threads.
Smoothly connecting, merging into a torrential flow.

Lee Gwak surrendered himself to the mighty flow. He didn’t even try to control it.

He let his consciousness flow and his body move. Then something strange happened.

Suddenly, his vision darkened, and he saw himself performing the Eight Sects Sword Arts.

‘What?’

After a moment of shock, he realised.

He was performing martial arts in a selfless state, observing himself as a third party.

‘The sixth serpent has awakened.’

In the cerebrum, in the space horizontal to the eyes, the sixth serpent awakened, and the third eye opened. It was not a physical eye, but a spiritual eye, a kind of heart eye.

The great snake that had been sleeping in the perineum awoke.

Releasing its tail, it surged up the spine. Swiftly passing five gates, it bit the tail of the sixth snake.

Boom!

An immense power, incomparable to before, surged within him.

Lee Gwak realised.

He had advanced a step further.

His former self and current self were entirely different.

***
As the intense morning sunlight evaporated the pitch darkness, Lee Gwak opened his eyes.
The blinding light stung his retinas, but he didn’t blink.

“Hoo!”

A breath filled with a myriad of emotions escaped from deep within his chest.

In his lap, where he was seated, lay the sword he had wielded all night.

Lee Gwak caressed the smooth blade for a moment before sheathing it. The sword , finding its home, seemed to fall into a deep rest, and Lee Gwak stood up.

He walked back into the room.

There lay the Thunder Blade Arts, just as he had left it.

[Only a bolt of lightning pierces and connects heaven and earth.]

Suddenly, the preface that had enlightened him caught his eye.

It was a single line of text.

Others might think he was lucky, but he didn’t think so.

For years, he had undergone rigorous training and delved endlessly into martial arts. Though he faced great barriers and felt despair, he never stopped challenging himself.

The hours of suffering did not pass in vain, but built up within him. And with that single line of text, the huge wall came crashing down.

Lee Gwak couldn’t precisely gauge the extent of his enlightenment. He had almost never sparred with others.

But to him, that was irrelevant. He didn’t cultivate martial arts for the sake of sparring.

Lee Gwak sat down and calmly began to flip through the Thunder Blade Arts.

The Thunder Blade Arts was a supreme technique that embraced the ascent of force. It especially maximised the power of techniques using Thunder Qi.

First Technique: Thunder Spirit.

Second Technique: Heavenly Thunder Rain.

Third Technique: Thunder Trap.

The Thunder Blade Arts comprised these three techniques.

Each technique was immensely powerful, but handling the Thunder Qi made them incredibly difficult to master.

To fully unleash its power, the Thunder Blade Arts required a supporting internal energy method, which was conspicuously absent. It was, in a sense, an incomplete martial art.

This was why even the Creation Pavilion had abandoned analysing it and left it untouched. Even without the proper internal energy method, the Thunder Blade Arts boasted formidable power. That’s why Maa Doo Won had willingly gifted it to Lee Gwak.

‘Thunder Qi.’

Lee Gwak first scanned the intricacies of the Thunder Blade Arts.

The first page of the decision began with a question.

[What is Thunder Qi?]

It is the most intense energy held between heaven and earth.

Then, does Thunder Qi exist only in the heavens?

No.

Thunder Qi exists not just in the heavens but also in the human body.

The movement of arms and legs, the reaction to an enemy’s movements, and the blinking of eyes – all these harmonies are manifestations of the Thunder Qi]

Lee Gwak was profoundly shocked.

The idea that Thunder Qi existed in the human body and was a major factor in human movement and reaction shattered his understanding.

It was a fresh perspective and interpretation, entirely different from the martial arts views Lee Gwak had learned and believed in.

This novel perspective was precisely what Lee Gwak needed.

Having never had a master and self-taught in martial arts, Lee Gwak lacked diversity in his knowledge. That’s why he was deeply engrossed in the Thunder Blade Arts.
He lost track of time as he read.

One day, two days, three days……. Time flew by.

It might have been a short period for some, but it was enough for a martial artist like Lee Gwak to grow explosively.

Without the original internal energy method, it was impossible to learn the Thunder Blade Arts as it was. Lee Gwak didn’t think he could purely learn it either.

Instead, he thought of integrating the Thunder Blade Arts into the Eight Sects Sword Art.
Merging two distinct martial arts, especially ones as unique as the Thunder Blade Arts, was nearly impossible. But the Eight Sects Sword Art, not as intricate and without particular specialties, was different.

It was created in a military environment and was therefore very versatile. This made it adaptable to the strengths of other martial arts.

Lee Gwak completely deconstructed the Eight Sects Sword Art.

He dissected and finely broke down each technique, researching where to fit the three techniques of the Thunder Blade Arts.

The first technique of the Thunder Blade Arts, Thunder Spirit, goes well with the third technique of the Eight Sects Sword Art, Shadowless Strike. Heavenly Thunder Rain complements Heaven Shattering Iron Blood, and Thunder Trap can be combined with the final technique of the Eight Sects Sword Art, Eight Gateways of Destruction.

It seemed possible to combine the strengths of the two martial arts into one.

The problem was the internal energy method.

To integrate the techniques of the Thunder Blade Arts into the Eight Sects Sword Art, understanding and utilising the Thunder Qi was essential.

Lee Gwak found the answer in the Eight Snakes Art.

The Eight Snakes Art he had mastered diverged from typical internal energy methods.

While other martial arts in the Jianghu forcibly divided and classified internal energy, his Eight Snakes Art was more pure and closer to the origin.

Lee Gwak thought the Eight Snakes Art could be an excellent substitute for Thunder Qi.

He experimented with running the Eight Snakes Art

The great snake that had been circling him awoke and coiled around him. The energy that started at the Huiyin acupoint surged up his spine in an instant.

Simultaneously, his Heart Eye opened.

Lee Gwak could coldly observe the serpent writhing in his body from a third-person perspective. The serpent, as seen with the Heart Eye, was somewhat different than before.

The serpent’s form was a result of his will.

It took the shape of a serpent because he believed it to be so. In reality, it was a pure collection of formless energy.

Lee Gwak used the serpent to replace the internal energy method of the Thunder Blade Arts.

At first, it hesitated, but soon the serpent moved effortlessly according to the intricacies of the Thunder Blade Arts.

Ssssh!

A refreshing sensation filled his body.

The large serpent split into dozens, hundreds of strands, moving along Lee Gwak’s meridians.

He observed all these phenomena and realised something profound.

His mental acuity had increased dramatically.

Ordinarily, he would not have thought of fusing the Eight Sects Sword Art and the Thunder Blade Arts, no matter how much he had achieved.

The reason he could even conceive such an idea was due to his opened Heart Eye.

The Heart Eye explosively elevated his intellect, allowing him to observe from a unique perspective.

As a result, Lee Gwak was able to tread a path untraveled by anyone before.

The fusion of Thunder Spirit and Shadowless Strike gave birth to a new technique: Thunder Shadow Strike.

Heavenly Thunder Rain and Heavens Shattering Iron Blood merged into Heavenly Thunder Iron Blood, while Thunder Trap and Eight Gateways of Destruction evolved into Thunder Trap of Destruction.

Seizing the momentum, Lee Gwak grabbed his sword and stepped outside.

Swish!

His hand unleashed the newly reborn Eight Sects Sword Art.

Starting with the first technique, Mountain Splitting Slash, the forms unfolded sequentially, culminating in the third technique, Thunder Shadow Strike, the seventh, Heavenly Thunder Iron Blood, and the eighth, Thunder Trap of Destruction.

There was no blockage in his Qi and blood, and his meridians suffered no strain.

The three techniques seamlessly integrated as if they were originally part of the Eight Sects Sword Art.

Zzzt!

There were blackened scorch marks all over the high-walled courtyard. Wisps of white smoke rose from the blackened areas, as if dozens of small bolts of lightning had struck simultaneously.

Ziiiing!

His sword was crying.

Lee Gwak had begun his long journey, the arduous path of proving himself with a single sword.