Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 51

December 14, 2023 • 12 min read • 324 views

Chapter 51: The More People Gather, The More Incidents occur

The old master’s eyes were very clouded. It was as if countless filthy things had been gathered in a pit and mixed together, and it was impossible to look into them, which made his gaze all the more terrifying.

Anyone with a weak heart would have been crushed by fear just by meeting his eyes. Indeed, newcomers like Go Cheon Gwang and Woo Il-yeong from the outer hall dared not face the old Taoist, bowing their heads under the pressure of his qi.

The old Taoist opened his mouth again.

“I asked you a question.”

“We are martial artists from the Jade Heaven Alliance.”

“So?”

At Lee Gwak’s response, the old Taoist’s voice naturally rose.

“You must not cause a disturbance here.”

“Who says I’m causing a disturbance? Hmph!”

The old Taoist snorted derisively.

Lee Gwak pointed to the martial artists rolling on the ground.

“Didn’t the Taoist Master do this to them?”

“Why would you think that?”

The old Taoist’s dry lips twisted in an unmistakable sneer.

There was no evidence that he had driven the martial artists mad. The sorcery he used affected the human mind was invisible to the naked eye.

The old Taoist’s name was Go Cheon. In the vicinity of Mount Mo sect, the name Go Cheon was synonymous with fear. His quirky nature and inability to tolerate the slightest insult were well known.

The incident at the inn was no exception. The drunken young martial artists laughed at the old Taoist, and the taoist, unable to withstand the insult, cast his sorcery.

The sorcery he used was a curse that caused hallucinations.

The martial artists who had insulted him now saw the most terrifying hallucinations imaginable.

Until Go Cheon lifted the curse, they would be tormented by these visions. If he chose not to lift it, those with weaker spirits could die from exhaustion. And Go Cheon had no intention of lifting it easily.

Go Cheon looked over at Lee Gwak, who had brazenly interfered with his affairs.

At first glance, Lee Gwak was just an ordinary warrior, notable only for his affiliation with the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Usually, Go Cheon would not have let such a person off so easily. It was only because of his affiliation with the Jade Heaven Alliance that he showed this much restraint.

While it was fine to discipline a rat that clung to the prestige of the Jade Heaven Alliance, but the official martial artists of the Jade Heaven Alliance were not to be messed with. However, there was nothing wrong with a little mischief

Master Go Cheon’s fingers twitched slightly.

He was writing characters in thin air.

A curse of illusion.

Without a talisman as a medium, its power was incomparably weaker, but it was still far beyond what a low-ranking martial artist could withstand.

A smug smile grew on master Go Cheon’s face. He imagined Lee Gwak trembling and wetting himself in fear. But contrary to his expectation, Lee Gwak remained unaffected.

‘What?’

For the first time, a look of confusion crossed Master Go Cheon’s face.

Even without the talisman, he had not expected a mere Outer Hall martial artist to resist his curse so easily.

Lee Gwak looked at Master Go Cheon with a cold gaze.

Just a moment ago, Lee Gwak had felt an alien energy trying to infiltrate his body. Although it was swallowed up by the serpent inside him and disappeared in an instant, the foreign energy was clearly connected to Master Go Cheon.

He didn’t guess with his sixth sense or intuition; he saw it with his own eyes. It was possible because his heart eye was open.

Having seen it directly, Lee Gwak knew that Master Go Cheon had tried to play tricks on him.

Master Go Cheon’s gaze turned fierce.

“Who are you, boy?”

“I am Lee Gwak, an outer hall squad leader. May I ask for your identity, Taoist Master?”

“I am…”

Master Go Cheon looked uncomfortable.

For some reason, he didn’t like the idea of being forced to identify himself by Lee Gwak’s assertiveness.

“If you do not reveal your identity, I will have to take you to the Jade Heaven Alliance.”

“Hah! Ridiculous. You dare to threaten me?”

“This is the Jade Heaven Alliance’s territory. We cannot overlook an unidentified person causing trouble.”

“A mere Outer Hall squad leader dares to intimidate me.”

Master Go Cheon’s eyebrows shot up. He resolved to punish Lee Gwak, who was boldly standing up to him.

No matter the reason, as one of the leading sorcerers of Mount Mo Sect, he could not allow himself to be overpowered by a mere outer hall squad leader.

Just as he was about to slip his hand into his bosom and pull out the talisman he had prepared.

“Goodness! Why is everyone lying on the floor writhing? If you’re going to talk in your sleep, do it at home.”

Ki Jin Hwi was lifting up the convulsing martial artists and helping them stand.

“Huh?”

One of the martial artists, supported by Ki Jin Hwi, seemed to suddenly regain his senses, looked around briefly, and then ran out.

Following him, the other martial artists also got up. They looked at Master Go Cheon with fear in their eyes before fleeing.

For a moment, Master Go Cheon’s eyebrows twitched.

He had not yet lifted the curse he had placed on the martial artist. It was impossible for them to come to their senses under such circumstances.

Master Go Cheon glared at Ki Jin Hwi.

“What trick did you pull?”

“Trick? I just helped them up because they seemed to be struggling.”

“You?”

“Leader, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Let’s go. We have a lot to do. Isn’t it better to let bygones be bygones?”

Ki Jin Hwi nudged Lee Gwak in the ribs with his elbow.

His face was pockmarked, and he was missing a front tooth, which gave him a somewhat comical appearance. But when Ki Jin Hwi smiled, the serious atmosphere instantly lightened.

Ki Jin Hwi winked at Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak glanced at him and then nodded.

“Let’s all leave,”

“Who dares to leave without my permission…”

Master Go Cheon began to shout angrily but suddenly stopped in his tracks, as if turned to stone.

The thirteenth Squad members looked at Master Go Cheon with puzzled eyes.

Master Go Cheon just glared at Lee Gwak and the others, unable to take any further action. The squad members thought he was just letting them go.

Lee Gwak looked at Master Go Cheon for a moment before leading the squad members outside.

“Kuhk!”

The moment the thirteenth squad members were out of sight, Master Go Cheon gasped for air.

“Huk! Huk!”

Like a man who had narrowly escaped drowning, he gasped for breath, sweat pouring down his face.

“What?”

His eyes, red and bloodshot as if about to burst, shook violently.

Phwoosh!

Suddenly, a flame burst forth from the front of his robe.

“Kuk!”

Master Go Cheon hurriedly extinguished the flame, but the talismans he had prepared inside his robe turned to a handful of ashes.

“Good heavens!”

His hands trembled.

The talismans he had prepared wouldn’t ignite naturally without his will. The only time they would burn was when a greater and more powerful force interfered.

The thought of seeking refuge with the Jade Heaven Alliance vanished from his mind.

He packed his belongings and left the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Lee Gwak watched Ki Jin Hwi, who was chatting and laughing with the squad members, with deep eyes.

Ki Jin Hwi, with his unique charm, had quickly captivated the squad members. They had forgotten the clash with Master Go Cheon, their ears attentive to Ki Jin Hwi’s words.

To those who couldn’t see the truth, the situation might have seemed to have been resolved luckily. But Lee Gwak had seen it clearly.

The sight of the strange energy moving violently near Master Go Cheon’s chest. And incredibly, the way the strange energy was cut and pulverised.

It was Ki Jin Hwi who had cut and dispelled Master Go Cheon’s energy. The energy manifested from his body had done it.

Lee Gwak had already suspected that Ki Jin Hwi was no ordinary man, but he hadn’t realised that Ki Jin Hwi could break a curse so easily.

Their eyes met suddenly, and Ki Jin Hwi sent him a silent message with a wink.

―Let’s talk quietly later, Leader.

Lee Gwak nodded silently.

Fortunately, no further incidents occurred that night. But Lee Gwak couldn’t rest easy, even after his duty was over, because Ki Jin Hwi, as he had communicated earlier, quietly came to his house.

Fortunately, there were no more incidents that night. But even though his shift was over, he couldn’t rest easily. As if on cue, Ki Jin Hwi came to his door quietly.

“Leader!”

“Come in.”

“Your house is as nice as I heard.”

Ki Jin Hwi looked around the interior of the house in awe. Lee Gwak led him to a table.

“Please, have a seat.”

“Thank you, leader.”

Ki Jin Hwi sat down without hesitation.

Despite having stayed up all night, Ki Jin Hwi showed no signs of fatigue. He sat and quietly watched Lee Gwak prepare tea.

Finally, when Lee Gwak served the tea, Ki Jin Hwi spoke with a smile,

“I will enjoy it.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“You know, leader, you are remarkably composed for your age. Since I joined, I have never once seen you panic or get angry.”

“……”

“……”

“Leader!”

“Speak.”

“I hoped you wouldn’t notice, but you have sharp eyes.”

Ki Jin Hwi realised that Lee Gwak had noticed him dispelling Master Go Cheon’s curse back at the inn.

Lee Gwak neither confirmed nor denied it, but the deep, calm look in his eyes confirmed his suspicions.

Ki Jin Hwi had thought Lee Gwak was extraordinary from their first meeting, but he never imagined he would notice him dispelling a curse. He had merely thought Lee Gwak’s clear eyes indicated a deeper level of thought compared to his peers.

“Leader!”

“I’m listening.”

“You might have noticed, I have some knowledge in sorcery and martial arts techniques. That’s why I was able to dispel Master Go Cheon’s curse by chance. But I prefer others not to know that I have studied such arts. It will eventually become known, but until then, I wish to live as ordinarily as the other squad members. So, I hope you can keep this a secret.”

“I have one question before I promise.”

“Go ahead.”

“With your abilities, you could have easily joined the inner court instead of the outer hall. Why did you choose to be in the outer hall?”

Although the outer hall was less prestigious, Jade Heaven Alliance didn’t just accept anyone. That Ki Jin Hwi was assigned to the outer hall meant his identity had been verified. Therefore, Lee Gwak didn’t doubt Ki Jin Hwi’s identity.

What he was curious about was his purpose.

Ki Jin Hwi’s answer was simple.

“I’m looking for someone.”

“……”

“I’m sure they’re in the Jade Heaven Alliance, but I can’t find them, so I joined the outer hall. It seemed easier to search freely here.”

“Who are you looking for?”

“I can’t tell you that yet, leader.”

“……”

“But I can promise that I won’t cause any trouble for the thirteenth squad or for you.”

Ki Jin Hwi was sincere.

Although he hadn’t planned on being assigned to the thirteenth squad, he found himself quite satisfied with life in the squad.

He liked Seok Yi cheon, who treated him like a younger brother, and he found the young warriors like Go Cheon Gwang and Woo Il Yeong to his liking.

He wanted to take care of Cheon Wol, who practised martial arts with fierce determination in his eyes, and above all, he was curious about Lee Gwak.

At first, Lee Gwak seemed ordinary. Ki Jin Hwi thought his position as the squad leader was just a stroke of luck, so he didn’t pay much attention.

During their time together, Lee Gwak didn’t show any particularly outstanding traits, and Ki Jin Hwi believed that was his true nature. But it didn’t take long to realise this was a misconception.

Occasionally, Lee Gwak would have a sharp look in his eyes. Whenever that happened, Ki Jin Hwi felt a chill in his heart. Lee Gwak’s gaze triggered his sense of crisis.

If Lee Gwak were just an ordinary warrior, such a thing would be impossible.

He didn’t know the full extent of Lee Gwak’s abilities, but at least he could guess that Lee Gwak was not just an ordinary martial artist. He hadn’t expected him to notice the dispelling of the curse, though.

The truly wise appear foolish,’ he thought, remembering the saying that the very wise often appear foolish.

Then Lee Gwak asked,

“Can you truly promise that?”

“I swear it,”

Ki Jin Hwi replied without the slightest hesitation.

Lee Gwak closed his eyes for a moment.

His intuition, which had developed remarkably since he’d gained his heart eye, was telling him that Ki Jin Hwi was telling the truth.

Lee Gwak nodded.

“I’ll believe you.”

“Thank you, leader. I won’t disappoint you.”

Only then did Ki Jin Hwi’s tension ease. Had Lee Gwak remained stubborn, even he was unsure of what to do next.

Suddenly, Lee Gwak pushed away his teacup.

“Perhaps liquor would be better than tea after all.”

“Did I mention that I like the leader?”

“I have no preference for men.”

“Haha!”