Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 62

December 27, 2023 • 9 min read • 286 views

The War of the Nonexistent (3)

Han So Cheon perched on a slender tree branch, overlooking the Detached Court.
The tree she was perched on was the tallest and most branched in the manor, and it provided ample cover for her body.

Members of the Hidden Blood Squad were positioned throughout the manor.

Over the past few days, they had been engaged in a silent war with the assassins of the Celestial Demon Troupe, eliminating over a dozen of them.

Disguised as commoners, servants, or labourers, these assassins were always on the lookout for an opportunity to strike.

The most efficient way to deal with an assassin was with an assassin, and the Hidden Blood Squad were the best of them all.

Utilising every available means, their actions had resulted in the deaths of many unrelated to the Jianghu, but the squad remained indifferent.

Their orders were to eliminate the enemies who had infiltrated the Jade Heaven Alliance at all costs, and they were true to their mission.

Han So Cheon herself had killed more than ten assassins of the Celestial Demon Troupe, and her body still smelled of blood.

She carefully tended to her sword on the branch, the weapon suffering from the many lives it had taken.

While she couldn’t immediately repair the blunt edge, she meticulously cleaned the grease off the blade, which is essential to maintaining its longevity.

Human bodies contained more fat than one might expect, and once it clung to a blade, it wasn’t easily removed. Thus, Han So Cheon paid extra attention to cleaning her sword.

At that moment, a man of imposing stature silently appeared beside her. It was Cheol Gwan Ho, the leader of the First Squad.

“Sharpening your sword?”

“As you can see!”

“Still diligent as ever.”

“What are you trying to say?”

Han So Cheon lifted her head to stare directly at Cheol Gwan Ho, who let out a half-smile.

“Just checking if you’re okay.”

“I’m fine.”

“Seems so.”

Cheol Gwan Ho nodded.

Han So Cheon went back to polishing her sword. It wasn’t the first time this had happened, so Cheol Gwan Ho didn’t mind.

He had come to Han So Cheon’s side because this was the best place to take in the surroundings. From here, he could see the estate and the surrounding area.

While the Ten Lesser Skies Meeting wasn’t as grand as the Jianghu Tournament, it was still a significant event.

A bitter smile played on Cheol Gwan Ho’s lips as he felt a little melancholic about guarding the event instead of participating in it. But he quickly composed himself.

He had chosen this path willingly.

As the bastard son of a noble family, he had no place in his family’s legacy and had to forge his own destiny, which led him to join the Hidden Blood Squad. Now, as their leader, he saw the war against the Celestial Demon Troupe as a great opportunity.

“The war against the Celestial Demon Troupe is a great opportunity, and if I can make a great contribution in this war, I can reach those heights.

Cheol Gwan Ho clenched his fists tightly.

The war was a disaster for the powerless commoners, but for a man of such ambition it was an opportunity.

As Cheol Gwan Ho stood there, consumed by his ambitions, Han So Cheon suddenly stopped cleaning her sword, her brow furrowed.

“What’s wrong?”

“Something feels off…”

“What is it?”

“Just…”

At that moment, Cheol Gwan Ho’s expression hardened.

If there was one thing he had absolute faith in, it was Han So Cheon’s intuition.

On the battlefield, whenever she sensed something amiss, it invariably preceded an incident. Though sceptical at first, repeated occurrences had convinced him to trust her instincts.

-“Is everyone alright?”

He sent a telepathic message to his Squad members.

They replied in kind. But only one person didn’t answer.

-“So Ryun, respond.”

Despite Cheol Gwan Ho’s urging, there was no response from So Ryun. Realising that something was amiss, Cheol Gwan Ho immediately sensed a crisis.

-“Everyone, heighten your vigilance. Locate So Ryun’s position.”

-“Understood, leader!”

In an instant, Han So Cheon leaped into the darkness.

Swish!

A guttural groan echoed out from the darkness, accompanied by a flashing sword light.

Han So Cheon’s voice rang out loudly.

-“It’s an assassin from the Celestial Demon Troupe,”

Her voice was the spark.

The Hidden Blood Squad, previously hidden and guarding the Detached Court, sprang into action, aware of the enemy’s presence.

It was a war between assassins.

There were no flashy swords, or rallying cries.

Those who were wounded or fatally struck did not scream, maintaining their dignity until their last breath, a sign of an assassin’s pride.

The assassins of the Celestial Demon Troupe had hoped to take advantage of the opportunity to infiltrate the estate through the secret passageway they had discovered from Maa Doo Won, but Han So Cheon had discovered them first, and they were forced to fight an all-out war against the Hidden Blood Squad before they could achieve their goal.

“Arrogant fools!”

Cheol Gwan Ho bellowed in anger, frustrated at not detecting the enemy sooner.

Swish!

He slashed at the nearest enemy’s throat and looked around.

Clang!

Sparks flew in the darkness, followed by the clash of weapons.

To a stranger, it would have been a beautiful sight to behold. But the battle within was indescribably horrific.

No screams were heard, but the ground of the Detached Court was drenched in blood.

The Hidden Blood Squad also suffered casualties, but the assassins from the Celestial Demon Troupe died in greater numbers. Yet, the Hidden Blood Squad couldn’t secure a decisive advantage, owing to the extensive infiltration of the Celestial Demon Troupe’s assassins.

Swish!

Red blood splashed on Han So Cheon’s face with a grisly cutting sound. But she had no time to clean it off, as another assassin attacked her.

Han So Cheon narrowly avoided the assassin’s attack, and instead punched a coin-sized hole in his forehead.

“Is it you?”

Suddenly, a calm voice came from behind Han So Cheon’s back.

She felt chills run down her spine, sensing an aura from behind unlike any other assassin she had faced.

Swish!

Without hesitation, Han So Cheon thrust her sword backward, but the attack was met with nothingness.

“How could someone with your meagre skills kill Go Jin Rak?”

The voice behind her was mocking, moving just enough to avoid her attack.

She realised that her opponent was a master who was incomparable to her.

If he had wished, she would have been dead already. Her survival was only due to his curiosity about her.

Jin Rak… Go Jin Rak!’

It was the only name that imprinted the word ‘regret’ on her.

“Speak up, bitch, before I kill all your comrades here.”

“I am…”

That’s when another voice interjected.

“What are you doing?”

With a cold tone, someone attacked from behind Han So Cheon.

The man swinging his sword with tremendous force was none other than Cheol Gwan Ho.
Cheol Gwan Ho saw the blue figure standing behind Han So Cheon like a ghost. Unlike the other assassins, he was not in black robe but in a conspicuous blue uniform.

Cheol Gwan Ho knew instinctively that he was the leader of the assassins who had ambushed them that day.

‘I’ll kill him to break their momentum.’

Whoosh!

A sword filled with tremendous power struck the heart of the man in blue.

“Tch!”

The blue-robed man clicked his tongue at the unexpected interruption, his face filled with irritation.

“Step aside, boy!”

In an instant, he vanished from Cheol Gwan Ho’s sight, disappearing like a ghost.
Cheol Gwan Ho, feeling every hair on his body stand on end, quickly retrieved his sword to guard himself.

Thud!

But before he could get into a stance, he felt a sharp pain in his back. Turning his head, he saw that the blue-robed assassin had stabbed him in the back with his index finger.

“Argh!”

The agony of flesh being penetrated by a mere finger was beyond imagination.
Fighting through the pain, Cheol Gwan Ho attempted to swing his sword. However, the man in blue unleashed a forceful gust of wind through his finger.

Boom!

“Argh!”

The wind blast pierced through Cheol Gwan Ho’s waist, toppling him over. Although not fatal, the wound was severe.

“Leader!”

Seeing Cheol Gwan Ho’s plight, Han So Cheon ran towards the man in blue, fear forgotten.
In an instant, the eyes of the Blue Robed Assassin glinted menacingly in the darkness. He emitted a terrifying killing intent towards Han So Cheon, who was rushing towards him, oblivious to the gravity of the situation.

But before she could react, a fountain of blood erupted from her shoulder, slashed silently and swiftly.

‘When?’

Han So Cheon’s eyes trembled in shock.

Whoosh!

Suddenly, another burst of blood sprayed from her side – another wound inflicted.

The man in blue, known as the Dark Emissary, was thoroughly playing with Han So Cheon.
His presence engulfed the area like a massive dark cloud, dominating completely. That’s why he was called the Dark Emissary.

He had no intention of killing Han So Cheon quickly. He wanted her to experience all possible pains before slowly bleeding her to death, as a requiem for his only close friend, Go Jin Rak.

Han So Cheon fought with all her might, but it was futile. The Dark Emissary was a legend among assassins. Facing him with assassin techniques was like a child challenging a grown adult.

Every technique Han So Cheon used was known to the Dark Emissary.

She bit her lip, realising the grim reality.

‘I’ll die if this continues.’

Death didn’t scare her – her soul felt dead already. But she knew her death would endanger her comrades.

To save them, she had to lure the Dark Emissary away from the battlefield.
Whoosh!

With that, Han So Cheon retreated from the combat zone, fleeing the Detached Court at a frightening speed.

The Dark Emissary’s expression twisted unexpectedly at her decision.

“You think you can escape my grasp, girl?”

He dashed in the direction Han So Cheon had fled.

The battle among assassins continued in the Detached Court, but that was of no concern to him.

His sole target had always been Han So Cheon.

‘Run as much as you like. It will only prolong your suffering.’

He pursued her like a dark cloud, relentless and unwavering.