Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 69

January 8, 2024 • 9 min read • 286 views

The Brighter the Light, the Darker the Shadow (1)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Lee Gwak’s gaze fell on the man with the scarred face.

“What is your name, sir?”

“What do you need it for?”

The scarred man spat phlegm at Lee Gwak’s feet. It narrowly missed and landed on the side of his shoe.

“?”

Suddenly, Cheon Wol’s eyes turned cold. However, since Lee Gwak remained still, so did he.

This time, Lee Gwak’s eyes turned to the tattooed man who was confronting the scarred man.

“And your name?”

“It seems that you are an Outer Hall Squad Leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance, let’s just leave it at that. I’ll greet you properly later.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Aren’t you also looking for a bribe? Just wait a bit, and I’ll make some money by taking care of this scum.”

“You’re offering to pay me now?”

“Man, you really can’t understand a thing. Even your tongue is filthy.”

The tattooed man glared at Lee Gwak with a menacing look. His eyes held the fierce glow of someone trained in martial arts.

This confirmed it.

Martial artists had infiltrated the slums, creating factions and fighting for control. It was clear they were exploiting the poor.

Like wringing water from a dry towel, they were squeezing the impoverished for gain.

Simple disputes among the poor could be resolved easily, but if trained martial artists were involved, it couldn’t be ignored.

Lee Gwak spoke up.

“Everyone, lay down your weapons and disperse. I will not tolerate any further disorder.”

“And if we don’t?”

The tattooed man stepped closer, provoking Lee Gwak, as his men exuded killing intent.

He had been here for months and knew enough about the Jade Heaven Alliance’s outer hall. Each squad had twenty members, led by experienced squad leaders who were not easily confronted, as provoking them could lead to a crackdown by the Jade Heaven Alliance.

They had already bribed these experienced squad leaders, which allowed them to confront Lee Gwak, young and seemingly inexperienced. They thought the bribed squad leaders would back them if needed.

“Back off while I’m asking nicely. I’ll repay you later.”

“Fuck off! Move!”

Both the tattooed and scarred men pressed Lee Gwak.

Though rivals, their interests aligned at this moment.

Lee Gwak took a step back, and an ugly grin appeared on their faces. They thought he had been cowed by their threat.

‘Just a kid!’

‘So weak, we can easily manipulate him.’

Being underestimated here meant perpetual exploitation. And they were well-versed in this underworld logic.

But they had misjudged.

Lee Gwak wasn’t retreating out of fear, nor was he planning to ignore their fight.

“Cheon Wol!”

“Yes, Leader!”

Cheon Wol’s eerie yet calm voice echoed across the clearing.

The men felt a chilling dread, unfamiliar with such a sensation.

Then Lee Gwak’s voice resounded again.

“Disarm everyone!”

“Yes!”

Cheon Wol responded promptly as if he had been waiting for this command.

A flash of light flashed across the pupils of his cloth-wrapped face. But the men noticed no such change in Cheon Wol. Instead, they laughed at him as he stepped forward.

“What’s this? A kid?”

“Has the Jade Heaven Alliance really come to this? A kid as an Outer Hall martial artist? Hey kid, where’s your mom? Have you stopped breastfeeding?”

That was the moment.

Whoosh!

“Gwaaah!”

The head of the large man who had been mocking Cheon Wol jerked back violently. Cheon Wol had swiftly struck him with the blunt end of his sword’s handle, commonly known as the ‘sword’s head.’

“What the-”

“This little brat!”

The startled men clumsily swung their weapons, but before they could properly react, Cheon Wol was already moving swiftly among them.

Cheon Wol was like a small leopard. He was so swift that the men’s eyes could barely keep up with his movements.

Thwack-thwack-thwack!

“Argh!”

“Ugh!”

Men cried out and collapsed as if bamboo shoots were snapping, their hands and feet swelling instantly from the strikes.

Cheon Wol showed no mercy, enraged that they had insulted Lee Gwak, whom he respected and adored deeply.

His eyes seemed to blaze with a fierce blue flame.

Cheon Wol resembled a wolf leaping into a flock of sheep. The men could only scream and swing their swords wildly, unable to block a single strike from Cheon Wol.

In his wake, only men screaming in pain remained.

“Our youngest is truly incredible.”

“Wow!”

Even his fellow Thirteen Squad members watched in awe, unaware that Cheon Wol had reached such a level of skill.

The leaders realized too late the seriousness of the situation.

“Damn it!”

“Damn!”

They hadn’t expected such a young boy to display such prowess, amplifying their shock and disbelief.

Forgetting their previous rivalry, they joined forces against Cheon Wol, such was their fear of him.

Swoosh!

Cheon Wol’s small figure cast a long shadow as he surged towards the two leaders.

Unlike their men, these leaders reacted differently, having trained in martial arts.

Slice!

Their blades fiercely cut through the air.

The scarred man aimed for Cheon Wol’s upper body, and the tattooed man for his lower body.

Their strikes carried substantial internal energy and intricate techniques that would overwhelm most Outer Hall martial artists. But their opponent was Cheon Wol.

Swoosh!

Cheon Wol’s sword flashed out.

It shot forward in the shortest path.

‘River Splitting Slash’, the fifth technique from the Sun Splitting Sword Art’ was unleashed.

Like a flash of lightning splitting a lake, Cheon Wol’s sword cut through the leaders.

“Argh!”

“Huh!”

The leaders screamed, dropping their swords from the wounds on their wrists. But Cheon Wol wasn’t finished.

Thud!

His kick struck their legs.

The intense impact made the leaders stagger and then kneel in defeat.

Gritting their teeth, they desperately tried to retrieve their fallen swords. But they froze as they felt the cold touch of Cheon Wol’s sword and sheath against their necks.

“Ugh!”

“Shit!”

They trembled.

They knew the Jade Heaven Alliance was formidable, but they hadn’t expected even a young boy to possess such fearsome skills.

Before coming here, they had been proud martial artists in a small martial arts sect. They had come to the slums to fight for dominance for survival, their skills being genuine.

Yet, they were easily subdued by Cheon Wol, proof of his extraordinary martial prowess.

Cheon Wol’s formal training in martial arts hadn’t been long, yet his ability to demonstrate such prowess proved that he was a natural-born martial artist.

After subduing the gang leaders, Cheon Wol looked towards Lee Gwak, signaling that his role was complete.

Lee Gwak approached the kneeling leaders, who glared at him with faces twisted in anger.

“Damn it! Do you think you can get away with this?”

“Just let us go.”

Their eyes were filled with venom, certainly intimidating to the average person. But unfortunately for them, Lee Gwak was far from average. He was not just a typical Outer Hall martial artist as they had assumed.

Lee Gwak crouched in front of them, meeting their gaze. His eyes did not blaze intensely like Cheon Wol’s but were oddly deep, like an endless abyss.

The men flinched at his gaze.

They wanted to lash out with venomous words, but strangely, they found themselves speechless in front of Lee Gwak’s deep, unsettling eyes.

Sweating profusely, they were as helpless as insects caught in a spider’s web.

Lee Gwak asked,

“Will you now tell me your names?”

“I, I am Lee Umyeong,”.

The tattooed man answered

Lee Gwak then turned to the scarred man,

“And your name?”

The scarred man clenched his teeth, refusing to answer. Then, Lee Gwak’s dark eyes flickered.

“Gasp!”

The scarred man gasped, feeling an indescribable fear as Lee Gwak’s eyes shimmered.

His body froze, heart pounding wildly, a reaction he couldn’t understand himself.

Lee Gwak asked again,

“Your name?”

“J, Jang Wimun,” the scarred man finally revealed his real name.

“Good. Lord Jang and Lord Lee I understand you both have learned martial arts and are fighting for control of the slums. But I won’t allow further exploitation of the poor.”

“Gah!”

“If you want to earn money, do it through legitimate work. Don’t exploit people who are already struggling.”

“Do you think we’re doing this because we enjoy it? We had no choice after losing everything due to the war between the Jade Heaven Alliance and the Celestial Demon Troupe. the Jade Heaven Alliance didn’t accept us, so what else could we do?”

Jang Wimun protested loudly, and Lee Umyeong agreed.

“This is all we have. Telling us not to do this is like telling us to die.”

Their eyes were bloodshot.

Though subdued by Cheon Wol, a mere member of Lee Gwak’s squad, they still had their pride. Having spent their lives learning martial arts, working a regular job was an unacceptable proposition for them.

Despite the humiliation at the hands of Cheon Wol, they optimistically believed they could recover from this setback, having successfully bribed other squad leaders within the Jade Heaven Alliance. They thought if they could leverage a squad leader higher in rank than Lee Gwak, they could turn the situation around.

“Just get through this moment.”

Fortunately for them, Lee Gwak didn’t seem too harsh. His innocent face gave them hope they could manipulate him.

After silently observing them, Lee Gwak finally stood up.

He addressed his squad members,

“Take them to the Outer Hall detention facility.”

Jang Wimun’s eyes widened in surprise at Lee Gwak’s unexpected command.

“We won’t be locked up for long, will we? A day or two? We’ll be out soon enough. No point in bothering with this. Let’s just forget it.”

“Indeed. Do you think we’re the only ones who’ve bribed people in the Outer Hall? Even if we’re detained, we’ll be out soon.”

Lee Umyeong also raised his voice, pressuring Lee Gwak. But Lee Gwak remained calm, replying evenly.

“Feel free to get out. If you cause trouble, I’ll just lock you up again. I’m confident I won’t tire of it, but I wonder if you will.”

“Grr!”

Their expressions twisted in frustration.

It was then they realized the man they had underestimated was actually a formidable adversary.

“Shit!

The thought flashed simultaneously in their minds.