Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 77

January 17, 2024 • 11 min read • 341 views

Connections Are Meant to Be Made (2)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Ki Jin Hwi spoke up.

“I need gold powder and mercury, cinnabar, and about ten tail feathers from a Golden Crowned Peacock.”

“Oraboni, you always ask for the hardest things to find. Tail feathers of a Golden Crowned Peacock, really?”

Soo Wol sighed.

Getting tail feathers of an ordinary peacock was difficult enough, but acquiring those of a Golden Crowned Peacock was on another level.

Named for its golden crown-like head, the Golden Crowned Peacock was born only once in a generation and inhabited the deep wilderness of Nanman, unknown to most.

“Can you get it or not? Just tell me that.”

“Phew! You do realise that the crown feathers of a Golden crowned peacock are worth a thousand gold, don’t you?”

“Will this suffice?”

Ki Jin Hwi pulled a bead the size of a child’s fist from his bosom. Even in the darkness, the bead was emitting its own coloured light.

Soo Wol’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Is that… Night Pearl?”

“Yes! A top-grade Night Pearl. Worth a fortune, indeed.”

Soo Wol alternated her gaze between the Night Pearl and Ki Jin Hwi, then sighed.

“Sigh! How can I ever outdo you, Oraboni? Just give me a moment.”

She quietly walked away, leaving Lee Gwak and Ki Jin Hwi behind.

Lee Gwak looked at the Night Pearl in Ki Jin Hwi’s hand with an incredulous expression.
It was hard to believe that such a small bead could be worth a Thousand Gold. But Ki Jin Hwi was not a man to lie, and Soo Wol did not appear to be a woman to be deceived.

Lee Gwak asked Ki Jin Hwi,

“Is what you’re seeking as valuable as this Night Pearl worth a fortune?”

“Is the object you seek worth as much as the Night Pearl, which is worth a thousand gold?”

“The value of an item is determined by its user. To someone else, this Night Pearl in my hand might be a treasure, but to me, the items I have just mentioned are more valuable than this shiny but useless stone.

“Hmm!”

“Everything is relative. There is nothing absolutely right or wrong. Utility changes according to need. The same object can be worth a fortune to one person and a mere penny to another”

Ki Jin Hwi’s casual remark made Lee Gwak reflect deeply.

‘Nothing is absolutely right or wrong? It’s all about how it’s used?’

With this thought, Lee Gwak felt more at ease.

Shortly after, Soo Wol returned with a small wooden box.

“Please check this.”

“If it’s from you, it must be right.”

Without even looking inside the box, Ki Jin Hwi handed over the Night Pearl.

Soo Wol fiddled with the Night Pearl, biting her lip. Then, seemingly hesitant, she spoke.

“Oraboni, do you still have no intention of joining the black market? With your skills, you could play a significant role here.”

“Didn’t I tell you? I have other things to do. And you should think about getting out of here as soon as possible.”

“Oraboni!”

“I appreciate using it, but the black market is not a normal place. Staying here too long will surely lead to trouble. So, better not to get too involved and get out while you can.”

Soo Wol looked annoyed at Ki Jin Hwi’s words. His face wasn’t bright either, but he tried to keep a calm expression.

Soo Wol finally sighed.

“Sigh! Our conversations always end like this.”

“That’s how it is.”

“I understand how you feel, Oraboni. But remember, people’s hearts can change at any time. If you ever change your mind, you’re always welcome here”

“Sure!”

Ki Jin Hwi replied out of politeness, and although Soo Wol knew it, she said nothing more.

Soo Wol then turned her gaze to Lee Gwak.

“You came here because of Oraboni, but this place isn’t usually for ordinary people. So, please keep it a secret even when you leave.”

“I will do so.”

Soo Wol looked at Lee Gwak for a long time. Lee Gwak felt uncomfortable under her gaze, but he did not avoid it.

It was Soo Wol who looked away first.

She led the two men out. When they reached the gambling den, Soo Wol looked at Ki Jin Hwi with longing.

“See you next time then.”

“Let’s do that.”

Ki Jin Hwi said his goodbye as calmly as possible and stepped outside.

“Let’s go, Squad Leader.”

He and Lee Gwak quickly left the alley.

Seeing Ki Jin Hwi’s heavy expression, Lee Gwak chose to remain silent.

Ki Jin Hwi said nothing until they returned to the inn. As soon as they arrived, Lee Gwak ordered some simple food and drinks from the waiter.

Lee Gwak cautiously started a conversation.

“You’ve known each other for a long time, it seems?”

“We used to live in the same neighbourhood. It was a long time before we knew each other’s feelings. I left without a word for personal reasons, so she must have been very angry with me. It was only after many years that we met again by chance, and she was involved in the black market”

“…”

“As you can see, the black market is a mysterious and somewhat illegal place. Its origins and owners are unknown. Soo Wol did not seem to know the boss of the market either, which is concerning”.

“Hmm!”

“I personally suspect that the black market was created targeting the Myriad Merchant Troupe.”

“Why do you think so?”

“Because there’s a Black Market at every important junction leading to the Myriad Merchant Troupe. It’s like setting traps at every entrance to a wild boar’s den. That’s my theory.”

After a drink, Ki Jin Hwi rambled on, perhaps revealing things he had long held inside.
Lee Gwak listened quietly to his ramblings.

Ki Jin Hwi, usually composed, seemed particularly scattered today, leading him to share things he normally wouldn’t.

“You might have guessed, but the skills I possess are not ordinary. They involve manipulating natural energies like Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements, twisting them to artificially create harmony. The items I obtained today are tools to aid in that.”

“Is it like feng shui?”

“Not quite! The principles are quite different from the feng shui of the Central Plains. Think of it as a study from foreign lands.”

“Hmm!”

Ki Jin Hwi downplayed his studies, but Lee Gwak knew they were far from ordinary.

Ki Jin Hwi had effortlessly deciphered the curse techniques of Go Cheon, a renowned Taoist of the Mount Mo sect. Such studies couldn’t be ordinary.

Lee Gwak cautiously asked,

“Does your mission involve the person you’re searching for?”

“…”

“If it’s uncomfortable to talk about, you don’t have to.”

“Sigh! Someone has stolen part of my family’s teachings. All evidence points to them hiding in the Jade Heaven Alliance, but I can’t figure out who. They’ve completely erased their former identities”

Having said that, Ki Jin Hwi took another swig of his drink, as if troubled. Lee Gwak followed suit.

Just then,

“What’s this? You’re already drinking?”

A small girl came descending the stairs with a familiar voice. It was Lim Sobo.

Her hair was damp, as if she had just bathed.

She sat down with Lee Gwak and Ki Jin Hwi and asked,

“Where’s Brother Cheon Wol?”

“He hasn’t come out yet.”

“Hmm!”

Lim Sobo seemed displeased with Lee Gwak’s response, scrunching up her nose. Seeing her like that, Ki Jin Hwi burst out laughing.

“Ha ha ha! I’ll leave you two to talk. I have some things to do.”

“Why are you leaving so soon?”

“I have some business to attend to.”

Ki Jin Hwi showed the wooden box he had placed on the table, the one containing items from the black market.

While Lee Gwak remained calm, knowing what was inside, Lim Sobo couldn’t hide her curiosity.

She made a face.

“Che! Keeping secrets among yourselves…”

“He he!”

But Ki Jin Hwi wasn’t swayed by her expression.

After he left, Lim Sobo, no longer feigning annoyance, turned to Lee Gwak with sparkling eyes.

“Tell me honestly. Where did you go?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Hmph!”

“Cheon Wol doesn’t like girls who snort like that.”

“He likes me! He likes me a lot.”

“Isn’t that just your own thought?”

“Really? Are you going to be like that?”

Lim Sobo’s eyes narrowed playfully. Seeing her cute reaction, Lee Gwak couldn’t help but smile. Just then, Cheon Wol came down the stairs.

“Oraboni, over here!”

Lim Sobo beckoned Cheon Wol.

Cheon Wol looked embarrassed for a moment but resignedly walked over to their table.

“Sit here.”

Lim Sobo patted the seat next to her.

Cheon Wol looked at Lee Gwak. He looked like he wanted to be saved. But Lee Gwak quickly lowered his head and turned away from his gaze.

“Sigh.”

Finally, Cheon Wol let out a soft sigh and sat next to Lim Sobo, who beamed with joy.
Lee Gwak watched them with a smile.

At first glance, it seemed like Lim Sobo’s one-sided affection, but Cheon Wol didn’t seem to mind.

Lee Gwak knew Cheon Wol well.

Cheon Wol, with his strong character, wouldn’t put up with anything he truly disliked.

The fact that he tolerated Lim Sobo meant he had feelings for her.

“Your future is quite predictable.”

“…”

At Lee Gwak’s comment, Cheon Wol just lowered his head without a word. Lim Sobo’s smile grew brighter in response.

Lee Gwak then spoke to Lim Sobo.

“Didn’t you come out too early? Aren’t you tired?”

“I had something for Cheon Wol Oraboni.”

“Oh?”

Lee Gwak looked puzzled.

Suddenly, Lim Sobo’s face turned serious. The cold glint in her eyes and her stern expression didn’t seem to fit a girl of her age.

But Lee Gwak wasn’t surprised.

It felt like this was the real Lim Sobo.

She wasn’t just any girl, but a disciple chosen by the genius strategist Yeo Joong Wol. She may have acted like any other girl in front of Lee Gwak and Cheon Wol, but it might have been a carefully crafted facade.

Lim Sobo turned to Cheon Wol.

“I know you have talent in martial arts and that you’re learning from Gwak oraboni.”
Cheon Wol looked at her, surprised.

The fact that he was learning martial arts from Lee Gwak was a secret that he had kept to himself. He had never told anyone, so how could she know?

“Don’t be so surprised, Oraboni. I have that much discernment.”

“Hmm!”

As Cheon Wol mumbled, Lim Sobo pulled out a yellowish book and handed it to him.

“If you’re not content with your current level, learn this martial art.”

“What is this?”

Cheon Wol’s eyes flickered.

The manual was titled ‘Hidden Sword Art’.

The name alone indicated it was no ordinary manual.

“A rare martial art from the archives of the Secret Court. I thought it would suit you, so I brought it.”

“Why give this to me?”

“If you trust me, just learn it without questions.”

At Lim Sobo’s words, Cheon Wol looked at Lee Gwak.

Lee Gwak nodded silently, and Cheon Wol cautiously accepted the manual.

His hands trembled slightly as he touched the Hidden Sword Art. Lim Sobo smiled briefly, then her gaze shifted to Lee Gwak.

“Lee Gwak!”

“Speak!”

“Please send Cheon Wol Oraboni to the Secret Court.”

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