Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 80

January 19, 2024 • 12 min read • 362 views

Each With Their Own Thoughts (1)

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Lee Shin Chung led Lee Gwak to a large workshop to the north of the Myriad Merchant Troupe. As they approached the workshop, they felt a searing heat that took their breath away.

The heat was so intense that ordinary people couldn’t even dare to approach it.

The workshop was as large as a great hall. In the centre of the workshop, a huge furnace, almost as tall as a man, spewed out huge flames, and around it, dozens of craftsmen and apprentices were busily moving around.

The apprentices were ladling molten metal, and the craftsmen were hammering iron to make weapons. It was clear at a glance that there was an established system in place, with everyone playing their part.

In no time, the apprentices and craftsmen had finished a sword. Lee Gwak was overwhelmed by what he had never seen before.

He had always thought of a workshop as a poor place where a single craftsman struggled with hot fire all day just to make one sword.

The idea that dozens of people could work so efficiently to produce weapons so quickly was something he had never imagined.

“This is where your blade was made. How do you feel seeing the workshop of our group?”

“It’s truly amazing.”

“Isn’t it?”

Lee Shin Chung smiled contentedly.

This workshop was created under his leadership. He was involved in everything from manpower allocation to the system of making items, so he felt a special pride. Therefore, when he met people he liked, he would show them around this place and subtly boast about his achievements.

There are many workshops in the world, but this was the only place where so many craftsmen gathered together.

That’s when it happened.

“Who have you brought here this time? I told you not to keep bringing strangers.”

A husky voice echoed in Lee Gwak and Lee Shin Chung’s ears. The discomfort in his voice was palpable.

For a moment, a look of awkwardness crossed Lee Shin Chung’s face.

He was just going to give Lee Gwak a quick tour of the workshop and leave, but then he heard the voice of the person he least wanted to see.

Nevertheless, he turned around with a smile as if nothing had happened.

“Elder!”

“Answer me. Why do you keep bringing strangers here?”

The owner of the gruff voice was an old man who looked to be in his late sixties. His sparse grey hair framed a face with piercing eyes, and his muscular, tanned upper body was exposed, beating his age.

Lee Shin Chung replied with a subdued voice.

“This young man owns a blade made here…”

“The leader of the Golden Sword Pavilion is so reckless. What are you going to do if our secrets are revealed by carelessly bringing in outsiders for such trivial reasons?”

“I’m sorry.”

Lee Shin Chung bowed his head in apology.

He had a lot to say, but he knew that admitting fault was the best course of action.

The old man’s gaze turned to Lee Gwak.

With his characteristic sharp gaze, he scrutinised Lee Gwak from head to toe. Lee Gwak calmly met his fierce look, and a glint of interest appeared in the old man’s eyes.

“You use a blade made here?”

“Yes!”

“Where did you get it?”

“I got it from the Eunha Ironworks of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

“Eunha Ironworks? That must be the place run by Cheon Myeong.”

“Do you know him?”

“He’s my nephew.”

“Oh!”

Lee Gwak exclaimed. Now that he thought about it, the merchant from Eunha Ironworks did seem to resemble the old man in front of him.

“Is Cheon Myeong doing well?”

“Yes!”

“Is the blade something Cheon Myeong recommended?”

“I chose it myself.”

“Let me see it.”

The old man extended his hand towards Lee Gwak.

His palm was covered in calluses, marked with burns and scars – the hand of a craftsman who had spent a lifetime working with metal.

Lee Gwak unbuckled his blade sheath and handed it over to the old man.

Swish!

The old man drew the blade and examined it with an eagle-eyed scrutiny.

“Hmm!”

A curious sigh escaped the old man’s lips, causing Lee Shin Chung to look surprised.

From his experience, such a sigh from the old man usually meant he was quite pleased.

After examining the blade for a while, a smile formed on the old man’s lips.

“You know how to use a blade. And you’ve taken good care of it.”

“……”

Lee Gwak remained silent. However, the old man continued speaking regardless.

“You are much better than those who only show off without substance. But the blade is dull. I’ll fix it quickly, just wait.”

“There’s no need for that.”

“Just stay put.”

With a brusque remark, the old man turned and walked towards the furnace.

As Lee Gwak looked unsure of what to do, Lee Shin Chung whispered to him.

“It seems the elder has taken a liking to you. He usually doesn’t show any interest, even to great talents. Wow!”

Lee Shin Chung looked at Lee Gwak with wide eyes.

He knew Lee Gwak was not an ordinary person, but he never expected the old man to acknowledge him.

The old man’s name was Eun Gwang Ho, the younger brother of Eun Won Ho, the leader of the Myriad Merchant Troupe.

Unlike his brother who had an early interest in commerce, Eun Gwang Ho had been obsessed with metal from a young age. Forging weapons was his joy in life.

Having started the path of a craftsman early, Eun Gwang Ho’s skills rapidly developed, and by his later years, he had become a master craftsman of the highest calibre.

In fact, the reason the Myriad Merchant Troupe established the workshop was primarily for Eun Gwang Ho.

Although the workshop was quite profitable, its earnings were a mere fraction of the Myriad Merchant Troupe’s total revenue. Moreover, Eun Gwang Ho often spent these profits on researching new metals, essentially rendering them negligible.

Eun Gwang Ho began hammering Lee Gwak’s blade after heating it in the blazing furnace.

Clang, clang, clang!

There were many craftsmen hammering away, but the sound of Eun Gwang Ho’s hammer was unusually clear. It was like a clear bell ringing through the chaotic noise.

Lee Gwak’s eyes flickered.

The sound of Eun Gwang Ho’s hammer striking his blade felt like the blade’s own cry.

―Listen to the sound of the blade. When you’re ready, it will show you the way.

Suddenly, Lee Gwak remembered the words of Go Geom Wol.

‘The sound of the blade, the howl of the blade!’

Lee Gwak listened intently to the sound of Eun Gwang Ho’s hammer striking his sword.

Lee Shin Chung watched Lee Gwak, who was attentively listening to the hammering, with a look of curiosity.

He had brought several people here before, but Lee Gwak was the first to react like this.

His eyes shone sharply.

‘Indeed, there’s something special about him.’

‘As expected, there’s something.’

In front of Lee Gwak, he always smiled like a genuinely nice person and showed a polite attitude, but in reality, Lee Shin Chung was no ordinary man.

The Golden Sword Pavilion where he was the master was the last bastion of the Myriad Merchant Troupe.

The Golden Sword Pavilion was the residence of the masters, who were supported with huge amounts of money and elixirs. When the Golden Sword Pavilion was first established, those who did not know the circumstances criticised it as a waste of money.

They said that a true master could not be cultivated with money. No matter how much wealth was invested, it would only result in a half-baked warrior.

Despite the sneers and criticisms of many, the Myriad Merchant Troupe continued its investments silently. Their investment far surpassed the imagination of the world. The completed Golden Sword Pavilion was so incredible that it shut the mouths of those who sneered.

Lee Shin Chung was the person leading such Golden Sword Pavilion.

He looked like an ordinary merchant at first glance, but in reality, he was an incredible master.

He had both the intuition of a merchant and the sense of a martial artist. Therefore, his ability to judge people was much more accurate than others.

Lee Gwak looked ordinary on the surface. However, there was something about him that drew people in. That’s why he had given Lee Gwak one of the Myriad Merchant Troupe’s main treasures, a sword token, when they first met.

And now, Lee Shin Chung was convinced that his intuition about Lee Gwak was not wrong.
Lee Gwak was tapping his left forearm with the index finger of his right hand, his eyes closed.

Thump! Thump!

His finger movements exactly overlapped with the sound of Eun Gwang Ho’s hammering.

It could have been a simple action of matching the rhythm. However, Lee Shin Chung felt an indescribable chilling sensation in Lee Gwak’s simple movements.

Lee Gwak continued to flick his fingers.

Even with his eyes closed, the image of Eun Gwang Ho hammering was vividly drawn in Lee Gwak’s mind.

At first glance, it seemed like random hammering, but Eun Gwang Ho’s actions were restrained, hitting the places most needed by the blade.

It seemed like Eun Gwang Ho’s thoughts were being conveyed to Lee Gwak’s mind.

Is this the place?
This part is severely damaged.

Eun Gwang Ho kept talking to the blade, finding the damaged, chipped, and weakened parts to precisely hammer them.

The old craftsman, who had been obsessed with metal for a long time, had reached a state where he could converse with metal.

Although the inanimate metal couldn’t respond, Lee Gwak thought the metal was responding.

The sound of Eun Gwang Ho’s hammering was not just the noise of metal hitting metal. It was the sound of him conversing with the blade.

Zing!

Eventually, Lee Gwak also seemed to hear the sound of the blade.

His realm was still weak, so it wasn’t clear. But he felt that if he spoke to it, the blade would respond.

‘My friend!’

TL/N- The first goosebump moment for me.

Lee Gwak spoke to it.

Zing!

At that moment, a strong resonating sound burst from the sword Eun Gwang Ho was hammering. Not only Eun Gwang Ho, but other craftsmen nearby were also startled and stopped their work.

Woom! Woom!

Even at that moment, the blade on the workbench kept emitting resonating sounds.

Eun Gwang Ho, with a profound look in his eyes, suddenly turned his gaze towards Lee
Gwak.

“Huh!”

An inaudible sigh escaped his lips.

The crying sound of the blade gradually subsided.

Eun Gwang Ho put down his hammer. There was no longer any reason to work.

He immersed the tempered blade in a quenching tank made of loess.

Sizzle!

The cold water heated up instantly, sending up white steam.

Eun Gwang Ho tapped the cooled blade with his finger.

Ding!

A particularly clear metallic sound resonated long in the workshop.

“I’ve lived long enough to see such a case.”

He gazed at the sword blade a while, then began sharpening it himself on a whetstone.

“I will set the edge myself. Elder!”

A nearby craftsman offered to do it for him, but Eun Gwang Ho shook his head.

“No. I started it, so I should finish it.”

Shush! Shush!

He carefully sharpened the edge.

Finally, the series of processes finished, and the blade shone as if it were new.

Eun Gwang Ho handed the sword to Lee Gwak.

“This is a fine blade that responds to the call of its distant master. Use it well.”

“Thank you.”

Lee Gwak cautiously received the blade.

A faint vibration was felt in the palm holding the blade. It still seemed as if the blade was crying.

Lee Gwak gripped the sword tightly. A strong sense of confidence filled his inner being.

With the blade in hand, it seemed he could fight anyone without losing.

“Hmm!”

Lee Shin Chung let out a grunt.

He had a vision of Lee Gwak wielding the sword.

In the vision, his chest had a long gash and was spurting blood.

The image of Lee Gwak holding the sword had caused him to see the vision. This was the first time this had happened to him, and he was puzzled.

Eun Gwang Ho then said to him.

“Keep a close eye on that guy.”

“Elder?”

When a craftsman reached the level of mastery, he could guess the master’s realm just by looking at the condition of the weapon. Eun Gwang Ho was at such a level.

Lee Gwak’s blade was clearly heavily damaged. But it was not due to the weakness of the sword’s durability, and there were no signs of wasted power.

In his lifetime of handling weapons, Eun Gwang Ho had rarely seen such a case. He didn’t know Lee Gwak’s true realm, but judging from the state of his blade, he guessed it must be very high.

However, what truly astonished him was that the blade, away from his hand, had drawn out its sword cry. It was the first time Eun Gwang Ho had experienced this, so his interest was piqued even more.

“That fellow will certainly become a great bladesman”