Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 94

February 10, 2024 • 11 min read • 172 views

Uncomfortable Company (1)

Novel-Martial Artist Lee Gwak

Finally, the day of departure arrived.

Lee Gwak, along with the 13th squad, went to the meeting place, Dongting Lake’s dock. At the dock, the men who were to leave for the front were already there.

“Hmm!”

Suddenly, Lee Gwak let out a deep murmur.

This was due to the unbelievable sight in front of him.

A ship so huge that he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it, floating in the vast expanse of the Dongting lake.

“Good heavens!”

“Why is the Poseidon here?”

Lee Gwak wasn’t the only one surprised. Everyone at the pier, including the 13th squad, was shocked to see the Poseidon Ship.

The Poseidon had revealed itself during the Jianghu tournament. It was a massive ship that boasted an imposing presence enough to hold a historic tournament, and it had not been used again since.

Everyone thought the Poseidon was for ceremonial use only and did not believe it would actually sail. However, now in front of everyone, the Poseidon was elegantly moving.

Thud!

Finally, with a heavy thud, the Poseidon docked at the pier. Following that, a large door on the side of the ship opened, connecting a gangplank. Then the most senior of those lined up on the dock shouted.

“Everyone, board the ship.”

Upon his command, everyone busily moved.

The 13th squad also boarded the Poseidon from the rear.

Seok Yi Cheon stepped onto the gangplank and exclaimed in admiration.

“To be in the company of the Great Disciple is indeed good. Even boarding the Poseidon.”

“That’s right.”

Ki Jin Hwi also agreed with Seok Yi Cheon’s words.

They had never dreamed that they would be traveling on the Poseidon. They realized that the influence of the Great Disciple was beyond imagination.

The scale of the Poseidon exceeded their expectations. Below deck, there was a separate space for carrying horses and grain, similar to a Unmado River boat.

According to the ship’s crew, the supplies on board were enough to sustain the people on the ship for several years. This meant that they could spend years on the river without ever leaving the boat.

Once on deck, Lee Gwak was once again struck by the enormity of the area, reminiscent of a giant training ground. Looking up from below was one thing, but seeing it from the inside was quite another.

It was then. Suddenly, the dock became noisy.

Lee Gwak saw Yong Cheon Myeong enter the dock with Seo Jong Myeong and the shadowless squad.

By Yong Cheon Myeong’s side was his lover, Geum Yul Seon.

As soon as they arrived at the dock, Yong Cheon Myeong took Geum Yul Seon’s hand and said.

“I’ll be back.”

“Please take care of yourself.”

“Don’t worry. I am Yong Cheon Myeong. Who dares to harm me? You just need to trust me.”

“I trust you. More than anyone.”

“Ha-ha! That’s enough.”

At Geum Yul Seon’s response, Yong Cheon Myeong burst into a hearty laugh.

His laughter, filled with internal energy, caused ripples on the surface of the water around the dock.

Geum Yul Seon smiled gently.

‘I really am lucky. To receive the love of such a man.’

It was only after meeting Yong Cheon Myeong that she truly tasted happiness. He was her strong fortress and her support. Every day spent with him was a great happiness to her.

She was almost afraid to be this happy.

Her gaze, which had been on Yong Cheon Myeong, shifted to the huge ship behind him.

“Are you going on that ship?”

“Yes! It’s called the Poseidon. Worthy of being called the king of the sea, indeed. We will travel on it for part of the journey.”

“It looks very reliable just by looking at it.”

“The actual performance is even more impressive. Hundreds of the best craftsmen in the Jianghu were mobilized to build this ship. It’s practically a moving fortress, so you have nothing to worry about.”

A smile played on Yong Cheon Myeong’s lips.

The Poseidon was a moving fortress and symbolized the Jade Heaven Alliance itself.

The fact that the alliance leader, Ja Hong Cheon, had provided the Poseidon was virtually an acknowledgment of Yong Cheon Myeong as the next leader.

“When I return, I will also return on that ship, so you can just wait here in peace.”

“I will.”

As she nodded and looked at the Poseidon, Geum Yul Seon’s eyes flickered slightly. She thought she saw a familiar face on the deck of the ship.

‘Could it be?’

But before she could fully make out the face, it had disappeared.

‘It couldn’t be. It’s not possible.’

She inwardly denied what she had seen.

Yong Cheon Myeong looked at her with a puzzled expression.

“What’s wrong? You look troubled.”

“Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Must be because you’ve been up since dawn. I told you there was no need to come to see me off. Go inside and rest.”

“It’s okay. I just felt a little dizzy for a moment. I’m fine now.”

Geum Yul Seon shook her head and forced a smile.

“It seems you won’t rest until I leave. Then, I shall go.”

After patting Geum Yul Seon’s hand, Yong Cheon Myeong walked towards the Poseidon. Geum Yul Seon watched his back as he left.

Swoosh!

Yong Cheon Myeong kicked off the dock and flew into the air. With his hands spread wide, he landed lightly on the bow of Poseidon, as if he were a great bird.

“Wow!”

“Truly the Great Disciple.”

Many exclaimed in admiration at the sight of Yong Cheon Myeong.

Standing on the bow and looking out over the dock, Yong Cheon Myeong exuded an air of absolute authority.

“Let’s set sail.”

On Yong Cheon Myeong’s command to the captain, the massive Poseidon slowly began to move.

It glided out of the dock and soon began to cut through the waves of Dongting Lake.

Only when Geum Yul Seon’s figure was no longer visible did Yong Cheon Myeong finally turn around.

His eyes scanned the area where Geum Yul Seon had been looking before they parted.
Geum Yul Seon had kept as calm as possible, but Yong Cheon Myeong did not miss her moment of hesitation.

‘What caused her to be disturbed?’

Geum Yul Seon was everything to him.

Yong Cheon Myeong was curious as to what had caused Geum Yul Seon’s eyes to flicker. But no matter how hard he looked, he couldn’t find anything unusual.

Yong Cheon Myeong furrowed his brows.

Something unknown continued to bother him.

That’s when Seo Jong Myeong approached Yong Cheon Myeong.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

Yong Cheon Myeong shook his head and looked at Seo Jong Myeong.

In their youth, Yong Cheon Myeong and Seo Jong Myeong were quite close. Due to their past connection, they still spoke comfortably in private settings.

Leaning against the railing near Yong Cheon Myeong, Seo Jong Myeong spoke,

“I didn’t expect you to volunteer for this mission.”

“Someone had to do it, right? I thought it would be better if I took it upon myself.”

“Hmm!”

“Why do you ask?”

“It’s just unexpected. You, who would naturally become the leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance, taking such risks.”

Yong Cheon Myeong was widely recognized as the next leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Even if he didn’t go out on the battlefield and make a name for himself, he would naturally become the next leader. Seo Jong Myeong couldn’t understand why he would volunteer for such a dangerous mission.

Yong Cheon Myeong smirked.

“I don’t appreciate the fruits of other people’s labour”.

“So, glory that isn’t earned with your own strength is worthless to you.”

“Well, if you want to put it that way.”

Yong Cheon Myeong was frank about his innermost feelings. Seeing this, Seo Jong Myeong inwardly admired him.

‘To become a conqueror by walking the path of hardship oneself? He has chosen the path of a hero, something you’d only hear about in stories.’

It was an easy path to talk about but difficult to choose.

Seo Jong Myeong was one of the few who knew just how dangerous this mission was.

If he hadn’t harbored a deep-seated hatred and hostility towards the Jade Heaven Alliance, he wouldn’t have accepted this mission.

It was an extremely dangerous mission, but success could make one a hero of the Jianghu. That was exactly what Yong Cheon Myeong wanted.

Seo Jong Myeong couldn’t help but admire Yong Cheon Myeong’s determination to establish undeniable merit and secure his position as the next leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Yong Cheon Myeong indeed had the qualities of a hero. However, whether those qualities were necessary to accomplish the mission remained uncertain.

“By the way, Hyung-nim!”

“Speak.”

“Do you know if there’s anyone on this ship worth noting?”

“Everyone here has been carefully selected by the Jade Heaven Alliance. Of course, they are all capable.”

“You know that’s not what I mean. I’m asking if there’s someone trustworthy.”

“Trustworthy, you say? Well!”

“If there is such a person, please recommend them. I might find a good use for them later.”

“Hmm!”

Instead of answering, Seo Jong Myeong stroked his chin thoughtfully.

***

Lee Gwak entered the cabin with the 13th squad.

The cabin assigned to them was quite large, looking capable of comfortably accommodating six people at once.

Lee Gwak told his companions,

“Rest easy until further instructions are given.”

“Ah, this is nice.”

“Lying down is truly the best.”

Without hesitation, the members lay down on the cabin floor to rest.

Lee Gwak leaned against a wall, letting out a sigh.

He tried to appear calm, but his mind was in turmoil.

The incident where his gaze met with Geum Yul Seon’s had unexpectedly stirred emotions within him.

‘Human hearts are truly unfathomable. I thought I had let go of all attachments. Yet, I find myself still disturbed by a connection I thought I had discarded.’

Lee Gwak considered his own spiritual cultivation lacking. If only he had perfected the art of immovability, he wouldn’t be shaken like this.

Lee Gwak caressed his blade’s hilt.

Knowing his troubled heart, the sword emitted a soft whimper, too faint for anyone but Lee Gwak to hear.

Then, Cheon-wol approached Lee Gwak.

“Brother!”

“What is it?”

Lee Gwak responded without opening his eyes.

“There’s a passage I can’t understand.”

“What is it?”

“It’s about the Hidden Sword Arts.”

Only then did Lee Gwak open his eyes to look at Cheon-wol.

“Why the Hidden Sword Arts?”

“It seems I’m having a hard time mastering it on my own. Could you possibly look it over and guide me?”

“The Hidden Sword Arts is a manual that Sobo gave only for you. Would it really be alright for me to see such a precious gift?”

“If it’s you, brother, it’s fine. Sobo would surely agree.”

“Hmm!”

Lee Gwak hesitated to respond.

In the Jianghu, spying on another’s martial arts secrets was taboo, even if it was for someone he considered as close as a younger sibling.

Seeing Lee Gwak’s hesitation, Cheon-wol bit his lip anxiously and said

“Brother, I want to protect Sobo.”

When returning from the Myriad Merchant Troupe, they were attacked by the assassins of the Black Ghost Mist Squad, and Cheon-wol realized he hadn’t been able to provide any help.

He was merely by Lim Sobo’s side, without contributing anything substantial. Everything had been handled by Lee Gwak and Ki Jin Hwi.

Though Cheon-wol didn’t know exactly how they managed to fend off those formidable attackers, it was clear that they were of much more assistance to Sobo than he was.

This fact deeply frustrated Cheon-wol. He had thought himself diligent in his martial arts training, but in a real confrontation, he proved to be of little use. That he couldn’t aid Lim Sobo weighed heavily on him.

Lee Gwak saw the firm determination in Cheon-wol’s eyes.

It was clear Cheon-wol wouldn’t back down until he received the answer he sought.

Finally, Lee Gwak spoke up, “Then, let’s study the Hidden Sword Art together. Perhaps you will find something of value in it.”

“Thank you, brother! I will never forget this kindness.”

“I will ensure that the contents of the Hidden Sword Art are never leaked outside. Don’t worry about that.”

“I never worried about that to begin with.”

“Let’s start by reading the Hidden Sword Art’s Ultimate Technique, then.”

“Yes!”

Without any hesitation, Cheon-wol handed over the Hidden Sword Art to Lee Gwak.

The manual showed signs of extensive use, with many worn and tattered pages. Lee Gwak began to carefully turn the pages of the Hidden Sword Art.

Rustle!

In the quiet cabin, only the sound of flipping pages resonated.