Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 97

February 10, 2024 • 12 min read • 245 views

Birds of a Feather Flock Together (1)

Novel-Martial Artist Lee Gwak

With his emotionless white eyes, an expressionless face, and even a ruthless atmosphere, So Gun-myeong exuded a sense of alienation, as if he was not from this world.

Ordinary people would have been unable to even breathe properly just by looking at So Gun-myeong’s appearance, but Bang Ye-in was looking at him with an unfazed expression.

“Weren’t you still at the banquet?”

“I still am.”

“Then why did you come out?”

“It’s because of you.”

“Me?”

Bang Ye-in looked puzzled.

“Come on, there’s someone I want to introduce you to.”

“Who? Don’t tell me it’s Young Master Yong from the Jade Heaven Alliance?”

“That’s right.”

“No way!”

Bang Ye-in refused without a second thought.

At that moment, So Gun-myeong’s eyebrows twitched.

He wasn’t used to rejection. In fact, no one had ever rejected his offer as swiftly as Bang Ye-in had.

Gun-myeong clenched his teeth. He would have dragged Bang Ye-in there by force if he could. But since he was unable to do so, he tried to control his emotions and spoke calmly.

“Don’t be like that. I wish you would save my face just this once. I’ve already told Young Master Yong that I’ll introduce you to him”

“Ha! Brother.”

“…”

“What did you say before we came here? You said it was enough just to cook for you. That there was nothing else you wanted, right?”

“That’s right!”

“But I don’t understand why you are changing your words now. Shouldn’t a man naturally keep his promises?”

“Isn’t there such a thing as flexibility? Considering the connection between you and me, I don’t think such a request is rude.”

“What sort of connection?”

At that moment, Bang Ye-in’s voice turned cold.

The smile vanished from her face, leaving no trace of amusement. So Gun-myeong was taken aback. He hadn’t expected Bang Ye-in to turn so cold.

“Yein?”

“Although I call you ‘brother’ due to the connection from the previous generation, strictly speaking, we are strangers. The only connection our Bang family had was with Muk Il-gwang, the great hero of the Green Forest Martial Alliance, and his wife, Hwang Hye-ryeong. Our connection to the current lord of Sky High Castle, Po Cheon Wol, and you, the young master, is only out of obligation to the past generation.”

“…”

“Didn’t I make it clear before I came here? Since our acquaintance is not that deep, you should think carefully before calling on me. I said I could help you once, but not twice. And what did you say? Once would be enough. That you wouldn’t make any more unreasonable requests”.

Bang Ye-in’s gaze towards So Gun-myeong held no emotion. It was an indifferent look, as if he was a stranger with no connection to her.

So Gun-myeong’s eyes slightly lifted.

“So you’re going to let my dignity fall to the ground just like that?”

Bang Ye-in looked at So Gun-myeong with pity.

She felt sorry for him, still only thinking about his dignity even in this situation.

The connection that started a hundred years ago had faded over the long years, barely maintaining a thin thread. But even that thread was fraying, close to breaking.
Po Cheon Wol, the fourth-generation leader of the Green Forest Martial Alliance, and his disciple, So Gun-myeong, did not take the connection from the past generation seriously. They believed that being one of the Ten Great Sects, they could always force a connection with power.

Bang Ye-in sighed.

“Ah, such a foolish brother.”

The power of Bang Ye-in’s family, the Bang Family, far surpassed that of Sky High Castle.

The founder, Mount Hua’s Great Master Bang Jin-bo, married Eun So-cheong from the Eun family, having two children.

The first child continued the Bang Family, and the second was given the Eun surname to continue the Eun family lineage.

The Eun family became the forerunner of the Myriad Merchant Troupe, which became the number one merchant association. Eun Won Ho, the leader of the Myriad Merchant Troupe, still maintained a relationship with the Bang family, attending a banquet together once a year.

Not just the Myriad Merchant Troupe, but also the Thousand Kingdom School, known as Eastern Supremacy had deep connections with the Bang Family.

Namgung Yeon-hwi and Namgung Sun-hwi.

The two last survivors of the Namgung family joined forces to establish the Thousand Kingdom School on the Namgung family grounds.

The descendants of the fallen Jegal Family, Hwangbo Family, and the Northern Pang family during the Great Heavenly Blood War joined forces to form today’s Thousand Kingdom School.

The Thousand Kingdom School’s leader and one of the absolute swordsmen in the world, the Dark Heavenly Lone Star Namgung Jin-geom, also valued the ancestral connection, never missing a banquet at the Bang Family.

There were countless sects in the world with such connections.

While the Jade Heaven Alliance claimed to be the foremost among the Ten Great Sects and led the war against the Celestial Demon Troupe, boasting tremendous influence, the influence of the Bang Family was by no means inferior.

If the Bang Family wished, isolating Sky High Castle and reducing its influence would be no challenge at all.

Even at that moment, So Gun-myeong was forcing Bang Ye-in to make a choice.

Bang Ye-in closed her eyes for a moment.

When she reopened them, there was no hint of hesitation or emotion.

“Fine! I’ll do as you wish, brother.”

“Thank you. If you had decided this earlier, how good would it have been for both of us? I will make sure to repay this favor generously.”

“No need for any repayment, don’t worry about it.”

“Ha! What are you saying? Would I, So Gun-myeong, ever forget a favor? I’ll make sure you’re not left feeling shortchanged.”

“Do as you please.”

Bang Ye-in responded with an indifferent expression.

So Gun-myeong failed to sense the strangeness, but Lee Gwak, observing from a third-party perspective, could feel it.

He could sense that Bang Ye-in had let go of something she had been holding onto in her heart.

The lack of any emotion in her gaze towards So Gun-myeong was proof of that.

This was probably the last time that Bang Ye-in would have any contact with So Gun-myeong. However, So Gun-myeong was relieved that his dignity had been preserved without realising it.
After all, if this was to be the last time, what harm could there be in showing up once at Yong Cheon Myeong’s side? Lee Gwak forcibly suppressed a sigh that was about to escape.

Noticing Lee Gwak’s gaze, So Gun-myeong suddenly turned to look at him.

“And who might you be?”

The ice-cold voice contained a hint of killing intent.

He realized that Lee Gwak had witnessed his humiliation.

Lee Gwak respectfully performed a fist salute to So Gun-myeong.

“I am Lee Gwak, an outer hall squad leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance, currently accompanying Young Master Yong Cheon Myeong.”

“Were you on the Poseidon?”

“Yes, I was.”

Lee Gwak’s calm response only made So Gun-myeong’s gaze grow colder, but he soon softened his look.

Even as the young master of the Sky High Castle, he could not afford to offend a martial artist from the Jade Heaven Alliance, especially one who had come upon his invitation.

To mistreat such a person would surely tarnish his reputation in the Jianghu.

“Forget everything you saw today. If even a single rumor about me circulates in the Jianghu,, I will not let you off lightly. Forget today’s incident and live with your lips sealed forever. That will be the mercy I extend to you.”

Without waiting for Lee Gwak’s response, he turned away.

Lee Gwak watched So Gun-myeong’s retreating figure. Then, Bang Ye-in approached him.

“He really is utterly self-centered. I thought I had seen all sorts of people, but it’s my first time encountering someone who only considers their own perspective to this extent. For such a person to be the young master of the Sky High Castle, the future doesn’t seem too bright for them.”

She shook her head in evident disgust.

Lee Gwak looked at Bang Ye-in with a look of amazement.

He was curious about Bang Ye-in’s true identity that allowed her to stand up so strongly against the young master of the Sky High Castle. Sensing Lee Gwak’s curiosity, Bang Ye-in smiled and said,

“I just realized I haven’t formally introduced myself to you. I’m Bang Ye-in from the Bang Family. Pleased to meet you.”

“I am Lee Gwak, the outer hall squad leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance.”

“Hmm! You are quite unique.”

“How so?”

“It’s my first time seeing someone who doesn’t change their expression at all after encountering that annoying brother So. Usually, people tremble at just making eye contact.”

“I am trembling.”

“Tsk! Lies!”

Bang Ye-in chuckled at Lee Gwak’s feigned bravado.

She then glanced at Lee Gwak before quickly walking towards the Green Forest.

“I better go. It’s scary how he’s glaring daggers at me for not coming quickly.”

Indeed, So Gun-myeong had stopped and was glaring as Bang Ye-in did not follow immediately.
Bang Ye-in rubbed her arms and approached So Gun-myeong’s side.

They soon disappeared inside the Green Forest.

***

After spending a day at the Green Forest, the Poseidon set sail early the next morning, accompanied by twenty other ships. So Gun-myeong was on the largest of these ships.

Last night, So Gun-myeong had deepened his friendship with Yong Cheon Myeong.

They spent the night drinking and sharing deep stories they had kept to themselves. They quickly became sworn brothers, with the slightly older Yong Cheon Myeong becoming the elder brother and So Gun-myeong the younger.

So Gun-myeong purposely launched ships from the Green Forest to honor Yong Cheon Myeong.

The sight of Poseidon slicing through the waters of the Yangtze, escorted by twenty ships, was truly magnificent.

Yong Cheon Myeong stood at the bow of the ship, a cold smile on his lips.

The fleet, with the massive Poseidon at the lead and twenty ships following as escorts, was a sight to behold.

Yong Cheon Myeong felt as if he had become the leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance. No previous clan leader had ever enjoyed such prestige, and the exhilaration he felt was indescribable.

‘I will be the clan leader who will be remembered in history.’

His fists clenched with resolve.

He harbored grand ambitions and possessed the martial prowess to achieve them. Talents were naturally drawn to assist him.

For Yong Cheon Myeong, aspiring to stand at the pinnacle of the Jianghu, the situation couldn’t be better.

Yong Cheon Myeong glanced sideways to see So Gun-myeong on one of the Green Forest’s ships.

Feeling Yong Cheon Myeong’s gaze, So Gun-myeong looked back, smiling similarly.

So Gun-myeong, too, was a man of great ambition.

Last night, he had critically assessed his and Yong Cheon Myeong’s capabilities. If Yong Cheon Myeong had been lesser in ability or ambition, he would have abandoned him without hesitation to pursue his own path.

However, after conversing and subtly competing in power, So Gun-myeong felt that Yong Cheon Myeong was superior. Thus, he gladly became Yong Cheon Myeong’s junior.

Poseidon and the twenty vessels exited the Green Forest’s territory and re-entered the main course of the Yangtze River.

Then, So Gun-myeong, using his internal energy to amplify his voice so everyone could hear, spoke loudly.

“Brother! This is where I stop escorting you. I pray to the heavens for your safe and successful mission. When you return this way, I will welcome you with all the boats in the Yangtze River. Until then, I will stay in the Green Forest, so please return safely.”

“Thank you, brother. I, Yong Cheon Myeong, will return as a brother you can be proud of. We will share drinks for three days and nights, so take good care of yourself.”

Everyone on the Yangtze River heard the echoing conversation between the two men.

“The young lord of Sky High Castle respects him as a sworn brother; the Young Master is truly remarkable.” hen novel

“Who else could be the leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance if not such a person?”

Pride was evident on the faces of the Jade Heaven Alliance martial artists aboard the poseidon.
Martial artists, living by the code of the jianghu, often valued emotional bonds over rational considerations.

The bond shared between the Young Master of the Jade Heaven Alliance and the young lord of Sky High Castle was enough to warm their hearts.

Yong Cheon Myeong, standing alone at the bow of the Poseidon, receiving accolades from So Gun-myeong, the young lord of Sky High Castle, epitomized the hero they all aspired to be.
Lee Gwak’s gaze deepened as he observed them. hen novel

“Should I say they are clever?

While others might not see beyond the surface, Lee Gwak understood the underlying intentions of their actions.

Yong Cheon Myeong had gained prestige by accepting So Gun-myeong as his brother, and So Gun-myeong had secured the most formidable ally in the realm.

Even if their relationship was a carefully calculated political maneuver, it didn’t matter because it was mutually beneficial.

Then, a clear, youthful voice came from behind Lee Gwak.

“As always…”

The girl clicking her tongue at the sight of Yong Cheon Myeong and So Gun-myeong was none other than Bang Ye-in.

Her arrival caused Lee Gwak’s eyes to flicker slightly.

“How did you?”