Martial Artist Lee Gwak Episode 1

October 20, 2023 • 14 min read • 718 views

Episode 1 (The Outer hall warrior, Lee Gwak(1))

Novel- Martial Artist Lee Gwak

The greatest sect under the sky.

In this great land, bigger than a castle but the size of a great city, countless legends of heroes had been passed down.

Tales of heroes, as numerous as the stars in the sky, made many hearts beat faster.

The endless high walls, the unfathomable number of pavilions above them, and the great flag fluttering above the gates in the centre of the city, the three words ‘Jade Heaven Alliance’ clearly embroidered in golden thread.

The tattered and worn triangular flag was the symbol of the Jade Heaven Alliance and the source of many people’s heartbeats.

Many martial artists lined up under the triangular flag at the gates of the Jade Heaven Alliance. All dressed in simple robes with crude swords around their waists, standing motionless, waiting for someone.

Their outfits and facial expressions were so identical that it was almost impossible to find any trace of individuality between them. It was difficult to find a point of difference between them.

In the midst of the procession of martial artists standing motionless like statues, there was a young man who looked to be barely twenty years old.

Apart from being a head taller than the other martial artist, he had an ordinary appearance, with nothing remarkable about him. His eyebrows were thick, his eyes were gentle, and his facial lines were soft, giving him an overall weak appearance.

The young man’s name was Lee Gwak, a martial artist from the outer hall of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Lee Gwak looked anxiously at the road that stretched far beyond the horizon.

The main duty of the Outer Hall was to guard the outskirts of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Most of the martial artists stayed in their quarters due to the never-ending twelve-hour shifts. Occasionally, they would be called upon to perform duties outside of their main duties, such as a parade or various other tasks.

Normally, Lee Gwak would have been resting peacefully in his room. But an unexpected emergency call had him summoned to this parade, preventing him from getting any sleep.

His lack of sleep caused him to yawn repeatedly. But he could not yawn in a place full of so many people, so he clenched his teeth and held back. He couldn’t help the tears in his eyes.

“Are you tired?”

A small voice came from beside him.

Without turning his head, Lee Gwak replied in a small voice, knowing the owner of the voice.

“I’m dead tired.”

It was something similar to ventriloquism, speaking without moving his lips much.

The young man who heard Lee Gwak’s answer nodded slightly.

“Well, you’ve been up all night.”

Like Lee Gwak, he also used ventriloquism.

He contrasted Lee Gwak in many ways.

He was a handsome man with distinctive features, and his angular jaw muscles made him look strong.

His name was Go Jeon-Ok.

He had joined the Jade Heaven Alliance two years after Lee Gwak. They should have maintained a strict senior-junior relationship, but since they were the same age, they were comfortable with each other.

Since he belonged to a different unit, Jeon Ok had worked the day shift yesterday and his eyes were bright with energy from a good rest.

The two of them continued their ventriloquistic conversation, still looking ahead.

“By the way, what’s all the fuss about who’s coming today? Have you heard anything?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is a guest from the Ten Sects coming, or else they wouldn’t be making such a big deal about it?”

“How would a lowly Outer Hall person like us know?”

Lee Gwak’s voice edged with irritation as he addressed Jeon Ok, who sought answers from him.

After staying up all night and spending the morning on unrelated tasks, his body was sore and pulsating with pain.

The problem was, he had no idea how long this waiting would last.

It was then.

“Hey you two, can’t you be quiet? Do you want to die?”

A stern but quiet voice came from behind them.

Lee Gwak and Jeon Ok dared not answer and kept their mouths tightly shut. Just by hearing the voice, they knew who it was. It belonged to Oh Gu Hong.

Oh Gu Hong was the leader of the thirteenth squad of the outer hall, to which Lee Gwak belonged. Like the two of them, Oh Gu Hong’s face was also filled with irritation. Although he held the position of a leader, he was also exhausted by this unpredictable waiting.

Oh Gu Hong was also curious about the identity of the VIP. Still, he kept his composure and remained patient, as a leader should.

Then it happened.

With a squeak of rusty hinges, the giant gates of the Jade Heaven Alliance opened. Oh Gu Hong’s eyes flickered as a group of martial artists stepped out.

Why from the inner court?

Normally, when a VIP arrived from outside, the master of the outer court, Geum Guho, would greet them. The Outer Hall was also a part of the Outer Court, and most things that happened outside of the Jade Heaven Alliance were under the jurisdiction of the Outer Court.

That’s why Oh Gu Hong thought that the Outer Court Master Geum Guho would be greeting the guests today as well. However, those emerging from the gate were clearly warriors from the inner court. The most prominent of them was a man in his mid to late forties at the head of the line.

Wearing a light blue robe and carrying a long sword, his glassy pupils were piercing, as if he could see through people’s thoughts, and his tense aura made people feel extremely nervous.

There were countless warriors in the Jade Heaven Alliance, but there was only one who had such a distinctive atmosphere and aura.

The inner court master, Joo Shin Yoon.

He was a formidable swordsman, known by the nickname ‘Phantom Moon Sword’, and possessed a tremendous amount of political power, enough to control one of the most important forces in the Jade Heaven Alliance, the Inner Court.

He was the head of the Inner Court, the largest faction of the four courtyard that formed the foundation of the Jade Heaven Alliance. However, he was extremely reluctant to appear in public, and very few had seen him in person. Therefore, his appearance at a public event signified the arrival of an extraordinary guest to the Alliance.

Ugh!

Lee Gwak glanced at Joo Shin Yoon and shuddered.

Joo Shin Yoon rarely appeared in public, but Lee Gwak had seen him a few times when he went to the inner court on errands.

Standing in front of Joo Shin Yoon, whose expression was almost inhumanly neutral, was unnerving no matter how many times he experienced it.

Being in his presence was like standing naked in the snow. His emotionless gaze could make anyone cower in fear.

Accompanied by the masters of the inner court, Joo Shin Yoon walked out.

None of the martial artists in the bustling outer hall dared to meet his gaze, swallowing hard.

Joo Shin Yoon looked over the horizon with emotionless eyes.

“Are they coming?”

As if waiting for this moment, a huge cloud of dust rose above the horizon, rapidly approaching the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Lee Gwak squinted at the dust cloud. After staring at it for a while, the dust cloud became clearer, and he could see more than a hundred horses charging through.

The moment he saw them, he felt his breath catch in his throat. He didn’t know who they were or what they were doing, but the sheer force of their movement was enough to make his heart sink.

It was as if a huge mountain was approaching. The overwhelming momentum made the faces of the Outer Hall martial artists pale. Lee Gwak was no different.

Even though he was an Outer Hall martial artist of the Jade Heaven Alliance, his martial arts skills were nothing special. All he had learned since joining the league were the basic skills taught to the martial artists of the Outer Hall.

While his abilities were sufficient to earn him respect among the powerful, within the Jade Heaven Alliance it was a different story. The alliance was teeming with martial artists of his same skill level.

“Ugh!”

A soft groan escaped his lips, echoed by the other warriors.

As the group of about a hundred horsemen drew closer, the tension among the Outer Hall martial artists intensified.

A smirk appeared on Joo Shin Yoon’s lips.

“Are they trying to intimidate us from the beginning? How brazen!”

Contempt and anger flashed in his eyes.

The martial artists behind him amplified their qi, forming a barrier to protect the Outer Hall warriors from the qi emanating from the horsemen.

Crash!

Their Qi collided with the horsemen’s, creating a spark in the air as if from a collision.

Finally, the horsemen rode past the lined up Outer Hall warriors and reached the gate of the Jade Heaven Alliance. All of the riders were clad in jet-black armour, and each of them radiated an unusual aura.

Although there were only a hundred of them, their presence overwhelmed the entire Outer Hall. In particular, the presence of the man leading the horsemen was truly breathtaking.

Lee Gwak squinted at the man leading the riders.

He didn’t seem to be much older than Lee Gwak, but the aura and the look he radiated were incomparable.

Lee Gwak thought the man was either a grandmaster or had reached a comparable level.

This was because he had seen a few top martial artists in the Jade Heaven Alliance who had a similar aura to the man.

The man’s gaze swept over the martial artists standing in line.

“Urk!”

A soft grunt escaped Lee Gwak’s lips.

It was only a glance, but it sent a shiver down his spine and his heart pounded like crazy.

It felt as if an invisible sharp sword had sliced through his body. That was how terrifying the man’s gaze was.

Someone who lived in a world so far above him that he dared not look up. That’s how he felt when he saw him.

“Phew!”

It was only after the man’s gaze had passed that he was able to breathe a sigh of relief. He felt both a sense of relief and a sense of injustice.

The age difference between him and the man was not significant, but the difference in their martial arts skills and status was as great as the difference between heaven and earth.

He didn’t know the man’s name or identity, but he must have belonged to a great power or sect, otherwise the great Lord Joo Shin Yoon himself would not have come to greet him.

The man leading the cavalry dismounted from his horse. When Joo Shin Yoon approached, the man greeted him with a serene smile and stretched out his hand for a hug.

Although he was the first to greet him, he did so without a hint of humiliation, radiating confidence. Joo Shin Yoon watched the man in silence.

The tension between them was like a rope stretched to its limit.

Joo Shin Yoon looked at the man with an expression of displeasure, which the man returned with a calm expression. But that only lasted for a moment, as Joo Shin Yoon struck up a conversation with the man, who responded with a nod of his head.

After exchanging a few words, they moved towards the interior of the Jade Heaven Alliance, followed by the martial artists of the Inner Court and the Hundred Horsemen.

From a distance, neither Lee Gwak nor the other martial artists could hear their conversation. After all, their role was merely to act as a supporting cast for the power of the Jade Heaven Alliance. Anything more was an inviolable territory that was not allowed to them.

“Disperse and return to your posts”

A dispersal order was given to the martial artists in the outer hall who had been mobilised for the procession.

“Phew!”

“I thought I would die.”

The outer hall martial artists, who had stood motionless until now, opened their mouths while slapping their stiff limbs.

Lee Gwak also massaged his waist and relaxed his stiff muscles. As he did so, Go Jeon Ok approached him and asked,

“Who do you think he is?”

“What do I care about?”

“Don’t you have the slightest curiosity? If our formidable Inner Court Master came out to greet him, he’s no ordinary man.”

“What’s the use of being curious? It’s not like I’d know anything more because of it.”

Lee Gwak responded indifferently.

Although he didn’t know who the man was, it was clear that he was a chosen entity, very different from them. Lee Gwak knew well that ordinary folks like him, even if they died and resurrected several times, could never become like that man.

People envied the martial artists of Jade Heaven Alliance thoughtlessly, but within the Alliance itself, there were ranks. And the Outer hall, where Lee Gwak belonged, was at the very bottom of the food chain of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Switching from the Outer hall to another organisation within the Alliance was not an easy task. The class system and organisational structure of the Jade Heaven Alliance were sturdier than one would think.

It was better not to pay too much attention to what was going on above.

Lee Gwak knew this fact from his experience over the past few years. However, his friend Go Jeon-Ok disagreed.

“I may be standing on the outside looking in now, but one day, I will join their ranks. I swear!”

“Great! Make sure you look after me when you do.”

“Heh! We’re friends, aren’t we? Just trust me.”

Go Jeon-Ok pounded his chest with his fist, making a bold declaration.

Lee Gwak silently watched Go Jeon-Ok.

Go Jeon-Ok had always been ambitious. Although he was at the bottom now, he openly expressed his ambition to eventually become a part of the Jade Heaven Alliance’s top echelon.

It wasn’t that Lee Gwak didn’t understand his ambition, but the world of the Jade Heaven Alliance was not a place with low walls that a lowly warrior could easily cross. The greater the ambition, the greater the hurt that would be inflicted.

Lee Gwak was afraid that Go Jeon-Ok might get hurt in the future, but he knew that no matter what he said now, he wouldn’t listen.

Go Jeon-ok patted Lee Gwak on the shoulder and said,

“I have guard duty, so I have to go now. You should go and get some rest too, your face isn’t looking good.

“Okay!”

“See ya.”

Go Jeon-Ok quickly rushed back into the Jade Heaven Alliance, leaving Lee Gwak alone to slowly start walking.

Maybe because he had stayed up all night, his double-edged sword felt particularly heavy today. Lee Gwak, dragging his sword, walked down the street.

The street where he was walking was at the farthest periphery of the Jade Heaven Alliance.

Over the years, the Jade Heaven Alliance had expanded to an enormous scale.

Major organisations such as the Heavenly Intelligence Hall, the Inner Court and the Headquarters were all inside the Inner City, while the Outer Court and other support organisations were located in the Outer city.

The street where Lee Gwak was walking was one of those areas inside the Outer City.

Although it was called the Outer City, it was like a huge city with nothing missing.
Along the low-lying streets were numerous shops, blacksmiths, guest houses, and even brothels where courtesans sold their smiles.

It required strict procedures to enter the Inner City, but the Outer City was relatively accessible with simple procedures, and numerous people came and went every day.

Lee Gwak could not forget how surprised he was at the enormous scale when he first entered the Jade Heaven Alliance. He had become accustomed to it over the years, but there were still times when all the scenery felt unfamiliar.

Today was one of those days.

Numerous people were bustling about. Unlike him, who had been spending his days aimlessly since joining the Jade Heaven Alliance, they all seemed to be living vibrantly with their own goals.

“Phew.”

A soft sigh slipped through Lee Gwak ‘s lips.

He hung his head and shuffled along. Against the rising sun, a long shadow stretched out behind him.

Soon, Lee Gwak ‘s figure disappeared among the people.

Read Reaper Of the Drifting Moon here