Chapter 14: Alone and Motivated (2)
Light Novel: Volume 1 Chapter 14
Manhwa: Chapter 17-18
Episode 5. Alone and Motivated (2)
Lee Gwak glared at Seo Jong-myeong.
Although Seo Jong-myeong had said to attack, Lee Gwak couldn’t find it in himself to rush in.
Seo Jong-myeong’s whole body might seem to be full of openings, yet strangely, Lee Gwak couldn’t see any place to attack.
Lee Gwak tried to attack Seo Jong-myeong again and again, but each time, his breathing was interrupted and he couldn’t attack.
Lee Gwak had a terrifying vision.
The moment he swung his sword, he saw himself being pierced through the chest by Seo Jong-myeong’s sword. That’s why he couldn’t move easily.
“You can’t attack, right?”
“That’s the difference in our level. No matter how hard you train in the Luminous Sword Art, you won’t be able to exceed this level. So, don’t waste your energy on such a martial art.”
Seo Jong-myeong scoffed.
Lee Gwak gritted his teeth.
He knew in his heart that Seo Jong-myeong was right. However, accepting his words would mean negating all the efforts he had made so far. He couldn’t accept that.
Shaking off the pressure and fear that was weighing him down, Lee Gwak swung his sword at Seo Jong-myeong. It was the Luminous Sword Art.
With a tearing sound, Lee Gwak’s sword flew towards Seo Jong-myeong at a terrifying speed. He didn’t believe he could subdue Seo Jong-myeong just with this. However, he thought he could at least push him back.
At that moment—
Lee Gwak found himself suddenly sent flying, coughing up blood. Before he knew it, the tip of Seo Jong-myeong’s sword was lodged in his vital point.
Lee Gwak rolled dozens of times across the ground before crashing into a wall. The sword he had been holding flew far away, stabbing into the ground, while the blood that flowed from his mouth stained his chest red.
Unable to breathe due to the impact that felt like he was disintegrating, his vision turned white.
Lee Gwak couldn’t even scream and only wheezed. Had Seo Jong-myeong not opened his airway with his internal energy at that moment, he might have died right there.
Seo Jong-myeong squatted in front of Lee Gwak, who was gasping for air, and asked,
“Do you know the sword technique I just used?”
Lee Gwak shook his head.
Although his airway was open, he still couldn’t speak. He was still catching his breath.
A mocking smirk appeared on Seo Jong-myeong’s lips.
“It was just a basic sword technique, But see how you weren’t able to react to it at all? Do you understand now? How pathetic the sword art you’re clinging to is? If you can’t master it, you’re better off learning another martial art. If not, it’s better for you to give up.”
“Lee Gwak, stop wasting your energy on useless things and enjoy life instead. Your youth is too precious to be wasted on such a worthless martial art.”
“What did you say?”
“You… son of a bitch!”
“I said… the leader is a son of a bitch.”
“Ha! What’s this guy saying right now? Has he lost his mind?”
At Seo Jong-myeong’s question, Lee Gwak barely shook his head. Then a chilling light appeared in Seo Jong-myeong’s eyes.
“Tell me, why am I a son of a bitch? If you can’t give me a good reason, you’ll die right here and now.”
It was undoubtedly killing intent.
An overwhelming killing intent that the current Lee Gwak couldn’t even dare to handle.
Lee Gwak’s face, which had been pale and tired, started to darken. It was certain that something would break within him if he continued to be exposed to this killing intent, even if his life was preserved.
Seo Jong-myeong thrust his face in front of Lee Gwak’s nose.
“Explain to me why I’m a dog.”
“You’re forcing me to live the life of a dog, just like you.”
For a moment, Seo Jong-myeong’s expression hardened like a rock.
He glared at Lee Gwak silently with what seemed like a great shock.
Lee Gwak didn’t avoid his fierce gaze. Although it felt as if his eyeballs would burn up, he gritted his teeth and held on.
Sometimes, an offhanded remark can become a dagger that pierces another’s heart. The words Lee Gwak had just said did exactly that.
Seo Jong-myeong’s harsh eyes softened, and the hand that was gripping his sword loosened. Only then did Lee Gwak find it easier to breathe.
Seo Jong-myeong got up and muttered,
“Shit! Having been leashed like a dog for so long, I guess I became a dog myself. Ah, shit!”
Seo Jong-myeong looked up at the sky for a moment before turning his gaze back to Lee Gwak.
“I admit I went too far this time. I came to the Outer Hall to cool off my head, but I spoke too much from my own perspective. I’m sure you have your own circumstances. From now on, I won’t say anything even if you want to practice the Luminous Sword Art. Just make sure to learn it properly.”
“Please guide me.”
“Am I your master? What should I teach you? Just train on your own like what you’ve been doing before.”
“I’ll talk to the leader of the Outer Hall for you so you should go to the Outer Hall’s library and take out any useful martial art book.”
“The Outer Hall has a library?”
“Well, there seems to be a warehouse where they collect various books, though I’m not sure how many of them are useful. Still, anything should be better than the Luminous Sword Art. I’m sure the head of the Outer Hall won’t say anything if you just take one.”
Seo Jong-myeong walked away, waving his hand dismissively.
Watching his back as he walked away, Lee Gwak thought to himself,
‘He came to the Outer Hall to rest? Does that mean his status is higher than the leader of the Outer Hall?’
* * *
With the scream of rusty hinges, the door to the warehouse opened. The person cautiously pushed open the door and stepped inside.
It was Lee Gwak.
A bitter expression floated on Lee Gwak’s face as he surveyed the warehouse interior. The scene was too pathetic to be called a vault.
There were only a few dozen martial arts books and miscellaneous items on the large shelves in the warehouse.
This was the reality of the Outer Hall’s ‘vault.’
At this point, it was too pathetic to be even called a vault.
Everything inside the storage was gathered by the Outer Hall. But, all the other decent martial arts books were sent to the Inner Court or Main Court, leaving only the low-quality and miscellaneous items behind.
In simple terms, it was just a pile of junk. The reason why Maeng Hee-cheon, the leader of the Outer Hall, willingly opened the vault was because he knew that there was nothing worthwhile to obtain from this place.
However, Lee Gwak was not disappointed. Even if the martial arts books stored here were nothing special, they were bound to be better than the Luminous Sword Art he had learned so far.
Lee Gwak slowly began to examine the low-quality items stored inside.
There were quite a few different types of books, including the Five Yin Sword Art, Liu Family Spear Technique, Six Netherworld Flying Swords, Eight Sects Sword Art, Invisible Spider Puncture Art, and so on.1,2,3,4,5
Lee Gwak sat down and began to read.
The way he diligently flipped through the book, page by page, looked almost reverent.
Although Lee Gwak didn’t know why Seo Jong-myeong was treating him so kindly, it was an opportunity he couldn’t afford to miss. It was likely that such an opportunity wouldn’t come again.
At this moment, Lee Gwak was more thirsty for knowledge and martial arts than ever before. Especially after mastering the Eight Snakes Art, his desire had reached its peak.
The words in the book appeared strangely clear in his mind. Compared to before, his memory and comprehension had improved significantly.
In the past, he wouldn’t remember much even after reading a book, but now, he remembered everything with uncanny clarity.
This change occurred after he mastered the Eight Snakes Art and awakened the fourth snake. Each time he awakened a snake, there were noticeable changes in his body. Lee Gwak couldn’t wait to see what changes would occur when he awakened the fifth and sixth snakes.
In the quiet storage room, only the sound of Lee Gwak flipping through the pages echoed.
He lost track of time as he read one book after another meticulously. The pile of books he had finished reading began to stack beside him.
When he finally finished reading all the books, Lee Gwak heaved a deep sigh and raised his head.
Certainly, the martial arts books here were a level above the Luminous Sword Art. They were far more stronger and challenging to master.
The question was, which one should he learn?
After much deliberation, Lee Gwak decided to exclude double-edged sword techniques and spear techniques. After all, he was more comfortable with the single-edged sword art he had already learned— the Luminous Sword Art.
So he chose the Eight Sects Sword Art.
With its straightforward strokes, powerful lethality, and emphasis on efficiency, it somehow reeked of a military sect.
It might be simple, but if mastered correctly, it could certainly unleash the innate power of the sword. The problem was that the Eight Sects Sword Art lacked a proper core technique, but somehow, it felt like the Eight Snakes Art could serve as a substitute.
He felt oddly drawn to the Eight Sects Sword Art, thinking it would be a good match with the Eight Snakes Art.
Lee Gwak decided to trust his instincts.
Even after obtaining the Eight Sects Sword Art, he somehow felt regretful. Lee Gwak looked at the Invisible Spider Puncture Art.
It was a martial art that used a meteor hammer.
The meteor hammer was a weapon consisting of a spike, about the size of a child’s fist, attached to a rope ranging from one to three meters.
A single spike on one end is called a “single meteor,” and spikes on both ends are called “double meteor.” Although the meteor hammer offered infinite applications depending on how it was used, it was difficult to master, and even seasoned masters rarely found it effective. Hence, it had almost fallen into obsolescence.
There was even a saying that it was better to learn whip techniques instead of a meteor hammer. Probably for that reason, the Invisible Spider Puncture Art had been left in the Outer Hall’s vault.
‘I don’t know whether it will work or not.’
Lee Gwak also took the Invisible Spider Puncture Art manual.
He wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to take them, but he had to try.
Lee Gwak took two manuals and went to find Maeng Hee-cheon, the leader of the Outer Hall.
“Hmm! The Eight Sects Sword Art and Invisible Spider Puncture Art, huh.”
Maeng Hee-cheon looked back and forth between the manuals and Lee Gwak, his eyes filled with doubt. The vault was filled with useless books, but that didn’t mean it was open to just anyone. The only reason he had granted Lee Gwak access was precisely because of Seo Jong-myeong.
Seo Jong-myeong was a difficult person to deal and confront with even for him, the leader of the Outer Hall, and he preferred not to cause any issues if possible.
Therefore, he was willing to give in to his demands as long as its within reasonable means. The question was, why did Seo Jong-myeong asked for Lee Gwak to be granted access to the vault?
Lee Gwak was a low-ranking warrior in the Outer Hall.
Maeng Hee-cheon remembered Lee Gwak because he was a victim of a traumatic event that left him paralyzed. It was a hushed-up incident, not only in the Outer Hall but also in the Main Court, so he had no choice but to remember.
Of course, they had since pushed Lee Gwak into a small room, out of prying eyes, and forgotten about him.
“Is your body alright?”
“I have no trouble moving.”
Lee Gwak answered calmly.
In the past, just standing in front of Maeng Hee-cheon would have made him feel as if his heart was about to burst from pressure. But now, he felt strangely calm. Thinking this as another wonder of the Eight Snakes Art, Lee Gwak looked at Maeng Hee-cheon.
Maeng Hee-cheon slightly furrowed his brow. Lee Gwak’s overly calm demeanor in his presence was strangely unsettling. However, no matter how he looked at it, he couldn’t find anything particularly strange about it.
Maeng Hee-cheon soon shook off his concerns.
“Normally, you’re only allowed to take out one book, but I can let you borrow another one under my authority.”
“It might not be enough, but if you have any hard feelings about what happened in the past, just brush them all off.”
“I don’t have any hard feelings at all.”
“Good then. You may leave.”
Lee Gwak bowed and left.
Maeng Hee-cheon stared at Lee Gwak’s retreating figure.
“Hmm! For someone who’s been bedridden for a year, he’s in pretty good shape.”
His eyes shone sharply.
Just then, someone entered Maeng Hee-cheon’s residence and said,
“If you’re suspicious, shall we monitor him?”
It was a man in his mid-thirties with an elongated face like a dog. He was Yun Ho-gwang, the vice-leader of the Outer Hall.
Maeng Hee-cheon shook his head.
“Forget it. There’s no point in monitoring a guy who’s been lying down for a year… More importantly, how’s the work on reorganizing the Outer Hall coming along?”
“It’s almost complete.”
“Good. The Outer Hall needs to change too. We can’t keep living under the eye of other organizations.”
“If the Great Heavenly Blood War were to take place again, the place where most will die is our Outer Hall. So we must start preparing now if we want to have even the slightest chance of survival.”
“But do you really think there will be another great war with the Celestial Union? Isn’t it just a rumor?”
“I think so, too, but didn’t the higher-ups tell us to prepare in advance?”
“It’s tiring in many ways.”
“What can we do? If they say we must, then we must.”
A faint glint of irritation appeared on Maeng Hee-cheon’s face.
The name Lee Gwak was no longer present in his mind. There were far more troublesome matters for him to think of, after all.
Thank you for reading!
- Five Yin Sword Art. Raws: 오음검법(五陰劍法).
- 五 wǔ – five / 5
- 陰 yīn – overcast (weather) / cloudy / shady / Yin (the negative principle of Yin and Yang) / negative (electric.) / feminine / moon / implicit / hidden / genitalia
- 劍 jiàn – double-edged sword
- 法 fǎ – law / method / way / to emulate
- Liu Family Spear Technique. Raws: 유가창법(柳家槍法).
- 柳 Liǔ – surname Liu
- 家 jiā – home / family / (polite) my (sister, uncle etc)
- 槍 qiāng, chēng – spear, lance; gun, rifle
- 法 fǎ – law / method / way / to emulate
- Six Netherworld Flying Swords. Raws: 육명비검(六冥飛劍).
- 六 liù – six
- 冥 míng – dark / deep / stupid / the underworld
- 飛 fēi – to fly
- 劍 jiàn – double-edged sword
- Eight Sects Sword Art. Raws: 팔문도법(八門刀法).
- 八 bā – eight; 8
- 門 mén – gate / door
- 刀 dāo – knife / blade / single-edged sword
- 法 fǎ – law / method / way / to emulate
- Invisible Spider Puncture Art. Raws: 은주추법(隱蛛錐法).
- 隱 yǐn – (bound form) secret; hidden; concealed; crypto-
- 蛛 zhū – spider
- 錐 zhuī – cone / awl / to bore
- 法 fǎ – law / method / way / to emulate
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