Chapter 8: The Turning Point of Fate Comes Without Warning (2)
Light Novel: Volume 1 Chapter 8
Manhwa: Chapter 11
Episode 3. The Turning Point of Fate Comes Without Warning (2)
Blood Ring Demon Sword Gwan Il-hyeon’s face contorted like the face of an ugly demon.
Though he had changed into clean clothes, blood was still oozing out from various parts of his body. His flesh hidden beneath his clothes bore deep wounds and scars.
If he were an ordinary person, such deep scars engraved onto the bones and muscles would make it already difficult for him to breathe, let alone move.
These were injuries inflicted by the Lunatic Pugilist.
If the injuries had been sustained in an equal fight, it wouldn’t have been as humiliating.
But it was just one blow.
With one strike from the Lunatic Pugilist, he was left gravely injured, and thirty members of the Black Armored Cavalry dead.
It was truly an unprecedented martial prowess.
Even if it were Jin Gwang-hon, his master and the supreme figure of the Celestial Demon Union, such a martial feat seemed impossible. Had he been defeated by such an expert, it would have been a justified outcome. But to Gwan Il-hyeon, whose pride reached the skies, it felt deeply humiliating.
The fact that he had been utterly crushed by Lunatic Pugilist to the point that he hadn’t even been able to demonstrate the full range of his skills, and that he had been humiliated in front of the martial artists of the Jade Heaven Alliance, infuriated him.
What added to his humiliation was waking up within the Jade Heaven Alliance. The Black Armored Cavalry had brought him, critically injured and weak, to the Jade Heaven Alliance for aid.
While it might have been a desperate move on the part of the Black Armored Cavalry to save him, having his life saved by the Jade Heaven Alliance, his fateful enemy, was a blow to Gwan Il-hyeon’s pride.
Standing in front of Gwan Il-hyeon was the Jade Heaven Alliance Inner Court Leader, Joo Shin-yoon, leaning back.
“Are you leaving?”
“Your wounds haven’t healed yet though.”
“It’s nothing serious.”
Gwan Il-hyeon responded, trying to maintain a neutral expression. Joo Shin-yoon looked at him with a slight smile.
Feeling as if he was being mocked, Gwan Il-hyeon clenched his fist tightly.
Unlike the first time he had come, the leader of the Jade Heaven Alliance, Ja Hong-cheon, was nowhere to be seen. Feeling like he was being blatantly ignored, the corners of his eyes twitched.
Staring intently at Gwan Il-hyeon’s face, Joo Shin-yoon remarked,
“If that’s really your decision, then feel free to leave.”
“It’s a shame that our first meeting in over a hundred years ended like this. I hope our next meeting will be as cordial.”
“That depends on how the Jade Heaven Alliance behaves, doesn’t it?”
“Please convey to Leader Jin that our alliance wishes for peace in Jianghu.”
“I’ll be sure to pass on the message.”
Joo Shin-yoon was the first to say goodbye.
“I hope we meet again in good health. I will never forget the kindness I received from the Jade Heaven Alliance.”
Gwan Il-hyeon bowed and cupped his fists towards Shin Joo-yoon before going out.
As soon as he stepped outside, he audibly ground his teeth.
The Black Armored Cavalry was already waiting for him outside.
There were a hundred of them at first, but now only seventy remained. Over half of them bore severe injuries.
The tragic sight further intensified Gwan Il-hyeon’s humiliation.
He addressed them,
“We are going back to the Celestial Demon Union!”
The Black Armored Cavalry responded with vigor. But even this scene seemed awkward to Gwan Il-hyeon right now.
A deep frown creased his brow. There were no horses in sight.
“Where are our horses?”
“They’re in the stables at the Outer Hall.”
“When we first arrived, weren’t our horses kept in the Inner Court? So how come they are in the Outer Hall’s stables now? Just how lightly do they take us for–!”
“We apologize, young master.”
The vice-captain of the Black Armored Cavalry quickly bowed his head.
With the original captain having been killed by the Lunatic Pugilist, the weight of Gwan Il-hyeon’s anger now fell squarely on him. He, too, felt the humiliation keenly.
He had never imagined that the Black Armored Cavalry, renowned throughout the land, would be treated so poorly like this.
With heavy hearts, they moved forward.
When they arrived at the stables of the Outer Hall, the Black Armored Cavalry saw the warriors of the Outer Hall standing by, holding the reins of their horses.
Among them was Lee Gwak.
The clash with the Lunatic Pugilist had caused great damage not only to the Celestial Demon Union but also to the Jade Heaven Alliance. Yuk Hyeon, the leader of the Bloodcloaked Death God Battalion, and a hundred others were killed. Many of the Outer Hall martial artists also perished, creating an unbearable atmosphere.
The loss of more than a hundred members of the Bloodcloaked Death God Battalion was such a devastating event that the Jade Heaven Alliance initiated internal investigations. Hence, Lee Gwak and other martial artists of the Outer Hall, even after returning to the Jade Heaven Alliance, were confined indoors, unable to venture outside.
The mood in the Outer Hall was naturally somber.
There was visible discomfort from handling the reins of horses that belonged not to the Jade Heaven Alliance but to the martial artists of the Celestial Demon Union.
The same was true for Lee Gwak. However, his situation was different from the others.
The words of the Lunatic Pugilist constantly echoed in his ears. Though he held the reins, he couldn’t fully concentrate on the Black Armored Cavalry.
Just as Lee Gwak bit his lip gently.
Suddenly, an unfamiliar voice snapped him out of his reverie.
Lee Gwak jerked upright and saw an unfamiliar face glaring at him.
‘Who is this?’
“Do you find me a joke?”
The man, leaning in and speaking with an irritable tone, was none other than Gwan Il-hyeon. For some reason, he stared at Lee Gwak with a murderous gaze.
“Pardon? What do you mean?”
“Then why are you making such a face?”
“It’s not that…!”
“Heh! The Jade Heaven Alliance is really something huh? Now, even a mere martial artist from the Outer Hall dares to look down on me.”
At that moment, Gwan Il-hyeon’s anger exploded.
Lee Gwak, sensing danger, tried to evade Gwan Il-hyeon. However, Gwan Il-hyeon was a master far superior to Lee Gwak. Even though he had sustained serious injuries, his skills hadn’t diminished.
Gwan Il-hyeon’s fist slammed into Lee Gwak’s abdomen. Lee Gwak vomited blood from the shock of his internal organs being pierced.
Lee Gwak’s blood splattered on Gwan Il-hyeon’s face. This made Gwan Il-hyeon go even more berserk.
Blood continuously dripped down from Lee Gwak’s face. His forehead was torn open, his cheekbones caved in.
At this point, Lee Gwak’s mind was already half gone. But Gwan Il-hyeon’s rampage was not over yet.
His fists mercilessly hammered all over Lee Gwak.
“St… Stop it!”
Stunned, the Outer Hall martial artists tried to stop Gwan Il-hyeon. But the Black Armored Cavalry blocked their way.
Overwhelmed by the murderous aura they were exuding, the Outer Hall warriors did not dare move. The Black Armored Cavalry’s eyes were too fierce and murderous.
Lee Gwak had done nothing wrong.
His only misfortune was that the enraged Gwan Il-hyeon was nearby, and he happened to catch his eye.
Right now, Gwan Il-hyeon needed someone to vent his anger on.
Gwan Il-hyeon roared as he unleashed his violence. Although he did not use his internal energy, implying some rationality remained, his assault was beyond what Lee Gwak could handle.
Under Gwan Il-hyeon’s relentless violence, Lee Gwak was torn, shattered, and crushed.
With his consciousness fading, Lee Gwak clenched his teeth.
The pain was like his entire body was being crushed. But even more painful was the wound to his heart.
His pride was crumbling.
Many people were watching, yet not a single one of them offered him a helping hand.
A pack of dogs stood before the wolf known as the Black Armored Cavalry.
To Lee Gwak’s dimming eyes, the martial artists of the Outer Hall seemed like dogs with their tails between their legs. And he himself was just another dog among them.
‘Is this the price for giving up being a wolf?’
The world turned red before his eyes.
In the blood-red world, Lee Gwak’s consciousness started to sink deeper and deeper.
He wanted to simply let go of his consciousness. Yet, the rage bubbling up from deep within him made him hold onto his sanity.
Gwan Il-hyeon’s fist slammed into Lee Gwak’s abdomen.
Lee Gwak’s mouth dropped open and his body trembled.
He couldn’t even scream due to the pain, as if his internal organs were being torn strand by strand.
Lee Gwak’s body collapsed like a sand castle on top of Gwan Il-hyeon’s.
Only then did a look of relief appear on Gwan Il-hyeon’s face. It was as if the anger that had been building up inside of him had been released.
An excruciating pain surged through his hand.
He quickly looked down then he saw Lee Gwak biting his hand, resembling a wolf. With a face covered in blood that his features were almost indistinguishable, Lee Gwak tore at Gwan Il-hyeon’s flesh.
This was Lee Gwak’s defiance.
His first act of rebellion since joining the Jade Heaven Alliance.
‘I am…. not a dog!’
Lee Gwak cried out.
But, his cry did not escape him. His mouth was full of torn flesh.
“You damned dog!”
Gwan Il-hyeon trembled with rage and kicked Lee Gwak.
With a sound reminiscent of a leather drum bursting, Lee Gwak’s body was sent flying. In the unconscious Lee Gwak’s mouth remained the torn flesh of Gwan Il-hyeon.
“Ugh! I’ll kill you!”
Gwan Il-hyeon lost all reason in his anger at the thought of having his flesh wounded by a mere martial artist of the Jade Heaven Alliance, not even the Lunatic Pugilist.
Gwan Il-hyeon drew his blade and held it in reverse, then with full force tried to plunge it into the unconscious Lee Gwak.
He could not forgive this lowly being for daring to wound his precious body. However, he was unable to follow through with his attack.
The Black Armored Cavalry’s vice-captain and some of his subordinates, who had just been watching until now, grabbed his arms to restrain him
“Move aside! I must kill that bastard!”
Gwan Il-hyeon struggled, trying to shake them off. But the harder he tried, the tighter the vice-captain and his subordinates held him.
“You cannot kill him.”
It didn’t matter if they maimed or cut off a limb or two, after all, Lee Gwak was just a nameless, low-ranking warrior. The Jade Heaven Alliance could somewhat tolerate them doing that.
However, killing him was not an option.
If the Jade Heaven Alliance were to look the other way at a murder done by the Celestial Demon Union on their own territory, their reputation would suffer. If that happened, the Jade Heaven Alliance might not be able to send them on their way. Such a worst-case scenario had to be avoided at all costs.
It was then.
“What is happening over there?”
An angry voice shouted.
Turning around his head, Gwan Il-hyeon saw the leader of the Outer Hall, Maeng Hee-cheon, rushing towards them. Someone from the Outer Hall’s martial artists must have alerted Maeng Hee-cheon about the incident.
Finally regaining his composure, Gwan Il-hyeon scoffed and sheathed his blade.
“This guy made a grave error.”
“Do I have to spell it out for you? The Jade Heaven Alliance better step up its training towards its low-ranking martial artists. That is if you don’t want to lose any more face.”
Maeng Hee-cheon’s face contorted in anger.
Gwan Il-hyeon and the Black Armored Cavalry mounted their horses. Maeng Hee-cheon glared at them with a mix of fury, but he couldn’t bring himself to stop them.
Confronting Gwan Il-hyeon over a mere low-ranking martial artist was too much, even for him.
Gwan Il-hyeon and the Black Armored Cavalry sped away from the Jade Heaven Alliance, while Maeng Hee-cheon watched their retreating figure, suppressing his fury.
When they finally disappeared from view, Maeng Hee-cheon turned around, irritated. Then, he saw Lee Gwak, lying in the ground covered in blood. Fortunately, his chest was faintly rising and falling, indicating he was still alive.
Seeing his man lying there, so useless, made him sick to his stomach.
“What are you all waiting for?! Get that bastard out of my sight!”
* * *
A middle-aged martial artist dressed in blue robes appeared behind Joo Shin-yoon’s back. His expressionless face which looked as if it had been chiseled from ice, combined with snake-like cold eyes, gave off a chilling aura.
He was Naeng Ha-yoon, one of Joo Shin-yoon’s confidants. Naeng Ha-yoon was the leader of the Righteous Blood Corps, an organization under the Inner Court, and he boasted impressive martial prowess.
“Where are they?”
“They have just left the fortress.”
“Was there any trouble?”
“They vented their anger on a low-ranking martial artist from the Outer Hall before heading out.”
“Is he dead?”
“He’s still breathing.”
“That’s fine then.”
Joo Shin-yoon looked out the window indifferently.
His eyes were shining sharper than ever.
“The Celestial Demon Union… Are they planning to make their move now?”
That the Lunatic Pugilist was merely an excuse. They used the pretext of subjugating the Lunatic Pugilist to gauge the internal strength of the Jade Heaven Alliance. Hence, Joo Shin-yoon had revealed only as much as necessary.
More than a hundred years had passed since the Great Heavenly Blood War.
During this time, both the Celestial Demon Union and the Jade Heaven Alliance had amassed tremendous power. If this accumulated power were not to be released to the outside world, it would inevitably rot from the inside. That’s why they used the Lunatic Pugilist as an excuse to gauge each other’s strength.
To determine whether they should strike each other now, or if they should wait a bit longer.
Although they had taken more damage than expected from the Lunatic Pugilist, it didn’t matter. Compared to the power that the Jade Heaven Alliance had accumulated over the years, it was merely a drop in the ocean.
Given that they even involved the Dragon Sky Valley and the Zealous Justice School to spread out the damages, one could argue there was virtually no harm done.
Thoughts swirled in his head.
Jade Heaven Alliance, Celestial Demon Union, and the Ten Supremes…
Countless names formed a map in his mind. However, nowhere on that map was there a place for the name of the low-ranking martial artist from the Outer Hall, who had become a prime target for Gwan Il-hyeon.
Thank you for reading!
- Righteous Blood Corps. Raws: 정혈단(正血團).
- 正 zhèng – straight / upright / proper / main / principal / to correct
- 血 blood
- 團 xuè – tuán – round / lump / ball / to roll into a ball / to gather / regiment / group / society / classifier for a lump or a soft mass: wad (of paper), ball (of wool), cloud (of smoke)
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