Chapter 16 - South Heavenly Iron Sword (3)

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-This is my first time seeing this.

The South Heavenly Iron Sword kept mumbling the same thing. It was said that the standard innate internal qi within any human tended to be around the size of a fingernail. It was natural to be shocked as mine was several times that size.

-My former master was also excellent in internal qi, but even he couldn’t do this much.

-Yah! Then you should say, ‘my new master Wonhwi is more talented’ and like it. But what is with that constant whining? This is a good thing.

-Hmm. True.

He agreed with what Small Short Sword said. Well, it was upsetting. For some reason, it felt like the South Heavenly Iron Sword was getting trapped by its words.

Naturally, it felt like a hierarchical relationship was being established here.

-A good start is definitely something to celebrate. With this level of internal qi, it is possible to cultivate at least 10 years worth of qi.

‘10 years?’

If that was true, I could call myself lucky. There was innate internal qi in this body, equivalent to 10 years of training. It had saved me 10 years of time.

-You are lucky

‘Lucky…’

I remembered hearing that what my family lacked the most was internal qi. In addition, I had also damaged my dantien.

And I always thought my life was unlucky. But, it felt weird that I was instead far superior to ordinary people.

-If this is the case, I think it would be good to start practicing cultivation.

‘Cultivation?’

-It is literally what it means, to collect all the qi within the body and concentrate it to ensure the qi doesn’t dissipate. However, know that proper cultivation is what makes innate internal qi work.

My heart pounded at his words. When I was young, I wanted to learn the So Yang cultivation technique, which was my family technique, but the chance was gone and instead, I had found a new chance.

It was an opportunity to learn the skills of the South Heavenly Swordsman, who was called the best in Yunnan.

So I asked with excitement.

‘What is the name of the cultivation technique?’

-It is called Xing Ming cultivation.

What a name. I think that learning this would make me feel different. And then he spoke in a confident voice to me.

-Admittedly, if you can master around 8 levels of the skills in this cultivation technique, your achievements will be great in Murim.

They are words that are great in giving confidence.

It was natural for the South Heavenly Swordsman to have such pride in himself, especially since innate internal qi was stronger than normal qi. I cannot even imagine how strong he was.

I then asked it, curious.

‘How many levels did the South Heavenly Swordsman reach?’

-Around the sixth level.

‘…Sixth level in this state alone?’

This was amazing. It was unbelievable that he increased his innate qi through this method alone. Man, he was indeed worth admiring.

-If you are born with this, you don’t have to work hard for 10 years. If you, Wonhwi, can do this, you will reach the 6th level within 10 to 15 years.

Ah…

It was darker than I thought.

Still, if I thought differently about it, it was as if I was being told that I didn’t need to work too hard. If I honed my level constantly, I could reach the level of the South Heavenly Swordsman in just 10 years.

‘Let’s walk on the line of death!’

Motivation rose in me.

After that, I spent around 3 hours inside the cave. I didn’t even feel hungry. For a long time, I was just someone who was starving for martial arts. I realized it only when the sun went down, and the cave turned red.

‘I need to go back.’

-Right. Who knows what that crazy man will do.

Short Sword agreed with me. It would take a while to get on top of the mountain and head back down. As I was about to go out, I hesitated and bowed to the skeleton.

-What are you doing?

‘Well, I should at least greet him properly now that I learned his martial arts.’

The sword taught him, but somehow it was also right to show respect to the man who created this technique.

-… My former master will recognize you as his successor.

Iron Sword’s voice sounded like it was moved by my actions. After standing up, I hurried out of the cave with the new sword on my back.

As I looked up at the cliff, I sighed. I’ve gone up and down the cliffs for two months, but I still get tired from seeing them. Then Short Sword asked me.

-Why don’t you learn some footwork techniques?

‘Footwork?’

-Right. It is hard to walk up and down the cliff like this. But, if you learn footwork techniques, you will be able to climb the mountain quickly.

It was right. Watching Hae Ack-chun take me around like he was walking on flat ground, I did want to learn.

Typically, the most essential thing in martial arts was footwork. It would be no exaggeration to say martial arts depended on it.

‘Hmm.’

Short Sword did tell me that it would teach me, but I thought it might be better to learn what the iron sword was saying. Especially after what I learned today, I had expectations of him.

But he stayed silent.

-Sigh…

I could hear the sound of him moaning.

-… your back is so lovely.

This was insane. I warned him to not act like this. Just hearing that made me feel creeped out.

Despite knowing that, the iron sword didn’t seem to care.

-Hmm. Footwork?

I wanted to say something back, but I stayed silent. Thanks to him I had learned something good, so I decided to be patient.

However, I could do nothing about the goosebumps on my arm.

-I will teach you. But first, you need to learn the basic footwork form. You cannot even walk, yet you are thinking about running.

Well, that made sense. But I don’t have the time to learn now. The old man would come running for me if I arrived too late.

Tak!

I held onto the stones and began to climb up. After learning footwork, would I be able to walk upright on the peaks like the crazy old man?

-That is impossible.

‘Uh?’

I was puzzled by his answer.

-No matter how fast you learn the technique, walking on such a steep mountain like flat ground is unreasonable. My previous master couldn’t do it either.

‘Then how did the crazy old man do it?’

-That has to be his own technique. The former master always admired people who created their own techniques, especially footwork.

Something that even the South Heavenly Swordsman accepted. This was surprising. I thought the man wouldn’t care since he was strong, but that seemed to be a mistake.

-He has the upper hand.

Iron sword’s answers were making it certain. In any case, Hae Ack-chun had his own weird technique, which made even the South Heavenly Swordsman acknowledge him. After climbing for a while, I could see the top.

‘Uh?’

But when I reached the top, I saw something shocking. Song Woo-hyun, the younger of the twins, was standing upside down with his head on the ground and both arms behind his back. It was not a normal balancing technique.

The balance came from the neck and not the head. This was apparent from the veins standing out on the neck.

-This is why he was turning bald. Oh my.

As the short sword said, the hair loss was in the center of his head, and it was because of this training. He was going to lose all his hair.

In addition, I also spotted Song Jwa-baek.

Tatatat!

Song Jwa-baek was running. Instead of just running, he clenched his fists and ran with his hands on the floor. It looked painful to watch.

-He caught them. Those poor kids.

It truly was horrible to see. The teaching method the old man had was beyond normal. Constantly pushing one to the limit.

Someone who hung people from a cliff for hours.

-Where did the old man go?

I could only see the twins on the peak, as the short sword said. It was normal to stay and watch when one trains, but he wasn’t the kind to stick around.

Maybe I could try running?

“Did you feel the innate internal qi?”

Ah! That surprised me!

I thought I would fall off. Hae Ack-chun arrived next to me. Just how great was this man that he could recognize even the minute amount of qi?

He was quite tricky.

“Why are you silent?”

I shook my head at his question.

-Eh? You couldn’t feel it, so you learned to do it.

-Shut it, Short Sword.

Because I was nervous, I listened to the two swords talking. The old man told me that he would abandon me if I couldn’t feel the innate internal qi.

So I was afraid about what words to say to him.

“You aren’t cheating, right?”

Hae Ack-chun puts his hand on my chest and then infuses qi.

Warm energy entered my chest and spread around.

Tak!

After moving the qi for a long time within the body, he released his hand and grinned.

“You didn’t feel it.”

There was no sign of disappointment or anger. Instead, it was as if he expected this to happen.

I licked my lips.

‘He really cannot feel it.’

Actually, I did learn the proper way to realize the innate qi within my body because I couldn’t normally feel it. The reason why my body can deceive him is…

Firstly…

-Innate internal qi is different from internal qi. It cannot be noticed until you intentionally create it.

That was what Iron Sword told me, and Hae Ack-chun obviously could not feel it. I was a bit afraid, but I was happy that he couldn’t find it.

“Well, it cannot be felt in one day. Kulkul.”

Looking at Hae Ack-chun, who was smiling, I felt excited. Exposing all your tricks in Murim puts you at a disadvantage. So I had to hide more than 60% of it.

-Oh! That is good Wonhwi.

Short Sword praised me. Hae Ack-chun, who was fine with me not growing, frowned.

And then he smiled.

“Must have thought I was deceived. Kulkul.”

Thud!

In an instant, my heart dropped. Did he actually notice it?

“I think you are trying to slow it down as much as possible by using your head, but I need to remind you that you need to be able to do it.”

‘Haa.’

Fortunately, he didn’t know the truth. Man, this old man was clever, but he was making a mistake. After all, he absolutely had no idea that I managed to do it and wasn’t just trying to avoid it.

“Good. If you fail to do it, I will put the parasite back in you.”

“Uh.”

“And you will never rise from a low-ranking warrior in this life.”

“Isn’t that different from our promise?”

“That was before you used your head to not train properly.”

Somehow, he thought that I was delaying the learning process. Well, in the end, I had to achieve it.

“Kulkul, aren’t you motivated to learn now?”

And I had a thought.

“… You said if I failed, you would dispose of me, but what if I managed to get it down?”

“What?”

“You said I need to learn the innate internal qi in the body. Otherwise, I will live as a low-ranking warrior, but shouldn’t there be a reward?”

“Ha!”

Hae Ack-chun smiled at my bold words. I knew how to get this man interested after staying with him for two months.

“You are still gutsy.”

At this, I bowed down on the ground and spoke desperately.

“I don’t want much. But as I climbed up and down the cliff, I grew admiration of the elder’s talent.”

When I looked up, he was frowning.

“Talent? Are you talking about footwork?”

“I will not ask if the elder says no, but please give me a chance to learn what the elder did.”

At my words, the old man glared down at me before nodding.

“Good. I will listen if I need to do that to revive your will to train. But you need to get it done.”

“Thank you so much! Long live the Blood Cult!”

Hae Ack-chun’s expression softened. Maybe it was because he still thought I couldn’t finis.

“Huh. You, go back to your place now. Those brats there aren’t done with their training yet.”

“Alright.”

Pak!

I bowed and turned away, and my lips curled into a smile as soon as I turned away.

‘That light footwork technique is mine.’

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