The air was cold to breathe.
When I reached the top of the mountain peak and stepped on the snow-covered ground, it reached up to my ankles.
A battle on snowy peaks under the sky. It sounded glamorous in words, but I can’t feel it.
There was Hae Ack-chun with his giant arms crossed together. Standing beside him were the twins. The atmosphere felt heavy.
Like me, they were committed too.
-Doesn’t this seem a bit familiar?
As Short Sword said, in just 3 months, Song Jwa-baek and Song Woo-hyun had grown considerably. As a result, they couldn’t even be arrogant, unlike before.
Compared to Hae Ack-chun, they were still small, but they were bigger than me. The twins were now easy to tell apart.
-He looks fine today….
The person Short Sword referred to was the younger twin, Song Woo-hyun. The way his smooth head reflected the sunlight was dazzling.
It’s shocking how his hair loss led to such a dazzling bald head. But thanks to that, he gave off a stronger impression.
I stepped into the snow and walked to them.
“Kulkul, are you ready to lose?”
As soon as he saw me, he asked me this. But I wasn’t going to fall for this shallow provocation.
“Shouldn’t we fight to know?”
I harbored no thoughts of falling for their cheap words. Then Song Jwa-baek said.
“Why don’t you just surrender now and call me master?”
“You seem confident?”
“Of course. Because you and I are different.”
Being confident meant being sure of victory. Right? At that time, Hae Ack-chun hits Song Jwa-baek on the back of his head.
“Huh! Who gave you the right to talk about surrender? This fight will have to go till the end.”
Song Jwa-baek frowns.
Well, we didn’t know the real purpose of this confrontation, so this was to be expected. For Hae Ack-chun, this confrontation was like a way to avenge the humiliation of his past.
He wanted his next-generation disciple to defeat the might of his enemy…
-He is trying to win mentally.
Look at his witty conclusion. Well, in the end, it was true.
Whatever the past was, he wanted to surpass his opponent, the South Heavenly Swordsman, who outmatched him.
-No, stay quiet, Short Sword. If the fighting spirit dies, he cannot fight.
At South Heavenly Iron Sword’s words, Short Sword grumbled. But she knew the importance of the confrontation, so she stopped.
“Who will I fight again?”
I knew that I had to compete with one of the twins first. But fortunately, I didn’t have to take on both of them at the same time.
Song Jwa-baek stepped up.
“It is me.”
I thought so. Song Woo-hyun, the younger twin, didn’t fit the concept of the fight as he was still a bit immature.
Of course, a typical opponent would be intimidated by his current appearance.
“Elder. Will you keep your promise?”
“Kulkul, that happens only when you win.”
I never thought that I would lose.
As he continued to show a confident expression, I slowly became nervous.
‘Because he isn’t the kind of person to brag.’
I had to be careful. Song Jwa-baek and I looked at each other as the other two moved back.
Then Hae Ack-chun shouted.
Song Jwa-baek took a stance. As he approached me with extended arms, I could see the iron wrist guards on him.
It seems like they weren’t there just for protection. He then looked at me and said.
“You use a sword, so I cannot come bare-handed, right?”
“You are right. I am holding a rusty iron sword. Yours looks pretty good.”
-Quiet. You’re hindering him.
Iron Sword tried to speak back until the short sword made him go silent. I then smiled at Song Jwa-baek.
“This is nothing. Elder said he used them when he was young.”
So these weren’t normal things.
Where was the fairness if you were going to provide things? The only thing that the old man taught me was throwing books at me and telling me to learn from them.
Well, what did I expect from a man who stole the technique of others?
Regardless, I pulled out the South Heavenly Iron Sword and took my stance. The opponent was ready too.
I heard that his martial art was called the Black Iron Fist and was known to enhance the fist’s power and develop strength in the body.
Of course, this was what Hae Ack-chun considered fairness.
‘If that is the case, I can also consider it.’
Actually, I could just dismantle the technique. Song Jwa-baek and I looked at each other. No change in the stance, both of us were ready to act.
It was then.
“I come first!”
The snow moved as Song Jwa-baek ran like a wild horse.
The force at which he was coming wasn’t normal. If he rushed in like that, I needed to ensure the distance.
I skilfully thrust my sword towards his forehead. At that moment, Song Jwa-baek crossed his hands and blocked the sword with his iron wrist guard.
As the tip of the sword trembled, my body got pushed back.
Surprised by my attack, the guy didn’t give me another chance and began to attack.
I swung my sword to defend myself and not stab him this time, and each time I blocked, I got pushed away.
‘It makes his fist like iron.’
That was not an ordinary wrist guard, and his strength was different from what I saw 3 months ago. If he had become this strong, I could be suspicious of him.
“Did you take any pills?”
Song Jwa-baek denied it, though his eyes trembled a little. The kind of guy who could not lie.
He attacked more fiercely than before.
-Wonhwi! Keep your distance. At this level, he is close to being a first-rate warrior in terms of internal qi.
Iron Sword, who was feeling this, told me.
How good was the pill for him to be considered a first-rate warrior? It had to have given him around 20 years worth of internal qi.
‘Tch. I need to move.’
I followed Iron Sword’s advice and widened the distance. The more space I made, the more I tried not to fall behind and track his movements.
His footwork was superior to mine, making it difficult to catch up. Each time I tried to follow him, I almost fell down. It looked like Hae Ack-chun had properly taught the twins.
At that moment, his fist was coming to pierce me in the chest, making me lean back. I then made some space to widen the distance again.
Surprisingly, Song Jwa-baek didn’t predict this. This wasn’t something I learned but rather an improvisation in crisis.
“You are flexible!”
I was slightly surprised when he praised me.
And now the fist came right for the face.
I blocked it again with Iron Sword, but my body was being pushed back.
“I won’t miss this!”
Song Jwa-baek tried to close the distance again.
‘I am annoyed.’
Iron Sword mumbled.
-This is the basic tactic one uses when going against a sword with fists. Of course, there is more of an effect he has since he knows most of your sword technique.
That made me realize just how much Hae Ack-chun had studied the stolen technique. It would be no exaggeration to say that these fist techniques were born from the bitter memories of the old man.
So he must have read the book and polished his technique over the years.
It seems like pushing me was fun. At least his smiling lips told me that.
“How long will you dodge and defend? Why don’t you try some techniques?”
He was provoking me.
Maybe he knew how to counter my movement. If not, he wouldn’t say this.
My hands were ready to unfold the sword technique, and he smiled.
He came in like a bullet, and it felt like dozens of fists were coming toward me.
I quickly blocked the guy’s fist with the side of my iron sword. My form then began to get pushed back again.
“Be ready to call me master!”
He was shouting in joy already.
“Wake up from the dream.”
When my body was pushed back, I bent backward and jumped ahead.
It was the Hidden Clam Sword. A counterattack technique for explosive attacks.
When the swordsman, who was supposed to be almost dead, rushed for him, Song Jwa-baek took a defensive stance.
“Kuak! W-what is this?”
He was visibly shocked. Well, that was expected.
This was different from what the technique Hae Ack-chun must have taught him. And this wasn’t the Xing Ming sword technique, either.
The opponent blocked my offensive and tried to use a technique. He rotated like a top and tried to push me back with his stronger hand.
But I expected this.
‘If you come at me with force.’
I utilized the third technique I learned, left myself to the flow, moved like a loach, and swung my sword.
Song Jwa-baek was startled by my curving attack as my iron sword approached him gently rather than speedily to pierce through his chest unerringly. In his panic, he made space between us.
I tried to widen the distance again instead of chasing him.
“Are you going to keep running away?”
But despite my provocation, he didn’t stop. His eyes were looking elsewhere. It was the direction where Hae Ack-chun was standing.
Hae Ack-chun didn’t look normal. His expression clearly showed that he was shocked at how I managed to cover the shortcomings in the technique he showed me.
How would he look if I turned the tables then?
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