Episode 380

Operation (2)
5 months ago
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Due to Jin Gu’s injury, the atmosphere in the hall had changed.

Some went to the physician’s office, and some went to see the injured Jin Song, while Jin Gang moved with leader Jin Mu.

“Wait, can we have the talk?”

“You didn’t leave yet?”

Meanwhile, Seol-Hwi caught Myung Cheol, who was about to go out after roughly organizing his clothes and documents.

“Yes, I stayed behind to talk to you.”

“Talk what… wait? Are you the one who came in this time?”

Myung Cheol looked Seol-Hwi up and down for a moment and seemed to remember something.

Jin Hwi entered the building this time and attended the class. Right now, he was wearing the clothes of Jin disciples, but originally, he should have been wearing the Myung ones. He was a disciple of the Hae disciple elder.

“Right.”

“But… what do you want to talk about?”

“You will know once you hear it. Can you please take a moment?”

“Hmm.”

Myung Cheol looked around for a moment and then nodded his head.

“Fine, let’s talk. Follow me.”

Hmm…

That sight was a bit surprising. He could not have just ignored it. If he had a plan, he could have said he was busy, but he did not.

Step

There was a table and a place to sit on the left side of the hall. Myung Cheol said after putting down the thick papers,

“Right, so what are you curious about?”

“What kind of memory have you implanted in the disciples who came to learn?”

“…?”

The way he reacted seemed like he did not understand.

“Jin Gang climbed earlier to the stage. I’m asking what was planted in their heads.”

“Planted?”

He actually asked back. Then, as if he thought of something, he said,

“I don’t know what you’re on about. It is true that the direction of this class stimulated the winning spirit of the kids. And the method of asking for a new interpretation of Taiji Fist is also something that didn’t exist before. But what now? Plant something?”

“We are a group of 53 Taoists, selected for being the most outstanding among us. A situation arose when one of them couldn’t control his mind, and you did nothing to stop him. Did you plan this right from the start?”

“Ah, of course, I did point out things which anyone did excessively in the class, but not in front of everyone. I admit that it is my fault.”

Myung Cheon frowned and stood up.

He appeared so calm that Seol-Hwi almost wondered if he had done anything wrong.

“So don’t harbor groundless suspicions. I am a person who gave up everything for Wudang. Deviating from the established path can also lead to finding a better one.”

“…”

“Who can stay motivated and teach properly if they are constantly met with doubt? It’s just a repetition of the same words and the same life.”

No matter how venerable and traditional the Nine Great Sects were, in ten or a hundred years, the later generations will establish paths that were previously unseen.

Or, there will be changes where the standards of the ancients and those in modern times differed due to cultural development.

This could be the right interpretation. There was an old saying that if a man wanted to learn, he needed to read all the books in the five carts. But one must consider that the books carried on the five carts in ancient times were made of bamboo sticks with engravings.

On large and thick bamboo, not many characters could be written. Now, in this era, with papermaking having advanced, what was once written on five carts’ worth of bamboo could be compiled into a single book.

It would not even fill a single cart now. Just because something was old did not mean it was always superior.

This… did I misunderstand?

After hearing this, Seol-Hwi began to hesitate. He realized that the argument made sense and that Myung Cheon’s eyes held sincerity.

No, it was more than that. Jin Gang had become aggressive, and there was no reason to question Myung Cheol about it. What more could he say?

“May I leave then?”

“…Yes.”

Seol-Hwi nodded at Myung Cheol’s words and calmly walked past him.

“Wait.”

Myung Cheol turned around and looked at Seol-Hwi as he asked,

“Have you seen Wonderland?”

“…Uh?”

Wonderland.

A term that referred to the utopia of the Taoists where immortals lived. Suddenly, without any apparent reason, Myung Cheol asked about it.

“Right. You can do it, too. So different from the start.”

Shhh

Myung Cheol approached him slowly, his red eyes shining with madness. Something was off.

Seol-Hwi recalled the ominous feeling he had gotten from Jin Gang earlier as they made eye contact.

“…!”

A ray of light passed by, accompanied by an illusion that shook his mind—a form of transmission.

The helplessness and pain of one’s past, along with the emotions that lead to anger.

…Huh.

But it ended abruptly. The memories were cut off and repressed.

Also, in the process of being separated from the system, its power was completely neutralized.

Afterward, Seol-Hwi naturally returned to his current situation.

“You… who are you?”

He found Myung Cheol trembling.

“How — how did you end this…”

“It is the third ability of the mind, so yes, something like that does exist.”

As Seol-Hwi became more flustered, he began to think. And think.

It was as if his animal-like nature had been overlaid, the human aspect vanishing.

An animal that fearlessly touched a human and then looked to run if struck back hard.

“Who gave you that power?”

“Uhhh…”

Seol-Hwi asked in a low voice, but Myung Cheol did not answer.

“It can’t be. I had no choice; I need to take you down.”

Shhhh

As Seol-Hwi concentrated, waves of air began to surge around him. Myung Cheol, shocked, quickly took a stance, but it was too late.

Pack!

Unable to block the pushback, he retreated and stumbled.

Although Seol-Hwi’s technique was swift, he did not expect his opponent to be that good.

Paat

Without giving him a chance to gather his senses, he engaged in close combat.

“Uk!”

Myung Cheol naturally assumed a defensive stance using Taiji, but it was futile.

Following a bottom kick came a top kick. Shoulder shoves alternated with pulling and pushing with one hand.

A barrage of punches came at him from every direction.

Puak! Puak!

Was it because the opponent’s martial arts were not Taiji?

Or could he not shake off his embarrassment and stop the assault?

“Kuak!”

With a broken nose, he fell to the ground, clutching his face. Seol-Hwi frowned upon seeing that.

Are your skills of that level?

He realized the moment they fought that the opponent was far inferior to the Myung disciples he had seen thus far.

Of course, it might have been because Seol-Hwi had opened the top dantian and reached the Profound Master level, but…

Third ability…

The method to twist the mind and render emotions uncontrollable.

Seol-Hwi wondered if this had something to do with the demonic sect, as he was not interested in improving the skills of others, but right now this ability was manipulating and controlling their emotions.

Shh

Seol-Hwi raised his fist again, intending to strike him down. But this time, someone blocked his path.

“Let us leave it at that, Jin Hwi.”

“…When did you arrive?”

Leader Jin Mu stood there, blocking the way.

“That guy isn’t a match for you. I will tell you what you are so curious about.”

His eyes were downcast, uncharacteristically subdued. Perhaps it was shame that filled them—

Because now was the moment when the Wudang Sect’s shameful deeds were coming to light.


Shhh. Swish.

The wind blew.

And the two walked for a while, surrounded by beautiful views in all directions and a refreshing breeze. One would expect to feel lighter, but his body felt heavier. Leader Jin Mu felt the same.

Step. Step.

The dark expression on his face as he walked did not change until he entered this quiet space. It was then that they ventured into a forest where no one else was around.

“You were right, Jin Hwi.”

He sighed heavily as he admitted it. He understood what had happened.

“And there’s something I didn’t know. Who would have thought that even Elder Myung Cheon would take on such abilities…”

There was anger in his voice as he spoke about ‘such abilities’ — it was not a pursuit of absolute power, but rather an ability closer to sorcery that manipulated emotions and incited anger.

And that direction was a doomed path.

“From the disciples’ brief reflections, the purpose for spreading the third ability is becoming clearer. It seems like they grow stronger with it, doesn’t that deviate from the true nature of Wudang?”

“…It seems so.”

He had no choice but to concede to Seol-Hwi’s words.

A Taoist place was one where you escaped from joy, sorrow, agony, and anger to calm down and study the mind.

The fact that a warrior of Wudang, and not of another sect, had access to such demon-like abilities of the heart was the true destruction of what Wudang stood for. It was a shameful thing that abandoned tradition.

It was heartbreaking to know that this kind of energy was taking root in Wudang.

Above all, it was impossible to know how widespread this had become.

“You said to be honest, right?”

Jin Mu, looking to the side, began to speak, and Seol-Hwi, waiting for him to continue, smiled encouragingly.

“Right. True. What you saw is very close to the reality of Wudang. The third ability — our Myung disciples are learning it.”

“…”

“No, more precisely, even I am learning it.”

“…!”

Seol-Hwi looked at him, shocked.

He had heard about it. But he did not think the man would admit to it, to such a disgraceful admission.

“The day I touched Supreme Master, I felt as though the world was in my hands. But it lasted only a moment. I wanted to go higher, and each time I tried, I hit a wall. Maybe it is true that I felt addicted.”

The man spoke as if he were drunk on the past.

“Even when I grew strong enough to shake the world, I wasn’t happy. After experiencing a long halt in my growth, it became difficult to endure. Even cultivation didn’t heal me, and I continued to search for ways to grow stronger.”

“…”

He looked at Seol-Hwi and then continued,

“It was around then that I stumbled upon this strength. At a time when I was frustrated beyond measure, he made a suggestion, ‘I will give you the strength of the heavens.’”

He raised his hand, and a flash of energy moved.

“Lightning energy?”

Seol-Hwi asked, a bit surprised.

“Right, perhaps the strength to be the best in the world. It might be the power to overcome anyone…”

Maybe so…

Honestly, he was nervous.

Among the abilities, lightning was the strongest, granted to those who have ascended into the realm of flame.

In other words, this was the most potent power anyone in Wudang could obtain. And right now, Jin Mu possessed it.

“What do I do… Prophet. What do I do with this situation… Is this any good?”

He looked afraid.

The power of Taiji, to which they dedicated their lives.

All for the sake of having the strongest power.

In a way, was this not a situation where one denied their own past?

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