Ki Sung-ja has listed eight tactics of Grandmaster Ouyang’s techniques. I can copy the first four tactics to some extent, so I deliberately skip them.
Long Sword Style (長劍式) is to emit energy.
Short Sword Style (短劍式) is to condense energy.
Myriad Sword Style (萬劍式) is shooting Sword Energy like a torrent of petals.
Draw Sword Style (拔劍式) is a principle of unfolding the previous three styles while pulling out a sword.
However, the second half of the martial arts technique becomes more difficult.
Thunderous Sword Style (雷劍式). Converting Sword Energy into a thunderstorm. How am I supposed to do this?
Wooden Sword Style (木劍式). Utilize 5 techniques with a wooden sword, but wouldn’t it be expected for the wooden sword to break?
Energy Sword Style (氣劍式). Unfurl every technique without the wooden sword, then why do I have to learn sword techniques in the first place?
Grandmaster Style (武極式). It says here that the sword, mental and internal Qi, explodes instantly, but it’s such an absurd tactic that I have nothing to say about that.
I read the whole thing three times over and gave up on the second half of the eight tactics wholly and utterly, without any lingering feelings.
A man who gives up right away if he can’t do it, that’s me.
Ki Sung-ja’s explanation was too brief. If you try to force yourself to learn, you’ll only end up experiencing Qi Deviation four times. This senior is always brief in his explanation.
It could be due to his high martial art skills, or maybe he thought it was pointless to explain in detail.
I realized something while learning martial arts in my previous life.
Some are easy to learn as soon as you see them. On the other hand, you can’t master a martial art or specific tactics if it doesn’t match your way of thinking, personality, and understanding.
The point here is that I am not naturally a perfect human being.
As written in the Strolling Golden Turtle Technique, you get stronger gradually daily, and if you try to get into something that doesn’t work out, it will not produce good results. There are many ways to get stronger, so there’s no need to dwell on the second half of the tactics.
My mindset on martial arts is a little more flexible and lenient than in my Crazy Demon days.
‘Let’s not force ourselves to do what we can’t do.’
Putting the darksteel into an expensive-looking box, I wear the unspecified ring on my middle finger and leave.
Is it because I’ve read the book over and over again?
It is already dawn.
After I pack the two unopened Kaoliang liquor from the kitchen, I sit at a table outside and watch the sunrise.
Though there are purple hues when the sun is setting, the color of the sky is also fascinating at sunrise. It’s like when Yin and Yang energy shine in a tense, knitted face-off of palms.
Anyway, whether it’s sunset or dawn, these mysterious lights are always similar to my name, Zaha (紫霞).
Getting rid of my thoughts and feelings, I read Ki Sung-ja’s review that is written at the back of the manual.
「Does Grandmaster Ouyang’s sword technique look great? Even a man like this was defeated by me seven times.」
Drinking a glass of Kaoliang liquor, I read it as if I were talking with Ki Sung-ja.
「Does that make me the Greatest In The World (天下第一人)? No. As far as I know, there are other masters on the same level as me. Everyone in this world grows old and dies. How can I boast about being the greatest? If I don’t compete with the masters and survive longer than them by taking care of my health, will I become the best in the world? Then I would die of old age soon. In short, the word “the best in the world” means nothing. If I travel the world and meet a master stronger than me and discuss martial arts, that will be my blessing and joy. Why is winning and losing a better pleasure than improving martial arts skills? Martial arts cultivation is a slow and lengthy process. Those in a hurry face the fate of harming themselves like Grandmaster Ouyang. Will you walk down the Demon Path that gains power in a short time, or become a true hero who becomes stronger day by day? Think about it. No matter how strong a Kangho warrior becomes, he cannot beat a strong-willed hero. I know many people don’t agree with me, but this is just my opinion.」
“Hm? Just a mere hero?”
What’s with this sudden hero talk?
The word hero has disappeared these days as if it has gone missing, and the deceased Master Ki Sung-ja is bringing it back in this review.
I might have dismissed it if it was someone else, but I can’t.
These are none other than the words of Ki Sung-ja.
While drinking alone, I reflect on Ki Sung-ja’s talk on the hero.
Why is a hero more powerful?
The book’s contents are too short to answer my questions immediately. As I look toward the Phoenix guest room, Baek So-ah and Heuk So-ryeong, whose pressure points had worn off, stick out their heads and make eye contact.
The two run toward me and reply as if they are reporting their findings.
“I came out to check if the fire was already out.”
“I came out to find out where you are.”
I point across the table.
“Have a seat.”
I ask them a question as soon as they sit down.
“What do you think of a hero?”
Heuk So-ryeong replies.
“Nothing. I thought they were not around anymore?”
Baek So-ah also says.
“I learned young that a hero is a cool person.”
I scratch the back of my head and beckon them with my chin.
“Drinking alcohol while looking at the morning sun is the best. You have to drink in a pathetic situation to get the real taste of alcohol, you know.”
I have a few drinks with the two who have the bright ‘So’ and smiling ‘So’ in their names and announce the nicknames I made for them on the spot.
“From now on, you shall be Black & White Beam (黑白昭笑) The name means smiling brightly, so it’s your job to always smile brightly.”
Heuk So-ryeong and Baek So-ah look at each other and answer simultaneously.
“I will meditate for a bit until my subordinates arrive…”
I take the Moonlight Dagger, put it on the table, and tell them grimly.
“Stab me if you can see an opening.”
After appointing Black & White Beam as my watchmen, I proceed to meditate. If they swallow aphrodisiacs, they would have a racy dream, but in my dream, I am being beaten by the Crazy Monk again.
Sometimes, it happens.
There are times when I hear my own snoring in my sleep. A man who listens to his own snoring even in the middle of a dream, that’s me.
Opening my eyes abruptly due to the uncomfortable posture, I drag an empty chair and put my legs up. As I look drowsily at the two, Black & White Beam tell me.
“Please sleep comfortably.”
“We can’t see any opening.”
I answer with my eyes closed.
“…and that’s me.”
Once again, I snore. Determined to beat Crazy Monk this time, I fell into slumber.
“Sir, I think you need to wake up.”
As soon as I hear Heuk So-ryeong’s voice, I nod with closed eyes.
“Was the meditation long?”
“The timing was perfect.”
Wiping the saliva off my mouth, I survey my surroundings. The atmosphere has been very brutal since the morning.
A distance away on the left, the Four Generals are standing in line with the Black Rabbit Union subordinates. On the right, a group of Kangho warriors with similar attire is staring at the Black Rabbit Union. Judging from the atmosphere and outfit, they are the Nanming Society. Errand boy Jo-pal points at me from within the crowd.
“That’s not the leader. That guy is the leader.”
The man who leads the men of Nanming Society peers at me.
I yawn and then tell Black & White Beam.
“You two go to the left. Those are my men.”
Black & White Beam gets up quickly and then moves towards the Four Generals. In a half-awake state, I gulp down Kaoliang liquor on an empty stomach.
I’ve been drooling, my hair is getting greasy, and I down alcohol as soon as I open my eyes. I look so pathetic that no one in the world would compete against me.
A Nanming Society Leader, who has come to check on the Narak Society, asks me.
“Are you the leader?”
I answer while pointing to the opposite side.
“As you can see, take a seat.”
Amid the stand-off between two parties, a Nanming Society official walks out and sits across from me.
Naturally, an eye-contact fight breaks out.
I’ve trained in the staring games that incompetent men learn before maturing.
The man blinks first, then says.
“I’m Nam Yeon-poong (南延風) of the Nanming Society.”
Perhaps he’s a relative of the society leader. He has the same surname. I look at my lackeys and reveal a fitting identity.
“I am the leader of the Black Rabbit Union.”
Nam Yeon-poong replies with furrowed brows.
“Are you Dae Na-chal’s disciple?”
“More like the one who killed Dae Na-chal.”
“I see. What about Ouyang Bok?”
“Did you know Ouyang Bok is one of the people paying the Nanming Society?”
“He said that before he died.”
Nam Yeon-poong looks at me and shifts to Nanming Society’s troops. Our numbers are much smaller than the Nanming Society. After hearing Jo-pal’s report, he must have rushed here to check the current situation.
Nam Yeon-poong then says.
“You’re young. Are you aware of our leader’s personality?”
“What’s your leader like?”
Touching his forehead to suppress his anger, Nam Yeon-poong replies.
“Black Rabbit Union Leader, go to the Nanming Society and apologize to our leader. That’s the only way to keep things from getting out of hand. Go back to your room and ask your subordinates what kind of organization the Nanming Society is and who our leader is. Come back when you’re done researching. Come apologize, okay? If you don’t want to, then this is war.”
Nam Yeon-poong says while pointing his finger at the town.
“Do you think our leader will be angry at the Narak Society for that small money offering? Money doesn’t matter. Come over and explain why you killed Ouyang Bok out of nowhere. Our leader’s sword does not discriminate. Whether Demon Cult, Orthodox Faction, or the same Unorthodox Faction. Don’t shed blood for blood, I’m telling you.”
I could already guess that the Nanming Society must be pretty influential when he says money is unimportant.
I tell Nam Yeon-poong.
“Tell your leader. Ouyang Bok was killed for committing fraud in a gamble. Whether he pays you or not, fraud in gambling is a different matter. All he does is give part of the extorted money. If you take it despite being aware, then you’re an abettor in accordance with the laws of Murim Alliance, and if the Nanming Society aided him, then you’re a fraud gamble accomplice. So it’s not right to ask me to apologize. Once you say this, add my words.”
“What is it?”
I point my finger at Nam Yeon-poong.
“I’ll be in the Black Rabbit Union, so ask the Nanming Society Leader to send an invitation in his name. Then I’ll go and discuss what happened with your leader. I guess that stupid word seems to be your idea…”
I pointed to the Moonlight Dagger still stuck on the table and tell Nam Yeon-poong.
“Yeon-poong, you wanna die here?”
Leaning forward, I tell Nam Yeon-poong.
“The Nanming Society is strong? That’s none of my business. Just so you know, Dae Na-chal was more arrogant than you before he died. Go back and convey my words to your leader. Save that nonsense for your underlings, okay?
Nam Yeon-poong stares at me and scans my men. He’s considering it, but he probably thinks I wouldn’t die recklessly here.
Nam Yeon-poong stands up, lets out a sigh, and says.
“See you again.”
I hold grudges, so I keep teasing Nam Yeon-poong, who is pretending to be strong until the end.
Nam Yeon-poong turns around.
“I spared you once. Now leave”
When I grin at him, Nam Yeon-poong reddens and whips his head back. The Nanming Society, which came here with good momentum, disappears in a heavy silence. Of course, the errand boy Jo-pal, who I know, follows them.
Only then did I call out to So Gun-pyeong.
“Collect all the funds of the King of Gamble with those women, and let’s leave.”
So Gun-pyeong nods.
I beckon the errand boy Il-bo who is standing around awkwardly. After handing an empty glass to Il-bo, I pour Kaoliang liquor for him.
Il-bo replies with a grin.
“Thank you, sir.”
The generals and subordinates are watching, so I add.
“Let’s wrap this up in 2 hours and leave. We can drink when we arrive at the Black Rabbit Union. And by the way. We’ve made quite a lot of money today, so let’s go all out.”
I mean to cheer up my subordinates.
Come to think of it, I didn’t do anything except wake up, drink, and tease the Nanming Society today.
The role of the leader is so difficult and pathetic.
Now that I think about it, if I was still the Crazy Demon from the past, I would’ve killed Nam Yeon-poong and everyone, even Jo-pal.
Did I stop because of the responsibility I now hold to my subordinates?
Or am I changing little by little?
I’m not sure.
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