Chapter 440 - Clan Establishment (4)
Yeon-woo cried out like a dragon roaring after waking up from a long slumber.
[Vimalacitra is astonished.]
Thunder and lightning rattled the world, the lightning bolts making yellow streaks in the sky and sweeping away everything in their path. Spark.
“This is fancy.” The Martial King only scoffed. “But you still have a long way to go.” With a single wave of his hand, he pushed the lightning away easily. “Becoming a tool doesn’t mean acting rashly. It means you should observe a situation coldly and without any fear, then come up with an appropriate response. You have to keep observing. Your eyes must always be on your enemy.”
The attack Yeon-woo managed to squeeze out was futile in the end, but he didn’t miss the opportunity and continued by making consecutive strikes with the Eight Secret Skills, from Break Heaven to Iron Ground.
Since he had trained in the sword, he needed Vigrid to demonstrate his power properly, but the words of the Martial King echoed in his head. ‘Like a tool.’ He repeated them to himself over and over. Boom.
Like a tool. If he didn’t have a sword, he could use his fists. If he was missing his right arm, he could fight with his left. Why? Because he was a tool. With those thoughts in mind, he followed the Martial King relentlessly.
“Eyes aren’t simply for seeing. You must sense everything fully. Trust your senses. Gather your five senses, gut feeling, and sixth sense so that you don’t lose your opponent. You’ll see it if you track them correctly. Otherwise, you’ll only be defeated.”
Yeon-woo stabbed, blocked, and ripped. He didn’t focus only on the attack but gathered all of his senses as the Martial King had advised, concentrating on the Martial King. Each action, each movement of his muscles, and each breath he made sought to grasp everything. He tried to find an opening and tear it open. Because of this, his right arm hadn’t regrown with Regeneration yet. He was centering all of his magic power in his eyes and strengthening his mind, which controlled his body closely.
At times, he activated Time Difference in order to focus on predicting the Martial King’s moves. He had only one goal: to bring down the Martial King. His body, magic power, mind, consciousness were all focused on the Martial King. He didn’t have the capacity to take in any other information.
[You have fallen into a hyperfocused state.]
[Warning! Your mind has overloaded from extreme stress.]
[You have been afflicted with the status ‘Self Neglect’.]
[You have been afflicted with the status ‘Ego Loss.’]
[Vimalacitra takes a deep interest in your current condition.]
[Vimalacitra is curious how you plan to overcome it.]
[If you cannot overcome your condition, Vimalacitra may be greatly disappointed. Take heed of this.]
There were many messages, but he couldn’t read them. All he did was repeat to himself: ‘Become a tool.’ The powers that supported him gathered intricately into each attack, overloading his calculation functions and making him dizzy.
He could see space twisting from the force that Sky Wings generated. He was struggling since he’d not only awakened his Dragon Body but was also controlling all his powers at the same time. Either he’d collapse or his brain would melt.
After a few moments, his consciousness faded and he entered a state in which his mind had become focused to the point of making him little more than a machine.
Become a tool. Focus on ending your enemy. These were the only thoughts in his head. No, there was more: track with your eyes. Trust your senses.
His attacks became more precise and honed. Anyone who even tried to stand close to him would be cut into pieces. The Hell Tribulation that wrapped around him flamed up more intensely, adding to his fire power.
[You have been heavily injured.]
[You have been afflicted with the status ‘Lightheaded’.]
[You have been afflicted with the status ‘Critically Injured’.]
[Your status ‘Self Neglect’ has escalated to ‘Brink of Death’.]
Although his ribcage had exploded, one of his eyes was dripping blood, and his left leg was nearly severed, he tenaciously looked for any vulnerability in the Martial King. Finally, Yeon-woo discovered different lines floating around him: three thick ones and dozens of thin ones.
He instinctively realized what they were: Mugong, skills, powers, magic, graces, Factors, and options. They were tangled up like a ball of thread but hadn’t merged into one thing.
Yeon-woo had believed he’d been using them all seamlessly, but it seemed like all he’d done was tangle them together. He hadn’t done anything else.
Now, he tried to combine them into one thing. It was a struggle, but he was sure he could do it. His eyes were focused on the Martial King but his thoughts were on the lines until he managed to combine them into one line: an imperfection.
[Vimalacita is excited at the world you’ve discovered with his eyes.]
[Vimalacitra nods vehemently and slaps his knees.]
[He looks at you with warm eyes.]
Yeon-woo felt like he’d been slapped in the head. Others had imperfections, so why wouldn’t he? If he’d only put in the effort, he would’ve seen them with his Draconic Divine Eyes. And if he had erased them one by one, wouldn’t he have grown faster? ‘No.’ Then he shook his head. ‘It’s only now that I can see it.’
He had only seen it because he was in a state of egolessness—something he’d only managed to attain because of the insurmountable obstacle that was the Martial King. If Yeon-woo hadn’t fought him, how would he have a chance to see it? He might have gone through his entire life ignorant of it all. ‘I have to face him directly and break through.’
Yeon-woo slashed the imperfections around him hesitantly.
[Vimalacitra agrees with your decision.]
[The grace of ‘Black Gubitara’ is always with you.]
Crack. He felt something break inside him. It was muffled but to Yeon-woo, it sounded louder than a thunderclap. Catharsis flooded in and embraced his body and soul. The prison of his body had been broken apart, and his trapped soul finally gained some freedom. The slowed time returned to normal.
The Martial King smiled at him proudly. “You’ve finally managed to catch my tail.”
Yeon-woo understood what he meant. He had now just learned the right way to use his toughened body. It was only a minute piece of ability, but he could develop it easily if he continued training. Yeon-woo had finally reached a new peak: arhat.
It was the final step that any swordsman aimed to reach. He’d finally put one foot forward.
[Vimalacitra is greatly satisfied.]
However, Yeon-woo didn’t allow himself to be carried away by the feeling of accomplishment and stabbed the imperfections with Vigrid. The Black Aura of red fire entered it and rushed along the Martial King’s arm before stopping at his chest. Although the sword just scratched the Martial King, it was a vast improvement, considering how Yeon-woo hadn’t ever been able to touch a single hair before.
A satisfied smile spread on Yeon-woo’s face. The Martial King nodded in approval. “You’ve done well.”
“It is all thanks to you.”
“Of course, it is. I’m so amazing that I whipped a fool like you into what you are now.”
Yeon-woo smiled wryly at the Martial King’s boast. Yeon-woo only grew stronger after absorbing all kinds of things, and unlike him, there was only one word to describe the Martial King: genius. Yeon-woo must have been extremely frustrating to him.
Yeon-woo looked questioningly at him.
“You dared try to see the blood come out of your gracious teacher’s body?” The Martial King raised the corners of his mouth and cocked his head. “Do you want to die?”
Yeon-woo realized that Vigrid’s tip was still pressing on the Martial King’s chest. His expression instantly turned flustered. “J-Just a moment! This is beyond my control…!”
“Shut up. I’ll give you a beating first, disciple.” The Martial King pushed Vigrid aside with his left elbow and punched Yeon-woo in the stomach at the same time. Yeon-woo felt like the world was spinning. He couldn’t breathe.
The Martial King whispered sweetly in Yeon-woo’s ear, a cruel smile on his face. “And I think you’ve forgotten something. Aside from the teacher in front of you, there are eight more of us. Let’s have a lesson.”
Before Yeon-woo could reply, the Martial Kings who had hung back all ran towards him and began to stomp on him.
* * *
Rumble. The stone door of a cave opened, and Phante squinted at the sunlight he hadn’t seen in a while, grinning. How much time had passed since he began to train in Blood Lightning? He had been so focused on his secluded training that he couldn’t tell how long it had been. Still, he was aware of some of the news from the outside. Yeon-woo had finally returned and had declared war on the world with his mask off.
He felt thrilled and excited. He knew how long Yeon-woo had been waiting for this moment. The fact that he had taken his mask off probably meant that he was ready to fight the world. The path in front of Yeon-woo would probably be filled with rocks and thorns. Phante was already anticipating how much he would grow and how thrilling the blood and battles would be.
Also, he was curious how much stronger Yeon-woo had become. Phante himself had grown so strong that his past self was a pale shadow of who he was now. He was confident that he could stand toe to toe with his father’s younger self, back when he’d been called a genius. He even worried that Yeon-woo might be weaker than him. If so, would they have to reorganize their hierarchy? Their difference in power was the reason Phante was the little brother, after all. ‘Then, I can become the hyung-nim and take care of my little brother.’ He found himself smirking as he thought about it. It would be fun.
Just then, he saw a man standing at the entrance. He wasn’t wearing a mask but those eyes were impossible to miss.
“Huh? Why is your face like that?”
Yeon-woo’s face looked a bit strange. His eyes were bruised black and blue, and his cheeks were swollen. His clothes looked like they had been stepped on. In fact, Yeon-woo looked like he’d just been beaten up.
“Yes?” Phante automatically took a step back, getting a bad feeling from the sound of Yeon-woo’s voice. Chills ran down his back.
Thud. Thud. Yeon-woo walked closer like a zombie. “I didn’t realize it at first, but you really take after Teacher.”
Phante was puzzled.
“What…!” Before Phante could fully respond, Yeon-woo’s punch came flying in. He was passing down the lesson of love. “Do you feel wronged? I do, too.”