Chapter 64 - Becoming a Ranker (2)
Ian shut down his access to Elder Lord. He left the world of the game but his heart was still full.
Somehow, his eyes were moist.
"No,” Ian muttered, clenching his hands into fists. He was full of power with muscles and a tough lower body. Love Mode might be locked in the game, but his real body was that of a man.
But was it because he was too deeply immersed in the reality of Elder Lord that an unknown anxiety rose inside him? Was he a butterfly, a butterfly? He didn’t know. He wanted to confirm it as soon as possible. Ian went out to the living room and turned on the TV.
The channel was automatically turned to the fashion show from Crystal Secret, an underwear brand. Beautiful women were strutting down the runway in lingerie.
Wow! Indeed, he was a man. A real man should worry about the shell casings, not the bullets. Ian took a moment to sigh with relief.
At that moment, the door of his sister’s bedroom opened. Ian jumped. It seemed like she just woke up, because she was stumbling around and rubbing her eyes.
She looked at the television. On the screen, a woman in lingerie could be seen walking towards the end of the runway and winking before elegantly walking back. Then another woman walked out in a dramatic design.
Yiyu looked back at Ian. Ian tried to make an excuse, “Ah, no.”
Yiyu smiled warmly and said, "I understand, Oppa.”
"I'm going to sleep a little more. Ah, sleepy. Sleepy.”
She mumbled soullessly before turning to her room and closing the door. Ian mumbled from his spot, “No...”
Ian met his old teacher after a long time. It wasn’t Lenox or Hoyt, but Jung Ian’s, his real self, teacher.
It was Baek Hanho. They were currently at a franchise café in the area where Baek Hanho lived. The interior was clean and the staff was friendly. Ian looked at Baek Hanho after examining the café around him. Business must’ve been going well since he was wearing expensive things.
Baek Hanho mumbled as he tapped at a big personal tablet, "Huh, this guy, good, stay well.”
He was playing Go on his personal tablet. The advantageous situation gradually tilted as his opponent ate most of his territory and his houses on the board were surrounded.
"You were too greedy.”
"Hah, this, this. Ara.”
Baek Hanho frowned and turned off his tablet. Ian eyed Baek Hanho with a disapproving expression. If he closed the connection like that, it wouldn’t be a win or a loss. The opponent would waste time waiting for Baek Hanho to reconnect.
"That isn’t Go. No, no. Penetration is cowardly.”
Who was the cowardly one?
Baek Hanho asked, "What are those eyes?”
"...Is your gym doing well?”
"Fitness seems to be the trend these days. I teach them a few rough exercises. I’m not complacent and combine bodybuilding with scientific technology...”
Baek Hanho ran a gym. He didn’t teach the killing techniques that he had shared with Jung Ian, but headed a comprehensive gymnasium that dealt with basic self-defense, CrossFit, and simple combat skills.
"It’s been a long time since you’ve come. Teach those lacking guys.”
"I'm too busy."
"Isn’t your cafe doing well these days?”
Ian laughed. "I’m busy with other things.”
“Hoh. Surely not Elder Lord?”
"Look at this guy. I had to convince you to play Elder Lord...”
“Yes. It would be perfect if you didn’t talk...”
Their eyes clashed.
"You’ve grown, Ian.”
"I was originally taller, Teacher.”
"You’ve grown too cocky after a long time.”
“Haven’t you become older?”
Baek Hanho and Ian grinned at the same time. Then they got up. They left the café and headed towards Baek Hanho’s gym. The ‘Baek Hanho Gym’ used two floors of a building. The personnel greeted Baek Hanho and flinched at his bloody gaze.
The facilities were modern. The interior was wide and free with various weights, sandbags, and even a ring in the middle of the gym.
"It’s a ring.”
"Man, I need to play sometimes. Let’s do it over there.”
“Phew. It is a sport.”
The staff members showed interest as Ian and Baek Hanho went over to the ring.
Baek Hanho was middle-aged, but there was still no one who could take him down. It was true for the official athletes who trained here. For them, Baek Hanho was an unknown person that they couldn’t tussle with. Now he brought a strange man and entered the ring. The two people seemed to know each other well.
The other man was slim and didn’t seem special. Rather, he had a warm and gentle face.
One of the staff members brought over gloves and headgear. Baek Hanho shook his head.
Did they mean to use bare hands?
Ian and Baek Hanho took off their shoes but didn’t change their clothes. Ian wore a t-shirt and jeans, while Baek Hanho wore an improved hanbok.
They didn’t even take off their wrist watches. This was the most natural way for Ian and Baek Hanho. They were devotees of the murderous craft aimed at killing, not suppressing. Their techniques were based on all situations, and it wasn’t dependent on clothes, weight or equipment.
Those who didn’t know this couldn’t understand why the two of them were climbing into the ring.
"Are they planning to fight with bare hands?”
"Is there a quarrel between the two of them?”
“Are they just fighting?”
There was blood-thirst in both of their eyes. It seemed like they were going to watch the most interesting fight in the world. The gym was filled with anticipation for the next battle. However, they were disappointed.
The movements of the two people were static and they didn’t hit each other. It was the non-contact method of sparring. The two exchanged gestures without touching each other’s body at all.
But their movements were great. Both moved their hands to check each other’s movements, and they backed off as soon as there was an attack that would be effective. It was a strange fight where no one could tell who was harmed.
"Why isn’t Manager-nim catching him?” One staff member muttered.
Baek Hanho used fearful jujitsu that destroyed the joints by reversing the opponent’s strength. However, whenever Baek Hanho tried to grab Ian’s clothes, Ian’s hand would move nearby and Baek Hanho would quickly withdraw.
The staff members couldn’t even imagine it. This was an exchange of extreme practical techniques that would break the opponent’s fingers. Their techniques were different from that of mixed martial arts.
Ian and Baek Hanho exchanged several attacks. If this was a real fight, there would already be a crippling injury.
Ian laughed. His eyes had been clawed out once and his fingers almost broken three times. There were also a few hits to his Adam’s apple and solar plexus.
On the other hand, Baek Hanho would’ve had an ear ripped off and a kick to his ribs. It seemed close but it was ambiguous. If it wasn’t for this method, Ian would’ve already been taken down by Baek Hanho. His joints would’ve been damaged straight away.
Ian came forward. The two approached, repeated their unusual movements, and they withdrew at the same time. This was Ian’s loss.
"Don't play around,” Baek Hanho said with a smile.
Ian shook his head. It still wasn’t over. At this moment, Ian made a motion like he was throwing something.
Baek Hanho ducked. But Ian immediately kicked out. His toe stopped in front of Baek Hanho’s jaw. The wind pressure caused Baek Hanho’s hair to blow.
"...What did you throw?”
Their practice assumed every situation was possible. If Ian had something to throw then he would admit it. It was Baek Hanho’s fault for not grasping it in advance. But there was nothing to be thrown. There was a wristwatch but if Ian wanted to throw it, he would have to make the motion of throwing it.
Ian grinned. "My heart of respect towards Teacher.”
It was just a bluff. As the tendon popped out on Baek Hanho’s forehead, he immediately grabbed Ian’s foot.
"Oh, I surrender!"
“This guy has learned something bad!"
"Wait a minute! My ligament! Tap! Tap tap!”
Techniques involving the lower body joints were considered the most dangerous. It was very common for the legs to break even in practice. Ian frantically knocked against Baek Hanho’s body.
Baek Hanho released Ian and hit his head lightly. Thus, the sparring between the two of them was over. It was concluded that Baek Hanho had the advantage.
"You still have a long way to go.”
"You haven’t even stepped on my shadow yet.”
As the two of them left the ring, one of the staff members asked Baek Hanho, “Manager, what was that just now?”
Baek Hanho and Ian looked at each other and shrugged. "There is such a thing. Don’t worry since it’s like playing between us.”
"Who is that next to you? Do you know him?”
"He is my disciple.”
They were confused. So far, Baek Hanho had never mentioned a disciple. They might have believed it was a joke but Baek Hanho wasn’t that type of manager.
"He used to be cute in the old days, but now he is too cocky for his own good.”
Ian bit back his words.
Then one of the staff members formed a fist. His fighting spirit was rising. He had studied martial arts in the past and now it was a hobby. He had received many offers due to his large body.
The person who he earnestly admired was Baek Hanho. He learned through common sense not to go against Baek Hanho. The age, weight, and techniques were the opposite of everything he had ever known. No one would believe that the staff member couldn’t lay a hand on the middle-aged Baek Hanho.
If so, what about his disciple?
"If your disciple is okay with it, can I have a spar with him? I want to test my skills.”
Baek Hanho looked at Ian again. “Yes.” Then he laughed and asked Ian, "How about it?”
"Rules are rules, so use regular blows."
The large staff member greeted him. "Please!” Then the staff member put on the equipment and climbed into the ring.
Ian shook his head as he looked at his opponent’s size.
It wasn’t easy to overcome the difference in weight when it came to a sporting event, especially when it involved striking each other. In addition, the opponent wasn’t an ordinary person, but a man who had learned to strike properly.
"Just looking at him, he is part of the heavyweight division...”
Ian took a step back. A staff member helped him wear the headgear and the gloves. After finishing the preparations, he climbed into the ring. Ian bounced against the rope and looked down at his gloved hands. He wasn’t familiar with this type of equipment. If he made a misstep then there might be an injury today.
The staff member spoke from the other side.
"I will be gentle since I know the difference in weight. Don’t worry.”
Ian bit his lip. Ian didn’t look like it on the outside, but he had a great deal of pride and competitiveness. Now the opponent was saying that he would be gentle.
Gentle. It wasn’t towards anyone else but himself.
“Thank you,” said Ian, his voice sinking.
Baek Hanho saw this happen and said to the staff member by his side, "Hey, Cheolwon.”
"Bring a towel soaked in cold water.”
The man was confused. A wet towel? But Baek Hanho didn't say anything else. After the staff member brought the wet towel, he could see why.
Their manager’s disciple with the slim body was beating the opponent who seemed to be in the heavyweight division. It was too fast. The disciple avoided his opponent’s fist and punched back with a technique that wasn’t possible to understand through talking.
The opponent resisted, but the man pushed the bigger opponent into the corner and punched his face and belly. The actions were clean and clear. He struck whenever there was a gap.
At that moment, the opponent crouched and tried an upper punch, but Ian immediately backed away but punching the opponent’s chin with both gloves. The opponent fainted. It was a mere one round.
Baek Hanho nodded. The staff member carrying the towel realized the meaning of Baek Hanho’s gesture and climbed into the ring. He woke up the unconscious man and wiped his swollen face with a towel.
Baek Hanho looked at Ian taking off his equipment. It wasn’t just during this spar.
Baek Hanho had felt it during the non-contact method.
Ian had become faster.
At the end, when Ian threw something and immediately kicked, Baek Hanho had been expecting Ian’s kick. So he was going to grab the leg and use a joints attack. But it was too fast to react to. His heart had rattled as he saw Ian’s toe in front of him. It had been a while since he felt like that.
It was the same for this spar as well.
No matter how fast Ian was, the difference in weight was clear. Therefore, he had expected Ian to struggle. But Ian’s vision and speed were more than expected. No matter how big the person was, if he couldn’t catch up with the opponent then it was like a battle between an adult and a child.
Baek Hanho shrugged.
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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