Chapter 185 - Shadow Dojo (10)

“Domain Declaration.”

[Territory of the Dragon, 'Binah', has been announced. You can apply your power within the specified territory.]

[The 2nd step of the awakening has been released.]

[Power: Draconic Pressure.]

[Within a limited time, all attributes increase.]

[Within a limited time, all defenses increase according to magic power.]

....

He ignored the familiar messages and immediately used Blink. As Yeon-woo appeared right behind the shadow, he swung the Aura-infused Vigrid. Boom!

The shadow flicked it away with a hand so tough that his skin was only lightly scratched by the sword. Yeon-woo and the shadow exchanged more blows, Yeon-woo attacking relentlessly as the shadow casually avoided him.  

However, Yeon-woo had a strange feeling. ‘He’s a lot weaker than I expected.’ It wasn’t that the Martial King was weak since he was still stronger than Yeon-woo’s brother. However, his level was close to Yeon-woo’s second step. Yeon-woo was starting to think that it was possible to defeat him. ‘Is there not that much of a difference in the data?’

Even though the shadow was obsessed with becoming stronger, he was still limited to the level he’d been when the Martial King entered the Hall of Fame. That was probably it. If the shadow had no restrictions on how much stronger it could grow, it should have been as strong as the Martial King by now.

As soon as Yeon-woo realized this, he understood how the shadow used the Eight Writings of Divinations. ‘Since he couldn’t change his attribute, did he focus on his martial arts?’

Yeon-woo clucked his tongue at the thought. It had probably been decades since the simulation had been recorded, and in that time, he had practiced the Eight Extreme Fists again and again. Yeon-woo realized how incredible the Eight Extreme Fists was and how amazing the simulation was for managing to grow. It was true obsessiveness.

‘No. This isn’t just obsessiveness, but…’

The shadow brought his fist closer. It was definitely the Eight Writings of Divination. 

‘More like a habit.’ Yeon-woo quickly activated Blink. He appeared behind the shadow and attacked his lower body. They tumbled into a wall, which crumbled beneath them. Through the stones, the shadow and Yeon-woo tried different techniques. 

The shadow spread out his hand to blast lightning, and Yeon-woo got his Wave of Fire ready. As lightning and fire clashed, a column of light soared up to the sky, followed by dust and smoke.

Yeon-woo used Blink and Haste to escape the range of the explosion. He was a lot more proficient in controlling them now, and thanks to them, the effects of the two magic spells dramatically increased. Yeon-woo observed the explosion from the other end of the arena, his Extrasensory Perception and Draconic Eyes tracking the simulation. 

Master! Shanon frantically shouted in his head. He could also feel Hanryeong and Rebecca’s fury and desire to come outside.

However, Yeon-woo shushed them. ‘Wait.’ He had to focus first. ‘He’s coming.’

Boom! The shadow of the Martial King approached rapidly from the dust cloud. His laughter-filled face looked savage at the same time. However, unlike Yeon-woo, who had escaped from the explosion almost unscathed, the shadow was a bit injured and his burned skin was smoking. 

However, Yeon-woo knew that an injured beast was more ferocious, and if the shadow had been playing with him before, now he would attack with his full strength. Also, as the simulation drew closer, Yeon-woo realized that he wasn’t as injured as he first seemed. His Draconic Eyes and Extrasensory Perception were telling him that the simulation had used the Eight Extreme Fists to escape.

[Time Difference.]

Before they clashed again, Yeon-woo thought to himself that if the fight dragged on, he would lose. If Shanon and the others helped him, it might end up a tie, but he didn’t want that to happen. Yeon-woo was hoping for one thing: total victory.  

He wanted to defeat the shadow singlehandedly. If he defeated the Martial King’s simulation, perhaps it might be possible to make his brother come alive again. And so, he had to come up with a strategy before he grappled with the simulation again, or at least, he needed some kind of idea what power would help him defeat the Martial King’s simulation. 

What were the differences between him and the shadow? The first thing that came to mind was their proficiency in the Eight Extreme Fists. The shadow was more advanced than Yeon-woo after having trained for decades, but he already likely started off with an advantage in the Eight Extreme Fists already. Yeon-woo had to scratch that idea.

Yeon-woo thought again. ‘What is the difference between me, the Sword God, and Nocturne?’ He thought of the Martial King’s disciples who were already walking their paths. Although Yeon-woo had multiple skills, he wasn’t as good as them. He’d been contemplating the need for a path of his own recently. Even though he’d become a master who possessed Aura, he still didn’t know what direction he was taking. He definitely wanted to be stronger and faster, but he didn’t really want to walk the path of a martial artist.

It was fun learning Mugong. He was competitive, and the results were satisfactory. However, none of them really helped him reach his goals. Yeon-woo decided to make a change. If he couldn’t make his own path, he could walk the path of another. Or rather, he would transform that path and make it his own. That would be easier and more efficient.

Also, Yeon-woo had three good examples to learn from. First, Yeon-woo decided to become the Sword God since the imperfections of the Sword God that he’d seen in the twenty-first section were still ingrained in his head. He tried to replicate the imperfections using his Extrasensory Perception, and what he took from the Sword God was Direct Strength—a power that was sturdy and tough.

Yeon-woo’s expression changed as he settled himself. 

[You have found the new option ‘Synchronization’.]

[‘Extrasensory Perception’ skill proficiency has increased. 28.1%]

As a message popped up, the slowed time returned to normal. The Martial King’s shadow was approaching Yeon-woo, but right before he attacked, he sensed something different from Yeon-woo. 

Yeon-woo brought Vigrid down fiercely, moving so fast that he was doing almost thirty moves in a second. The shadow’s eyes widened at how different Yeon-woo’s strength became. If it had blazed like fire previously, it was now as hard as a diamond. 

Vigrid approached the simulation’s head. Normally, he would have flicked it away, but this time, he risked having his arm cut off. Instead, the shadow decided to confront Yeon-woo directly. Lightning enveloped Yeon-woo, but Vigrid tore through the bolts and neared the shadow’s chest. 

The shadow was blown back, the right side of his chest wounded. His wide eyes trembled. Yeon-woo had completely changed. “What are you?” The shadow growled.

However, Yeon-woo was already moving onto the next step. ‘Nocturne.’ This time, his moves grew smooth and elaborate. Nocturne’s path was Illusions, a type of strength that used the power of focal points. He added a focused attack each time he swung Vigrid.

The shadow quickly grew bloodied, and his eyes began to boil with rage. Yeon-woo calmly imitated Nocturne’s movements and avoided the shadow’s attacks. Although there was a wide gap between him and Nocturne, and he couldn’t imitate Nocturne exactly, he still tried to analyze Nocturne’s movements as he went along.

Yeon-woo’s sword techniques brought him to the level of an expert. With the Dragon’s Power and Magic Equip on top of that, Yeon-woo finally had the edge. One more swing and he cut the shadow’s left arm off. 

Yeon-woo summoned a new Synchronization. ‘Martial King.’ This time, he was able to copy the shadow, who looked at Yeon-woo in shock. He felt as though he were fighting three different people. Although he was the one giving the test, he felt like he was the one going through a trial.

Yeon-woo used the last of the Eight Writings of Divination and ripped everything in sight apart. Like the Martial King, he pressed down on his opponent with strength, and he managed to push the shadow back. The shadow was furious but unable to do anything.

“Shit!” The shadow ground his teeth and expressed his anger for the first time. He wasn’t angry at Yeon-woo but at himself for being stuck in the trial. There was something else mixed in it, too.

Yeon-woo felt his obsession to defeat Allforone. At this, Yeon-woo realized that the shadow wasn’t really the Martial King. Although he’d been created from the Martial King’s data, he was only an obsessive remnant. The Martial King that Yeon-woo knew wasn’t like that at all.

The Martial King was stronger and more arrogant than anyone, and most importantly, he was the most free-spirited person Yeon-woo knew. He wasn’t the kind of person who would be stuck to something like this. The simulation was only a shell, after all.

Before Yeon-woo began his last attack, he changed his base again. He synchronized with Heaven Wing Cha Jeong-woo, and the Eight Extreme Swords pierced the shadow’s heart. Yeon-woo had finally gotten a taste of the path he would walk: Divine Speed. What if he could use a power that was so strong, even the gods wouldn’t see it? It was a path worth considering.

The shadow glared at Yeon-woo, panting, and crumbled away. 

[You have completed the trial of the 32nd section.]

[During the trial, you made significant progress. You have made an achievement that is not easily accomplished. Additional karma and rewards will be provided.]

....

Master, you…? As the arena faded away, Shanon wondered why Yeon-woo hadn’t grabbed onto the shadow of the Martial King. Yeon-woo shook his head in reply. 

He felt like he had woken from a happy dream. Although he still nursed a tiny hope, he had realized that even if he took his brother’s simulation, it wasn’t really his brother. It was only a shell, just like the Martial King’s simulation. It would be an insult to his brother’s memory.

A dream was only a dream, and it was impossible for dreams to come true. ‘Yeah. He’s…someone I can’t see anymore.’ Maybe he’d been hoping that there would be a way for his brother to return, but Yeon-woo decided it was time to accept reality.

The arena disappeared and a new one took its place. It was the last section where Allforone’s shadow was waiting. Yeon-woo was ready to beat the shadow that the Martial King himself couldn’t. 

[The fight with Bivasbat, 1st place, will begin soon. Prepare for the fight during the countdown.]

Just as Yeon-woo was preparing for the fight, a bunch of unexpected messages appeared.

[The simulation of Bivasbat has been deleted for an unspecified reason. The data cannot be found.]

[You have automatically completed the trial of the 33rd section.]

[All trials have ended.]

“What?” Yeon-woo’s forehead wrinkled.  

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