Chapter 254 - Growth (4)

Yeon-woo nodded and stood up slowly. He narrowed his eyes as he got into position again. He didn’t know what had just happened. It felt like the branch had turned into something completely different for a split second.  

[Draconic Eyes]

Yeon-woo opened his eyes wide, thinking that another mysterious attack was about to come flying at him. Imperfections twisted in the air like spiderwebs. After receiving more of the Draconic Factors, his ability to see imperfections had improved. Thwack! The branch moved through the imperfections as slowly as before. It was no different from an ordinary branch.

Yeon-woo didn’t take his eyes off of the branch and kicked off from the ground. He wanted to evade it then confront it from an advantageous point. His goal was to track the movements and changes of the branch. Just as he was about to strike Galliard, the branch suddenly solidified into a rod and lashed at his side. It was just like before, except it was as quick as lightning this time. 

Yeon-woo twisted his body in mid-air, barely managing to avoid the attack. At least, he thought he’d avoided it, but the end of the branch flickered and pierced the side of his body. Pung!

The shift was so sudden that even with his Draconic Eyes, he couldn’t see how it happened. Before he could even bring his Magic Bayonet down, he was blown away by the impact. He hurtled through the air, and landed on the ground rolling. “Urk!” Bile rose in his throat and he almost threw up.

 “How is it?”

“Let’s…try it again.” Yeon-woo forced himself up. He had taken a hit again, but he’d seen something he’d missed before. Would he be able to avoid it now? He wanted to see the magic behind the branch. Galliard smiled faintly when he saw Yeon-woo’s eyes burning. Yeon-woo’s gloomy attitude had disappeared. 

“It won’t be different this time.”

“It will be.”

“If you insist on doing it until you understand…well, I have no reason to stop you.” Galliard flicked the branch at Yeon-woo to provoke him. Yeon-woo moved with a different tactic, but the result was the same. Pak!

‘How?’ Yeon-woo continued to attack using different methods. He attacked Galliard with the Eight Writings of Divinations of the Eight Extreme Swords, but each time he found himself landing on the ground with a thud until his entire body was covered with grime.

‘What happened?’ Yeon-woo looked blankly at Galliard. He hadn’t laid a single strike on Galliard even though he was technically superior to Galliard in terms of skill. He was frustrated by the strange magic that continued to make him fall. He could glimpse something, but there wasn’t much else he could do beyond that. Galliard didn’t use any magic power or skills. The Draconic Eyes confirmed that Galliard hadn’t broken his promise. 

“Haa.” Yeon-woo sighed. It was a sign of surrender. If Shanon or Hanryeong were around, he would ask for advice, but they were silent as always. 

“How is this possible?”

Galliard smiled. There wasn’t a single fleck of dirt on him. “Consciousness.”

“Consciousness?” Yeon-woo was baffled. He knew about Consciousness as well. He had even gained a numbered skill called Extrasensory Perception through it on the Five Mountains of Penances. However, he hadn’t seen Galliard use his Consciousness at all. 

“You said you focused on pushing your body to the limit, right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That might be a good way to train for you. Considering the traits of a Dragon Body, the limits will be very high and it won’t be easy to train yourself up to that point.”

Yeon-woo nodded. Even though he’d crashed into a wall, the training he had endured previous to that hadn’t been easy either. Pushing your body to the extreme made one as worn out as a used rag. 

“But the problem comes after that.”

“After?”

“It’s about how you use that power.”

Yeon-woo shook his head in disagreement. “I’m not trying to brag, but I don’t think I lack anything in terms of ability.” His ability kept pace with his growth. Yeon-woo already mastered the Eight Writings of Divination and was also training his magic to the extreme as well. 

“I think you’re getting confused. I’m not talking about ability.”

Yeon-woo was puzzled.

“Mm. How should I explain this?” Galliard stroked his chin and organized his thoughts. “Imagination. You lack imagination.”

Yeon-woo was dumbfounded. What kind of nonsense was this? Galliard laughed as though he realized what he said didn’t make sense and tried again. “Let me show you more slowly this time.”

At first, it looked like Galliard was just playing around with the branch, then the space around him began to shift. Yeon-woo’s eyes widened. The change was so sudden that if Galliard hadn’t slowed it down, he never would have noticed it. ‘He’s…demonstrating his Consciousness with his body.’ The reason Yeon-woo hadn’t seen the Consciousness was that Galliard hadn’t expressed it outwardly. Instead, he’d circulated it inside himself. Yeon-woo had only ever thought of releasing his Consciousness outward; to him, it was a means of enlarging his mind.

He only considered it a tool that would make his sword sharper and tougher and help him read the area around a faraway opponent, using it the way he did with Extrasensory Perception and Aura. 

He had never thought of circulating it within his body, keeping the world of his mind inside and ignoring it until he needed to project it out. However, Galliard enlarged his mind and synchronized it with his physical body. He had pushed his Consciousness into the deepest parts of his body. With this, he could change things as he imagined.

Galliard slowly moved forward, swinging the branch. When he sped up, the branch began to twist the space around it, and Galliard’s body changed slightly. Yeon-woo saw the changes in Galliard’s muscles and he finally noticed the manipulation of his Consciousness and the movement of strength. They moved as though they were connected to each other, and many different things occurred within that split second. Galliard was a strong storm, a fast bolt of lightning, a firm rock, a pliable palm tree—all in one brief moment.

Yeon-woo realized his mistake. He had only focused on the branch when he should’ve read the change in Galliard. The branch only changed as an extension of Galliard. Countless Consciousnesses combined to become one in Galliard.  

Yeon-woo finally understood the imagination that Galliard had first brought up. He probably meant this transformation, the ability to become storm and lightning at the same time—the imagination to change the space around him with Consciousness.

Tak! Galliard brought the branch down and sighed. “Whew! My entire body is aching. I haven’t used it in a long time.” Crack, crack! Galliard stretched and turned to Yeon-woo. “Did you notice something?”

“I’ve never heard of moving your body with Consciousness before.”

“Most people release it or put it inside their weapons. Right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“They think of Consciousness as a tool or weapon, but it’s not.” Galliard put emphasis on his words. “Consciousness is a supplement that makes things possible.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes widened slightly.  

“Consciousness is a supplement to strengthen your existence, to spread your senses beyond yourself, to make your sword tougher and sharper, to maximize the power of your physical body.”

“Ah.” Yeon-woo thought of what Gaillard had said about how he was going to use his power. Yeon-woo was already powerful after training his body to the extreme. He also had the skills to back up his physical prowess. However, he had never thought of how he would use it. The same strength changed according to how it was used. Consciousness allowed him to control how it was applied and how smoothly it would flow. 

“Using your body properly means that you’re controlling your power. However, most people get this wrong and believe that they’re already using their strength properly.” Galliard shook his head. “You must be able to use your Consciousness freely. You have to be able to use your body like a sword. Can you do that?”

Yeon-woo closed his mouth and thought. How had he been fighting? He’d always chased after power, which was why he’d forced himself to train so hard. It was the ultimate destructive force to him: the Eight Extreme Swords, Wave of Fire, and Dragon Killers. He had sought them for their destructive power. 

However, Galliard was telling him not to focus solely on power. He shouldn’t be moved by it but should move it instead. He had to control it. Consciousness was the most important thing for that. Yeon-woo felt the wall that blocked him tremble until a small hole appeared. He could barely see through it, but it was a start. ‘The wall isn’t a limit. It’s the world I trapped my own self in. Why didn’t I realize that I’ve misunderstood what I had gained?”

He felt his frustration slowly fading away. However, he knew he had a difficult road ahead, and he didn’t know where to start. He needed to study Consciousness and how he could apply it to his body. He was grateful. Now that he knew the path existed, he only had to find it. Even though the hole in the wall was small, it could become a crack that would bring the entire thing down.

Yeon-woo bowed to Galliard. “Jeong-woo said something about you.”

Galliard’s eyes filled with curiosity. He wanted to know what the person he missed said. 

“He said that you were his first teacher.”

Galliard rubbed his face with an awkward expression. His nose was a bit red. He had repeatedly told Jeong-woo not to say things like that, but it seemed like he hadn’t stopped being so dramatic.

“Now I know why.”

“Don’t say useless things.” Galliard shook his hand in embarrassment. “From now on, using your Consciousness actively is the most important part. I suppose it’ll just sound like nonsense if I tell you to use it, hm?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You have to think of controlling your body, not your Consciousness. As I said, Consciousness is only a supplement that makes things possible, so if you’re on the right path, it’ll come with it.”

“Controlling my body…” Yeon-woo repeated the same words over and over. 

“Also, there’s probably no better way to control your body than Boshinkyung.”

Yeon-woo’s eyes glowed. Boshinkyung was an abbreviation for Bobup, Shinbup, and Kyunggong. Bubup was the method of moving your feet, Shinbup was moving your body, and Kyunggong was the ability to make your body lighter. 

“The movement of your body is the foundation of all martial arts. That’s why this is the very basic method of controlling your body. And one of the most important means of using Boshinkyung is…”

“Shunpo.”

Galliard nodded. 

Yeon-woo’s eyes flashed. He felt like he had snuck a look at the secret of Shunpo, the skill that could unlock Allforone’s third skill. The path had finally opened. 

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