Galliard glanced at the sky. The sun had set long ago, and the moon was rising. A yellow light flashed in his eyes and disappeared. The night was home to Dark Elves. Others might think it was cold, but to them, it was like being in the warm embrace of their mother. Galliard felt himself becoming more powerful.
The moon was brighter than normal, so it was the perfect moment to demonstrate something. To be fair, even if it were completely dark, it wouldn’t matter, but Galliard felt as though the moon were also cheering Yeon-woo on. “You said Jeong-woo told you I was his first teacher, right?”
“And the second is probably Brahm. Then, who’s the third?”
Yeon-woo just smiled faintly.
Galliard tsked. “I see. He’s not someone you can talk about easily.” He shook his head as he looked at Yeon-woo. “You know, that was hard for me. And it was scary, as well. Being someone’s teacher…it’s like what the Martial King is to you.”
“You were someone like that to Jeong-woo.”
“That’s why it was hard. But he still thought of me like that, gosh.” Galliard looked like he was lost in his memories where Cha Jeong-woo continued to laugh. He was always playful and bright. That face overlapped with Yeon-woo’s. Their attitudes and expressions were different, but something about them felt the same. “Since it’s already come to this and I’m already a teacher to one brother, how about I do the same for the other one? Does that sound good?”
“I’ll leave it to you.” Yeon-woo bowed.
Galliard nodded and stepped back. He had a relaxed attitude, as though he’d just returned from a walk. But the aura that came from him was more intense than ever. Yeon-woo’s thoughts about Galliard instantly changed. He had believed that Galliard was the same as when they’d met in the Tutorial, but Galliard had changed.
His physical abilities were the same, but the concentration of energy and magic power, as well as the threatening air he exuded, was different. It was clear that he had gained new powers. What had made him change so much?
Galliard spoke to Yeon-woo with solemn eyes. “Since you’ve mastered Shunpo to some extent, you already know the basics. But there are things that a lot of people have gotten wrong about Shunpo. They think that ‘shun’ only means ‘fast’. But—” Galliard quickly dashed forward. An intense wind whistled around Yeon-woo and disappeared. The grass trembled and leaves fluttered up.
“It’s not only fast.” Whoosh! Galliard appeared in front of Yeon-woo then floated up to the sky on a breeze. He landed on a branch as light as a feather. “It’s also weightless like this.” Galliard jumped down from the branch and landed on the ground. Boom! The ground shook around him as though a large rock had fallen. “Or heavy like this.”
Galliard took a step forward and other Galliards suddenly appeared. Eight duplicates moved around Yeon-woo. “Or showy.” The duplicates disappeared one by one. When the last duplicate was gone, Galliard’s presence completely disappeared. His existence had turned into nothingness.
Yeon-woo whipped his head around looking for Galliard, but even with the Draconic Eyes, he couldn’t find a trace of him.
“And quiet.” Galliard’s disembodied voice rose in the air. Then, dozens of lightning bolts landed on Yeon-woo’s head with an explosion. Yeon-woo jumped back in surprise.
Boom! Galliard reappeared with a grin as though he hadn’t been responsible for anything. “And loud. Shunpo is a friend with many faces.”
Yeon-woo nodded, realizing that he’d been using Shunpo wrong the entire time. He had only ever focused on destructive power and speed. He’d benefited from his concentration on them, but at the same time, he had been foolish and close-minded to think that was all he needed to climb higher.
The Shunpo that Galliard used was Galliard himself. It was fast, light, heavy, fancy, quiet, and loud. That was Galliard, and his Consciousness flowed through him palpably. “And from now on, you’ll be facing this friend. It’s a friend who changes his mind a lot, so even if it’s hard, you must take good care of it.”
Yeon-woo nodded heavily.
“Before we meet our friend, we need to get ready. Before we start, let me ask you this. Which section of your body is most necessary for movement?”
“Isn’t it the lower body?”
“Right. The lower body is the center of your body.” Galliard nodded. The lower body was the foundation of all martial arts, and it had to be firm in order for the rest of the body to be healthy. “Then we should take care of the lower body first, hm?” Galliard grinned. For some reason, Yeon-woo felt like he was filled with mischief.
“First, go duckwalk around the village a thousand times.”
* * *
On that evening, Yeon-woo’s brutal training began. It seemed ridiculous and pointless at first: duckwalking, leapfrogging, running without rest. Even the One-horned tribe couldn’t see what the goal of his training was because these were things they’d already done as little children.
“I heard Cain started something new again.”
“Yeah. It was some kind of weird jump. He looked like a frog, heehee.”
“What’s he doing?”
“Beats me. If the Snake Hunter ordered him to do it, there must be a reason. I wonder what it is.”
“I don’t know what it is, but Cain was dying.”
The tribe members began to make guesses about Yeon-woo’s training. No one looked down on him, and in fact, many were intensely curious about it. Even though they giggled when Yeon-woo duckwalked past, no one thought it was silly.
Galliard was pretty famous among the tribe and everyone acknowledged him. Even in the Tower, Dark Elves were rare, and it was even rarer to find someone who was given the title of Hunter. The One-horned tribe considered them skilled warriors, and if a Hunter trained you, that meant he taught you the same methods he’d used to train himself.
The One-horned tribe drooled looking at the training because they were crazy about anything related to martial arts. It was a shame they didn’t know what it was for. Even Phante and Edora felt the same way.
“What is that?” Edora looked at Yeon-woo with an incredulous face. She had taken a break from mastering the Yang Sword to see how Yeon-woo was doing, and Yeon-woo was really jumping around everywhere like a frog.
In fact, Yeon-woo was jumping to catch a stone that Galliard tossed in the air. Since Galliard was tossing it in random directions, Yeon-woo had no choice but to leap after it haphazardly. He jumped, crashed on the ground, fell in a pond. After a while, he was in a horrible state. Each time he caught the stone, he seemed overjoyed, and each time he failed, his shoulders would droop.
‘He’s so cute.’ Yeon-woo looked like a puppy to Edora’s blind eyes.
On the other hand, Phante observed Yeon-woo with a serious expression and intensely focused eyes. Veins bulged as he clenched his fists.
* * *
‘Above!’ Yeon-woo tossed a stone to the ground before flying up into the sky. Although he and the stone were headed in opposite directions, he quickly turned his body in mid-air and caught the stone before it reached the ground as though he were an acrobat.
He’d been extremely light-handed catching the stone because it was actually a clump of dirt. It would have fallen apart as it had fallen, but when Yeon-woo twisted his body in the air, the dirt had become as weightless as a light, spring breeze.
Yeon-woo’s Consciousness was still lacking, but by now, Consciousness flowed out of all of his movements. He didn’t find it too difficult to use it since he had impressive skills of concentration. However, he still struggled with focusing it. It was easy to focus Consciousness on a tangible object like a sword. It had a defined form and wouldn’t fall apart if you tossed it around. However, a human body like his was more complex than a sword. Muscles pulsed, tissue moved, blood flowed in his veins, and his organs had involuntary movements. His body wasn’t frozen in one state, and projecting Consciousness on a constantly shifting body like his was difficult to maintain.
Also, using Shunpo made these changes even more pronounced, and he found it impossible to pour his Consciousness into every step and movement. He wanted to know how Galliard did it, but when he asked, Galliard had only laughed awkwardly and said, “You need an obsession beyond your Consciousness. That should do it.”
It meant that Yeon-woo had to focus his entire Consciousness on his body, but it was easier said than done. However, Galliard pushed Yeon-woo even harder. He explained that if Yeon-woo moved his body without rest, there would be a moment when his mind and body would no longer be independent of each other.
As Galliard intended, Yeon-woo reached a point where he could feel his body, although it was only for a brief moment. However, that sensation began to grow familiar, and his subconscious began to take the changes in his body in stride. Cognizance was beginning.
Yeon-woo exclaimed to himself at the realization. Why hadn’t he thought of it before? Cognizance was the very basis of Mugong. It was something that observed the changes in his body to help him move more smoothly. If it developed, he would naturally experience mental growth as well. It was a way that he could examine his body and mind, and it fit perfectly with Galliard’s explanation on how to control his Consciousness with his body. To Yeon-woo, this was easier than anything else.
He projected his Consciousness to read the changes of the world through cognizance. This was how he’d managed to establish his ego on the twentieth floor and what he’d used against the Demonism in his subconscious. It was the internalization of his Extrasensory Perception. He could observe his body and direct Consciousness to where it was needed.
He began to control his body.
[You have learned a new way to use Consciousness.]
[Consciousness is a path that holy power uses. Find new ways to use it after more practice. The stronger your Consciousness, the more unrestricted your holiness will grow.]
[‘Extrasensory Perception’ skill proficiency has increased. 40.5%]
[Your understanding of your body has dramatically increased.]
[You have learned to synchronize your Consciousness and your body.]
[‘Shunpo’ skill proficiency has dramatically increased. 82.9%]
After he had this realization, the rest of his training went smoothly. He would still need some time to get used to it, but training grew easier for Yeon-woo. The secret to his survival had always been pushing himself to his limits, even back in Africa.
As time slowed, Yeon-woo combined his body and Extrasensory Perception together to move with Consciousness. He trained like this endlessly.
Tak! Yeon-woo landed on the ground lightly with the clump of dirt in his hand. It was slightly crushed, but it was still in one piecePrevious Chapter Next Chapter