Palgwae was the power that the Martial King had completed after pushing his Eight Extreme Fists to the limit. Yeon-woo wanted to imitate the power with his Sword Strengthening. He gathered Consciousness in the vestige of the Magic Bayonet, replicating the movements he remembered.
There was an intense glow of Aura, but nothing happened. The light at the end of the Aura began to fall apart like a sandcastle destroyed by a wave, scattering easily into particles. Yeon-woo muttered to himself as he looked at the quiet Magic Bayonet. “As I thought, it doesn’t work.”
The Martial King had once told him, “It’s not your path.” At the time, he hadn’t understood what the Martial King was talking about. He thought that there was something wrong with the way he did things, and so he tried to find other ways to push through, even asking Galliard to help him open Wind Path.
However, the more he trained his Consciousness and learned to control his body, Yeon-woo began to understand the Martial King’s meaning. ‘Palgwae and the Martial Extremes aren’t the right path for me.’
Palgwae and the Martial Extremes used the energy of Consciousness as a foundation. It was a martial art based on the Martial King’s thoughts since it was a new Mugong that he’d created from his lifetime of experience and the Eight Extreme Fists.
Yeon-woo was on a completely different path from the Martial King, so why should he copy the Martial King’s Palgwae and Martial Extremes? In the first place, it would be impossible. It wasn’t like Phante chasing after the Head Elder’s Blood Lightning. They used similar Mugong, and Phante was ready to give up everything he’d learned in exchange for Blood Lightning.
Yeon-woo didn’t want to do that. He had earned too many things by this point. He didn’t have the slightest intention of throwing them away just for the Palgwae and the Martial Extremes. The Martial King had never expected him to do this either, and if Yeon-woo tried to pursue it, the Martial King would dissuade him.
‘My path with the sword stops here.’ The more he understood his body, the more Yeon-woo could judge his abilities. He’d always known that he wasn’t naturally talented, and he’d only grown fast because of the potential of the Dragon Body and the advantages of Time Difference. The amount of hard work he’d put in matched the amount of talent he lacked.
However, he had hit his limit. It wasn’t like reaching the limit of the third step of the awakening, which meant progressing to a different level. He had really reached the end, where he could no longer move forward. No matter how much he swung his sword, he wouldn’t be able to grow anymore. It wasn’t a simple wall but a cliff.
Although the sword wasn’t his path, Yeon-woo realized that the Martial King had been hinting at something else: ‘He’s saying I have to combine everything into the sword. If I want to grow, I can’t just learn a little bit of everything like I’ve been doing. I need to put them together.” Since he was facing a cliff, he had to grow wings.
What would those wings be? The answer was simple: Consciousness energy.
Just as the Martial King had created the Palgwae and Martial Extremes, Yeon-woo could create his own martial art. ‘But…I don’t know where to start.’ He also wondered if he ought to enter the Myunbyeok Building like Phante had and research the Yin Sword and the Bright Tai Chi Pangu Sword. He might find a new path that way and even reorganize the magic that he’d learned so far.
He thought this over for a while. ‘No. I can proceed slowly.’ Yeon-woo shook his head. Entering the Myunbyeok Building would be his last resort. Besides, he didn’t even have any idea what he wanted to do and going in without a plan would be a waste of time. Just because he’d reached the limits of his sword and his body had stopped growing didn’t mean that there weren’t any other solutions. Even if things seemed impossible now, he’d eventually find a way. There was no need to rush.
‘I should complete Wave of Fire first.’ Since he had mastered Consciousness now, completing Wave of Fire wouldn’t be too difficult. It was a skill that he always failed to control, and he needed to work on that. There was also a final form that he wanted. ‘If this immense power is combined with Aura, it’ll be an incredible sight.’ He was sure there wouldn’t be too many people who would be able to deal with his Aura. Even the Martial King had been surprised to see what he’d done against the Summer Queen.
He wanted to test it out right away, but for now, he needed to rest. His entire body was screaming at him to take a break. Plop! Yeon-woo collapsed to the ground and sighed.
Galliard smirked as he looked at Yeon-woo. “Seems like it’s not as easy it used to be.”
“Yes, sir. This is probably what the Martial King meant. I feel like all my strength is being sucked out just trying to attempt it.”
“Don’t rush it. You’re already growing fast. Besides, if you go too fast, you’ll collapse.”
Yeon-woo nodded, understanding.
“Also, isn’t it time to greet your visitor? It’s not nice to leave someone waiting.”
Yeon-woo nodded again. A few days ago, he’d received news that a visitor had come to see him. He had sent a letter saying that he’d be delayed since he was on the verge of a breakthrough with Consciousness. Since he had grasped it now, it was time to meet his visitor, whoever it was. But before that, he needed to shower. Yeon-woo hadn’t showered in several days, and he could smell a nasty odor from his body. He sighed.
* * *
“Whoa, this is pretty cool.”
“I’ve never seen it before. Magicians really have strange heads on their necks. How did they even think of this?”
“How do I know what’s going on in their heads? Kekekeke. Hey, what about this? It looks good on me, hm?”
“It’s like a pearl necklace on a pig.”
“What, you bastard?”
The atmosphere in the village One-horned tribe was full of excitement because a merchant had arrived with all sorts of items. It had been a while since a merchant last visited, and the eyes of the tribe members sparkled as they squabbled over the goods.
Most merchants would have smiled at the sight, but Atran only grew more nervous. He was going to become neurotic at this rate.
“Whoa. How do you operate this? It’s so complicated. Where would you even use it?”
“Fool! Why are you operating it like that?”
“How do you do it?”
“Hit the top. You need to hit complex machines to make them work.”
“Oh, I see!” Thwack! Thwack!
‘They must have udon noodles for brains! Why would you hit it like that?’ Atran’s faces turned into different colors. Each time the One-horned tribe members touched an expensive artifact, he felt like he would go crazy. It was a wonder they hadn’t broken anything with how roughly they handled objects.
However, the memory of the warriors stomping all over Red Dragon without feeling threatened at all was still clear in his head, and he didn’t say anything. The one with a stupid face who didn’t know how to operate the artifact was the same person Artan had seen bloodying the head of one of the Eighty-One Oculus. Atran still got nightmares remembering how the stupid-faced warrior had cackled at the sky, covered in blood.
The one next to him was the person who had cut off the leg of one of the Nine Dragon Sons, and the other was the crazy bastard who’d chewed on it, saying that the meat tasted good. The female warrior behind them looked comparatively normal, but she was actually the craziest person here. She’d piled up the corpses of Red Dragon players and climbed to the peak, saying “I’ve built the tallest pile!” She was a crazy bitch.
The warriors of the One-horned tribe members had ended up having a competition on who could build the tallest pile, and they also placed bets on who could break the most heads or blow people away the farthest. When he saw the one who’d beaten up the Summer Queen grin at him, Atran’s entire body trembled.
“Huh? This is broken!”
“Hey! It’s exploding!”
At that moment, there was an incident not too far away. ‘Ack!’ Thankfully, before an explosion occurred, another warrior stopped it and no one was hurt. The warrior promised to pay him back, but Atran felt like he was going to faint.
He’d already been waiting for Yeon-woo for four days, and he had no idea what the delay was about. Muscles! Muscles! Muscles! Everywhere he looked, all he could see were bulky muscles and all he could smell was sweat. If this continued, he would probably be stuck in this prison of muscles if he didn’t die of stress first.
“Thanks for bringing these great items. It was nice to boost everyone’s mood.” The Martial King patted Atran’s shoulders, not understanding how he was feeling. The memory of the Martial King ripping off the Summer Queen’s wings flashed in Atran’s head. If the Martial King accidentally put too much pressure on his shoulders, what would happen to him? He almost wet his pants.
“Tell Freesia I’ll use it well.”
Atran came to his senses when he heard the Martial King mention a name he never expected: Freesia. He looked at the Martial King instinctively, but he was already walking away as he examined a glove in his hand.
Of course, someone like him would know her. However, even those who knew her always called her “Master”. No one had ever spoken her name. In fact, most people didn’t even know it. Atran only learned it by accident, and he’d even been warned to erase that knowledge from his mind by the people around him.
However, the Martial King said her name so easily that it seemed like he was telling Atran to deliver his greetings to an old friend. What was the relationship between the two? He was curious, but Atran couldn’t muster up the courage to go ask the Martial King. His merchant’s instinct told him that things would get complicated if he did, and he had no intention of shortening his lifespan just to satisfy his curiosity.
He was still looking blankly at the Martial King’s back when he saw a familiar face, or rather, a familiar mask that was as dark as a demon’s face. In fact, it belonged to a bastard who really was like a demon to him. He had hoped never to see it again, but what could he do? Atran was someone who would jump into a fire for money.
“What happened?” Yeon-woo got straight to the point without saying hello. Atran was about to spew out all the curses he had suppressing all this time, but he continued to hold them in, nodding.
“They accepted it.”
Yeon-woo nodded. “OK. Let’s head somewhere else.”
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