Gu Chil was seriously troubled. Chung Myung left the tent screaming at the top of his lungs and then came back into the tent speaking more nonsense.
“I’m going to Mount Hua.”
Gu Chil just stared at him.
“This may sound absurd, but hear me out.”
Gu Chil actually wanted to hear just how absurd it would be. However, that was blown away by Cho Sam’s next words.
“I simply could have left without a word, but I came back to inform you because I know I received some valuable information from you.”
What a mess.
There really wasn’t a reason for Gu Chill to listen to a madman’s nonsense, but he stuck around because Cho Sam seemed so serious, and he felt bad for him.
“I will repay kindness twofold and resentment tenfold. There will come a day when I will repay the favor, so remember the name Chung Myung of Mount Hua Sect. We will meet again, and I will repay the favor that I owe you.”
His words sounded nice, at least. It would’ve been really cool if Cho Sam wasn’t bruised black and blue and dressed like a beggar.
Chung Myung’s face fell.
“I know it sounds strange, but remember my words. One day, they’ll change your destiny—”
“Wang Cho is looking for you. You’re dead if he catches you.”
“Really?” They locked eyes.
“Heheheheh.” The world was full of all kinds of people. Someone suddenly reaching new heights wasn’t that great or weird in the grand scheme of things. Of course, for it to happen overnight was rather weird and frightening.
“Well, I need to get going!”
“...Come back soon. Or he really will beat you to death.”
“I’m going! Anyway, just remember: ‘Chung Myung of Mount Hua’. Remember that name!” With that, Chung Myung boldly stepped away.
Gu Chil shook his head. Life was full of twists and turns, sometimes good and sometimes bad. But if Cho Sam got caught, he really was dead.
“What am I supposed to tell Wang Cho…?”
Abruptly, the tent flap was thrown open and Chung Myung walked back inside.
What? Why was he back again? But Gu Chil didn’t get the chance to ask.
“What was that bastard’s name?”
“The one who hit me.”
“Ah… Wang Cho? Wang Cho—his real name is Jong Pal1.”
“Jong Pal? Sounds like a beggar’s name. Tell that bastard: next time we meet, I won’t let him go.”
In Gu Chil’s opinion, Wang Cho was the one who “won’t let him go”.
“Now, I’m really going.” Chung Myung strolled out of the tent, whistling.
Just as Gu Chil thought everything was settled, Chung Myung popped back into the tent.
“Ah! What now?”
“What? What now? Why, again?”
“Which way to Shaanxi’s Mount Hua?”
No matter how you sliced it, this bastard was definitely crazy.
Chung Myung ran and ran. There was not a single person in the world who would take a little beggar with them all the way to Shaanxi province.
Unbelievable… his two legs, which were so strong and reliable, felt tired. Even his heart felt weak.
Did Chung Myung ever ride a horse or carriage? Never. He could run much faster than a horse ever could, and he wasn’t nearly laid back to slow down on purpose. If you added up all the distance he ran in his previous life, you could loop the central plains ten times. That was why he’d started running without a second thought.
But he hadn’t even really stretched his legs before he was flat on the ground.
“Hack! Hack! Ugh! Ack! Oh, god! I’m going to die at this rate!”
He couldn’t have even imagined such a weak body existed. His two legs had been reduced from steel to sticks and bones, and his untiring heart was reduced to quivers.
What nonsense was this? It felt like his heart would jump out of his mouth at any moment.
“Ahhh! What kind of body is this?!” He just jumped once! Did he run for an hour or two? No! It was just a couple of minutes, but he was already gasping for breath! Just how bad was this young beggar’s body?
“Ughh.” The answers were plainly laid out before him. Putting aside his internal energy, his body alone was in quite a state—literally skin and bones, without an ounce of flesh.
And he was planning to go to Shaanxi province?
A pipe dream! He would keel over from exhaustion before reaching Mount Hua.
If he ever made it to the afterlife, his acquaintances would ridicule him. “The Plum Blossom Sword Saint, dead from exhaustion?” they’d ask.
“Hahahaha!” A mocking laugh escaped from Chung Myung’s mouth. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t even stand anymore.
Martial artists had great bodies, but this one was simply horrible. Chung Myung didn’t know if it would collapse from overworking or overthinking or just plain hunger! He didn’t know, so he just laughed.
“If I’m going to Shaanxi province, I need to fix this weak body first!”
But how was he to change his body? Make it healthy? He already knew the answer.
“Well, I just need to learn martial arts!”
A new start. Other people might now realize how incredible a chance this was.
Isn’t it said that those who fail to reach the top have the most regrets? Well, it was true. Even those who successfully reach the top have their regrets.
If only I had done that at that time!
If only I’d focused on learning the basics!
If only I’d practiced when the master grabbed my ear instead of running away!
If only I hadn’t gotten caught stealing from the secret alcohol stash…
No, forget that last one.
“I can do it all over again.” In the past, Chung Myung was one of the greatest swordsmen in the third generation. However, that didn’t mean he was satisfied; rather, as he got stronger and his understanding of martial arts deepened, he understood better than anyone just how inefficiently he’d practiced and how flawed his foundation was.
That damned foundation had cost him his Sahyung and Sajae!
Chung Myung hated the foundation classes, but he understood why it was so important when he became a disciple. After all, the foundation is what makes a man stand. A tall tower needs a strong foundation. How high the tower rises depends on how the foundation is laid. But young Chung Myung didn’t know that. No matter how much his teachers explained, he just didn’t understand. Even when he understood it, he couldn’t give it his all.
Because I’m only human. If Chung Myung was busy digging his foundation, what about the person next to him who’d already built three stories? Who wouldn’t hurry?
“They always told me to concentrate on foundation and basics, but when I did they just praised the ones ahead of me!” Fucking power supremacy!
He could understand, though. The masters were only human too.
Everyone knew great success came from solid foundations. Still, while students struggled with their foundations, the masters were busy praising the ones with outstanding swordsmanship.
That was bearable. Mount Hua taught patience so that students were quite good at containing their emotions.
However, the students and masters had drinking parties after evening practice. What if someone starts bragging about their disciple, even at the drinking party? The drunks start bragging about their disciples as if they’re one-of-a-kind, and those who have nothing to brag about just have to sit there and take it.
That’s it. No more patience.
The next morning, they take out their frustration on their disciples.
“My Sajae’s disciple is already doing the second formation of Plum Blossom Sword!”
“That rotten man’s disciple apparently already tapped into higher internal energy! Not once have I lost to him! But now I’m losing—whose fault do you think that is? Huh? Answer me!”
“Not enough power! More power!”
With masters like that, what foundation can be laid? They were too busy trying to show off their students! It was a vicious cycle, where a Sajae’s skills were handed down to the disciples.
“However!” The current Chung Myung was different!
There was no need to rush. There was no master egging him on. Now that he’d already seen the path he had to climb, he just had to take it one step at a time.
Foundations? Others would dig into flat ground, but Chung Myung would tear down mountains. His tower would stand upon an unconquerable peak!
The first step is always important. The dantian and inner qi. In any body, the dantian was weak. As one practices, it becomes stronger and better at holding qi until it can supply the qi for your martial arts. A well-trained dantian could be the deciding factor against other martial artists.
Simply put, it’s like rolling a snowball. Imagine rolling a small snowball down a mountainside. A fingernail-sized ball becomes fist-sized and grows exponentially from there. Soon, it’s a colossal avalanche no human power can stop.
What Chung Myung needed to do was create a solid dantian to hold his qi. That meant he had to find a mountain where the snowball never stops rolling.
“Alright then!” Chung Myung looked around carefully before he began. Making a dantian for the first time was risky. He left town to find somewhere secluded, to avoid casualties. It was unlikely someone would get hurt, but why take the risk?
Here is good. Chung Myung went into the forest and sat cross-legged under the shade of a large tree.
“Now, where do I start?” There were a lot of things going through his head: all the teachings of Mount Hua, more than a dozen methods of tapping into the qi.
There was the self-healing qi.
The Plum Blossom Heart method, specific to the Plum Blossom Sword.
The internal qi, which would boost one’s qi sevenfold.
The regulating qi, said to contain all forms of energy.
The number of methods in his head would boggle most people. If he decided not to limit himself to the teachings of Mount Hua, Chung Myung could learn so much.
Yet, Chung Myung didn’t even think about it. He knew what technique he had to learn.
“Equilibrium of Six.”
For the first time, Chung Myung’s voice was clear and confident.
- Jong Pal - “Eight”↩
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