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Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Thousand-Year Snow Ginseng

The next morning, after breakfast, I went to Instructor Jin Socheong’s place.

Instructor Jin had me sit down and began his explanation.

“The martial arts taught at the Azure Dragon Martial Arts School are broadly divided into three categories: Weaponry Techniques, Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques, and Body Lightening Techniques. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”

Weaponry Techniques refer to how to use weapons, Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques focus on building internal energy, and Body Lightening Techniques encompass body techniques, including maintaining a light and nimble body. When I nodded, Instructor Jin continued.

“Among these, which do you think is the most important?”

“Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques.”

“Why is that?”

“While Weaponry Techniques can be learned through practical experience, internal energy cultivation techniques are difficult to acquire even with great wealth.”

“Good, you understand.”

Instructor Jin praised me. What seemed trivial from the perspective of a seasoned escort, was a profound truth that was hard for children to comprehend. To them, flashy Weaponry and Body techniques appeared more impressive.

“Yes, because Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques hold the deepest secrets, we teach them last. Incorrect training in internal energy cultivation could lead to irreversible internal injuries. Typically, the teaching of Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques begins at least a year after one becomes a novice attendant.”

Then, Instructor Jin placed his hand on my shoulder.

“However, I’ve decided to teach you Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques first.”

“Why is that?”

“It is the opportune time to spread the internal energy of the Three-Refinements Heart Technique throughout your meridians.”

“…?”

I was puzzled. When I tilted my head, Instructor Jin chuckled.

“Surprisingly, your body has accumulated a condensed internal energy from the Three-Refinements Heart Technique, almost unbefitting a child. However, as it is compressed in your lower dantian, the transmission speed of internal energy throughout your body is slow, causing you to be slower in battles with other masters. That’s why the Three-Refinements Heart Technique is considered a lesser internal energy technique.”

“Ah…!”

A slow transmission speed!

I was shocked by the critical flaw of the Three-Refinements Heart Technique, which I had never heard of before. While working as an escort, I never had time to deeply study internal energy techniques, and I didn’t think about it. The Three-Refinements Heart Technique turned out to be an internal energy technique with a slow transmission speed.

“Fortunately, your body is still in a childlike state, and the accumulated internal energy isn’t deeply entrenched, making it easy to change the internal energy characteristics. Starting today, as you learn the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique from the Secret Cultivation Technique of the Azure Dragon Martial Arts School, the accumulated internal energy will start to melt, and you will achieve a very rapid internal energy progress.”

“How fast of a progress are we talking about?”

“Hmm… If successful in melting it all, you will secure at least 20 years’ worth of internal energy within a short period. Such an achievement is rare even among high-level disciples of major sects.”

“…!”

Melting the internal power of the Three-Refinements Heart Technique with the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique!

Once melted, it guarantees 20 years’ worth of internal energy, a level comparable to high-level disciples of major sects!

Upon realizing the incredible opportunity that had come to me in a short moment, my body trembled with excitement. The thought that the grudge I held from my previous life as a lowly escort might be resolved filled me with anticipation.

Realizing the tremendous opportunity I had seized, my body trembled with excitement. The thought that the grudge I had held as a lowly escort for my entire previous life might be resolved made me gradually ecstatic.

Jin Socheong, in a calm voice, said, “Today, I will teach you three training methods. For a month, you will repeat these techniques.”

“Yes.”

“The first is the Seated Meditation Technique, which accumulates internal energy through sitting in meditation, the most effective posture. The second is the Moving Meditation Technique, training to circulate internal energy throughout your body with light movements in daily life.”

Pausing there, Jin Socheong continued, folding his arms. “The last is Sparring.”

“S-Sparring?”

I was taken aback by this sudden revelation. I didn’t expect to engage in such physical activity as I assumed Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques would be taught first, but sparring! Properly engaging in sparring, I was certain I would be beaten soundly by Jin Socheong, and fear arose within me.

However, Jin Socheong casually remarked, “Your Six Harmonies Sword Technique contains a strong killing intent. It possesses a sharpness honed in real combat. Yet, it ultimately includes a brawling nature, becoming a fatal flaw as you reach the levels of advanced masters.”

“…”

Though Jin Socheong’s explanation seemed reasonable, I realized the issue he was pointing out and my expression turned grim.

Yes, the Six Harmonies Sword Technique I had trained as an escort was meant for fighting and killing. Engaging in countless brawls with bandits, inevitably resorting to punches or kicks, when a weakness showed, I would throw dirt or sand to blind the opponent’s vision and strike.

Having fought unceremoniously for decades, I became accustomed to brawls, finding it challenging to maintain proper distance from opponents.

Jin Socheong sternly stated, “Do you know why a master is called a master? We call someone with a high level of skill a master. When fighting properly, a master should not allow even a moment’s gap to lower-level opponents, gradually improving and dividing the subtle timing. Hoping that you become a master, I decided to personally instruct you.”

“…”

“But remember, if you don’t improve after a month of continuous sparring…”

Gulp.

As I swallowed nervously, Jin Socheong’s eyes gleamed sharply.

“I will take the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique from you and drive you away. It’s too much to give such a high-level technique to one who can’t become a master.”

“…!”

Finally, I realized that Jin Socheong wasn’t a casual person.

He had thoroughly calculated and accepted me!

Upon realizing my internal cultivation of the Three-Refinements Heart Technique, he devised a plan to nurture me into a high-level disciple. However, the shoddy habits of the Six Harmonies Sword Technique posed a hindrance. He planned to correct them significantly and, if unsuccessful, discard me and my internal energy, considering it a waste. The secret of Internal Energy Cultivation Techniques was as crucial as a sect’s life.

But I couldn’t accept it and spoke out.

I said, suppressing my laugh, “Even if I can’t become a master, shouldn’t I at least stay as a disciple? It seems too much for me to chase it away. Besides, the other disciples, including Bangil, are also practicing the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique!”

“They are not training in the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique.”

“What?”

“It’s the fundamental internal cultivation technique of the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique. These children were training in various martial arts, including the Clear Cloud Internal Energy Cultivation technique, until they showed exceptional talent and were chosen to learn the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique.”

I realized I had been mistaken.

I see. The Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique is the true mastery of the Azure Dragon School. Only the master, the instructor in front of me, and two others have mastered it.

Gathering disciples to expand their influence and resources, the Azure Dragon School’s true intentions were to not readily pass on the high-level Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique but instead teach the Clear Cloud Internal Energy Cultivation as a lower-tier method. Perhaps there were martial artists who, despite training for decades in the Azure Dragon School, possessed nothing more than the martial arts knowledge of a common escort.

After organizing my thoughts, I calmly remarked, “The reason you teach the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique instead of the Clear Cloud Internal Energy Cultivation is because it is easier to assimilate the inner workings of the Three-Refinements Heart Technique with advanced techniques, right?”

“Exactly. Disciples trainees who learn the Clear Cloud Internal Energy Cultivation go through a process similar to yours. Clear Cloud Internal Energy Cultivation is similar to the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique and Circulation Technique, making it much easier to absorb.”

“But given just a month… wouldn’t it be better to train for years instead of rushing?”

As I strongly objected, Jin Socheong’s expression changed strangely. Then, he burst into laughter.

“Hahaha!! You are quite amusing. Talking to you feels like conversing with a seasoned elderly person, not a child.”

He meant I was not a prodigy, so he would not teach me.

This approach indicated a calculated treatment.

With a swish, Jin Socheong turned his head as if to say no more and began preparing to train.

After a while, I understood what his words truly meant.

For about two hours, Jin Socheong had taught me the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique’s internal cultivation and moving techniques. Immediately after, he started sparring with me. It wasn’t just sparring—whenever I wielded the Six Harmonies Sword Technique, he aggressively targeted my weak spots with sword strikes.

Swish!

“Oof!”

My thigh was struck hard, and my head spun with dizziness. An intense pain shot through my lower body, akin to a club beating. Darkness clouded my vision as I staggered, and Jin Socheong’s austere voice reached me.

“Aren’t you paying attention? Where did you learn such crude movements? Do you charge in to start a brawl, hoping to stab your opponent’s neck with a lucky strike?”

Thud!

“Aargh!”

As his foot connected, a page flew into the air. I felt like my chest was breaking, and my breath was cut short. Astonishingly, I was still conscious despite the intense pain, solely due to Jin Socheong’s controlled strength. He was hitting me as hard as I could withstand without losing consciousness.

Even though I was being struck with force, I managed to hold on by a thread of consciousness, not due to my mental strength but because of Jin Socheong’s power control. I was hitting back as painfully as I could within the limit before losing consciousness.

“Cough… cough…”

“Don’t underestimate martial arts. True masters never overlook such amateur mistakes! Luck cannot guarantee a haphazard victory. Never!”

Thunk.

Slash.

Roar.

I was struck relentlessly until my mind grew hazy. I counted up to a hundred blows, then lost track. Amidst the chaos, I lay sprawled in the training hall, laughing absurdly.

Despite the beating, I didn’t suffer internal bleeding or extensive bruising.

Jin Socheong was an expert at hitting people.

With his wooden sword on his shoulder, Jin Socheong smirked, “You do have perseverance. Do your best to correct your habits. Tomorrow, we’ll continue training and sparring for another two hours.”

I’d rather be dead.

As I stumbled back to my quarters, still reeling from Jin Socheong’s beating, a hand suddenly emerged from between buildings, seized my collar, and dragged me into a narrow alleyway. Three young boys stood there.

“Second-line fellow disciples?”

Their uniforms bore two embroidered lines. One of them, with prominent cheekbones, spoke, “Are you the one receiving personal tutoring from Instructor Socheon?”

Another, seeing blood trickle down my lips, recoiled, “Oh, this guy’s a mess. He got beaten badly.”

“Did the instructor beat you up?”

Hahaha.

The fellow disciples laughed at my battered state. They must have intended to bully me, but it was absurd because I had already been beaten so much. Held by the collar, I faced them and said, “Seniors, I don’t have time for this. I need to eat and rest.”

“Can’t this guy read the situation?”

“What situation?”

“The one where you’re getting beaten up…!!”

A fist flew. Possibly due to at least two years of training, it was faster than a typical street thug’s punch. But with my swollen eyes from Jin Socheong’s sword, I clearly saw the attack.

“Is that so?”

I deftly dodged, grabbing the individual’s neck and driving my knee into his throat.

Thud.

“Gah…”

One choked, and I nonchalantly turned to the other two. They, taken aback by my counterattack, began throwing kicks and punches with a fury. Dodging both in this narrow alley was challenging.

Slap.

“This guy…”

Yet, by shielding my head and crouching, their blows missed. Unaccustomed to this fight, they were confused when I blocked with my forearms. I yanked their collars, unbalancing them, and landed a punch to the face. With the full force behind it, the punch knocked one down in a single blow.

I received a solid blow to my face, followed by a dull sound, and then sank down in one hit. Thud. Two more collapsed beside me. I glanced down at the defeated “seniors” and muttered, “Fools. Did you think I was a young master who lived a good life?”

I had survived as an escort at the lowest rung of Plum Blossom Escort Agency, fighting bandits endlessly and rolling on the floor in the lowest pits of the profession. Back alley brawls and lethal fights were all too familiar to me, as were traveling riversides or forests and ambushing in swamps. Surviving as an escort wasn’t easy.

I had ingrained habits from those experiences, which Jin Socheong was trying to correct. Bitterness welled up. Nonetheless, with these skills, as long as ten didn’t fight me at once, I wouldn’t lose. I resolved to train the Thunder Dragon One Qi Technique as Jin Socheong desired.

After battling and casually dining, some servants, probably weary of it all, distanced themselves.

Gradually, my body relaxed. Unconsciously ingrained habits reflexively changed. I tried to change myself while taking Jin Socheong’s beatings.

“Argh!”

“You bastard! Kill him!”

Thud.

“Fools, do you want me dead? Haha!” I kicked the man before me, laughing.

My fights continued. The gatekeeper named Bangil seemed to have no intention of protecting me and appeared not to even notice me fighting with my fellow disciples in the back alley. Of course, I had never been pushed down in a fight.

A month passed.

“…”

From morning to night, I sat with Jin Socheong at the training room.

The instructor broke the silence. “You’ve passed.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Your habits seem to be corrected.”

I chuckled with a swollen face. “Good.”

“From tomorrow, training will be different. Rest for now.”

“Yes.”

Now, a step forward. Strangely, no one provoked me upon my return to the dorm. I quietly lay down to rest, recovering. Tomorrow, I would learn first-class martial arts.

Around then, Jin Socheong the chief instructor headed to the Walyong Hall, the deepest part of Azure Dragon Martial Arts School, where the master, Samjeol Lee Kwang, resided.

“Master, disciple Jin Socheong has arrived.”

“Let him in.”

As Jin Socheong walked in, he saw the middle-aged man, seemingly a plain scholar, but in truth, the top master of Azure Dragon Martial Arts School, Samjeol Lee Kwang, caressing a teacup.

He wasn’t particularly big and seemed like an ordinary scholar at first glance, but in reality, he was Lee Kwang, one of the top experts in Jianghu, highly regarded in the Azure Dragon Martial Arts School.

As soon as Lee Kwang saw his beloved disciple Jin Socheong, he asked, “How did your assessment of that Baek Woong turn out?”

“In all honesty, his martial talent is nothing extraordinary. He has reached a surprisingly mediocre level through unknown means,” Jin Socheong replied.

Lee Kwang, surprised, inquired, “So, did you dismiss him for his lack of skill?”

“No, I corrected some bad habits in his body. I have decided to reserve judgment for now.”

“Hmm… low comprehension but full of poisonous energy. That boy has the traits of a sinister martial artist,” Lee Kwang muttered with displeasure.

Baek Woong was not particularly unique. He belonged to the type of individuals with mediocre skills but who grew their talents through innate poisonous energy. In the corrupt martial world, many from sinister sects pursued such growth. However, Lee Kwang, a noble martial artist and master from the royal family, found it distasteful to cultivate talents like Baek Woong’s.

Jin Socheong added, “But with proper training, he can definitely reach the level of a top expert in the Nine Schools and One Nation. It’s entirely possible if he refines his martial skill.”

Lee Kwang nodded, “If you say so, then it must be true. Let’s continue to nurture that boy.”

“Yes, master.”

“Stop handling the children carelessly.”

Startled, Jin Socheong said, “You were aware?”

“With his abundant poisonous energy, he won’t break easily from commonplace incidents. There’s no need to test his perseverance needlessly.”

“I understand.”

“Then go.”

“Yes.”

Jin Socheong, stepping outside, wore a complex expression. ‘Was I wrong in my thoughts?’ It wasn’t a coincidence that Baek Woong ended up fighting with the disciples each time he finished training with Jin Socheong. Jin Socheong discreetly ordered a few palace disciples to provoke Baek Woong, believing that by stoking his poisonous energy, Baek Woong could focus more on training.

Ultimately, Baek Woong passed Jin Socheong’s test. However, his master, Lee Kwang, not only knew of Jin Socheong’s scheme but also deemed it unnecessary. Jin Socheong’s actions were only serving to further provoke Baek Woong.

In other words, the master, Lee Kwang, had a better grasp of Baek Woong’s true nature than Jin Socheong. Surprisingly, he also held a high opinion of Baek Woong. For some reason, Jin Socheong felt a new curiosity and smiled.

“Good, Baek Woong. Let’s see how far you can progress at the Azure Dragon Martial Arts School.”


           



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Reincarnation Sword God

Reincarnation Sword God

전생검신
Status: Ongoing Type: Author: Native Language: Korean
I was an aspiring master. It's been 45 years since I started training in martial arts. In the martial world, my level is at most second-rate. I never even dreamed of reaching the top level, just practicing the Six Harmonies Sword Technique in a shabby hut. "Are you saying that those without talent should just die?" Then I will die. I will die and challenge again. Until I destroy this damn world!

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