Embroidered Uniform Guard (錦衣衛)
The road to Mang-Liang was quite far and rough. He lived in the Jinrang Valley near Luoyang, and I had to cross mountains and streams dozens of times to get to the village. I was walking day after day, making up for my rough trip with the fifty silver coins.
I had no entertainment, so I only performed Lightning Dragon One Qigong during the remaining time. I was getting the lightning on the whole body even if I only performed Small Circulatory Cycle.
The sound of the lightning poured out. It wasn’t just a feeling. On the outside, when I finished the Neigong training, the owner of the inn sometimes ran out of the room.
“What’s going on?”
“There’s something shiny …”
When I pretended to know nothing about it, the owner tilted his head and left.
“Hmm. Now it’s too much pressure to train Neigong outside.”
Was it because of the effect of the Elixir?
When I pulled up Lightning Dragon One Qigong, the Lightning Qi (雷氣) would boil up around my body, and the effect would be a flash of lightning around the adjacent area of thirty meters. I wondered how this was but at least it wasn’t bad for me.
Even when I continued to use my Neigong, the great energy of clustering in the Low Dantian did not decrease at all. I felt I was riding on a swift horse when I first ate the Millennium Snow Ginseng, but now I seemed to be flying through the sky on the back of a dragon. Then I realized what had happened to my body.
The effect of the Elixir forced me to reach the essence of Qigong! Every time I used the Lightning Dragon One Qigong, the Lightning Qi was emitted, which was a phenomenon that must be practiced for a hundred of years.
When I ate the Elixir once, the meridians and blood vessels were less open and there was no abnormality, but when I ate it the second time, the enormous natural Qi was poured into the whole body and forced to the next stage of the Lightning Dragon One Qigong. Now I didn’t know what level of my Lightning Dragon One Qigong was.
Clearly, my running was now much faster than most horses, and even has reached the point where I could run eight kilometers without a hitch. It was considered a waste of money to ride a horse, so I bought only straw shoes and ran. Judging from the geography around here, it was quicker to go over the mountain in a straight line than to take a twist on a road where people walked. So, I was just flicking up the mountain. It took no more than one hour to get over a mountain.
I leaped over the huge rock cliff
with two steps, of which the size was fifteen meters, and the view from the top of the mountain gave me another sentiment. As soon as I realized that I had gained the physical ability above human beings, the vitality to live seemed to be in my body.
‘Okay. Let’s forget about the slaughter. I only think about going forward now.’
Two more days later, I would arrive at the place where Mang-Liang lived. Since it was at least five years before I had first met him, I didn’t’ know he might still be living there.
It was time to stand on a rock at the top of the mountain.
[You. You look like you have a great ability. Who are you?]
Suddenly, there was a Sound Transmission (傳音). I held my arms across on the rocks and was stunned by the unexpected noise. I didn’t imagine that an Extreme martial artist would talk to me in such a place.
‘Where is he?’
Feeling embarrassed, I concentrated on finding the location of the opponent. But my sensory perception was just a hunch and I’ve never learned it professionally. So, it was impossible to know the location of the other person’s apparent concealment. Also, I could not use Sound Transmission. I kept silent on the rocky mountain and shouted out loud.
“I’m Baek Woong!”
I simply mixed up Qi and shouted out, but it became Lion Roar (獅子吼) and shook the whole mountain. Though I did not know the sound transmission, Lion Roar seemed to have reached the village because it was enough to cover the mountain. It was so obvious that the sound waves were spreading.
The rock under my feet suddenly broke into pieces like an egg, then I performed Haste Skill and landed; at that moment, I heard a panicked sound again.
[Huck! How could you use Lion Roar in a place like this?]
I knew he could hear my voice though I did not use the sound transmission. But I did it for the purpose of checking him. I said coldly, not to look weak.
“I have shown you who I am, and I do not wish to argue with you, so let’s part away.”
The opponent was already under an illusion that I was an Extreme martial artist, seeing my Haste Skill. Whether it was a belligerent or just curious about me, I found my opponent’s performance very embarrassing. It would be bad for me to get into trouble or be sniffed at. That’s why I tried to take the initiative of the opponent with Lion Roar and then to go away.
Then, the person who sent the Sound Transmission came out of the grass. He seemed to have thought, somehow, that it would not be possible to talk with me with the Sound Transmission only.
“Baek Woong. I didn’t mean anything bad to you.”
And I could identify the person’s appearance.
He was not a pseudo-Daoist like Mang-Liang but an old-aged Daoist wearing the Daoism uniform and holding a staff. His face was a little thinner, but he was generally elegant and had a good impression, and his head was also neat in the conduit. Most of all, the energy from him was so deep that I could see he was a high-class martial artist of Righteous Factions (正派).
I said, wary of him.
“I don’t care about any excuse. I’ll go now, so don’t mind it.”
“Why are you in such a hurry? I just want to talk.”
“There’s no guarantee that talking to you will be good for me.”
As I stepped up to the point of leaving, the Daoist shook his hands quickly.
“No. I actually caught you asking for help.”
“I am Hyun-Chun Daoist (玄天道人), an administrator of Taizheng Hall (太正館).”
At the moment, I was startled.
He was a legendary, extraordinary person of the most powerful Dao faction, Wudang Faction (武當派). He has had a great reputation for killing many people from Evil Factions (邪派) and Devil Dao (魔道) in the Hubei (湖北) area. His reputation was so great, and when I was in my forties in a remote area from Hubei, I was so excited to hear his performance.
‘It seems to be the age of the elderly now, is he still going to be in Moorim after thirty years? It is impossible unless Neigong is very deep.’
I wondered if this encounter would help my past life. So, I thought about it a little before I said.
“What’s going on?”
“Will you listen to my stories?”
“If it’s not a waste of time …”
Then, he smiled warmly.
“I was patrolling the shrine of Zhenwu The Great (眞武大帝) around here. However, for a while, I was worried because evil influence started to come from the neighboring villages. It was also very strong, and I had to think about it.”
“It comes from an Evil Cult (邪敎)”
Of course, there were times when people from Buddhism and Daoism did strange things, but if Hyun-Chun Daoist from Righteous Factions concluded that there was an Evil Cult, they must be evil people. I tried to remember whether the traces of Evil Cult appeared in the history of Moorim, but I couldn’t think of anything about it as I was so young.
‘It’s White Lotus (白蓮敎: a secret religious group that has been popular since the Song Dynasty), if I think about it.’
White Lotus is a religion banned and suppressed by the country, so I knew it was driven all the way to the south of the central continent. But all I knew was that, and I asked just in case.
“Is it White Lotus?”
“I thought at first, but I don’t think so. White Lotus was an Orthodox, but it was
it was only suppressed by Hongwu Emperor (洪武: the personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, was the founder and first emperor of China’s Ming dynasty.) for political reasons. It was never a religion to offer human sacrifice like the evil one I found.”
I shivered in fear. Human sacrifice was the act of killing men and women, and devoting them to the altar for the sake of the gods they served. They usually cut off the head and sometimes tore the stomach alive to spread the heart and guts.
At the end of my years, I saw some fanatics who were abruptly executed for human sacrifice.
‘Uh? Is that Covered Snail (螺湮敎)?’
I was filled with disbelief at the guess.
I didn’t remember this time around, but there was a lunatic religion when I was in my fifties and almost at the end of my life.
The name was Covered Snail, a bizarre name that was known to do human sacrifice. I remembered the sudden increase in power from the south of the central continent, causing chaos in various areas, and eventually the country punished Covered Snail, but the country was covered with blood. I used to be told that although it didn’t affect me, as I kept my job as a guard, some areas have become a mess due to blood wind, and the security was in a state of being blocked.
However, it was after forty years when Covered Snail started to prevail. Therefore, it was a complete surprise to see an Evil Cult now. When I stood still, Hyun-Chun Daoist continued to talk.
“There was already a ritual for human sacrifice in the neighboring village beyond the mountain and next to it. I got rid of the fanatics, but there was already a sacrifice of the innocent people. If you do not overpower them, the power of the Evil Cult will continue to flourish.”
“Even if they are an Evil Cult, they are just common people. Since you are an Extreme martial artist, you can destroy them alone.
I mumbled the end of my words.
That’s right. The power of an Extreme martial artist cannot be comparable to the public, no matter how large a group of civilians has already assembled. Even if thousands of ordinary farmers run around with a kitchen knife in their hands, one Extreme martial artist can kill them all.
Then he shook his head.
“No, I was embarrassed, as I was too weak to overpower the monsters in two villages.”
“There are strange monsters, not just a fanatic. The numbers are so many that I can’t stand them alone.”
It is also consistent with the features of Covered Snail I heard. I once heard that Covered Snail deals with horrible things that are not considered to belong in this world, and that if the government responded to the situation, it could be easily could be easily overwhelmed. Monster’s appearance is so ugly and horrible that it is enough to break people’s heart just by looking at it.
‘Is it real Covered Snail?’
Hyun-Chun Daoist said with a serious look.
“You look like a boy, but you seem to have a great deal of Neigong. I beg for your help with shame. With your help, I can definitely defeat the great sorcerer who controls the monsters.”
“What’s the great sorcerer?”
“It is a man who controls the monsters with a sound using a flute, and it seems to be the main cause of this bloodshed…”
I was a little curious. This was the first time I’ve never experienced it, and if I knew it now, it might help my life of retrograde in the future.
“Isn’t it better to talk to the government office, is it?”
“If a Daoist said that there are human sacrifices and monsters in the village, would you believe that? I have already been to the government office, but I have been told, “it is bullshit.” … and I was meditating here, and saw your great Haste Skill.”
I nodded after thinking for a moment.
“All right. I’ll help you.”
“Really? Thank you.”
“But I want compensation.”
The expression on his face sank with a smile. He looked as if he didn’t expect me to demand the compensation.
“Instead of helping you, please teach me the extreme martial arts of Wudang Faction.”
His expression sank even more. He spoke with a slightly fierce look.
“Did you know I was from Wudang Faction?”
“Is there anyone else who has the extreme martial arts except a Daoist from Wudang Faction?”
He said with a look of dismay.
” … I can’t do that. Martial arts of Wudang Faction is not open to the public. I can’t teach my personal skills unless someone has been officially accepted as a disciple.”
I smiled back and turned my head.
“I’ll leave then.”
“Well, wait a minute. What about other things except martial arts? I’ll do everything in my power.”
I was giddy about trying to provoke him.
“While the innocents are dying and an Evil Cult is rampant, you think about only self-preservation. Is it a desperate request? No one else would believe the words of a Daoist.”
I meant to hurt his feelings, but to my surprise, he looked shocked. No, he had some sort of enlightenment. He nodded warily and said strongly.
“Good. Then, when this is over, I will accept you as my disciple and pass on all my skills! I’ll take full responsibility.”
It worked so well that I felt embarrassed. But I said with a smile.
“Yes, sir. I’ll help you to the best of my ability.”
Opportunity came unexpectedly.
‘If I defeat the Evil Cult or whatever it is, I will have a chance to learn martial arts from an Extreme expert of Wudang Faction.’
Thus, my first subjugation for Covered Snail began.