Embroidered Uniform Guard (錦衣衛)
What do you mean?
It has been a religion since the days of Southern Song Dynasty (南宋). As a matter of fact, I was ignorant and uninterested, so I didn’t know much about that one. There seemed to be some other trivial situation, but the position of White Lotus in Moorim was the most interesting part to me now. White Lotus had almost lost its place, but it has been different in Moorim.
The strongest candidate in the current Moorim!
White Lotus is currently categorized as the middle of Righteous/Evil (正邪中間) in Moorim. More precisely, it is hard to categorize good or bad, as they are so detached from the work of Moorim and have no mind. Nevertheless, Guardian Martial Arts (護敎武功) of White Lotus was powerful and widespread in Moorim.
Even Hongwu Emperor (洪武) tried to crack down White Lotus from the time of his ruling period, but the martial arts of the Religious Leader of White Lotus or the high priest was too scary. Unlike Nine Sects & One Association, Five Big Noble Clans, and Devil Dao Eight Factions, which were found on the outside, White Lotus was the secret, strongest sect in the world.
‘Damn it …’
When I thought about it, I realized the meaning of the word of Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang, who was the master of Blue Dragon Martial Club.
“In case of the martial arts of White Lotus, is it convincible to be an expert of martial arts at a young age like me?”
He inferenced rationally in his knowledge. It was confirmed in his subsequent remarks.
“If you’re a White Lotus, we can’t accept you to our Martial Club.”
I answered quickly, “I’m not a White Lotus.”
However, he did not change his face at all; he did not have the cold look, but he was just gazing at this side with a blank look. As if I was sucked up at the moment, I came across that eye.
“Nobody at that age can achieve a superlative Internal Energy, unless he does eat Holy Lotus (聖蓮) of White Lotus.”
“Holy Lotus? What is it?”
“You put an air of innocence.”
He grabbed his spear next to the table. At that moment, I was under an illusion that my whole cells were sending out a danger signal and the straight lines from the top of my head to the spine seemed to be irritated. I stood back three steps, withstanding a sudden scream, in the illusion of me to become into two sharp pieces.
However, he was still holding on to the spear but still remained stationary. I swallowed saliva, my brow being in sweats.
‘What the hell was that? The killing intent? What the heck?’
It was so real.
I thought my whole body had been really cut.
I recovered consciousness, and recognized that I was still alive.
It was too much to judge in the realm of the killing intent.
He said, stroking his neat beard, “You are not the Guardian (護敎人) who took Holy Lotus. I can’t believe that you have figured out the range of Formless Qi (無形之氣).”
“Beyond the process of understanding your weapon, you should realize the will of the weapon, and your mind, and you become unified. If you do this, you will be able to use the Formless Qi. Where there is will, there is reality.”
He kindly explained the truth, but my teeth were quaking with the appalling indifference and coldness that penetrated the way he sounded. It was certainly not the killing intent, but my body would be disintegrated in midair, as soon as he swung that spear.
‘I don’t understand that stage … It’s fundamentally different from Sword Qi and Sword Inflammation! Only with the will, he can kill anyone.’
As it was, I would be dead.
Considering me a complete White Lotus, he also looked free from the guilt of killing a child.
I clenched my teeth to shout.
“Wait a minute! I’m not really a White Lotus. I can prove it!”
“Prove … How do you prove it?”
I was struck dumb at the moment.
‘What can I do to persuade Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang?’
If I performed Lightning Spirit Eight Spearmanship, Lightning Spirit Swordsmanship, and Lightning Spirit Footwork, he would think that his martial arts had been stolen out. As I faced the realistic barrier I had been thinking about, I felt a chill grow down my spine.
Yet, I came to Blue Dragon Martial Club because I thought I could take the risk. Even if I was cut dead on this occasion, I would have to be brave!
“… You can see it from the demonstration of my martial arts.”
‘I don’t know anymore. Let’s try to persuade him at random.’
“The demonstration of your martial arts…?”
“It’s narrow here, so I’ll show you outside.”
Without waiting for his reply, I opened the door of Waryong Hall and ran into the large drill hall in front of it. It was a place where the teachers and the students of third-line paraded their achievements to him.
I then took out a spear that had been left hanging in the drill hall and stood in the middle.
He stood at the entrance of Waryong Hall and watched me with interest.
‘Keep an eye on me.’
I concentrated my attention. As I recalled the time when I had removed my weak points under the guidance of Hyun-Chun Daoist (玄天道人), I started to perform Lightning Spirit Eight Spearmanship by focusing on every single Move (招式). My most outstanding skill was the swordsmanship, but the super-powerful spearmanship, Lightning Spirit Eight Spearmanship, has always been like an object of admiration.
From Lightning Spirit Piercing Sky (雷靈貫天) to Lightning Spirit Lone Change (雷靈孤轉), eight Forms (形) were screened as rapidly as if they were sewn onto beads. I glanced at him as I performed Lightning Spirit Eight Spearmanship, but he still did not change his expression.
Therefore, I took the spear back, and this time pulling the sword, began to spread Lightning Spirit Swordsmanship at the faster speed. It was my outstanding skill, so I was able to move with more confidence. By the time the Lightning Spirit Swordsmanship was done, his
expression turned significantly.
Lastly, when Lightning Cloud Palm was sprayed in a chain, Lightning Qi vibrated. My movement completed its rotation and took the last Form.
A demonstration showing everything I had!
Silence reigned. There was nothing but he and I in the place. He was thinking with his arms folded, and appeared to be full of loopholes at first glance. But I could not even move or flee because of his Formless Qi.
It was not until fifteen minutes passed that he began to talk.
“Who are you?”
It was not a polite voice, as was the case earlier. Rather, it was a passionate voice that was full of considerable anger and gloom.
I said it calmly, “As you see, I am not a White Lotus.”
“I think it’s true. If you ate Holy Lotus, you would not achieve Lightning Spirit.”
He managed to soothe his feeling in silence. Then he turned his back and suddenly sent me a sound transmission.
[Follow me if you are confident in not telling a lie.]
He wanted me to tell the truth, but it seemed to contain more weight. I nodded slightly and followed him into the building. Following him about three meters of distance, I knew one thing.
Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang is something different.
He is a fundamentally different person from the Peak-class experts I have seen so far.
Of course, I did not know what it was at my present level.
He headed for another room which was different from the one I had seen earlier. When Lee Kwang opened the door, there was a stark dark room. After putting some tinder in the furnace as if to put warmth in the room, he recommended me to sit on a chair.
“Sit down there.”
I thought for a moment whether this was his trick or not, but I sat down without hesitation.
‘The level is too different.’
The gap between he and I, which I confirmed earlier as Formless Qi, was more than I had thought. I didn’t know about it, but I felt the greater difference than when I clashed with the first elder of Iron Blood Sect. I would never survive, if I fought Lee Kwang in the battle. It was not likely that he would use a small trick, if I thought of it as a low class martial artist.
The flames started to burn, and the room began to warm up.
Lee Kwang said, while looking at me with his chin resting on the chair opposite.
“Tell me about it in detail. Where did you learn the martial arts of Lightning God’s Flow (雷神流)?”
I felt an inward panic when a sudden noun popped up.
‘Give me a break! This wasn’t his creative martial arts, was it? Was it separated from a separate sect, called Lightning God’s Flow?’
Lee Kwang referred to his martial arts as a separate one.
I said, after thinking.
“The man, who had taught me this martial arts, was dead. He just called on me before he died, to visit Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang.”
“He got sick.”
I made a gamble. It was too risky to believe in him and tell the truth about the past life of the Heavenly Dark Secret Book. Not only was the story of being revived even if I died, but no Moorim person would pass on the secret martial arts to a person like me. I would rather have a lie here, but I would have to brag to him with courage.
“What’s his name?”
The martial arts of Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang was not a complete creative work, but a derivative of a single sect of Lightning God’s Flow.
“He didn’t teach me the whole martial arts.”
He was muttering bitterly, and said, “How did you achieve your Internal Energy?”
“After my teacher died, I was fortunate enough to take the Millennium Snow Ginseng in Huangshan while wandering around the world.”
“Pull out your wrist.”
He held my wrist in a hurry, and he closed his eyes, as if to detect the character of the dominant Internal Energy that was jumping inside me, and then he took it off.
“That’s true, the extreme Yin Qi is moving around, but it is in harmony with the powerful Yang Qi. What is this?”
“In fact, there was another Elixir next to it, and I was able to survive by taking it together.”
“Is that what happened?”
He sat still as if he were in mediation. Then he said, “Your teacher must have been one of the inheritors of Lightning God’s Flow, but unfortunately, he did not achieve Lightning Spirit, and died of a miscellaneous disease.”
“Then, you and I are alumni. If you are willing to serve me as a teacher again, do me Nine Worship Ceremony (九拜之禮) here.”
Nine Worship Ceremony!
I was struck by the words of Lee Kwang. It seemed to be a common ritual to accept a disciple of the alumni at first glance, but it was not at all. Blue Dragon Martial Club did not force any student to do Nine Worship Ceremony. Even the teachers did not give Nine Worship Ceremony to him, but I heard that only Jin So-Chung officially made the ceremonial ordinance.
In other words, Nine Worship Ceremony had not a simple meaning here. But it meant that he would accept me as a real inheritor and pass on his own martial arts to me, unlike other disciples who have been accepted for money. It was the only reason why Jin So-Chung performed the ceremonial ordinance. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to do Nine Worship Ceremony.
When the Nine Worship Ceremony was over, he said, “Stand up. From now on, I am your teacher, and I will pass on the whole Lightning God’s Flow.”
He showed no doubt about me. To be sure, it was Jin So-Chong who received his own outstanding skill (眞身絶技) from Lee Kwang as his natural son, and Jin So-Chung taught me about it for three years.
“Baek Woong, you may have already heard about it from your teacher, but Lightning God’s Flow is a marvelous martial-arts sect with multi-person heritage (多人傳承). You are able to train hard to reach the summit of Lightning God’s Flow.”
It was the first time I heard it, but I couldn’t ask what it meant.
‘It is very natural for a teacher to pass on the history of the sect even if the teacher does not transfer his own martial arts, and it may be doubtful if I do not know the history.’
But I soon changed my mind and started gambling again.
“Well … I’m so young that I don’t remember the history of the sect. I want you to let me know again.”
“Hmm … Maybe it’s because you’re young.”
No matter how good I looked, I was a child in my early teens. So, I wanted to know the history of the sect rather than asking about martial arts, then he was more willing to give notice.
“How many times have you heard about White Lotus?”
“My teacher didn’t mention about White Lotus very much. It’s actually my first time hearing about it today.”
“Really? Maybe he didn’t care about the grudge against White Lotus.”
I nearly breathed my last breath.
“Yes, it was Lightning God’s Flow that was purged and came to the central continent in half a century ago. They were Holy Guardians (護敎師者) of White Lotus and a martial-arts sect (武門). In order to avoid the attention of Moorim, they acted secretly in various places, but their roots were in White Lotus.”
“I heard it from my teacher, so I have no direct grudge against them. But you should remember that they had used and betrayed the martial artists of Lightning God’s Flow.”
Lightning God’s Flow!
It was a martial arts sect which handed down the martial arts of the Guardian. As the struggle broke out in White Lotus, it was kicked out and forced to move to the central continent, and the successors made a choice to be scattered everywhere, not to create a new sect for survival.
I asked a question with great surprise.
“If they wanted revenge, was it not better for Lightning God’s Flow to unite and make a big sect?”
“I was told that the power of the Religious Leader of White Lotus was beyond imagination, and it was the idea of the previous generation who wanted to be secluded in a quiet place while cultivating martial arts rather than breaking the rock with eggs.”
Hyun-Chun Daoist of Wudang Sect once mentioned the Religious Leader of White Lotus. When he admired my Internal Energy, he said that only the Religious Leader of White Lotus could beat me with Internal Energy. If my Internal Energy, which I have achieved eating the Millennia Snow Ginseng several times, was compared to it, I could guess the fearsome martial arts of the Religious Leader of White Lotus.
“How strong is the Religious Leader of White Lotus?”
“The Religious Leader of White Lotus has never come down from the Absolute Unbeatable (絶對無敵) for two hundred years. Although the Religious Leader of White Lotus has been passed down from generation to generation, all the masters have always overwhelmed the high-ranking experts of the Righteous Factions and Evil Factions. In fact, the martial arts of White Lotus are the best in the world.”
‘Is that so?’
He said with his uninterested expression, “I tend to ponder over the grudge of the previous generation, and if you had been a man of White Lotus, I would have cut you off on the spot.”
“What do you mean that I’ve mastered the Lightning Spirit?”
“When the Lightning Spirit One Qigong reaches the summit, it will resist all kinds of illness, extend the lifespan, flow through the entire body with the energy it produces. This is called Lightning Spirit, and you would come to it by eating the Millennium Snow Ginseng.”
“The people who ate Holy Lotus can get the enormous Internal Energy, but it is impossible to form the Lightning Spirit of Lightning Spirit One Qigong.”
‘Holy Lotus is probably an Elixir to be distributed in White Lotus.’
While I was trying to remember new knowledge, he looked strange.
“But there is another flow in your body that is different from the Lightning Spirit One Qigong.”
I had to be clumsy in this situation.
“It is Mysterious Sky God’s Qigong.”
“Mysterious Sky God’s Qigong! Is it one of Five Major God’s Qigongs?”
“Yes, it is only Real Qi Guide Method, but I was able to learn by meeting an extraordinary man (奇人) of Wudang Sect during my trip.”
I didn’t lie.
“Well … if you had had the Mysterious Sky God’s Qigong, you would have been a core disciple of Wudang Sect, but why did you come to me?”
“It was the will of the deceased teacher.”
Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang had a proud look on his face. No matter how big or successful Blue Dragon Martial Club was, it was not comparable to Wudang Sect which was on an era of the best prosperity. He would feel good about my coming to him, after I gave up being a core disciple of Wudang Sect.
“That sounds great. From today you are my core disciple, and take Jin So-Chung to your direct Senior Brother (师兄), and by your ability, I will first give you the position of a teacher and for the time being, and I will teach you one-on-one.”
I was happy because the story went so well. I somehow came in as a core disciple of Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang!
When the story was roughly settled, he talked about White Lotus and Lightning God’s Flow. In the meantime, I could gain a great deal of knowledge on White Lotus.
White Lotus was originally Orthodox (正敎), a first-rate leader in establishing Ming Dynasty and Hongwu also became a disciple of White Lotus. However, after the founding of the Empire, Hongwu changed his attitude, as if to reverse the palm of his hand, he began to suppress White Lotus. He did not directly kill them, but he used all kinds of excuses to capture them not to make an expansion.
Eventually, White Lotus changed to the form of a secret organization and was driven to the south of the continent. The south, which was dominated by ethnic minorities, was easily out of reach of the Imperial Family. They said that White Lotus had absorbed the descendants of Chen Youliang (陳友諒), who was the opponent of Hongwu, but it was not confirmed.
Three-Absolute, Lee Kwang said, “I had heard that So-Chung went to see a friend.”
I almost laughed my head off. This solemn, cold-hearted Lee Kwang, nicknamed the headteacher, So-Chung. It meant that unlike other disciples who were irrelevant, they were close to each other. Perhaps Lee Kwang would take care of Jin So-Chung, even if he would abandon all other disciples.
“I want to see Senior Brother myself.”
He said after a short time of pondering, “Then you will bring him, and he will be with Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon (蒼天劍龍) by now.”
“I’m sorry to take your personal time, but it’s more important for him to face a new Junior Brother (師弟) of Lightning God’s Flow.”
It seemed that he understood it in a different way, but it was not something I was surprised about.
Jin So-Chung was with Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon! It meant that the friend of the headteacher, Jin So-Chung was Nangong Huan. I also heard that Nangong Huan came to Guanzhong with his fiancée to meet someone. Anyway, this was a chance to meet Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon face to face. I had a twinkle in my eyes.
“Yes, I will bring Senior Brother.”
“By now, they would be in Joe Clan among Six Big Clans in Guanzhong.”
Six Big Clans in Guanzhong refers to six of the most influential clans which are consisted of Merchant Clan(商家), Artist Clan (藝家), and Martial-arts Clan (武家). Among them, Joe Clan is a merchant clan who operates a bank with excellent financial power.
“Not an inn or a drinking shop?”
“I don’t know. That’s where he left off, so go and bring him.”
I ran out of Blue Dragon Martial Club with the fast Lightness Skill. Lee Kwang knew my ability and he committed this work to me, so I left the hall to call Jin So-Chung.
I thought as I flew over the roof. ‘Good for me.’
On the way, I would see Blue-Sky-Sword-Dragon, Nangong Huan and his fiancée Murong Yan. I felt lucky today, so I smiled at the top of my mouth. Until then, I thought this errand would be simple.
Hongwu Emperor (洪武: the personal name Zhu Yuanzhang, was the founder and first Emperor of China’s Ming dynasty.)
Senior Brother (师兄: the senior fellow students in a Chinese martial arts school, where the seniority is not based on the student’s age or level of skill, but on the chronological order of being a disciple)
Junior Brother (師弟: the junior fellow students in a Chinese martial arts school, where the seniority is not based on the student’s age or level of skill, but on the chronological order of being a disciple)
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