Flow (3)

“Lowly Dao… Lowly Dao… Their fucking families are lowly! Those lowly bastards are too stupid! And they still think they are different from mortals!?” Ji-Yoon shouted angrily, “Look at this if the Mortal Dao is lowly, what about the rest? Can other Daos show me the path to breakthrough like this?”

His chest moved up and down violently for a while until he finally calmed himself down. He breathed out some turbid air and composed himself again, and left his cave abode.

‘Let’s go see the old geezer first, I remember that guy bragging about where his cave abode was, just like a peacock showing its feathers…’

He seemed to walk slowly, but at the same, his steps seemed to ignore space as he moved quickly. It was the ‘Phantom Footwork’ he learned before.

“Junior Li, come here and greet your senior!” Ji-Yoon shouted at the cave abode’s entrance. There was no response for a moment, but he then continued, “I have something good to offer you!”

“Senior Yun! Is it really you? Sorry for my lack of manners, I was at a critical moment in my cultivation and couldn’t help but take some time to come,” the old man said as he walked out of the cave, he cupped his fists with a smile and bowed.

His appearance was indeed much better than before because of the rejuvenation he got by reaching the Life and Death Realm. However, he was still skinny and seemed feeble.

“No need for pleasantries. It seems you consolidated your martial arts realm since then,” Ji-Yoon said with a light smile.

“Haha, it’s all to you, senior. You gave away such precious insights when you wrote the manuals, I am deeply grateful,” Old Li bowed until his head almost touched the ground.

‘Bullshit!’ Ji-Yoon cursed in his heart but was still smiling. “Are you curious about what I’m about to offer you?”

Old Li smiled bitterly and nodded as he dropped the act.

“Do you want to go further in mortal martial arts? I have found the proper way to do it,” Ji-Yoon stated indifferently.

Old Li blinked and stood still for a few moments until he came to his senses. “Senior, what did you just-”

“Junior, don’t be dramatic, it’s just a trivial thing, no need to be shocked.” Ji-Yoon sighed and looked at the sky with an aloof expression.

‘You fucker js trivial! And a liar!’ Old Li cursed inwardly but asked carefully, “Senior, I’m still a bit doubtful. After all, it’s common sense that there’s no Realm beyond.”

“Of course, I know it. But… Ais, it seems you are still caged to concepts such as Realms…” Ji-Yoon sighed again and seemed disappointed, his gaze no longer locked on the sky.

‘I’m impressed, you sovereignly know how to pretend!’ Old Li inwardly cursed again but still maintained his facade, “Senior, what do you mean?”

“There’s indeed no Realm beyond, but it doesn’t mean the path is cut off,” Ji-Yoon said with a meaningful look, “From the beginning, martial arts is about driving out potential, not about evolving.”

Old Li wore a contemplative look, but inwardly he despised him.

“Do you still not believe? Let me show you, then… Can I go in?”

“Oh, of course, you can! Senior is welcome,” Old Li laughed.

Inside the cave, Ji-Yoon noticed it was bigger than his and had a richer natural mystical energy. He sat on a cushion with crossed legs and said, “Sit down, I shall show you a bit of the world outside the well.”

‘You damn! You are the frog in the well!’ Old Li cursed again and again, in his heart, of course. He sat silently on his own cushion.

“What are martial arts for you?” Ji-Yoon asked with closed eyes after a while in silence.

“…A way to draw out potential,” Old Li answered without much thought.

“Yes. That’s what I think too. But, are we talking about the same thing?” Ji-Yoon laughed softly and continued, “Potential, what do you think it is?”

“What can be achieved, or reached,” Old Li answered calmly, feeling a bit bored. ‘Why am I being lectured about it?’

“No. That’s wrong, that is if we are talking about a living being’s potential,” Ji-Yoon said while slowly opening his eyes, “This potential is null.”

“Huh?” Old Li suddenly thought he heard wrong, ‘Is my age troubling me again? Ais, I’m really old…’

“Do you not believe? It’s quite normal though. After all, everyone learns that humans need to strive to draw out their potential and reach higher Realms…” Ji-Yoon sighed and suddenly reached his hand for the old man’s belly.

“Huh? What are you doing-” Old Li got surprised and was unable to react immediately, he could only sense the immediate changes within his Dantian. A crimson True Qi appeared and started to stimulate his own True Qi.

Bang! His Dantian suddenly expanded and his True Qi got denser, he broke through to the tenth layer of the Qi Refining Realm. He automatically forgot about his original conversation.

Even Ji-Yoon was a bit surprised. From the beginning, he thought he could only help the old man a little, but he made Old Li break through a layer! Moreover, he felt he could do it again!

‘Alas, I need to practice more, the mysteries within the flow are really difficult to comprehend,’ Ji-Yoon thought as he retracted his hand and waited for Old Li to come to his senses.

“What did you do? How?” it was the first thing Old Li asked. He was as shocked as he could be, his heart was in great turmoil.

“Just a little trick,” Ji-Yoon said indifferently, “You managed to break through because of your own accumulation, I only gave a small push. It seems you amassed quite a lot of pills.”

‘Just a little trick!? You are still pretending… But you actually have the capital!’ Old Li thought and said, “Senior Yun, I knew you are powerful and almighty, it’s natural you could do something like this, can you do it again?”

Ji-Yoon twitched the corners of his mouth and wanted to beat the shit out of him. ‘Again? You greedy bastard! More one breakthrough and you will reach the Foundation Establishment Realm!’

Seeing Ji-Yoon’s angry expression, Old Li quickly said, “Alas, I know I’m unworthy, so it’s better if you leave your precious energy for more important things.”

“Hmph! So you still have some self-knowledge,” Ji-Yoon snorted and said after some thought, “But it’s not like it’s a great effort for me either. So I can help you with it as long as you help me with something.” He wasn’t bragging, he could feel the flow enough to help the old guy to break through a major Realm.

“What do you want my help with?”

“I want you to be my sparring partner.”

“…What?”

“You are old, not deaf.”

“I mean, just this?” Old Li asked dubiously, it seemed fishy for him since Ji-Yoon could have simply gone to the Sect’s arena to seek an opponent.

“What, do I need to explain my reasons too? It’s a business offer, not a favor,” Ji-Yoon said disgruntledly and thought, ‘You will never understand the dangers of sparring against unknown characters, some arrogant bastard might lose to me and go crying to their almighty ancestor.

‘I don’t want to exterminate someone’s whole clan or die trying just because of a braindead bastard!’

Unaware of his ‘senior’s’ thoughts, Old Li said, “Senior, I would be happy to help, but my bones are old and I can’t do much because of my depleting vitality.”

Ji-Yoon snorted and ignored him, he was well experienced with cunning characters such as that old man. “So? Do you want an advance?”

“Senior is wise!” Old Li praised reverently.

Ji-Yoon smiled shrewdly and said, “Alright.”

“But… What? Did you agree!?” Old Li asked dumbfoundedly. ‘So easily? I thought I would have to bargain a lot!’

“I’m not in the mood to waste time, but I need a guarantee you won’t go back on your word.”

“Do you want me to swear?”

“Nonsense, what value does it have?”

“Then, what do you want?” Old Li said with clenched teeth, clearly feeling offended.

“I heard from a bird that you got some energy crystals from the sect… Give me half of it for me to keep, I will give it back to you after our deal is over,” Ji-Yoon proposed while caressing his non-existent beard.

Instantly, Old Li’s expression fell and he said hurriedly, “Senior, those crystals are my most valuable possession, I can’t give them away easily.”

Ji-Yoon smacked his leg and said angrily, “Since you have no sincerity, I will take my leave.” He didn’t get up, though.

Old Li cursed him in his heart and clenched his teeth before saying, “Twenty, that’s all I can give you.”

‘So he should have at least two hundred… this guy sure got rich…’ Ji-Yoon thought and said, “I won’t accept less than a hundred.”

“What!! Senior, I don’t have this many!” Old Li shouted with bloodshot eyes.

“Come on, geezer, those crystals can help you break through, but you will need more time. But with my help, I can guarantee you will break through in an instant,” Ji-Yoon calmly stated.

“No way! I won’t give you a hundred! At most, I can give you forty!”

‘Hmm? He is being this generous? Does he have much more than two hundred?” Ji-Yoon pondered for a moment and said, “I changed my mind, I want two hundred!”

“Fuck! Why don’t you just kill me!?” Old Li shouted in anger.

“It’s too troublesome to deal with the aftermath…” Ji-Yoon muttered.

“What!?”

“Ahem, come on geezer, I know you have lots of those. The sect should have been very generous after all your hard work.”

‘This guy… did someone leak my information to him!?’ Old Li wondered and wanted to punch someone. “I can give you two hundred crystals, but you need to tell me who leaked my info to you!”

‘What!!! This guy is willing to give me two hundred!? Does he have two thousand?’ Ji-Yoon swallowed his saliva and said, “I changed my mind again, a thousand.”

Old Li opened his mouth but no words came out of it. He wondered if Ji-Yoon was purposely messing with him.

“Come on Old Li, I need a guarantee you won’t go back on your word after getting the benefits…” Ji-Yoon said with narrowed eyes.

“Bullshit!!” Old Li shouted in anger, almost losing his mind, “You just want to rob me!”

Ji-Yoon’s expression fell as he said, “Be careful with your words, didn’t I tell you I would return it after the deal was over?”

“Do you know what a thousand of those things can do!? They can push me to the peak of the Foundation Establishment Realm!” Old Li almost spat as he said it hurriedly.

“But it would require time, no? Moreover, I already said I will be giving it back to you,” Ji-Yoon said with a sigh.

“No matter! I’m not a fool, you can’t trick me so easily!” Old Li snorted and waved his hands, “Go away!”

“Old geezer, I can help you towards the true peak of martial arts,” Ji-Yoon said, trowing the real bait.

“Didn’t yourself tell there’s no realm beyond!?”

“Didn’t I show you a bit of my skill? Can’t you trust me?”

“…So? What is this so-called peak? What is the difference between it and the Life and Death Realm?” Old Li asked after some time, showing subtle interest.

“The ‘Self’ and ‘Flow’. This is the true peak of Mortal Martial Arts, of ar least is the peak I reached,” Ji-Yoon said while drinking some of his lucky rice wine.

“The ‘Self’ and ‘Flow’…” Old Li showed a strange expression. As a martial artist, he certainly learned about those two things while climbing up the Realms, how then can they be the peak?

“They are different than the superfluous ‘Self’ and ‘Flow’ the martial artist learns at the Harmony and Profound Realm,” Ji-Yoon explained after seeing doubt in Old Li’s eyes, “They are shadows badly understood, and the reason is… they lack the most important core, the Mortal Dao.”

“Mortal Dao?” Old Li wore an inexplicable expression, somewhat bitter, even.

‘Hmm?’ Ji-Yoon naturally noticed it and asked, “What’s wrong, do you have a past involving this?”

“Yes… Until very recently…” Old Li said and sighed, “I tried to comprehend it for a long time, albeit without success. That was the reason I never tried to cultivate until recently.”

“Huh? What does one thing have to do with another?” Ji-Yoon asked surprised.

Old Li shook his head and said bitterly, “I thought I would never involve myself with it again, but here you are, talking about it.”

 

 

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