Resolve

Looking at the demoralized old man, Ji-Yoon clicked his tongue and said mockingly, “Looking at your pathetic state, it seems impossible for me to enjoy a spar on equal terms. I will give you a handicap, what about it? It’s your alternative to beat me up!”

“What are you talking about?” Old Li asked with a disgruntled but interested expression.

“I will restrain my cultivation base, and fight you with raw power similar to that of a Foundation Establishment Realm practitioner. Also, I will stop using my ‘Phantom Footwork’ Dao Art.” Just as he stopped talking, his aura began to weaken to the degree of Foundation Establishment.

Old Li frowned slightly but decided to take the chance and beat Ji-Yoon up to a pulp. “Don’t regret it later, freak.”

Ji-Yoon simply smiled and assumed a defensive stance again, with one hand on his back and the other making a provocative signal. “Come on, old fart.”

A being popped up on Old Li’s forehead as he began to circulate his Qi at full power. The air close to him began to ripple slightly because of his rising aura.

“Hoh? Coming full power?” Ji-Yoon muttered with narrowed eyes, he immediately began to concentrate. His mind was running two different world interpretations. One with the flow as his only sense, and the other with his common sense.

After the last metamorphosis, because of the state of the absolute union of his being, his body seemed to perfectly resonate with the flow he was able to perceive, without any kind of delay.

Thus, his battle power when he entered this kind of ‘Flow Mode’ was many times bigger than when he was fighting normally, with just his instincts and common battle awareness.

There was no delay between him sensing and acting, understanding and reacting. His mind was his body, his body was his mind, and the same with his cultivation base.

And just as the mortal martial arts taught, eliminating stray thoughts and emotions between actions was the best way to fight efficiently. Although no mortal could reach the level Ji-Yoon reached, that’s where cultivation was needed.

Raising his spear’s tip in Ji-Yoon’s direction, Old Li charged at him at full speed, already conjuring his own Dao Art, ‘Sharp Stream.’ The spear’s tip glowed brightly and exuded an aura of extreme violence as it approached Its target.

Ji-Yoon, who was standing still, could only see a blur as his opponent attacked him. Still, he skillfully avoided the quick stabs of the spear with the minimum of movement.

Old Li kicked the ground with his feet, making it shatter completely within a hundred meters radius. With his feet without a stable standing and sand impairing his vision, Ji-Yoon had to face the spear’s stream of vicious stabs again.

Ji-Yoon, as if already expecting something like this, simply kicked the ground and flew a few meters high before conjuring a cloud of crimson flames around him, hiding his figure completely.

“Hmph!” Old Li mocked as he horizontally slashed heavily with his spear, creating a strongly focused shock wave that divided the cloud of flames into two, but Ji-Yoon wasn’t to be seen.

Old Li tried to sense Ji-Yoon’s presence with his Ethereal Mind but didn’t get a glimpse. “Stop hiding and confront me!”

“Dumb old fart, I’m not hiding!” said Ji-Yoon as he suddenly appeared behind Old Li.

Old Li reacted quickly and swung his spear with all his power towards his back, but hit nothing, Ji-Yoon avoided it by a thin thread the tip of the spear and at the same time closed the distance between them, Old Li tried to back off.

Ji-Yoon used his palm as a blade, imbuing it with his reddish qi, and tried to strike Old Li several times, but was unable to accurately hit him since the old man had sharp senses of someone a Realm higher.

Old Li kicked the ground and flew into the air before slashing down with his spear, causing an explosive impact with the ground, creating an enormous crater, but he still didn’t hit Ji-Yoon.

“How the fuck are you avoiding all my attacks?” Old Li asked as he looked at the floating Ji-Yoon.

“Are you that surprised that I’m able to avoid them?” Ji-Yoon asked with an indifferent smirk, “Know this, I’m still just warming up.”

“Warming up?” Old Li smirked, “What a coincidence!” His aura began to skyrocket as the ground began to shake violently from the pressure.

“Sly fart!” Ji-Yoon laughed as he himself began to get serious, he immediately resonated with the flow and pushed his battle power to the limits, he suddenly seemed to have merged with the world as Old Li couldn’t sense his presence with his ethereal mind, but only see him.

“Old man, even being a peak martial artist yourself…” Ji-Yoon talked as his eyes became more and more indifferent, “How are you still clinging to the idea of the superiority of sheer power!?”

“You know nothing!” Old Li shouted as he furiously charged at the floating Ji-Yoon, his speed broke through the barrier of sound and produced strong wings.

Ji-Yoon’s eyes seemed to be unaware of Old Li as they remained unfocused and indifferent, but he still was able to avoid a stab by a thin margin, he immediately counter-attacked by gently slapping the spear to the side, which surprisingly broke the balance of Old Li.

At the same time, Old Li swung his spear again with even more power than before, producing a stronger and stronger shock wave. The more he attacked, the angrier he became as Ji-Yoon was able to deflect all of his moves easily despite his obvious inferiority of power.

The more the fight prolonged in the sky, the sharper Ji-Yoon’s moves became, to the point he felt boring. “Old man, did you even learn anything?”

“Shut up!” Old Li said as he suddenly conjured a huge energy-based attack which seemed like an enormous blue snake, “Contemplate my original killing technique!”

The huge snake then merged with his spear, charging it with an enormous quantity of energy.

Ji-Yoon clicked his tongue and backed off quickly.

Old Li trowed the solar at an enormous speed towards Ji-Yoon, as if not caring about his life and death.

Ji-Yoon finally felt some pressure as he felt the enormous quantity of energy going toward him. He concentrated with closed eyes as he did something unexplainable.

With his left hand, he directly contacted the attack, but he didn’t try to stop it, rather, he swiftly did a movement with his arms and body similar to a whirlpool, spinning around himself. The power in the spear was completely nullified/rebounded the moment his right hand touched the tip of it. During the entire movement, time seemed to have gone still.

Surprisingly, the spear wasn’t sent flying but just stood still with its tip pointing towards Ji-Yoon. “What an interesting spear!” Ji-Yoon commented with a praising gaze.

“H-How?” Old Li asked dumbfoundedly, his eyes almost popping out.

“Old man, thank you. I managed to get a glimpse of what I was seeking,” Ji-Yoon said as he suddenly stepped on the ground again, his aura weakened more and more until no cultivation could be sensed from him, from Old Li’s perspective.

‘The next level of True Being Union, or at least my own version of it…’ Ji-Yoon thought as he was completely immersed within the flow, ‘Ego rejection, Dao acceptance, True Being-Flow Resonance.’

At that moment, the ‘technique’ became part of his being. He no longer had to adapt himself to the technique.

[Ding! Dong! Congratulations host on pioneering your own path beyond the fundamental True Being Union.]

“What are you doing?” Old Li asked as he summoned his spear back.

“I was lacking real experience, thus I brought you here for this fight to figure out something. It was worth it,” Ji-Yoon answered as he opened his eyes slowly, no more indifference could be seen, but only joy. ‘Sure thing, having a higher IQ brings a lot of vantages,’ he thought.

“Come at me again, old man,” Ji-Yoon said as he made a provocative hand signal again.

“Hm? Didn’t you just suppress your entire cultivation?” Old Li frowned and said angrily, “Are you insulting me again?”

“No! I’m serious!” Ji-Yoon said, “I will attack first, then!”

Old Li was still angry as he was unable to react to the sudden punch he received on his nose.

“Damn! What the-!” he cursed as blood dripped from his nose. However, what scared him was the fact of not being able to sense Ji-Yoon at all or his movements.

“How are you doing it with your cultivation suppressed?”

“Oh! I forgot to say it, but I’m not suppressing it anymore,” Ji-Yoon said and then kicked Old Li in his stomach, sending him flying.

‘Damn! I can neither sense nor react! How am I supposed to fight??’ Old Li thought while feeling the intense pain.

“How did your power increase so much?” he asked grumpily.

Ji-Yoon sighed and said, “Old man, when are you going to understand? My raw power didn’t increase at all, though my battle power did, and immensely!”

“How!?” Old Li asked, his eyes full of fierce desire.

“How can you be so dumb? Didn’t I say it too many times already?” Ji-Yoon clicked his tongue and tried to explain, “Only by comprehending the Mortal Dao and abandoning the same old-fashioned ‘immortal ideals,’ could you do it.

“From actively using the flow, to resonating with it at all times, as if merging together. It’s no more a ‘passive skill,’ but an ‘active’ one!”

“Speak human language!” Old Li shouted fiercely, his aura becoming so violent that the ground beneath his fear began to crack.

“Hear clearly what I’m about to say!” Ji-Yoon shouted as he put an aggressive instance.

Old Li was the one to use a defensive instance, he was inwardly a bit afraid, and also expectant.

“True power rejects selfishness!” Ji-Yoon shouted as he formed a blade with his right-hand palm, he slashed towards the sky without any clear power or qi-imbued move. Nothing seemed to happen, though.

“Being humble is a virtue, arrogance brings ruin!” he continued to shout as he slashed at the ground.

“The sky is above, the earth below it, and men will always be smaller than both! Egocentricity brings no power, but shackles,” he then slashed toward Old Li.

“Fucking heresy!” Old Li cursed, “Cultivation itself is going against the heavens and fighting for our own chosen destiny!”

Ji-Yoon smiled and shook his head, “That’s exactly the ruin I was talking about.”

The sky suddenly rumbled, the ground shook and Old Li suddenly felts something wrong happening to him, his vision turned blurry, but at the same seemed to clear for a new world.

In this world, he saw something that couldn’t be clearly written with words. The rumbling sky seemed not a firmament, but a chaotic whirlpool. The ground seemed not a firmament, but a chaotic dance of unknown. He himself seemed to be part of all those things, he felt completely powerless and at the same time fearless because of the infinite power of the things he saw.

“Do you want this power?” Ji-Yoon’s voice brought his vision back to the real world, “This is what I’m seeking. But this so-called ‘Immortal Cultivation’ is surprisingly incompatible with it.

“Not that cultivation itself is incompatible, but ‘Immortal Cultivation,’ do you get it now? Old dumb fart.”

Old Li opened his mouth but no words came out of it. After a while, he asked, “Why are you trying to teach me those things? You owe me nothing.”

Ji-Yoon touched his nose and said, “It will be a very long journey… I just hope someone could understand my path and make me some company so it wouldn’t be as boring. As you are a rare peak martial artist, you were the fittest.”

Old Li was silent after hearing it. Suddenly, everything became more clear to him. Why Ji-Yoon was so insistent on sparing so frequently before and calling it “training.”

“I’m just well aware of how boring and lonely this journey can be. It’s just a selfish desire of mine to have people easing it for me,” Ji-Yoon said grinning.

“Old man, you are the first guy I knew when I came to this sect, and coincidentally or not, you are truly fit to be a companion of mine, so what do you think?”

“You… are really cocky, aren’t ya?” Old Li said as he patted the dust off his robe, “Since the moment I met you, I knew you are an eccentric guy.”

“Eccentric?” Ji-Yoon raised his eyebrow.

“Heh, otherwise?” Old Li laughed mockingly, “You not only are walking on an unorthodox path, you even have a heretic belief and the hobby of seeking ‘companions’ for a journey you don’t even know you will live to see the end.”

“…If you out things this way, I’m indeed a bit different from others,” Ji-Yoon said and also cleaned his robes, “But you yourself have strange habits, don’t you?” he said with a meaningful look.

“Shut up!” Old Li cursed and then sent a voice transmission to outside the formation.

In instants, both were transported to outside. Each with a new resolve hidden within their hearts.

 

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