Chapter 4: Setting Out to Murim
Yunmun opened his eyes. Although he was deep inside a cave and had no way of knowing what time of the day it was, he could feel that morning had come. Even though it was pitch-black inside the cave, the outlines of all the objects were clearly projected into his eyes. The only sound he could hear was the regular breathings of Hwan-Noh and We-Noh. It seems they really tired themselves out! The light in his eyes was no longer gentle and innocent as before. It was full of mischief and curiosity, looking to cause some trouble! As soon as he got up, he stared at the Nohs.
Huhu, they’re still sleeping. This body is breaming with energy, ready to burst out at any time! This is great! I feel like I can accomplish whatever I desire! Not bad at all! I wonder what kind of a place Murim is? According to Chun Ma’s memories, it seems it’s an exciting place… how about Huineng’s? A troublesome place! Well, it doesn’t matter. From now on, I’ll be the one to shape Murim… huhuhu. Ah, but it looks like I haven’t yet fully absorbed their memories. I’m sure it’ll come around.
-Hey, what are you spaced out for?
“What do you mean?”
-I’m asking why you’re just staring at nothing! It’s stifling.
“Huh? You mean, you’re seeing what I’m seeing?”
-Fool! We are already of one mind. Ah, I guess it’s better to say we share the same body. Even though you’re the one moving it, all my senses are connected to yours.
=He is right, Shizhu! Everything you see, everything you feel, we are able to do so as well.
“Really? That’s quite interesting. So, Chun Ma, about your martial arts. Are you sure they work as intended?”
-What? What do you think my martial arts are?
“There’s no use talking about it. Let’s go try them out.”
-Do whatever you want. But remember, your Inner Qi is still not at the level required to fully use my skills.
“I know that.”
Yunmun was on his way out of the cave when he suddenly halted his steps.
No, I should try them out now. From today onwards, martial arts must be ingrained into my daily life. I will do everything with martial art techniques! I must make Chun Ma and Huineng’s skills into my own as soon as possible.
Yunmun began to spin the Inner Qi in his Dantian around his body. He was using Chun Ma’s special Inner Qi Method, called the Heavenly Demon Qi Method*. This Qi Circulation Method allowed its practitioner to circulate his Qi while sitting, standing, lying down, or even sleeping.[TN: ‘Chun Ma’ (天魔) means ‘Demonic’ (in Chinese), but I’m going to use Heavenly Demon the majority of the time, since that’s usually how Hanja works and I think it sounds cooler. I might change it to Demonic for certain skill names, so note that that also uses the word Chun Ma…. Similarly, ‘Pa Chun’ will be translated as Heaven Breaking]
In Yunmun’s Dantian, the various medicines put in by the two Nohs had been stored and converted into Inner Qi. Starting from the lower Dantian, the Inner Qi passed the 14th, 16th, and 18th Conception Vessels, up to the Upper Star Point on the forehead. Because the Twin Governing Veins of his body were already opened and joined, the Inner Qi stretched through the 17th, 10th, and 4th Governing Vessel, finally arriving at the 1st Governing Vessel. The fireball inside Yunmun grew bigger and stronger, coming to the point where he could no longer control it. After circulating around his blood vessels a few times, the Inner Qi changed direction. This is the reason why Chun Ma’s Qi Circulation Method was given the name Heavenly Demon. Unlike other Qi Circulation Methods, there was no set path for the Inner Qi. Even though the Inner Qi hits 365 blood vessels of the body both vertically and horizontally, the blood vessels do not get blocked; instead, the opposing flow of Inner Qi works together to greatly amplify its user’s strength. In Yunmun’s body, Inner Qi endlessly flowed in and out from the Gushing Spring Meridian in the foot, the Yang Pool Meridian in the Wrist, and the Toil Palace Channel in the palm. Although the soft and electrifying pain could be felt at first, soon it changed to a calming feeling, making Yunmun feel refreshed.Yunmun’s body slowly started to rise from ground.[TN: What a pain in the ass paragraph. These are all a bunch of acupuncture points http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_acupuncture_points. On another note, opening/joining of the Twin Governing Veins signify the state of Hwan Gol Tal Tae (those who read The Breaker will have heard of it), which basically means changing out your bones for new/stronger bones.]
Yunmun stood firmly in mid-air, immediately bursting forward from his position. This was the Heavenly Demon Flying Technique, one of Chun Ma’s Profound Movement Skills. Able to be used from any position, it ignored the user’s strength and freely moved the body using only the Inner Qi of its user. Yunmun’s forehead was covered with sweat as he flied through the dark, curving path of the cave. Although he was a beginner, Chun Ma’s memories allowed him to slowly become accustomed to flying.
The sound of air being cut resounded in the cave. Unexpectedly, the path to the exit was rather long.
After finally arriving outside, Yunmun flinched.
He had suddenly become afraid. The cave was situated in the middle of a cliff and his body was floating in mid-air. His slight hesitation caused his Qi to scatter.
Yunmun started to fall down!
-Wake up, idiot! Concentrate and grab onto your Qi.
Was it because of these words? After falling for a distance of 30 Jang*, Yunmun slowly came to a halt. Still upside-down, he stared below, realizing the height he was in as the distant forest looked tiny.[TN: 1 Jang = 3.03 m]
-You idiot… My Heavenly Demon Qi Method never allows the Qi flow to be severed, but you dare show such a sorry state… wake up and do it properly.
“Grr… fine. It was my first time, mistakes happen. Were you Chun Ma from the start?
-Talking back as always.
If a Murim-in saw this scene, he would be struck dumb. How could a man stand still in mid-air and talk? Although Sky-Walking Techniques exist and are used by select experts of Murim, who would believe that a beginner could use such an exquisite and complex skill?
In any case, this was the start of Yunmun’s martial arts practice.
“I want to first try out some sword skills, but what do I do without a sword?”
Yunmun had already flown down to the ground. Although he was surrounded by strange trees and rocks of all kinds, not a single sign of life could be found.
-Stupid. Just use a tree branch. You could even use your hands.
“Do you have a problem with me? Your tone is starting to get on my nerves.”
-Haha, what problem would I have with you? I’m just saying.
Cheeky, aren’t you? You better realize you’re completely under my control. And is the monk sleeping? Why is he so quiet?
“Huineng, you asleep?”
=No, Shizhu. I’ve just been thinking about your future actions…
“Why are you worrying about that? Know your place.”
-Hey, that’s the nature of his job. Don’t be too hard on him.
Oh? Look at this guy. Acting friendly, isolating Huineng in the process… trying to be clever, I see.
-Are you going to try it or not?
“Tsk, this is a historical moment. Isn’t it boring without even a single spectator?”
-Stop screwing around.
Grr, I should really read the Scripture of Heavenly Code again. No, today’s just one among many. I can just pick another day for it.
“Alright, go break off a tree branch.”
Yunmun opened his hands and a branch broke off from a pine tree 10 Jang away, flying towards him. As he laid his hands on the branch, twigs from the same tree fell in abundance. Seeing this, Yunmun showed an indifferent, serious face. His stance seemed a bit odd, as his feet were less than his shoulder width apart and his butt was stretched back. And the words that came out of his mouth:
“Three Swords of the Heavenly Demon, First Form: Demonic Ascent.”
Yunmun’s jaw dropped, staring back and forth between the stick on his hand and the destruction he had just caused.
“Huhuhu… I… I did this?’
Not only was a long, clean path carved through the middle of the forest, but a 3 Ja* deep pavement had been made through it.[TN: 1 Ja = 30 cm]
-Don’t tell me this is enough to surprise you.
“Good, very good, Chun Ma. I like your skills very much.”
-Haha, so you think so as well.
“If the first form is like this, the second must be amazing as well. Alright, since we’re here, might as well try out the other ones. Haat!”
With a loud shout, Yunmun leaped into the air.
“Three Swords of the Heavenly Demon, Second Form: Demonic Yang Volt.”
“Three Swords of the Heavenly Demon, Third Form: Heaven Breaking Desolation.”
Boom boom boom.
“Fuhahaha. Now, for the Palm Techniques…. Heaven Breaking Asura Palm.”
“World Stunning Flare.“
“Blood World Destruction.”
“Fuhahaha, Heaven Breaking Blood Jade Finger.”
“Banishing Cyclone.”[TN: someone kill me]
Yunmun was laughing with joy while using heaven shattering moves. The quiet forest was quickly breaking apart.
Landing on the ground with a cool pose, Yunmun smiled with satisfaction while looking at the destruction he caused. The forest had practically disappeared. Even the huge rock that lied next to the cliff had been pulverized to dust. Many gaping holes could be seen on the bottom part of the cliff and it was also blackened by blaze.
“Fuhahaha. Amazing. Your skills are mazing, Chun Ma! Damn, I have a new found respect for you…. You created all these?”
-You shouldn’t say that just yet. My best techniques are sword techniques. The third form, Heaven Breaking Desolation, is only the beginning of the Qi Controlling Sword. If you are able to fully use Heaven Breaking Desolation’s mysteries, you can use the Hand Sword, the Eye Sword, and even the Heart Sword. The Nature Sword and the Cosmic Sword that I was unable to surpass could even be performed. Only then will you be the strongest under the Heavens!
“Haha, I’ll admit it. No matter how you behave, I’ll admit that you are amazing.”
=Amitabul. Shizhu, why don’t you try out some of my skills?
“Eh… sorry to tell you, but your skills in comparison to Chun Ma’s… the difference in strength is far too great. But I’m not saying your skills are lacking… I will try them out in time.”
-Haha, you really have an eye for things. Of course, how strong can a silly monk be in comparison to me?
This guy, just because I praised him a little, he knows no limits. Did I compliment him too much? Well, I’ll let it go for today. Hehe.
Looking around, Yunmun once again smiled happily.
“You want to leave now?”
“Whew. I know I can’t stop my Lord’s ambitions, but it is best you not rush it.”
“A sword is best pulled in one try*. Since I’ve decided, there’s no use waiting.”[TN: Korean idiom. It basically means don’t hesitate once you’ve decide on something.]
“In that case, please head down first. We will follow you shortly.”
“Why? Do you have something left to do? Why don’t we just all leave together?”
“No, we must prepare something for you, so please go on ahead without us. Also, take good care of the Hwang-Gak Emblem. It should serve well in the future.”
“Yes, if you show this to the Golden Frog Exchange, scattered around the Mid Lands, you will be allowed to withdraw any amount of money you need. Also, don’t forget to find Gae Bang* if you happen to stop by Gae Bong. If you show this to its former inn keeper, Poong Chun Ho, he will treat you accordingly.”[TN: Gae Bang is apparently the Beggars Gang, “one of the oldest and largest group of martial artist in china and is usually equal to the 8 great groups and mountains (wudang, qingcheng, shaoling, kunlun, and so on) and big clans.” Credit to leafyromster!]
Ho~, I didn’t know it could be used like that. This coming from the crafty first emperor, I’m not surprised. It’s better to have as many useful things as possible. Great, I wonder if there are more. Don’t you hide anything if you do, Nohs.
“Alright, I’ll put it to good use.”
After carefully examining the Hwang-Gak Emblem once more, he put it around his neck. A hole in the upper part of the emblem allowed for a golden thread to be tied to it.
“Then I’ll see you again in the Mid Lands.”
“He didn’t give us a chance to pay our respects.”
Using the Heavenly Demon’s Stealth Technique, Yunmun disappeared from their eyes.
Murim! Does thou know? An atomic bomb that will shake the era has been thrown in thy arms!