Chapter 97: Proving (3)
When I reached the third out of the seven hurdles, its level rose drastically.
On the first hurdle, it was a fight against a priest who couldn't even materialize fist Ki.
And on the second hurdle, it was a duel with a priest who only used the Sword Ki by using a power.
However, the high priest of the third gate, Resillian, was already on a different level than the other priests.
For me, who could only use Sword Ki, it was a technique that wasn’t much different from the bane of my life.
Its level is higher than Sword Ki, and it was a technique developed with an emphasis on thoroughly destroying Sword Ki, that's weaker than itself.
Sword Flame itself isn't a technique that increases physical power, but it feels more like it shatters the mana that forms the Sword Ki.
I don't know why it worked that way, but it was clear that he was a formidable opponent.
It was then—
“Flame of the Sword, huh… Looks like you're aware of this level.”
As if he had heard what I had just murmured, Resillian said so with a heroic smile.
“I was severely stung by it once.”
I responded so and then placed more strength into my hand, holding the Heavenly Blood Demonic Sword.
This was in order to be able to react even if Resillian, who had reached the level of Sword Flame, attacked me at any point in time.
“That must've been a good experience.
Thanks to that, you would've been able to wield the law that can't be seen.”
A law that can't be seen?
I frowned at that foolish word and opened my mouth.
“I'm not so sure what that invisible law means.”
Only then did Resillian nod his head as though he had realized that he had misunderstood something.
“…It was my misunderstanding.
You don't seem to be able to use the Sword Flame yet.”
At that the moment, when I was about to ask him what the invisible law was…
Martial arts are the proof of life and the only path to reaching God.
Resillian slowly raised the sword imbued with Sword Flame and said so, and—
“You'll have to realize how great the path you're walking is.”
Soon, his eyes flashed while warning me with a voice full of vigor.
“Otherwise, you'll die at the third hurdle without being able to do anything.”
At the same time, Resillian swung his sword like lightning and rushed in.
「 Activating the skill ‘Wind’s Blessing.’ 」
「 All speeds increased by 70%.
「 Number of stacks – 7/7 」
At that, I rushed in the same direction, using all the acceleration abilities I could use right away.
「 Activating the skill 'Instant Acceleration.’」
It was the beginning of the third hurdle.
The Sword Ki and the Sword Flame clashed against each other, and the white flame of the sword destroyed the Sword Ki.
At that, I couldn't help but think that the Sword Flame is truly an overpowered ability.
I didn't understand how it easily destroys the Sword Ki since it's not like its physical power became stronger.
At least, since it's an incomplete Sword Flame, I could endure for a while, and exchange blows.
If Resillian had been able to wield the perfect Sword Flame, I would not have been able to fight properly.
After exchanging an attack once, we entered a calm state.
Using the Wind's Blessing, I was accelerating to a realm that even Resillian, wielding the Sword Flame, couldn't keep up with.
In short, we were in a difficult situation to settle this duel.
While I sharpened my mana and put my brain to work.
“Wielding things that are invisible to make a sword that cuts through heaven and earth.”
Resillian spoke out of nowhere as if he was going to help me.
“By doing so, it creates a fictitious blade called Aura with absolute physical power.”
Before I could even question him for those words, Resillian swung his Sword.
And adjusting to that, I instinctively fired a slash with my Lightning Sword Ki.
“That's a fancy aura.
It's been a long time since I've experienced an aura that utilizes lightning, so my eyes are in delight.”
Resillian looked at me while maintaining a stance that unleashed a slash.
He was a stronger opponent than I had imagined.
I was unleashing the Sword Ki through the skill Lightning Sword Ki, but—
Resillian casually deflected the Sword Ki from a distance, as if it was the basics of the basics.
'The world that we're perceiving must be different.'
On top of that, the words he threw during the battle affected me more seriously.
Just like throwing a stone into a calm water surface and causing a big ripple.
Every time I heard his explanation that felt like nonsense, my mana squirmed and swayed.
I clearly felt it was a change for the good, not the bad.
On that, I had no choice but to speak to Resillian with strong doubts.
“Why are you throwing out words that might give me enlightenment like that?”
The third hurdle is the proving of the body, and defeat means death.
However, Resillian gave me good words as if he wanted me to grow.
I had strong doubts about that fact, and when I asked, Resillian answered with a smirk.
“That's because I want to see you prove it.”
“The important thing in the path of martial arts is to prove each other's martial arts and exchange them.”
“What do you…”
“I want to see the martial arts you will prove.
“Even if nothing will remain when you die… can you really do that?”
“Isn't it obvious? That's the path and proof of martial arts.”
I felt a hot gaze as if there was a flame in Resillian's eyes.
“Prove the body, Prove the belief, and prove the spirit.”
I didn't like it.
“But what's at the end is the proof of martial arts.”
The tip of my sword was shaking.
“You can't prove your martial arts properly yet.”
It'd be better if he treated me with malicious intentions.
“Therefore, I'll let you prove everything about yourself right here.”
I could see why I felt guilty for killing Jane on the second hurdle.
She didn't approach me with malice, and she came only to provide me with the hurdle.
It was the same for Resillian.
He was inducing growth in the hope that I'd properly prove my martial arts.
[Translator – Ramen ]
[Proofreader – DVN-L ]
「 Administrator ‘Iron-blooded Monarch’ feels the contractor's edge of the sword trembling slightly.」
「 Administrator ‘White Crane Sword Saint' pities your trembling Sword yet sympathizes with it.」
「 Administrator ‘Seeker of Divinity’ feels your mind slowly crumbling.」
「 Administrator ‘The Hero of the Collapsed World’ tells you that you don't have the spirit as a martial artist yet.
Just like what the administrators said, I was slowly falling apart.
I was fully prepared to kill a person with malicious intentions, but…
As a single martial artist, I wasn't prepared to compete purely in martial arts.
As soon as I realized that, I felt confused and my hands started shaking.
“Every person has a time when they die.”
It was then—
“Much more for the battles between the same martial artists.
Death is closer.”
Resillian looked straight at me and continued his words slowly.
“Some people fail to prove their martial arts, and some succeed in proving their martial arts.”
He said it with a determined face that didn't suit him, as if it were the truth of this world.
“Proving is struggle and survival.
Hesitation is nothing but a luxury.”
With that phrase, I could hold on to my mind breaking down.
This fight wasn't just a fight against each other but a duel and struggle for survival.
Since when was it possible for a weak bastard like me to fight with hesitation while dividing good and evil?
I admitted it.
I almost paid the price for climbing the tower with a half-assed determination just now.
However, the moment I realized this fact, I immediately gave up my foolish attitude.
“Don't dismiss the proving of a martial artist as a frivolous murder.”
It's natural to fight each other and win, and it's the process of building one's own life.
There was no right for me to classify it as a flow of good and evil.
Even if that's the path that I'm on myself.
When I started to think so, the sword that had been shaking at some point stopped shaking.
Resillian looked at me as if he was satisfied with that and then smiled broadly.
“Yeah… just like that, you just have to slowly build up your belief.”
Before I knew it, my heart turned to steel as though it had never been shaken.
「 Administrator ‘The Hero of the Collapsed World’ laughs loudly as he senses that your spirit has grown.
「 Administrator ‘White Crane Sword Saint' smiles happily that you've entered the path of martial arts.
「 Administrator ‘Iron-blooded Monarch’ is confident that you've set a new direction for growth and has high expectations of you.
「 Administrator ‘Seeker of Divinity’ is pleased with the birth of a new belief and eagerly watches you.
Is this the belief held by those who walk the path of martial arts?
“Now, the time for proving has come.
I wasn’t sure, but one thing was clear now.
That is, through the fight with Resillian, I needed to learn the technique called Sword Flame.
I held my breath while holding the sword, and immediately began to circulate mana through my body.
“Prove your life through the martial arts you have.”
Soon, I stretched out my foot, changing my momentum like steel.
-Do you think you'll be able to fully wield Sword ki when you don't even know what true martial arts are?
For a moment, what Namgung Hyuk said ran through my mind.
Why did Namgung Hyuk say that the powers, skills, or innate abilities don't match up to martial arts?
Martial arts simply has abilities that are no different from skills.
It's nothing more than having a systematic structure by circulating mana throughout the body and putting energy into the sword.
Nevertheless, Namgung Hyuk despised skills and called them fake abilities.
-A fake Sword Ki won't be able to match the true Sword Ki.
He even said that the Sword Ki used through power is inferior to the Sword Ki learned through enlightenment.
Considering that those words are true to some extent, the things that Namgung Hyuk said aren't meaningless at all.
It must've been because there was something in the martial arts that was enough for him to despise skills.
-Wielding things that are invisible to make a sword that cuts through heaven and earth.
Resillian told me that the invisible thing would form the Sword Ki.
Then I wondered if that invisible thing meant mana.
However, if it was just simply possessing mana and wielding it normally, neither Namgung Hyuk nor Resillian would've said this to me.
-By doing so, it creates a fictitious blade called Aura with absolute physical power.
Resillian addressed the Sword Ki that is used by achieving the Body and Sword as One, as an absolute physical power.
Isn't Sword Ki just treating the sword as if it were your body and using it just like strengthening your body with mana?
But why did Resillian speak as though telling me to understand the essence of Sword Ki?
As I was thinking about it, a hypothesis suddenly popped up in my head.
-That must've been a good experience.
Thanks to that, you would've been able to wield the law that can't be seen.
I remembered what he said about being able to wield the law that can't be seen.
It was a hypothesis that the sword I was using wasn't really an ordinary strengthening of the sword…
But forming a law that creates a kind of absolute physical power.
So, if the law of the invisible world is called mana, how is Sword Flame formed?
I forcibly let the mana perceive that the sword is just like my body and accomplished the realm of Body and Sword as One.
The conclusion was immediately drawn.
'It was the will.'
According to the will of the owner, the mana changes its form from moment to moment.
Not just pouring the willpower into the realm of Body and Sword as One, which is strong enough to form a Sword Ki, but pouring it into other areas.
However, if I put all my willpower into other areas, the Body and Sword as One won't be maintained.
'That's why I felt like the Sword Flame didn't have a stronger physical power than Sword Ki.'
It didn't increase its physical power, but focused on creating the power that destroys the Sword Ki with willpower.
At that moment, I realized why Resillian said martial arts was the only path to God.
When you apply willpower to mana, it affects the laws of the real world by twisting them.
What else can I call it other than becoming a God when you reach the end of it?
「 …‘Path of the warrior’ achievement unlocked.
「 …Power 'Sword Ki Master' grows into Power 'Realm of Sword Flame'.」
It was only for a moment that the ecstasy of becoming like a god enveloped my body.
The sense that was hazy at the moment when the sword was wrapped in flames through enlightenment was awakened in an instant.
And I swung my sword as I saw Resillian rushing in with his imperfect Sword Flame.
At that moment, Resillian's imperfect sword Flame was eaten by me, and even the blade was destroyed.
Soon, Resillian, in the path of the sword I wielded, was hit by the sword and was greatly pushed back.
I opened my mouth without fully understanding what was going on, but…
After a while, I was able to fully grasp my own realm.
Realm of the Sword Flame.
I had stepped into the supreme realm I longed for so much.
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