Genius of unique lineage Chapter 219

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Genius of a Unique Lineage

218. Scout Target No. 1

It was exhilarating.

The thrill was incomparable—so much so that I couldn’t imagine finding greater enjoyment elsewhere.

It took a fleeting moment of contemplation—perhaps a second or so—for thoughts to be realized through action.

I threw punches while visualizing an imaginary image and sliced through the air with my elbows.

It was shadow fighting.

I imagined holding a blade I’d never wielded before. It was a thin, light rapier.

Last night, before bed, I had watched a video on fencing techniques.

Now, I was applying it to combat.

It was an amateur video and hence an amateur learning experience, but that single short clip was enough for me to grasp the essence of the moves.

Light on the feet, firm with the blade.

Strike, withdraw, pierce, and swing.

The techniques blended together.

The dagger techniques of Kali Arnis and jiu-jitsu were meshed with the mechanics of boxing, all becoming second nature to my body.

A one-two punch followed by a low kick combination.

The footwork that followed, as I closed in, resembled that of the Bajiquan.

Ordinarily, these would be clumsy maneuvers, but when performed with the strength and sense of a shapeshifter, they transformed into plausible actions.

But still, it was awkward.

Like watching through a camera, I could see my movements objectively.

In my mind, images formed on their own, which I then fitted into my actions. Discarding elements that hindered, I created new ones.

The instincts of an immortal, coupled with the shapeshifter’s ability to embody knowledge, made the impossible possible.

I repeated the movements I’d just executed.

Not exactly the same, though. I refined the clumsy parts.

The angle of a punch, the motion of the body, everything changed.

And I could feel it in my skin.

Destroying in real-time what I possessed to rebuild anew was a time for progress.

The foundation of combat is efficiency.

Whether it’s a lethal technique or a sport recognized in the Olympics, the focus is overwhelming the opponent.

Whether it’s Taekwondo’s spinning kick or something deadly, the act is the same.

Only the person executing differs.

Thud.

And so ended about four hours of solitary training.

I was drenched in sweat.

Just as much as Jeong-jik had been before.

Of course, I did not faint.

My body felt just refreshed enough.

And so, I left the training ground soaked in sweat.

It had been a week already, during which I hadn’t missed a single day of training.

Day in, day out, I trained.

Four hours each day—I wanted to invest more time but could only regret that it wasn’t possible.

There were just too many other things to do.

Running a company turned out to be quite the hassle.

“You’re working hard.”

“Tell me about it.”

The conversation between Panda-hyung and Jeong-jik reached my ears.

Ironically, the two who needed the training more were completing their strength workouts and were now sitting on the floor.

Beside them, I saw my sister, who was not genetically enhanced like me but sparkled with enthusiasm.

“Brother.”

Mari greeted me, twirling her axes in her hands.

The training facility was overly equipped for just the three of us to use.

Hence, I had invited Mari to join.

She had taken a particular liking to an axe we’d removed from an armory. She never wanted to let go of it.

Even in sleep, she clung to it.

I could not let her walk around with it all the time, so I got her an axe holster that crossed behind her back, which she tried to wear out in public.

I stopped her.

I didn’t want to see her walking the streets, causing terror in the eyes of civilians.

Could she really carry such a weapon around if she weren’t a murderer?

It was almost newsworthy.

So, I modified the trunk of my car into a weapon storage unit.

After that, Mari clocked in with us every day.

Arriving at nine in the morning and staying late into the evening, she threw herself into strength training and practicing with her axe.

She was as diligent as I was.

It was nice to see.

“Whew, that’s intense.”

Jeong-jik spoke in a calm tone as he watched Mari.

I noticed his gaze and told him,

“If you were immortal, I would have gouged out your eyes just now.”

“Huh?”

“I mean, if you look at my sister with those eyes, I will kill you.”

This damn fool.

Looking at someone’s sister with lecherous eyes.

“…I just thought I should keep my distance to avoid getting my head split open by an axe.”

“He talks too much.”

An incessant chatterbox.

I wanted to pound him using sparring as an excuse, but I gave up sparring with Jeong-jik after just two days.

To be precise, Panda-hyung stopped us.

“Let’s not kill the kid.”

His words were clear.

I couldn’t understand why.

“What, this doesn’t work? Really, it doesn’t?”

While demonstrating a few movements that Jeong-jik should follow, I considered them simple, even for his level.

I was planning to start with a basic combination.

His movements seemed to cover the basics, at least.

But watching this, Panda-hyung just shook his head.

Even Jeong-jik couldn’t keep up with the instructions.

Why not? It wasn’t difficult.

“Just retract your fist and extend your leg.”

“…Huh?”

Jeong-jik blinked in response to my words.

It was frustrating.

This is, huh? Just do it, why doesn’t it work? Why not?

So, I gave up on teaching.

What can you do?

Everyone has their forte.

I at least realized that teaching was not mine.

“Do you even plan on properly running the company?”

Panda-hyung was good at reminding me about my duties.

I couldn’t just spend all my time on personal training.

I had no intention of hosting cutting ceremonies or distributing rice cakes for founding a company.

I couldn’t just sit by idly and watch the time pass, either.

I needed to make money.

On top of guarding the company’s founding spirit and mission.

Convictions and money were my twin targets.

In other words, I was determined to find happiness and accomplish my goals.

Pursuing twin rabbits was my forte.

And naturally, that required money.

Everyone here belonged to NS, including me.

This meant that I had to pay Panda-hyung, Jeong-jik, and Mari their salaries.

Money flies by when you’re on the receiving end, but the month seemed to go by too quickly now that I was paying out.

Almost all the money I’d saved up was gone.

There was more, earmarked for something else.

At most, it would last three months.

Panda-hyung insisted income had to be generated before then.

I had several plans in mind.

But first, the company needed to look viable.

Panda-hyung had mentioned it countless times,

“To survive in this special species world as PMC, you’ve got to gather people first.”

I agreed.

Manpower, talent becomes strength.

Then what the company required kept piling up.

It was hard to find training time amid all the concerns.

If I can’t do it or don’t want to do it, I just need to find someone who can do it in my stead.

After all, it’s best everyone does what they’re good at.

I brought my high school friend into the company.

“Bro, don’t you want to get a regular salary and a bonus too?”

I promised benefits on par with the prestigious Immortal Special Task Force.

He pondered a moment but then nodded.

While I was at it, I also snagged Steven Choi.

“Friend! My friend!”

“What now? You planning to throw me into some weird situation again?”

He had recently turned freelancer.

Not attached to anyone.

“Let’s go together.”

“Can I refuse?”

“Really refuse? You want to hurt my feelings that bad?”

I widened my eyes in response. How could he want to hurt me?

“I’ll join.”

Steven Choi’s advantage is that he’s as quick as a ghost.

Sometimes, it almost seems like he’s on par with an immortal.

“Maybe a bit of that immortal blood mixed in?”

I asked.

“Nope. I’m a normal human. I can’t fight.”

His response was crisp.

And so, I assigned the general affairs duo their roles and left the overall operations to Panda-hyung.

But we were still short-staffed.

Both in terms of combat personnel and someone to train Jeong-jik in my place.

If I had the chance, I’d love to pick up more kids rolling in the streets just like Jeong-jik, but finding such special species was a job in itself.

Oh, and I brought on Shin Joo-ho, the freelance reporter.

“This isn’t what you promised.”

He protested.

“How am I supposed to stop a tax investigation as an ordinary citizen?”

I suggested, since a thorough tax review of the company was imminent.

“So, just close that chapter and join us.”

“Where?”

“I’ve started a company.”

“What?”

“Come work as an experienced professional. You know how it goes when the government gets its teeth into you. It’s a dead end.”

Since the launch of Old Force, the power of the world government alliance had only increased.

If the government is a typhoon, then small companies in Korea are no more than rowboats.

Shin Joo-ho knew this all too well.

“…Let’s do it.”

He relented, his face laden with indignation as if he really would rather not, but it seemed I’d asked him to do something abhorrent.

Anyway, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

Shin Joo-ho once leaked information to me.

In doing so, he screwed his client over.

That client was a mad scientist, and that nutcase—which is what I affectionately called him—had friends and backers.

He even had a supposed disciple.

My father had cautiously informed me.

If the tax probe against Shin Joo-ho’s freelancing stopped, this guy would be dead.

There were those ready to grind their teeth for revenge.

So, I took him in.

His abilities were also enticing.

“I can’t afford any delay in my salary.”

A reasonable request.

This guy had a family to support.

My high school friend spoke similarly.

Steven Choi only asked for good management of incentives.

And so, I busied myself with recruiting one by one.

I tucked the three of them away in the upstairs office space.

Having finished my training for the day, I prepared to go out.

According to my high school buddy, word had gotten out that I’d started a company, reaching all sorts of organization leaders.

But that didn’t change their attitudes at all.

What would they be thinking?

My maternal grandfather thought I was just dallying about, telling me to do as I wished and ask if I wanted anything.

If it’s money I wanted, he’d give money; if connections, then connections.

I said I’d let him know if I needed anything.

On a direct call with my grandfather, he just laughed at my response.

“So, you mean you don’t need anything right now.”

“Yes, sir. And about the three guys you sent over, you don’t need to bother anymore.”

An-gyeol, So-jin, and Woon-bi were all Hwarang members. I didn’t particularly need them.

The police and military seemed to think I was looking to bulk up my crew.

The team lead from the police side, Ji-hye, even asked if she should bring her whole team over to my company.

She offered to set up a team dedicated to us within the police force.

The military suggested if I didn’t like the rank of major, they’d make me a lieutenant colonel.

I didn’t care for ranks.

Their offer was similar.

They were willing to create a team composed of whoever I wanted, right now if desired, and give it under the umbrella of the Yuil Brigade with independent command rights.

I politely declined all of them.

“It’s okay. I’m good. No, really, I’m good. I don’t need it, please stop calling. I hate the military, they stink of army barracks.”

I’d been harsh with the last military officer who relentlessly phoned six times a day.

Seriously, who calls that much when someone says they’re not interested?

With countless calls coming in, my high school friend’s main job had become managing my schedule.

Offers for TV appearances and advertising deals were nonstop, but for now, they were all on hold.

What’s the rush, anyway?

Vroom.

I drove myself to the place of destination—Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province.

A hint of nostalgia washed over me.

It felt like long ago, even though it had only been a few years.

After parking, I walked the path.

Trudging up the trail brought back memories.

This was the place I practiced blade running and breath-holding among other things.

The brutish training, akin to self-torture, named the basics of an immortal.

Yet, I had persevered through it all.

Later, when I joined Hwarim, I discovered that what I had undergone was an elite training regimen.

The intensity was just that high.

As I bounded up the snow-covered mountain path, I anticipated a natural sight.

I had once called him the naturalist sage for a reason.

Surely he would be living just as before? Naked and shivering in the cold, perhaps wrapped in a simple blanket?

“You.”

And then, I saw him.

The sage, clad in a brand new down coat.

He blinked when he saw me, probably aware of my approach since I made no attempt to conceal my presence.

“The scene doesn’t align with my expectations.”

I had envisioned a life of hardship, but there he was, having scavenged a wood-burning stove, stoking a fire, and roasting sweet potatoes.

The aroma was irresistibly enticing.

“What brings you here?”

“Shouldn’t you offer something to a guest first?”

The sweet potatoes looked perfectly roasted, igniting my taste buds.

“You’ve got the good fortune to eat.”

The sage split a sweet potato in two.

Its yellow flesh softly parted, revealing itself.

“They’re honey sweet potatoes.”

The naturalist sage said as he unfolded a collapsible chair in front of the stove for me.

I sat in front of the heat, peeled back the skin at lightning speed, resisting the heat, and shoved a half into my mouth—the tenderness and sweetness enveloping my palate in bliss.

Delicious.

“Master.”

“What?”

I spoke while eating. There was no reason to hesitate.

“Would you like to work with me?”

The naturalist sage of the immortals, the natural human being, was scout target number one.

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