The warrior’s Rebirth Chapter 19

Chapter 9. Soaring Value -01 (Revised)

Seok Jin-ho’s brow furrowed as he sat cross-legged in meditation. The martial art he had mastered, the Honyeon Cheonrae Shingong, was a technique that harnessed the most powerful lightning energy by colliding the forces of yin and yang. However, it had clear strengths and weaknesses. While the explosive power generated by the collision of opposing energies allowed him to build up his internal energy quickly, it also came with corresponding pain. It wasn’t for nothing that people said nothing in the world comes free.

Vrrrr!

That might have been why Seok Jin-ho’s body trembled continuously as he circulated his energy. While his soul might have been used to the pain, his physical body certainly was not. ‘I really did have a tough time in the past.’ As someone who had never been reborn into a prestigious family or sect, Seok Jin-ho always had to start from the very bottom. He never had the advantage of an inherently strong physique; at best, his limbs were intact and functional. It was for this reason that his martial arts inevitably had their roots in recklessness. This often led to his body being damaged beyond count, and there were many times he died from losing his sanity to his inner energy, but all those trials and errors ultimately made him the strongest under the heavens.

‘It’s still progressing too fast, though.’

Only about six months had passed since he started to cultivate the Honyeon Cheonrae Shingong by absorbing yin in the evenings and yang during the day. Even though he had taken the Baeknyeon Ha-Su-o from the Taesan Mountain, his power was accumulating way too quickly. It was even faster than any of his previous reincarnations. ‘Excessive speed is never a good thing.’ Seok Jin-ho was rather impatient in nature but knew there was no need to hurry at the expense of damaging his mind and body. Having failed countless times before, he couldn’t help but worry. So far, he had shown no signs of abnormality, but it was still better to be cautious. ‘Could it be because I’ve let go of my greed?’

Finishing his energy circulation, Seok Jin-ho tilted his head thoughtfully. Despite starting from scratch, he wasn’t ignorant of the ascension techniques. He was versed in the unorthodox teachings of Buddhism and Taoism, masterful in the martial arts. Suddenly he had a thought. “Nah. That can’t be right. To think I’d grow faster because I’m practicing with the mindset of it being a mere hobby, that doesn’t make any sense.” He chuckled at the absurdity.

Heikui, the dark whirlwind cat who had been quietly sitting in the corner of the room, approached Seok Jin-ho as soon as he stood up. The cat had a habit of intensely watching him practice his energy circulation or perform meditative practices, so Seok Jin-ho didn’t find it strange and gave Heikui a scratch on the cheek.

Meow! Meeeoooww!

“Why? Hungry? Want a treat?” The cat seemed to enjoy Seok Jin-ho’s touch as it wagged its tail and head-butted him repeatedly, asking for more attention. “Or are you just bored?”

Meow.

Heikui shook its head, dismissing the suggestion. Compared to its life on Taesan Mountain, the human world was overflowing with enjoyment and sights. Moreover, it was safe here. Inside the Seok Family estate, there was no one to fear more than Seok Jin-ho, so Heikui was quite content with this comfortable and peaceful life. “Even so, you’ll have to return to the wild at some point.”

Meeooow.

Heikui looked up at Seok Jin-ho with its bright, sparkling eyes, indicating it had no intention of returning to Taesan Mountain as long as Seok Jin-ho was alive. “Well, once my birthday passes, we’ll go out. Then we can look for some spiritual herbs. I have a need for them and they can serve as your treat.”

Growl, growl.

The mention of spiritual herbs changed Heikui’s expression. It still remembered the taste of the mountain ginseng it had eaten in Taesan Mountain, and the way Seok Jin-ho would find precisely the right mountain ginseng it could digest. “You little scoundrel.”

Patting Heikui’s rump as it purred and nuzzled against him, Seok Jin-ho walked out of the room. When he reached the courtyard, Tak Yoon approached him with a broom in hand. “You’re out.”

“Are you taking the medicinal herbs I gave you properly?” Seok Jin-ho asked.

“Yes, Master.”

“Even if it tastes bitter, keep taking it. Bitter medicine is often good for the body.”

“I understand.”

Tak Yoon smiled naively and nodded his head. To him, the taste wasn’t important; what mattered was that Seok Jin-ho had given it to him. And knowing full well that Seok Jin-ho wouldn’t give him anything harmful, Tak Yoon took the prescribed amount at the prescribed time each day.

“And the ointment?”

“I apply it once before sleeping.”

“Don’t skimp on the precious herbs, use the right amount. If you run out, I will make more.”

“Yes.”

“As for visitors, it seems…”

Before Seok Jin-ho could finish his sentence, Heikui, who was now comfortably perched on his shoulder, pricked up its ears. It could sense a presence approaching from afar, including two energies it had felt before.

Meeooow.

“You feel it too?” Seok Jin-ho asked.

Meow.

In response, Heikui let out a short cry, and Seok Jin-ho wore a curious expression. Although they were at a considerable distance, he too had a feeling about who was coming.

“Who is it?” Tak Yoon inquired, blinking his large eyes.

“Master! Master!” Jeong Ma-ryong’s voice rang out just as Tak Yoon managed to speak, coming over the wall of the courtyard. It seemed he was running back from an errand, and his voice carried a note of urgency.

“Slow down, or you’ll run out of breath. Didn’t I tell you that proper breathing is critical?”

“It’s not about that, sir! Il Gongja, Il Gongja is coming!”

“And what’s so critical about Il Gongja coming? This is Seok Family estate after all.”

“He’s coming with people from Ha Buk-Pang’s family, and they are heading this way!”

Jeong Ma-ryong, looking as if he was delivering shocking news, was frantic. The arrival of Seok Jin-ryong, the eldest son of the Seok Family’s master, was surprising enough, but Ha Buk-Pang’s family was beyond comparison. With its prestigious status in the martial arts world, Jeong Ma-ryong couldn’t help but get excited.

Thwack!

Ultimately, it took Heikui’s intervention to calm the situation. As if annoyed by the commotion, the cat launched itself from Seok Jin-ho’s shoulder and slapped Jeong Ma-ryong back and forth with its paws.

“Cough!”

Struck by two powerful and unexpected blows, Jeong Ma-ryong crumpled to the ground. However, the shock seemed to have a sobering effect, and he quickly gathered his wits. “It worked like a charm.”

“It’s a bit pitiful for him, though.”

“He’s not seriously hurt, and besides, this is also part of training. If it were me, I’d be doing everything I could to avoid getting hit. I’d train as if my life depended on it.”

“I will train harder.”

Jeong Ma-ryong bowed his head in acknowledgment of Seok Jin-ho and Tak Yoon’s conversation. Yet, his fists were clenched tightly, reflecting his resolve to one day pay Heikui back in kind.

“But don’t overwork yourself. That would be foolish. It’s important to push yourself as much as you can without causing harm to your body.”

“I will keep that in mind.”

Seok Jin-ho not only wielded the stick but also knew when to offer a carrot. With his words, Jeong Ma-ryong found the motivation he needed. Just as tempering metal requires more than constant hammering—else, it breaks—the same was true for training the body.

“Aaah! Benefactor!”

At that moment, a graceful yet resonant feminine voice called out from a distance, directly addressing Seok Jin-ho. A slender woman strode briskly towards them. But Seok Jin-ho’s gaze was captivated not by her, but by the young man following her, showing clear signs of displeasure on his face. Seok Jin-ryong, the Il Gongja whom he rarely encountered, even at family gatherings, was approaching with a scowl.

‘Interesting turn of events.’ Seok Jin-ho could guess Seok Jin-ryong’s thoughts just by his expression. It was apparent from his disapproval-filled eyes, as if to question how someone like Seok Jin-ho could ever be called a benefactor by someone like Pang Na-yeon.

“The lady, Pang Na-yeon, greets the benefactor.”

“Arriving unannounced, I apologize if I have offended you. However, our family head was furious about the life debt incurred and insisted we couldn’t just sit idly by, so we’ve come to find you, Seok Jin-ho. If you’ve taken any offense, I am truly sorry, Seok Jin-ho.”

Unlike Pang Na-yeon, who approached with an energetic greeting, Baek Sang-geon bowed continuously, worried about possibly upsetting Seok Jin-ho. He followed closely, reminiscent of an escort, while Seok Jin-ryong watched, seemingly unable to believe what he was witnessing.

“There’s no offense taken. I’m just a bit surprised, not expecting you to come all this way.”

“Ha Buk-Pang’s estate in Beokjeong and Seok Family’s estate are, after all, quite close, especially to martial artists like ourselves.”

Carefully watching Seok Jin-ho’s reactions, Pang Na-yeon smiled brightly, relieved that the mood didn’t seem bad. She had been anxious about possibly upsetting Seok Jin-ho, but fortunately, that didn’t seem to be the case.

“That may be true, but distance isn’t always the main concern.”

“Ha Buk-Pang never forgets a favor, nor a grudge. Especially when it concerns our young lady, so we certainly can’t just overlook it. That’s the stance of our family head.”

“It’s fine to overlook it, though.”

“That is absolutely not an option.”

Caught between Seok Jin-ho and Pang Na-yeon, Baek Sang-geon continued to gauge the atmosphere, assertively shaking his head. This was no minor incident—Pang Na-yeon, the youngest daughter of the Pang Family head, had been in danger of losing her life. And not just to anyone but to a perverted demon which almost consumed her spirit. That’s why not only the family head but also Baek Sang-geon thought this could not be left to fade away into obscurity.

“Given the circumstances, it might be better left in the past.”

“No need to worry about that part. After all, our family is Ha Buk-Pang.”

“I see. Then I just need to be careful.”

“Oh, but that’s not the only reason for our visit!”

In a rush, Baek Sang-geon waved his hands dismissively. It wasn’t just because of that particular reason they were looking for Seok Jin-ho, and so he quickly clarified, visibly embarrassed.

“Let’s go inside for now. You came all this way. But as you’ve seen, my living quarters are quite humble.”

“It’s alright.”

“I actually find it snug and pleasant.”

Seok Jin-ho’s living space was truly modest. Compared to the grandeur Seok Jin-ryong’s quarters—which was already four times smaller—the accommodations provided to illegimate sons like him were nothing less.

“Then that’s good.”

“Please excuse me for a moment.”

While Pang Na-yeon naturally followed Seok Jin-ho through the courtyard gate into his home, Baek Sang-geon turned away as Seok Jin-ryong tried to enter as well. Seok Jin-ho knew the reason all too well.

“As you wish.”

“Seok Jin-ryong Gongja.”

With Seok Jin-ho’s permission, Baek Sang-geon turned to face Seok Jin-ryong. There was a distinct change in his demeanor from when addressing Seok Jin-ho, although the respectful posture remained.

“What is it, Baek Daehyeop?”

“Thanks for your guidance, but I wish you’d leave for now. Seok Jin-ho Gongja and I have important matters to discuss.”

“Can I not stay to hear this matter?”

“Like I said, it’s a weighty conversation.”

“…Understood.”

Seok Jin-ryong stepped back in light of Baek Sang-geon’s firm stance. A gut feeling told him that arguing wouldn’t change the outcome. Besides, it was unwise to appear overly insistent with a martial artist like Baek Sang-geon.

“Thank you for understanding.”

“How about joining us for dinner tonight? As guests visiting the Seok estate, I hope to provide proper hospitality.”

End of Chapter 9. Soaring Value -01 (Revised)



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