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Chapter 260: Chapter 260
The breathing technique—the foundation of the Sage Art that prevented the leakage of magical energy from one’s body while it continuously acc.u.mulated more of the same energy merely by breathing normally.
The Sage’s Eye—the “eye” that slowed down the world and allowed one to peer deep into the truth itself.
During his battle against the Roc Demon King, Su-hyeun saw a slender “line” that ran through the turbulent winds.
He couldn’t tell why he suddenly thought of cutting it down. One mistake and he could have been struck by that black turbulence and suffered grievous wounds in return.
But at that moment, he was filled with a certain confidence.
And the reason for that confidence…
[Sage’s Eye: Gyeol]
* Grade: –
* Category: Active (activation type)
* Category: Sage Art, Sage’s Eye
* It can only be used when the “Sage’s Eye” is active. It can a.n.a.lyze the weaknesses and characteristics of the designated target caught in your view.
* Proficiency: 0.00%
Was precisely this.
The skill called “Gyeol”—it seemed that the noise Su-hyeun heard right at the end of his battle against the Roc Demon King had been from the message confirming his acquisition of the skill.
“Weaknesses and characteristics of the opponent, huh?” he mulled inwardly.
At a casual glance, this skill was seemingly designed to discover the enemy’s weakness. Although not many, awakeners who had mastered a similar skill could be found every now and then.
Meaning, it was a rather rare skill, and it certainly was useful as well. The fact that he could discover his opponent’s weakness meant that even if he was facing a monster stronger than him, he could still defeat it by going about it smartly.
But the skill called “Gyeol” Su-hyeun had acquired was not something as simple as that.
“I actually saw through the winds,” he thought to himself.
Winds didn’t possess any physical form, yet he managed to cut down a unique aura hidden among the winds. Not only that, but he also exerted only the bare minimum strength needed to scatter a far stronger aura than his own.
He tried to remember, but the sensation from back then remained faint—uncertain—as if it was a fluke. If he was asked to do it again, then he would not know how to. It was that sort of sensation.
“Probably because my proficiency is too low,” thought Su-hyeun.
Gyeol’s proficiency was still stuck at zero percent. This was practically the same as him acquiring the skill only just now. It seemed that he would need a lot of time to get familiar with the skill as well.
“But something about it…is a bit different from other skills,” he thought.
It might exist as a skill, but even then, Gyeol felt different from all the other skills Su-hyeun was familiar with.
No, wait—when he thought about it, even the breathing technique and the Sage’s Eye were similar in that regard. Rather than calling them skills, they felt more like Su-hyeun’s own innate ability at this point.
“What are you thinking about?”
It was a chilly night. The Bull Demon King approached Su-hyeun who was currently sitting alone in the living room.
His approach was again utterly silent, but Su-hyeun wasn’t surprised by it anymore.
This wasn’t the first time the Bull Demon King did this, and his voice had the strange ability to make listeners feel relaxed rather than surprised even if it came out of nowhere.
“I was just replaying the fight from earlier in the day in my head, actually.”
“Are you talking about the fight against the second brother?”
“You’ve witnessed ‘Gyeol,’ have you not?”
Su-hyeun nodded his head at the Bull Demon King’s question.
He only saw it once. Even though he continued to use the Sage’s Eye afterward, he didn’t see Gyeol again. He definitely saw it back then, but now, he couldn’t see anything like that even from a small object.
What a strange occurrence it was.
“You’re the type that shines the most during actual combat. Because of your originally gentle personality, you can’t feel much sense of danger in most normal situations, and therefore, you are unable to push your instincts to their limits.”
“Is that why we continue to spar?”
“Isn’t sparring the closest to being in actual combat? Your sparring sessions with Wukong will definitely help you. Of course, it will never be as good as being in a real fight, but still.” The Bull Demon King chuckled affably and asked, “And so, how goes with your replaying? If the fight continued on, what do you think would’ve happened in the end?”
Su-hyeun couldn’t finish his reply, but it wasn’t because he couldn’t predict the end result.
The question itself was asking the obvious. No matter how many times he replayed the fight in his head, he didn’t think he would lose.
That’s why he couldn’t reply. He wasn’t sure if his answer would upset the Bull Demon King, the “oldest” in the brotherhood.
After figuring out the reason behind Su-hyeun’s hesitation, the Bull Demon King lightly patted him on the back and spoke, “As I thought, you’re too kind. Unlike us.”
“No, that’s not true. Big brothers, you all are—”
“Whether it was me or Wukong, we weren’t too different from how the second brother is like now. No, wait. Maybe we were even worse than him. Our obstinate natures did cause a lot of grief to not just the Heavenly World but even humans and Yogoes alike. We created so much chaos wherever we went, after all.”
He suddenly began talking about the old times. Su-hyeun was curious about their lives, so he shut his mouth and paid attention.
“The Sage Art proved to be a wondrous field of study. It made me regret and reflect on the life I’ve lived from a certain point in time onward, you see. I’m sure it’s the same story for Wukong as well. Compared to how he was like back when we first met each other, he has become so much gentler now,” the Bull Demon King continued.
“Did the Sage Arts change your personalities?”
“In a way. The Sage Art as a field of study was originally founded as a way for humans to become kinder, better beings. Becoming a G.o.d at the end of the path had never been its true goal.”
“Studying to become kinder…”
“At first, I thought that your rapid progress in the Sage Arts was due to the unseen hands aiding you.”
“Could he be referring to the system?” Su-hyeun thought.
He was well aware of how special the Bull Demon King as a being was.
Not to forget, he already knew that Su-hyeun wasn’t from this world, so maybe it was possible that he wasn’t bound by the framework called “trials.”
But to think that he even knew about the existence of the “system” that involved Su-hyeun.
“You getting shocked that much is making me feel guilty. But you don’t have to mind it. I shall keep it as a secret to the others.”
“Exactly how much do you know?”
“I know that the existences from the outside world brought you here to test some things. They are called the administrators, aren’t they? What strange beings they are, with their abilities to travel between dimensions and manipulate a world like G.o.ds.”
Which meant he practically knew everything.
Su-hyeun wasn’t really trying to keep those things secret in the first place, but the inexplicable sense of guilt reared its ugly head in his mind nonetheless.
He could no longer keep the Bull Demon King in the dark.
“Why are you apologizing? You’re also a victim, after all.”
The Bull Demon King chuckled for a while and then raised his head to stare at the moon. The silence between the two men persisted for a little while, but in the end, the Yogoe broke it first.
“Had it not been difficult for you?”
Su-hyeun was stuck in a deep dilemma as he tried to figure out how he should apologize, but when he heard that question made out of concern, his eyes shot open much wider.
He was trying to apologize, but he got consoled instead.
Only two people so far had asked if it had been difficult for him.
“I’m sure there will be more challenging days ahead of you. Maybe some events far more challenging than the ones you’ve experienced so far are waiting for you up ahead.” The Bull Demon King spoke as if he had seen the distant future. “When such a time comes, I hope that the time you have spent with us in this place lends some help to you.”
After finishing what he wanted to say, the Bull Demon King stood up from his spot to leave.
Su-hyeun couldn’t sleep, so he decided to come out to the living room and organize his thoughts there, but more complicated thoughts had entered his mind instead.
The Bull Demon King quietly observed Su-hyeun’s back as the young man continued to contemplate before he stepped into his own room.
“What is the Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven?” The Bull Demon King stood still with hands behind his back and muttered as he looked around his dark and empty room. “A fool who can’t even control his own heart dares to call himself the Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven. What a foolish fella…”
The Great Sage who Pacifies Heaven, the one who would calm the raging heavens. It was indeed a grandiose t.i.tle. And such a t.i.tle was something that he and Sun Wukong had a.s.signed to themselves.
And whether it was for the good or bad, the Bull Demon King tried to live according to the meaning of his t.i.tle. He did indeed pacify the world above the skies with Sun Wukong, and right now, he was preparing for his ascension to G.o.dhood.
He could become a G.o.d whenever he wanted—that’s what he believed.
He thought that as soon as Sun Wukong who was confined in the eight-way trigram Crucible came back home, he would ascend and become a Taoist G.o.d.
“It seems that a few more years will be necessary.”
The shackles of a lingering attachment called brotherhood, which he couldn’t let go for the past tens of thousands of years, began grinding noisily again.
* * *
A thin wooden stick was pounding away on a hard boulder.
Rather unsurprisingly, the stick snapped in half and broke. Su-hyeun discarded the now-useless stick and picked up another one from a pile resting beside him.
“What is he doing down there?” the Roc Demon King muttered.
He was currently “sitting” in the sky high above, along with Sun Wukong to spectate on Su-hyeun’s actions.
The latter was currently hitting a boulder with a wooden stick, and he had been repeating the same action for the entire day.
“If he wants to cut that thing, why doesn’t he just inject some energy into the stick? Why is he persisting with that stupid action?” the Roc Demon King continued.
Su-hyeun’s actions defied the Yogoe’s understanding.
“Let him hit the rock hundreds of times like that, and see whether the stick or the boulder will break first. Obviously, it—”
“He’s trying to see the ‘Gyeol’ again, big brother.”
Sun Wukong cut off the Roc Demon King’s rant midway. He sounded as if he wanted to ask, “Can’t you see what’s going on here?”
“Gyeol? What’s that?”
The Roc Demon King had never learned the Sage Arts. He focused on developing the powers of the Yogoe he was born with, which meant he didn’t even know what this Gyeol was about.
Sun Wukong, not sure of how to explain himself, began hesitating somewhat. He pondered his options for a while and then lightly clapped his hands and replied, “You know, when you’re looking at something, you get the feeling that a bonk here will crack it there?”
“A bonk will crack what? What are you even talking about?”
“A bonk here and then a break there. Don’t you know it?”
“Tsk… Actually, even I don’t know about it in detail since I never learned it, to begin with. Well, I haven’t acquired the Sage’s Eye, that’s why. Even then, my instincts tell me where to bonk, so it’s been fine for me so far.”
“Are you saying it’s possible for you?”
“You mean, breaking a boulder with a stick?”
“Isn’t it like taking candy from a baby? Wait, big brother, you can’t do it? Hey, there’s no way.”
“You cheeky b.a.s.t.a.r.d.”
Sun Wukong sounded provocative in his retorts, which caused the Roc Demon King’s expression to distort greatly as he continued to stare at Su-hyeun.
The Monkey King cackled but stopped laughing soon afterward, his gaze shifting down to the ground as well. Su-hyeun still hadn’t managed to cut apart the boulder yet.
“Such a task would be easy if he used his aura, but…” Sun Wukong thought.
But trying to break a boulder with a simple wooden stick while not relying on any type of aura or energy would be a completely different story altogether.
Performing such a thing would be impossible unless you saw through the “Gyeol,” the weakness every existing object possessed, and accurately strike that.
“He can already see the Gyeol?”
What Su-hyeun displayed during his fight against the Roc Demon King, was that a coincidence or a miracle?
Sun Wukong had been observing Su-hyeun the whole day but didn’t see any progress being made. Inevitably, his disappointment grew gradually as well.
“Was it a coincidence, then?”
If Su-hyeun couldn’t even see the Gyeol of a regular boulder, then it would be very difficult to say that he accurately saw one during his fight against the Roc Demon King.
Besides, even if one understood “Gyeol,” it would still be difficult to master. Not to forget, even someone like Sun Wukong found it hard when he proudly boasted his instincts and intuition being a step ahead of the Bull Demon King’s.
As the hours ticked by, his interest began to wane. The large pile of wooden sticks he prepared for the occasion using his clones were slowly but surely running out as well.
“I knew it. Acquiring the Gyeol so soon was just a—”
Just as Sun Wukong decided to stop paying attention…
The last remaining wooden stick managed to split the hard boulder in half.
 “Gyeol” is a romanized Korean word that usually denotes things like the grains or texture of wood or rocks, but in this novel, it also means how a warrior can preternaturally “predict, foresee, or read” an opponent’s movements and accurately find a counter for it.