The demonic qi all gathered in Hwang Mun-Yak’s head as if it were ready to fight.
‘I can’t touch it.’
It was becoming a pain in the ass.
If Chung Myung behaved clumsily and caused a collision in Elder Hwang’s head, he’d be off to greet the reaper. No, maybe now, the grim reaper was already behind Chung Myung, patiently waiting for him to make a mistake.
Then, what if it was left alone?
‘That’s even worse.’
Elder Hwang’s lower body was purified entirely, but that wasn’t necessarily good news. The purified body would accept demonic qi from the head at a quicker rate.
It would happen much like ink diffusing into clear water.
If he advances, the man dies. If he retreats, the man dies too.
The beleaguered Chung Myung hesitated to make a decision for a while.
‘What do I do?’
‘What can I do?’
Normally, he was the sort to charge forward, but what if his recklessness caused someone harm?
He agonizingly pondered over his decision and bit his lip.
He can’t charge forward, and he can’t retreat either, right?
Then, he’ll just ignore both options!
Chung Myung shifted all of his qi to one side of his body. A cornered mouse would even bite a cat, and a soldier forced against a cliff would fight to the death.
But what if there was room to escape? The rat would run, and the soldier would retreat.
‘Now, here’s a place for you to escape.’
Chung Myung opened a path.
There was nowhere to run away in Elder Hwang’s body, but there was still somewhere else. There was only one place left to escape.
That was to Chung Myung’s own body.
As soon as Chung Myung pushed his qi to one side, the pressured demonic qi began surging forth, searching for an empty vessel to occupy. The elder’s body had become unsuitable. Finding the connection between the two, the Qi rode along Chung Myung’s arm and invaded his now empty body.
A groan leaked out.
A tingling sensation rushed through his arms and spread all over the body in an instant. His eyes began to blur with terrible pain, and his consciousness faded.
Chung Myung recovered his qi from Elder Hwang’s body. Then, he began to spread it through his own.
There was the sound of his bones creaking and crashing down.
The demonic qi, left with no place to go, began a fierce struggle. However, Chung Myung’s internal qi suppressed the demonic qi, like an occupying force, and mercilessly cleansed it.
Every part of the body seemingly turned into a battlefield.
A roar echoed inside his body. With each explosion, unbearable pain tormented him. However, he bit his lips with bloody eyes.
Lose consciousness here?
‘Don’t make me laugh!’
His pride as the Plum Blossom Sword Saint wouldn’t let him.
Chung Myung stood still and waited till it stopped. Chung Myung’s qi attacked the remaining demonic qi fighting until the bitter end.
Thousands of exploding voices echoed.
His vision turned white as his consciousness faded. Chung Myung closed his eyes. His qi could subdue the demonic qi, but it was strongly resisting.
One round. Two rounds.
He scanned his body and, as if satisfied with his ability to cleanse it, his qi moved and then returned to the dantian.
Only after thoroughly checking his entire body did Chung Myung wake up.
“Kuaaak. I almost died.”
No joke, it was perilous.
This demonic qi wasn’t something he could have handled at his level. Even the slightest mistake would have cost either Chung Myung or Hwang Mun-Yak their lives.
‘This time, it was really dangerous. I’m not going to do this ever again.’
Chung Myung gently rubbed his dantian point.
“But it seems that it’s increased a bit.”
There was no particular reason it would increase, but it just felt like it had.
“… isn’t it still just a rat tail?”
The qi was just the size of a small pepper. It was still a tiny fragment of what he once had, and he wasn’t sure when it would grow into a large surging river.
Chung Myung sighed and turned his head to look at Elder Hwang. His face was slightly flushed, perhaps because the poison had disappeared. His health seemed to be recovering quickly.
It wasn’t just the demonic qi that had been washed away. When the pure qi was pushed into him, it wasn’t a body reconstruction, but the cleansing seemed like it increased his life expectancy by about 10 years.
Thinking that he ended up doing good things for no reason, Chung Myung clicked his tongue and approached Elder Hwang.
It seemed like the old man was regaining consciousness. His eyes were trembling as he slowly opened them.
Elder Hwang’s eyes, which had been shaking back and forth with no focus, began to settle on Chung Myung.
“Who… are you?”
Chung Myung smiled brightly.
“Me? A divine Taoist.”
Elder Hwang, who was weak, trembled.
“I must have died and gone to hell.”
What the hell was that?
After Elder Hwang regained consciousness, Eunha was quickly cleaned up.
Beon Ja-Bok, who tried to assassinate Hwang Mun-Yak, had planned to kill Hwang Jongi next if his plan succeeded. He would have then moved on to his children as well. If the entire family’s bloodline died in the same manner by some incurable disease, then the public would believe it to be bad luck or a curse on the Hwang family, and Beon Ja-Bok could avoid suspicion.
In fact, the plan worked pretty well. If Elder Hwang had died suddenly, everyone would have suspected malfeasance; but since he suffered for nearly a year, no one guessed that it was an attempted murder.
Didn’t they even receive confirmation from the Tang family that he wasn’t poisoned?
If Chung Myung hadn’t arrived, the Hwang family would have died according to plan, and their fortune would have been stolen.
Beon Ja-bok revealed everything. He was the son of a merchant that used to rival the Eunha guild; he spoke with tears in his eyes as he told a heart-rending tale of his pitiable life. Well, that’s none of Chung Myung’s business, though.
“If you commit a crime, you should be punished. Where in this world could you find a person without some tragic experiences?”
The only thing Chung Myung was interested in was the demonic qi. However, he said that he simply found a corpse deep in the mountains when he was out journeying.
Chung Myung felt like his spirit was siphoned away.
‘Well, there was no way those demonic sect people would have been this sloppy.’
No, they would have handled it carefully and quietly. After all, weren’t they the type that would kill others if they were bothered?
In conclusion, it can be said that everything went well, the culprit was found, the elder was cured, and it was confirmed that the Demonic Sect wasn’t involved.
With that, Chung Myung, who helped the Eunha Merchant Guild, was treated as their VIP.
A VERY important guest.
Elder Hwang sat down lightly.
“Father, you still need to be careful with your body. You just got out of bed.”
“It’s okay. I was indeed laid up in bed for a long time, but I feel even more energetic than before I fell ill.”
Hwang Jongi looked at his father with questionable eyes.
Even so, Elder Hwang didn’t back down. He might look like he would collapse any moment, but he was overflowing with energy.
“More than that.”
Elder Hwang raised his head and looked at Chung Myung.
“… disciple Chung Myung… right?”
“Yes. Didn’t you see me before?”
“It seems like you’ve changed a lot since then.”
“Ah. I ate quite well.”
Chung Myung scratched his head with thick sausage fingers.
Those who saw this scene were subtly shaken.
‘His size doubled in three days.’
‘How the hell did he eat so much in three days that his clothes are about to burst.’
‘I can even see oil flowing down his skin from the fat. Why did he even bother joining a sect?’
Everyone shook their heads at the sight of Chung Myung, who had grown twice as big as before in just 3 days.
Elder Hwang was the only one who, fortunately, maintained his composure. As if to show how great of a merchant he was.
“I should greet you first.”
Elder Hwang prostrated flat on the spot. Hwang Jongi, startled at the sudden action, tried to lift him up. But, when he saw his father’s stern gaze, he backed away without a word.
Elder Hwang bowed again and opened his mouth.
“Thanks to the disciple, my life was saved. I am forever indebted to you.”
“Ehhh. Get up, please.”
Why didn’t he get up?
At Chung Myung’s words, Hwang Mun-Yak slowly stood up and smiled.
“I’ve heard the story from our servant. If it wasn’t for you, I would have been dead. Even animals know the grace which saved them. If I was born as a human, yet forgot grace, then I would be worth even less than an animal.”
‘Oh. He’s so eloquent.’
Right. That’s right.
Hwang Mun-Yak said quietly, looking at Chung Myung.
“I don’t believe there is any way in this world to repay this life-saving favor, but I want to do the best that I can. If my benefactor wants something, please speak without hesitation.”
“Ah. Something I want.”
“Haha. How could a Taoist seek rewards for helping to save others? If someone were to learn about it, they would mock us.”
“I do not discriminate against anyone. If I shirk away from showing grace simply because the one who saved me was a Taoist, I will be ridiculed. It is unacceptable for me.”
“I understand your feelings… but it can’t be helped. It would cause me trouble since I came here without getting the sect leader’s permission.”
“… without permission?”
“Yes. It was urgent, so I didn’t have time to request permission.”
Elder Hwang looked at the young Taoist in front of him with watery eyes full of affection.
How could he not be moved when this child had crossed his sect gates and risked himself to travel and save him?
“You did that much!?”
“As I said, it was urgent.”
Elder Hwang was moved while Hwang Jongi narrowed his eyes.
‘He looks rather relaxed for someone who came here without permission.’
But he didn’t speak in front of his father.
Elder Hwang nodded his head and spoke with an exuberant voice.
“I will handle that problem for you. Furthermore, I won’t tell the sect leader, so tell me what you want—”
“Is that a promise?”
Elder Hwang titled his head at Chung Myung, who interrupted his words.
“I want a promise that you won’t tell the sect about this.”
“Ah… of course. I’m a merchant, so I will….”
Again, before elder Hwang could finish speaking, Chung Myung pulled out a book from his sleeve.
Hwang Mun-Yak stared at the book with a puzzled expression.
“What is that book?”
“Ah. It’s no big deal. I find my memory failing me and growing fuzzier as I get older.”
Chung Myung smiled and shook the book.
“I wrote it down.”
“You wanted me to tell you what I wanted, right?”
“So, I wrote it all down.”
… that book? …All of it?
Chung Myung licked his finger, turned the page, and spoke with a smile.
“Now, shall we get started?”
Hwang Mun-Yak felt that he might have made a big mistake for the first time.
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