The word ‘chance’ emerging from the mouth of Sima Chak only heightened my anxiousness. At least, if I weren’t for a place like this, ‘chance’ would have been tempting.
I looked at Sima Young in doubt. She didn’t seem to have a good expression either.
It would be nice if she could at least guide me or help me out through this but seeing that she couldn’t even speak, it seemed like Sima Chak did something.
-You won’t be able to hear her with the blood points being sealed.
It was as expected, and he asked.
‘Did you guys hear anything?’
-How could we listen to what they are saying when we are stuck with you?
Talking to a person? These were swords and only I could talk to them.
Even in the midst of losing my mind I couldn’t hear anything either.
‘Is this a test of some sort?’
Sima Chak said he would give me a chance and this didn’t meet a chance of life either, so there had to be a hidden intention. That was the only thing that mattered.
The mind felt complicated but Sima Chak had a faint smile.
“I will give you two chances. You are free to choose either or neither of them.”
“What do you mean free to choose?”
“I mean it literally. I am giving you the chance and choices, and you can pick either one of them or you can just give it up.”
Giving up was also alright?
I was puzzled, then he continued.
“If that happens, you will never see my daughter again. You will have to swear on your life.”
So there was a price. If I give up I would not be able to see her again. Now I understood why Sima Young always had a troubled expression.
Sima Chak was testing me now and if I gave up, it would show that I cared more about myself than my feelings for Sima Young.
“Will you take the chance or give up?”
Didn’t this seem like a test well prepared? Sima Chak was indeed a formidable man.
-Will it be fine? I don’t think you will ever have a smooth relationship with his daughter either way.
I guess so.
But if I hesitate, even a little, it would proceed in Sima Chak’s manner. In that case, it would be better if I could move my body but I couldn’t.
“Why will I give up? I shall accept it!”
At my words, Sima Chak’s smile disappeared and he seemed upset.
On the other hand, Sima Young’s lips were twitching up as if she was happy that I wasn’t giving up on her.
‘So, did I pass the first hurdle?’
At least, it seemed like Sima Young was pleased with this.
So she reacted like this. But the problem was–
The entrance to hell, the hole within which the waterfall was rushing, sucked in from all sides. Just looking at it gave me chills.
Even death seemed absent from this location.
“You got guts, I will give you that.”
With those words, Sima Chak held out his hand behind his back. Then the Blood Demon Sword that was on my waist flew out.
The sword emerging from its sheath was sucked into the hand of Sima Chak, and I exclaimed.
“You must never hold this sword!”
But Sima Chak was already holding onto it. Blood Demon Sword was bound to make it a mess.
-How dare you place your hands on my body! I will burst down your veins… uh?
Blood Demon Sword seemed to be messing around but Sima Chak seemed fine. I couldn’t see anything wrong.
He seemed normal holding this sword and it was the Blood Demon Sword who was reacting oddly.
Hearing his groan and the trembling, I looked at Sima Chak who added.
“Are you alright?”
“Did you think something like a spirit sword would hurt me?”
-Kuaaak! This human… Ack!
The more Sima Chak was releasing his qi the more Blood Demon Sword was suffering. It was like meeting the proper nemesis.
-Oh my… So cool!
Short Sword on the other hand loved this. She was delighted that the Sword she hated could be handled.
It truly was great, even Han Baek-ha couldn’t withstand this.
I knew the man was on a whole different level but this was beyond my imagination. Sima Chak was casually swinging the sword at the water under the bridge.
And with a sharp slicing sound, space began to tremble and the valley water which was violently falling down split open in an instant.
Such an amazing sight.
It meant that he was swinging it with this intention. He wasn’t called a Great Warrior for nothing.
Blood Demon Sword shuddered with the body trembling as Sima Chak continued.
“Tch tch. It isn’t a good sword if it has such a strong sense of itself. Relying on the power of such swords will not help in growth either.”
He let go of the sword. He could control it, but the longer he did the more qi he would have to consume.
-Shit! That damned human!
Blood Demon Sword’s angry voice was echoing in my head. He seemed angry
And just then, Sima Chak approached me. And poked near my chest.
“You have a peculiar way of cultivation. To think that a guy who cannot even cross the wall trained like this by depending on this part alone.”
I was shocked at the words he said. Could it be that he touched my chest and felt the innate qi stored in the middle dantian?
As I looked dumbstruck, Sima Chak asked.
“Did you think I wouldn’t know?”
“You can feel it?”
“You trained so much innate qi, how would I not know?”
This was clear. Sima Chak could feel the innate qi.
If one reaches that level, could one notice innate qi too?
Sima Chak snorted and added.
“A guy who cannot properly handle the pure qi is accumulating another counter of it like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“In such an unbalanced state, you will never be able to overcome your current limits, let alone the wall you are facing.”
I was puzzled but then Sima Chak suddenly caught me by my nape.
He grabbed the nape at the neck and lifted me up so our faces would meet each other and began to move me. The waterfall below looked like an abyss and my heart skipped a beat as this began to sink in.
“Do you know what this place is?”
“…I don’t know.”
“It isn’t known anymore, but at one time this place was known to be a sacred place for a certain warrior family.”
This was a sacred place?
I couldn’t understand it, but looking at the place where the bridge was created, there were traces of people being here. And Sima Chak continued.
“However, after the warrior family perished, what was neglected for a long time came to be used in a different way.”
“May I ask in what way?”
If one fell into a bottomless pit even the warriors would not escape. But what was this related to?
-Could this monster actually do it? He was running on water.
Jump on water? Then, it might be possible, but not for me though. Sima Chak pointed to the hole and said.
“This is a place you cannot get out without help from outside. You must have heard about it at least once. The Sealing Forest Valley”
“Sealing… Forest valley?”
These words surprised me. I really wanted to be somewhere else now.
-Why are you so shocked?
At Short Sword’s question, I answered.
‘It is one of the three bans.’
-Three bans? What is that?
There were many legends and tales in the central plains Murim and one of them was about the Three bans.
The places one should never enter.
-Then this is one of them?
Unlike the other two places which have been considered as bans for a long time, this has been considered to be a recent addition.
The Sealed Forest Valley, the name did call it a forest, but in reality it was just a word.
-So this is a place where the warriors were confined?
I heard it had been used for that purpose. To imprison them. It might feel like a prison from the name but no one survived after being thrown in.
In the first place, this wasn’t a prison used for regular people.
-So people are still being locked within?
It was a hundred years ago.
It should not happen now, but there was one more thing which bothered me. Looking at the bridge swaying which seemed to be well maintained for so many years. This means it was still being used.
Sima Chak placed me down and said.
“Let us see how badly you want my daughter.”
I gulped as he said that
“You are telling me to get there and escape?”
“You cannot come out even if you head in perfect condition. Do you think you can escape with your skills?”
At that moment, Sima Chak struck me with his quick hands.
As soon as his hand touched my arm and leg, the long needles stuck in the body were pushed out and finally the ones in other parts were all pulled out and the spine needles too were removed.
When 8 needles were pulled out the muscles loosened and the stiff body moved, it felt hard at first but being alive felt different now.
However, there was another problem here.
The internal qi in my dantian wouldn’t move. Even within the chest, the innate qi in the mid level wouldn’t move as if something wrong had happened in the body.
I couldn’t figure out what the man had done.
“Out of the 36 needles implanted within the body, 8 were pulled out and you will not be able to use your qi or internal qi.”
“In this state stay in the Sealing Forest Valley for a month.”
This was insane.
In an instant, I wanted to curse. To endure a month long here not being able to use qi. Didn’t that mean to enter an abyss without defense?
Sima Young shouted.
“That is too much! Sealing the internal qi and entering is no different from telling him to die! What kind of test is this!”
“Do not complain. Didn’t you ask for the chance to be given?”
“I asked for it! But never said I wanted him hurt!”
Sima Young screamed and shouted. I was actually rooting for her to win.
I hoped she would make Sima Chak change his mind but the man was more stubborn than her.
“Then tell him to give up. I have no intention of acknowledging a person so weak that he cannot even stay one month in this place.”
“Then open up his internal qi.”
“Didn’t I tell him that this is the chance?”
“You mean it is alright for someone who can be your son-in-law to die in there? I do not understand this test. Give him another chance!”
“Then defeat me. If he is stronger than I will acknowledge him.”
There was nothing to say. Out of the Eight Great Warriors and the Four Great Evils, how many could even defeat this man?
It sounded like something that wouldn’t happen. So when his daughter said nothing, Sima Chak snorted and added.
“I even refrained myself from throwing his stiff body and let him have the basic body movements for survival with the sword and dagger.”
Was he talking about Iron Sword and Short Sword?
Hearing Sima Chak’s words, the two breathed a sigh of relief.
Blood Demon Sword was shouting and at that time, Sima Young spoke in a tearful voice.
“It is too much.”
“Then tell him to give up. You will live with your father for the rest of your life.”
“I do not like it! You mean it is fine for me to live like an old virgin all my life and die of old age?”
Sima Chak touched his head like it hurt and said.
“I said it clearly. One month. I said that if he lasts one month, I won’t care what you do with him.”
The man didn’t back down, and I looked at Sima Young who was crying as I placed my hands together.
“I will accept the chance I was given.”
“Do keep your promise.”
I smiled at Sima Young telling her to not worry and then turned, Sima Young had her eyes wide open.
She looked bewildered.
“Do not do it! Young lord! You don’t have to. I will just…”
“Miss. It is alright. Just wait for me.”
Only by enduring this test can I be recognized by Sima Chak and obtain Sima Young’s hand.
If he had intended to kill me in the first place, he wouldn’t have waited all this time. So I accepted it.
-Yah! Will you do it?
So, nothing could be done. At least being together with you two would be comforting.
I ran ahead.
“Wait! No! Do not do this Young lord!”
At her cries, I endured myself and began to move.
The water from these waterfalls was rushing in from all sides and the front was covered with mist.
At that time, I heard Iron Sword say.
-Wonhwi, look up
As I fell, I forcibly turned my body…
Sima Young jumped in after me.
‘She is insane!’
Is she jumping in together?
But my cry was drowned by the noise of the waterfall. However, there was someone’s shadow which moved faster than me.
He followed and pulled her back with ridiculous footwork technique. He took her back as she struggled to come down, but it didn’t work now.
Luckily, she was caught and Sima Young threw me something.
Blood Demon Sword.
As it was infused with qi it arrived right for me.
Her real purpose must have been to give me the sword. It could have been dangerous for her to hold the sword but she still did it.
-She knew it and yet endured it.
She thought that Blood Demon Sword would take care of me. And I could see Sima Chak shaking his head.
But even that was short lived. The figure turned to dots and my body soon sunk into the dark hole.
It was a darkness where one couldn’t see even the water splashing ahead. It truly felt like an abyss.
Making sure the body was turned as vertical as possible. When the waterfall moved, it was clear that the water began flowing or turned stagnant. Even if I descended with internal qi being used the impact would be large, so being hit with nothing would seriously injury the body
-I see the bottom.
I gritted my teeth and withstood the shock. And soon my feet finally touched the water.
As my body moved in with feet first, the shock felt strong from the toes and moved upwards.
Fortunately, thanks to the experience of falling into the valley in the past, I was able to prepare myself mentally and physically. Thus, the body didn’t feel like it would break.
In the first place, it was constantly training my body.
I went under and struggled to come up to the surface. The body started leaning somewhere by itself due to the flowing current of the waterfall.
-You know that you shouldn’t let us go.
-Hold tight. Wonhwi
-Ah! You are the first one to place the Blood Demon Sword through such tough times.
We lived well so this could be called a good experience.
Would anyone even come to this place on their own feet? Well, it didn’t look too far ahead.
I continued to lean ahead and moved down, but I wasn’t sure where we were heading.
I couldn’t see anything ahead.
-We can see! Wonhwi if you go further and there would be no place for your head to even stick out!
Iron Sword replied.
‘What do you mean?’
-The water is entering into a gap.
Was I drifting to some death? Even if there was this deep passage and we did enter, I might die from suffocation.
-Swim to the right! There is land near the right side.
He couldn’t see at all, but Short Sword was directing me so I chose to swing. My body moved a little to the side as I moved.
-Not far! Hurry!
I know! But swimming away from the current was hard.
-Reach out and grab it!
I stretched my hand ahead with the fuss they were making.
Then I caught something like a stone. After throwing Blood Demon Sword to the left hand ahead, I grabbed onto the stone I could catch. And pulled myself with all the might.
The upper body which was washed away by the current began to move and soon I pushed forward with my legs.
As the swords informed me, there was land ahead.
-I thought we would die being buried here.
-Shit. At that time I should have just stuck to that girl Baek Ryeon-ha as my subordinate instead of this one.
What was that? Regret?
Well, this was all too hard.
Who would have thought that we would be thrown with my qi being sealed up? Was there any way to get them to use?
I was lying down when I heard a hum.
‘What is that?’
I immediately held Blood Demon Sword and stood up. Even though my eyes were accustomed to the darkness, I could barely see anything.
-I do. It seems to be coming from the cave over there.
There were caves here? But then as we moved a faint light began to appear.
A yellow light. And it was indeed a cave-like structure which appeared to have three men with beards and shaggy hair.
‘There are people here?’
It was really unexpected. At that time the three men spotted to me and shouted.
This didn’t seem like a happy situation as the three began to approach me with greedy eyes.
In their hands, there were axes made of stones and spears.
I think I came to know why Sima Chak threw me in with Short Sword and Iron Sword. To try and survive this.
But there was something Sima Chak didn’t know.
It wasn’t all just mid and lower dantian for me. I regulated my breathing and touched the upper part of the chest.
At that moment one of the seven points of the Big Dipper, on the back of my hand, turned red.
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