Many of the Hwarangs who were gathered here were unaware of the complicated things the two had gone through. So, they trusted Zaha’s words.
The entire troops had become uneasy after the prophecy was revealed. There was concern about not knowing when something bad would happen again.
During this situation, their former leader had returned, and he decided to stay here for the time being to look into the matters related to the prophecy.
This was like light shining in the darkness.
Everyone surrounded him with smiling faces.
“If Immortal Being works hard for the Hwarangs once again… the Governor will be very happy!”
Zaha spoke as if he remembered something.
“Come to think of it, do you know if Jin Rim has an idea about all of you being like this?”
They all went silent again.
“Then, should we head back together?”
Everyone was shocked.
“W-We will head back first!”
Everyone hastily bowed and began to move. They seemed like a flock of birds that were flying away.
And with everyone gone, there were only three left.
The three of the White Tiger Spirit Troops.
Baek Eon said something he hadn’t said earlier.
“Immortal Being, Seol Young-rang has been through a lot of hardships since he was young, so he doesn’t really trust people on the first meeting. Even if he sometimes commits rude acts, it is only because he didn’t know…”
“Great-rang, no, Baek Eon-rang.”
Seol Young intervened. He stood between his three brothers and Zaha.
“This is the thing I talked about last time.”
Baek Eon was surprised when he took out a gourd bottle.
They weren’t done yet, and this came.
“In the meantime, this was brought. How did that head monk even give it to you this quickly?”
Seol Young gave him a look saying, ‘do not ask.’
He was thinking of protecting his three brothers from this dangerous man. He didn’t want to let them mingle too much.
Watching Zaha with hawk eyes, he motioned for them to move.
Zaha also added.
“Let’s leave now.”
“Yes. Then we should leave.”
The three looked back and forth several times. It was like giving their child to someone else and leaving.
‘It is because our child isn’t the friendly type, but he isn’t a bad kid. He is not evil.’
Everyone was speaking with their eyes, and they disappeared.
And Zaha mumbled.
“How did Baek Eon turn out like this? No matter how many times his youngest member comes at me with his knife, he looks like he’ll keep saying that it’s because the kid isn’t friendly.”
He shook his head.
“If one gets involved with such a person, they will get into trouble for all three parts of their lives—past, present, and future. Just look at him. A grown man like Baek Eon is embracing this kid, and the others cannot even handle it.”
His voice was too loud to be speaking to himself.
Seol Young glared at him without saying a word, but their eyes met.
“Well, my words weren’t wrong, right? I made sure those noisy Hwarangs went away with just a cough from me.”
“Why aren’t you saying anything? Are the words you heard not that surprising? You still cannot believe this?”
Seol Young replied.
“I didn’t know who you were, but now I understand. I did hear that you were the one who defeated the great chaos by yourself, and it was no ordinary one, and you encountered such a great evil and yet…”
He paused for a moment and glanced at the demonic qi this man was hiding.
“Those experiences change the soul. No matter how strong and upright a person may be, he will never be the same as before. And it’s natural that somewhere along the way, he gets twisted.”
Zaha’s expression darkened. He didn’t think that this was how things would flow.
“But I am not curious about that. Why are you doing this to me?”
Seol Young asked with a cold look.
“As I said, I’m not sure why it worked on you, but I cannot do that again. And if that bothers you, can’t you just kill me? But the reason why you bother me like this means that you have a different purpose.”
Zaha was silent for a moment and burst into laughter.
“As if it could be some great reasoning…”
“Of course, the real purpose is different! So, despite the annoyance I have, I followed you all the way to the capital, and I made a lot of noise to those Hwarangs because of that.”
He spoke frankly.
“Now, no one will think it is strange that I followed you here. And overall. They would rather say that I am working too hard for the Hwarangs, so the plan I devised is perfect.”
After congratulating himself like that, he added.
“You are right. When you meet such a huge, evil, god-like being, you end up changing. While facing that, something like an innate demon sprang in my heart, and in the end, I took the demonic path.”
“And you seem quite proud of it?”
“Proud? Well, it means nothing to those who walk this path. The only thing that has meaning is power. How can I obtain more power?”
He glanced at Seol Young.
His look was the same as someone who has decided what to buy. And when their gazes met, a thought crossed his mind.
He had forgotten about it because he was being protected by his brothers, but how many crises had there been when Seol Young was living with the tomb spirits?
Seol Young’s eyes turned blue.
“I…” I just put all of them down together, and we can only hold it down for now. At that moment, Zaha took the Blue Rainbow Sword.
The spirit energy was sucked from the sword. The blue energy instantly gathered in Zaha’s hand, and it blended with his golden aura as it burned into white flames.
It was a great force.
“As I thought…”
Zaha nodded his head.
“I felt it when I took the sword back then, but this is a spiritual energy that is hard to find. Such a pity that a Hwarang has this.”
Seol Young was shocked, but then he took back the sword.
“Blue Rainbow! Despite being a simple spirit…. why did you let that demon touch you?”
He scolded the sword and glared at Zaha.
“What is the use of doing that? Even if you take the energy away, it is a one-time thing, and it will just disappear.”
“No, did you think I didn’t know about that?”
As if there were no point in hiding it, Zaha said,
“Of course, I also have to take away the spiritual power. The spiritual power that you are born with and have built through your body is steady.”
“And why do you think so?”
“You used the Great Absorbing Method. A technique to absorb the core strength within by squeezing the blood veins one at a time before the soul leaves the body after death.”
He looked a bit shocked.
Zaha wasn’t talking about casual stuff.
He did, in fact, have knowledge of forbidden arts, as Seol Young coldly stated.
“Do you know that all I tried was one or two things? But not one succeeded. On the other hand, not a single bone fragment will be left after that.”
But Zaha was strong. Even though Seol Young tried to be calm, he was feeling threatened.
“If you kill me, each vein on your body will be filled with resentment. It will hold the grudge I have in my body too. It will be a curse on you. Every time you try to use your strength, you will feel the pain of your body being sliced down with a dull sword. Without even being able to hold anything, you will feel your body twist and die.”
Seol Young’s face was turning cold as he said this. Every word carried this bloody curse, giving even the strongest person chills.
However, Zaha was different.
“I knew it would come out like this.”
He slyly glanced at Seol Young.
“At that time, when I was about to kill you at the old tomb, even as I was forcing you to kneel, I could see that viciousness in your eyes. At that moment, I realized, ‘This is worse than the most poisonous snake, so killing it would put me in trouble. So I need to borrow someone else’s knife.”
And he added.
“Fortunately, if I wait longer, it will happen on its own.”
They didn’t sound like random words. And Seol Young asked.
“Am I going to die soon? Why?”
“That is what you are trying to do. Solve a strange incident all on your own in order to prove that you are not the evil person who is ruining this nation. As I said, the idea is interesting, but it would be a nice thing to die too.”
“Because you are missing one important thing.”
Seol Young hesitated.
“You are just saying anything to get under my skin.”
“Think whatever you want.”
Zaha calmly accepted it.
‘I don’t need to listen.’
Seol Young thought, but the words remained in his heart.
Because he was feeling it himself after hearing the prophecy, it felt like he was lost.
Eventually, Seol Young opened his mouth.
“What is it? What is it that I am missing?”
But the guy snorted.
“You think I am stupid? To just tell you that?”
Seol Young was shocked.
“If you aren’t going to tell me, why did you bring it up?”
“That is my wish.”
And he turned around.
It seemed like he had no intention of talking anymore. It was really like dealing with someone who could trouble the three lives of a person, and he vanished.
Seol Young was shocked.
‘Is he going to act like this…’
Something in him changed.
He left the forest and headed to the end.
At the foot of the mountains, there was a tomb site that only he knew, and after confirming no one was there, he dug it.
After digging for a while, he touched something. It was a small stone box.
Seol Young broke through the dirt and took it out. The lid was sealed with a talisman.
Infused with aura, he opened the seal and the lid. When he unwrapped the cloth, there was another talisman with a sealing spell on it.
Seol Young picked it up.
The jade stones inside collided with each other, making small sounds.
Inside was something that all evil spirits would want to covet.
And he hid it well in order to use it when a huge problem came…
Now was such a time.
Thick trees grew around the burial mound.
The Tomb of King Jin Pyeong.
If one went to the back of the tomb, there was a place people could visit. The people here called it the ‘Black and White Circle.’
This Black and White Circle was divided into the Criminal Room, Serving Room, and many more according to the purpose of usage. Each represented an ordinary, odd, refreshing, and heavenly person.
Seol Young moved to the highest one, the Heavenly Room.
There was an insignia wrapped around it and a curtain in the middle of the table. The opponent’s face was obscured, and only the hand playing go1 was visible.
In this room was Myo Su, the top-ranked player with the most wins.
Seol Young went there and sat down.
Reaching into his robe, he took out one of the items he dug up at the tomb site.
It was a vial made of jade, and he placed that on the stone slab instead of a go stone.
This meant he was here to make a request.
A hand came from the other side of the veil, and it was picked up, and as he inspected it, he mumbled.
He noticed it right then.
There were only a few people who came here. But there must have been several requests like this.
Myo Su was such a person, and he asked.
“Where did you get it?”
“I picked it up from a grave when I was young. It was the tomb of an ancient shaman.”
Seol Young explained.
The colored jade was the jade that blocked the nine holes of corpses. It served as a barrier to keep the spirit from escaping. As a result, it absorbed the spirit of the dead.
It wasn’t unusual, and it was more common in well-known shaman tombs.
The other person liked it.
“What item do you want me to investigate?”
“It was broken.”
Seol Young said.
“It was stolen from a Taoist about ten years ago. The letters were written on a piece of wood, and it seemed like a wooden tablet.”
“It held the disposition to hate evil and attack spirits. It had nothing to do with Buddhism, and it didn’t contain the heavenly qi either. Can you track it down with those clues? I want to know what it is.”
Myo Su was silent.
It was not something that could be easily found, but it seemed like he didn’t want to give the jade back.
“Can I know the shape?”
Myo Su took out a round bronze mirror and held it, and Seol Young put his finger on it and recalled its image.
On the surface of the mirror, an image formed.
Myo Su said.
“I will accept it.”
“How long will it take.”
“I don’t know. It takes time…”
Seol Young was a bit disappointed, as he needed the information immediately.
He took another jade and put it down.
“Actually, there is one more jade. If you find it in five days, I will give that too.”
Myo Su, who thought about it, said.
And the compromise was made. Seol Young walked away from the Black and White Circle.
‘It will take longer than I thought.’
Zaha’s words kept repeating in his mind.
-You have missed one important fact.
Seol Young clenched his fist.
How do I make it all go away?
He couldn’t find another way.
‘There has to be another weakness. I will find it out.’
TL/N: Chess game ↩️
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