“In the same way?”
Seol Young asked.
“The incident in the story will actually happen next time? Is that what the Great Heavenly Pavilion was talking about?”
“How can you know that? Do you have the ability to see the future in your dreams like those people?”
“Such stupid words. This is called simple inference. I can say this based on my extensive experience and knowledge. A mysterious incident will happen in the same manner the next time.”
“Why? What is the point of a horror story happening?”
“If I knew that would I be here?”
He looked out of the window with a smile as if he didn’t want to talk anymore. The server who had been watching them brought tea leaves.
“This is a popular tea in our store, and Hwarangs especially like it for its fragrance. And it gives a clear, refreshing feeling too.”
And they drank the tea in silence. After a while, they picked up their things and left.
They were back to going around in the alleys like earlier.
“But one thing is certain.”
Zaha suddenly said.
“How do you think the Hwarang troops have been doing until now? Situation recreation? Receiving the spirit of nature and practicing the skills, and when someone is in pain, run over there to help them no matter how far they are.”
A piece of wood peeked out among the flower petals that floated along the river. A wooden tablet that was used during the Dragon King Ritual.
It was something that shouldn’t be thrown away like that.
Zaha picked it up, used his spiritual power to remove the letters that had power, and let it float away again.
“It was always the same. They would do anything to solve any problems caused by evil spirits or ghosts, and they would rule over them with their swords. But things seem different now.”
“Like the God of Cataclysm?”
“I don’t know either.”
“Seol Young-rang, I wasn’t the one who took on the task of resolving the strange happenings. Shouldn’t you go and figure things out yourself?”
And they stopped in front of a mansion.
Seol Young stopped and looked at it.
It was a golden house.1
It seemed like the most decorated place in the city.
The highest-ranking noble must have gotten this. He was able to run a ranch and lead soldiers. And the house was luxurious.
This mansion seemed like that. There was a noticeably huge board that said Apsara.
Seol Young remembered it.
The Governor definitely asked about him being here.
‘Whose house is this? What relationship do they have?’
While he thought that, Zaha looked at him.
“What? Will you follow me here too? Then come inside and ask.”
Seol Young was confused. And he strode into the house.
Immediately, the inside felt noisy. Several people seemed to greet them excitedly.
Only then did he find out. It means that the owner of this house had been away for eight years. But yet, it didn’t seem like that.
Like other mansions in Sorabeol, this one looked well-taken care of. It was fully prepared so that if the owner decided to come back, there would be no setback.
After snooping here and there, the door opened.
“What do I do, Seol Young-rang? I’ve talked to everyone, but they all seem nervous that the Ghost Demon King is here. It doesn’t matter if you want to come in, but you cannot carelessly move around, so they say they will lock you up somewhere. If that is fine…”
Seol Young thought this man wasn’t worth listening to and turned away coldly.
And he remembered.
He turned back, but the door was closed.
Should he open it? There was a lot more he wanted to know.
But he decided to stop.
He assumed he would know where they might meet.
Seol Young set down the earthen pots in front of the gate.
And turned away.
The next day, Seol Young stood in front of the Moon Palace and waited.
After a while, the three members of the White Tiger Spirit Troops came up and looked at Seol Young.
All their faces brightened.
They only moved after making sure no one was around.
“What is wrong with your face? Are you having trouble sleeping? Where did you sleep yesterday? I told you to inform me if you didn’t have money.”
Hyo Wol continued to pour out words, and Seol Young shook his hand.
“I was near the temple, so don’t worry. Rather, I was waiting because I had something important to tell you.”
Baek Eon asked.
“What is it?”
“No. It’s just that I wanted to tell all of you to be careful.”
Taking a look around, Seol Young said,
“There is information about the strange revelations that the Great Heavenly Pavilion said. Like the same thing that happened during the ritual, ghost stories will happen in real life.”
All three of them became serious at the same time, and Song Ok asked,
“Did the High Governor say that?”
Seol Young nodded.
“If something like that seems to be happening, you need to be careful. And please let me know right away.”
“I get it.”
Baek Eon replied.
As people began to gather here and there, they immediately split up.
The three of them headed back to their place, and Seol Young went in another direction.
The place where the monster mask incident happened. He wanted to get a fresh look at the scene.
“Please identify yourself.”
When he arrived at the entrance, a gold line had been drawn through it, barring entry.
Seol Young showed them his jade plaque, and the soldiers nodded.
And they opened a path for him.
There were people inside the palace when he entered—a group of boys dressed in gold. They were warriors of the Golden Ring Troops.
They were the ones taking care of the aftermath and had to purify the hall, which was invaded with evil energy.
They came early in the morning and seemed to be busy handling the cleaning process. They were surprised that Seol Young was here.
Everyone looked at him with wide eyes, and one belatedly jumped up.
“Seol Young-rang, you came?”
The boys exchanged glances.
This was an incident where their troops were in great trouble, and they heard that this man called the ‘Ghost Demon King’ helped them.
They were terrified of him at first, but they couldn’t stay silent since they had to thank him.
So they all exchanged glances.
‘Why do you think he came here?’
The boys immediately stopped what they were doing and stood in a corner to not get in his way.
‘What will he investigate?’
Their curious eyes moved along with Seol Young, who was looking around the area.
Everything was over.
The spirit was exorcised, the mask was broken, and the lady who was possessed was treated by the Hwarang troops. The hall had probably been cleared several times to repair it.
There should be nothing left.
Could something faint be left behind?
He wanted to check it out, but no matter how much spiritual power he used to sweep the place, he found nothing.
Seol Young looked away.
The young ones were watching him.
‘Doesn’t he have anything else to do?’
That was how they looked at him.
And then Seol Young asked,
“Can you call the courtiers who came that day?”
Soon they were called, and Seol Young asked them,
“You must have received fifteen masks that night, right?”
All of them responded.
“Where did you get those masks from? Where were they from?”
The girls took him to another room. They opened the door with a key and showed him the inside.
A lion’s head appeared right in front of him.
It was the huge lion mask used for the lion dance. After that, there were multiple other masks lined up.
“This is the warehouse for storing masks, and that day, the official in charge of this place picked up fifteen masks and put them in a box as he handed it to us.”
Seol Young looked around the warehouse.
He felt nothing.
Then the other side turned noisy.
He heard the greetings of the Golden Ring Troops.
Zaha walked in and calmly entered the warehouse.
“What then? Found something?”
“What is with that face? Can’t I come here?”
“I expected you to, but I didn’t expect you to actually do it.”
Seol Young replied.
“My expression, well… while waiting for me to die, a demon appears, chasing after me like an eagle to keep its eyes on me. Do you think this calls for a smile?”
“Wouldn’t it be better to find something else to spend your time on? I doubt it would change anything.”
Seol Young stopped halfway.
The boys and girls were watching, and the heated conversation between the two was making them curious.
‘Let’s not talk here.’
He moved somewhere else, and after checking each of the masks in the warehouse, he had a thought.
And he called for the official, who handed out the masks then.
“From what I know, there were fifteen of them, and I just picked the scariest ones and placed them in the box. That is all. I don’t know anything…”
Seol Young used his spiritual power on him.
The official’s soul was pure. He showed no signs of being possessed. There was no evil energy, either. It was clear that he wasn’t involved in this.
“You can go.”
Seol Young sent the official back and…
A courtier approached, and he remembered seeing her face.
That night, when the incident happened, this was the girl who picked up his plaque and threw it back to him.
Seol Young looked at her.
“Is there something you want to say?”
He asked her casually, not wanting to seem like he was questioning her.
“If you want to treat her well, wouldn’t it be better to start with your names first? She must be nervous…”
Just then, Zaha came in with his advice.
He didn’t want to listen to that advice, but…
He wasn’t entirely wrong, and Seol Young knew he didn’t treat other people well.
This girl must have approached him with good intentions, so he should treat her gently.
“What is your name?”
The girl seemed a bit taken aback by the two men, but she answered him.
“I have something to say.”
“What is it?”
Kabi glanced at her colleagues before speaking. They were looking over this way too, and it seemed like they had a discussion about it.
“This incident was so odd that we all put our minds together to review it. But this was done by something evil.”
“The palace is possessed by an evil spirit?”
Kabi said cautiously.
“There was one strange thing.”
TL/N: Not literally ↩️
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