Jung Myung licked her lips several times as she couldn’t believe what was said.
“Mita’s grave. The boundary between this world and the next world. Through it, you can return to your original world…”
She mumbled softly.
“I have been here for three hundred years but never thought about it.”
Zaha had a bit of an embarrassed face.
“I cannot either, and that is normal. Because I don’t usually think of opening up a tomb and entering it. Except for those who usually visit other people’s graves as if they were their own.”
“But my words are correct.”
Seol Young responded.
“Think about it once. We must have come into this world through some door. So where is this door?”
“First of all, it wasn’t the tree in the Goblin Forest because the tree is doing a good job with a keeper.”
“And it wasn’t like we got onto a boat and crossed a border of land. Isn’t the only possibility the tomb of Mita?”
Zaha frowned as if he were lost in thought.
“Didn’t the world change the moment we left the archives? So does it mean that Mita’s tomb is there? Isn’t that strange?”
Jong Myung looked up. She was about to say something, but she stayed silent.
Seol Young thought.
“Couldn’t the record we found in there be the key? This is the first record of Mita’s name appearing. As you know, names are known to have powers. The stronger the target, the more powerful it is.”
“Then we have to go to Mita’s grave.”
“If my guess is right, we can find the door to the original world in there somewhere.”
“Also, graves can tell us a lot about the dead. We can also find out about Mita. What kind of person was she, how did she die, and why does she keep on reviving?”
“There is nothing more to wait for.”
Zaha turned the plaque in front of him and changed it to the word ‘Accept.’
“I know that the shaman did it with the thought of us in her mind, but even if this is not our world, we aren’t going to risk it.”
“There is no way we’d make the choice of letting the God of Cataclysm come to this place just for us to get out of here.”
Seol Young also added to Zaha’s words and then turned over his plaque.
Jung Myung lowered her head.
“Sure. Since you know my plan, there is no way you will agree. Besides, the circle has been supposedly tried and failed….”
She fiddled with her own wooden plaque and then looked up.
“But you should realize this. Opening and entering Mita’s tomb might be a bit similar after all. I am not saying there’s nothing good that can come from it. First of all, it will not be easy to open that tomb….”
Jung Myung looked in the direction of the Goblin Forest in the distance.
“Even if it isn’t something that breaks the order of the universe, like going back and forth between the three thousand worlds at will… touching a sealed tomb is taboo. You will have to pay the price for touching her tomb.”
“But we cannot be stuck in here like this.”
Seol Young shrugged.
“Anyway, Miss. It isn’t about finding the tomb, but didn’t you start by saying that it is difficult to open it? Are you saying that finding it wouldn’t be that tough, then?”
“A while ago, when we searched the archives and talked about it, your expression, Miss, was strange.”
Zaha said that.
“Do you know where her grave is? You have been protecting this place for hundreds of years, and you might have found its location.”
Jung Myung hesitated for a moment before answering.
“Yes, I know. Mita’s tomb had been kept a secret for a long time, but later on, as a result of an incident, I somehow came to know of its location.”
“And what is that incident?”
Jung Myung answered Seol Young’s question.
“It was an incident about a monk called Seon Yul, who was chanting Buddhist scriptures at the Mangdok Temple, went to the afterlife and came back alive. Did something like that happen in the other world?”
“Of course, there was.”
Both Zaha and Seol Young nodded.
“Shall we compare to see if they are the same? Monk Seon Yul tried to make 600 copies of the Perfection of Wisdom but died before completing it. However, when the monk was in the underworld, he was sent back to this one, saying he had to finish them.”
“When he opened his eyes, he was in the grave again. The monk was locked in the tomb and cried out for three days, and luckily, a shepherd who was passing by heard him and saved him.”
Jung Myung’s eyes lit up after hearing that.
“Right. It is the same.”
“Then is that the boundary between this world and the other world? The tomb where the monk was in?”
“Yes. Hearing the rumors, I ran over there to confirm them. And deep in the ground, there was this other tomb.”
Jung Myung answered,
“The wood spirits uncovered the history of the tomb. It was a tomb where ancient people had cut up Mita’s body and buried it. It seems that in the old days, it was well-known that it was the place where the border between this world and the other was.”
“Then let us head there.”
Seol Young stood up right away.
“It is fine. According to the story passed down, it was at the eastern foot of the Southern Mountains where the monk was buried.”
Jong Myung stopped Seol Young from going down the mountain at the moment.
“It isn’t in the Southern Mountains?”
“Yes. The record isn’t true. I know the truth because I actually saw and heard the incident at the time.”
Jung Myung spoke carefully.
“When it became known that the place where the monk was buried was somewhere between this world and the other world, there was a mess. Some went to visit their dead family members. Some brought dead bodies on carts to bring them back to life. Even shamans who wanted to receive some form of energy flocked towards it.”
Right. When they heard that, it all made sense.
Jung Myung continued,
“So the nation issued this harsh order. ‘Never reveal the fact about Monk Seon Yul returning to life after death.’ Also, the rumors about the location of the tomb that had been spread were false. There weren’t that many ghosts in the Southern Mountains.”
“Then where is the location?”
“You two know it well. There is one mountain with an exceptionally large number of ghosts and monsters because the boundary between this world and the other is hidden beneath it. That is why it was also connected to strange places like the Devil Lair…”
The two were shocked at the shaman’s words.
“Is it Mount Toham?”
Jung Myung nodded at Zaha’s question.
“Yes. The place where the monk died and returned isn’t in the Southern Mountains but on Mount Toham. After Mita was buried in the past, false tombs were made to keep people away. Over the years, several people built real tombs there. In the empty tombs, ghosts would appear.”
Then Seol Young stopped her since something felt strange.
“Isn’t that location halfway up the mountain? Near the…”
“Right. If you go up the secluded mountain from the well where the legend is spoken about, you will find this graveyard. How did you know it?”
Was that part also the same?
Seol Young seemed to have been hit hard in the head.
Speechless, he just stood there.
Jung Myung felt that something was odd and asked.
“What is it?”
But Zaha was the one who answered.
“Well, it seems to be the grave where Seol Young-rang grew up when he was young…”
Jung Myung jumped up in shock.
“How can that be? I need to check it out right away to see if that is true or not.”
Unable to hide her worried expression, she stretched out her hands to the ground.
A dark purple aura rose from her hand. It was a shaman’s energy that she had worked to perform for one hundred years on this land.
There was this deep echo in the ground.
The God of Land had responded to her request.
There was rumbling under their feet, and the scenery around them changed. With the power of a shaman, a powerful technique unfolded in an instant.
“The place I was talking about is here. Is this really where Seol Young-rang grew up?”
Jung Myung asked.
There was this half-collapsed tomb in front of them. The white moonlight shone on the chambers.
It was such a familiar land.
“This is it.”
Instead of Seol Young, Zaha answered.
“When Seol Young-rang lost his memory, I came here. He said he grew up here.”
A cold silence fell between the three.
The tomb where the ghosts had lived together for ten years. The place Seol Young thought was his home.
Beneath it, deep on the ground, was the tomb where the body of the God of Cataclysm was.
They weren’t sure how to accept this.
‘I grew up on her grave?’
To think he was connected to her in such a way? It was as if a gruesome and terrible snake had entangled his whole body, as if there was no escape.
Seol Young tried to shake off the terrible feeling he was experiencing. And said to Zaha,
“Let’s open it.”
“We don’t have time, right?”
After saying that, he looked around the grave where he once grew up.
“I never thought it would be here…. Anyway, none of that matters. We finally found the source of the evil spirit.”
And he turned to Zaha.
“So we need to open it quickly. What is there to hesitate now?”
“Hesitate? I was just thinking about where to break it.”
Zaha shrugged once and looked back at Jung Myung.
“If the Miss isn’t used to noise, you should stay away.”
“No. Now that this has happened, I am also one of you. Where would I even go now?”
She let out a small sigh and summoned the wood spirits.
Zaha took the lead. The three went inside the collapsed tomb.
Arriving in the middle of the tomb, Zaha drew out the Dead Slayer sword.
“In the Black Tortoise Divine Troops, this is how they break the graves. It is all about finding the weakest spot.”
With those words, he raised his sword high and slashed it down with all his might. With a roar, the floor of the chamber split open.
The walls around it also collapsed.
“And then we do this.”
Jung Myung clapped her hands and called the wood spirits. Various kinds of spirits rushed in and removed the stone fragments. Then they began digging up the exposed ground.
Seol Young sat on the collapsed stone wall and watched the scene. The mound of dirt was piling up.
In contrast to that, the hole in the ground began to get bigger. And at some point, the wood spirit mumbled.
“There is something!”
As the dirt cleared up, a round stone slab was revealed. It was a sealing stone with the Chinese character ‘Ban’ engraved onto it.
And beyond this was the passage that led into the tomb.
Seol Young and Zaha looked at the sealing stone without even speaking. It was as if they finally managed to face their long-awaited opponent with their eyes.
Jung Myung asked again,
“Is this fine? If you destroy this, then there is no turning back.”
The two of them looked at each other.
As she said, they had to choose the price they had to pay.
Would the world pay the price? Or would they pay for it?
There was only one difference. And in response to that question, both of them made the same choice every time so far.
Zaha asked with his eyes. and Seol Young nodded.
The next moment.
Two energies rose from the Dead Slayer sword. Then the sword with a golden and black aura was thrust straight into the middle of the stone slab.
The sealing stone was shattered.
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