Chapter 21 - Nirvana Painting (4)

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At Seol Young’s question, the spirit plaque trembled.

Tring

The bell rang once.

It meant yes.

Seol Young asked.

“Are you the painter who drew this?”

Tring

The bell rang again.

This was an unexpected result for Seol Young.

No matter how good an evil spirit was, lying wasn’t something they could do.

“Then this soul really belongs to the painter? If you commit another sin now, the karma you will get will be huge. If you do—”

Seol Young looked at the soul.

He wasn’t sure yet.

Should he destroy the spirit?

He knew how to do it.

The soul of the painter was already in a weakened state. With just one talisman, he could destroy it without leaving a trace.

But at that moment, Zaha’s expression changed.

‘Like he saw a ghost.’

Seol Young thought to himself.

Even if the man did cross into the Demonic Path, he wondered if there were still some righteousness left inside…

He pointed out the strange parts really well.

Seol Young lowered his hand, and Zaha asked.

“What?”

“Stop pretending like you don’t know.”

Seol Young continued.

“If we cleanse an evil spirit, it will resist us one hundred percent, no matter how weak it is. It will cause trouble so that it can’t be cleansed. But this soul is so quiet. A bit too obedient, if you ask me.”

“So you want to save an evil spirit? Are you insane?”

“Who will like it the most if I act rashly? I will deal with that thing only after I find out more.”

Seol Young kept the spirit plaque and looked at the Black Tortoise Troops.

“You can head back now.”

“We were planning to do that anyway. We have nothing to do here.”

Jeong Pung replied, and the servant of the house entered.

“The family said they would like to talk for a while.”

Everyone headed out. The sun already seemed to be going down. The entire place looked red.

The landlord’s family was in the garden. The wife, the eldest daughter, who was supposed to get married, and the other sons and daughters gathered. The servants had packed the luggage.

“The night is coming, so we are leaving right now. We have a relative who lives close by.”

The landlord kept looking up at the sky as he talked. He seemed to be too scared of the coming night. The other family members looked the same.

Jong Pung told them.

“We are leaving too. Let’s go together.”

“Really? Thank you so much!”

The family seemed happy as they walked out of the house.

But after a while, they stopped and continued to look around.

Zaha asked.

“What is it?”

Everyone looked back, and they had puzzled faces.

“The gate is gone.”

What?

Seol Young hurried back, and they were right.

The gate through which they entered earlier should be visible as they walk down the garden. But right now, it was nowhere in sight. It was just a wall.

Seol Young looked at his feet.

Before he realized it, a dark fog began to gather.

“…!”

Everyone was shocked.

The Hwarangs drew their swords and channeled their spirit qi. Three different energies could be felt—gold, blue, and purple.

“A ghost!”

The son of the landlord screamed as he pointed to one side.

Shadows were rising over the landscape, which resembled a mountain due to the piled-up stones.

“Uhh…”

The entire family and the servants turned white at this sight. They weren’t the usual ghosts.

Their bodies, covered in blood, were terrifying. And they appeared to have been whipped mercilessly.

Woong…

They approached with a low hum. They seemed to have sensed the energy of living humans, so they approached faster.

“Ack!”

People screamed.

At the same time, there was a sound of wind being cut. It was the Hwarangs swinging their swords.

The ghosts changed to a bluish-black color as they vanished into the smoke.

“Isn’t this an illusion?”

They were victims who had been massacred hundreds of years ago. The mess they left behind had changed into an illusion.

“These are the ghosts that kept appearing in the house! But we never saw so many of…”

“It is fine. You are safe with us.”

All the Hwarangs reassured the family but then…

“Ack!”

A terrifying scream came from within the house and shocked everyone, as Beom Hyun shouted first.

“There seems to be people left inside!”

He was right.

Only the landlord’s family came out. The families of the missing people were inside, waiting for their loved ones to come out.

“…”

Seol Young looked at the Black Tortoise Divine Troops, and they looked at him.

At this moment, they all thought the same thing—save the people.

Everyone rushed inside.

The moment they were about to run into the house…

Bang!

The door closed.

A dark aura began to cover any opening in the house.

How dare it shut them out?

Seol Young tried to open it with sorcery, but the black aura clung to his hands.

So he tried to use spiritual qi to shake it off.

And he could see this terrible, evil energy rushing in one direction—the place where Zaha was standing.

In an instant, a thought popped into his mind.

Seol Young spoke loudly for everyone to hear.

“High Governor! Be careful!”

Instead of shaking off the evil energy, Seol Young pushed it away.

‘Huh!’

Zaha put on an absurd face. When all the evil energy was pushed in his direction, he had no choice but to swing his sword while the people were moving.

A golden aura rose along with a strong wind.

After collecting the black energy that gathered…

Boom!

It exploded.

Everything turned white in an instant. A dazzling light shone through the cracks in the door with a shockwave.

An order was heard.

-All evil spirits, demons, and monsters must halt their actions right now and surrender.

It seemed as if a hundred lions had roared at once. They were proud of the fact that they had subdued the evil beings head-on.

Golden Luminous Ring.

This was something the Hwarangs hadn’t seen in a long time.

“This reminds me of the old days!”

“Let’s go!”

With their morale rising, they rushed forward. With the Golden Ring forming, the spirits that have gathered here should be weakened.

But it didn’t seem to work. The darkness was still lingering and sticking to the walls.

Because of their anger, the blood of those who died a hundred years ago turned into these evil spirits.

They were all united in hate and anger at life. They had no intention of surrendering to people.

“What is this? Ack! Get away!”

“Mother! Kids!”

Screams could be heard from all directions. The dead were torn to pieces and moved everywhere.

There was no other way.

Seol Young swung his sword.

A human head, an upper body with only a left arm, a lower body without an upper body…

Wriggling like bugs, the illusion was cut off at once. The Blue Rainbow Sword cleansed everything.

“Save the people!”

The body of the elderly woman he had just slain turned to smoke.

“Get out of here!”

Seol Young pointed to the back.

The seventh and ninth members of the Black Tortoise Divine Troops had made a camp for them. All the people began to head there.

Then another scream came.

“W-What is this?”

The hallway was empty!

Thud! Thud!

But there was a strange sound.

Seol Young ran quickly.

The people were sitting down when they tried to stand up, shook with fear, and pointed to one side.

“T-There…”

Dead bodies in white clothes were hanging outside the window.

The bodies were all wearing white clothes. The limp bodies swayed like heavy weights and knocked on the windows.

They must have been the people who committed suicide out of fear a hundred years ago.

They were already dead, but it felt like their wandering thoughts seemed to have brought them into this form. Their pained expressions could be seen through their long, loose hair.

“Move away from there!”

Seol Young was blocking the side so the people could move. Something crawled on all fours through the window, its red eyes flashing like those of a wild dog.

The Blue Rainbow Sword drew an arc.

Wheik!

The sword spirit slaughtered these evil spirits with a clean sound, and all of them turned into gray smoke.

“If you go over there, there is a safe place.”

They sent the people to a safe place.

The ghosts swarmed everywhere.

There were burned bodies, bodies torn apart as if bitten by beasts, bodies as if a massive wheel had run over them, and bodies cut in half crawling.…

All of these people were killed by a painting.

It looked like hell itself.

The sight of everything moving around like this was deeply disturbing and terrifying.

Seol Young was speechless, and it was then….

Several objects flew into the middle of the group of evil spirits.

‘A technique?’

It wasn’t the first time he’d seen these objects in action.

He had seen this in the tombs before. The technique that suppressed the Demonic qi within Zaha’s…

Again, he couldn’t clearly see what it was.

But before he knew it, everything exploded with a roar. All the spirits vanished in the dazzling light.

Seol Young frowned and looked back.

“Your skills are not normal.”

Zaha walked forward.

Smoke was rising from the slanted sword. It seemed like he had killed quite a lot of illusions.

“You helped.”

Seol Young spoke calmly.

“I heard that when one falls into the path of demons, they come back to normal at times. Wouldn’t it be nice to get as many kills as you can this time?”

“Did my actions have such a deep meaning? I had no idea how much you thought of me until now.”

When Seol Young was about to respond back, something wriggled in his hand—the spirit plaque of the painter.

Why is he doing this?

Even earlier, when he was planning to destroy it, the plaque stayed still, and it just reacts now?

He briefly forgot about Zaha and took it out.

And when the plaque was brought out, it wriggled more strongly, and as if it ran out of energy, it went still.

“This…”

Zaha clicked his tongue.

“Even the spirits hate you. Give it to me instead.”

What?

Seol Young gripped the plaque.

“No. For what reason is this happening?”

“The reason for the spirits to run rampant?”

“Everything has a meaning.”

Seol Young said.

“That is what I learned in the world of the ghosts that I grew up in. In a way, the world of the ghosts and spirits makes a lot more sense than humans. Even if they run rampant, they have their own reasons. Whether they harm, touch, or do something, there is a cause behind it. People get hurt and die because they do not realize that.”

So he made a decision.

“After I save everyone, I will listen to the soul.”

“Didn’t you do that a couple of seconds before?”

“This time, I will listen without using any bells or strings”

Zaha was like ‘oh?’

‘Looks like he is finally going to do something reckless.’

That was what his face said, but Seol Young ignored it.

He heard the people screaming again. The plaque moved very lightly.

It was as if he was being urged.

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