Chapter 25 - Nirvana Painting (8)

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As Seol Young laid out the things on the floor and stared at them, Zaha waited.

But after waiting for a long time, he asked,

“Are you alive?”

He waved his hand in front of Seol Young, who looked at him.

“I found it.”

“Found what?”

“The odd part.”

He lowered his gaze. He said with his eyes fixed and studying the things laid out on the floor,

“A loophole.”

“Loophole?”

“There is a loophole in this painting. Everything is perfect except this one spot.”

“What now? What are you even saying?”

Zaha asked in a sluggish manner.

“It was originally like that. If you draw every part perfectly, it will look awkward. Even though it seems vague, it is actually the part where the painter put in the most work. It is a technique used to conceal the truth by leaving a false sign.”

Seol Young had an uncultured upbringing and grew up in the wild. He didn’t know about things like manners, discipline, or poetry. He enjoyed the songs of the street musicians and preferred anything from the street over what the nobles liked.

But that wasn’t all.

“Does that part have to be the same in each painting? Even the same spot too?”

“What?”

Zaha’s expression changed slightly.

Seol Young pointed to the painting.

“Here. Here. Here. Here. They are all the same. Ah. They all have the same loopholes in the same spot.”

It was true.

The hunting.

The painting showed the image of people being happy and animals fleeing in fear. Everyone’s expressions and their hair blowing in the wind looked lively.

But one person in the left corner seemed different.

He was alone and odd-looking. His face was lowered, and his movements were stiff. His proportions didn’t match a human body.

Seol Young was pointing to that person.

“Look. Can you see that this is the only one that was roughly drawn?”

“Yes, but…”

Zaha agreed.

“On the other hand, the horse this man rides looks quite good, right? Why would the painter put so much effort into painting the horses?”

The more he looked at it, the weirder it got.

The painting of nature too.

In the middle of the painting, everyone looked like they were alive, and only the boy in the left corner didn’t seem to be drawn seriously.

His face was distorted. He was half the size of others, and his hands were drawn small.

“But his clothes are drawn well. This is quite…”

“The peaches in his hands are the same. What was he thinking? Making the peaches look brighter than the face…”

The other paintings too.

There was a poorly drawn bird in the left corner of one painting with flowers and birds.

Also, a peak was drawn poorly in the left corner of a landscape painting.

The loopholes were unnoticeable until now.

Thanks to the skills of the genius painter, they were all perfectly harmonized in the paintings.

As Zaha said, it seemed like they were deliberately hidden.

“If I hadn’t looked closely, I wouldn’t have known about this at all. Surprisingly, the location of the loophole is the same for all…”

Seol Young was lost in his thoughts.

“What could that mean? If this was intentional, what was the painter trying to convey through these loopholes? If not, then…”

“If not, what?”

Zaha said,

“Isn’t it possible that he did it in his own way? To harmonize the painting with the other parts.”

A fix?

Those words stuck in his head.

‘Every odd thing always has a meaning.’

Once again, that thought popped into his mind.

“Why are you not saying anything? Are you thinking hard about it?”

Zaha asked.

“…”

Seol Young didn’t answer and secretly moved his hand.

This wasn’t something he could do openly in front of other people. But given the difficult situation, he had to do it.

‘… I hope the call is answered.’

There were tiny sparks along his fingertips. At first, it looked like a firefly’s light.

He tried to hide it as much as possible, but Zaha didn’t miss it.

“What is that?”

“Just sorcery…”

Seol Young answered vaguely.

The sparking lights moved to the papers and gathered at the strange spots.

And something turned over…

‘Nice.’

He was convinced that his guess was right.

After carefully collecting the sparks, Seol Young said,

“The painting will appear.”

“…?”

Zaha’s face looked as if he had heard it wrong.

“The painting? Appearing as an illusion?”

Seol Young knew why his reaction was like this.

The painter’s paintings were raging with malice, anger, and hatred toward the living, and the dolls Seol Young made only angered the spirit more. And now, if something went wrong, they would die.

But Seol Young was sure.

“There must be a strange part. We can solve this riddle once we see it in person. It is not that I am trying to win by fighting against the painting. I just want to observe it for just a moment…”

He stopped talking.

‘Why am I talking as if I need to persuade him?’

He stopped and looked at his sword.

Even after slashing countless spirits, his Blue Rainbow was still looking sharp. From its agile and cold form, he could feel the same force that a tiger would have.

Seol Young swept the sword with his fingers.

‘Blue Rainbow, you have been living and dying with me for a long time. I am sorry to keep putting you through hard work, but please do this one more time for me.’

He divided his spiritual energy into three parts, and seven marks were placed on the sword, making intricate patterns appear on the sword’s body.

Zaha said,

“Looks like you really want this to happen.”

He didn’t respond.

‘I will do my best… if I am going to die from the painting, I will gather all my strength and block my blood points.’

Seol Young thought so and went out of the shrine.

The dark energy that was gathering slowly moved toward his feet.

Beyond this, the painting was giving off a bright light. This was the world of the painting. In front of this evil, which grew stronger, anything would be crushed.

He had never met such a strong opponent.

But…

The words he said to the child, whose legs went weak with fear, were the same ones he told himself.

‘I will lose the moment I become afraid.’

Avalokiteshvara was ready to attack.

Seol Young calmly drew his sword.

AHHHHHH!

A voice resounded, and several hands moved toward him.

It had such a mighty force.

It seemed like he would be killed by it. It felt like he was going to be pulled in and swallowed whole.

A strange joy appeared on his enemy’s face.

But then…

His sword shone with a bright light, and various forms began to materialize.

It was as if Seol Young’s sword was drawing a picture.

Lines, curves, arcs, and faces were being created. At first glance, it was like a mandala that had no end.

Actually, that was his source of inspiration.

In essence, it was a circle holding spiritual energy.

But this wasn’t enough.

He believed that it could only truly compete with the painting if it could move.

Seol Young’s thoughts were right.

The circle that was drawn by the Blue Rainbow spread and devoured the body of the opponent. And it gave him more time.

During this time, he could observe the painting and escape.

This was the spot.

‘I need to hurry up!’

Seol Young used his spiritual eyes and looked at the strange part on the left side.

So, he looked at the bottom, the men and women running, and the mountain peak.

The spot where a person was staying still and alone. Seol Young stared at it.

The colors were too bright. Because he had spiritual eyes, which were more sensitive, everything hurt his eyes, and he couldn’t easily distinguish the shapes.

A little more…

Seol Young approached the painting.

Slash!

With the sound of something being cut, the shape of a circle made by his sword shattered.

“Ah…”

Seol Young sighed unknowingly.

If things went according to plan, it should have lasted longer, but he was wrong.

Maybe he should have poured more spiritual energy into the circle.

Because of his instinct to avoid death, he left himself with enough spiritual energy to live.

He thought he had already come this far…

But now, his path seemed dark.

Was this all?

Was he bound to fail from the start? Was it too much work? Did he take on more than he could handle?

He had gone blank.

An eerie aura rose from behind him, and something faster than the wind flew ahead.

Ack!

The painting, which was running wild, screamed.

There was a terrible sound, and Seol Young looked up in surprise.

In the middle of Avalokiteshvara’s forehead, a sword was stuck.

It was Zaha’s sword.

“…?”

Seol Young looked back in shock.

… he helped?

Zaha was outside the shrine.

His eyes were emotionless. He didn’t look like someone who had just thrust a sword into the forehead of a massive demon.

“Everyone did this once except for me.”

He casually continued.

“So I wanted to give it a try.”

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