The painter worked diligently with the brush.
What he was currently working on was a landscape painting.
Mountain peaks endlessly lined up on a large piece of paper. The ridgeline was curved like a dragon’s back and wriggled as if it would come to life.
Each stroke of the brush held the soul of the painter. It was a great masterpiece that even a blind person would admire.
‘A genius whom even ghosts would acknowledge…’
Seol Young looked at the face of the painter. He had sharp eyes and a crease between his eyebrows.
Was it because he was a genius?
His face appeared to be so sensitive, yet difficult to form an impression on.
Maybe that was why the people around him were tiptoeing, worried that they would break his flow and concentration. They were even careful when removing the tables.
In this space where even breathing loudly seemed like a sin…
The footsteps of a child could be heard.
The painter raised his head, and at that moment, a smile appeared on his face.
He suddenly seemed like a completely different person.
He looked like a father, not a painter.
The child sat next to him without hesitation and rummaged through the paintbrush bag, pulling out a small brush.
Then he picked up a piece of paper and began to draw right next to his father. The child stroked his brush across the paper.
It went this way, then that way, and all over it.
He got too preoccupied.
When he came to his senses, he noticed that he had touched the corner of his father’s painting.
The people were shocked, and the child was too. His eyes widened, and he went stiff like a stone. He raised his head to see if the painter noticed it.
The painter noticed the rough painting.
He burst into laughter.
It looked cute, the fact that his child was this immersed in painting…
[You brat! You came into your father’s workplace!]
The painter looked at the roughly-drawn painting and appeared to be measuring things here and there as if he had a good plan in mind, then picked up the brush to paint on it again.
He didn’t cover it up. Rather, he preserved it right there.
Because of how natural it was, it went well with the painting around it and didn’t seem out of place at all.
The child was shocked.
He seemed happy that his painting wasn’t covered up.
The father and son looked at each other, smiling.
“They look happy.”
Zaha said about the child, but Seol Young said,
“He cannot hear you.”
And they watched the child run around and laugh.
Then the scenes changed.
In the pouring rain, the father and son were walking under an umbrella across a bridge over a pond full of lotus flowers.
Then the father was hiding among the crops of the fields, observing a crane with its wings wide open, and his son was lying beside him, watching.
Then the father and son were looking up at a monk, clasping their hands. And the gigantic, thousand-armed statue was smiling down on them….
Suddenly, a clear voice came over the memories.
The voice was that of a middle-aged man.
[I bought a new house. On the wall of the largest room, draw a painting that looks like Nirvana. Like a big painting on the wall.]
The painter held his son’s hand as he arrived at the mansion.
It was the Red Flower Mansion from a hundred years ago.
The painter drew on the blank wall. Everything the painter saw with his son was put into the painting.
All the happy memories of the father and son were put into the scenery of Nirvana—the lotus pond and the Buddha avatar, which they prayed to….
It was a true masterpiece.
The child looked at the painting with excited eyes.
And he came to his senses as he approached it. As if he had to participate in making this painting, he quickly drew on it.
With his own hand, he drew another person behind the nice men and women, who were singing for the Buddha.
Eventually, the end was coming.
[I am a painter.]
The child stood in front of Seol Young.
[This is the painting I drew.]
He proudly pointed to the painting.
Everything turned black.
The two men, who were watching, stepped back. They escaped to a safe place so they wouldn’t be buried in this world.
The child died.
A wailing sound could be heard from the darkness. It was a painful cry that sounded like his chest was being torn apart.
The son’s spirit tugged at the hand of the painter, but he didn’t react.
[I am fine. I am really fine, Father.]
No matter how much he said that, his father couldn’t see or hear him.
He suffered a lot as he coughed up blood and hit his head against the wall. He would even try to hang himself.
Seol Young found it strange to see this happen.
He did hear that losing a child was like having your organs ripped apart inside your body. But this sight felt more extreme. It felt like the father’s emotions were running wild.
In the end, the painter went mad.
He took a knife and cut his own hand.
He mixed blood into the paint and painted it over and over again until the blood in his body dried up, and nothing would come out.
[No! Father! No!]
The son continued to shout and dissuade him, but nothing happened. The painter had run out of energy and collapsed, and his soul left his body.
The son stretched out his hand to his father, but the painter’s soul was sucked into the painting.
And then came the massacre.
The child was terrified and didn’t know what to do. He just ran around and found one place.
The picture he drew.
In the terrifying paradise, it was the only place that was silent.
The space of the child.
The child’s soul was hidden in that space.
He closed his eyes, covered his ears, and waited for everything to pass.
And he fell asleep.
A long time had passed.
New people kept coming in. They talked about the painting, but the painting that slaughtered countless people had vanished.
But then, it awakened one day.
In the darkness, Avalokiteshvara opened its eyes, and the handsome men, fairies, and animals began to sing strange songs.
The child who hid in the painting also opened his eyes.
And with a roaring voice, some children snuck into the room.
The kids were delighted as they jumped around. It had been too long.
And then they realized…
[You cannot come here!]
But it was too late.
The painting, which had been hiding in the darkness, suddenly appeared.
Good men and women hit the bells and played the drums, with animals howling and Avalokiteshvara stretching out its hands to the children in joy.
The child tried to jump off the wall, but the painting his father made didn’t let him go out. And he had to go back to his sloppy painting.
[Do not catch them!]
The child hoped that his father would no longer do bad things.
He was trembling because he was afraid of the painting, but his love for his father was too great. With both hands, he bravely grabbed the arm of Avalokiteshvara.
At that moment…
The beast went rampant and turned quiet. It was as if it had taken a step back.
People were on the floor.
And the child appeared in front of them and said,
It is fine….
“… it is fine.”
The voice came from the heart. The child looked at the two people with him and said,
“This is a painting my father drew, so it will not hurt me.”
And he held out his hand.
“Come on, I will take you to a safe place. There is something you have to see there.”
Seol Young looked down at the child.
Now he could finally see.
“It was you. You were protecting the painting from harming people.”
The reason why the numerous kids were alive despite being in the painting for several days.
It was all because of this little child.
“Now it is time for them to go back.”
Seol Young bent over and held the child’s hand.
“Can you tell me where they are?”
The child turned round and round.
The painting was ahead of them. The color spread out, making Seol Young’s eyes throb.
“It is fine.”
The child said it again.
He bravely took the lead with a brush.
The thorny vines flew like whips, and the painting came to life. A group of beasts bared their teeth and attacked.
Everything went still in front of the child. The men backed away, and the outstretched arms of Avalokiteshvara did too.
As the child said, the painting wouldn’t attack him. The heart of his father was still there.
… then it could be done.
Seol Young raised his sword and slashed all the evil spirits without another thought.
The beasts, the thousand hands, humans…
He could now kill all of the beings with powerful energy that he had never been able to kill before. Everything vanished wherever his sword touched.
“How can this be?”
Zaha mumbled. His sword wasn’t able to do it before.
It was the same for him. If they followed the child, then they could do anything here…
This was the answer.
“I told you. All we needed to do was solve the riddle.”
Seol Young said.
All the men fell down. Avalokiteshvara’s thousand hands were cut into a dozen pieces as they disappeared.
As they removed the evil beings in the painting one by one, the child got stronger.
A little more.
The child still had a weak soul. And saving so many kids all this time must have taken a toll on his small body with little spiritual energy.
The child’s appearance began to fade again.
As Seol Young infused more spiritual energy into him, he managed to keep the soul from flickering.
But in the end, things changed when Seol Young had almost no spiritual energy left to give the child.
The child stopped in front of the wall in the corner.
Zaha lowered his sword and looked doubtful.
A strong wind rose, and the wall came crashing down on its own.
They could hear voices.
… there were people.
They were sitting and hugging each other in the dark, leaning against each other with tired faces. Then they seemed startled by the sound of the wall breaking.
“Did it come all the way here to catch us?”
It was startling.
The child’s soul.
Seol Young and Zaha were behind him, and their eyes widened.
Were they humans or ghosts?
Everyone had the same look.
Seol Young showed his jade plaque to prove himself as a Hwarang.
“I am here to save you. You can leave now.”
Everyone jumped up as if they were all full of energy and shouted with bright faces.
“We are saved! We can live!”
📢 New! Donation Section - Support early translations!
👀 Seeking Korean Translators - Get paid per chapter!
Enjoying the series? Leave a rating or review on Novel Updates.
⚠️ Do not post a spoiler without a spoiler tag ⚠️
<spoiler>INSERT YOUR TEXT</spoiler>