In the Xiantao Mountains protecting the west of Seorabol, the place was quiet and surrounded by plum trees.
Seol Young finally greeted the tombstone of his teacher.
“It might be difficult to see you for a while.”
From the tombstone, Baek San seemed to be smiling. He had a stern yet smiling face.
He looked at it for a while.
Baek Eon, Song Ok, and Hyo Wol were waiting for him.
Their gazes were unfamiliar.
Seol Young couldn’t wear the white robe with a pattern anymore. Now, he just had a white robe on.
When the black pattern on the robe disappeared, it felt awkward to look at, as if something was amiss.
But without showing that, he bowed to them.
“I, Seol Young, have left the White Tiger Spirit Troops to accomplish a duty alone as of today. My hyungs who accepted me into the clan, and those who taught me despite the many mistakes I made, and cared for me until the end… I will never forget the grace you have shown to me.”
Seol Young said.
The three of them nodded, and Baek Eon asked,
“Did you pack all that you need?”
Those in the White Tiger Spirit Troops lived a frugal life. There was nothing special to hold. They just had very few items to exorcise the evil spirits.
Seol Young lifted his head and nodded to say there was nothing amiss.
“For real, there is just one thing to do to change this. I am well aware that I am no longer of the troops but… is it fine if I continue to use this bowl with a plum blossom pattern on it?”
“Ah! Of course! Of course!”
All three answered. They pretended to be well-kept, but their hearts were breaking.
And even though Seol Young looked blunt, everyone knew just how much this child cherished the troops.
“Then I will leave.”
They left the place with their teacher’s tombstone.
They headed to the hall, where they saw boys with white robes that had black patterns on them.
They were a group of young people who aimed to be Hwarangs.
And when they got close, they rushed in.
“Sa-rang! Did you really leave the clan?”
“That is too much! This is seriously extreme!”
They all had gloomy faces, and some even burst into anger while the others cried.
Among them was a little boy half the size of the others.
Myung Kyung was just seven years old. One was holding him in the hand as he held a cookie, crying about why he had to leave.
“This is wrong.”
Myung Kyung mumbled a little.
“How can Young leave from Baek Song Wol Young?”1
This felt like such shocking information that it turned his world upside down.
All of them didn’t like this feeling in their chests.
The four Hwarangs of the White Tiger Spirit Troops always stood ahead to defeat evil.
People would always call them Baek Song Wol Young. And it was a proud moment in which four people made a name for themselves in an environment where standing out was difficult.
But for the time being, this will be a thing of the past.
Seol Young approached the little boy.
“Normally, shadows come back once they disappear. I will be back soon. Until then, learn how to wield the sword properly.”
Myung Kyung looked a bit better.
Seol Young, who calmed the child, turned around.
“The long-neck bottle that the Great-rang uses is empty….”
“Thanks for letting me know. We will handle it.”
“No, I didn’t inform you for that reason. Give that bottle to me. On the way to Sabolju, I will stop by the Middle Rock Hermitage, get things done, and bring some back.”
The three hyungs were speechless at this. The demon-slashing sword had to be purified regularly. In order to do this, one needed sacred water.
And the water around the Middle Rock Hermitage was known to have medicinal properties used to restore spiritual energy when training. There was no other better treasure to purify the sword of a Hwarang.
Seol Young was on his way to Sabolju, a place under Silla. They all thought he was going to get there and just leave.
‘But he can take care of himself.’
The three nodded their heads. The water and purification weren’t important. What was important was the situation and how he would get there.
Seol Young was someone who had bad relationships with all five of the clans in the past. Seven years have passed, but people would surely not like him.
However, Seol Young wasn’t associated with a clan anymore. Wouldn’t there be people who might take this as a free pass and come to hurt him?
The same would apply to the spirits, the monsters, the demons, and more. There weren’t just one or two people who had a grudge against Seol Young.
“Enough. Do not worry about that thing, and make sure to take care of your safety.”
Baek Eon declined.
But Seol Young, that stubborn child, managed to get that out of his sleeves.
Baek Eon looked at the youngest of them.
“The fifth month is called the Evil Month because of the ghosts that harm others. Be careful with each of your moves. Avoid places where the yin is too strong, and if Hwarangs from other places come, do not jump into fights and walk away if possible. Get it?”
Seol Young answered bluntly.
After saying that, Baek Eon took out a white pouch from his chest side pocket.
“Isn’t that the Nine Truths True Pill?”
Seol Young asked in surprise.
This pill was made using the method only handed down to the White Tiger Spirit Troops after nine steps of purification. If one took this in case of emergency, their wounds would heal quickly and they would feel refreshed too.
“If you feel any discomfort, take it immediately. If it’s not enough, use another. Do not think about sparing them and use them whenever needed.”
“Why are you giving me such precious…”
Seol Young was grateful for the words and the pouch he got from Baek Eon.
“Have this too.”
Song Ok and Hyo Wol held out pouches as if this were a competition. Both were kids from wealthy families, so they had a lot of money.
“If you sleep in a shabby place to save money, you will hurt your body. Make sure to find a good place and stay there. Do not skip meals just because you don’t feel like eating…”
“And eat in places that cook food properly. Once you are back, I will ask all about the kind of food you had and where you ate. These are the orders from your second and third hyungs.”
Seol Young said his goodbyes and headed to the door. He went down the mountain, leaving his three hyungs and the little kids with red eyes behind.
The grace his three hyungs did wasn’t something he could fulfill, even if he gave up his body for them.
He couldn’t do anything to make them worry.
Seol Young thought.
But the wind would always blow when a tree wanted to stand still.
And it was when he left the mountain…
It was the sound of the wind cutting down. And a single bamboo leaf landed in front of Seol Young’s feet.
The bamboo was a symbol of the Blue Dragon True Troops. Dragons and bamboo were closely related, as the legend goes that the dragon of the East Sea brought down divine bamboo.
And several Hwarangs appeared from the thick trees. They were all wearing blue robes with a silver pattern.
The person standing in front had a confident expression on his face. The man had a decent yet violent first impression.
It was Seo Geom, the first of the Blue Dragon True Troops.
He himself came here.
It was surprising, yet not so surprising at the same time.
Seol Young bowed and tried to pass by when Seo Geom suddenly blocked the path with his arm.
And Seol Young couldn’t cut off the hand of another troop’s first position holder.
But Seol Young was the kind who didn’t like to talk to anyone other than the people in the White Tiger Spirit Troops.
So he had to stop and wait for them to move.
He looked at Seo Geom.
“What is it?”
“Can we talk about the past incident for a while?”
Said Seo Geom.
“8 years ago, a powerful evil spirit called the ‘God of Great Catastrophe’ appeared in Wanggeong. And due to fighting against that evil spirit, many Hwarangs of all five clans lost their lives. However, thanks to the outstanding performance of the Governor at that time, the place could be protected, and we went back to working together for the safety of the people.”
This incident occurred before Seol Young joined the Hwarangs. And it was a story that Seol Young had nothing to do with.
Even though the former Governor had a great name, Seol Young had never met him.
And the reason for this being brought up would come up.
“He had gone to practice after finishing the work at the time. And suddenly, there were all kinds of evil spirits running around everywhere. And one of them was the Ghost Demon King. He commanded many evil spirits under him and caused great chaos.”
“The Hwarangs couldn’t just stand by. At that time, they united once again under the leadership of Jin Ram, who just took up the position and captured it. But when it was caught, we realized it was done by a 12-year-old child.”
Seo Geom smiled brightly.
“At that time, Seol Young-rang’s fame shook the region of Wanggeong, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to witness that because I was in a closed room training. The talent called incantation!”
He had relaxed eyes, but they were tense.
That was his purpose. In the past, the entire state was turned upside down, and all the Hwarangs were abused and harassed by a child.
And to be subjected to things like summoning and incantation, which these shamans were known for.
For the Hwarangs, who were known to have great pride, this was a scar on their hearts.
Everyone wanted to defeat Seol Young to restore their damaged pride. However, fighting between two clans was prohibited.
So this felt like a chance given by the heavens.
Seol Young said,
“As expected, Seo Geom-rang ran to me faster than the Black Tortoise and Vermillion Bird. There are so many people who want to catch and kill me. Well, this shows my life wasn’t worthless.”
Seo Geom smiled at this.
“Ah! You are looking down on me! Hahaha!”
At the same time, Seo Geom moved, and he quickly used his sword.
Seol Young dodged without pulling his sword out.
“I want Seo Geom-rang to teach me. However, Baek Eon Great-rang didn’t want me to fight the Hwarangs of other clans.”
“But you don’t belong to that troop anymore, so why will you listen to him?”
“Because I admire his character.”
Seo Geom was furious. There was no way that Seol Young was ignoring what he said.
“You need to learn some manners!”
His sword lunged out to strike. The white light around the sword surrounded the area.
How could one get out of the situation without fighting?
There was just one way.
Even if he didn’t want to, he could feel the energy tickling in his hand since a moment ago.
Seven years of being sealed? This felt like he had been using this power just yesterday.
‘Then, after a long time…’
Seol Young concentrated his mind.
As if waiting for the call, a familiar feeling ran up and formed around his right hand.
TL/N: The combination of the 4 Hwarangs. ↩️
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