Looking at the marten with its hair standing up in front of him, Chung Myung smiled.
The animal that had been trying to threaten them with its hair up, put its butt on the floor as soon as he said those words.
He held the marten in one hand and it began to move immediately. It wiggled its front paws and twisted its body repeatedly. Then the marten turned its body and showed its stomach to Chung Myung.
This image of the creature looked a lot cuter now.
‘I feel bad for it.’
‘Can’t it see that Chung Myung is like a grim reaper?’
‘It must be desperate to live… Right.’
But to others, the sight looked depressing.
At the same time, the Palace Lord who was busy puking, calmed himself and said,
“Um. Weird. Our Baek usually does not like foreigners.” 1
“It is the name of the marten. It is from the word Baek Jeon.”2
‘Thanks a lot, you crazy bastard!’
Baek Cheon’s face turned red.
“It doesn’t like to follow other people and is quite a ferocious guy.”
“Ah, right. It has to be.”
“And our Baek is very picky with people too. Sometimes I don’t understand why it acts the way it does.”
“Kuak, you know it quite well.”
Yoon Jong and Jo Gul grabbed the hands of Baek Cheon who was trembling now, If it hadn’t been for them Baek Cheon would have jumped Chung Myung by now.
“Calm down, sasuk!”
“Isn’t sasuk the one who said that we needed to get this done?”
Baek Cheon shook his body loose.
‘It isn’t the Palace Lord that I want to fight! That bastard there is my target!’
‘That bastard is bringing in a marten and is scoffing at other people!’
Chung Myung grabbed Baek ‘Jeon’ by the neck and put it on the ground. Baek Jeon, who glanced at him, slowly moved away.
The Beast Palace Lord was genuinely admiring it.
“Hehe. The animals of the Beast Palace are all good children. It is said that animals can recognize the goodness in people. Looking at what just happened, you seem to be a good person.”
“Well, I am a Taoist.”
The mouths of the Mount Hua sect’s disciples went wide as they heard those words.
Weren’t they right to be surprised at the shamelessness of Chung Myung who claimed to be a Taoist? Or even at the Beast Palace Lord who was coolly accepting it?
‘Anyway, both of them are weird.’
‘I want to go home.’
“But do you really need to raise something that has such a temper and doesn’t even listen well to you?”
“That may be right, but he is a good one among the spirit creatures here. Even a tiger wouldn’t walk in front of it.”
“That sounds impossible?”
“Sometimes size isn’t everything.”
The Palace Lord had said something misleading, considering his own size. Now the disciples of Mount Hua titled their heads at the gigantic man.
“Enough, let’s go.”
Chung Myung who was following them until then turned back and then shouted.
“Let’s go, Baek!”
“Be patient sasuk!”
“He isn’t talking about Sasuk!”
Baek Cheon groaned not liking anything about the whole situation and followed the Palace Lord quietly. Actually, even if the others hadn’t stopped him, what could he do in front of the Beast Palace Lord? That made him even angrier.
As they crossed the square courtyard, the guards rushed and bowed their heads as they saw the Lord.
“Lord, where are you heading?”
The Beast Palace Lord proudly said,
“The Divine Pond.”
The eyes of the shocked guards shifted to the disciples of Mount Hua following their Lord. Baek Cheon’s expression went stiff as he saw that.
‘It doesn’t seem like the Divine Pond is a normal place.’
‘Isn’t that why they are looking at us like that? If it is a place where outsiders aren’t allowed….’
“Did the guests commit some kind of big mistake? To take them to the Divine Pond?”
All of the guards seemed curious and doubtful. The disciples of Mount Hua didn’t turn away and looked at them wondering what their looks meant.
The Beast Palace Lord cried out in anger.
“Some mistake!? Is that the only reason to take people there!”
“But! My lord! The Divine…”
“Do I not know that?”
When he yelled, the guards bowed right away.
“No, my Lord! We were so foolish in our actions!”
When the Palace Lord clicked his tongue, clearly displeased at it, the guards immediately retreated back.
‘This is so strange.’
Once again, they saw that the Beast Palace Lord was the ultimate power here. Judging from the looks of the guard, he was of the age of an elder in Mount Hua, yet he couldn’t speak up to this man.
Of course, Hyun Jong was the Sect Leader who was favored by the others in his own way, but it was no exaggeration to say that their Sect Leader couldn’t stand in front of this man.
‘Even the Tang family wasn’t like this.’
It wasn’t known if this was a feature of the Beast Palace or of Yunnan entirely, but it seemed like here, the Palace Lord had full power. That power exceeded what a Sect Leader had back in Yunnan.
The Palace Lord stepped forward and the guards retreated. The guards near the front gate opened the gate immediately.
“Long live our Lord!”
“Please move with caution.”
Seeing the people bow down so low, Yoon Jong clicked his tongue.
“It seems like it is true that the Palace Lord is the king of Yunnan.”
“Um, right. The Nanman Beast Palace must have such a system. Rather, it looks more advanced than what happens in our sects.”
It was Baek Cheon who said that. And a muffled voice was heard.
Chung Myung clasped his hands behind his head and said.
“I’ve never heard any report of the Beast Palace Lord being treated like this. On the contrary, I’ve heard that the rulers here change very often.”
“That is obvious. Who would want to fight him after seeing those muscles?”
Baek Cheon looked at the back of the Palace Lord. It looked like the man could carry a mountain on his back…. No, was that what he was hinting at?
It looked like the God of Mountains was moving. Thanks to his exposed upper body, each step he took made the muscles in his back and his shoulders twitch.
In addition, there was the hasty nature and loud screams that they noticed from the Palace Lord…
“I don’t want to die.”
“Wouldn’t we die faster if we just hung our neck?”
Now they knew why the people were too loyal to this man. Chung Myung looked at the Palace Lord and said,
“Kuak. Mount Hua should be like this too.”
“You! Don’t say weird stuff!”
“Don’t ruin my Mount Hua!”
“It would look so good!”
However, no matter what the disciples of Mount Hua said, Chung Myung seemed impressed with the Palace Lord.
At the sight of Baek Cheon’s fellow disciples trembling, his concern for the future of Mount Hua grew greater.
At the words of the Beast Palace Lord, everyone moved fast. Their footsteps became muffled as they headed into the vast forest behind the palace.
“This…this can be called a jungle.”
“It is so dense with trees. We rarely see this around us.”
“It sounds like we need to head through this place to get to the Divine Pond. But what kind of place is it for them to react like that?”
The Palace Lord who heard it, spoke normally.
“It is a sacred place in our Beast Palace!”
“It is as I said. It is both a sacred and forbidden place. It is considered sacred to us and forbidden for those without access. Usually no one sets foot inside it apart from us.”
“Ah! So that’s why?”
“But you aren’t outsiders. Outsiders have usually heard about this place.”
Baek Cheon titled his head.
‘What is this now?’
“As I said, that place is sacred to us, so no one but us can set foot in it. But it doesn’t matter even though you people are not of our Palace.”
“…don’t you normally prevent the outsiders from entering such sacred places?”
“Is there any need to? If we start to prevent entry, then we have to prevent the entry of animals walking around too.”
“But animals and humans are different?”
“They aren’t different.”
The Beast Palace Lord shook his head.
“In the end, humans are just smarter animals. You people seem to think that we care for the animals and raise them amongst us.”
“I’ve heard such things.”
“But that is quite wrong. Our Palace doesn’t care for animals alone. We just don’t think that we are much different from them. So, we can live together without problems.”
Baek Cheon nodded in admiration.
“And if we won’t stop animals, we won’t stop people either. If we say it is a sacred place, would it be sacred for all? So, it is part of nature. We don’t expect others to accept it as a sacred place just because we consider it to be.”
“Then what if it is damaged?”
“What will change?”
Beast Palace Lord smiled.
“A sacred place is a sacred place. Whatever it looks like, it will be sacred for us. Just because someone damaged it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a sacred place. This is just the persistence of those who do not understand the concept of something being sacred. Whatever form it holds, it will be sacred.”
Baek Cheon was mesmerized by those words. Surprisingly, there was deep meaning in his words.
‘He surely is great. One cannot obtain the seat of a Lord with just physical strength alone.’
Baek Cheon thought that despite his appearance this man was deep and wise. However, Chung Myung titled his head as if he wasn’t very impressed with the words.
“Then does it have to be called sacred?”
“Uh? Right? I didn’t think of that.”
‘No, he isn’t that deep.’
The deeper they walked the denser the forest became. Now they couldn’t even see a single ray of light coming in. Soon the place became completely dark and humid.
As it was such a dense jungle, they were able to see quite a few beasts on their way. They saw a tiger twice as large as normal ones, sleeping.
‘Isn’t that dangerous?’
“Chuchuchu! Ho, this guy! You grew so much!”
The tiger roared and rushed to him like a lightning bolt. It then showed its stomach as it lay down on its back.
‘Right, you need to survive here too.’
‘Everyone is equal in the face of muscle strength.’
‘Humans and beasts, wouldn’t both want to live?’
It was strange to see such a huge tiger come lay down in front of you acting all cute like a cat. But the thing was, in front of the Palace Lord, it did look like a cat.
On the way, the Palace Lord would constantly pet all the beasts he saw.
“The Divine Pond is there.”
“Ah, we’ve finally arrived.”
Contrary to before, the huge man now had a serious expression on his face.
“In Yunnan we refer to the Purple Wood Grass that you are looking for as the Divine Spirit Grass. But it isn’t something we farm. Although it was known to be widespread, now, hardly a few plants have survived.”
“When the Demonic Sect attacked us a hundred years back, we set fire to it.”
“They wanted to see those bastards burn along with it.”
“Did that work?”
“No. It had no effect. It is said that the warriors were faster in escaping from there.”
‘Then why burn it?’
‘No, you should think before doing something like that! Doing something like that is no different from acting first and thinking later!’
“Anyway, since then, there is only one place you can find it, the Divine Pond.”
The Beast Palace Lord along with the disciples of Mount Hua traversed through the thick forest.
Watching the scene unfold before them, the disciples of Mount Hua became shocked.
It was beautiful.
No, it was right to call it sacred, rather than beautiful.
There was a huge pond in the middle of this lush jungle. No, for this size, it should be called a lake rather than a pond.
Around this lake, which looked so clear, were colorful flowers they had never seen before.
It was a beautiful sight but it still put fear into their heart.
‘How deep is it?’
Obviously, the water was transparent, but the bottom was invisible. The deeper the blue light went down, the more it felt like it was getting sucked in.
A pond where Gods dwell?
Then it was really the right name to call it. If there was a god, he would have to be in a place like this.
“This is the Divine Pond. We cannot go further.”
Beast Palace Lord frowned.
“… we shouldn’t go in?”
“No. You are free to move. I have already told you.”
“…there is one minor problem.”
“Um. It would be better to see it with your own eyes.”
After hesitating for a moment, the man reached out.
A rabbit that was passing by floated into the air and was caught by the Palace Lord’s hand. A little startled, the rabbit started wrinkling its nose.
“Uh? Why the rabbit?”
“Um… Take a good look now.”
He threw the rabbit into the lake.
The rabbit landed softly on the edge of the lake, and it brushed around. It was a sight that could calm a weary heart.
At that moment.
Baek Cheon’s eyes went wide.
Something black had risen from the lake.
The only thing they saw was that it was a huge creature with long fangs and a huge mouth. The gigantic mouth literally consumed the entire area the rabbit was on
The only thing they saw was that something had gulped the rabbit.
All that was left were the huge bite marks on the edge of the pond. The disciples of Mount Hua couldn’t say anything and blankly looked around. It was only then that the ripples on the pond subsided.
After a long white, Yu Yiseol said.
“…wh-what was that….?”
And the rest of them began.
“I-It was huge. Why was it so huge?”
“I-i thought it would eat a human in one bite!”
The Beast Palace Lord nodded and frowned.
“The Ink-scaled Blood Python. It is a giant snake that lives in the Divine Pond.”
‘It wasn’t a dragon? It has to be a dragon?’
‘It isn’t that we weren’t allowed to enter, but we couldn’t because of that monster inside? That was why this was a sacred place…?’
Even Chung Myung, who had seen many things in his two lives, laughed at this absurd sight.
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