‘Where is it?’
Chung Myung was looking deep into the lake as he went down.
‘I see no end to this place.’
It looked like the water body was somewhere between a pond and a lake. It didn’t look too huge on the outside, but its depth was really different from other lakes.
Only now did he understand exactly how the snake could live here. And the lower he went, the darker it got.
Normally, if the water was clear, one would be able to see the bottom right away. But the Divine Pond was so deep that even light couldn’t penetrate its depths.
Chung Myung kept descending, chasing after the Ink-scaled Blood Python.
‘I need to kill it even if it means my death!’
Chung Myung bit his lip.
The herb was one thing, but he had suffered so much for it. So he thought it was only polite to offer some of the sufferings he had gone through back to the one who had made him suffer! And regardless of whether it was a beast or not, he couldn’t believe that it had the gall to run away!
‘Absolutely no manners!’
Sure, even if it did surrender, Chung Myung wasn’t the kind of person who would just accept it.
And if it didn’t give itself up, he would go snatch it instead! Wasn’t that basic in Kangho? It has been like this since time immemorial!
-What bullshit is that, brat!
‘Is it not? Forget it then!’
Fine, maybe it wasn’t the Taoist or Murim way, but it WAS the Chung Myung method!
‘Snake or not, I will come for you!’
Chung Myung’s eyes shone with madness as he dived deeper into the lake. Everything around him was now pitch black, but Chung Myung’s eyes could still see something.
Right, just now, he saw something move…
Chung Myung’s body was swept away as he was suddenly hit by something… no, he was swept away by the seaweed on the ground and then was hit by a jet of water.
He screamed, but no sound came since he was in the water.
Chung Myung, who regained his bearings, turned his head.
‘What was that?’
Immediately his doubt was resolved.
Wooong! Wooong! Wooong!
The entire lake seemed to be resonating, and water rushed towards Chung Myung.
‘A water bomb?’
A water bomb that was larger than a human body flew towards Chung Myung. It seemed like it was the snake’s doing.
‘You keep doing such stupid things!’
‘In times like this…’
He was swept away again by a strong current, unable to dodge the water bomb, and spun around like a top.
Ah, he gulped some water down.
The snake lived in the water, so it had an advantage over him. If they had been fighting outside the water, then he could have avoided this water bomb with ease.
Moreover, it seemed as though even the snake thought that it was important to kill Chung Myung in the water. That was why it was luring him into it. But warriors were known to be able to hold their breaths far longer than normal people in the water.
Perhaps the snake had noticed it, so it seemed to calculate the distance and tried to make sure that Chung Myung didn’t get close to it. It was aiming to make him go back up.
‘Right, you snake brat!’
‘How dare you try to beat me by using your head!’
Chung Myung drew his sword and threw it forward.
But before he pulled the sword out, he made his body lighter and gripped the handle tightly.
The sword cut through the water with a swift motion.
More water bombs were fired again, but they were all split as the sword advanced.
Chung Myung’s eyes lit up little by little as the bottom of the lake began to appear in his vision from the light of his sword. And in the distance, he saw the snake moving around.
No matter how much it ran in the same place, it was a rat waiting to get poisoned! No! It was a snake with nowhere to go!
Chung Myung swam straight for it.
Fighting a giant snake in the water was burdensome with his current strength. However, if he could kill it and cut down its head, he thought it would be worth it.
After that, he would pull out its organs and return them back to the snake.
The snake also seemed to know that the human in front of it was planning something horrific. So, it came barreling towards him moving its tail.
‘Ah. It would be a lot easier if you just open your mouth and eat me.’
Then he could just head straight in and split its stomach.
However, this snake was so weirdly smart that it did the most unconventional things. Perhaps it had understood that Chung Myung was planning to rip it open from the inside.
Chung Myung’s eyes shone when he saw at the dark tail coming for him. He knew that he would be pushed back if he took that attack head-on. So, instead of that!
Chung Myung readied the sword he had retrieved and infused it with sword qi.
‘You cannot run now!’
The snake immediately noticed that its tail had a man with a sword sticking to it. It desperately tried to shake Chung Myung off its body.
But no matter what it did, neither the sword nor the human who was holding it fell off. Even when it hit its tail on the pond’s floor, the human wasn’t letting go!
Now, the only other method that it saw was to bite its own tail. However, that was what the human wanted. The moment it opened its mouth, the human would capitalize on it.
Since it knew that it would be unable to do that, the snake went back to swinging its tail and hitting it on the pond floor.
‘Right, I need to break the snake’s head too.’
Chung Myung quickly pulled out his sword that was stuck in the snake’s tail and then turned his body and shoved his sword towards the giant snake head that was coming for him.
It wasn’t just Chung Myung’s power that had gone down in the water. Even the effect and sharpness of his sword seemed dulled.
Chung Myung’s sword got stuck in the back of its nose. The snake immediately opened up its mouth in pain but closed it right away.
Chung Myung gripped his sword tighter.
‘Give me that internal qi! Give me that core! You snake bastard!’
The snake continued to shake off Chung Myung in desperation.
It kept hitting its face several times with its tail. Maybe it was because the pain on its nose was greater that it could constantly hit itself.
‘This is why you are a beast.’
Although it was narrow, it could have escaped by staying in the middle of the lake, and Chung Myung would have suffered a bit.
But maybe it was a habit, or maybe it was because it was simply stupid, but it was sticking to the wall of the lake constantly.
Thanks to that, it had accumulated a lot of damage.
Chung Myung kicked the snake in the face and swam back a bit. He then thrust his sword forward again.
If he took any more time, the lack of air would become troublesome for him, so he had to finish it immediately. Chung Myung readied himself. The broken edge of the sword shone purple, and the light spread in the water.
Now everything in the lake could be seen.
The snake now had major wounds on its face, tail, and body. The one who had escaped into the water before didn’t seem to have any intention of running again from here.
The snake had its scales all standing up again, and Chung Myung clenched his sword in preparation for the final blow.
‘You were strong.’
‘Right. Be happy with that. In your next life, don’t be too harsh on humans and live peacefully. If you had acted that way now, wouldn’t I have taken the Purple Wood Grass and simply walked away?’
As if it sensed Chung Myung was getting ready to kill it, its body trembled. It was clear that the snake was feeling fear, but it still stood its ground.
‘Now. Give up your…’
Chung Myung’s face contorted as he saw something.
“Pull it out! Pull it out! Before it comes out, pull it out and head back!”
“Is this enough?”
“Just pull everything around out!”
The disciples of Mount Hua were squatting on the ground and were pulling out the Purple Wood Grass.
“Yah! Don’t pull it like that! It is said that they need to be pulled from the roots to last longer! They won’t survive if you just pluck them! …ah, sahyung!”
Fortunately, Jo Gul, who had a knack for herbs, took the lead. And the other disciples of Mount Hua simply nodded their heads and collected the herbs according to his instructions.
The disciples of Mount Hua gathered them in their pouches and jumped up.
“Did you pluck them all?”
“Look again and see if we’ve left anything out.”
“We pulled them all out!”
Baek Cheon nodded.
“Right! Then let’s go!”
The disciples of Mount Hua escaped far from the Divine Pond. First of all, it was because they didn’t know when the snake would pop out of the water again. Along with that, the fact that they were in someone else’s land was more burdensome.
Although the Palace Lord had said that entering the Divine Pond had nothing to do with the Beast Palace, the disciples of Mount Hua couldn’t let go of their uneasiness since they were accustomed to the customs of the Central Plains.
“We got the herbs!”
The disciples of Mount Hua looked into the pouch with relieved faces. At that time, the Palace Lord, who had been watching them, slowly approached them and held out his hand.
“Give it to me.”
“The sack and the pouch. Give it to me.”
Baek Cheon looked at the Palace Lord with different eyes.
‘Why is someone who has been quiet until now asking for the herbs all of a sudden?’
Baek Cheon had several thoughts running through his head for a moment and took a step back.
Seeing that, the Lord frowned.
“You aren’t going to give it to me?”
“No, it isn’t that…”
Beast Palace Lord nodded his head.
“Um, right. You are suspicious of me now.”
The faces of the disciples became stiff immediately.
In fact, even if the Lord had other thoughts, the disciples didn’t have the strength to protect themselves.
“Tch tch. Pathetic people. Looking so nervous.”
The Beast Palace Lord laughed.
“If I had such intentions wouldn’t one hit be enough?”
Baek Cheon finally relaxed.
“I am sorry, but this is too important to us.”
“I understand. I am not trying to steal or destroy it; just watch.”
Without hesitation, he held out the pouch to the Lord. Talking anymore would hurt each the other’s feelings.
The Lord smiled as he opened the pouch. He then took out half of the herbs and planted them back into the ground.
“…what are you doing?”
“Isn’t the reason you came here the Divine Spirit Grass?”
“Yes, it is as you said.”
“Will that be enough?”
Actually, they didn’t know for certain. The more plants they brought, the more they could grow. In such a way, they could be secured in the future.
“If everything is pulled out from here, then there will be no new growth. If we plant them in a familiar environment, the grass will grow faster and better.”
“I haven’t been able to touch it since it wasn’t within my boundary, but since this isn’t too close to the pond, I can always secure them and send them to Mount Hua when needed. Wouldn’t that be convenient?”
Baek Cheon’s eyes went wide.
‘He was doing it for us?’
Perhaps the Lord had more loyalty to Mount Hua than he imagined.
The Lord then handed the half-full pouch back to Baek Cheon. At his feet, new plants could be seen.
“Greed corrupts everything. Living with nature has taught us to take only what we need. As such, we gain wisdom by giving away what is left.”
“I have learned a lot, my Lord.”
The Lord smiled and turned around.
Seeing his wide shoulders, Baek Cheon said.
“It is done, right?”
“Yes. Now, all we have to do is wait for Chung Myung to…”
The disciples looked at the lake with anxious eyes.
“Why isn’t he coming?”
“Is he dead?”
At Jo Gul’s words, Yoon Jong screamed.
“Why are you so happy? He cannot die like that!”
“I am not happy; I am sad okay?”
“…your words sounded weird.”
It was the moment when the two were arguing.
A few water bubbles floated over the calm lake.
And the bubbles were getting bigger and bigger…
With a bizarre scream, Chung Myung’s body shot out of the water.
Chung Myung, fell back into the water as soon as he emerged, and came out of the lake looking exhausted.
“Ahh, I thought I was going to die.”
Chung Myung, who finally reached the ground, had water dripping down from him, and everyone looked at him.
“What about the neidan?”
“It wasn’t there.”
“I said I don’t have it. Ehh, I wasted a lot of my energy for nothing.”
Chung Myung waved his hand as if he didn’t want to speak.
“Such a huge spirit creature didn’t have a neidan? Is that even possible?”
“Ah, how can I know? Maybe it sold it or hid it somewhere. Anyway, it didn’t have one!”
“…why are you yelling?”
Yoon Jong, who was being yelled at, asked Chung Myung dejectedly. At that moment, Chung Myung saw the pouch in Baek Cheon’s hand and asked.
“Did you pick them all up?”
Seeing a newly created planting ground for the grass, Chung Myung nodded, understanding.
“Then we are done; let’s go!”
“I said let’s go!”
Chung Myung waved his hand and pushed the disciples aside.
“Why are you in such a hurry?”
“Because I don’t want to see this place anymore! Let’s go. Enough! I am going to Mount Hua! Sasuk can live here if he wants to!”
In the end, Baek Cheon broke free from his thoughts and followed Chung Myung. The other disciples also returned to the Beast Palace without regrets.
Even if they hadn’t got the neidan, it was fine. Even if they found it, it wouldn’t have been theirs, so they should be glad about just getting the grass.
‘Anyway, our mission is accomplished!’
Thinking of the happy faces of the elders and Sect Leader, they wanted to return to Mount Hua too.
The disciples and the Lord headed back to the palace with light steps.
Yu Yiseol, who was following everyone from the back, glanced behind her. Then, after tilting her head for a moment, she went to where the pond was and ran around the bushes.
Soon the middle of the pond had ripples in it, and the huge head of the snake popped out.
‘It is still alive.’
It didn’t have a look of hostility like it did before. Considering its ferocious look, this was shocking.
Chung Myung, who was merciless even to humans, was leaving a spirit creature…
Yu Yiseol, who was worrying about the reason, suddenly exclaimed as she saw something.
Behind the huge body of the snake, something small could be seen.
It was a pure white body and bright red eyes.
Of course, even the smallest snake was big enough to rival the size of a human, but they were going round and round the bigger snake and looked like smaller versions of the Ink-scaled Blood Python.
A smile bloomed on Yu Yiseol’s lips as she saw three kids sticking their heads out beside the older one.
“Aren’t you coming?”
In response to the voice from behind., she smiled as she looked at the younger ones.
‘Grow up well.’
‘And don’t hurt people.’
And after putting the bushes back in the normal state, she ran towards her sahyung like nothing had happened.
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