Episode 159

Namgung Seo-ryeon, Namgung Yu-baek (3)
1 week ago
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Barely in his twenties, a young man’s sword pierced through his chest.

Whoosh—

However, Namgung Yu-baek did not feel shame or dismay.

It was unavoidable. What dwelled in Baek Yi-gang’s body was undoubtedly the soul of Namgung Seo-ryeon.

He couldn’t pretend not to hear that desperate tone.

Nor could he ignore the extreme brilliance of the Heavenly Thunder Bell.

Above all, that expression said it all.

How could he look so dismayed when it wasn’t even his chest that was pierced?

Why did she say to die if she was going to react like this?

Did Namgung Yu-baek, who witnessed Namgung Seo-ryeon’s death decades ago, have the same expression?

“Ha.”

Blood poured from his mouth, sounding almost like laughter.

Or perhaps, the lightning energy that seeped through the sword trembled as it burned his body.

Shaking as if having a seizure, Namgung Yu-baek’s consciousness sank back to that day long ago.


“Snap out of it, you bastard.”

Lost in thought, Namgung Yu-baek suddenly snapped back to reality.

The young face of Namgung Yu-baek was smeared with sweat and blood. However, the blood was not his own.

Compared to the corpses around him, reeking of a foul smell from being slashed and burned, he was in relatively good shape.

“Why are you zoning out all of a sudden? That’s not like you.”

Namgung Yu-baek frowned.

Originally, Namgung Seo-ryeon was someone without any of the clan’s grace.

But having returned with the name Blue-Eyed Mad Demon, she had changed even more roughly. Perhaps because she had faced the world’s trials alone.

As the Young Clan Head, Namgung Yu-baek cautioned her.

“Watch your mouth, Seo-ryeon. We must maintain the dignity of Namgung.”

“Ahaha!”

Namgung Seo-ryeon laughed carelessly.

Namgung Yu-baek laughed too. Even he knew how ridiculous his words must sound.

“You, huh, your jokes have gotten better. Is this what aging feels like? It’s making me tear up.”

Namgung Seo-ryeon, while laughing, even shed tears.

If one eye was gouged out, would tears only come from the remaining one?

That was not the case. Bloody tears flowed instead from the gaping eye socket.

There were many other injuries as well. The scars from cuts were clear all over her body. She had already lost a lethal amount of blood and could no longer apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

It was plausible. She had been pursued by hundreds and had already slain more than a hundred of them alone.

Among those she killed was the leader of the extermination squad who had taken one of her eyes, so it was a miracle she was still alive.

“Don’t recklessly use that name anywhere. What if someone hears?”

“…”

“My name is Cheong Seo-ho.”

The background to the birth of the Murim’s public enemy, Blue-Eyed Mad Demon, undoubtedly involved the Namgung Clan, and the current head’s influence.

The crime of daring to escape despite being a Hidden Vein. The crime of not complying with the extermination order and fleeing.

That was the result of becoming a public enemy of the martial world.

Yet, Namgung Seo-ryeon could not reveal her true identity because her family in the village of the Hidden Vein was taken hostage.

After a brief silence, Namgung Yu-baek spoke first, “So, Cheong Seo-ho. Why did you try to cross the Kunlun Mountains?”

“I told you, I want to become a yokai.”

“Stop talking nonsense. Even if you are born with that blood running thick in your veins, you’re still human. I can also use the Blue Lightning True Qi.”

“No, really. They will turn me into a yokai. I’m sure of it.”

“This is getting nowhere.”

Namgung Yu-baek could not believe her words.

The great yokai beyond the Kunlun Mountains turned people into yokai?

Wanting to become a yokai because one disliked humans sounded like a delusion only children would have.

Yet, the bizarre certainty in her eyes made it hard to speak lightly.

“It’s true…”

Namgung Yu-baek couldn’t press further, fearing her voice would grow even weaker.

Soon, martial artists would arrive. The Inescapable Net, created by the alliance of orthodox sects, would surely be impenetrable.

The one who beheads the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon will be awarded all sorts of elixirs and martial arts techniques. The eyes of the martial artists, filled with desire, would undoubtedly blaze with fervor.

“…You bedwetter.”

“…”

Namgung Seo-ryeon looked up at Namgung Yu-baek with labored breaths.

Her appearance was pitiful beyond measure.

“Let me ask you for one thing.”

Though he didn’t want to hear it, he couldn’t ignore it.

“What is it?”

“Could you carry me on your back?”

Namgung Yu-baek’s cold face hardened even more.

“Can you carry me over this mountain?”

“…”

“If we can cross the mountain, just take me there, to that place…”

It was servile.

Where had the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon, who faced martial artists with the readiness for death, gone?

Where had the spirit gone that bit off the ear of the leader of the Extermination Squad and stubbornly plunged a blade into him?

All that remained before Namgung Yu-baek was a woman afraid of death.

As the silence stretched, she chuckled weakly.

“…Ha, just kidding. Why such a scared look?”

“I’m sorry.”

“If you’re sorry, then you cut me down.”

“…”

“I’m going to die anyway. Behead me and end it. Then you’ll have achieved a feat, won’t you?”

Namgung Yu-baek could not fulfill that request.

This time, he was the coward.

Namgung Seo-ryeon couldn’t even hold her head up anymore. Leaning against a rock, she dropped her head and giggled.

“You… fool.”

That was the last of it.

Namgung Seo-ryeon could not lift her head again.

The girl from the Hidden Vein, born with rich blood, had escaped the cage only to be hunted down and killed.

Even in death, she would not be free. Tagged with the label of a demon, she would not be properly buried.

Namgung Yu-baek stood still for a long time, looking down at her.

Hoping for rain to fall.

After standing like that for a moment, Namgung Yu-baek turned around.

Soon, there was a rustling sound, and martial artists appeared.

A martial artist of the unorthodox sects, holding a massive slaughter blade. A martial artist of the orthodox sects, holding an ancient pine-patterned sword.

Their faces were all heated with fervor.

“Young Master Namgung! Did you kill this demon?”

“Impressive. Did the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon kill all these people alone?”

Seeing the dead body of Namgung Seo-ryeon, they looked emboldened.

Namgung Yu-baek shook his head.

“It wasn’t me who killed her.”

At those words, greed flickered in the martial artists’ eyes.

The martial artists of the orthodox sects restrained themselves somewhat, but the one holding the slaughter blade could not.

“I’ll have to take her head. That’s the command from the higher-ups.”

“…”

“That should be fine, right? Uh-huh-huh.”

The man who was jokingly approaching suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Because Namgung Yu-baek had drawn his sword.

“Do not desecrate the body.”

“What are you doing? Are you defending that demon?”

“I’ve warned you.”

“Such nonsense… Argh!”

The sword flashed, and the one holding the slaughter blade lost his wrist.

“Aaaah!”

Blood spurted from the wrist. The martial artists, taken aback, all drew their weapons.

“He’s gone mad!”

“Lower your sword, Namgung Yu-baek!”

Both the martial artists of the unorthodox sects and those of the orthodox sects showed hostility.

Namgung Yu-baek heightened his senses.

The five who came here were a special unit. There were no other signs of life.

“If you intend to desecrate the body, I will not forgive you.”

Killing them would silence them forever, and no one would know.

The martial artists were incredulous with anger.

“Has this madman been enchanted by that woman!”

“Subdue him!”

Namgung Yu-baek did as he had resolved.

He killed all five who attacked.

He wanted to protect Namgung Seo-ryeon, but he knew it was meaningless.

What would change by preventing the beheading of someone already dead?

The credit for killing the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon eventually went to Namgung Yu-baek.

He was no different from those who grew strong by consuming the blood of the Hidden Vein.

From that day, he resolved.

To erase the concept of the Hidden Vein from the Namgung Clan.

To purify the hypocritical orthodox Murim Alliance and break the chain of irrationality.

That was easily decades ago.


“You fool!”

The last words left by Namgung Seo-ryeon pulled Namgung Yu-baek’s consciousness back.

His once young body was now decrepit, and so was his mind.

However, he could no longer feel the powerful vital energy that once flowed through his body.

It was inevitable with a dark hole gaping in his chest.

It felt as if his spine had been pierced. He couldn’t feel anything below his chest.

“What’s the point of dying like that!”

It was Yi-gang’s voice. Namgung Seo-ryeon still seemed to dwell within that body.

Was it a message for Namgung Yu-baek?

Holding onto that hope, he turned his head.

It wasn’t.

Namgung Seo-ryeon, using Yi-gang’s body, was in front of her grandnephew.

Namgung Shin lay on the ground, seemingly dying from just a shoulder wound.

His chest was exposed, revealing the Blue Eye Gem embedded within.

Namgung Seo-ryeon was staring at it.

“Damn, it’s natural you can’t bear it with my Blue Eye Gem embedded in your body.”

“Ku-heuk, Ke-heuk.”

Namgung Shin bled profusely from his mouth.

The overuse of Blue Lightning True Qi with his body at its limit was the cause of this adverse effect. His body’s healing power no longer functioned.

His skin cracked open, bleeding profusely. Veins bulged grotesquely around his solar plexus.

The forcibly embedded Blue Eye Gem popped out on its own, and from that wound, black blood surged forth.

“…!”

By taking the Blue Eye Gem, one could go to the place where the Heavenly Thunder White-Tailed Fox resided.

Namgung Seo-ryeon could become the yokai she wished to be, and in return, they would grant the power to heal Yi-gang’s body.

But Yi-gang could not be happy about it.

「Why… why does it have to be this way?」

“Ugh…”

Despite trying to save Namgung Shin and recover the Blue Eye Gem, it became impossible.

Moyong Jin felt the same.

He hated Namgung Shin for having slashed his brother, but he couldn’t bear to watch him die like this.

Isn’t it all too in vain? After all the struggles to escape, after defeating the Vice Alliance Leader, that Supreme Peak master.

“T-take it. You wanted this.”

Namgung Shin picked up the fallen Blue Eye Gem and handed it over.

Yi-gang received it but couldn’t bring himself to keep it.

Having regained control from Namgung Seo-ryeon, Yi-gang said, “You… die.”

“…”

“You will die. Here.”

Namgung Shin spoke calmly, “I have known that I would die a long time ago.”

He had been prepared for death since his parents were taken hostage by Namgung Yu-baek.

But Yi-gang asked once more, “Is it really okay? Even now… when we’ve come this far.”

From afar, the sounds of swords clashing and shouts could be heard.

It was undoubtedly the sound of Namgung Yu-baek’s Extermination Squad clashing with the martial artists.

“It’s okay. I’m prepared…”

“Don’t lie, you bastard!”

Moyong Jin was the one who interjected.

His face was filled with anger, as if he wanted to throw a punch.

“You want to live! To go back and see your parents…”

“…”

“And have a rematch with my brother. Also, to wander Jianghu…”

“…”

Namgung Shin attempted to respond but soon closed his mouth.

His clenched lips trembled slightly.

Tears mixed with blood, pink in color, fell from his eyes.

“…Me too.”

He was barely twenty years old.

He had lived his life solely dedicated to training.

Like other successors, he hadn’t made any friends. He had no close people in his clan.

“T-to live…”

How could there be no desire for life?

Only facing death did Namgung Shin become honest.

“…I want to live.”

Now, when there was no way left to survive.

Moyong Jin didn’t know what to do, and Yi-gang clenched his mouth shut.

Even if a great immortal came, they could not save Namgung Shin.

His body depended on yokai energy, but the Blue Eye Gem from Namgung Seo-ryeon was unbearably excessive.

Then, a small and frail voice was heard.

“…Here.”

Yi-gang turned his head to look at Namgung Yu-baek.

Namgung Yu-baek was holding something in his hand.

“Take this…”

Yi-gang, who was about to draw his sword again, lowered his hand upon seeing what Namgung Yu-baek held.

It was an eyeball.

Namgung Yu-baek had gouged out his own right eye.

The reason soon became clear.

When he crushed the eyeball in his fist, a bright blue gem appeared.

“That is…!”

“I, too, can use Blue Lightning… True Qi. I’m not from the Hidden Vein, but I do possess that internal elixir.”

Compared to the Blue Eye Gem of the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon, it was much smaller, and its energy was weaker.

However, precisely because of that, it might be more suitable for Namgung Shin.

Yi-gang quickly took it and approached Namgung Shin.

The blue gem was placed into the gaping hole in the solar plexus, and vital energy was infused.

“Aaaaah!”

Namgung Shin screamed in pain, but Moyong Jin was rather overjoyed.

“I-it’s healing. It’s healing!”

The wounds were clearly healing. The body’s healing power had returned.

Soon, the Blue Eye Gem given by Namgung Yu-baek was buried under the pink flesh and disappeared.

It was uncertain whether he could truly survive, but color began to return to the face of the unconscious Namgung Shin.

Yi-gang and Moyong Jin sighed in relief.

“I don’t know if he can survive… but…”

Namgung Yu-baek looked up at the sky, muttering absentmindedly.

It was clear that his life was fading away.

Yi-gang approached him with mixed feelings.

「Such a fool…」

Was it still because of possession?

The complex emotions of the Blue-Eyed Mad Demon, no, Namgung Seo-ryeon, washed over Yi-gang like a flood.

It was so intense that it was painful.

Namgung Yu-baek’s cloudy eyes turned towards Yi-gang.

“That day…”

Were those unfocused eyes seeing Namgung Seo-ryeon?

“I should have… carried you away…”

Namgung Seo-ryeon spoke through Yi-gang’s mouth.

“Even then, I would have died soon.”

“Yes, that’s true… but still…”

Namgung Yu-baek shivered once.

Then he moved no more.

“…The soul is not visible.”

As always, the soul escaping from the body of the deceased was not seen.

And then, the martial artists finally arrived.

“Yi-gang—!”

The voice, akin to a lion’s roar, belonged to Baek Ryu-san.

“Jin! Jin!”

The handsome swordsman with a scar on his face, rushing to find Moyong Jin, was Moyong Tak.

They were shocked to see Yi-gang standing and Namgung Yu-baek dead.

“What on earth… Yi-gang!”

“Father…”

The moment Baek Ryu-san embraced Yi-gang’s body—Yi-gang, freed from possession, lost his strength and collapsed.

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