Episode 92

The Rite Of Enlightenment (2)
3 weeks ago
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Yi-gang lay there with needles all over his body.

Therefore, there were limitations in absorbing information from his surroundings.

Yi-gang mainly assessed the situation based on the conversations between Yu Jeong-shin and Golden Needle Phantom.

“It seems that the ritual to enlighten the Immortal Divine Sword is going well.”

He imagined himself looking like a hedgehog with golden spikes.

The Immortal Divine Sword, striving to attain Nirvana, must have had a complex expression.

Even Yi-gang, who had already experienced death, and the Taoists of the Azure Forest trying to help the Immortal Divine Sword reach Nirvana, didn’t precisely know about the afterlife.

The change began when the Immortal Divine Sword came into Yi-gang’s view.

That meant the Immortal Divine Sword, previously on the ground, had started floating in the air.

Furthermore, the golden glow it emitted seemed visible even to the eyes of Yu Jeong-shin and Golden Needle Phantom.

The Immortal Divine Sword did not look back at Yi-gang. It stared blankly at the sky, or more precisely, the ceiling, as if looking at where it intended to go.

Yi-gang couldn’t help but feel a bit of disappointment towards the Immortal Divine Sword.

Yet, he celebrated the enlightenment of the Immortal Divine Sword, knowing the immense pain it had endured on this earth.

But things did not go so smoothly.

“Oh no, this can’t be…!”

Along with the dizzying cry of Yu Jeong-shin, Yi-gang also felt a change in his body.

A burning sensation surged from within.

“Kuhuk-!”

Yi-gang coughed out something. It was dark red blood. Golden Needle Phantom, in a panic, wiped around Yi-gang’s mouth.

“Oh no…!”

“Kuhuk. What is this.”

Even though Yi-gang was flustered, he felt his body become lighter. Simultaneously, his limbs tingled, and he felt a heat all over his body. For him, afflicted with meridian blockage disease, this was almost an unprecedented experience.

“It’s expelling the impurities from the body.”

“Then, isn’t that good?” Yi-gang asked, dumbfounded.

It was unexpected, but it sounded like good news.

Despite this, Golden Needle Phantom remained silent.

“…”

Instead, he just sweated profusely with a serious expression.

“This can’t be right. Where did it go wrong?”

Yi-gang realized something was amiss as Yu Jeong-shin uttered these anxious words.

The Immortal Divine Sword still floated aimlessly.

It was hard to see through the emitted radiance, but it was releasing something.

A golden mist-like substance trickled down following the sword’s tip.

Yi-gang forced his head to turn and followed the mist.

“This is…”

The light mist, following the array on the floor, was flowing into Yi-gang’s body. The source of the overflowing energy became clear.

“Is that the spiritual energy my ancestor had?”

“Yes…”

The spiritual energy flowing into Yi-gang did not stop. Instead, it intensified.

Golden Needle Phantom let out a drop of sweat, then shouted,

“Jeong-shin! Make a decision!”

“I still can’t identify the cause…”

“Do you intend to kill this child?”

Yi-gang’s eyes widened.

“Die? Who?”

Golden Needle Phantom stared intently at Yi-gang.

Yi-gang raised a finger, pointing to himself.

“Me?”

And then Yu Jeong-shin made a decision.

“Let’s stop it, senior brother!”

“Fine!”

Golden Needle Phantom swept over Yi-gang’s body with lightning speed.

Papapapapak—!

The meticulously inserted needles were all pulled out at once. Not a single drop of blood flowed from Yi-gang’s body. It was an impressive skill.

“Step back, Yi-gang. We’re stopping the ritual. At this rate, you’ll explode and die.”

Yi-gang had imagined various ways of dying.

But never exploding. For now, he took Golden Needle Phantom’s hand and stood up from the stone slab.

Only then did Yi-gang understand what had happened in the chamber.

The Immortal Divine Sword was floating aimlessly in the air, lifeless. It was leaking its spiritual energy onto the ground, like blood. The golden spiritual energy seemed like a tether tying the Immortal Divine Sword to the earth.

“Why on earth…”

It wasn’t a pleasant sight. It looked helpless and painful, like a drowned body with its feet tangled in weeds at the bottom of a river.

Below it stood Yu Jeong-shin.

He was holding a bright red and enormous flag. Its purpose was unclear, but it was no ordinary item.

“The ritual failed midway!”

As Yu Jeong-shin shouted, he planted the flag in front of him.

Thump—!

“The soul was transitioning to the afterworld. It got trapped between the boundaries of this world and the next.”

Despite no wind in the chamber, the flag began to flutter fiercely.

“First, let’s halt the ritual…!”

Yu Jeong-shin’s hair also whipped about along with the flag.

At the same time, the flow of spiritual energy leaking from the Immortal Divine Sword began to decrease.

But this was only temporary. Soon, the spiritual energy burst forth like a flood breaking through a dam.

Golden Needle Phantom exclaimed in shock, “No, even after removing the needles, the influx of spiritual energy isn’t stopping. Jeong-shin!”

Yi-gang, startled, examined himself. The spiritual energy the Immortal Divine Sword was shedding continued to flow into him.

However, Yu Jeong-shin seemed fully occupied with controlling the flag.

“Damn it!”

Golden Needle Phantom, greatly alarmed, tried various things.

He tapped on various acupoints on Yi-gang’s body and inserted and removed needles again.

But Yi-gang’s body continued to voraciously absorb the spiritual energy.

As Yi-gang’s expression grew anxious, Golden Needle Phantom sighed and said, “Whew, there’s nothing we can do.

“Have you resolved yourself?

“Accidents can happen at any time…”

He firmly grasped Yi-gang’s shoulder.

“Do you have any last words?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I mean a will. You’re about to explode and die.”

At Golden Needle Phantom’s words, Yi-gang’s eyes trembled.

“It’s no joke. We’re out of time. Ten, nine.”

“Why would my body explode?”

“It’s natural for a human who has received so much spiritual energy without any training. Six, five.”

“But I’m still fine?”

“I swear on my honor, it’s the truth. How will I explain this to the Baek Noble Clan? Three, two.”

Yi-gang clutched his chest. It was an unbelievable situation.

“May you rest in peace in death!”

Golden Needle Phantom suddenly embraced Yi-gang tightly.

Was it out of regret for not being able to save his patient? He seemed indifferent even if Yi-gang were to explode and ruin his clothes.

“Yi-gaaang!”

Yu Jeong-shin cried out in anguish, and Golden Needle Phantom closed his eyes tightly.

However, there was no bursting of organs or drenching of clothes in blood, leaving them steaming hot.

The moment Yi-gang cautiously opened his eyes, he abruptly pushed Golden Needle Phantom away.

“I thought I was really going to die!”

“H-how are you still alive?”

Golden Needle Phantom sat down on the floor, utterly shocked.

Yi-gang was perfectly fine, far from exploding.

“That can’t be, you were supposed to die!”

“What do you mean, ‘supposed to die’?”

Under the name of the Four Great Divine Physicians, Golden Needle Phantom was convinced Yi-gang would die. He was greatly surprised when Yi-gang didn’t.

He was so taken aback that he didn’t even question how Yi-gang, a mere mortal, had easily pushed him, a martial master.

“Neither a yokai nor an immortal, if a human suddenly absorbs that much spiritual energy… they should definitely explode and die unless they undergo a complete transformation.”

Hearing his bewildered muttering, Yi-gang paused.

Something was bothering him.

‘Is it related to the root of the Three-Element Sacred Flower?’

The Three-Element Sacred Flower was said to be a transcendent elixir. The Namgung Clan Head, who had eaten it before, was said to have undergone a body transformation, but Yi-gang had not felt any significant change after consuming it.

“I have meridian blockage disease… Perhaps it’s because of my unique constitution.”

“No, this is a completely different issue. It’s a problem that goes beyond mere physical constitution.”

However, Yi-gang only felt a slight warmth in his body and noticed no other changes.

“Ah.”

He realized then, the flow of spiritual energy from the Immortal Divine Sword had stopped.

Turning his head, he saw Yu Jeong-shin collapsed in front of the flag. In the meantime, he had stopped the spiritual energy of the Immortal Divine Sword.

“Library Master!”

“Whoa! Jeong-shin!”

Yi-gang and Golden Needle Phantom hurried to the fallen Yu Jeong-shin.

Fortunately, Yu Jeong-shin was conscious but bleeding from his nose and mouth, likely due to overexerting his energy.

Golden Needle Phantom performed the realignment of energy pathways, and color slowly returned to Yu Jeong-shin’s face.

“The ritual failed. Left in a neither here nor there state… It’s my lack of ability that almost killed you, Yi-gang.”

Yu Jeong-shin lay there weakly, looking up at Yi-gang.

But Yi-gang couldn’t blame him.

It was because Golden Needle Phantom scolded Yu Jeong-shin.

“Using Heavenly God Candlestick and Soul-slaying Banner together. You must have shortened your life by several years.”

“Wasn’t it an urgent situation, senior brother?”

The Soul-Slaying Banner that Yu Jeong-shin had been holding was a banner that forcibly controlled the movement of souls, at the cost of the user’s lifespan. He had expended his own life to save Yi-gang.

Though he would soon become a disciple, Yi-gang was already more than a stranger to them.

Yi-gang could only nod in response.

“Nearly, the Immortal Divine Sword could have become a wandering spirit in the Nine Heavens. But I brought the Heavenly God Candlestick to prevent such a thing.”

Yi-gang turned his head to look at the Heavenly God Candlestick.

He had been curious about the use of that Treasure, and now he was about to understand its purpose.

“Now, one candle will go out.”

Whoosh—

True to his words, the lowest candle extinguished, though there was no wind.

“The Heavenly God Candlestick is a Treasure that uses a barrier technique to fix its target in place. One candle has gone out, so there are eight units of time left.”

Yu Jeong-shin turned to Golden Needle Phantom and spoke in a weak voice, “I was overconfident. I can’t do it alone. I need assistance.”

“Assistance? Should we call Senior Brother Do Seon from Snowflake Hermit Palace?”

“No, only an honor flower disciple can do this.”

“Then… should we look for the elders in hiding or call the guys who went to Tibet?”

“We don’t have time for that. Even the Heavenly God Candlestick can’t bind a soul for long.”

“What should we do then!”

“We need Dam Hyun.”

“…!”

Golden Needle Phantom’s face turned pale.

Yi-gang too was unavoidably startled. From what he had heard, Dam Hyun was certainly…

“That guy, he stabbed you, his own master, didn’t he?”

“Yes.”

“And you trust such a person to conduct the ritual?”

Yu Jeong-shin said with a bitter smile, “Indeed, Dam Hyun stabbed me, but don’t you know?”

“…But that guy is clearly not in his right mind. It’s dangerous.”

Ignoring Golden Needle Phantom’s serious expression, Yu Jeong-shin began to explain to Yi-gang about Dam Hyun.


Dam Hyun was definitely not an ideal disciple. He was neither affectionate nor particularly respectful to his master.

In fact, he had more flaws.

From a young age, he was cynical, and his nature was cruel, not fitting for a Taoist martial artist. He lacked social skills and had no friends.

In truth, it wasn’t just that; Dam Hyun harbored a general disgust for humans.

On the other hand, he cared for and loved animals, but this very trait probably made him even more disagreeable to others.

However, Dam Hyun was not a patricidal monster from the beginning. That incident was truly a tragedy.

As Yu Jeong-shin’s only disciple, Dam Hyun worked as a librarian in the Grand Library.

Having little contact with others besides his master, perhaps this was almost a vacation for him.

Dam Hyun had innate talents in Qi Men Dun Jia and spirituals. He could see and hear things others could not, which is why he was also good at managing treasures.

But Yu Jeong-shin overlooked Dam Hyun’s mental vulnerabilities.

It happened on the day he was maintaining particularly dangerous forbidden Treasures.

There was an accident. On a day when the Yin energy was exceptionally strong, a forbidden Treasure went berserk, and Dam Hyun was seriously affected.

Dark Qi had lodged in his mind.

The consequence was madness. In a moment of insanity, Dam Hyun stabbed his master.

When he came to his senses, he cried out at the sight of the blood-stained knife in his hand.

“Wait, dark Qi? I heard it was because he was bewitched by a fox spirit…”

“Yes, that’s what was known, but it’s not true. The accident happened while mishandling a forbidden Treasure.”

And a few days later, it’s said that Dam Hyun voluntarily entered the Repentance Cave for penance.

Yu Jeong-shin said this, his eyes brimming with tears.

The incident was kept secret at Dam Hyun’s request.

Yu Jeong-shin insisted that Dam Hyun was actually a warm-hearted kid, though Golden Needle Phantom looked incredulous.

“The disciples must know deep down that Dam Hyun is a kind child. Go to Ri-yeon and ask for her help. She will gladly assist you.”

Yu Jeong-shin advised so.

There was no way to let the Immortal Divine Sword become a wandering spirit.

Yi-gang sought Jin Ri-yeon’s help. By chance, she was with Yu Su-rin.

“…Something came up. We need Dam Hyun’s help.”

Hearing this, the smiling faces of Jin Ri-yeon and Yu Su-rin froze like ice.

Soon, Yu Su-rin stood up abruptly and exclaimed, “That bastard is crazy!”

Yu Su-rin bluntly cursed Dam Hyun, who was actually her senior.

It was understandable. After all, he had stabbed her father.

Jin Ri-yeon stopped Yu Su-rin. It was better to listen to her mature opinion here.

“Su-rin. You’re right, but still, calling him that…”

“…”

Was it right to bring Dam Hyun back from Repentance Cave?

Yi-gang’s expression darkened.

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