Chapter 65. <The Battle of Good and Evil. (4)>
Translator: thursdays Editor: Sasha
While Bae Hu-ryeong and I chatted, the Medicine King boiled the Evian-like bottled water. Meanwhile, on the other side, he laid out a frying pan and a cutting board and started cooking.
A savory smell filled the cave.
The Medicine King’s hands were quick. Mussel soup, white fish grilled to a crisp like a crusted steak and served on asparagus, a stir fry dish consisting of a mysterious fish and long clams garnished with parsley, a porridge-like dish with clams and chopped mushrooms, and even a lamb leg cooked whole—all these dishes were cooked and served in just 15 minutes.
“Hey, everyone! It’s not much, but eat it. Young’uns should eat a lot and be well. Tsk.”
Seeing the dishes lined up in front of him, the Murim Lord opened his eyes wide.
“Oh, no, but I am over thousands of years old… “
“What, did you eat something that gives you eternal youth? Ah, if it were Silicon Valley, I would have patented it! If you’re old, eat as much as your age! That’s how you stay strong.”
The image of the Medicine King talking as he poured the mussel soup into a large bowl was similar to that of a foul-mouthed grandmother or grandfather.
I also received a bowl of mussel soup. It smelled all right. Mussel soup was mussel soup, after all, but just as I thought that—
Oh my god.
‘It’s so delicious!?’
Was it because I’ve only been eating scraps of food like a Breatharian or something?
First of all, there was no trace of the usual fishy odor. And the soup wasn’t just boiled with water. The broth was red, as some crimson vegetables had been added to it, and it was a little sour and savory, so the broth alone was delicious. The mussel meat was also chewy, so it was fantastic to bite into it and let the juice burst in my mouth and create an exquisite mixture with the broth as it wrapped around my tongue and teeth.
It was like the pinnacle of taste.
Even after winning the Sangryun lottery, I had only limited myself to the luxury of a white mocha frappuccino venti quadra shot java chip half and half chocolate drizzle, which was enough of a shock to me.
The Alchemist, who was rolling in the slum as she hadn’t yet become famous, seemed to be in the same position as me. Her eyes widened.
“Oh my god. It’s delicious…”
The Alchemist savored the taste and went on to explain.
“This shrimp. It’s plump and solid. And even though it tastes like shrimp… There’s no fish odor… H, how can shrimp taste like this? In addition, the mille-feuille served for this dessert tastes like the nobility of Nuneddine. And not just regular nobility but a high ranking noble. The yogurt ice cream underneath is fresh and seems to be mixed with passion fruit juice, so it feels refreshingly sour… H, how does it taste this good?”
The Medicine King’s nose haughtily pointed upward.
“That’s because when I was in my 50s, I was awarded the three Michelin stars as the owner and chef of a restaurant! Ey. If I had a proper burner instead of something like this, I would have made something that would really fill up your stomachs.”
Could it be that the Medicine King wasn’t just good at making some medicine but was actually a really amazing person?
Was he not bluffing about Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and being a boxing champion?
“Why did such a great man come to the tower?”
The Venomous Snake also asked as if he was curious about it, with a mouthful of seafood porridge (the official name which seemed to be abalone truffle risotto).
The Medicine King snorted.
“Why? Is it forbidden for someone like me to enter the tower? That Marcus came to the Tower too!”
He had a point.
“Did you know each other from outside?”
“Know? Ha. He was just a filthy, nasty guy born to a filthy rich conglomerate. Compared to a self-made man in Silicon Valley like me, he’s just a lucky guy. That guy ran out of that luck in his final years, and he came to the tower with a sword…”
His words, which began with a snort, ended in a whisper.
The Alchemist, the Venomous Snake, and I all looked at the Medicine King as if we were reconsidering our opinions of him. Maybe that gaze irritated him, as the Medicine King shook his ladle as if shaking off a bird.
So we ate. It was really delicious.
It was the moment when the culinary director of the Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon was decided.
“It’s really the best taste.”
The Heavenly Demon, the protagonist of the Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon, said, as she constantly poured dishes into her mouth.
“Are you imperial guardians? Hmm, no. It’s different from Chinese cuisine.”
The Murim Lord sprayed his saliva while sucking on the cream pasta like a vacuum.
“That’s exactly what I mean. I have eaten various dishes as a lord, but this is my first time eating something like this.”
“Such strange dishes, and the appearance of abundance… I wonder where you come from, and why you came here…”
“Did you find a new way to cure Jiangshi’s disease?”
The two martial artists’ eyes lit up.
It was natural. From their standpoint, we were the first humans they had met in many years. Of course they found us fascinating, and of course they wondered if we had a cure.
I felt sorry for them, but I shook my head.
“We haven’t. We, too, are still looking for a cure.”
“Hmm. I guess it is like that…”
Were they as disappointed as they had been expectant?
Their complexions became grim.
“Well. All of Kang Ho’s doctors and experts rushed and tried to fix the mysterious disease, but none of them succeeded.”
“Because even the experts of Jiangshi, the masters of the Mosan Sect, had been turned, the circumstances would not have been different even if they were here now…”
“Is there really no cure?” I said. “We’re not bragging. You just saw the results of our cooking. We have different knowledge from you. This Alchemist here, especially, is superior to anyone in curing diseases and making medicines.”
The Alchemist, who was eating the lamb in big bites, blushed.
The Medicine King’s murmurs of ‘She’s just lucky’ that sounded next to us were… Well, I did feel a little sorry for him after he gave us such delicious food.
“This person over there is more than enough to assist the Alchemist. If you help us a little, we can develop a cure.”
The Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord looked at each other.
“Cure… What are you saying…?”
“Well. It’s not like there’s no way…”
The Alchemist’s face turned red.
“What, what is it?”
After a while, the Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord brought out a large coffin.
When they opened the casket, there was a zombie lying there.
Like the time when he talked about the warm body of the Murim Lord, the Sword Emperor sealed his lips tight and furrowed his brow.
The zombie was as calm as if it were under the sun. Maybe it was because it was tightly tied with chains or because of the spiky acupuncture needles embedded in each joint, but the zombie was lying immobile.
I raised my head.
“One of the monks of the Righteous Sect,” the Heavenly Demon said flatly.
“Right after being bitten by Jiangshi, he entrusted his body to us to study. But there is only one thing we figured out. It was to block the chi of the whole body with needles.”
The Heavenly Demon reached into the coffin.
The Heavenly Demon pulled out a large needle from the zombie’s neck.
At that exact moment, the zombie, who was as quiet as if it were sleeping, opened its eyes.
The Alchemist was startled and fell back. The zombie opened its mouth as if to bite the frightened Alchemist. Chul-kung! Chul-kung! Because of the chains, the zombie’s attack ended in vain, but the Alchemist couldn’t help but sweat.
“As you can see.”
The Heavenly Demon stabbed the zombie’s neck with the needle again. Then, the zombie slowly closed its eyes once more. The zombie’s complexion relaxed, as if it had never even struggled. “If you block the chi flow between the brain and spinal cord, you can calm the Jiangshi. It’s the point where the cervix meets the spinal column. However, this is a stopgap measure rather than a cure.”
“Anyone who is bitten by the Jiangshi becomes stained with takgi that spreads through the blood and respiratory tract.”
Takgi, or murky energy.
Did he mean the virus?
“This takgi cannot be defeated no matter how much you meditate or try to starve it out. Even the demons, who cultivated magical power from the very beginning, and martial arts masters, who have clear spirits like streams, are finished once bitten. The whole body gets hot like a fire, and they soon become Jiangshi.”
The Heavenly Demon slowly covered the coffin.
“This Shaolin monk lasted the longest. Even though his arm was bitten by the Jiangshi, he kept his mind clear for a year. But that’s one of the exceptions, and it’s usually hard to last beyond 15 days, no matter how great one’s mastery is.”
The Heavenly Demon sighed.
“Children of the outside world. Can you really find a cure?”
The Alchemist could not answer. Even the Medicine King, who had a bad temperament, was speechless.
The Heavenly Demon smiled bitterly when none of us could respond.
“That’s all right. I thought there were only two people left in the world, the old man and me, but just seeing new people makes this old woman want to take care of you. Stay here for as long as you want.”
The Murim Lord nodded.
“I’ll set up some sleeping places for you, so let’s end here today. Though I want to talk to you about many things, we can try to resolve it tomorrow.”
The first day in the Apocalypse.
We had to spend the night without accomplishing much.
“Umm… I can’t eat anymore… ”
“Marcus, you bastard, if you leave like that I’ll only be in second place my whole life…”
Midnight. The party went to sleep while muttering and drooling.
There was a bed near the open-air bath, so even though it was a little wet, I didn’t have to worry about getting cold.
-Zombie. Why aren’t you sleeping?
I looked up at the sky. The cave had an open ceiling, so I could see the black night sky well.
‘I have something to check.’
Instead of asking me what I wanted to check, the Sword Emperor shut his mouth. He must have guessed it.
That guess was probably the same as mine.
I pulled the blanket up to my face. Then, I closed my eyes and pretended that I had fallen asleep.
The night deepened.
I felt someone approaching. It wasn’t just one presence. There were two. I quietly held my breath without opening my eyes. The two of them lingered around us and whispered in very small voices.
“…Are they asleep?”
“…I believe so.”
“…Then let’s do it now. Hurry up.”
“…That’s right. Let’s finish it quickly.”
The voices of the Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord.
The sound gradually moved farther away from us. Splash. I heard the sounds of water. The two Murim people started taking a bath just after all of us fell asleep.
I got up in a flash and ran toward the open-air bath. Beyond the thick vapor. The Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord were wearing white mourning clothes in the bath. They were enjoying the hot spring with languid faces and were surprised to see me suddenly run in.
The Murim Lord dunked himself in the bath. The old man could not hide his embarrassment.
Looking at their bodies, I was convinced that my predictions were correct.
“Wh, what?! You! I thought you were asleep!”
The Heavenly Demon narrowed her eyes. She seemed to understand the situation a little faster than the old man. Sighing lightly, she looked at me quietly.
“…This child is quick on the uptake. When did you realize it?”
“I thought it was a bit weird from the first time I saw you.”
I opened my mouth.
“The weather was so cold, but the two of you were dressed lightly. One was wearing only a martial arts uniform, and the other was wearing a small mourning outfit.”
The weather outside was freezing.
If you didn’t use Aura, you couldn’t survive at all.
In such a powerfully cold climate, the Murim people in front of us had worn clothes that were no different from being naked.
“It meant that you were protecting your bodies from the cold by circulating your life energy. In other words, it meant that you are highly skilled at manipulating your life energy… But how could such skilled people get tired from small fights or walking a little? It was strange.”
I said slowly,
“There is only one explanation for this. The two of you are focusing all your efforts on other work.”
“You told us just a little while ago that once bitten by Jiangshi, a person’s whole body will be stained with takgi.”
I looked straight through the water vapor at the Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord.
“You two have already been bitten, correct?”
“I think it’s like this. Heavenly Demon-nim and Murim Lord-nim. Both of you were infected by the Jiangshi a long time ago. But with your magic and martial arts, you’re holding back the takgi with tremendous effort. Am I wrong?”
The silence settled in the open-air bath.
I heard the sound of water being shaken off, and soon, the Heavenly Demon stood up.
“Ma, Madu. You…”
“It’s fine. Old man. Haven’t we been completely figured out already?”
The Heavenly Demon shook her head.
“Child of the outside world. Your words are right.”
She turned her back toward me.
The pure white back of the Heavenly Demon.
“The old man and I were already bitten by the Jiangshi three years ago.”
There was a scar that was rotting and purple.
The Murim Lord also slowly showed the back of his neck.
“But, strictly speaking, there is one part of your words that is wrong.”
Likewise, there was a rotting wound there.
However, the wound stopped at the neck.
“We’re not suppressing the takgi.”
Above the neck, there was a clean, human face.
With that clean face, the Murim Lord said,
“We blocked the takgi by blocking the cervical part of our spinal cord with our life energy.”
The Sword Emperor clicked his tongue.
-Insanity. It’s telekinesis.
-Gongja. Do you know what the chi sword is?
‘Yes, it’s a technique to wrap a sword with life energy and make it fly… Could it be?’
There was no way…..
-That’s right. Blocking the cervical spinal point means that the sensation under the neck disappears. Then, of course you can’t move. In other words, they have become paralyzed, but the way they are moving now… . It’s like using the chi sword to move your whole body with life energy.
Bae Hu-ryeong said quietly.
-Moving the heart.
Making it beat.
-Breathing through their lungs.
Inhaling and exhaling air.
-Moving their joints while extending one arm, and controlling their back, knees, ankles, and soles while extending their legs forward.
In short, everything they need to live and move.
-Those guys are controlling everything one by one with their life energy.
To prevent the zombie virus from spreading through the spinal cord to their brains.
The two martial artists closed off their own brains.
I was silent.
-It’s the same as if they are using the chi sword 24/7. So even if they take a few steps, they lose strength. They’re crazy…
The Heavenly Demon said, as if hearing Bae Hu-ryeong’s words,
“We are carrying out the great battle of good and evil like this.”
The Murim Lord picked up where she left off again.
“Three years have already passed since then.”
 Nuneddine: A Korean Italian snack.
 Scraps of food: The actual term used is byukgokdan (벽곡단), or spherical energy bars designed to last a long time. For additional context, byukgokdan in martial arts novels is a food that can fill you up despite its small size (like goodberries in D&D) or make you stronger, etc. As for breatharianism, it’s a dangerous “diet” in which people believe they can survive without food.
 Children of the outside world: By “outside world,” the Heavenly Demon means beyond the Great Wall.
TN: Hey all! I’m thursdays, a temporary translator of SSS-Class Suicide Hunter. I’m helping out because I’m a fan of the plot; I’m normally the translator of TVIAM and the editor for SLR and SE. I hope to do this series and the translators who came before me justice with my work. Please be patient with me, and thanks for your support!
To report errors and issues or just talk grammar/language with me, contact me through Discord: https://discord.gg/Q3dStgu