Chapter 67. <Heavenly Demon. (2)>
Translator: thursdays Editor: Sasha
The Alchemist gently closed her eyes.
After a while, her lips opened.
“…If it weren’t for you, Death King, I would still be in the back alleys of the slum. All my equipment was stolen… Honestly, I can’t imagine what would have happened.”
The Alchemist slowly opened her eyes.
Beyond her glasses, her eyes were much clearer than before.
“Yes. I want to repay you for what you did for me. I’ll devote myself solely to making the medicine without thinking… But I can’t really see my surroundings when I’m distracted by my work. I am not polite, either. I’ll probably be very cocky. Still…”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Please show off your skills to your heart’s content.”
Now was not the time to worry about fine manners.
I just need good returns on my investment in the future.
The Alchemist fixed her glasses.
She turned her head and looked at the Medicine King.
“From now on, please support me with your full strength.”
The Medicine King frowned. The old man’s wrinkles were as thick as his stubbornness.
“Support? Suppooort? Have you seen such a horrible thing? Yes, this. Even cold water has order to it! Top and bottom! How dare this greenhorn ask the Medicine King to support her…”
“Skill card open.”
Cards sprang out from the Alchemist’s hand.
One golden card. Three silver cards.
The Alchemist acquired four skills that were difficult to obtain for an ordinary hunter. Furthermore, she only had advanced skills that were B grade or higher.
The Medicine King’s eyes widened into circles.
“W, what is this? Are you trying to show off your skills to me? Hey. Young’uns think that everything can be done with just skills. You don’t know what true ability is…”
The Alchemist replied,
“You can look at it.”
“You can look at what my skills are.”
The Medicine King was embarrassed and couldn’t respond right away.
It was natural. Skills were secret weapons for Hunters. Any savvy Hunter knew that they should never let others learn their skills. Revealing skills was like confessing not only one’s own strengths but also one’s weaknesses.
In a word, it was pure stupidity. A dumb and foolish act.
“Or should I just show it to you myself?”
However, the Alchemist did not hesitate.
“This skill is called [Moving Hospital].”
She turned the card over and showed it to the Medicine King.
“Everything from a blood test to an EEG test is possible in real time. I can also take out and use the drugs I store in advance. However, there is a 2% chance of a misdiagnosis. This is [Life Diagnosis]. It shows me a patient’s condition in terms of genes. I can combine the two skills to minimize the probability of a misdiagnosis…”
“W, wait a moment! Wait just a minute!”
The Medicine King belatedly caught up his thoughts.
“You! Why are you showing me your skills!? What if I expose this to the Alchemy Castle or to my business partners!”
“It’s all right. I swore that I wouldn’t care about such petty thoughts,” the Alchemist said. “If you want to make it public, do it. But please support me this time until we make a treatment.”
“No, but why are you asking me…”
“Because I need you to speed up development time, even if it’s just by a day.”
“You hate looking at me, right?”
The Alchemist looked at the Medicine King. It was a calm, cold look. The Alchemist used to be flustered often, but now her face was completely expressionless.
“Are you angry because this ‘young’un’ doesn’t know about the topic? It must be annoying that someone like me has talent, right? You’re annoyed like crazy because you know I’m going to live longer than you and be admired by people for longer than you, right?”
The human voice is often compared to that of a bird. But I bet the Alchemist’s voice could not be imitated by any beast. To put it frankly, it was like this. Her voice reminded me of a bug.
It was like the sizzle of a fire ant colony.
“If you can help me with your utmost power this time.”
The Alchemist fixed her glasses.
“The medicine recipes I have made so far. I’ll give you everything. I won’t go anywhere or tell them they’re my recipes. You can have them. Use them. Tell people that it’s a recipe you invented—”
At that moment, the Alchemist’s glasses slipped and fell to the floor.
The old man had slapped her on the cheek.
The Alchemist picked up her glasses. Then, she silently wiped the glasses with her sleeves. A red handprint remained on her left cheek. The Alchemist put on her glasses again, then silently looked at the old man.
The old man trembled.
“You wicked thing…”
“I will analyze the zombie virus.”
“You will learn that there is a sky above the sky.”
“Sir, please do the things I tell you to do.”
“The day will come when your pride will be crushed and you will exude a rotten odor.”
“I’ll write down what I need and give it to you.”
“Someday you too—”
“At that time, sir—”
The old man and the woman spoke at the same time.
“You will meet someone better than you.”
“Find it and give it to me.”
And the two Hunters fell silent.
The Alchemist on the left and the Medicine King on the right sat on either side of the corpse of the faction leader. When the Alchemist muttered something, the Medicine King wrote it down. It was a neutral, muted atmosphere. The two, who became more of a still life art than a portrait, only conversed about business.
“Death King-nim. I’m sorry, but please leave,” the Alchemist mumbled, cutting into the corpse’s head with a surgical knife.
“The sound of your breath is disturbing me. A lot. It’s very, very disturbing.”
“Go and catch six more zombies while you’re out.”
The Medicine King peered into the corpse’s dark mouth. The Medicine King pinched the zombie’s tongue, stained purple and black, with his tongs.
“I need more samples. A kid. A young adult. An old person. Each with a different gender. And if there are any medicinal herbs that I say I need, get them.
“Leave it to me.”
From that day.
We went into a state of war.
Even eating was a waste of time. Washing one’s body was a luxury. Even though there was an open-air bath right next to us, the Alchemist and the Medicine King did not take a bath. Whether it was night or day, the two Hunters only studied the zombies while cracking at the edge of the wall.
“Uh-huh… The atmosphere has changed drastically.”
The Heavenly Demon looked at our party as if she were curious.
“Are you trying to gain enlightenment? Young people sure are eager.”
“Why don’t you cook the clam soup or risotto?”
The Murim Lord coaxed the Medicine King.
“It was so skillful that even the imperial family’s chef would cry. If the world was fine, I would have appointed you as the chef of the Daenam palace.”
“I’m busy. Buzz off,” the Medicine King replied without raising his head. He only put one hand in his subspace pocket and threw a water bottle.
“If you’re hungry, fill yourself up with water.”
Was it that regrettable that he couldn’t taste the Medicine King’s dishes? The Murim Lord smacked his lips. Even so, he caught the Bling H20 thrown by the Medicine King and drank it all.
“Old man. Don’t bother busy people. Let’s go.”
“All right, all right. Oh, I’m having a hard time because my body doesn’t listen to me these days.”
The Murim Lord grumbled as if he was tired.
“Today again, how much have the Jiangshi scattered…”
“Would those who stray far away go to heaven? Stop talking and come out.”
The Murim Lord grumbled and left the cave with the Heavenly Demon.
Like yesterday, they were trying to collect and line up zombies. To spend the 991th day of the great war.
A day had passed.
The day when this world would reach its end became one day closer.
Another day had passed.
Again, another day passed by.
Days just waiting for destruction.
A world in a music box that just hadn’t stopped yet.
Just a week had passed since we fell into the Apocalypse.
That day, the Heavenly Demon looked up at the ceiling of the cave.
“……We can’t go outside today.”
Outside, a blizzard was raging. The wind blew and blew again, so there was no distinction between the top and the bottom, and the sky and the earth.
The world was a dark snowfield.
This was the first time I learned that something white could become this dark.
“Well. Some days are just like this.”
The Heavenly Demon just shrugged her shoulders, as if saying that it was no problem.
“Rather, it was a fluke that the days were sunny for the past few days. In severe cases, it could be a complete whiteout for over 30 days. There was no sunlight, so we couldn’t even take a step.”
“Then, the Jiangshi will continue to move,” I said.
“Will that be all right? If the Jiangshi go too far, you won’t be able to recover them.”
“In that case, it can’t be helped. We lose them.”
The Heavenly Demon sighed.
“Just three years ago, our school’s power reached 1,000. That’s about the same amount of people that the old man brought into his sect. But as the years passed, there were Jiangshi that went so far that we couldn’t find them at all.”
The missing corpses. No. Not missing, but lost bodies. Every time a blizzard struck in the sky, the Heavenly Demon and the Murim Lord would have lost some of their Jiangshi.
“That must be the scariest thing.”
“To wake up and go to the snowfield just to discover that some Jiangshi had disappeared somewhere.”
The Heavenly Demon looked at me quietly.
“Do you think that I would feel scared?”
The woman’s eyes were dark.
Her hair as well. Even the clothes that she wore.
Her appearance, which was only black, seemed to desperately resist this world that had become a pure white snowfield.
“Yes. I think so.”
“Surely the world has turned over a lot. Back then, the head of a man who talked like that would not be safe. Child of the outside world. You should consider yourself fortunate that the world is ruined.”
“Heavenly Demon-nim and the Murim Lord are masters. You are so well-versed in the martial arts that it would be shameful to compare you with me.”
I quietly looked away.
The Murim Lord was asleep by the hot spring.
“But no matter how strong you are, your life energy is not infinite.”
“What are you talking about?”
“When will your chi run out?”
“You are blocking your spinal cord with your life energy. Your heart rate, breathing, and limb movements are all controlled with your life energy as well.”
It was like using a chi sword all day, every day.
I shook my head.
“No matter how much life energy you have, you cannot continue this outrageous thing forever.”
“I’ll ask again. When will your chi run out, Heavenly Demon-nim?”
That woman had said a while ago.
「Humans all die someday.」
Something resonated in those words. It was the sound of realization.
There is only one way humans can realize something.
They had to experience it themselves.
The Heavenly Demon groaned.
“Really, this child is quick to notice.”
“You don’t have many days left, right?”
“……I’ll revise my words a little. This child is dirtily quick to notice.”
How does [The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon] get destroyed?
If you think about it, it was a surprisingly simple matter.
“If your life energy falls, it becomes impossible for you two to move your bodies.”
The Heavenly Demon looked up at the sky.
From the hole in the ceiling of the cave, a blizzard poured out of the sky as if it was raging.
“First, the tip of the toe and the fingertips will be destroyed. Then, the calves and wrists. Knees. Shoulders. Waist. One after the other, the life energy will not be able to sustain them, and the body that did not yield to the illness will finally rot.”
Literally, it was necrosis.
It was like a building that stopped operating one after another when fuel ran out.
At some point, the two would become immobile.
The woman touched the chest area of her shabby uniform.
“The upper body.”
Then, she tapped her head.
“All parts will rot, leaving only three parts. No. It’s all right if the other parts rot.”
“…You already know.”
“The Shaolin monk endured a year altogether.”
The Heavenly Demon smiled bitterly.
“He went into hiding, ashamed that others might see him and think him unworthy as a monk. At the last minute, um. Except for his face, it wasn’t much different from the Jiangshi. The whole body was rotting black… He couldn’t even recite the Amitabha.”
“You asked if I was afraid. That’s right. I’m afraid.”
The human voice is often compared to that of a bird.
But I bet the Heavenly Demon’s voice could not be imitated by any beast.
“I am afraid.”
A quiet murmur like the sound of a falling flower petal.
“I am afraid that my chi is exhausted. I am afraid that even my persistence will run out. I am afraid of the blizzard. I am afraid that the sunlight will not come out, and when the day is bright, I am afraid that my subordinates, those that used to be my subordinates, will disappear. Each time I breathe, I worry about how many more breaths I can breathe. Every time my heart beats, I’m worried if I’ll be able to feel the beating of my heart just a few more times in the future.”
The Heavenly Demon sighed.
“I’m afraid that I cannot kill the old man. I’m afraid that the old man will not be able to kill me. I am afraid that the day will come when the old man and I will not be able to lie on the bed together. Lying on the bed, I’m afraid that I’m just waiting for my life energy to run out.”
A meaningless death.
Even if they struggled to the end, it was meaningless. They would die. In the dead, disappearing world, only snow falls and falls, leaving only achromatic landscape paintings.
This is the end that [The Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon] will meet.
It was the ending of this world.
“This is why the world is so scared.”
Another day passed.
It was the eighth day after falling in the Apocalypse.
There were two days left until the world would be destroyed.
“Madu,” the Murim Lord muttered, lying on the bed. “I can’t move my body anymore.”
The Murim Lord was smiling.
And he was crying.
A low noise.
That was the sound of a world’s downfall.
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