Chapter 79. <The Scent of Snow. (2) >
Translator: thursdays Editor: Sasha PR: LightBrin
After a long while, the Heavenly Demon and I were able to return to the party.
The two of us were quiet.
As we walked through the cave tunnel, the Heavenly Demon said only one thing.
“…It’s very dark ahead, so be careful where you step.”
I just answered, “Yes.”
With that, our conversation ended. When I peeked at her face, it seemed to be submerged in apprehension.
What was the Heavenly Demon, no.
What was Master thinking about?
There was a saying that a disciple should not step on even the shadow of their master, but it was hard to withstand my curiosity. Could it be that I had shown her too much of my weakness, and now Master had become cautious? That wasn’t what I wanted, though.
Name: So Baek-hyang
Favorite Genre: [Martial Arts]
Hated Genres: [Classical], [Mythology], [History], [Fairy Tales]
Favorite Characters: [Commoners], [Rival], [Disciple]
Hated Characters: [Oppressor], [Deceiver], [Playboy]
Favorite Plot: [All-out Match]
Hated Plot: [Running Away], [Oblivion], [Meaningless Death]
Psychological State: ‘Here. If I calculate my remaining energy… I can live for one year and six months more by being frugal. A year and a half! As I thought, it’s difficult! Within a year and a half, I must pass down everything to Gongja…’
My face tingled. I felt guilty for peeking into Master’s heart… And not only that, I felt bashful. Also… a little touched. I wasn’t sure what emotion it was, but my face felt very hot.
Ah. Am I really weak against something like having people’s favor and being recognized?
I heard a snicker.
-Zombie! Today is a really good day! It’s a lucky day!
Of course, my feelings of being moved did not last for long.
A not-human ghost jerk shattered it all.
-Well! No matter how different the world is, martial artists aren’t that different from those in my Murim world. Still, it makes me feel good that I can read martial arts texts for the first time in a long time. Kyaah! Ah, by the way. Did your ceremony go well?
-Huh? What’s that? That sour look. You already look ugly, Zombie, and you’re making it uglier. You need to take care of your appearance.
If my favorability rate could be shown right now, it would have immediately gone down by 10 points.
Anyway, ghosts do not know about the human mind.
[Shiny just barely stops sobbing and looks up at the warrior.]
Shiny, who had been shivering since a while ago, finally stopped.
As expected, a constellation knows the human mind and what it feels.
My favorability for Shiny rose by 30.
“Oh. You’ve returned,” the Venomous Snake said to us. His one eye soon looked at me. “Is the ceremony over now?”
“Yes. I officially became a disciple of the Demonic Cult.”
“So, how did Venomous Snake-nim become the Murim Lord’s disciple?”
The Venomous Snake smirked and folded his arms.
“Well, somehow, it just happened.”
“You said stuff like that earlier, too.”
“What, do you want to hear all the details?”
The Venomous Snake looked at me with his arms crossed.
He shook his head with an expression so guarded as if not even a needle could pierce him.
“I’m sorry, but it’s impossible,” the Venomous Snake said casually.
“I just asked him to teach me. Nothing really happened.”
Since our spar was also over, I opened the Venomous Snake’s psychological status window.
『Sheesh. That nearly-dead old man… No. Now he’s my master.
Anyway, he says his life is short and wants to give the Heavenly Demon a reason to live. How could I refuse and say no?
And he’s skilled. He’s superior to me…』
I looked at the Venomous Snake, feeling as if I had been hit on the head.
The Venomous Snake.
He was a real ‘man.’
『Whoa~ Maybe it’s because I lied, but I keep thinking about it.
The Murim Lord and the Heavenly Demon sometimes spar against each other. I’d been thinking that they’re sort of awesome since seeing that.
So, since the two of us were sitting together, we started talking about martial arts.
Then the Murim Lord suddenly said, ‘Whoa! Oi, you, is it true? How blessed is the outside world to have a genius like you?’ He seemed very astonished.
As for me, I scratched the back of my head, thinking, hmm, it’s not that much—
Then the Medicine King stepped in, asking why he was making such a fuss over that little thing, saying,
‘Ah, this guy, the Chen Mu-mun master, is a precious [peer] to me even though it looks like this. With his skill, character, and appearance, of course he is qualified to be one.’
The Alchemist also blushed, saying,
‘Yes… Ch, Chen Mu-mun master is like an older bro..ther… N, nothing! I didn’t say anything! Anyway, the Chen Mu-mun master is the top ranker in our world… H, he’s even said to be an idol that people all over the world look up to! I think… Ahaha, ha, hahaha, I, I said something embarrassing—!’ And she clasped her hands to her cheeks.
With the banquet of facts suddenly pouring out of them, I had no choice but to look at the distant mountains.
Then the Murim Lord nodded as if everything made sense.
‘Hey, I have a request! As the greatest genius, please be my last student!’
Haa~ This was so difficult.
I just want to live quietly, but really, why is my life so…』
That was enough.
The Venomous Snake.
He was a ‘real man.’
“Death King. And Demonic Cult sect leader-ssi.”
The best ‘real man’ of this time shrugged as he said, “I have one good news and one sad news for you.”
“What is it?”
“It was successful.”
It wasn’t the Venomous Snake who answered my question. It was a more shaky voice, the voice of the Alchemist. The Alchemist was walking this way, wearing her thick glasses.
“The cure. I developed it. It was a success, Death King-nim.”
The reason I couldn’t answer right away was not that I was impressed with the declaration that she completed it.
The Alchemist was a genius. I had no doubt that she could develop a cure; it was only a matter of time.
In the meantime, I spent a lot of time learning about the Infernal Heavens Demonic Art. If it was the Alchemist, especially with the help of the Medicine King, she would definitely be able to develop a cure.
“What? You made the medicine?”
Master looked surprised.
“Is that really true? If you are lying, say it now. I am generous enough to overlook a single lie.”
“…Yes. It’s the truth,” the Alchemist said.
“Actually, I developed it yesterday. I observed it for an additional day because I had to see the results of the clinical trial.”
“Clinical trial? What’s that?”
“It’s to see if the cure works properly. The experimental subjects donated by Heavenly Demon-nim and Murim Lord-nim… I’m sorry. The faction leader. I looked at his progress for a day.”
The pharmacist seemed to be struggling to keep her face expressionless.
“It’s been a long time since he died, so I couldn’t revive him. The zombie virus… I confirmed that the contagion was gone, and his body became an ordinary corpse. Yes. There is nothing wrong with the cure.”
“If that’s true, isn’t it a great occasion?”
Master was delighted.
“That’s amazing! Even though the doctors and the taoists all worked together, they couldn’t defeat the disease. To find a solution with only two people, that’s something that goes beyond talent!”
“No. Thanks to the data provided by Death King-nim…”
“There’s no need to be modest. Heal the old man Ax Saint right now!”
Master grabbed the Alchemist’s hands.
Master’s joy could be vividly felt in her gestures and motion.
“That guy pretends to be strong and proud, but he’s trembling. He doesn’t have many days left. He must have known that and so took in a child of the outside world as his disciple. It must be God’s compassion that let you develop the cure before the old man passed away!”
“Yes… Of course, I’ll treat him. That’s why I’m here…”
Then, I opened my mouth.
“There is a problem with the cure.”
“Isn’t that so, boss?”
The Alchemist hung her head. Her complexion was as dim as her voice. From the moment she said that she finished making the cure, the Alchemist hadn’t made eye contact with me. I had started to feel anxious from that point.
“No, there is no problem with the cure… After all, I’m the one who made it. It’s perfect. But…”
“There are harmful effects to the abdomen.”
We heard the sound of light footsteps.
“Madu. I also witnessed that horse-faced taoist’s body return to normal. Just in case, I grabbed two more Jiangshi to look again, but the results were the same. There is no doubt about the efficacy of the medicine made by this maiden.”
The Murim Lord, the Ax Saint.
The old man in a white uniform slowly walked over to us.
“But you know. The two of us are already half-corpses. Our bodies have become corpses long ago, but we’ve been saving them by force.”
Master’s face hardened.
The Murim Lord stroked his beard in a forlorn manner.
“We skillfully defied the laws of heaven to survive. Now we must pay the price.”
“…It’s been a long time since both of you were infected with the Jiangshi disease.”
The Alchemist opened her lips.
“If you haven’t been infected yet, or if you were just infected, the cure and prevention will end with just one vaccine, but the two of you…”
The Alchemist, with her head bowed, quickly moved her mouth.
“There is no abnormality above the point where the cervix meets the spinal column. After taking the cure, you’ll return to normal as it was before the disease spread. However, below that point, what you are talking about is the origin of the disease, the pathogenesis… So, it’s impossible to distinguish the takgi.”
In particular, the condition of the lower body was serious, the Alchemist said.
“The passage through which your life energy moves is the same passage through which takgi spreads. In simple terms, you have to clean the hallway. The cure is not a meticulous tweezer but a dull broom. You can’t separate the dust and grains of sand while sweeping the hallway with a broom. The hallway has so much dust piled up, especially, the lower part of the abdomen…”
The lower part of the abdomen was the place where life energy accumulated.
For martial artists, it was as precious as life itself.
“There, we have to clear everything.”
“…If you clear it up,” Master said.
“What does it mean to clear it up?”
“We have to get rid of it.”
The Alchemist’s voice was tight.
“We have to perform surgery.”
“…Are you saying you’re going to get rid of the tumor attached to the abdomen? That much is okay. There may be a loss in energy, but that can be recovered quickly.”
“No. I have to remove it completely.”
“You don’t have to doubt the success of the surgery. This type of surgery has been done before. I’m not a specialist, but the Medicine King is skilled. I, I am also capable of providing support. So…”
“She has great skill in medical procedures,” the Murim Lord said, interrupting. “I don’t know much, but the doctors of the outside world are more skilled than the ones within the walls. It’s amazing to watch from the side. Madu. You should also look at it if you have the chance.”
“I am—” the Murim Lord coughed.
“I am going to have the procedure.”
“It’s only a handful of energy that I’ll lose anyway. There’s nothing to be sad about. I have no regrets. I’m glad that I can have a disciple in my old age. Even without my lower abdomen, I will have the mind to teach my pupil, and my disciple is a once-in-a-lifetime genius who understands ten things if I tell him one.”
The Murim Lord looked at his longtime nemesis.
“We are martial artists. Martial arts is in the heart. If the heart remains, martial arts remain. Isn’t that so, Baek-hyang?”
Master could not answer.
Throughout the night, the Murim Lord underwent surgery. Around dawn, the Alchemist and the Medicine King informed us that the operation was over.
The operation was a success.
At dawn, the snowfield contained the color of the shade.
Master stood alone at the entrance to the cave, looking down at the shadowy world. Long black sleeves fluttered in the wind.
The scenery was far away.
But Master’s back looked to be farther than the scenery.
“…Did the result of the operation come out?”
“Is that so?”
Master’s gaze, though focused, did not seem to be looking at anything in particular.
“I wanted to cut down all the coldness in the world,” Master said. “That has been my wish since childhood. I resented the winter. The snow that fell in winter was something regretful for me. Why were there seasons in the world, and among the seasons, why did winter have to take people’s lives?”
A world that had become covered by perpetual winter.
The woman born with ice, snow, and shade hated the season that most resembled her.
“I was confident that I could punish those who froze the world, even if I could not cut down the coldness with one strike. I remember the days when I first appeared in the land of rivers and lakes. It was also midwinter then.”
I realized that something had changed about Master.
Master was holding a sword in her right hand. There was no guard. It was made only with a hilt and a blade. Unlike other swords that were transparent like mirrors, Master’s sword was pitch black.
It was a sword that refused to be transparent.
It was my first time seeing it, but I could guess what the sword was.
“Bloody Demonic Sword…”
Master softly chanted,
“When I first appeared in the land of rivers and lakes, I tried something. It was the will of a young heart. I accepted the coldness of the world as a literal thing and wished to cut down the snowy mountains.”
The breath shed at dawn was white.
In the white sky, high mountain peaks rose.
“I couldn’t even cut off the hem of it during those days, but—”
Master raised her sword.
“What will happen now? I wonder.”
She swung the sword.
It was a sluggish gesture.
Master’s sleeves were long, so it took a long time for it to follow her hand movements. When the black sleeves fluttered in the air, the time in the world seemed to have stopped. In the frozen air, Master’s sleeves moved freely.
“Agabarayeo,” I have a wish.
The swordswoman was burned up as she performed her sword dance.
“My heart is a candle.”
“Burn this place.”
The snowy mountain was cut.
The snow peak, which did not bear trees nor reveal rocks, which had no meaning except for just being there, was cut.
The screams of the snow-covered mountains resembled thunder. Following the echoing scream, a pure white explosion. The snowy mountain collapsed, starting from the peak, causing a wave of snow to fall, and the waves built upon each other and fell apart in layers. It continued to collapse. A blizzard created by a person, not the heavens, greeted the dawn.
Master was out of breath.
“I could only cut the peak. I cut the mountain with my heart, but killing it with just my spirit is a far-off dream. This is the last stage of the great me.”
Master looked back at me.
One mountain was crumbling white.
“I will undergo the procedure.”
 The pronunciation of “sword dance” and “sword life” are identical.
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