༺ Purple Hue (1) ༻
When I’d found Namgung Bi-ah on the ground…
I was reminded of the last memory of the Demonic Sword in my past life.
The memory of her figure, slowly dying in my arms under the rain.
‘I was too carefree.’
It was only after that experience that I realized I’d been too carefree.
I had seen my world change in an instant.
And so I’d begun spectating from afar instead of involving myself with the flow of life.
But, if I’d just done nothing in the first place, none of this would’ve ever happened.
But even while knowing that, I involved myself anyways even though I didn’t want to because I knew that I couldn’t just sit still and do nothing.
I was still scared and afraid.
I hadn’t changed at all even after death.
‘…What the hell am I doing?’
What have I been doing ever since I came back?
Do I want to kill the Heavenly Demon?
If I really did, I would’ve given a sword to Wi Seol-Ah instead of a servant uniform.
Because I knew that that was the easiest solution.
But, even while knowing that, what have I been doing instead this entire time?
I watched the Sword Emperor watch over Wi Seol-Ah with a smile, thinking that he had a plan.
Even though I knew that all he wanted was for Wi Seol-Ah to never wield a sword.
And what have I gained from this sad excuse?
I was able to see her smile, a smile that I’d never seen from Wi Seol-Ah in my past life.
The hand I couldn’t hold before was now next to me and gave me warmth as if it was trying to tell me to hold onto it.
The hand I should’ve let go of was now next to me.
The arms were now open as if welcoming me into their embrace.
But… did I honestly deserve to be in those arms?
Even her beautiful smile would go away once the Heavenly Demon appeared in the world.
I was running away while knowing that, so do I really deserve such treatment?
I asked myself again.
I already knew the answer, but the fear I felt still remained.
‘I can’t fight the Heavenly Demon.’
I didn’t want to fight it because I was afraid.
‘It doesn’t have to be me.’
That was the excuse I gave myself so that I could continue having an easy life.
I’d been living a carefree life because of that one sad excuse even though I’d committed so many sins and murders in my previous life.
I tried to convince myself with the thought that, since I’d already died once, I could take it easy and have a happy life,
But I already knew what would happen, and so I suffered.
I kept running away.
I trained at night, but I didn’t really have a goal for why I did.
I kept reminding myself of how I would run away when the time came.
I kept trying to convince myself.
That it was enough, that I didn’t need to do anymore.
｢So, are you satisfied?｣
But out of nowhere, an unknown voice asked me.
｢Just with that, are you satisfied right now?｣
I had nothing in me.
This place still felt like the dream I felt on my first day.
A clear but dim dream that I couldn’t wake up from.
That was how I’d felt, but I still had to think about my responsibilities.
I had to think of hundreds of excuses that I could give myself.
And I had to take responsibility for the events that would occur in the future.
If I didn’t want Wi Seol-Ah to wield a sword,
Someone else had to wield it.
Furthermore, if Namgung Bi-ah ever wanted to leave me.
I had to let her go.
Even though she was my fiancée, I had many excuses to separate myself from her.
…But even so, I can’t let go.
Because of my pathetic selfishness, I kept hoping that she wouldn’t leave me.
And so, I had to take responsibility alone for all the burdens that had stacked up around me.
I couldn’t afford to just run and hide anymore.
So if I couldn’t let go of anything and didn’t want to lose anything,
I had to wake up from this dream.
It was a new ceiling.
* * * *
An unfamiliar ceiling came into view when I opened my eyes.
“…You woke up.”
And along with it the sight of an old man with white hair that spread everywhere.
It was the Immortal Healer.
I couldn’t believe that the first person I saw after waking up was the Immortal Healer, and as I was about to move my body in shock…
I screamed at the sudden ache that tore through my body.
It was so painful to the point that I almost tore up.
“Jeez, do you not know what being careful is?”
“Wha… What happened…?”
It felt as if someone had bitten off a part from each of my bones, the pain was so much that it was indescribable.
As I continued struggling with pain, I tried to recall the last thing that happened before I lost consciousness.
“It seems like everything went well, so don’t worry.”
The Immortal Healer told me the answer after reading my expression.
How did I lose consciousness, and what about Ya Hyeoljeok? …And what about Namgung Bi-ah?
“…Um… what about the girl that was-”
“The girl that was next to you is in much better shape than you, so don’t worry and just stay in bed.”
“Oh, I see… Thank you.”
Thankfully, it seemed like Namgung Bi-ah was okay.
But I didn’t get the chance to ask about Ya Hyeoljeok.
Just as I’d been about to ask, the Immortal Healer spoke first.
“It seems like your body isn’t that badly wounded, so once the pain goes away, you should be able to get up again.”
“Even though I told you that you might die if you used too much Qi, you drained all of it anyways.”
“I swear kids these days think that they are invincible or something… I don’t know why they are so reckless when their lives end with just one stab of a knife.”
I put on a bitter smile at the Immortal Healer’s words.
As he said, I was too reckless after I lost my mind.
‘…I really wasn’t in the right mind back there.’
I think I’d used up all of it without worrying about the consequences.
I probably had other options, but for some reason, I couldn’t calm myself down back then.
Even though Namgung Bi-ah was on the ground.
‘And, why did I lose consciousness?’
I definitely had some Qi left, and my body hadn’t been too physically exhausted either.
Of course, nearing the end I had started to feel some pain because I used up too much,
But I was still able to move around freely, unlike before.
‘I feel like… I heard a voice in the end.’
It was foggy.
I definitely felt like I’d heard a voice,
I just couldn’t remember.
When I tried to remember, my head started to ache in pain.
Alongside the sound of a plate being placed next to me, a bitter smell wafted into my nose.
Is it medicine?
Soon after, something came to my mouth.
When I turned my gaze toward it, I saw Zhuge Hyuk trying to feed me something with a spoon.
After wondering for a short while about what I should do, I just ate it.
It was way more bitter than I expected, so I was a little surprised.
“It’s just a medicine that suppresses your pain so eat all of it, only then you will feel better.”
I listened to the Immortal Healer and ate all of it.
It was strange, thinking that Zhuge Hyuk was the one feeding me.
“Wait a little more and someone will come. Everyone was waiting for you to wake up.”
“How long was I out for?”
“Two days, and after this night it’ll be three.”
I’d been out for that long?
I suddenly remembered Wi Seol-Ah who had told me to have a safe trip.
She was probably extremely worried about me.
“Since you woke up, these kids here will probably feel at ease now.”
I turned in the direction the Immortal Healer was looking.
In the corner of the room, I saw two girls sleeping while resting their backs against the wall.
It was Wi Seol-Ah and Namgung Bi-ah.
“They waited for you without even sleeping, but they fell asleep just as you woke up.”
For some reason, my heart felt tingly as I looked at them.
While I was looking at them, the Immortal Healer spoke to me.
“I want to ask you something.”
“Do you remember how I called you a living corpse back then?”
“Yes, I remember.”
That was the reason why I’d been looking for demonic stones in the first place, so I couldn’t forget.
The Immortal Healer was looking at me strangely as if there was a serious problem.
“I’m prideful in my ability as a doctor.”
One could say that he was being arrogant, but it was understandable since these words came from the Immortal Healer himself.
“I lived my whole life with that thought, but this is the first time I’ve seen such a thing.”
“…Did you find a new problem in my body?”
Is my body some sort of battlefield? Why are so many things happening inside it?
‘Is it because of all the troubles I caused in the past?’
I began to wonder why all of these problems were popping up.
The Immortal Healer spoke with an expression that showed his complicated thoughts.
“All of those Qis inside that were trying to devour each other, they are now calm as if they are dead.”
They’ve… calmed down?
It’d only been like 10 days since he’d told me that I could explode at any moment.
After hearing the Immortal Healer’s words, I, in shock, tried to put Qi around my body, but whether it was because I was tired or something, my abdomen just shook, and I found that I couldn’t use my Qi.
Instead, a different type of sensation flowed through my body.
I immediately stopped moving my Qi after I felt the chills.
There was demonic Qi flowing inside my body.
It was murky and unstable, but, it was definitely…
The demonic Qi that Ya Hyeoljeok had had.
* * * *
“Young Master is a dummy.”
“A dumb I-Idiot!”
When I woke up in the morning, I found myself getting scolded by Wi Seol-Ah.
My first task for the day, I found, was to calm down Wi Seol-Ah who had been about to cry as soon as she saw me.
Even after some time had passed, I still wasn’t able to completely calm her down because her eyes were still wet.
“Why do you always get hurt when I’m not there?”
I found that I couldn’t answer Wi Seol-Ah’s question.
Because I honestly felt like that always happened…
‘Then again, I always try my best not to bring her along if I know that it’ll be dangerous.’
That was the main reason.
Anyways that was that.
Wi Seol-Ah wiped her eyes which were wet with tears.
I wondered if I should pat her head or not, but I couldn’t easily move my body because I still hasn’t fully healed yet.
“You… really are a dummy.”
Wi Seol-Ah, in the end, burst out crying.
Because she started to cry, Namgung Bi-ah who had been standing quietly next to her handed her a handkerchief.
Namgung Bi-ah had one of her arms wrapped up in bandages.
According to the Immortal Healer, she would heal in just a few days since every other part of her was fine and she was a martial artist.
Wi Seol-Ah while wiping her eyes spoke to Namgung Bi-ah with a sobbing tone.
“…Can I blow my nose?”
She asked that really carefully.
Namgung Bi-ah seemed dumbfounded because it was unexpected, but she nodded, saying it was fine.
Then I heard Wi Seol-Ah blow her nose.
I, for some reason, felt like I shouldn’t be watching her, so I turned my head away.
When she gave the handkerchief back to Namgung Bi-ah, she made a face wondering what she should do with the handkerchief.
I guess I’ll just buy her a new one later…
While we were talking, the Immortal Healer came in and frowned.
“All of you go outside, I have to do a checkup now.”
“C… Can we stay a little longer?”
“You think I can focus with all of you here? Go outside!”
Even Wi Seol-Ah who had been spoiled every time because of her beauty, was kicked out by the Immortal Healer who didn’t seem to care.
In the end, Namgung Bi-ah left along with a disappointed Wi Seol-Ah.
My mind didn’t feel at ease because she looked at me disappointedly even while she was leaving.
After the two girls left, the Immortal Healer grabbed my arm.
“How are you feeling?”
“I feel much better than yesterday.”
“I still can’t let you loose just yet so just stay in bed.”
It seems like he’d noticed that I want to leave.
This place didn’t seem like the hut I saw last time, was I still in Mount Hua?
While I was staying still, the Immortal Healer suddenly spoke.
“I still haven’t thanked you yet.”
The Immortal Healer said those words to me while I was just lying in bed.
I responded confusedly.
“What do you…?”
“You became like this fighting the guy that was aiming for the hut.”
The guy that was aiming for the hut?
Was that Ya Hyeoljeok’s main goal of coming here?
I’d honestly just fought him because I was extremely mad, so it wasn’t the situation that the Immortal Healer thought it was.
“Dohwa would have to come here for more info… but it’ll take a while because of all the things that are happening right now.”
“When you say all the things, is something happening right now?”
“It’s not my place to talk about it. Dohwa will tell you all about it later.”
The Immortal Healer’s expression was gloomy while he was saying those words.
I felt a bit frustrated because I couldn’t see what was happening outside.
After massaging my arm for a long time, the Immortal Healer stood up, seemingly done with the checkup.
“You’ll be able to get up soon as it seems like you mostly healed. But stay in bed today as well just in case.”
“Got it. Thank you.”
After the Immortal Healer left, I thought for a bit.
About my body’s situation.
‘The Immortal Healer can’t feel demonic Qi.’
He had been doing a checkup until now, but he didn’t mention anything about demonic Qi.
It could be possible that he purposely hid it from me,
But I felt like that possibility was quite low.
I didn’t know how the demonic Qi had appeared in my body, but it seemed like it was, thankfully, slowly starting to purify.
It was the same as last time when I’d absorbed the energy from a demonic stone with my demonic absorb ability, and my destructive flame arts devoured the demonic Qi afterward and purified my body.
But the demonic Qi I currently had was noticeably different when compared to the demonic Qi I’d absorbed from the demonic stones or the Qi I got from the Heavenly Demon.
The Black Palace.
It especially felt similar to the murky Qi Ya Hyeoljeok had.
It was as if I’d stolen his Qi or something.
Did I absorb his Qi?
‘Absorbing Qi not from demonic stones, but from a person?’
I’d never heard of such an ability.
Though I probably shouldn’t even be saying this in the first place since I absorbed energy from several demonic stones.
Furthermore, I believed that the Immortal Healer saying that my energy had calmed down was also related to this.
‘…So in the end, I guess my demonic Qi is also getting calmed down as well.’
Which would mean that I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of looking for a demonic stone to absorb it to test.
I felt a bit uneasy, thinking that I’d have to involve myself with the demonic Qi of the Heavenly Demon even in this new life,
But I had to get into the right head space starting now.
There was one more thing that I was concerned about.
Ever since I woke up.
I kept calling Elder Shin, but no response came.
I called for him again.
And still got no response.
I’d been calling for him ever since I woke up last night, but he hadn’t responded once.
I called for him both out loud and in my mind.
But no response came.
“…Where did this old man go…?”
Elder Shin had disappeared.
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