Possessing Nothing - Chapter 164
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*Centinni is translating this novel.*
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The first to respond to the scream was none other than Namgung Heewon. He was already leaving the tent before the long screams ended. A little later than that, Zhuge Taeryong woke up with a distorted face. It was the same for Dang Ah-hui and other martial artists who were surprised. Aladdur tore his hair in frustration as if he knew this would happen.
The group arrived at the source of the scream at once, Namgung Heewon suddenly stopped running and stood firm. When Murong Seojin saw Namgung Heewon, she hurriedly arranged her clothes. But her face was pale, and the hand pulling the trouser leg trembled. Namgung Heewon took off his robe and threw it to Murong Seojin without looking at her naked body. She hesitated to accept the robe for a second but quickly put the robe on to cover her body.
“What’s going on?”
Zhuge Taeryong and the other martial artists arrived. Zhuge Taeryong glared at Murong Seojin, who was covering herself with Namgung Heewon’s clothes. Rather than worry, annoyance and anger surged up. Anger at his wife for doing something that made him feel ashamed of himself.
Instead of Murong Seojin, Dang Ah-hui raised and pointed with her finger as her mouth was wide open. The direction she pointed to was across from where Murong Seojin was standing embarrassedly. Something was swaying beyond the luminous bushes that made everyone present shudder.
Their eyesight wasn’t fooling them this time. Everyone saw it. It’s outline became clearer through the haze from the forest. A monster 3 meters tall with an absolutely bloody and horrendous appearance that looked dazed and confused by the appearance of the party.
“Fuck!”, Zhuge Taeryong roared.
He was surprised but not afraid. He beat the ground with his feet and rushed forward. He swung his sword coated with a golden hue of internal energy at the still confused monster and cut through the flesh of the monster.
Zhuge Taeryong, who cut off the body of the monster, felt embarrassed. He cut it, but there was no sense of it being ‘cut’. Zhuge Taeryong moved his body back, stepping around the monster cautiously. The monster’s appearance started to shift and started to morph into something disgusting as if taking the appearance of a million different species like a chimera, then it started to distort and turn into a wisp of smoke.
“Get back!”, cried Aladdur hurriedly.
The expert in this field was Aladdur, a sorcerer, not the swordsman with martial techniques. Aladdur moved his hands into his sleeves and started fiddling around as if to look for something. After a while, what he took out was a wooden statue and closed his eyes. The wooden statue looked more like an ominous voodoo doll or totem, but Aladdur carefully held it forward with both hands. Aladdur murmured a spell with his lips fluttering. Then the two eyes of the wooden statue opened wide and shone brightly in the dark encampment.
The smoke monster let out a hideous cry and the hazy smoke started to disintegrate slowly.
“What the hell was that?”
Namgung Heewon, who was watching it all, asked carefully. Aladdur answered while sighing a breath of relief.
“Yokai…?”, Heewon asked for clarification, seemingly skeptical of the answer he received.
“You must have heard the ghost stories of your childhood, right? Literally that’s an evil spirit. No, I don’t have to call it evil. The spirit that died in this forest, unable to go where it was supposed to go, became bound by the strength of the forest and was forced to submit to the evil spirits.”
Because his mentality was exhausted from the spell and the abrupt wake-up scream, Aladdur’s legs were shaking from fatigue.
“Don’t be surprised by this. That kind of evil spirit doesn’t have much power. If you keep your head straight, you won’t be possessed. Well… not necessarily.”
Aladdur’s face was stained with uneasiness. There were some seriously strong and possessive spirits in this forest. One had to be extremely careful not to be possessed at any moment.
“I can’t help it if it’s a powerful evil spirit. It’s embarrassing to say that my sorcery isn’t that strong when it comes to subduing spirits. So… please be more cautious. If you lose your mind, you’ll lose everything you know, even if your body is refined through years of training.”, Aladdur pleaded.
Zhuge Taeryong bit on his lower lip. Zhuge Taeryong was famous not only for his martial prowess but also for his strategy and tactics, but unfortunately, it was a facade. He was only good for his martial arts, and his so called strategy and tactics were nothing but propaganda to the masses.
‘I should have brought my uncle.’,Taeryong thought to himself.
However, it was too late to do so.
Zhuge Taeryong glared at Murong Seojin and spat out with a venomous tone. She stumbled in embarrassment and anxiety. Zhuge Taeryong jerked his head and turned away when he saw that she had finally stood up. Murong Seojin felt that her husband was cruel, but there was nothing she could really do about it. She took off the robe she borrowed and handed it back to Namgung Heewon.
“It’s all right.”, he replied flatly lowering his gaze respectfully.
With Zhuge Taeryong at the forefront, other fighters return to the fire pit. Namgung Heewon stayed there and turned his head to Aladdur.
“…I’d like to apologize for my earlier actions.”
“For the famous heir to the Namgung family to be lowering his head to me. Should I be honored?”
Aladdur teased, but the latter was not displeased. Aladdur looked with a surprised and confused look, that Namgung Heewon didn’t react negatively to the teasing.
“If you had another sorcerer to help you, do you think you would be able to help us break out of the forest?”, Namgung Heewon asked.
“If only there was another sorcerer on hand, but… I don’t think anyone’s going to come. Any sorcerer worth his two cents knows the dangers of this forest.”
Namgoong Heewon sighed helplessly. Then, a boy in a black suit rose from under Namgung Heewon’s shadow.
“Did you call?”
Aladdur yelped in surprise. Namgoong Heewon ignored Aladdur’s response and talked to the boy.
“I’d like to get some help with leaving the Forest of Temptation. Are there any sorcerers who can support us with the task?”
[Wait a moment please…]
The boy suddenly disappeared. Aladdur, who had his mouth wide open, muttered as he looked at Namgung Heewon.
“…yes, of course, you were a member of the Erebrisa…”
“Do you know them?”, Heewon asked Aladdur, intrigued that he knew the identity of the mysterious organization.
“I’ve only heard in name. It’s an intermediary guild with brokers who appear like ghosts seemingly anywhere in the world without restriction. My teacher had been contacted by Erebrisa, but she refused to sign with them. Even though they’re resourceful… I’m sure none of the sorcerers they connect with, will come to the Forest of Temptation. As long as they are connected to Erebrissa for profit, they will not move without profit.”
“I can give them as much money as they need.”
“Hah… money is great and all, but one’s life is more valuable than money, you should already know that. If I wasn’t forced by Zhuge Taeryong to come with you lot, I would have never come here.”
Namgung Heewon didn’t mind that Aladdur had backhandedly insulted Taeryong. He had the same feelings and thoughts towards Taeryong, the fact that he was forceful and arrogant. A moment later, the broker from Erebrisa reappeared.
[I’m sorry. I asked the nearest sorcerers, but they all refused when they heard about the location being the Forest of Temptation.]
Aladdur laughed aloud as he listened to the broker.
“You see, what did I say?”
Aladdur spoke, already knowing of such an outcome.
When Murong Seojin had screamed when she saw the spirit. Lee Sungmin, and his group were also encountering the evil spirits of the forest. Watching the incorporeal beings beyond the bonfire, Rubia swallowed her breath and the Crazy Heavenly Demon furrowed his brows.
[What a trifling rascal. Don’t mind it’s presence.], Heoju said to Lee Sungmin.
Lee Sungmin looked at the evil spirits swaying in the dark. As he kept looking at it, he heard an unknown noise ringing in his ears seemingly a form of mental attack from the spirit, but he didn’t feel displeased or unsettled by it. He had experienced a severe trial of losing and regaining his mind through Denir’s trial when he was trapped in his subconscious for 2,100 years.
The evil spirit shook when it met Lee Sungmin’s mental fortitude. It’s body started to contort and shift in a peculiar manner. Lee Sungmin narrowed his eyes. The noise in his ears seemed to get clearer little by little.
[This… this… this… ..this…]
The spirit tried to mumble out a sentence but struggled. Lee Sungmin’s eyes suddenly opened wide. The sound was not only heard by Lee Sungmin, but also by Heoju, who was connected to Lee Sungmin through his soul and dantian.
[What is it? The devil said what…?]
Most evil spirits could not speak. For they, who are already dead and bound by their souls, are dead, and have lost their reason and are left with wickedness. If the rank of the evil spirit increased, they regain some of their senses and become able to speak, but the evil spirits compared to Heoju were nothing short of crude.
‘What is it saying?’, Lee Sungmin asked Heoju who was trying to converse with the mentally incapacited spirit.
[Well… it’s impossible for a spirit to be able to converse. Why don’t you try getting a bit closer first?], Heoju replied, seemingly interested in what he had been able to make out from the spirit.
Lee Sungmin raised himself carefully. He, who had a sharp sense, was able to discern things clearly in the dark, but he still held the torch to get better visibility.
“You don’t have to use such barbaric tools.”, Rubia grumbled.
Rubia then used magic to make a small sphere of light. Lee Sungmin still didn’t see a reason not to use the torch. So, relying on two lights, Lee Sungmin, Rubia and The Crazy Heavenly Demon approached the evil spirit.
Lee Sungmin still didn’t drop his guard. In the case that somehow a spirit gained possession of a body, there were no countermeasures to regaining one’s consciousness as Heoju had warned him beforehand.
[This… way…], the spirit murmured.
The evil spirit shifted its body a bit as it saw Lee Sungmin approaching. Then the spirit slipped into the shadows and disappeared suddenly. Lee Sungmin and his party narrowed their eyes with a tinge of anxiety rethinking the decision to follow the spirit.
The night was just beginning.
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