“Raon, don’t come in right now.”
– I got it, human!
Cale walked into the area full of black smoke alone.
The Left Guard, who finally snapped back to his senses, reached his hand toward Cale in shock.
However, that hand was stopped by a transparent barrier, making him unable to grab young master Kim.
The Left Guard saw eyes appearing in the air at that moment.
The dark blue eyes had long vertical pupils.
“Do not stop our human.”
That voice was clear and young.
However, it gave off an unexplainable sense of coldness. He had never seen anything with such eyes in this world before.
The dark blue eyes disappeared just as the Left Guard wondered what he should do.
The transparent barrier disappeared as well.
That was why he could see it.
In the area that only had darkness because of the black smoke…
The Left Guard couldn’t help but see the burning rose gold light.
He could also tell that the rose gold light was wrapped around young master Kim.
Furthermore, the black smoke turned into grey ashes and fell to the ground as soon as it touched the rose gold light.
The pitch dark area that made him think of dread and have ominous feelings changed to look like the night sky with grey snow.
The Left Guard subconsciously lowered the hand that had been reaching toward young master Kim.
The darkness disappeared as the amount of grey ashes on the ground increased. However, the rose gold light still shone radiantly.
– Left Guard.
The Left Guard heard the Shadow Guard’s sound transmission at that moment.
– Keep an eye on the surroundings.
It meant to make it so that nobody could approach this building.
Or, if someone broke the command and approached the area, chase them away.
The Left Guard bowed before quickly turning around and observing the surroundings.
Normally, he would not be able to turn around while looking toward the Heavenly Demon who should be inside the building. However, he was not very worried today.
The thought of something he had not even expected potentially happening made the Left Guard’s eyes, hands, and feet fill with strength.
While that was going on…
‘Wow, is this all dead mana?’
The building was larger than he had expected.
Cale was walking down a hallway with numerous rooms on either side.
He peeked to the side.
All of the rooms with the door open were full of black smoke.
– Cale, this is not regular dead mana.
He heard the cheapskate’s serious voice.
– I don’t really know what happened while I was sealed away, but… There is something added to this dead mana.
The Fire of Destruction was the greatest expert around Cale when it came to dead mana and how to purify it.
“What do you think was added to it?”
Cale asked the cheapskate as he walked.
– Death eventually comes for everyone, but death cannot easily snap the desire to live.
It was too dark to see what was at the end of this long hallway.
Cale reached his hand out.
A small rose gold current flew forward.
Cale heard someone moan louder this time and then he noticed the room at the end of the hallway.
The groan had come from that room.
The room was covered in a darkness that could not even compare to what was in the other rooms.
The Heavenly Demon should be at the center of that darkness.
The cheapskate continued to speak as Cale observed that room.
He continued to talk after mentioning that death could not easily snap the desire to live.
– Compared to creating jiangshis, creating living jiangshis seems to be a skill that puts a living being in a state similar to death.
I am hypothesizing that they plant dead mana into the person’s body to make the aura of death exist inside so that it can snap the desire to live.
– Cale, I had a thought while listening to you explain how living jiangshis are made.
Cale had informed the cheapskate about the things he had learned regarding living jiangshis as soon as he was able to communicate with the cheapskate again.
It was the information he had gathered from the Imperial Palace thanks to Chief Eunuch Wi.
‘In order to create one living jiangshi, you need one living person and 443 lives as sacrifices.’
That was the method left in the Imperial Palace regarding how to create living jiangshis.
‘However, there is also a medicine that is required to turn a human into a living jiangshi. Even the Imperial family does not know much about the medicine. How to make it as well as what it is… All they know is that it takes the form of a black liquid.’
Cale believed that the black liquid was dead mana.
However, he was thinking that something else might be mixed with the dead mana inside that black liquid.
– If that method of creating living jiangshis is correct… I believe that the dead mana created by the 443 corpses and ‘something’ created from the deaths of 443 people would have affected it.
– Although I cannot be certain… For example, hatred, grudge, fear… Emotions like this could have been infused within the dead mana. Or, maybe the souls of the dead became vindictive spirits.
Cale had thought about those options as well.
“I don’t know about souls, but would emotions be able to take form and have power to make things happen?”
– I’m not sure. I’ve not experienced it, but wouldn’t it require that level of hatred, grudge, or fear to create smoke like this?
– Cale, I’m sure you can tell as well. This dead mana smoke suffocates people more than normal dead mana.
Cale responded with silence to show his agreement.
He had not noticed it while purifying Namgung Tae Wi because it was different from this.
However, there was a reason he told Raon not to follow him once he walked into this area that was full of black smoke.
It was sticky despite being smoke.
Furthermore, it gave off a mysterious feeling of discomfort.
“Let’s just make hypotheses for now and do some more research.”
– Yeah. Sounds great. I think I should observe a bit more as well.
Cale stopped walking.
At the end of the hallway…
Cale subconsciously sighed while right outside the door.
‘Did all of this come out of a single person’s body?’
The area was so full of smoke that he could not see anything.
It was to the point that Cale even hesitated for a moment to take a step.
However, he could not stop.
It was because the groaning kept coming.
Cale took a step into the room.
He heard a sound transmission at that moment.
– The Heavenly Demon is at the center, young master-nim.
He had never heard this voice before.
However, there was only one person this could be.
The Shadow Guard.
‘She doesn’t seem to be around here.’
Most people could not step into this room that was full of dead mana smoke.
This was why Cale was confused, but he didn’t put much thought into it. It did not matter as long as it was not an enemy.
– I’ll use even more strength.
The rose gold light surrounding Cale became even brighter.
Rose gold currents violently roared as if to submerge the surroundings and swallowed the black smoke.
It was so strong that the area without any breeze violently shook and brought forth a gust of wind.
The grey ashes fluttered following the breeze.
Cale was heading toward the center of the room without any hesitations.
He could hear breathing through the groans as well.
His voice was extremely desperate, as if he was breathing where there was not much air.
– Oh my.
Cale saw the Heavenly Demon just as the cheapskate gasped.
He was at a loss for words for a moment.
Someone who looked extremely different from the Heavenly Demon who pretended to be the messenger to say what he wanted to say to Cale was in front of him.
However, he did not look unsightly.
The Heavenly Demon was seated in a lotus position with his back straight.
However, his whole body was shaking and he was drenched in sweat.
He also had his eyes closed.
His closed eyes, heavily breathing nose, groaning lips and both ears…
Black smoke was coming out of all facial orifices.
The scowl on his face let Cale know about the pain he was feeling.
Cale opened his mouth to speak.
“What is going on?”
The Heavenly Demon and Cale were the only ones visible, but he soon heard the answer.
– The Heavenly Demon always releases black smoke like this while he is fighting with his other self.
Cale quietly listened to the aged woman’s sound transmission.
– Based on what I have heard, he has stimulated his upper dantian in order to try to release the evil aura out of his body.
The upper dantian was the brain.
After hearing that, Cale felt as if he understood why the black smoke was coming out of the face.
“It should have been quite the struggle if he always faced this kind of situation.”
– It was not like this at first, young master-nim. However, the amount of black smoke has increased by the day and I do not think it is proper for me to tell you more details than that.
Cale nodded his head.
He crouched down across from the Heavenly Demon.
– Cale, can’t you just purify him right now?
He agreed with the cheapskate.
‘The upper dantian is the brain. Something serious might happen if I try to purify him while he is stimulating his upper dantian.’
Cale’s mouth opened.
“Well, this is a difficult situation.”
The situation was too uncertain to do anything. That was why he asked.
He asked the person involved.
“Heavenly Demon. What do you want me to do?”
– The Heavenly Demon is currently-
He heard the Shadow Guard’s shocked voice but Cale shook his head.
“He’s listening to everything. He also knows that I am here. Isn’t that right?”
The Heavenly Demon did not say anything. He just groaned.
However, Cale could tell that the Heavenly Demon had recognized him as soon as he saw the Heavenly Demon’s face through the darkness.
“…Nice, to see you……”
He heard the Heavenly Demon’s voice through the groans.
Cale shook his head and responded.
“This is not the time for useless greetings. Just tell me what you need.”
Cale had a thought after saying that.
‘It should be okay for me to speak informally to him, right?’
Cale had subconsciously responded informally last time when the Heavenly Demon had suddenly appeared.
‘Well, it should be fine since he spoke informally to me too.’
The Heavenly Demon was the one who started with the informalities.
Cale just brushed it aside and observed the Heavenly Demon’s face.
“…L, like now-”
Cale immediately asked after hearing that single comment that the Heavenly Demon barely managed to get out.
“You just need me to get rid of the black smoke like I am doing right now?”
The Heavenly Demon barely held back a groan as he responded.
He felt as if his head was about to explode.
The black smoke was attacking his upper dantian.
The black smoke was like a thick swamp trying to swallow him as he tried to get out of the brainwashing.
‘But it is easier to breathe than before.’
That had happened once someone had stepped into this formation.
The Heavenly Demon could not see anything right now because his eyes were closed.
However, he was able to feel that someone was approaching him deeper than ever before.
‘The air has changed.’
The damp and insidious air, the air that had been suffocating him, was slowly retreating as a refreshing and warm air seeped in.
The crackling aura of thunderbolts around him could feel vicious, but the Heavenly Demon cared more about the clear warmth that was slowly surrounding him.
That alone made it bearable.
Furthermore, he could feel the pain in his head subsiding.
That led to the Heavenly Demon asking young master Kim for this favor.
Please continue to get rid of the black smoke like you are doing right now.
And while he was at it-
“…All of it.”
He asked for Cale to get rid of all of it.
He then heard a response.
The Heavenly Demon wanted to laugh at that moment. But he could not do that.
Instead, he felt a strong power.
However, this power was not trying to attack him.
He could feel all of the changes happening around him.
The black smoke, the darkness was disappearing.
It started from the area around him.
Then it went past this room to the hallway and to the rooms on either side of the hallway.
The smoke was replaced by a clear, refreshing, and warm aura.
It was as if he was in the bosom of his mother who would hug him when he would wake up at dawn and whine.
The refreshing air of dawn and the warmth that reminded him of his mother’s embrace filled the area around the Heavenly Demon and the formation.
The Heavenly Demon took a deep breath.
The headache was subsiding.
He could finally use his full strength.
He was able to calm himself for a few minutes, and once the headache in his upper dantian was completely gone, he could suppress the evil aura that had affected his body so much.
The Heavenly Demon slowly opened his eyes.
“Are you okay?”
He could see young master Kim looking at him with a stoic gaze.
Cale could see the Heavenly Demon start to smile.
The Heavenly Demon, who was said to be in his late thirties, looked quite young. He seemed to be in his late teens.
Cale heard what the Heavenly Demon said with a smile on his face.
“The answer was here.”
Cale’s face subconsciously frowned at that moment. He suddenly got the chills.
He had no choice but to stop pretending to be the ‘good’ young master Kim. An unsettled look was clearly visible on his face.
– Human, are you okay? I came in because all of the black smoke disappeared!
Raon, who came in, stopped for a moment before continuing to speak.
– Oh. There’s a person here who is smiling like you and the crown prince, human! Human, be careful! This guy might try to scam you!
‘I know, right?’
While that was going on, the Heavenly Demon started speaking with a gruff but smiling face.
“Young master Kim, I guess we can finally have a proper chat.”
Cale felt like he didn’t want to have that conversation for some reason.
TCF is currently posted Mondays and Fridays at evening time GMT. Join our discord to be notified as soon as the chapter posts!
If you can’t wait, please subscribe to advanced chapters on our EAP website to get access to up to 8 chapters! Almost all tiers already have access to part 2 of TCF!
You can subscribe (immediate access) through our PATREON