“A l, living jiangshi?!”
Chief Eunuch Wi became extremely shocked at Cale’s words and dropped the fan in his hand.
Raon saw the fallen fan, looked back at Chief Eunuch Wi, and did that over and over before causing a gust of wind with his magic to cool the dumplings. Toonka’s as well.
However, Chief Eunuch Wi could not pay any attention to that.
“A l, living jiangshi, that-”
He looked to be in shock.
Cale thought deeply after seeing this.
‘Did I ever mention the living jiangshis to Chief Eunuch Wi before?’
He realized that he had not.
Cale’s gaze moved to the old man, who had been eating dumplings next to Toonka until moments ago.
Fist King Mok Hyeon.
His eyes were wide open as he looked at Cale.
His gaze was extremely vicious.
His clenched fist was bending the chopsticks, as if to show the reason he received the title of king.
‘…Let’s not look at him.’
Cale just turned away from the Fist King.
“Young master-nim, could you please explain in detail?”
Chief Eunuch Wi asked urgently, unable to properly control his shock.
Cale debated for a moment before deciding to tell them what he knew. These were his allies.
“You know little Central Plains, right?”
“Yes, yes sir.”
Chief Eunuch Wi knew that Cale had called the young monk Central Plains.
“He told me.”
“…That there is a living jiangshi?”
“Yes sir. The Blood Cult created living jiangshis and planted them in each of the Orthodox faction, Unorthodox faction, and the Demon Cult.”
The Fist King gasped.
“It is the end of the world, the end of the world indeed.”
He shook his head as if in disbelief.
“Oh my, this is very bad.”
Choi Han asked after seeing Chief Eunuch Wi unable to hide his concern.
“Are living jiangshis that dangerous?”
“In this world, there is something called death arts in addition to martial arts. There are Alchemy and Magic arts as well, but… Anyway, there are some dangerous methods called death arts.”
Chief Eunuch Wi continued explaining with a stiff look on his face.
“Jiangshis have appeared in the world a couple times throughout history. The Blood Cult as well as the Demon Cult have created them multiple times. However, the living jiangshis-”
He closed his mouth for a moment.
He then asked the Fist King.
“It should be okay to tell them, right?”
“Do you remember what his Majesty said? He said give them whatever they need.”
Chief Eunuch Wi started talking to Cale again.
“The Imperial family has documents on living jiangshis. The approximate method of creating living jiangshis is written in there.”
‘The method is written in there?’
Chief Eunuch Wi continued to speak as Cale scowled.
“In order to create one living jiangshi, you need one living person and 443 lives as sacrifices.”
Silence filled the room.
Chief Eunuch Wi broke the silence he had created.
“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 thought about ‘dead mana’ as soon as he heard that word.
Mana did not exist in this world.
That was why dead mana should be even less of a concept in this world.
“In the Central Plains, the creation of living jiangshis is considered taboo.”
The Fist King sighed.
“Furthermore, according to old records, living jiangshis think they are alive and have no idea that they are being controlled.”
“I know that as well, sir.”
“Really? Then do you know about their overload as well?”
“No, sir. I don’t know.”
The Fist King was able to tell Cale a bit more details about the dangers of living jiangshis.
“Finding out one day that a person you know is a jiangshi is scary and dangerous, but… They are basically living bombs.”
The Fist King placed the crushed chopsticks on the table.
When living jiangshis overload, even experts in the Unrestrained Realm will be unable to suppress them without being willing to get injured.”
Basically, only someone who was at least at the Elder-level in a clan or sect would be able to take on a single living jiangshi.
“Hmm. Living jiangshis are stronger than I thought.”
The Fist King nodded his head at Cale’s comment.
“That’s right. Furthermore, the damage would be beyond this world if that living jiangshi, who is an expert in the Unrestrained Realm, explodes. In addition, living jiangshis don’t feel pain from the moment they awaken. Basically, they charge at you without caring about anything else.”
It made sense why the Imperial family would be wary of living jiangshis.
“Aside from that, the fact that the Blood Cult has living jiangshis would mean that there would be quite a lot more regular jiangshis. Jiangshis are apparently easier to make than living jiangshis.”
“I presume that the 443 sacrifices for creating the living jiangshis were turned into regular jiangshis.”
The Fist King and Chief Eunuch Wi commented one after the other. Chief Eunuch Wi spoke to Cale with a stiff look on his face.
“Young master-nim. We need to inform the Imperial family right away to conduct a major investigation. This, this is something we need to use everything we have to tackle.”
“Do we need to send out a large number of Embroidered Uniform Guards?”
“The Embroidered Uniform Guards need to protect his Majesty. It looks like we will need to bring some people from the military.”
“Living jiangshis are Unrestrained Realm experts who do not feel pain. The military is not enough when dealing with those bastards. We will only put the lives of the poor common soldiers in danger. No, this is not what we should be doing right now!”
The Fist King stood up.
“We need to immediately go tell Ho Song Yi about this so that we can get the help of the Orthodox faction!”
“Mok Hyeon-nim, would the Orthodox faction help us? As for the Unorthodox faction and the Demon Cult-, would they even believe us?”
“They should listen since it is coming from the Imperial family!”
“But still, those bastards-”
“There is a way!”
The Fist King was starting to raise his voice. He turned toward someone.
Durst was standing there looking confused. The Fist King pointed at him.
“Noble Warrior Do over here seems to be able to locate the living jiangshis using their smell. We can use that!” He should be able to quickly find them all if he spends the next year or two sniffing around!”
Durst looked a bit unsettled.
“I see! We just have to find them one by one and prepare things so that we end up with the least amount of damage possible going against those Unrestrained Realm experts! We also need to pay attention to the Blood Cult since we have to do it stealthily so they don’t find out-”
“Haaa, yes, it would be complicated if the Blood Cult found out. We can’t let them hide all of the living jiangshis.”
There was a light clap and the two people stopped their conversation.
They then noticed that Cale was looking at them.
“Okay, why don’t we all calm down?”
He was smiling.
“Based on what the two of you said, these living jiangshis are a source of fear and trepidation for everybody in the Central Plains?”
His voice was soft and gentle.
Toonka slowly put the dumpling in his hand down after seeing Cale like this.
Regardless of that, Chief Eunuch Wi and the Fist King… The two old men responded in a slightly more serious tone.
“I would say so. We cannot fathom what they might do.”
“I would not say fear. We can suppress them if we decide to catch them. However, they are indeed a headache.”
Cale’s smile became even wider.
“Then shall we take things one step at a time?”
He pointed toward Durst.
“Shouldn’t we first verify whether the smell Noble Warrior Do noticed is truly the scent of a living jiangshi?”
“Ah, that is true!”
The Fist King realized that he had made a mistake due to his feeling of urgency.
“Yes. We need to confirm whether Noble Warrior Do really can distinguish the living jiangshis.”
“Yes sir. And then we can just purify them.”
The Fist King stiffened up for a bit before blankly asking back while looking at Cale.
“Yes sir. Purification. Isn’t that right?”
Cale turned toward Durst, who immediately responded. Chief Eunuch Wi flinched after seeing Durst suddenly smiling brightly.
His eyes subconsciously opened wide and his jaws dropped after hearing what Durst said next.
“Our esteemed Purifier has the power to purify living jiangshis. The god I serve has even bestowed a divine item to the purifier to purify easily.”
Cale just quietly nodded his head. He had a calm smile on his face.
“Something is weird.”
“You…are quite sharp?”
Toonka looked even more confused after hearing Sui Khan’s shocked voice, but… Sui Khan just shrugged his shoulders.
While that was going on, Ron had an extremely benign smile on his face as he offered seats to Chief Eunuch Wi and the Fist King.
Chief Eunuch Wi and the Fist King were now seated around the table with Cale.
Ron placed teacups in front of them.
Cale gently spoke as their teacups were being filled with tea.
“I cannot do a lot of them, but I do have the power to purify living jiangshis.”
The Fist King couldn’t help but gasp after Cale confirmed the parts that were a bit uncertain after Durst’s comments.
“Is something like that possible when a person gets to your level?”
Cale flinched and asked back but the Fist King waved him off.
“No. It’s nothing.”
He then seemed much calmer as he continued to speak.
“Can you tell me what you mean by purify?”
“I can explain that.”
It was rare to see Durst cut in like this.
“During the purification process, fog-like smoke rises and spreads out with our Purifier-nim at the center. That smoke is an extremely clean aura of nature that does not harm us at all. In fact, it makes us feel refreshed.”
Aura of nature.
Chief Eunuch Wi gulped.
‘Truly, is young master Kim truly in the Nature Realm?’
His fingertips were shaking.
“The Purifier-nim purifies the jiangshis with the aura within that smoke.”
“…Is that all?”
Durst sternly responded to the Fist King, who still seemed to find it hard to believe.
“Yes sir. Without any damage or anybody getting hurt! The jiangshis return to their original appearances. Living jiangshis are jiangshis as well, so the process should be similar.”
Durst’s face scowled a bit after saying that.
“Of course, there is a burden on our Purifier-nim’s body when he purifies.”
Cale got chills as Durst looked at him with teary eyes.
That was why he nonchalantly commented.
“It’s not that big of a burden.”
‘Yes, it is only enough to get me a bit dizzy.
Ah, but that may not be the case.’
It might be harder to purify this time because it was living jiangshis compared to the regular jiangshis from before.
‘Also, a significant portion of the Fire of Destruction is sealed right now.’
That would lead to a greater physical burden on his body.
‘But the Vitality of the Heart is pretty much at full power.’
There should not be many issues as his regeneration and healing abilities had not fluctuated much.
The Fist King gasped again.
“Yes, I’m sure that is the case.”
He nodded his head a few times and patted his knee with one hand.
‘Of course it will burden his body.’
Mok Hyeon closed his eyes and imagined.
‘Living jiangshis are things that an expert in the Unrestrained Realm would have to go into battle knowing that at minimum, he will be injured, and at maximum that he might die. To be able to use only an aura of nature to purify such an existence back to its original appearance without any sort of battle…’
He could not even imagine how great and mighty of a task that would be.
Furthermore, he thought of something else in his mind.
‘In the end, martial arts is for defending yourself and protecting others. Basically, it is saving people.’
However, you would end up harming people and causing damage to your surroundings in order to save those people.
‘However, the ultimate goal of training in martial arts is to return everything to their original place without harming anybody in the process.’
It was similar to how young master Kim would use the power of nature to return the living jiangshis to their natural appearances.
‘Yes, that is true martial arts.’
Martial arts was to return things to nothingness without any sort of fight. (TL: This is a play on words because martial arts and nothingness are both pronounced ‘moo’ in Korean)
There was a small fluctuation around the Fist King.
‘What the hell?’
Cale’s eyes opened wide.
The Fist King, who had his eyes closed, naturally moved side to side. There was a fluctuation of ki with him at the center and his body floated up a bit from the chair.
‘Is this perhaps?
Is this that thing that I read about in wuxia novels?
Is it that cliché?’
“Senior has obtained enlightenment……!”
He heard Chief Eunuch Wi shout.
‘It really was enlightenment!’
Cale was flabbergasted.
‘Why the hell did he suddenly achieve enlightenment?’
It was rare for an expert at the Fist King’s level to get insight and obtain enlightenment.
They were strong enough to the point where they knew what they needed to know and it was difficult to rise to a higher level.
The Fist King, such an expert, had gotten some sort of insight and had obtained enlightenment just now.
Cale did not know why this had happened.
Cale looked toward Chief Eunuch Wi in confusion before flinching.
“It is all thanks to you, young master Kim.”
Cale was silent for a moment.
Chief Eunuch Wi didn’t care and he continued to speak with a deeply moved look on his face.
“Young master Kim, I’m certain that something that you said or did served as the first step for senior Fist King to obtain enlightenment.”
‘It should be right since Chief Eunuch Wi, our knowledge base of the Central Plains, said so.
Cale thought for a moment before asking.
“We should guard him for now, right?”
“Yes sir. Even the smallest of shocks can bring great danger during Ki Circulation, so we will need to be very alert of his surroundings.”
That big danger usually described Ki Deviation.
Martial artists fell into defenseless states of meditation during enlightenment.
Internal ki goes through the veins and swirls around the whole body during the process. This was known as Ki Circulation, and any shock could make the ki move incorrectly and twist the veins.
That would lead to significant physical or mental damage, with some people never being able to use martial arts ever again.
“I will stand guard.”
Choi Han stepped up and headed toward the door.
Toonka was tactful and followed behind him, before Sui Khan headed toward the window and leisurely kept watch of what was going on outside.
Chief Eunuch Wi looked at them with gratitude.
Cale walked up next to him.
“Chief Eunuch Wi. Senior is in Ki Circulation but it is okay to quietly chat, correct?”
“Yes, young master-nim. It is fine as long as we don’t make any loud noises or shock his body in any way.”
“I see. Then let’s return to the thing we were originally talking about. I think we will need to keep an eye on Namgung Tae Wi so that we can confirm whether Noble Warrior Do can truly recognize living jiangshis.”
Namgung Tae Wi was currently a squad leader for the Namgung Clan’s Heavenly Guardians.
That good-natured man from earlier…
Although he clearly looked human…
Chief Eunuch Wi sounded very serious.
“Yes sir. We must definitely do that.”
Chief Eunuch Wi saw the corner of Cale’s lips twist up at that moment.
‘What is going on?
Why do I suddenly have the chills?’
He felt an unexplainable chill on his back.
Cale asked in an easygoing tone at that moment.
“Based on what I noticed, the Namgung Clan has a lot of money, is very strong, and has a lot of power. Right?”
“Uhh, mm. Yes, yes sir. There is no clan as strong as them in the Orthodox faction, no, actually in all of the Central Plains. “It would not be wrong to say that the Namgung Clan was at its peak right now.”
Cale nonchalantly commented.
“Then having that Namgung Clan as our lackeys would be quite convenient, no?”
It was such a lowly word.
However, Chief Eunuch Wi could only silently gulp after seeing the twisted smile on Cale’s face.
It was at that moment.
Knock knock knock.
They heard some knocks before the Beggars’ Gang’s Elder Ho and the Fist King’s great-granddaughter, Mok Hee, returned.
“He is currently in a state of enlightenment, so please do not make any loud noises.”
The two of them could not hide their shock as they noticed the Fist King floating in the air in Ki Circulation.
Chief Eunuch Wi walked over to them and asked them with a determined look on his face.
“Elder Ho, are you aware that living jiangshis have appeared in the Central Plains?”
The elder of the Beggars’ Gang, one of the greatest secret intelligence services in the Central Plains… Ho Song Yi subconsciously responded back.
He truly seemed confused.
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