Chapter Thirty Five- The Origin
Still in the Past…
Joo Hae opened her eyes and stepped back at once, hastily tossing away the leather strip in her hand.
The other two on the dusty wall, shriveled right before her eyes, their red glow fading to a dull brown.
“Omo!” She exclaimed, clutching her chest.
There was a sudden rush of wind and she turned to see the strange man picking the ropes apart.
She watched in surprise, as the ropes gave way without any effort from him.
He seemed like a completely different person at once.
Still dirty and gaunt, but very powerful.
The cave began to rumble, and Joo Hae feared for their lives.
But in an instant, she was in the stranger’s arms, and before she knew it, they were outside the cave!
The Settlers were shocked to see one of the maidens coming back alone, accompanied by a stranger.
The guards surrounded them, pointing their weapons at the stranger, but he did not look remotely disturbed.
“Wait!” Joo Hae yelled, stepping in front of him. “I rescued him in the mountains. He means no harm.”
She said, but they merely dragged them both to the chief.
Her father, who guarded the Chief, cast a surprised look at her and she glanced away.
“What is the meaning of this? Who is this person?” The Chief asked, and Joo Hae stepped forward to explain what had happened…
When she was done, they were even more suspicious of the stranger.
“You say you are a being with power. Who are you, and what kind of creature are you?” The Chief asked.
“I am a being from the heavens.” They all started murmuring in disbelief, some angrily taking in his shabby appearance, but he continued as if he could not hear them.
“Long ago, there were a lot of people here, settlers like yourselves. Unfortunately, individuals, especially children, kept disappearing without a trace. This was caused by a very powerful dark priest in the mountains. He and his followers killed the people at will, finally ruling and terrorizing them ruthlessly.
“The Lord of the Heavens sent me to stop them. He and I never thought they would dare touch a heavenly being. We underestimated how far humans had fallen. The dark Priest could not kill me, so he trapped me in the caves. He killed every single person, including his followers, and fled.”
“And why did your master not send another ‘heavenly being’ to rescue you?” The chief asked with amusement and the guards laughed.
The stranger was not fazed and simply replied.
“The dark seal that bound me also blocked me from the heavens. They could not find me.”
“Are we supposed to believe this story?” The Chief stood up and walked toward him. “If you are a being from the heavens, prove it. Countless times we have prayed, and countless times, the prayers were not heard. Tell us why?”
The stranger looked at all of them, fully aware of their history, their journeys, their prayers, everything.
It was not that the Lord of the Heavens had not heard them.
It was just their own fear and cowardice!
At least they looked for their own food, but rather than try to fight for their own land, they preferred to run from land to land, hoping for a land that would not get attacked, or was not threatened by dark magic.
There was no such place.
He scoffed and they brought their weapons closer.
But almost immediately, the weapons were cast out of their hands.
They stepped back and Joo Hae was going to step back as well, but he lightly grasped her hand.
“What is the meaning of this?! Are you showing your true colors?!” The Chief demanded.
“Isn’t the problem here that you are too afraid to fight for yourselves? There is no kingdom under the heavens that was not fought for in some way or the other, and there is no unclaimed land or territory that other kingdoms will leave in peace, without wanting to claim it. Humans, by nature, are greedy and always seek to expand their own kingdoms.
“But you all, before the Lord of the Heavens even grants you victory over invaders or sorcerers, you flee.”
He stepped forward and the Chief subconsciously stepped back.
He raised Joo Hae’s hand.
“Fate is however, in your favour. Because of this brave child, the brave one that did not run away despite her fear, you will be blessed by the Lord of the Heavens. I will give you three days. Think about what it is you want and ask me when I return.”
He released Joo Hae’s hand and walked out.
The settlers almost did not believe their good fortune.
The Chief summoned the wise elders and clan leaders to deliberate on these strange event.
Then, in hope that the stranger had spoken the truth, they had made a decision on what they would ask for when the stranger returned.
Three days passed quickly, and true to his words, the stranger returned.
He had changed completely, seeming unearthly in white and gold robes.
He was the most beautiful thing they had ever seen.
This time, the Chief wasted no time in bowing to him, and the request was made.
Chin Suh, the stranger from the heavens had listened to their request, amused.
In the end at least, the Chief wanted what was best for the people.
The request had been simple:
They wanted a Kingdom blessed by the heavens.
Chin Suh had returned to the heavens, taking their request with him, and the Lord of the Heavens had blessed them with Goodness and peace, Knowledge, Wealth and Strength, all embodied by a single deity.
Chin Suh had asked the Chief to pick a person on whom the powers and blessings would be bestowed.
But in what Chin Suh considered a selfish move, the Chief had picked his son as the deity.
And so, the settlers had begun to thrive, their numbers and clans growing and expanding.
Soon, they had become a kingdom.
The Shadow remembered all too clearly. That was once his identity.
A being blessed by the heavens.
The original deity.
The one whose powers had been shared among the four new deities.
The one that had been forgotten.
That particular region, where the settlers had first settled, was once considered the heart of the current Eondeog Mun.
And right beneath it, deep underground, The Shadow lay waiting…
The Southern Palace, Nam Guk
The Priest danced with the life sized brush, alternating between dipping its tip in ink and performing wide arched dance steps to paint the big black character unto the large paper spread beneath his feet.
It was the character which meant ‘Free’ or more appropriately, ‘Release’, and this was the last part of a three day ritual…
Three days earlier…
After the four ‘cursed’ mountains had sprouted life again, most of the people assumed some age old curse had been broken, but those who knew the true meaning, had jumped into action.
Jang Tae Yong, past King of Eondoeg Mun, had summoned Pal Wol immediately.
She, and the few good shamans and priests she could identify, had come to Nam Guk after the coronation.
After she had performed the full bow in greeting, he ordered at once.
“I will need you to begin the release ceremony as planned. The young lady Kim, her birthday is in three days, right? The day of the Winter solstice.”
“Hmmm. A long time ago, shamans and priests would journey, from far and wide, to pray with the deities on that day. She chose a befitting day to be born.” He mused, then turned to face her.
“It is about time, so begin the preparations.”
“I will carry out the order, Jeonha.”
Jang Tae Yong watched her leave.
The end of their battle with Sang Yoo Jin drew to a close…
When he had first heard of the Prime Minister’s plot, he had come up with a minor plan to keep Sang Yoo Jin in check.
His initial plan was to bring Tae Jun back into the Palace, and find a way to reinstate him as Crown Prince.
Sang Yoo Jin would have had to push his plans back, and Pal Wol would have had time to find the Black Deity.
However, Sang Yoo Jin had succeeded in bringing the magical body into the Palace, and he had been forced to bring Pal Wol out of the shadows.
It had become smarter to force Sang Yoo Jin’s hand, instead of waiting for another unexpected attack like the plague.
Then he had found out his own son was the elusive black deity…
Now that the four mountains had been restored to life, Sang Yoo Jin and his circle will be desperate to carry out their dark plans.
They would definitely clash soon.
Now, on the eve of the Winter solstice, Pal Wol watched the priest dance.
She and a few shamans chanted at the edges of the ring they had formed.
The candles before them flickered in the evening breeze.
When the priest finished, she began her own dance, spinning in wide circles as the shamans chanted louder, and the drums were beaten almost at a fevered pace.
The awakening of the deities would bring Pal Wol closer to her own revenge…