Chapter Thirty Seven- The Awakening
Late that same night…
The awakening of the four deities was here. Pal Wol, perched on a cliff, could feel it.
The air that night was different, heavier somehow, and the wind blew heavily, rustling trees and windows.
Instinctively, no one was outside on such a night.
It was beginning…
Lord Choi’s residence…
Chun Hwa had retired late, briefly giving up on the book he had been reading.
It was the most boring thing he had ever come across, detailing the daily life of a foreign emperor.
Unfortunately, being the head of the Nam Guk Scholars, he had to study it as a reference.
He tossed it aside, deciding to continue the next day.
He changed, while his aide put away the table and laid down the bed.
Then he lay down and put out the candle.
Chun Hwa had barely shut his eyes, when he found himself in the dream place again, which he thought he recognized now.
This must have been his home; the Blue Mountains near Seo Guk.
He had seen himself here in most of the visions he had been having.
He looked up at the beautiful pagoda.
A stone pathway led away from it, leading to a big and beautiful building.
If his visions were true, his house had been the biggest amongst the deities, since most of it was an elaborate library!
He took an eager step forward.
Vision or not, he wanted to explore the books in this place…
But he stopped short as the wind rushed at him.
Chun Hwa felt like his mind was suddenly opened.
He remembered everything…
He seemed to know everything about… everything!
He knew why water defeated fire, and fire defied the wind, and the wind defeated water, and water defeated earth…
He knew why birds flew and humans walked…
He understood all four seasons in depth, and the little in-betweens no one seemed to notice.
He knew of the stars, the skies, the world, the seas…
Chun Hwa simply seemed to know.
He took a step back, slightly overwhelmed by his own mind.
‘Ye. This is what it felt like to know almost everything…’ He thought to himself.
With knowledge, it was always ‘Almost’.
‘Knowledge is endless and limitless.’ He used to say that a lot in his past life.
He took a step forward, but this time, the scene before him changed entirely.
So did the weather.
“Wah! What is with this sudden chill?” He rubbed his upper arms, looking around.
The landscape around him was covered in snow, and though the wind was still, it was the coldest place Chun Hwa had ever seen.
The plants and trees were alive and green, despite the chill.
It was as if they merely hid under the snow.
“Tch! The White Mountains. Lady Hayan. How many times did I say I don’t want to come here?” He addressed the silent footsteps that had approached behind him.
He turned to face her, bowing slightly.
“Daebak! You are really are the deity of knowledge. You were already beginning to remember before this night, right?” She bowed back.
“Lady Chorok is usually too playful to notice anything, and forgive my saying, but you and Lord Geom Jeong distract each other. It wasn’t knowledge… I was merely the least distracted person.”
“Haha, you’re right there. I should have known…”
“So there is no escaping our past then? We can’t just live normal lives?” Chun Hwa asked, but she smiled at him.
“Aigoo! Lord Paran. That is something you have to figure out on your own. I am merely a memory that came to remind you.” And just like that, she vanished.
Chun Hwa found himself sitting up in his bed.
He sighed loudly, then threw the covers aside.
He put the bed away and rearranged the table, picking up the book he had discarded.
But as his hand touched the front of the book, all of its contents were suddenly in his head.
“Aish!” He exclaimed in annoyance, tossing the book away again.
He had forgotten that undesirable talent!
The joys of slowly reading a book, had been something he had had to fight for in the past.
Most times, he would cover his hands in fabric, or, and this was a talent he didn’t mind, flip the pages without even touching the book.
He grinned, reaching for another book.
Now he realized why he had been such a book prodigy!
Lord Sang Yoo Min’s residence…
The dogwood was in full flourish, casting beautiful light pink blossoms in Hye Yeon’s path.
She walked up the dirt path, trying to turn in every direction at the same time. She was not sure how she got here…
After Min So Yeon had left, she had gone in to sleep, then had suddenly found herself in this beautiful paradise!
But she was not complaining…
Hye Yeon was surrounded by the most exotic plants and flowers she had ever seen, better than the Palace even.
These stretched out for miles, and miles!
There were fruit trees with delicious juicy fruit, shrubs, bushes, flowers of every shade, creeping plants…
It went on and on, and she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to go plucking the tasty fruits, or the beautiful flowers.
Then she suddenly stopped.
Hye Yeon had come to a small clearing, artfully rounded off with stones, to the left of the path.
She stood, gazing intently at the beautiful flowers that grew in the center. They were odd flowers, their petals, curved and sweeping widely.
“Snow blossoms…” She said to herself, not sure why.
Someone had given her these as a gift; someone she couldn’t remember…
She walked over to it and knelt, cradling one of its white blossoms reverently.
It was at that moment that Hye Yeon’s memories came flooding back.
She clutched at her chest as the memories rushed through her, her other hand on the ground for support.
“No way…?” She looked around her.
It was as if she was seeing everything through a new pair of eyes. “This is my home?”
She suddenly knew the names and details of every single thing she could see…
She had practically nurtured all of them in the past!
Hye Yeon placed her palm on the ground.
It was warm beneath her hand and she stared intently at the ground.
At first, nothing happened.
Then a circle of light formed around her hand and stems shot out of the ground, growing right before her eyes.
“Seriously?” She stood, feeling happy. “I must have the best power in the world!” She practically sang, spinning around in circles.
“Ya. More than a century has passed and you are still like this?” The voice made Hye Yeon stop suddenly, her hand flying to her head.
“Omo!” She let the dizziness pass, then straightened to face the person before her. “Da Yeo- Lady Hayan!”
“Tsk! Why won’t you be dizzy, spinning around like t-.” She was cut off as Hye Yeon had embraced her. “My dongsaeng has missed me.” She said, laughing and hugging her back.
“Waa, it’s strange seeing you here.” Hye Yeon pulled back to look at her. “Where we reborn or something? I thought that was never supposed to happen.”
“Asking questions right away.” She playfully shoved her. “Besides, I don’t know anything. I’m simply a buried part of your own memory.”
Hye Yeon stepped back. “A memory?”
“Then, did you think Lady Hayan would appear in your dream?”
“Aish! You have not changed at all.” She laughed. “How do you think you got from your bed to the Green Mountain? If it is not edible, or doesn’t come from the soil, it is unimportant, right? Of course it’s a dream. A dream to help you recall your lost memories.” She was still laughing.
“Tch! Since you’re a memory, I’ve remembered so go back. Remain buried.” Hye Yeon turned away in mock annoyance. “Oh, and I’m not calling you ‘Eonni’ in this lifetime. I was born before you this time!” She boasted, but when she turned, Lady Hayan had vanished.
The scene before her changed as well, and she found herself back in her bed.
She reached over and put on the candle. Then she broke into a wide smile.
“Omo! So I was someone that important?” She settled back on the bed. “Tsk, figures.” She said with a grin. “I always knew I was different…”
Lord Kim Dae Hyeon’s residence…
Music was a beautiful thing when skillfully played. The elegant fingers that played stringed instruments, the flexible wrists that drummed, the bell-like voices of singers, and even the natural grace of dancers.
Da Yeong thought entertainers were skilled, and she appreciated good music.
But not in the middle of the night!
Da Yeong sat up in frustration.
It felt like someone was playing music right outside her door.
She had been having a good dream, and she blushed remembering it.
She had married Daegun, the auspicious day had been given, and… She shook her head, burying her face in her hands.
She had no idea what happened on the auspicious nights, but it had been off to a good start in the dream.
She glared at the door in annoyance, then got out of bed.
Da Yeong gasped in shock and hastily jumped back, when she slid the doors opened.
Then she calmed down, noticing who it was. Was she still dreaming?
It was the lady in white again, this time, on her own.
She sat quietly, playing the gayageum with more skill than Da Yeong had ever heard.
She had not even looked up.
“Who are you?” Da Yeong demanded, stepping closer. “Why do you keep appearing to me?” At first she thought the woman had not heard, because she was silent for a while.
Then she spoke.
“You’ve come?” She looked up, but kept playing. “That’s an interesting question to ask someone who looks exactly like you.”
Da Yeong thought about this for a while, then snapped her fingers in sudden realization.
“Aha! I’ve gotten it! You’re my doppelganger!”
The lady broke a string in shock at the ridiculous answer, but Da Yeong kept talking, looking very pleased with herself.
“We’re somehow connected because we look alike so you keep appearing to me.” She leaned over in pity and asked in a conspiratorial whisper.
“You’re a virgin ghost, aren’t you?”
“Ya!” The lady yelled, getting up. Da Yeong jumped at her loud voice.
“Wae?! Why are you shouting. Abeoji’s compound is big, but someone could still hear you.” Da Yeong whispered loudly, obviously very concerned for the ‘ghost’ before her.
The lady put her hand to her forehead.
“Aigoo! I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but you’re something else. Do I look like a ghost to you?!”
“Ya! Stop shouting! I get it. You’re not a ghost. Then who are you?”
“I am a part of you. A manifestation of your buried memories. I was you in your past life.” She said all this very seriously.
Da Yeong actually giggled.
“Aish, tsk! Forget it. You don’t have to tell me anything.” She said, still laughing.
The lady sat back down, sighing.
“A long time ago, you said you did not want to remember. I guess you are still blocking your memories, but you don’t have a choice.” She looked at Da Yeong before continuing.
“I tried to make you remember before now, to show you the others in your dreams, but you blocked your mind off.
“The only person you allowed yourself to see was Orabeoni.”
“Orabeoni?” Da Yeong asked, then snapped her fingers again. “Ah! Daegun’s doppelgan-.”
“There is no doppelganger!! Seriously, why won’t you listen to what I’m saying?!”
“Why do you keep shouting?!” Da Yeong had raised her own voice. “Tch! If the guards come, you’re the one in danger.”
For the first time since she woke up, Da Yeong wondered where her maid was.
“Are you just noticing she’s not here?” The lady asked. “Why am I wasting my time trying to explain, when I can just show you.”
In the blink of an eye, she was standing right in front of Da Yeong, whose eyes had widened.
Da Yeong wanted to step back, but an invisible force held her in place.
Their surroundings were spinning around the two of them, and she shut her eyes.
Da Yeong opened her eyes and found herself inside a strange building. She looked around for the ‘dream lady’, but did not see her.
Studying the building, she realized it was a temple.
A temple she recognized for some reason.
‘Ah. This is the hidden temple of the North, near Gwang Guk.’ She thought to herself. Then froze.
‘How did I know that?’ She was suddenly afraid. If this was a dream, she wanted to wake up.
She stepped forward, but nearly tripped over her own skirts.
She looked down, noticing she was dressed in a very beautiful hanbok, much more elegant than anything she had ever worn.
“Daebak!” She was studying the clothes with awe.
The lady in her dreams usually wore things like this, but she didn’t note the comparison. “So beautiful!”
‘And familiar.’ She thought, then said aloud. “Tch! But did it have to be white? Is it a funeral dress or a nightgown?”
She picked the full skirts and explored the main area of the temple, then gasped when she realized she was not alone.
“Jeo- jeosonghamnida!” She bowed to the two people present, but they never looked up.
One was a young man in elegant blue robes, his hair up in a neat sangtu.
He was reading a book, and had not looked up, despite her apology.
She stepped closer.
Jeosonghamnida!!” She said loudly this time, but it was as if they could not see or hear her!
The other was an old lady, also richly dressed in green, and Da Yeong wondered if she was currently dreaming about some royal family members she did not know.
The old lady was eating several bowls of tasty looking food, and Da Yeong licked her lips.
She was still staring hungrily at the old lady, when a third person appeared.
She instantly forgot the other two… and even the food.
“Orabeoni…” She whispered, but even as she spoke, she noticed that this person was different.
His aura was no joke!
His hair was neatly in a sangtu as well, and he wore stunning robes of black and gold.
Artful dark lines went around his eyes, making him look purely evil, but very very attractive!
Da Yeong took an unconscious step toward him, but he walked over and passed right by her, heading to the main doors of the temple room.
She spun around to watch him, even as the the other two looked up at him.
“I think she is finally here.” He said, stopping just short of the doors.
Da Yeong briefly wondered who this person was waiting for, when someone entered the door and she looked into her own face and eyes.
The effect was instant.
One second, she was looking at her self in the doorway, and the next second, she was the one by the doorway, looking at Lord Geom Jeong for the first time…
Da Yeong felt something pull sharply at her heart.
This was who she had been!
She was Hayan. The deity of the North.
The White Deity.
She stepped back, but merely stepped out of herself, like a ghost leaving a body. She took another step back, tripped and fell, but she never hit the ground…
Memory upon memory rushed by her, as scene after scene appeared before her, everything blending into her at once.
The memories of the previous deities.
Finally, her feet touched down on something cold.
She was in her home.
The White Mountain.
Da Yeong stepped out of the way in time as the three darkly clad figures rushed past her.
With tears in her eyes, she watched her own murder, then watched herself make the curse.
Something entirely foreign to what the white deity represented.
“I see.” She sniffed. “That’s why we all came back, even though the deities are never reborn. I caused this.”
As the tears ran down her face, she barely noticed the ground beneath her feet and everything else turning black.
She really had not wanted to remember…