Chapter Thirty Nine- Dark Magic
Lord Kim Dae Hyeon’s residence…
The day dawned bright and early, and Da Yeong opened her eyes to a room full of girls.
They were whispering in idle gossip, unaware that she had woken up.
Disoriented, she looked around, confirming she was in her own room.
“What-.” She was going to ask what they were doing there, but she realized her throat was very dry.
“She’s awake!” One of the girls screamed, and Da Yeong wished she would keep quiet.
Her head was pounding.
“Ma-nim! She’s awak-.”
“Shut up!” Da Yeong shouted, and they all looked at her startled. She sat up, her hand to her head, then reached for the water beside her bed.
“Agashi, are you alright?” One of the girls asked.
She didn’t recognize any of them, but she registered their uniforms.
They were young shamans.
She dropped the bowl of water and faced them.
“Mianhamnida.” She apologized. “You were shouting and-.”
“Ah! No, Agashi should not apologize. Forgive us for shouting so loudly.” They all bowed politely.
Slightly confused, Da Yeong wondered again, what they where doing in her room.
She focused on the person that had spoken.
“Who are y-?” The door slid open and her maid came in with a darkly dressed woman.
Da Yeong recognized her immediately.
“Ah. You-.” She shut her mouth at once, wanting to kick herself.
She had meant to pretend she did not remember anything.
But it was too late.
Pal Wol had seen the recognition in her eyes.
“Ma-nim.” The other shamans chorused, bowing respectfully, and Pal Wol approached the young lady.
At first, Pal Wol had not been able to tell if Lady Kim had remembered everything.
Her aura had become impossibly stronger and her hair had turned fully white, but she had still been sleeping.
However, her recognition spoke volumes.
Pal Wol had not met her since she was a baby, so if she recognized her, she definitely remembered.
Pal Wol sank into a graceful bow, then raised her head.
“Greetings Agashi. I am Pal Wol, head of the Southern palace magical body. Forgive me for the intrusion. Sangwang Jeonha sent me to make sure you are well, and to escort you to the Palace.”
Da Yeong merely looked at her, wide-eyed, and she continued.
“Sangwang Jeonha requests your presence, now that you have awoken as the white deity.”
“What? What deity? I have no idea what you are saying.” Da Yeong was suddenly very interested in everything but Pal Wol.
She looked down at her hand, her other hand subconsciously going to the rings Daegun had placed on her finger.
She didn’t even want to imagine a life where they couldn’t be together.
She wanted to go and see him, but she was even more afraid that they all remembered everything.
Kim Da Yeong’s denial was an expected reaction and Pal Wol sighed inwardly.
In their past lives, the deities had no memory, or knowledge of being human, so they always seemed to know everything.
They knew how to act and fully understood their responsibilities.
But in this life, they would remember everything about being human.Questioning their very existence so far, and wondering how to act to their parents, elders, superiors, normal people, and even the King, was going to bother them.
There was also the fact that they might become lonely again. For people who had associated with others for so long, it was not a welcoming fate.
Pal Wol had definitely visualized the White Deity with the possibility of marriage, but she couldn’t be sure.
She was certain that the unknown future of Kim Da Yeong and Daegun’s relationship, was a major part of what bothered her.
Pal Wol turned and nodded to one of the younger shamans.
The younger lady stood up and signaled to the others and and they began to leave the room.
When they were alone, Pal Wol changed tactics.
“Agashi. I realize being a deity is not the best fate, but you were reborn in these times for a reason. Sangwang Jeonha needs-.” Pause. “No. I should say this whole kingdom risks ruin, without your help. And besides,” she paused again, till she had her attention.
“I can solve a puzzle that the four of you may not be able to solve. The events that led to your deaths…”
Lord Choi’s residence…
It was not easy to concentrate on the book he was reading, especially since the person before him kept making annoying comments:
“Wah! Lord Paran did not change at all.”
“So you’re still a book worm?”
“Ah. No wonder you won best scholar.”
“Is there still any reason for you to read?”
“Ya!” He had slammed his hand down on the book and table loudly, and she flinched.
Then he regretted the action, as all the contents of the book entered his mind. “Aish! You-.”
He tossed the book aside.
“Ah, wae~?” She whined. “Totally scared me. So, when are we going to see Lord Geom?”
That was what had started Chun Hwa’s frustrating morning…
Hye Yeon had awoken that morning, her first thought going to Min So Yeon.
She remembered the previous night, and how he had sat with her, as she drew late into the night.
Then Eun Song had come looking for her and he had left silently… After lightly kissing her!
She sighed at the memory, clapping her face in her hands.
Now, she wondered how her true identity would affect her present life.
Deciding she would cross that bridge later, she prepared to go and see the Grand Prince… Lord Geom Jeong.
She wasn’t sure if he remembered as well, but she had the sudden feeling that she should go and see him.
Hye Yeon did not know how to handle her parents, or if she should even tell them anything, but she still went to ask her father’s permission.
Unfortunately, she had run into her mother first.
“Where did you say you are going? This early morning?” Her mother demanded indignantly. “Ya! How dare you just go to the Palace?! Are you planning one of your antics again? Are you going to sneak in as a palace maiden? This girl. Did Sangwang Jeonha ship in a rare plant or something?!”
“Omma!” She protested. “I just want to-.”
“Ani ani ani ani. You can’t! Go and change this instant! Do you think anyone can just show up at the Palace?!”
“Yobo (darling)!!” Her father had interrupted.
He strode toward them and Hye Yeon sighed audibly in relief.
But she was surprised by his next statement.
“Ahem. Our daughter has been invited to the Palace. Sangwang Jeonha sent the invitation yesterday.” He seemed a bit surprised by the situation, and was studying Hye Yeon curiously.
She did not know about the invitation, and here she was planning to go to the Palace.
Hye Yeon herself, wondered what kind of luck this was, but then, this wasn’t the first time the King had strangely summoned her.
She remembered the Hall of the Kings, on the King’s birthday.
She might be careless, but even she would question that coincidence.
Jeonha must know already.
She looked at her mother, who had overcome her own shock.
“Our daughter? Wae?” Her mother’s eyes had rounded as she thought of the possibilities. “Omo. Our own daughter was invited into the Palace.”
She turned to face her.
“Hye Yeon-ah. Our daughter. Go and change into something else. Eun Song-ah! Tell the men to prepare the palanquin. Omo. Let’s go and change you into something better…” She grabbed her hand and led her off…
When Hye Yeon finally managed to leave, it was already mid morning.
She was on her way to the palace, when she remembered something else.
The scary side of Lord Geom.
She had never approached him directly!
As deities, he had always found a reason to berate her, anytime she did, what in her opinion, was something absolutely normal.
“Stop!” She shouted out, and the men stopped the palanquin. She thought quickly.
Lord Paran, on the other hand, had always been her shield against Lord Geom.
Of course, that was partly because she usually threatened to make plants grow in his library, if he didn’t help her.
“I’ll turn your library into a true paradise!” She had always told him.
Now, she looked out of the palanquin window and beckoned to Eun Song…
So here they were. Hye Yeon frustrating Chun Hwa exactly the same way she always did, all those years ago.
“… So when are we going to see Lord Geom?”
“Tsk tsk tsk! Tactless person.” He shook his head at her. “So if you did not come here first, you would have gone to the Palace so early in the morning?”
“I was invited!”
“There are still manners to be observed! Sangwang Jeonha sent invitations to all of us, but knowing that person (Tae Jun), he would be angry right now. At least give father and son time to discuss.” He said all this fondly, then continued seriously.
“You’re lucky in all your lifetimes, you keep meeting him AFTER he has already met the White Deity.”
How scary the Black Deity could be without the White Deity, Chun Hwa knew it.
He waved his hand and another book rose from beside him, landing softly on the table in his front.
“Wae?” Hye Yeon asked, not understanding.
“There is something like that.” He said in dismissal, giving a smirk worthy of Tae Jun. “Just sit there quietly for a while.” He flicked his finger and the first page opened.
Meanwhile, the Capital was facing another crisis. Several children had gone missing in the night, and despite the thorough ongoing search, no trace of them had been found.
It was as if they had simply vanished from their beds.
There were also a lot of unusual deaths around the Capital.
People who were perfectly healthy the day before, were found dead this morning.
It wasn’t a plague, and the harried doctors could not find a reason behind the deaths.
By mid morning, a few of the Capital’s priests and shamans began to suspect dark magic at work.
It wasn’t just the missing children or the unexplained deaths.
The overall mood of the people seemed extremely low.
They went about as usual, but without any real zeal.
They seemed lifeless.
Jang Tae Min, King of Eondoeg Mun, had summoned all the Ministers and High ranking officials.
Within the Palace, several eunuchs and palace maidens had been found dead as well, so early that morning, he had sought advice from someone who would know how to handle such issues.
Sang Yoo Jin, his father in law, and Prime Minister of Eondoeg Mun.
“Call an emergency government meeting.” Sang Yoo Jin had advised. “Make sure all the Ministers and High ranking officials are present. At this meeting, we can come up with a solution.”
Tae Min did not fully trust Sang Yoo Jin, but it seemed like a very good idea.
As he strode to the throne room, his guards and eunuchs behind him, he didn’t know he was heading to his last government meeting as King.
The Southern Palace, Nam Guk…
Tae Jun and So Yeon were training, and So Yeon could not understand the sudden change in his young master’s mood.
Daegun was usually a demon in combat, but now, he seemed like a thousand demons.
So Yeon sheathed his sword and cautiously approached.
“Daegun, perhaps did something upsetting happen last night?”
Tae Jun faced So Yeon.
Since he had remembered everything, he knew who So Yeon had been in his past life.
So Yeon had been the son of a farmer, who had become a palace guard.
He had kept following Lady Chorok around, asking for farming tips to pass unto his parents.
Of course, her advice never disappointed!
But a few years later, he had killed people for the first time, to protect someone who didn’t even need his protection; the Black Deity.
In this lifetime as well, So Yeon had started killing people at a very young age… because of him again.
“So Yeon-ah. Am I destined to always stain your hands with blood?”
So Yeon was instantly worried.
“Daegun, are you alright?” He asked, stepping closer.
Tae Jun looked away, slashing at the wooden post. It was cut cleanly in half, and he hadn’t even put in any effort.
Many things bothered him, but what bothered him the most was Da Yeong.
The White Deity.
The winter solstice was the day she was born, and the day he had awakened. She had been appearing to him, but the previous night, she had wanted to show him everything.
They had probably been destined to awaken today…
He found himself worrying about her.
The vision of her death flashed through his mind again, and he slashed extra viciously at a post.
‘What happened that time?’ He asked himself.
How had they even been killed?
He had been the protector, yet he couldn’t even remember what had happened. One second, he had been there, and the next, he simply hadn’t.
With his memory, a lot of questions had been answered, but there were still important unanswered questions!
He lifted his arm for another strike, but a eunuch came running.
“Greetings, Daegun.” The eunuch bowed, then bowed to Min So Yeon as well, before turning back to him.
“Daegun, Sangwang Jeonha requests your presence in the throne room, this afternoon.”
“I got it. Go back.” He said, then turned away.
The moment he regained his memory, he had realized his father knew, the Head Shaman knew, Lord Kim knew, The Prime Minister knew, even Chun Hwa-!
He shook away the angry thought.
His father had a very powerful Shaman on his side, so he probably already knew that they would awaken today.
He had expected his father to call him sooner or later.
Central Palace, Gwang Guk…
Sang Yoo Jin did not know what had come over him recently.
He had always been clever.
He had always been strategic.
He always knew what he wanted and how to get it.
Yet recently, it was as if these gifts had tripled!
He had suddenly been overcome with confidence and good ideas.
He was being pulled toward his goal, quicker than he ever imagined.
He was taking bold, fast steps, and now, he was about to take one of the major ones.
He smiled to himself, barely registering the Ministers and officials around him.
They chatted ignorantly around him, as they all waited for the King to arrive.
The government meeting had gone on for almost an hour, when it became clear to Tae Min that calling the meeting had been a mistake.
Sang Yoo Jin was not on his side at all.
The ministers, especially from the Left Wing, did nothing more than politely insinuate at his incompetence as King.
When he was about to call the meeting to a stop in anger, the doors were opened, without any announcement from the eunuchs.
There were frightened gasps as they all noted the dead guards and eunuchs by the door.
A priest and three shamans strutted in boldly, followed by a few men clad in black.
The swords of the men were bloodied.
“What is the meaning of this?!” Tae Min demanded. “Guards!” He shouted, but when he turned to them, they were falling to the ground, choking.
Their hands were to their necks, as if an invisible force was strangling them.
“Why are you like this?” He asked, taking a step back, as they became still and lifeless.
“Jeonha!” A voice addressed him from behind, and he turned to see the Prime Minister smiling smugly at him.
“I wanted you and all the Ministers and officials in one place, so Kamsahabnida Jeonha!” He bowed in an insulting way, and some of the Left Wing ministers followed suit, chorusing:
“What do you think you are doing?!” Tae Min demanded, but they merely laughed.
“Look at this!” The Prime Minister was talking. “He is trying to play king. If we didn’t put you on the throne, you’d still be a Crown Prince.” The guilty ministers laughed, and he continued.
“Hmmm, ye. In fact, if not for me, the Grand Prince would still be Crown Prince. You would have remained ‘Gun Wangja’.”
There was more laughter at this, but some of the other Ministers had recovered from their shock and were indignant.
“Look here! What manner of disrespect is this? In front of the King!”
“Ye. What do you think you are doing? And what do you mean by saying you want us gathered here?”
“Are you behind the things that happened last night?” The ministers who had no idea what was happening began questioning him at once.
The Priest hit his staff to the floor, and a few of the ministers who were talking, began choking as well.
There was silence, except for the sounds of their helpless choking.
Sang Yoo Jin raised a hand and the priest released them.
“I am here to take the throne. I need the confirming seals of everyone here, including Jeonha.” He looked pointedly at Tae Min.
“It will be announced that Jeonha is giving up rule because of his incapability as King. Everyone who refuses will die here today.
“My Grand Priest,” He gestured toward the priest. “gave a small demonstration last night, and just now.”
Even though many of them were scared at the mention of ‘Grand Priest’, there was still an instant uproar.
“Have you finally gone mad?!”
“How dare you?!”
“What an insult?!”
“You over ambitious fellow!”
But again, the priest hit his staff to the ground and they began to choke again.
He released them after a while.
“No one permitted you all to talk!” Sang Yoo Jin bellowed in anger.
“I am destined to rule! I am an incarnation of Jang Yoo Jin, the first Jang on the throne, and every King since then was merely my descendant.” He ignored their disbelieving expressions.
“I was reborn in this lifetime to rule again. I will be a better King than this inexperienced low-born Prince.”
He strode to the throne, drawing his sword. Tae Min backed away from him hastily.
“What kind of King can’t even stand his ground bravely?” Then he lowered his voice, so only Tae Min would hear.
“That’s why I chose you as King, Jeo——-nha!” Jang Tae Yong and Tae Jun would be too clever to fall for the cheap trick Tae Min was falling for.
Dark magic did not work that way.
There was sacrifice and enchantment involved.
Because of the previous night’s sacrifice, the priest might be able to kill a few people, maybe a little less than half.
Certainly not all of them.
In the end, Sang Yoo Jin was using their own fear and ignorance against them.
Besides, if Jang Tae Yong or Tae Jun were on the throne, he wouldn’t have been able to move into the Palace as easily with the priest and the armed men.
A part of him told him it was too easy, but he moved the thought aside.
By the end of the day, he would be King again!