Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 5

Chapter 5: The Mirror of the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens (九天玄女鏡)

Namgung Byeok frowned at the anger on his daughter's face.

'Yeon is young, but she usually discerns right from wrong better than an adult. What happened?'

Though she lived isolated from the world, his daughter was extremely intelligent. Seeing her trembling with rage was unusual.

Namgung Byeok shifted his gaze to Yeon Jeokha.

The boy seemed lost and frightened.

Baek Miju, watching alongside Jang Haeun, intervened with a gentle voice.

"Brother-in-law, they are just small children. Shouldn't we forgive them this time?"

"My wife is right. They are only six and eight years old."

With his wife's support, Namgung Byeok sighed deeply and spoke.

"Sigh! Yeon, Jeokha is still very young and doesn't understand how dangerous the world can be. But you are different. You know why your father goes to Mount Wudang, right? You must be much more careful in the future. Do you understand?"

"…"

Namgung Yeon did not respond, instead looking at Namgung Byeok and Yeon Muryong with eyes full of fury.

Baek Miju, observing Namgung Yeon, cautiously asked Jang Haeun.

"Sister, has Yeon always had trouble speaking...?"

She couldn't finish the question 'does she have trouble speaking?' due to the presence of those involved.

"No, the doctor says she is so sensitive that she has closed her heart to avoid being hurt."

"Ah! Poor thing... How delicate must her mind be to reach that point...?"

Baek Miju clicked her tongue in sympathy, causing an expression of disdain on Namgung Yeon's face.

Seeing the sudden hostility in Namgung Yeon, Baek Miju was perplexed.

Jang Haeun, shaking her head, took her daughter inside before the situation escalated.

Thus ended the commotion.

The next day, the Namgung Family left the Waryong Mansion.

The eldest son of Waryong Mansion, Yeon Mubaek, went with them.

The members of the Yeon Clan who lived in the Waryong Mansion didn't understand why Yeon Muryong so easily let his eldest son go, but given the prestige of the other family, no one opposed it. Some even thought it was a good opportunity to strengthen ties with the Namgung Family.

---------------

In July of that year, the Moon-Splitting Swordsman, Yeon Muryong, passed away in his sleep. He was only 40 years old.

The sudden death of Yeon Muryong, a martial arts master, left the Yeon Clan in shock, and they brought the most renowned doctors from Luoyang to determine the cause of his death.

The investigation concluded in a single day.

A fist-sized tumor was found in his head.

After Yeon Muryong's death, Baek Miju brought about twenty warriors from her natal family, the Baek Clan, to the Waryong Mansion, claiming that there was no one to protect the mansion without the head.

She formed a unit of warriors called the 'Baekho Corps/White Tiger Corps' and appointed them as the military force of the Waryong Mansion.

Naturally, the influence of the Yeon Clan in the Waryong Mansion diminished.

Soon, Baek Miju became the undisputed owner of the Waryong Mansion.

Baek Miju's rise to the position of Lady of the Waryong Mansion was facilitated by the passive attitude of the Yeon Clan.

They believed that when Yeon Mubaek returned from his training with the Namgung Family, he would become the Head of the Waryong Mansion. Since Baek Miju was the biological mother of the three children (Yeon Mubaek, Yeon Seungbaek, and Yeon Seolju), they did not expect any conflict.

Furthermore, the Yeon Clan knew that Baek Miju wished to turn the Waryong Mansion into a prestigious martial family, which was also their desire.

Therefore, they allowed Baek Miju to take control of the Waryong Mansion. If it hadn't been so, the warriors of the Baek Clan wouldn't have been able to settle there.

------------------

In August, the scorching heat began.

One day, Baek Miju summoned the Chief Steward Yeon Mudok to her room.

"Brother, I have no one else to trust in the Waryong Mansion but you."

Yeon Mudok smiled at Baek Miju's words. For the past few days, Baek Miju had begun calling him brother.

If the elder cousin Yeon Muryong had been alive, this wouldn't have been possible. But the world belongs to the living. Yeon Mudok, seduced by Baek Miju's insinuations, decided to accept his role as brother.

"What do you need?"

Baek Miju looked at him with cold eyes.

"As you know, I lost my husband because of the maid I brought."

"Yes, I believe my elder cousin went too far."

"Every time I see Jeokha, I remember my late husband and that maid. Can you make him disappear from my sight?"

"You want me to kill my nephew?"

Yeon Mudok showed an uncomfortable expression.

As much as Baek Miju harbored resentment, that wasn't something that could be done in a family aspiring to become a prestigious martial family.

"I'm not that cruel. I just want him to disappear from my sight."

"Disappear?"

"Anyway, that child is not normal. There's nothing good in others seeing him."

"You're right, but..."

Yeon Mudok nodded.

Since Yeon Muryong's death, Jeokha had changed a lot. He couldn't maintain eye contact with people and often fell to the ground foaming at the mouth.

"He's more of an animal than a person. I can't live with a beast nearby."

"Then, what do you suggest?"

Baek Miju approached and placed her hand on Yeon Mudok's. Then, she whispered in his ear.

"There's a warehouse behind the annex."

"The warehouse..."

Originally, that place was used as a wine cellar.

Yeon Muryong had turned it into a warehouse and stored various items inherited from the Yeon clan there. Hardly any light entered, and jokingly, he used to say it would be a good place to lock up bad people.

Yeon Mudok looked at Baek Miju with a complex expression.

Their faces were so close they almost touched.

Baek Miju spoke with a look of disgust.

"Jeokha is a disgrace to the Waryong Mansion. That place is perfect for him."

"Um..."

Yeon Mudok let out a groan.

It wasn't out of remorse.

The fate of his nephew no longer mattered to him.

Intoxicated by Baek Miju's fragrance, Yeon Mudok grabbed her by the shoulders.

Like a dog in heat, he pounced on Baek Miju's body.

That afternoon, Yeon Mudok called a carpenter to install a small door next to the warehouse door. This new door would allow the entry and exit of food and waste containers.

At dusk, he took the six-year-old Yeon Jeokha to the warehouse.

"You know you cause a lot of trouble, right? You're the problem of the Yeon Family. So from now on, you'll live here, out of sight of others. Understood?"

"...Yes."

Yeon Jeokha didn't understand his uncle's words, but could only respond "yes."

Yeon Mudok locked his young nephew in the warehouse and personally closed the entrance door. To him, his future with Baek Miju was more important than Yeon Jeokha.

'He won't live long...'

Perhaps he could survive for a while with luck, but without sunlight, he would eventually fall ill and die. Baek Miju wouldn't call a doctor for him.

Yeon Mudok pushed his young nephew to a certain death and blamed everything on Baek Miju. "I'm just the Chief Steward of Waryong Mansion and following the orders of the owner," he told himself.

------------------

If Yeon Mudok had known Yeon Jeokha's true thoughts, he might not have felt so guilty.

In the darkness of the warehouse, Yeon Jeokha found peace.

Just being free from his stepmother's constant tortures was enough for him. Honestly, Yeon Jeokha preferred the warehouse to the Waryong Mansion.

The first few days were like that.

But over time, the fear of being in a closed space began to dominate Yeon Jeokha.

"Aaaaaah!"

"Aaaaaah!"

Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang.

At night, the fear intensified.

Yeon Jeokha screamed and banged on the door and walls to escape the darkness, but it was useless. The screams of a six-year-old and the noise he made with his hands were insignificant.

Even if those sounds had been heard outside, it wouldn't have mattered. No one in Waryong Mansion would disobey the owner, Baek Miju.

Unaware of this, Yeon Jeokha screamed with all his might every night.

The place closest to the warehouse was the annex residence.

But the people who used that residence were Baek Miju's personal guards, the White Tiger Corps. Although they were experts, they ignored the child's screams.

They knew the humiliations Baek Miju had endured at the hands of Yeon Muryong. To them, Yeon Jeokha was just the son of a maid who had bitten their master.

So when they heard Yeon Jeokha's screams, the guards of the White Tiger Corps completely ignored him, saying it was karma. They even mocked and ridiculed him.

-------------

Ten days passed like this.

Young Yeon Jeokha got used to the closed warehouse. Perhaps his mind had strengthened thanks to Baek Miju's tortures. Without any special reason, he stopped fearing the dark and narrow space.

One day, Yeon Jeokha noticed a cool breeze from outside entering through a small window in the wall.

He also discovered that if he put his head on the ground, he could see some trees through a small gap under the new door.

Just that was enough to calm his anxiety and fear. He stopped screaming and banging on the door or walls.

---------------

Yeon Jeokha's life became extremely monotonous.

He would wake up, eat, relieve himself, explore the objects in the warehouse, eat again, relieve himself, and sleep.

Sometimes, to entertain himself, he would explore the warehouse.

At six years old, his activities were very limited.

The only thing he could do was move the clutter in the warehouse from one side to the other and observe them.

But if he disorganized the clutter too much, he would have less space to walk, so he had to be careful.

Yeon Jeokha found "it" when the wind entering the warehouse started to feel cooler.

Under a pile of clutter, there was something big made of bronze.

Yeon Jeokha, with great effort, pulled it out.

It was covered in rust and grime, but it seemed to be a mirror.

Upon closer inspection, he saw the words "Celestial Fairy Mirror" engraved on the back.

Without thinking much, Yeon Jeokha began to clean it with a cloth.

It didn't clean easily because of how old it was.

But Yeon Jeokha was not in a hurry. He had all the time in the world.

Cleaning the mirror was a strenuous task that made him sweat. But Yeon Jeokha, as if hypnotized, didn't stop cleaning it.

Winter passed, and spring arrived.

Finally, Yeon Jeokha managed to remove the grime from the mirror.

When the mirror was shiny enough, he saw a small child reflected in it.

At seven years old, Yeon Jeokha greeted with an innocent expression.

"Hello."

The child in the mirror also greeted.

Yeon Jeokha observed his reflection in the mirror.

The bronze mirror, curiously, even showed the details in his eyes.

After blinking several times for fun, Yeon Jeokha let out a sigh.

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