Heavenly Inquisition Sword (Novel) Chapter 8

Chapter 8. Escape

How much time had passed?

Yeon Jeokha looked out of the bronze mirror to search for the monster. The monster, sitting on a pile of old junk, seemed to have grown larger during that time.

Their eyes met. He could feel the curiosity in the monster's eyes. It was no wonder; all this time, Yeon Jeokha had done nothing but practice breathing and absorbing energy.

He gestured for the monster to come closer. The monster, though cautiously, approached slowly.

In front of the mirror, Yeon Jeokha's eyes met the monster's once again. The moment he looked into the monster's dark and deep eyes, a profound sadness and terrible pain overwhelmed him.

"......"

He couldn't believe that such emotions existed within the monster who had always been so lively outside the mirror.

'Ah!'

Yeon Jeokha's eyes widened. Up close, the monster was neither a ghost nor an ancestral spirit.

‘This is...’

The monster in the mirror also seemed surprised and bewildered.

Yeon Jeokha touched the mirror with trembling hands, feeling the monster's face reflected in it.

The monster had the expression of having seen a ghost.

After a while, Yeon Jeokha murmured, still stunned:

"You were... me."

With the Nine Heavens Energy, he could finally see the truth. The monster, or rather, the child, was his true lost self. It was the self that had disappeared under the abuse of his stepmother and the Yeon family. The desire to live innocently had taken the form of the child.

But when his mother died giving birth to him, that dream became unattainable. His father had left him in the hands of his stepmother, and thus he ended up in this situation.

The lost time could never be recovered.

Tears began to stream down Yeon Jeokha's cheeks.

The child also cried.

"Mom..."

Overwhelmed by sadness, Yeon Jeokha lowered his head and sobbed for a long time.

When he finally raised his head, he was no longer in the mirror.

Yeon Jeokha wiped his tears with the back of his hand. In the mirror, the emaciated child looked at him with red eyes.

"Goodbye."

Yeon Jeokha waved to the child in the mirror.

At that moment, the child disappeared and a fairy appeared in his place.

Observing her closely, he realized it was the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens, who was engraved on the back of the mirror. The background of the mirror had changed from a storage room to a beautifully painted landscape.

The fairy, with a faint smile, rose on a cloud until she disappeared into the sky.

Yeon Jeokha, astonished by this unexpected event, could only blink.

Then, suddenly, the bronze mirror began to be covered again by the patina of time. Before he could react, the mirror turned completely black.

"Eh? Eh?"

Carefully, Yeon Jeokha lifted the damaged mirror to examine it. Desperately, he tried to clean it with a cloth, but the patina would not come off.

"Ah!"

Suddenly, a late understanding crossed his mind. All of this had been the work of the Mysterious Woman of the Nine Heavens. She, from the celestial realm, had felt sorry for him and helped him. There was no other explanation.

Yeon Jeokha placed the rusty Mirror of the Mysterious Woman against a wall and bowed deeply to it.

Click.

The small door opened, and a basket of food was pushed inside. As always, it contained rock-hard buns, vegetables, and a bottle of water.

As he picked up the basket, he heard the murmuring voice of a guard in the distance.

"Ha! Ten years... Still, as the son of a warrior family, he has survived..."

Then Yeon Jeokha realized that he had been locked in the storage room for ten years.

"So now I'm sixteen years old?"

"Ha. Ha. Ha..."

How absurd. Although it was his uncle who locked him up, it must have been on his stepmother's orders. It didn't seem like they intended to release him.

Now, what would he do?

As he pondered, his eyes fixed on the small ventilation window.

He jumped agilely and grabbed the bars, looking outside. It was dusk.

He jumped back to the ground and thoroughly searched the storage room. He found several books related to martial arts that the Yeon Family had collected and discarded.

“Flying Sparrow Step?”

The title indicated it was a book on movement and agility techniques that he had not yet learned.

Yeon Jeokha set aside the Flying Sparrow Step. He searched for a while longer but found nothing else useful.

“Tsk!”

Muttering, he activated the Flying Sparrow Step.

It said the technique was inspired by the way sparrows fly and continued with various explanations.

“Extend your arms backward like a sparrow's wings?”

Yeon Jeokha extended his arms backward and, following the instructions, began to walk.

“Oh!”

Although it was a movement technique, it was better than walking aimlessly.

After ten laps around the storage room, the technique felt natural to his body. Although it was a low-level technique, Yeon Jeokha didn't know that.

The movement technique might be mediocre, but his training method was supreme. He felt he could run all day using the Flying Sparrow Step.

“Oh! It really is a good technique.”

Satisfied, he threw the Flying Sparrow Step book behind him. After understanding the principle, he no longer needed to carry the book.

He jumped back to the ventilation window. With the learned technique, his movements were much more fluid.

Outside, it was already dark.

It must have turned to night while he read and mastered the technique.

He jumped to the ground and gently knocked on the small door used for food and waste.

Click.

It was locked.

Yeon Jeokha channeled his energy into his foot, following the instructions of the Flying Sparrow Step. He gently pushed the door with his foot.

Creak, creak.

With the sound of something breaking, the small door fell.

It still seemed a bit narrow for his body to pass through. Yeon Jeokha crouched and tore the boards around the door with his hands.

The boards, rotten from time, couldn't resist his strength and broke easily.

Yeon Jeokha crawled out of the storage room, dragging himself as he used to do when he was a child.

Once outside, fear overtook him.

If someone in Waryong Mansion found him, they would surely lock him up in a more secure place.

He walked stealthily and climbed the wall.

Yeon Jeokha climbed the wall quietly and crossed it. Then, he deployed the only technique he knew, the Flying Sparrow Step, and ran south without rest, fearing that a warrior from the White Tiger Corps might chase him. He extended both arms firmly backward, a posture that would make anyone who saw him laugh.

Over time, his movement technique became faster, allowing him to cover a considerable distance. Finally, at dawn, his run ended.

“Huff! Huff!”

Having skipped dinner, he tasted a sweet flavor in his mouth and was about to collapse. As he walked slowly, trying to regulate his breathing, he wondered where he was. Then, he saw a sign by the road.

[10 li to Deungbonghyun.]

Yeon Jeokha stopped as he considered heading towards Deungbonghyun. The idea that he had only run a night's distance struck him. This place was too close to his stepmother's house. If she sent someone, they would reach him soon.

From Unsa to Deungbonghyun was a three-day walk, a considerable distance, but Yeon Jeokha had not considered it.

“Haa! But I can't continue.”

He was so exhausted that his knees trembled. He decided to get something to eat first. As he staggered towards a nearby village, a problem arose. Children followed him, throwing stones and shouting insults at him.

“Look, a beggar!”

“Disgusting!”

“Get lost!”

Although the stones weren't strong enough to cause severe pain, it was annoying. A beggar?

‘Well, my parents died early, but I still grew up in a wealthy house...’

Remembering that he had been locked up, he realized that now, with his appearance, the children were right to call him a beggar. The clothes he had received years ago were worn out, shortened, and torn by the night's run, and his body, dirty with grime, made even him feel repulsed.

Clack.

A stone hit him on the forehead, causing a burning sensation. Touching it, he felt blood on his fingers. Suddenly, anger overwhelmed him.

“You brats!”

Shouting and making a gesture to chase them, the children screamed and ran away. An adult passing by scolded the children, telling them not to bother a poor man. Only then did the children disperse in search of other fun.

In the middle of summer, the blood dried quickly.

As he walked slowly, someone called out to him.

“Hey, you.”

Turning around, he saw an old beggar beckoning to him.

“Are you a disciple of the Beggar's Union?”

“No.”

“No? Then why are you dressed like a beggar?”

“……”

Yeon Jeokha didn't know what to say. He wasn't a beggar, but his appearance said otherwise, making him feel even sadder.

The old beggar approached and asked:

“You have no home, right?”

“No.”

“Do you have a bowl for begging?”

“No.”

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes.”

The old beggar clicked his tongue and said:

“What a fool. You don't have a begging bowl, that's why you're hungry. You don't know the basics. Take this.”

The old beggar, a senior from the Beggar's Union, gave him a broken bowl he carried on his waist.

Yeon Jeokha took it with both hands, surprised.

“Pay attention. Men don't give alms, so look for a woman. If you see a lady in the distance, run to her and say this.”

The old beggar, Mang Woogae, adjusted his voice and spoke quickly:

“'Oh, merciful lady, like the Bodhisattva of Compassion, save this poor man. Madam, I am an orphan with no one to turn to. Please, have pity on me. Buddha will never forget your kindness. Huh?' And at the end, look with teary eyes. Do you understand?”

“…Yes.”

“Try it.”

“Eh?”

“You said you understood, right? Then repeat what I said. I want to see how well you do.”

Mang Woogae looked at Yeon Jeokha with hopeful eyes. If the boy turned out to be smart, he intended to make him his disciple.

But Yeon Jeokha, who had just entered the world, didn't fully understand his words. Still, he made an effort to remember.

“…Lady... Bodhisattva… save me. I am an orphan……”

Saying he was an orphan, his eyes filled with tears.

Yeon Jeokha closed his mouth.

Mang Woogae's face crumpled. Of everything he had said, the boy only remembered "Bodhisattva" and "orphan." With such a limited mind, there was no reason to make him a disciple.

Still, he decided to teach him the basics of begging. Even if he didn't join the Beggar's Union, he had to learn to survive.

“Listen well. When you talk to a young lady, you must say something different. Tell them: ‘Oh, beautiful young lady, with such a kind heart, your parents must be very proud of you. May you find a good man, have strong children, and live happily.’ Just repeat that. Girls are shy and don't need much persuasion to give something. Do you understand?”

“…Yes.”

Mang Woogae didn't ask him to repeat it. He already knew the boy didn't have a good memory and only hoped he could survive.

“That bowl is a gift, use it well.”

“Eh? Yes.”

“Well, if fate allows, we'll meet again.”

Mang Woogae patted him on the shoulder and walked away.

Yeon Jeokha stared at the old beggar as he left. He had never talked to someone for so long. The guards who watched the storage room only spoke the necessary words and then left.

Grrrr.

The rumbling of his stomach brought him back to reality.

With the bowl in hand, he started looking for food. Even though he was hungry, he found it hard to beg. However, the people in the area were generous, and by noon, his bowl was full of food. Though dirty to look at, it tasted better than the dry buns from the storage room.

He ate the food from the bowl as he continued walking south. He walked along the road, crossed mountains and fields, and found the road again.

After being locked in a storage room for ten years, everything seemed amazing to him.

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