Chapter 147

“Do we have to cut off our hands and feet in advance?” 

“Oh, stop it. Didn’t you hear Council Chairman Baya’s warning? If things pertaining to the Han-Sung Clan don’t work out, it will cause a lot of trouble. Those Awakened Warrior bastards are especially troublesome. We have completely won the Jung-Ha Clan over, but as for Yeong-Mu and Sa-Myung, it is not entirely in the clear yet. We still have to lay the groundwork a little more.” 

“As for the third empress and the Sa-Myung Clan, aren’t they on our side as of today?” 

“Since Jagwan said he was going to start work today, it will be fine.” 

“This means…we have control over three out of the five empresses?” 

“Soon, a few of the secretarial offices are going down too. The princesses’ judgement is already impaired.” 

“Rain is the variable.”

“For the time being, let it be… The emperor is suspicious, but he will never be able to find the evidence.” 

“He’s combing through everything right now, though. For all you know, something might be exposed.” 

“It’s impossible. How can he see through something so complicated and make the link? We don’t even know the full picture ourselves, and we’re the ones carrying out the work.” 

“...”

“How is the city construction going?”

“I heard that 30 out of 100 will be completed and sold by early next year.”

“Ah- I hope they are done with the construction soon. By the way, when will the prohibition on hunting be lifted? These days…the supply of nectar has decreased and it is less concentrated, making it harder to endure. Today is the perfect day, though.” 

“Whoa whoa- Hang in there. Don’t you know we can’t do it without Satan’s permission?”

“Why does it matter? We are Pasoon’s councilors. Why is Satan controlling us?” 

“Pasoon has agreed to Satan’s request. Can you defy them?”

“Damn it…”

***

“Oh… I can’t tell…you two,” said Rain, who was a little tongue-tied as she was getting tipsy. 

“I don’t know myself either.” 

Biyeon chuckled. Her face was a little red. 

“I am...sorry. I asked the both of you to undertake the most dangerous work in this hellish place… Yet, I have nothing to offer…and I cannot...make any promises either. 

Unknowingly, tears welled up in Rain’s eyes. She was truly sorry. In this world, being the central figure and enemy of the people within the imperial palace was akin to being on the road to death. Becoming an enemy of large families meant that one would be on a never-ending path filled with adversities, where there would be swords flying from all directions. Even if one were to survive, they would live in anxiety for the rest of their lives; even their descendants and family members would never be safe. 

The other shrewd people were well aware of the attributes of such a power. Hence, they tried their best not to make enemies. There were several outstanding individuals in the empire. However, none of them would sacrifice and devote themselves to the emperor - none in the imperial palace, definitely none in any of the great clans, and lastly, there was none in the Han-Sung Clan as well. 

“Is there anything you did not tell us?” asked San.

“No. There’s no way…”`

“In that case, there is no need to be sorry, and no reason to be sorry either. Do you think that the choice we’ve made was foolish?” San’s deep voice rang out. 

Rain looked at San. The reflection in the light was blurry. Rain shook her head.

“No… Both of you are wiser than me...so, I don’t think it was foolish. Still, I am...sorry. It’s true that it’s dangerous, and I mean it….” 

“Well, do you think that we feel sorry for the Essen crew who followed us? Not at all. If I did, I wouldn’t be here. We have shown them the way, and we have revealed all the underlying potential dangers of this adventure. Also, we respected their choices. At this point, it would be funny if anybody feels sorry towards someone else. We made the decision together, so who should be sorry to whom?” San replied bluntly. 

“In that case, I will say thank you instead.”

“Rain, you are going to win this fight, right? Is there a problem with winning?” Biyeon looked at Rain, as she rested her chin on her hand.

“No...there isn’t a problem. We will win. Without fail!” said Rain, clenching her small fist. 

“If so, then there is no problem. As it turns out, there is nothing to be sorry about. Instead, we should rejoice because we are together.” 

“Rejoice…because we are together…”

Rain smacked her lips with her eyes half-closed. She felt weird. However, her eyes were getting bigger. The two people stood up. 

“Why don’t we comfort our torn and wounded little souls today? The place is nice, but the atmosphere is killing the vibe, don’t you think?” Biyeon spoke first.  

Her voice was soft but cheerful. It was like a ripple that awakened everything, sweeping them away without hesitation; a force that spread far and wide. 

“Is it a tribute? The theme,” asked San, as he took a big step forward. 

His voice was solemn and clear. It could be heard by everyone outside, as though his voice was right next to them. 

“I call it ‘comforting’ and ‘cheering on’ our noble friend in an honest manner.” 

Biyeon was already going down the stairs quickly.

“At what level?” 

San was already moving quickly to the opposite side as well. 

“Higher than the third empress. It’s not a big deal…” 

“As for the sensitivity?” 

“Shall we go all the way to the fifth stage? It’s been a while.” 

“Sounds good to me… Let’s have some fun.” 

Rain widened her eyes. Her heart was pounding all of a sudden. Due to the sudden change in energy, four maids leaped up, as though they bounced off the floor. The people outside widened their eyes. Their mouths were opening wider and wider. The music suddenly stopped. People stopped talking as well. 

The people on every floor - from the mezzanine all the way to the third floor, every single area was densely filled with the gazes of people looking down. Among them were the empress, the teachers of the Han-Sung Clan, as well as the young men and women, who were longing for heroes and beauties. 

The show was just about to start below, on a scale that they never would have ever imagined in their lives… 

Investigation — Chapter 8

The performance began with a tiny light in the dark. Initially, two tiny lights started flickering. The speed at which they flickered was slow. There was quite a long pause between the flashes. They were 10 meters above the floor and 10 meters below the ceiling. Every time they flashed, the magnificent decorations on the ceiling came into view. 

Tak- tak- ta ta ta ta ta ta-

There was a sound coming from the left; it sounded as though someone was clicking castanets from afar. It was very soft. However, it was so clear that it caught everybody’s attention. Everyone was on high alert, looking in the direction of the sound source. Nonetheless, behind the faint lights that flashed at long intervals, there was nothing but abyss-like darkness. 

Ting-a-ling- ting-a-ling- 

Next, a soft but bright metallic sound was heard coming from the right. People’s gazes shifted to the right. They could not see anything either. 

Boom boom- bam bam bam bam-

The soft sound of someone drumming started coming from the ceiling. Everyone looked upwards. It sounded as though it was coming from a distant place like heaven. 

Dak dak- da da da dak-

It was the sound of somebody knocking on the floor, similar to the sound made by tap shoes during tap dancing. It was as though the ground was responding to the sound made from the ceiling. 

Doong doong- Du du du du- 

Right now, the sound of heavy drumming echoed from afar, at the back. It felt as though an army of soldiers was making their way over on their horses. Soon after, the two lights started flashing more rapidly. Their brightness was directly proportionate to their speed, hence, it gradually increased. The white lights darted around the black space like a searchlight. Eventually, the lights burst in all directions and spread out quickly. 

The percussion sounds from all directions were getting louder and their rhythm accelerated rapidly too. The faint distant sounds were approaching closer and closer. The sound of thunder; the sound of wind chimes swaying in the storm; the sound of raindrops shaking the branches; the sound of soldiers’ horses’ hooves. All the different sounds combined together and resonated solemnly throughout the space. 

Everyone in the entire huge banquet hall started to get all revved up. In the middle of the lightning-like flashes, a majestic feast of percussion unfolded. The sound of rapid explosive blows, the short high-pitched sound, as well as the loud weighty sound of a drum that made one’s heart pound, resounded without hesitation. 

The sound grew louder and louder endlessly. It was a mighty sound that made their delicate eardrums hurt. It was louder than the combined sound of all the instruments of the large orchestra prepared by the empress playing at the same time. In the midst of the bright flashing light, the silhouette of a person finally emerged at first glance. There were two people. Upon a closer look, there were four people. Eight people. Or sixteen? Dozens of people could be seen moving around flamboyantly in the air, like a still image. 

Rain took a deep breath. She felt as though she was sobering up. She was not certain of what they were trying to show them. However, the weighty and mighty thumping sound alone made her heart pound. The speed of the breathtaking blows made them feel as though everything was being enveloped in a storm that was being sent upwards endlessly. 

Clank-

Eventually, the clear sound of thin glass breaking all at once rang briefly. At the same time, all the lights went out. The intense sounds that made their heart pound so hard to the extent it was going to burst stopped instantly. 

Rain widened her eyes. A heavy silence fell upon them, completely quelling the murmurs in the crowd. Something was being engraved into the black air that pushed through the dark space. A streak of white-hot lightning flashed across from left to right. Large shapes were slowly formed, with the black space as the background. 

Rain held her breath. The people watching above held their breath too. The lightning bolt created clear letters, which were forming a sentence. 

- Do not submit!

Koong- 

The loud weighty sound of the drum was heard once. The letters slowly disappeared and this time, the next letter was engraved in scarlet, in the shade of blood red. 

- Here’s to the great soul! 

Ah!

Suppressed exclamations erupted everywhere. The letters were scattered in the air and the huge space gradually brightened. In the middle, there were two people ‘standing’ in the air, emitting white light. It was a different skill from the ones displayed in the empress’ circus. The splendid opening ended just like that. 

“Uhh- that…that…”

“The light is being emitted from their bodies…” 

“They’re floating in the air…!”

In the stifling silence, soft groans spontaneously erupted everywhere. The scale and production were on a different level. It was very sophisticated. It was the scene where the Awakened Warriors’ craft unfolded from the beginning. People were at a loss for words. 

The Awakened Warriors forgot to breathe for a moment. Who called these two people lowly country bumpkin warriors? 

“The skill of the Han-Sung Clan’s third-level Awakened Warrior…!”

They circled the square in the air with their hands behind their backs. They looked relaxed and natural, as if they were walking on flat ground. The gazes of the two people swept across the audience haughtily, yet gently. Their position was changing. They did not invite the audience, but they wanted to watch. There was fear and expectation. 

However, the two people ignored the audience’s requests by turning a blind eye. The message was clear. They were not entertaining them. It was a game that they played because they liked it. It meant that they did not care about the audience’s expectations and it did not matter whether or not they were watching them. 

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