Chapter 125 - Swallow the Sun #3
"This atmosphere is...”
Lee Gun-woo looked around with an impressed expression. As they walked down the corridor, most of the building had modern architecture. However, once the door opened, an amazing scene greeted them. It was like a palace from the Joseon Dynasty.
There was an altar with a thin curtain covering it, while the followers were lined up on either side.
“I’ve been waiting for you.”
Two bishops, wearing the traditional clothing of officials, greeted them with benevolent expressions. Song Chi-hyun introduced them first.
"The two people before you are Pungbaek and Unsa.” (Two of Hwanin’s 3,000 followers. Pungbaek=earl of the wind. Unsa=master of the clouds)
Lee Gun-woo cried out at the familiar names,
“That means you...”
“Yes. I am Usa.” (Another follower. Master of the rain)
They were three people from the Dangun myth. (See the Hwanin link) They were natural titles based on the leader of the church being called Hwanin. At that moment, someone’s voice was heard from among the silent followers.
Lee Gun-woo stared at the other person. She was wearing court clothing, but he was sure that she was his sister.
"Hey, this brat! What are you doing here?! Do you know how worried I have been?”
"What...? I have become one of the seven fairies who serve Hwanin. More than that, Oppa. Listen. Hwanin is really great...”
As the brother and sister reunited, Tae-hyuk looked at the shadow beyond the curtain. It was Cho Min-hyuk, the leader of ‘Sun.’
'No, isn’t he called Hwanin here? However, this scent is clearly...’
There were a few incense burners placed around the room. A slightly sweet aroma was coming from them. It was the incense that Choi Sung-yeol used to blur the mind.
‘It is diluted since my stats aren’t falling as drastically as the last time it happened. However, it certainly looks like his judgement is declining.’
Lee Gun-woo’s eyes were drooping and the mental strength of a soldier couldn’t be seen.
'The Yakuza made this? It has a crazy effect...’
It was the cause of the blind devotion among the followers. The interior decorations and gorgeous garments that seemed to come from a historical drama set were meant to hide it.
Lee Gun-woo was perfectly drunk on the scent.
Even so, he never forgot his purpose for coming here.
“C-Cough! Anyway, I will be taking my sister.”
"I mean, I’m not going! I will continue staying here!”
Min-young’s voice was small compared to her brother, who seemed like he would burst on fire at any moment. He grabbed her hand to drag her out. However, the watching bishops didn’t say anything. It seemed like they had expected this and were waiting for something.
Tae-hyuk realized that the shadow behind the curtain had started swaying.
‘It is starting.’
As if it was waiting, a strange voice flowed from behind the curtain.
“Lee Gun-woo. Your sister is tied up by karma. If you bring her out of here, then she will lose her life.”
Fury filled Lee Gun-woo’s eyes at the words. No matter how he scolded her, she was still his sister. He wouldn’t allow any threats to her life.
“Haha. You’ve finally exposed your true colours! I think I know how you scammed Min-young. Min-young. Ignore his words.”
Lee Gun-woo pulled his sister’s hand and tried to leave the room. He thought that his little sister probably told them his personal information. However, Lee Min-young’s condition was strange. She desperately tried to persuade Lee Gun-woo.
“...Oppa, you are misunderstanding. Hwanin’s words are all true.”
“What? What is it?"
The leader whispered in a low voice towards the confused Lee Gun-woo.
“Lee Gun-woo. The same applies to you. You are also tied up by karma.”
Lee Gun-woo started shouting,
“It is like I told my sister! Who would fall for such tricks?!”
At that moment, the leader spoke like he was giving a prophecy.
"Aren’t you struggling because of the distorted future?”
"Anyone can say that.”
"I think it would be nice to speak a little more clearly. Captain Lee Gun-woo and Private Park Woo-hyuk.”
Lee Gun-woo stopped moving with a shocked expression. He seemed like a stone.
Then the surprised Lee Min-young asked,
“O-Oppa? What is it? What does Hwanin mean?”
It didn’t make sense.
How did that person...?
The accident that occurred six months ago appeared in Lee Gun-woo’s head. It was treated as confidential, and his name didn’t even appear in the newspapers. Naturally, he didn’t even inform his family. But that name emerged from that person’s mouth.
“Tsk tsk. Have you realized your ignorance? But don’t worry. The sins committed are also part of the cleansing. It is my role to remedy that.”
Lee Gun-woo bit his lip.
He was originally scheduled to be promoted to major. He felt he was doing well and couldn’t be touched as he lived at headquarters. However, there was a huge mistake. Lee Gun-woo ignored the harsh abuse that was happening. The victim, Park Woo-hyuk, couldn’t endure it anymore and committed suicide through a grenade in his barrack. At the time, there were four other soldiers present and they also lost their lives.
It was a big enough event for the unit itself to be dismantled. Lee Gun-woo could’ve stopped it if he paid more attention to the team. Of course, his promotion disappeared. He was barely able to avoid a dishonourable discharge due to his history.
"Your karma is the soldiers who died unjustly. An offering is necessary to purify it.”
The answer came from a different place.
“Oppa, Hwanin isn’t interested in such things. He isn’t a shaman who tricks people for money.”
"Then what is the offering?”
The leader stopped for a moment and beckoned. The believers moved and lit a few more incense burners. The scent became more widespread in the room.
"The proof that you are still alive is enough. The clothes you wore, the bedding you sleep in, the shoes you wear. Offer them up in the cleansing ritual.”
The words were convincing. If the leader had asked for money, he wouldn’t have believed it so easily. But the offerings were just keepsakes. Wouldn’t it be okay to try it once?
Some time passed by. The distressed Lee Gun-woo finally opened his mouth.
“...Cough. For Min-young’s sake, I guess I can listen to your story.”
"As long as you have the offerings, all the things necessary for the cleansing will be prepared.”
Min-young clapped happily at Gun-woo’s response.
"Right? I told you it wasn’t fake. Hwanin is the real thing.”
Gun-woo involuntarily nodded.
Song Chi-hyun smiled at the sight. It had been a long time since the play had been so perfectly completed. He had been scamming people for years. They used it to secure hundreds of believers, but this was the first time it was perfected. There wasn’t a chance of getting unknown information from outside.
It was true that money wasn’t important. As long as they gained the person’s faith, they had obtained the life of that person.
Now Pungbaek and Unsa would put the finishing touches on the scam. Then the remaining person...
Song Chi-hyun looked at the man who came with Lee Gun-woo. He was a high school maths teacher. That was the only information they got.
However, this was enough for today. A believer’s family member had been brought in to Sun. In most cases, the remaining family members would also follow.
Then Tae-hyuk, who had been quietly watching the situation, slowly came forward.
“Lee Gun-woo. Can you please wait a moment?”
"I still haven’t achieved my purpose for coming here.”
Everybody’s gaze focused on Tae-hyuk.
Pungbaek and Unsa frowned at Tae-hyuk.
They were still a little immature compared to Song Chi-hyun, whose poker face was perfect.
"Didn’t Kim Cheol-su come to find your little brother? Hwanin said that he couldn’t find him. ‘Kim Sung-soo’ isn’t here.”
According to the information obtained, his little brother Kim Sung-soo wasn’t here. He probably got caught by some other cult. This person had found the wrong address.
Just in case, Song Chi-hyun had thought of some measures about his brother’s whereabouts. It could be used to fool him.
"I'm sorry but I didn’t come here to find my little brother. I thought I should destroy the man who is tricking my followers.”
“Huh? What does that mean?”
Tae-hyuk slowly licked his lips.
He could use the fact that his opponent proclaimed himself a god. Among those gathered here, only five people knew that this church was a scam. The rest were followed and really believed they were following a god. Then the most effective way to use that...
Tae-hyuk activated a crime skill.
[Disguise has been used.]
-Your appearance has changed to Song Chi-hyun.
In an instant, Tae-hyuk's face changed into another person. The people who saw it shrieked.
"F-Face, his face changed!”
"There are two Usa’s!”
The shadow behind the curtain shook like he was also confused.
Tae-hyuk used a crime skill before opening his mouth.
[Voice Modulation has been used.]
-You can imitate the voice of Kim Bum-soo.
Now his voice was dignified.
“Unsa! How dare you use the name of Hwanin!”
"I am Pungbaek. I received the name from Hwanin and brought rain to the world when I followed Hwanung!”
"O-Oh my god...”
Tae-hyuk’s plan was very simple.
Reveal the true colors of the one pretending to be a god.
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