༺ Looking for the Hint (3) ༻
I dropped to my knees, shocked, and marveled at the tree that had suddenly appeared before me.
“What in the world…”
It was already amazing how the cliff had disappeared and a tree had taken its place, but the fact that said tree was the infamous white maple tree was… insane.
Every single part of the tree was white, even its leaves.
It looked like it was shining.
No, the leaves that fell from the tree were actually shining.
I carefully reached out to pick one up, and the moment I touched it, it crumbled.
“What the hell is going on?”
Is it spatial magic?
There was no history of the Zhuge clan—a clan that had been famous for their spatial magic—using their magic before they vanished from existence during the blood disaster.
‘But then, how do I explain this?’
“Young Master! Look, it’s so pretty!”
Wi Seol-Ah had picked up a bunch of fallen leaves from around the tree.
‘…But it crumbled when I picked it up?’
The leaves kept their shape in Wi Seol-Ah’s hands, as if they were discriminating against me.
I carefully took one of the leaves that was in Wi Seol-Ah’s hands.
Like before, it crumbled again.
“…What the hell, is it really discriminating against me?”
It felt sort of shitty.
I glanced around.
Looking at it now, the flatland that used to be the cliff looked much more natural now.
‘So this is how it really looks?’
“Anyway, I think I’ve found the secret vault.”
It was the same as what the Tang clan had described, and the tree was really white…
It was almost too white.
The leaves looked like snow as they fell from the tree.
To think that this tree had been hidden for hundreds of years, how was that even possible?
From what I knew, locational magic didn’t last that long, and it needed to be consistently checked on.
So… does that mean someone was managing this place?
I felt like that wasn’t the case though…
“Young Master! There’s something here!”
“…When did you even go all the way there?”
I was still on my knees in shock, but Wi Seol-Ah was already wandering around, touching the tree.
I went towards Wi Seol-Ah, who was standing close to the tree, and behind it was a staircase that led downwards.
Shouldn’t something like a secret vault be kept more… secret?
“Maybe they didn’t worry about it too much since the spatial magic was already keeping it hidden?”
Considering the amount of fear one would normally feel when walking to the edge of a cliff.
But then what about Wi Seol-Ah?
She saw the tree, and easily broke through the magic.
‘It’s good for me, but how do I explain this?’
After sighing on my own, I shook off the confusing thoughts.
I had to first focus on the secret vault.
“It’s dangerous, so you should wait here-“
Was what I was going to say, but Wi Seol-Ah had already disappeared.
I heard her voice from down the stairs.
“Young Master! Hurry up!”
Does she ever think before doing something…?
Thanks to her actions, this endless headache won’t be going away anytime soon.
* * * *
I followed Wi Seol-Ah down the stairs.
The staircase that led downward was unexpectedly narrow, and I could see no end in sight.
I thought that maybe I should go back to town to grab some sort of light so that I could light the place up, but, luckily enough, the white leaves that Wi Seol-Ah was holding in her hands acted as a suitable makeshift torch.
The shining leaves were rather good at lighting the place, and thanks to that, we were able to go down safely.
The problem now was,
‘How deep did they make this?’
How many steps had it been?
It felt like we’d been going down forever, but the stairs still continued downward.
Is it possible for it to be this deep?
‘Is this also locational magic?’
I felt like it was a possibility.
Considering that the magic hid this huge land and the tree, while also changing its appearance to make it look like a cliff… I felt like it wasn’t impossible.
‘I dove straight into action without a proper plan…’
I was too impatient, since I knew that this place had a secret vault inside.
They say that greed blinds humans; at the moment, I was the perfect example of that.
I spoke to Wi Seol-Ah,
“I think we need to first go back up-“
“Young Master, there’s a different way here.”
In front of Wi Seol-Ah, there was only one way down—the stairs that seemed endless.
“What are you talking about? There’s only one way down.”
Following my words, Wi Seol-Ah started touching the wall that was next to her.
The leaves fell from her hands, but Wi Seol-Ah didn’t seem to care.
I then spoke to her.
“There are only walls, what are you-“
The wall that Wi Seol-Ah was touching made a sudden sound and then exploded into dust, revealing a hidden path.
Wi Seol-Ah looked at the hidden path and stood proudly.
She had done a good thing, but I felt a bit spiteful.
“See? There is a path here!”
“…Yes… Why is there a path here?”
Seriously, why is it here?
The hidden path was located at a spot where you would have had to go down the stairs for a long time, and since it was hard to notice, you would have had to bring in professionals to investigate the place in order to find it.
But then it was just… discovered.
…By Wi Seol-Ah.
‘What in the world was going on?’
Was this just a part of her natural talent?
One could say that she lived in a different world than mine as someone destined to reach the Zenith in the future, but, did something like that also contribute to things like this?
I didn’t know the answer.
Wi Seol-Ah was starting to make her way into the hidden path, but I stopped her.
“It’ll be dangerous for you to act recklessly from now on; I’ll lead the way.”
I felt like I shouldn’t have been the one saying that since, up until now, she had been the one leading the way down the stairs.
But it really felt like it would be dangerous from this point on.
Following my words, Wi Seol-Ah smiled in a weird manner.
And, following that confusing smile, I asked her.
“Young Master is worried about me…!”
“What about it?”
“I don’t know, but it feels nice!”
I felt embarrassed when she said that for some reason, so I bonked her head.
“Ow! Uuu… Why did you hit me…?”
“No reason, I just felt like it.”
When I entered the hidden path, the path was bright, unlike the staircase.
I walked in, following the light, and stopped after a few steps.
Come to think of it, it was the things that were stuck in the walls that produced the light.
“Are all of these moonlight marbles?”
The stones that were making the path bright.
They were so valuable in this period of time that it would be hard to obtain them even if one had a lot of money.
But all of these are on the walls right here…
“Fucking hell… I knew the Golden Nature had a lot of wealth, but isn’t this too extravagant?”
I was in shock.
How much would I make if I brought all of these with me?
‘…Should I take some on the way back?’
It felt morally wrong, no, wait—was there any need to feel guilty? I was the one who had found them in the first place.
Yes, it’s not like I lived as a demon because I’d never felt morally wrong in my previous life, so-
“…It’s nothing; let’s keep going.”
I held off the thought and proceeded to continue down the path.
I was on my guard, ready for any attacks,
But I felt no presence that gave off a feeling of danger.
We walked for a while.
It wasn’t as long as the time we’d spent walking down the stairs, but it was a fairly long time.
Just as I began to think that this path was actually a trap, we reached its end.
At the end of the path was a giant door that seemed to be at least twice as big as my body.
I went closer to the door and slowly grabbed at the knob.
I was worried that something would happen when I touched it, but thankfully nothing happened.
I pulled on it with some strength.
I expected that the door would be quite heavy, considering its size, but it opened rather easily.
When I went in, there was only darkness.
It seemed like no moonlight marbles were installed in this room.
“It’s a bit too dark…”
As I struggled to see how big the room was, or if this room led to a different path, something flew past me.
A white light.
It was one of the white leaves that Wi Seol-Ah had been holding.
Was it being blown by the wind? But I felt no wind here.
I concentrated my Qi upon hearing a sudden voice.
It sounded like it was right in front of me.
The voice was coming from the darkness.
-…How did you end up in a place like this, child?
The leaf that was floating in the air, came to a stop.
Then it crumbled, just like when I touched it before.
-You are not a child of the Golden Nature, so then, how did you find this place?
I gradually became able to see; a light began to emerge from the darkness in front of me.
It was the same white light that the leaf gave out.
I stood in front of Wi Seol-Ah, protecting her while concentrating my fire Qi.
‘I feel like this is dangerous; do we just run away?’
No matter how much Qi I used, I couldn’t figure out what was in front of me.
Something was definitely there, but it was faint, as if it were covered in a deep fog.
-…You are holding something strange within you.
Following the voice, a bright light engulfed the room in an instant.
It was too bright, so I clenched my eyes and protected Wi Seol-Ah.
When I opened my eyes after the light had faded away,
I gasped at what had just happened.
The room that was filled with darkness was now brightly lit.
But the problem was the cause of that light.
The room was huge, with a ceiling that was at least 30 meters tall, and in the middle of the room was a snake that didn’t fit.
A giant snake that filled up the entire room.
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