Chapter 61. Mysterious Old Man
Gongson Chun Gi stroked his beard as he stared at his opponent. An old man with a feather fan. Gongson Chun Gi could feel that the man had immense pride based on the man’s arrogant voice.
But the strange thing was, Gongson Chun Gi had never seen the man in his life.
“Seeing how you are able to destroy the Dream Blood Butterflies (夢血蝶), you must have quite a bit of skill. Just who are you, old man?”
Zhuge Liang. He fingered the tip of his fan and smirked. It was as if he was astounded by the fact that Gongson Chun Gi even said such a thing.
“Ignorant fool. Who do you think you are, trying to judge me with just petty tricks?”
“Hoh? You seem pretty confident. That’s good.”
Gongson Chun Gi grinned in amusement. Who was this man? Why was a man like this even here in the first place? Quite a lot of questions floated atop his head, but he refrained himself from asking them.
The questions were something that had to be resolved at another time.
“You wouldn’t answer even if I asked you who you are nicely, would you?”
Zhuge Liang smiled, and nodded.
“Find out for yourself.”
Gongson Chun Gi grinned. That was just what he wanted. It should be alright to ask questions after defeating the old man.
“This is going to hurt, you know.”
Zhuge Liang flapped his fan leisurely as he responded to Gongson Chun Gi’s threat.
Gongson Chun Gi grinned like a child. This was just what he wanted. Moreover, he could feel the opponent’s immense pride from that answer.
Just who, just who under the heavens could show this much pride to him? Gongson Chun Gi could feel excitement from this new experience.
’This’ll be fun.’
Gongson Chun Gi was filled with interest. While it wasn’t as much as martial arts, Gongson Chun Gi really was confident in magic. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that the thing he was best at after martial arts was magic.
The Heavenly Demon Church has quite a lot of good magical techniques. They had an astronomical amount of it. Gongson Chun Gi, who read all of it out of boredom, knew about all the magical techniques the church possessed.
Gongson Chun Gi never had a proper teacher, however. That was because even if no one taught him how to utilize his techniques in a more useful manner, his strength already rivalled that of a first-rate.
What should he do first? Gongson Chun Gi could see that his opponent was very talented.
If he used a weak technique, he’d just be humiliated. He needed to use an extremely powerful technique that could overwhelm the enemy with a single hit.
Gongson Chun Gi thought about the technique he should use, but then frowned as if he had seen something. He stared at Zhuge Liang intently, and let out a small groan.
“Old man, could it be that you’re…….”
“Did you see something?”
Zhuge Liang’s arrogant eyes filled with surprise. What did he see? There shouldn’t be anything Gongson Chun Gi should be able to see here.
Gongson Chun Gi stared at the old man in front of him for a while with a frown. Soon enough, he scratched the back of his head and smiled.
“Interesting. To think I’d meet a person of the same calibre (同流) as me here.”
Same calibre. Zhuge Liang smiled when he heard Gongson Chun Gi’s words, and shook his head.
“Don’t be fooled. You are simply a second-rate (亞流). You look good on the outside, but that’s about it.”
Zhuge Liang spoke as he lightly slapped his hand with his fan.
“Aren’t you going to come over? If you won’t, I’ll go first.”
“Che, old man, don’t try to tell me what to do. Even my teacher didn’t dare do that to me.”
Gongson Chun Gi grinned, and stretched out his right hand without any warning. It was as if he was trying to grab onto something.
It was a simple and light movement, but this move actually contained a tremendous amount of energy.
The air trembled slightly, and Gongson Chun Gi’s right hand disappeared into thin air. It was as if the hand fell into a shroud of fog and disappeared.
Zhuge Liang, who observed Gongson Chun Gi’s moves, became amused.
At that moment, the air in front of Zhuge Liang split open to reveal an empty black space resembling the entrance to hell.
“Let’s start off lightly, yeah?”
As soon as Gongson Chun Gi finished speaking, a giant blue hand appeared from the whole.
A giant hand that resembled those of a corpse. That hand tried to grab onto Zhuge Liang and make the man explode.
But…… When Zhuge Liang lightly flapped the feather fan, the hand exploded violently.
A sound of a monster’s cry resounded from the hole, and the destroyed hand disappeared from the air.
“You’re pretty good.”
Gongson Chun Gi made a face of disappointment. He knew his opponent would be able to deal with his spell, but wasn’t this dispelled too easily?
He wouldn’t be able to measure the opponent’s power this way. Right then, Zhuge Liang opened his mouth.
“Stop showing me petty tricks and give me the real thing.”
“The real thing?”
“You’re going to get hurt if you don’t.“
At that moment, Zhuge Liang’s body began to emit a tyrannical aura. But Gongson Chun Gi wasn’t even fazed by this. Instead, he actually began to smile.
“Thanks for the advice. But do you really think you can take this on?”
“That’s my line.”
Gongson Chun Gi nodded enthusiastically. He, too, knew that he wouldn’t be able to get his opponent without going all out.
“Think of this as an honour.”
Gongson Chun Gi raised his arms, and rubbed his eyes lightly. That moment, the world brightened around him.
“Demon Eyes (魔輪眼)……”
When Zhuge Liang said this in a quite voice, a giant red eye appeared above Gongson Chun Gi’s head for a moment, then disappeared.
Zhuge Liang looked down without finishing his sentence. He could feel something gigantic under his feet.
The ground split in half all of the sudden, and rows of sharp teeth revealed itself within. Without any warning, the ground split apart widely.
“This is the end.”
Gongson Chun Gi became elated. The giant mouth that formed on the ground opened its mouth widely, and swallowed Zhuge Liang.
The sound of bones breaking apart could be heard from the darkness of the abyss.
But Gongosn Chun Gi’s face, which had been staring at the ground for a while, slowly turned into a frown. He licked his lips and spoke.
“Damn, I got tricked.”
Gongson Chun Gi turned his head. When he did so, the space next to him swayed and revealed Zhuge Liang.
“As I expected, you were a practitioner of Pang Tong’s magic arts. But you are actually twice as strong as he was.”
Gongson Chun Gi scratched the back of his neck with a dissatisfied face. He then opened his mouth with an uninterested face.
“Compliments won’t work, you know. I already know that I can’t beat you here.”
At first, Gongson Chun Gi assumed that he was inside Cho Ryu Hyang’s dream. But that wasn’t the case. This was a place created by that old man, Zhuge Liang.
The old man was the one who had the advantage from the beginning. There was no way for Gongson Chun Gi to win if he and the old man were of the same strength.
“Who the hell are you, and what are you trying to do with my disciple? I’ll act accordingly based on your answer.”
Gongson Chun Gi said this as he dispelled his Demon Eye. He then sat down on the ground with an extremely relaxed posture. Zhuge Liang grinned when he saw this.
“Reckless, aren’t you.”
There was no way for Gongson Chun Gi to win in here.
If the two met in the real world, then perhaps the result of the battle could be different. But here, there was no way for Gongson Chun Gi to win against Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang stared at Gongson Chun Gi for a moment.
Gongson Chun Gi, too, stared at Zhuge Liang. The monsters of the past and the present. These two were constantly trying to pry into each other with their eyes.
After a moment, Gongson Chun Gi grinned as he spoke up.
“You really turned out to be an amazing person. With a lot of secrets, to boot. You really make me wonder who you might be.”
Zhuge Liang smirked.
“There are secrets in the world that are better left alone.”
Gongson Chun Gi nodded when he heard Zhuge Liang’s answer.
“Alright. I’m pretty curious as to what those secrets are, but I’ll refrain from asking them for now. I’m being really lenient right now, so you tell me what I want to know, okay?”
The thing Gongson Chun Gi wanted to know about. It wasn’t something that important to Zhuge Liang. Because of this, Zhuge Liang decided to tell Gongson Chun Gi about what was going on.
“Your disciple is trying to make a breakthrough.”
“Yes. I made him enter this state forcefully, which makes everything a bit dangerous, but the kid should be able to overcome it.”
Zhuge Liang fingered his fan as he spoke.
“I understand that I was being a little rushed. You probably had some things planned for your disciple, too. But this really is a necessary thing to do.”
Gongson Chun Gi thought for a moment, then nodded. He finally realised what was going on.
He also realised that the old man in front of him had no ill intentions towards Cho Ryu Hyang. Knowing that, Gongson Chun Gi could relax a little.
“You don’t have a body, huh.”
Zhuge Liang smiled. As expected, this person wasn’t someone he could look at lightly. To think that the man could find out about that immediately.
“To think there was a monster that only existed as a consciousness……. I’ve seen something great today.”
Gongson Chun Gi was honestly impressed. Just how strong would one have to get in order to perform such a thing?
“It’s not good to know too much, so you should leave right about now.”
“Wait…… are you perhaps someone from the past that I know of?”
Zhuge Liang mysteriously smiled when he heard Gongson Chun Gi’s question, and waved his fan.
“We’ll stop here, Gongson Chun Gi.”
Gongson Chun Gi frowned as he got flown back due to the energy that came from Zhuge Liang’s fan. He still had something he had to confirm, but he got chased out.
* * *
“Are you awake, your Holiness?”
Gongson Chun Gi gulped down the honeyed water Sunwu Jo Duk brought him, and ground his teeth.
“Damn, to think there was someone like that……”
He lost. To be fair, he was in that man’s dream, but he was still filled with annoyance. After thinking for a bit, Gongson Chun Gi looked at his right hand.
The skin on his right hand began to rupture, and streams of blood began flowing out. Sun Jo Duk, upon seeing this, widened his eyes and immediately applied medicine.
“Just what kind of a trick is this, your Holiness?”
“I would rather wish that this was a trick. That goddamned old man.”
“You don’t have to know about him. He’s just an arrogant old man.”
He really wasn’t just dreaming. His right hand was damaged quite badly due to the old man’s attack just now.
An attack to the consciousness, depending on its size, were able to show its effects on the physical body to an extent.
If Gongson Chun Gi was damaged this much even when using the Demon Eyes, an ability that boosted the power of the consciousness several times, the technique the old man used must’ve been extremely terrifying.
Gongson Chun Gi stared at his bleeding hand for a while, then turned to look at Cho Ryu Hyang.
“Yes, your holiness.”
“Leave him be. Things might actually take a turn for the worse if we try to step in.”
“……Did something happen?”
Sunwu Jo Duk asked this carefully, but Gongson Chun Gi didn’t talk. After all, the experience he had in Cho Ryu Hyang’s mind wasn’t too important.
He simply looked at Cho Ryu Hyang and whispered quietly.
“Let’s fight outside in the future, old man.”
Gongson Chun Gi felt that he suffered quite a bit.
* * *
Zhuge Liang stared at Gongson Chun Gi from the space he had created. He then smiled when hearing Gongson Chun Gi complain.
“So there are advantages to living for a long time.”
Zhuge Liang smiled as he fingered his fan. He was happy. Seeing someone with such talent made him happy.
The man was amazing. It was hard to see such talent even back in his day, the age when countless heroes rose and fell.
‘It was fun.’
It’s been a while since he last enjoyed himself like this. He at first saw this meeting as a form of amusement. But even he never expected to have this much fun in this encounter.
Watching Cho Ryu Hyang was already extremely enjoyable, but that child called Gongson Chun Gi was pretty interesting, too.
While he had been smiling, Zhuge Liang could suddenly feel something break. When he turned his head to look at what happened, he froze for a moment.
“……Could it be?”
A part of the ground was ripped open completely. After surveying the area for a minute, Zhuge Liang made a dumbfounded face. To him, this face was an extremely rare expression that only came up in cases of extreme surprise.
“…….It seems this age will turn pretty interesting.”
Gongson Chun Gi’s attack that swallowed him a while back. That attack had actually taken a chunk of Zhuge Liang’s space itself.
“So he wasn’t all talk.”
Zhuge Liang grinned.
Gongson Chun Gi. If that man attacked him with full strength, even Zhuge Liang, the owner of this space, would suffer quite a bit.
He had thought that he thought highly of Gongson Chun Gi, but that wasn’t the case at all. It seemed that he was underestimating the man far too much instead. Zhuge Liang stared at the ground, and began to let out a hearty laugh without even realizing it.