Chapter 26. The Monster in The Formation
Jo Gi Chun was working on something with a serious face. There was brown clay in a basin. He had been kneading it since a while back, and was trying to make something.
After working with the clay for quite some time, Jo Gi Chun produced 5 clay statues of men on horses. Jo Gi Chun had a satisfied look on his face.
A horse rider. After looking at the 5 palm-sized figures carefully, he took out a small pouch.
The pouch was full of shiny black stones. They were obsidian. The rare gem that was produced in small amounts at the south. A single piece, no bigger than a fingernail, was worth five mansions. Jo Gi Chun’s pouch was full of it.
Jo Gi Chun muttered with a small voice, and picked out five pieces.
And with a needle that he had prepared a while back, he stabbed each of the fingers on his right hand once. Drops of blood came from each finger with a sting of pain.
Jo Gi Chun marked obsidian pieces with his blood. After marking them, he put each of the pieces into the clay figures. With that, the most basic preparation was completed.
“Shall I go in, then?”
Jo Gi Chun started off with the five clay figures. He was going to the tomb of Ak Jung Pae. To be more specific, he was going to the formation that surrounded the tomb.
* * *
Jo Gi Chun took a few deep breaths once he reached the tomb. Something like this took a lot of toll on his body because of his age, but he couldn’t afford to do anything else. There wasn’t any time.
He had to show them some results before four days passed.
Jo Gi Chun walked up the mountain, then stopped. The place where stones with strange markings on them surrounded the area.
It would be dangerous to go any further. Right after this point would be the formation’s area of influence. Jo Gi Chun observed the border of the formation carefully.
When it came to formations, Jo Gi Chun was an expert.
That was why he could see the border of the formation clearly with his eyes. After looking at the border carefully, he took out the five clay figures he brought.
He put the clay figure on the line.
He had to be careful, from now on.
Jo Gi Chun slowly pushed the clay figures into the border. A moment later, the figures were all inside the formation.
Jo Gi Chun kneeled down, and put his right hand inside the border. He looked quite uncomfortable in that position. Unfortunately, he had to stay in that position. Until the first transformation took place, that is.
Thankfully, the first transformation took place quite soon. The five clay figures in the formation were trembling slightly.
Jo Gi Chun wrinkled his eyebrows when he saw that.
‘This is too fast.’
That wasn’t a good sign. The first transformation was taking place, even though it hasn’t even been that long since he pushed the figures inside.
The whole formation began to tremble. At the same time, the five clay figures in the formation began to get bigger. Jo Gi Chun was observing this with a careful face.
‘A formation is an artificial area created by bending the power of nature to a person’s will.’
The inside of a formation could be regarded as an entirely different world. That was why some supernatural things could take place inside naturally. Like now.
Five martial artists, each one of them seated on a horse. The clay figures that Jo Gi Chun brought had turned into human beings on horses in a moment inside the formation. They were currently looking at Jo Gi Chun, who was outside the formation, awaiting orders.
Jo Gi Chun pulled up his sleeve on his right arm. And with a face full of concentration, he moved his pinkie a tiny bit.
Then, the horseman on the far right began to move forward. Usually, once a formation was activated, you wouldn’t be able to see the other side. After all, the insides of a formation and the outside world was two separate worlds.
But Jo Gi Chun, as mentioned before, was an expert when it came to formations. So he used some of his tricks to look inside. That trick of his would be the clay figures.
Jo Gi Chun’s right hand was currently in the formation. Normally, when a person’s body part was inside the formation, most formations would not activate. That was the basic condition.
But Jo Gi Chun had some agents to help him. The invincible agents that could take on any sort of danger. The five martial artists.
The clay figures, that used expensive obsidian as the core. They were moving inside the formation right now, like a real person. And Jo Gi Chun was able to feel the changes in the formation the clay figures would experience.
‘As expected, this is hard.’
Truthfully, the formation here was something Jo Gi Chun saw for the first time in his life.
The strange stones that were laid out outside the formation. The strange markings on the formations were old mathematical symbols, ones that barely anyone used in this day, which formed several complicated equations.
At first, Um Seung Do suspected that it would take Jo Gi Chun a long time to even solve the equations on the stones.
But that was a big misunderstanding. Jo Gi Chun solved the equations on the stones the moment he saw them.
But the problems started there. When Jo Gi Chun solved the equations on the stones, he could see that the equations explained what the formation does.
Someone, someone that had an incredible amount of confidence in his/her mathematical skills, set up a formation here. He even put the answers to undoing the formation with it.
Whoever made this had a lot of confidence. The thing was, Jo Gi Chun couldn’t even decipher the formation, even with the answers on the stones. Jo Gi Chun knew what the formation did, and how it transformed, but he still couldn’t break through the formation.
‘Only a martial artist can do this.’
How would he even undo a formation from the inside, if he wouldn’t even be able to move?
Because of that, Jo Gi Chun was thinking of finding the trick to undo the formation and bring it back to the Heavenly Demon Church.
Jo Gi Chun’s face began to get a little clouded. That was because he could feel an immense pressure as he went deeper into the formation.
If the pressure he was experiencing was this much, the clay figures were probably feeling an unbelievable amount of pressure. The figures weren’t saying anything, and were trying their best to fulfill the mission Jo Gi Chun gave them. Especially the horseman on the far right. He was the one to reach the gate of the first trial.
‘An Imugi that could not become a dragon……..’
(TL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_dragon#Imugi An Imugi is a “lesser dragon” that resembles a snake. Once it collects enough energy, it turns into a full fledged dragon.)
The first trial. He had to break through the Imugi that could not ascend, and enter. Like all other formations out there, it was using metaphors to describe the actual trial.
Jo Gi Chun saw the use of that sentence several times, when he was studying formations in the past. The formations that used that metaphorical sentence were truly wild and violent. The descriptions were usually attached to formations that were designed for mass murder.
Because of that, Jo Gi Chun moved his pinky with great care. Then, the martial artist at the front hesitated a bit, then moved in.
Once it went inside, nothing really happened. The formation was tranquil, contrary to what Jo Gi Chun had suspected.
When Jo Gi Chun began feeling a little strange, something came out in front of his eyes.
Even before Jo Gi Chun realized what it was, he let out a painful moan.
It felt like his pinky was being ripped out of his hand. Jo Gi Chun endured the pain with his old body. He almost got his right hand out of the formation accidentally.
If he had pulled his hands out of the formation then, everything would’ve ended. Everything he prepared for this moment would’ve been useless.
Jo Gi Chun felt relieved, even with all the pain. He had managed to avoid a critical situation. And once his pain subsided quite a bit, he began to get suspicious.
The first trial. There was something in there that was capable of breaking a clay figure in an instant. As Jo Gi Chun didn’t manage to see what it was, he naturally got curious.
‘Just what is it?’
Since he was looking inside the formation with a proxy, his reactions were obviously slower than normal. That’s why he wasn’t able to observe the thing inside the gate of the first trial very well.
‘What should I do…….’
Jo Gi Chun was in conflict. It wasn’t like he would be able to see what was inside just by sending another one in. As long as he was able to confirm what was in the first trial, everything else would move on much easily.
After thinking for a long time, Jo Gi Chun finally made a decision.
‘I’ll get everyone to go in at once.’
He didn’t have confidence that one or two was going to do the trick.
The only sure way to find out was to take all four of the figures in to check.
Thinking that, Jo Gi Chun tapped the ground with his fingers, excluding his pinkie, with speed.
Tok tok tok tok–
Then, the four martial artists outside the gate began moving. Jo Gi Chun made up his mind as he watched them move.
He didn’t know what was inside, but it was guaranteed that one or more of the martial artists would get destroyed in there. That would mean that he would have to go through the same pains he felt last time.
‘Would I be able to endure it?’
Jo Gi Chun had never trained his body in his life. He wasn’t confident that he would be able to endure the pain that he went through just now.
But Jo Gi Chun soon became calm again. There wasn’t anyone else that could do this, other than him. If someone had to do this, it would be him.
When he admitted that, his mind eased a bit. Right then, the four martial artists reached the gate to the first trial.
‘I must send them in, all at the same time.’
Jo Gi Chun set up the clay figures carefully. And after preparing his mind for the worst, he pushed the four figures inside.
Like before, nothing happened the moment he put in the clay figures. This was the important part.
The four figures began to turn their heads to look at the surroundings. At the moment, however, Jo Gi Chun was immediately assaulted with immense pain.
Two clay figures got destroyed in an instant.
Jo Gi Chun, feeling pain akin to having two of his fingers rip from his hands, screamed inside his mind. If he lost consciousness now, everything he did up till now would go to waste. He quickly manipulated the two figures, and pushed them further inside. He needed to see what was inside.
Once he pushed in the two figures further into the formation, he could see something.
There was a giant cave inside. In the middle of the cave lay a giant pond. The pond seemed to be dark, and full of poison.
‘Where is this?’
Once he thought that.
Another figure broke apart.
Jo Gi Chun trembled as he felt the immense pain strike his body, and used his last figure to look around. He had to see what was destroying his figures.
And right there, he saw ‘it’.
‘T, this isn’t possible.’
It was a snake.
A giant snake that was bigger than a house.
There were a pair of red horns protruding out of its head like a crown, and its body was encased in black scales. This snake was stuck onto the ceiling of the cave, and it was looking down at Jo Gi Chun with a smile.
Yes. The thing was smiling. Jo Gi Chun felt terrified when he saw the snake’s smile, which seemed to regard Jo Gi Chun a toy.
But what happened next surprised him even more.
[A lowly human like you managed to see me.]
Jo Gi Chun, outside the formation, was so surprised, that he almost screamed like a little girl.
[You are not qualified to get in here. Get out.]
The last thing Jo Gi Chun saw was the snake’s tail hurtling towards him.