Lee Jihoon was always and will always be.
With the memories attained of ten thousand years from all those who suffered and all those who caused suffering? They resided within him.
Seeing that the salmon was almost done, he promptly sat up and clapped his hands together then fished out the set of vegetables and condiments he prepared before fishing for the salmon.
Pulling a black mini wok out from the bag that was beside him he removed the lid of one of the jars and poured the oil inside the small jar into the wok, waiting for the fragrance from the fish to intensify he pulled it off and placed the wok on the fire.
He then threw in some onions that he chopped up and it immediately began to sizzle and fry, throwing in some red and yellow peppers next, followed by chopped tomatoes and chopped up pieces of pork from the pig he killed two days ago.
Leaving it to fry for a while he turned to the other vegetables on his plate, pulling out a bowl from the sack he threw in all the leftover ingredients and started mixing them then pulled some of the tender flesh from the salmon and placed it in the bowl, making a salmon salad for himself.
He then took the wok off the fire and covered the fire with sand using his feet. Sitting back down on the ground he closed his eyes and put his two hands together and prayed, “To whoever is out there listening, thank you for the food that will enter my stomach and curse the hands that prepared it.”
Opening his eyes, it turned green and he started eating his food at a very fast pace. In the clouds, the cultivators looked at one another with puzzled and confused expressions.
XinYi finally managed to escape from brother Cheng’s grasp and asked him once again, “Brother Cheng, is it only me that thinks that cursing oneself is a bad thing?”
Brother Cheng looked over at his junior brother and said, “Go ask him why he cursed himself, then tell him he should curse you too!”
XinYi grinned and with innocent eyes he raised his hands in defeat, “Brother Zhou?” XinYi called to the fellow standing next to him who was also a fellow cultivator from the Yong sect and his senior by three years.
Brother Zhou looked over at him without answering indicating with his eyes that XinYi had his full attention. Seeing his response he grinned and asked, “Elder brother Zhou, the only people I know who would curse themselves are the ones from the demonic sects, this fellow cursed himself before eating his food, does he want to choke to death.”
Lee Jihoon who just stuffed a piece of pork meat in his mouth heard this and choked on the juice from the pork, he hit his chest a couple of times till it when down, [These people want me to die!!!!] he yelled to himself and continued eating till all the food was done.
XinYi in the clouds was glared at by his elder brothers and sisters, he too did not expect his words to come true so he decided to stay quiet for the duration of their time here.
One of the elders from the Samkida sect looked at the back of XinYi’s head and smiled, looking down to the youngster who was washing the dishes, wok and utensils he just used in the river.
Squinting his eyes, his sword dropped slowly as he concealed his aura and descended towards the ground, the other sects did not stop him because none of them wanted to go down there just in case something were to happen.
Lee Jihoon who was just about done washing his wok, placed it on the ground in the sun to dry upside down.
He sensed the elders presence the minute he descended but acted as if he did not notice anything and continued with what he was doing.
The elder slowly approached him with caution and a gentle smile on his face. He stopped behind Lee Jihoon who was stretching his body and tapped him on the shoulder.
Lee Jihoon’s body froze on the spot with his hands in the air. He slowly turned his head to the side and the minute he saw a silhouette behind him he ran away.
The elder who stood moments behind him stood there with shock displayed on his face. Lee Jihoon must have run for his life because he was so fast that the stunned elder almost lost sight of him.
Mounting his sword the elder chased after Lee Jihoon and dashed to the front of him. Lee Jihoon who was cut off by the elders suddenly fast appearance crouched down and held his hands over his head and muttered to himself, “Oi oi oi oi oi.”
The elder shook his head and with a gentle voice he said, “Young one, this elder is not here to hurt you.”
Lee Jihoon paused and glanced at the elder before him, he saw that the robe the elder had on was black with red circular patterns at the hems and connected it to one of the demonic cultivating sects the Samkida sect from the Ga-Eul province.
He looked at the elder with watery eyes and asked, “Really?”
The elder’s smile grew gentler and said, “Yes, this elder promises.”
Lee Jihoon immediately stood up and looked at the elder with delight in his eyes but his gaze soon froze and without further hesitation, he turned and made a run for it while screaming, “The day I believe the words of a stranger is the day that the demonic cultivating sects call me grandmaster!!”
XinYi in the clouds and a few others struggled to keep their laughs back after hearing Jihoons words.
The elder was not impatient and stood in place as he watched Jihoon run back in the direction he came from. When Jihoon hid behind the tree the elder walked back at a slow pace which was quite fast.
He stood on the other side of the tree where Jihoon was and said, “Youngster, this old man’s name is Sang Baem.”
Jihoon peaked his head out from behind the tree and looked at the elder in front of him, looking at him, giving him a once over. He hid his head behind the tree again and asked, “Why are you named snake?”
Elder Sang, “Although I am named Baem, I am not a snake, I was just unfortunate to have a mother who hated my father and named me the son of a snake.”
Jihoon popped his head out and gave the elder a once over then hid again and asked, “Do you hate your mother?”
Elder Sang, “It’s not that I hate her, it’s just that I have come to dislike the woman who carried me for nine months and raised me for sixteen years.”
Behind the tree Jihoon’s eyes smiled, he stepped out from behind the tree and with his hands behind his back, he looked at Elder Sang with a pleased smile on his face.
His actions and reaction made all of the cultivators watching including Elder Sang feel that something was off about him.
Elder Sang, “May I ask what this young man’s name is?”
Jihoon, “Of cause you can but by knowing my name, how will it benefit Elder Sang?”
Elder Sang replied calmly, “Well if you could help me by answering all the questions I have for you then this elder would benefit greatly and knowing this young man’s name would help this elder identify you if we come across one another in the future.”
Jihoon nodded his head in agreement and cupped his hands in front of him and said, “This young man is named Lee Jihoon, might I asked why the sixth elder from the Samkida sect is here in the forbidden mountain Deadmans Wonderland?”
Elder Sang immediately flew back a few kilometres away and stood with his sword pointed at Jihoon. Seeing this scene, the cultivators from the demonic alliance all dropped down and landed beside elder Sang with their swords pointed at Jihoon.
Jihoon stood straight up from his bowing positing and swept his gaze across at all the people in front of him and looked up at the clouds he said, “The rest of you can all descend as well, there is no longer anything in this valley that will harm the living.
The sects in the clouds looked at one another then descended one after the other.
When they all landed on the ground, Jihoon sat down on the ground with his legs crossed and looked at all of the people in front of him, frowning slightly. He smiled then said, “Ask.”
Elder Sang, “Who are you?”
Jihoon, “Has elder already forgotten, I’m Lee Jihoon.”
Elder Sang, “Where do you come from?”
Jihoon looked at him with a puzzled and complicated gaze and shook his head, “I have no recollection of where I come from, only my name.”
Seeing that it seemed as if he did not lie, Elder Sang continued, “How do you know who I am?”
Jihoon, “I just do.”
Squinting his eyes, he continued, “What happened to Deadman’s Wonderland?”
Jihoon placed his hand on his chin and tried to come up with a believable lie. After a moment he said, “When I arrived here after being chased by a mountain tiger, I forgot that this was Deadmans Wonderland. Tracing my steps back I saw that the spikes erected and the talisman banners indicated that I had arrived in Deadmans Wonderland. In the beginning, I was puzzled because the dense aura that surrounded it was gone so no wonder it was possible for me to just enter without noticing it all and what was more strange was the fact that the banners lost their power. When I entered the centre of the valley I saw nothing but greenery and the river that was once a river of blood had fish swimming inside it. I was hungry so I ate a few and did not die afterwards so I stayed here and met you, Elder Sang.”
Jihoon jumped up and turned his back to the cultivators and said, “Well now that you all know the answers to the questions, it’s time for me to take my leave.”
He walked to his bag and packed away everything then turned to smile at them all and as he was about to leave he stopped because he felt something tug him, he looked back at the cause and saw that it was the one who cursed him, Kang XinYi.
XinYi, “Brother Jihoon?”
XinYi, “Where are you going?”
Jihoon paused as he was about to answer and looked at XinYi, this young cultivator was someone whom he was once close to and it seemed like he did not hear about Seungho being exiled from the sect yet - this being determined by his energetic self.
His big brown eyes looked at him expectantly and Jihoon answered saying, “Is there something you need me for?”
XinYi bit down on his bottom lip and sighed, “Brother, I don’t know why but I feel that you and I have met once before, although I do not recognize your face, the tone in your voice and your attitude remind me of my friend.”
Jihoon placed his hand on XinYi’s shoulder and said, “We will meet again.”
XinYi’s eyes sparkled but the moment he blinked, Jihoon was no longer in front of him.
He stepped back once and looked around, even the older and more powerful cultivators couldn’t believe their eyes... Jihoon disappeared right before their eyes.
The young cultivator surnamed Kang from the Yong sect did not descend with the others and stayed in the clouds to observe the situation, he too could not find any trace of the man who looked like a beggar that suddenly disappeared in front of them.
His stinky scent and messy hair were nowhere to be seen or smelt…
Samkida - Devouring
Ga-Eul province - Autumn/Fall
Baem - Snake