Chapter 243 - Where is This (3)
It was clear they weren't coming with good intentions.
Did they come to this mountain to search for a girl who wasn't even 16 yet? Theodore didn't think they were here to promote friendship.
Among them, there was a bald man at the front who seemed to have an inflated sense of ego. Theodore watched them secretly and guessed their intentions.
'Of course, there is no killing intent. From the very beginning, they didn't come to fight. Perhaps they are coming to make a sense of crisis...? I don't know why, but their purpose is to threaten Lee Seol.'
It was a too accurate an analysis for a person who didn't know the situation very well. Theodore looked out the window with cool eyes as his insight had increased beyond the norm. At this moment, Lee Seol ran out of the cabin and started to confront the men. If Theodore's analysis was correct, then he should go outside to help organize the situation.
"You! Daring to come to the Baekun Mountains without the permission of the mountain god... Do you not fear his wrath?"
The difference in Lee Seol's attitude toward Theodore and the group of men was astronomical. Her face filled with anger as she yelled at the men without hesitation. A few people were overwhelmed by her spirit and took a few steps back.
However, the bald-headed man, who seemed to be the leader, stepped forward instead of backward. "Girl, you shouldn't act all grown up. Should the descendant of a prestigious family be shouting so loudly?"
A normal girl would burst out crying, but Lee Seol just snapped at him with sharp eyes, "If you know who I am, why are you concealing your name like a rat? I'm not a timid person!"
"Huhu, you are trying to lecture me? Don't regret it after asking me." The bald-headed person pulled out a sword and slammed it against the ground with a loud noise. It was impressive since the sword had a considerable weight, causing the hard ground to become dented like clay.
The bald man showed a menacing power and shouted in a timely manner, "I am the knight who cut off the head of the ferocious tiger! Crushing Knife, Sir Wang Hochul!"
The other man cheered in response, and the big guys shouted, shaking their weapons. An average person would feel fear from this act, but Lee Seol just clicked her tongue like it was absurd.
"Yes, yes. So, you are a passerby?"
"This girl! You should speak more politely to your guests!"
"Are you saying that you're not a passerby? By the way, can you tell me what you came here for?"
They proclaimed to be guests, but Wang Hochul and his men were the ones who had come here with weapons. There was only one reason why they would come to see Lee Seol: someone hired them and directed them here.
"No, you don't have to answer. It is my maternal uncle."
Wang Hochul was shocked that his client had been discovered and cried out, "What? If so, do you know why we have come?"
"Of course. It has been a few years already."
"Then this conversation will be fast. Girl, what proof do you have of the mountain spirit? My employer said that she will pay five gold coins, so it is better for you to come quietly, then you won't get hurt," Wang Hochul threatened Lee Seol.
"I don't want to."
"Don't you know that there is nothing that can touch me on this mountain? It would be better if you don't think about dragging me away with force."
A few people stiffened upon hearing her words but not Wang Hochul. He'd already heard from his employer that the Baekun Mountain helped the one who was living here. The rumor was that if he tried to hurt Lee Seol, the mountain spirits would come immediately to tear him and his men to death.
However, Wang Hochul didn't believe in that rumor.
"This girl...!! If you don't follow me right away, I will smash your house!"
"I can't touch you, but your house is different. If you don't have a place to eat and sleep, you will have to come down the mountain."
Before Lee Seol could react, Wang Hochul raised his sword and moved toward the cabin. It was a house which had survived over a hundred years, but it would obviously collapse if it were hit a few times with a big sword. Furthermore, there was currently a guest staying in the cabin!
Lee Seol belatedly thought of Theodore and screamed hurriedly, "W-Wait a minute!"
"It is too late to say that!"
The moment Wang Hochul was about to swing his sword at a pillar...
The blade got stuck on something, and Wang Hochul quickly noticed something strange. So far, he had swung his sword for decades. As such, even with his eyes closed, he could see the blade sticking into wood.
However, something was wrong. Wang Hochul opened his eyes and met the gaze of two blue eyes. Theodore blocked the blade with the palm of his hand and said, "You attacked."
"You attacked me, and I was just defending myself. Am I wrong?"
Wang Hochul didn't know what he was saying. He wondered why a Westerner was standing before him, blocking his sword with the palm of his hand. Furthermore, he also wondered why the Westerner could speak fluent ancient Chinese.
All types of questions swirled in his mind, and he remained silent. Therefore, Wang Hochul didn't really listen to the words which came right afterward.
"Then this is self-defense."
A flash emerged from Theodore's finger. Peeok!
Wang Hochul couldn't even scream as he flew back a few meters. He was an aura user, but he couldn't react to the attack. So, he was no different from a scarecrow. When Wang Hochul flew into his men, they scattered. This was proof of the huge impact Theodore caused.
"U-Uh, what is this...?" One henchman asked, barely managing to raise his body.
However, instead of replying, Theodore raised a hand. Simultaneously, dozens or hundreds of lights floated behind him, distorting the atmosphere. It was Magic Missile. This was a 1st Circle attack magic, but it contained huge destructive power if a magician of Theodore's level used it.
It was also a variant developed by Alfred, so Magic Missile didn't fall behind other top-grade spells. Instead, it meant that these lousy aura users wouldn't be able to endure them.
"There is no point telling you my name," Theodore declared to the flinching henchmen. "If you keep staying in the Baekun Mountains, I will make you pay the price of your leader's disrespect to Lee Seol."
They didn't need to ask what would happen. The Magic Missiles floating behind Theodore could break their bones with one hit. Immediately, they took Wang Hochul and disappeared from sight. They might go into hiding somewhere in the Baekun Mountains, but they would die by Theodore's hands if they appeared again.
Theodore watched them leave before looking back. 'Well, it is natural to react this way.'
Lee Seol was staring at Theodore with a frown, like she didn't understand the current situation. Theodore tried to lighten the atmosphere by speaking, "I would like to hear about your situation. Is that okay?"
After all, he was a third party who had gotten involved. Lee Seol recognized this fact and nodded. It seemed like today's breakfast would be skipped.
"Let's go inside."
Theodore followed Lee Seol back into the cabin. Unlike last night, she sat before Theodore now with a polite manner which was suitable for the descendant of a prestigious family.
"I am the 14th generation of the Fairy Dance Lee family, a family that has protected the Baekun Mountains for generations. Before I get into the story, I would like to thank you for your help earlier."
"No, it could've been avoided even if I wasn't present."
"They might not have harmed me, but this cabin would've been destroyed. There are a lot of memories in this place. Thanks to you, it is safe," Lee Seol said, giving a deep bow. Then she lifted her head and continued the story, "They are probably people hired by my maternal uncle."
"Why do such a thing...?"
"In order to understand, I have to go back to the past."
This was the main point, so Theodore listened along with Lee Yoonsung.
The Fairy Dance Lee family...
They had protected the Baekun Mountains long before Lee Yoonsung had been born, and he wanted to know what had happened. The story they were told was shocking.
* * *
It was said that over a hundred years ago, a man who had been expelled from the family had returned to the Baekun Mountains.
Despite being a direct descendant, he had been expelled due to a birth defect. However, he had mastered the family's techniques to an exceptional level through other methods. He had carried the Lee family name and laughed at those who ridiculed him. There had been a duel, but he had won.
This had been when the schism in the Fairy Dance Lee family had begun.
"Someone questioned the situation. Could a loser who had fallen to his knees lead this family?"
It was truly an absurd accusation. At the time, there had been no one who was more superior than the head of the family in the attribute of strength. There would've been no problem if the head had stood up again and showed his strength.
However, the 6th generation head, Lee Ingwang, had given up. He hadn't been able to withstand the insult of being an incompetent leader and loser, so he had stepped back from his position as head of the family.
This helpless compliance had caused the biggest problem.
"It wasn't a proper resignation, so the line of succession couldn't flow properly. The candidates eligible to become the head of the family tore each other apart, and the Lee family split into several factions."
"Then your maternal uncle..."
"Yes, he currently leads the largest faction in the divided Fairy Dance Lee family." Lee Seol made a bitter expression as she put down her mug. "I inherited the role of 'keeper' of this mountain. The origin of the Fairy Dance Lee family is in the Baekun Mountain, and my maternal uncle wants to negotiate or forcefully take it away."
She didn't explain any further. However, Theodore had Lee Yoonsung's memories, so he knew what a 'keeper' was. A keeper was the guardian of the Baekun Mountain, and the intermediary between a human and spirit.
It wasn't a burden which could be held by someone greedy. Even if Lee Seol's uncle received the 'keeper's token,' the spirits of the mountain wouldn't recognize his qualifications. Instead, there might be a war between humans and the spirits of the Baekun Mountains.
Unfortunately, Lee Seol was more talented than her peers and looked ahead into the future. Despite being only 16, she lived in the mountains to prevent a war. She didn't want to see the death of her clan.
"This is the only explanation I can give you. From this point on, it is a matter for my family, and foreigners can't get involved."
"Foreigner... is it?"
"Yes, I don't want to cause you any more trouble over this." Lee Seol was sincere.
A guest had come from a distant place, and the stories they had discussed were interesting.
Theodore's presence was a breath of fresh air to her, who couldn't leave the Baekun Mountains. They were stories from across the sea. Sceneries which couldn't be seen in any book and adventures which couldn't be read... They all flowed out of Theodore's mouth.
If possible, she wanted Theodore to stay a few more days.
'If my uncle finds out about the existence of the foreigner... he will surely do something. I have to send him away before that.'
Lee Seol put away her greed. Her heart was that of a pure adult. Her kindness that thought about others instead of fulfilling her own private greed might be something she had learned from the spirits of this mountain that raised her.
Theodore answered without any hesitation, "I'm not a foreigner."
Theodore left the cabin without waiting for her answer, while Lee Seol followed with a bewildered expression. He wasn't a foreigner...? From the color of his hair to his place of birth, Theodore had nothing in common with Lee Seol. They were both humans, but it was far-fetched to base it just on that.
Theodore ignored her and stood in the open.
'Senior.' From here on out, it wasn't Theodore Miller's turn. 'Give your descendant a good show.'
It was time for Lee Yoonsung, the man who was a stigma in the history of the Fairy Dance Lee family, to prove himself. There was no need to use Overwrite. Theodore's body was the embodiment of Battle Song, and he had experience with martial arts. Therefore, it was only a mild transition of consciousness.
After a hundred years, Lee Yoonsung once again stepped onto the ground of his home.
They were powerful steps. Footprints were carved on the ground with each of his steps. Meanwhile, Lee Seol's eyes widened at the sensation. "Ah...!"
Each step exuded pressure. This was the kind of pressure she felt from her father, but it was more intense and perfect. It was a form which existed in the Fairy Dance Lee family's martial arts, the base of their martial arts.
"...Your body has become well-trained in the meantime. This should be enough to use it."
Theodore-no, Lee Yoonsung admired the body of his junior. It wasn't easy for a magician to have physical abilities like these. Unless he was a mixed race like Veronica, it would be impossible without training every day.
A hand stretched out. It didn't stick to the air. Instead, it flowed through the air like a leaf riding the wind. It was more appropriate to call this a dance, rather than martial arts. He stood on his toes and stretched out his fist, then his palm moved through the air. The beginning and end points of his movement weren't clear, making it seem mysterious.
'It doesn't distinguish between attack, defense, and evasion...!' Theodore watched from the depths of his consciousness and felt admiration toward Lee Yoonsung.
Then Theodore focused his senses. If he could follow even half of the skill that Lee Yoonsung was showing now, his martial arts ability would double. He was deep in the depths of ignorance, but he wasn't foolish enough to not drink the water in the lake.
It might've been an hour or the period of a single meal. This haze caused him to forget the flow of time as Theodore's body moved through a hundred years.
Tears started falling from Lee Seol's eyes. It was a martial art which her bloodline had forgotten, and her heart wasn't prepared to see the culmination of it in front of her. As a martial artist, she couldn't help being completely overwhelmed.
"Huoong..." As Theodore calmed his breathing, Lee Seol fell to her knees without hesitation. Then she gave a deep bow. Her eyes showed a clear conviction. "I am Lee Seol, from the Fairy Dance Lee family's 14th generation. Please forgive this stupid child's rudeness."
"Raise your head."
"Yes." Lee Seol obediently raised her head and looked at Theodore.
Lee Yoonsung gazed at her and said, "Yes, you have the role of the keeper?"
"I am still lacking."
"I'm not trying to blame you. Rather, I want to praise you. I am truly impressed by your dedication to the role of the keeper despite your young age, as well as your actions to prevent anger between the mountain spirits and our family."
He wanted to stroke her head, but this body belonged to Theodore. Lee Yoonsung tried to suppress his own hopes. He thought he had been disillusioned with his whole family, but he could shake off his resentment if there was this girl.
Despite having been abandoned by his father and having left for a distant kingdom, the beauty of the Baekun Mountains and his affection for the land of his home hadn't blurred.
"You already know my name, but I will once again introduce myself," Theodore said. Then with Lee Yoonsung in his mind, Theodore firmly declared, "I am Theodore Miller, a descendant of the Fairy Dance Lee family and a direct descendant of Lee Yoonsung. I will put an end to this fighting."