Not long before Kang Seol passed the ordeal of doubt, Park Chang-sik was experiencing hell.
Even when I spoke, the sound was swallowed, I could not see what was in front of me, and unknown stimuli brought about fear rather than curiosity.
‘Take me out… who
took me out…’ His memories of how he got here and what he had been doing here began to blur.
His mind was becoming polluted.
But suddenly the surroundings began to brighten.
[The last ascetic overcomes ignorance.]
[Ignorance disappears within the labyrinth of asceticism.]
A light came on in my dead mind.
Saliva flowed like water and soaked his armor.
Suddenly, in the light that greeted him, he felt a strong pain in his eyes and screamed, covering his eyes.
And a moment of silence.
“Did you buy it? “Did I… buy it?”
The words that came out of my mouth were so moving that I felt like tears would fall.
No, he was already crying.
I suffered from extreme fear, forgetting about time, and felt like my heart would sink before the freedom that suddenly came.
A deep, deep sigh showed his relief. And soon after assessing the situation, he tried to find out about this and that.
“Where… is this?”
When I looked closely at the floor, I noticed something strange.
The walls also looked unique.
First of all, the smell.
A foul, indescribable odor emanated from the cave connected to the floor.
I just suddenly felt that way.
Every time the floor he stepped on trembled, that feeling gradually turned into certainty.
[You are mentally shocked.]
[Your mind is polluted.]
“I have to get out!”
My tongue licked and the space narrowed. They are trying to devour Park Chang-sik.
He desperately struggled with his hand and pulled the handle of the door at close range.
And I threw myself there.
As soon as Park Chang-sik disappeared, tongues swept the place.
Grateful that he could breathe well, Park Chang-sik confirmed that he had survived.
“Where… is this? “Did Snowman succeed?”
If it weren’t for him, I would have definitely collapsed and died.
The immense fear that came from limited senses and lack of freedom pushed his mind mercilessly. It was a terrible feeling that I never wanted to experience again.
Park Chang-sik regretted it.
And I admitted it. That I was overlooking the labyrinth of penance.
‘Are the others… yet?’
I looked around to check, but there was only one long stone chair and nothing else could be found.
He sat down on a chair and checked the first thing he was curious about.
[Mental Pollution: 79/100]
Mental Pollution 79.
If something had gone wrong and it was brought up even a little late, it would have resulted in dire consequences.
‘If I’m like this… other people…’
Park Chang-sik didn’t necessarily finish his negative thoughts. Because I had to move towards some hope.
A message occurred to him.
[You have overcome the given asceticism.]
[You are entitled to challenge the truth.]
[You must wait until the direction of all ascetics is decided.]
“I am told to wait . …Is it?”
It was as if the system, or rather the labyrinth, was saying that.
Wait. The most important thing still remains.
Feeling frustrated, Park Chang-sik got up from his chair and walked forward a little.
A small piece of stone hit by his foot fell into the air.
“What is this place?”
The place he was in was a bit unusual to be considered a room.
It was like a subway stop. If you got out of your chair and walked a little forward, the floor suddenly collapsed. It was so high that if I fell, I wouldn’t even be able to pick up my bones.
And in the middle of the void, there was a square-shaped floor floating, and connecting it there was a bridge that could barely accommodate one person.
He decided not to act hastily and wait here for the Snowman. It was entirely thanks to him that he was not consumed by penance in the first place.
‘I’m sure if he hadn’t come here with us, we would all have died.’
Still, Park Chang-sik’s advantage was that he was able to grasp the situation quite quickly.
Park Chang-sik sat down on the chair again and stared straight ahead.
There were five statues, each facing the front.
A statue of a knight holding a sword, a statue of a wizard wearing robes and holding a staff, a statue of a priest wearing ceremonial robes and holding a large book, a statue of a witch holding a treasure chest, and a god of death holding a hideous scythe in one hand and a lantern in the other. Even frostbite.
The statues had an inexplicable attraction, and Park Chang-sik stared at them endlessly for several days.
And a message occurred to him.
[Someone’s mind has been completely corrupted.]
At that moment, a sound was heard from a nearby door, not the one from when he first set foot here.
The door was forced open and something escaped.
“Who are you buying…?”
No, it had a strange appearance that looked like a gas or a liquid, making it hard to call it a person.
The moment Park Chang-sik saw it, he intuitively knew what it was.
“Could it be… a soul?”
Someone’s soul screamed and flew away somewhere.
It was next to the statue of a grim reaper holding a scythe.
“Turn off ….
The soul was sucked into the Reaper’s lantern.
The lights that hummed for a moment soon became quiet as if nothing had happened.
A red light flashed in the Shinigami’s eyes and then disappeared.
“No. “This is…”
A place that cannot be escaped even by death.
The true face of the Labyrinth of Asceticism has not yet been revealed.
* * *
Ignorance and suspicion.
After completing the two penances, Kang Seol was very peaceful.
‘Are you sure. I’m breaking through faster now than when I was a blood saint.’
Even though they entered the labyrinth of asceticism at an earlier time than horses that attempted to ascend to heaven, they were showing higher results.
Seeing that tangible achievement, Snowfall was greatly encouraged.
‘But… a mental polluter has already appeared?’
If your mental pollution level exceeds 80, you are already in a dangerous state. He exhibits abnormal reactions such as nonsense, auditory hallucinations, and collapses into the labyrinth in real time.
‘Now that I think about it, it’s already been over a week.’
It took that much time just to overcome two hardships.
Ignorance, doubt, pain, patience, etc.
The ascetics scattered through the four gates must each be having a difficult time.
‘The most likely mental polluter is… an ascetic who has entered patience.’
According to Kang Seol’s personal evaluation, patience was the most difficult, ignorance and doubt were common, and suffering was the easiest of the four types of asceticism.
‘It’s a shame it’s already falling apart.’
Since everyone entered the labyrinth by choice, any further emotions were a luxury.
‘Mental Pollution 28… not such a bad start.’
The mental contamination level should not reach 100 before reaching the end of the labyrinth.
To do so, I had to avoid accumulating mental pollution as much as possible during the rather ordinary or easy asceticism in the early part.
‘The torment of patience is the crucible…’
The reason why he set the schedule for breaking through this labyrinth to at least one month was because of the torment of perseverance.
The ascetic actually spends most of his time exploring the labyrinth in this patient asceticism.
It was a place where it was difficult to shorten the time, and passing it was a penance of patience that could only be passed by putting in an absolute amount of time.
‘Well, I’ll have to get through the pain first and then think about it.’
Perhaps because the surroundings were dark, this penance seemed like pain rather than patience.
At that time, a voice was heard from the shadow space.
“master! are you okay?”
Karen and Karuna suddenly came out and stood next to Kangseol.
“I was kept trapped in the shadows by an unknown force.”
Karen also nodded.
“As I was watching, I wondered what would happen if I got possessed by them…”
Kang Seol chuckled when Karen said she was worried.
Jamard spoke to me from the shadow space.
“I couldn’t even touch it, but I was screaming so hard… It was a very scary experience.”
“Could it be that you didn’t hear it?”
Kang Seol shook his head.
Karen crossed her arms and looked away.
“But where is this place?”
“It’s the next penance.”
“It feels a little… different? “What should I do from here?”
“This time…nothing special.”
Snowfall looked into the dark space.
A statue just as tall as Snowfall approached from far away.
Wearing armor and holding a long sword.
“What is that?”
When Karen asked, Kangseol answered.
“Just break it.”
“Is that the end?”
Karen ran towards the statue.
The knight statue thrust its sword towards Karen.
She easily dodged it and then swung at the embers.
The statue’s head was blown off cleanly. Karen’s swordsmanship was admirable.
The statue that lost its head fell.
Karen looked back and said hello.
“How was the Montra Empire’s swordsmanship?”
Clap clap clap!
“That’s great. Please show me more in that sense.”
[The pain was not satisfied.]
[The mind was polluted.]
She looked back at Snowfall’s reaction. This time, the statue was doubled.
“Would you like me to show you something more?”
Kang Seol shrugged his shoulders.
A scene not that different from before.
Her sword instantly blew off the heads of the two statues.
“Huh… you saw it, right?”
“Yes, I enjoyed it.”
“Are you satisfied?”
[The pain was not satisfied.]
[The mind was polluted.]
Snowfall frowned slightly and shook her head. Karen felt ominous and turned back.
The number of statues has now increased to four.
“How long will this… last?”
“Isn’t it until we reveal our bottom line?”
The ordeal of pain was the simplest and easiest penance, but at the same time, it was a penance without any tricks.
I just had to remain silent and do my best to break down the statues.
Kang Seol frowned and said.
“I’m just stepping into hell for a moment.”
* * *
“Ahh! it hurts!”
Karen smashed the head of the statue that had stabbed her in the shoulder.
“Haa… Haaa….” Huh…”
The group was completely devastated.
Snowfall had already exhausted so much of its stamina that it was difficult to maintain its raven form, and all of the summons did not have the energy to even lift a finger.
What they see around them is a huge number of statue remains.
The elaborate and clean scars were everywhere, and traces that looked as if they had been eaten by an animal remained all over the fallen statue.
Kang Seol poured out all his strength and saw the last message floating before his eyes.
[The pain was satisfied.]
Soon he felt his mind becoming clouded.
[Overcome the pain.]
[Pain disappears within the labyrinth of penance.]
[Mental pollution: 41/100]
Some time has passed and the next penance has already begun. I realized that it was done.
sand came into my mouth and I chewed it.
Kangseol tried to raise his body as best as he could.
He was in the middle of the desert with nothing in sight except the sweltering sun and sand.
‘The penance of patience has begun. But…’
Kangseol didn’t know how much time had passed.
First, he tried to open his belongings to quench his hunger and thirst.
All the drinking water lost its original color and turned white, as if it had been ash. As a result of looking into it with insight, I realized that I would not die happily if I drank this.
‘All the drinking water tasted bad. Then, what about the food ingredients….’
Kangseol frowned as he opened the bag of food ingredients.
“It’s all rotten.”
This means that the bag of fresh food ingredients was not functioning properly. Perhaps it was because of the special environment of the labyrinth.
Fortunately, the seasoning worked properly. However, it was impossible to survive by eating it.
‘It’s not easy from the beginning.’
All of the three months’ worth of food and drinking water brought to overcome the ordeal of patience had rotted.
In fact, I was skeptical about whether Snowfall would be able to bring in food ingredients.
I thought I would be lucky if I could get at least some water, but I couldn’t get anything.
‘Hehe… If this is the case, is it the same as when he was a saint?’
Three months’ worth of food was gone at once, but Kang Seol did not get discouraged and kept moving.
The Blood Saint survived even in this situation. In that case, there was no way he, who had already experienced hell once, would not survive.
I definitely thought so.
And like that, three days passed.
* * *
Around this time, Snow Seol sensed a major error. I couldn’t find anything worth eating for much longer than expected.
Since I couldn’t eat anything and couldn’t find any food to quench my hunger, my body was slowly starting to feel unwell.
‘I never thought I would fall in a completely different place than when I was a saint…’
The Blood Saint also fell into the desert, but at least once every two days, he encountered game, water, or something to eat.
In other words, he is now facing even more hardships than when he was a blood saint.
A clear sky was visible despite the heavy snowfall.
How can there be a space like this in the labyrinth?
Rather than thinking about finding something to eat, this strange thought first occurred to me.
“Haha… do something….”
That was then. Something happened that Snowfall never expected.
“Did you survive?”
Someone was talking to me.
I wondered if they were summoned beasts from the shadow space, but no.
“Now I’m having auditory hallucinations…”
“Young man, how did you get in here?”
It was only when the clear sky was obscured by someone’s figure that Kang Seol opened his eyes.
‘… person? In this labyrinth… are there people?’
It was definitely not a team that broke through the labyrinth.
Because no one that old came in together.
The other person was a middle-aged man with a bushy beard. The man took something out of his arms.
“It’s the dragon fruit I packed a few days ago. If you’re fainting from hunger, you can eat it.”
Currently, Kang Seol had starved for three days, but the fact that he met a person in the labyrinth was more shocking than the fact that he immediately found food.
Kang Seol, who received the dragon fruit, asked the other person with a blank expression.
“Who are you?”
“Are you asking my name?”
“Your name is… yes your name.”
“It’s been so long since I’ve used my name instead of ‘I’.”
The middle-aged man smiled, showing his sparse teeth.
“Toki, apparently that was my name in the outside world.”
“Toki… no… it can’t be….”
A sloppy monk from the back alleys of Torquay.
The person that Kang Seol really liked.
Also, the words that first challenged the labyrinth of asceticism.
And the horse he lost in the labyrinth.
“… He was alive? until now?”
He was still wandering here.