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    A World Beyond / So We Are Told
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    Whether it’s fifty, sixty, or a hundred years old, I am the person who came to find you back then. My time stopped on that day.”
    If I had heard these words when we first met, I would have thought, “Efforts are indeed in vain, but can they be justified?” But now I know better than anyone how remarkable a man’s willpower can be.
    “If the ritual is successful and you can go back to the past, could you do me one favor?”
    “Please tell me.”
    “If you go back to the past, please come and find me.”
    “And then?”
    The spirit sighed heavily.
    “Help me stop my marriage.”
    The man burst into laughter at the unexpected request.
    For the first time since they met, the man laughed.
    “I’m not joking. Please, make sure to stop it.”
    “Is that more important than millions of yang?”
    “It is to me. Just let me live my life alone. Please do it for me.”
    The spirit told the man the year of his marriage and made one more request.
    “Promise me. Promise to stop it.”
    “I promise.”
    The two finished the remaining drink.
    “What is the last ingredient?”
    “You already know.”
    “What is it?”
    “The secret demon soul.”
    The man’s gaze sank because he knew what it was.
    “It’s something that your departed father cherished.”
    “I know. My father never let go of it for a moment.”
    “Do you have it?”
    The man shook his head.
    “Do you know where it is?”
    “I don’t.”
    “Even if someone else has it as a weapon?”
    “Then all the years I’ve spent trying to obtain it would have been in vain. Fortunately, even if it is still in the main academy, it won’t be easy to get.”
    The current martial academy was led by a new leader with the martial weapon sealed.
    Although they couldn’t unlock the seal of the martial weapon’s power, the martial academy had been building its strength over the years.
    As the son of the former leader, the man knew that he wouldn’t be welcomed upon his return. The new leader would probably try to kill him instead, thinking that he was already dead.
    “But let’s hope it’s still at the main academy.”
    “Hopefully it won’t take too long. I’m getting old too.”
    “Don’t die until I come back. Thank you for the alcohol.”
    After downing the last cup, the man left.
    The spirit stood there for a long time, watching the man move farther away.
    The man never returned. There was no news of any changes in the martial academy. But the spirit always listened closely.
    Years passed and the spirit, too, aged with blossoms of death on their face.
    Today, as always, they sat on the floor, staring at the spot where the man used to stand.
    Then, the spirit’s eyes widened as if they had seen something.
    Someone was coming towards them, staggering.
    It was the man.
    The man who left to find the last ingredient had returned.
    He had changed so much. His face was severely disfigured, making him look like a completely different person, and he had lost his right eye and left arm. If his clothes were taken off, his body, covered in scars, would be soaked in blood.
    The spirit couldn’t find any words to say in the face of such a sight.
    After handing over the secret demon soul, the man sat down in the same spot.
    “How… did you manage to get the secret demon soul?”
    “…Let’s go to the place where the ritual can be performed.”
    He couldn’t even muster the strength to answer.
    The spirit supported him and they went to the space where the ritual could be performed.
    Everything was prepared there.
    The long-awaited final ingredient.
    The spirit took out the secret demon soul and placed it in the center. Then, the secret demon soul began to shine brightly, revealing various strange paintings and characters around it.
    The spirit stood in front of it and started chanting.
    Blue and red light began to surround the area. Thunderous sounds filled the air, and incense rose from the spirit’s incense burner.
    At the climax of the spirit’s chant, the main ingredients merged into one and a shimmering light started to ripple. It looked like the entrance to another place.
    “I did it!”
    Tears of joy overflowed from the spirit’s face. It was the moment when the dream of their family, spanning hundreds of years, was finally achieved.
    The spirit approached the man, who was leaning against a pillar.

    ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧ 𝑔𝓇𝒶𝓋𝒾𝓉𝓎𝓃𝑜𝓋𝑒𝓁𝓈 ✧˚·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥·̩̩̥͙✧·̩̩̥͙˚̩̥̩̥˚·̩̩̥͙✧

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