STORYHansaneega@Lee Jongbeom
Shim-ChungThe girl who moved the Dragon King.A girl who was thrown into the ocean, volunteering to be a sacrifice for her blind father. Without the power to protect those precious to her, the girl sacrificed herself as her final choice. But at times, the sacrifices of small beings moves great gods. "So what you're saying is... If you don't give up a live offering, I'll cause a great storm, so the merchants bought you for 300 seoms of rice?" The Dragon King. The being who controlled the West Sea frowned. Perhaps that was why. Even the cintamani glowed strangely and there wasn't anyone who was scared. This was because dragons were kind by nature. There were no incidents where they hurt people for no reason. "Yes, that's right." So being driven insane by looking at the young girl, who was bowing her head, was natural. A sacrifice? The Dragon King looked up in exasperation. "What... What do the people of the world see me as..." And the young girl, Sim Cheong looked up at the Dragon King. 'But... I definitely heard it that way.' He even looked threatening. She felt that swallowing her would be nothing if that mouth opened up right this instant. But the Dragon King opened his mouth, and instead of swallowing Sim Cheong, he just sighed. "I can't do anything about people going around making up stories about me... But throwing you in... What is even going on?" Sim Cheong was confused. She was confused because she'd seen a storm coming in, but when she threw herself into the sea, she saw the waters calming. "I was frantically trying to save you so I fought the wind, but..." And when she heard the Dragon King's griping she finally understood it was all a misunderstanding. But what was there to do? Sim Cheong had already thrown herself in and she'd stopped breathing long ago. The reason why she could stay here was wholly because of the Dragon King's kindness. Just until now, she'd thought of it as his whim, but listening to him, it felt like kindness. "Either way, what do I do? A daughter who threw her body in to help her father see. First, stand up." The Dragon King held Sim Cheong's hand and pulled her up in her confusion. Her cooling body started to circulate blood. "Huh...?" At the same time, the cintamani dimmed. "Don't be scared. It's a miracle I can evoke once a year or so." "Am I... Alive... Am I alive again?" "Yes, you are. It wouldn't be right for someone like you to die. That's a law." "Th-thank you." "However." The Dragon King gripped the dull cintamani and spoke. Looking at the Dragon King, Sim Cheong felt like this was it. ‘Yes.’ ‘How did the world go round?’ ‘It was a world where you got played right in front of your eyes.’ So she was about to take a deep breath when the Dragon King gazed at Sim Cheong with a warm look in his eyes. "There's a condition. Look above your head." "Pardon? Um..." Sim Cheong looked up and saw the pool of light. It looked like the light surrounding the cintamani. "Even if I am who I am, I can't revive just anyone. Because Yeom Ra doesn't allow it. But I can with righteous people. You are a righteous person, so... My power, or a part of it, will remain with you... So you will have to use that power for people like you." The light was moving around Sim Cheong. It wasn't very bright. The faint light just revolved. But the power she could feel from that light was quite significant. It felt like she could do anything short of reviving a dead person. "I will gladly do so." "First, go to your father. You will see me again, after your father's remaining years pass and you also enjoy your natural lifespan." "I understand." "Until then, forget what I've said and enjoy your life. You have the right to do so." It wasn't something she could understand immediately. But she decided to be true to his last words, when he said to enjoy life. So she lived her life joyfully after reuniting with her father, and she even got married and had children. She sent on her father and husband first, and one day, after watching her child grow to be fully independent, Sim Cheong saw the ocean in a dream. She also saw a face she was slowly forgetting. "Did you enjoy it?" The Dragon King. When he asked, her forgotten—no, momentarily set aside—memory blossomed. "Yes, I enjoyed it." Sim Cheong's smile must have been pleased him, because the Dragon King laughed, too. The cintamani exploded with bright light from his grip. "Alright, then I will make my request. Simply wander, and when you see beings like you, help them. You just have to do this until your light goes out someday." "I will gladly do so. Thank you." "I feel like I've given you a burden, so I don't purely feel good about this." "No, it's a wonderful job. Since it's a job to help people." At first, her heart was truly light. But as time went by, and the time she wandered grew, she realized why the Dragon King felt guilty—just a little bit. The righteous people of the world, people who would happily sacrifice for others, were very, very rare. And yet, the reason why Sim Cheong was able to wander for nearly hundreds of years was because the righteous people she met from time to time were precious. "Hurry! Hurry up and go!" From a burning house. "I'm alright. Go, hurry!" He was shouting, holding up a burning roof on his back. Sim Cheong held up the roof for him, before he breathed in the hot air and boiled his lungs. They had no idea how he was alive, and looked up at the sky, feeling strange. "Hurry, and get in!" From a sinking ship. "I can hang on from here. Get in!" He was grabbing onto the side of a lifesaver. Sim Cheong wrapped around him instead of the ocean water, before the water sucked away all his body heat. He was saved by the sudden warmth and looked down at the ocean, feeling strange. 'So I've just not been able to see it all this time.' And so Sim Cheong finally knew, after saving various righteous people, various people who sacrificed themselves. Her pool of light grew stronger and her senses grew broader, and now she realized, even in this moment, that the number of people who sacrificed themselves was quite large. And she longed for it. To be able to help them. -Ring Was it the call of the Dragon King? Stroke hit her ear like fate, and she soon reached the platform. But the white-robed guide in front of her wasn't that interested in sacrifice or the like. He was just interested in her. What would she be able to do, having lived a life on an odd trajectory? That was the only important thing. It was onnly natural. An individual's desires are the individual's, and what the platform wanted was harmony. "Welcome, Sim Cheong." "Yes, hello." And even in that uninterested gaze, Sim Cheong was still brave. ‘Because she was strong?’ ‘Because she had a lot of experience?’ ‘No, it wasn't that.’ ‘How could there be fear in someone who sacrificed themselves voluntarily for someone else?’ 'Oho... Wasn't she just a young girl?' Looking at her decisive eyes, the guide couldn't hide his shock. So many of the beings he'd guided up until now had been illustrious. Was there someone like her among them? 'Impressive. But...' But the platform was not a place to look down on. "Uh..." Sim Cheong then realized the power the Dragon King gave her, the pool of light that surrounded her, was disappearing. "This..." The guide watched the flustered Sim Cheong and said, "This is the platform. You are free here. However, remember that your choices have a price." "Wait, wait a moment. I..." "This is as far as my role goes. Well then." The guide left Sim Cheong in that state. He wasn't that worried. 'She's like that now, but...' She seemed like she'd do well. However, Sim Cheong, now alone, couldn't move right away. 'No matter how hard it is... Would it be as bad as when I jumped into the Indang Sea?' It wasn't that she was scared; it was rather to get a grip on herself.