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Tower of Myriad Immortals

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Chapter 1: Crisis in the Ruined Han Clan

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The sun scorched the land, and the air was thick with poisonous miasma.

 

This was the Unforgiving Gorge, a place where survival seemed impossible. But for the Han Clan, this desolate wasteland was their only refuge.

 

Accused of colluding with enemies to assassinate the crown prince, the Han Clan had fled their fertile homeland. Now, they faced the harsh reality of their new home. Every day was a battle against the toxic air and wild animals driven mad by the poison that lingered in the Gorge.

 

Han Ji-myeong, the son of the late Cheol-min now led the family. With his son Han Joo-won, the loyal butler Han Tae-yang, and his daughter Han Se-yeon, the others either died or severed their ties with the Han Clan.

 

They crafted goods from the sparse weeds around them and made the grueling 36-day journey to Hwanmongsi, a city, to sell their wares.

 

Returning from Hwanmongsi, Han Tae-yang’s face was etched with worry as he entered the shelter where Ji-myeong was waiting.

 

“Clan Leader, I have bad news,” Tae-yang began.

 

“What is it?” Ji-myeong asked.

 

“The city has raised taxes and tariffs. We won’t make a profit,” Tae-yang said.

 

Ji-myeong’s expression darkened.

 

“This is bad.”

 

“Even the heavens have forsaken us,” Tae-yang admitted, shaking his head. “It’s almost impossible to survive now.”

 

Ji-myeong stood. “Don’t say that. Heaven’s fortune will smile to the righteous. We’ll find a way.”

 

The new taxes and tariffs meant their old business strategy wouldn’t work anymore. They needed something new, and fast. Hwanmongsi ’s markets were now a dead end, and the Gorge offered little in resources. But giving up wasn’t an option.

 

Not for him. Not for his family.

 

Days turned into weeks, and Han Ji-myeong and Han Tae-yang were still grappling with their dire situation.

 

They brainstormed day and night, but every idea seemed to lead to a dead end. Yet, they refused to give up.

 

 

Meanwhile, Han Joo-won sat on the porch, overwhelmed by their predicament.

 

He stared at the barren landscape, the toxic wind whispering through the sparse weeds. The news from Tae-yang had hit him like a punch—new taxes and policies in Hwanmongsi were strangling their small business.

 

As if it wasn’t enough for the empire to massacre his clan.

 

How could they possibly survive this?

 

Joo-won’s thoughts drifted back to darker days. He remembered vividly the execution of his grandfather, Han Cheol-min, and the brutal destruction of their home.

 

Forced into this poisonous wasteland, most of their clan members had abandoned them. Those who stayed suffered daily from the toxic air, eventually claiming them and their loved ones one by one.

 

Now, even their meager earnings from selling crafts in Hwanmongsi were under threat. It felt like the world was closing in on them.

 

Lost in his thoughts, Joo-won didn’t notice his father approaching until Han Ji-myeong spoke.

 

“Joo-won, what’s wrong?”

 

“It’s about what Tae-yang said, the new policy in Hwanmongsi,” Joo-won muttered, his worry evident. “We can barely make it now. How will we survive with these new taxes?”

 

Han Ji-myeong placed a firm hand on Joo-won’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, son. We’ll find a way. We always do.”

 

Joo-won looked up at his father.

 

At just 11, he felt the weight of their struggles, but his father’s calm gave him hope.

 

But the dread in his stomach didn’t fade.

 

They needed a solution—and fast—or risk losing everything even their lives. The Unforgiving Gorge is truly a slow Death Sentence. Joo-won knew it wasn’t his job to fix it, but he couldn’t help feeling the pressure.

 

After their brief talk, he turned and headed back to the training ground.

 

***

 

Joo-won stood in the training grounds under Se-yeon's watchful eye.

 

As the clan leader's son, expectations weighed heavily on him. But despite his efforts, everything seemed off.

 

His stance was too wide, his posture slouched, and his movements clumsy. Se-yeon demonstrated with grace, contrasting sharply with Joo-won's awkward attempts.

 

Frustration and embarrassment gnawed at him; he knew he wasn't meeting expectations.

 

Entering a cultivation state proved equally elusive.

 

Despite its importance, Joo-won struggled to harness energy and enhance his abilities.

 

Se-yeon noticed his struggle and whispered.

 

"What's troubling you? After all these years, it seems like you haven't progressed at all."

 

Head bowed in shame, Joo-won admitted.

 

"I don't know what's wrong. I try my best, but I can't seem to improve. Maybe I'm not cut out for this."

 

"You just need to keep practicing. All of us have potential; you'll find your way. Focus on your own progress."

 

Feelings of helplessness weighed heavily on Joo-won as he returned to his room. He knew he wasn’t a martial prodigy. To a struggling clan like them, his presence seems like just an additional mouth to be fed.

 

They can’t afford that, especially now that their only source of income has vanquished.

 

Joo-won tossed and turned on his bed. The new town policy was squeezing his family's business, and his training felt like a dead end.

 

His mind was blank, options dwindling.

 

Then, he remembered the metal cube his father gave him—the only link to his late mother. Its mystery had always intrigued him. But today, it seems as worthless as a normal piece of metal. If only he could sell this for a good sum, then they will have a temporary relief. But no one will be interested in this unassuming cube.

 

In a burst of frustration, Joo-won hurled the cube across the room. It clanged loudly on impact, making him wince.

 

Then his eyes settled on his skin. He noticed his arms had turned a dark, charcoal black—an unsettling sight. He sat, examining the change. The land's poison was starting to take hold.

 

They'd been banished here to perish slowly. Even their butler, Han Tae-Yang, showed signs of illness from the toxic land.

 

Was death their only fate?

 

Then, a sound broke the silence—a faint murmur that grew louder.

 

Ethereal music filled the room, unlike anything he'd heard— tunes that soothed and revived him. Fear and despair melted away, replaced by peace.

 

He searched the room for the source of sound. Then, his eyes landed on the dark metallic cube. It glowed with a pulsing light, synchronized with the heavenly music. Joo-won was mesmerized. He picked it up, and the music swelled, filling him with wonder.

 

"What's happening?"

 

As he touched the cube, the music intensified. Joo-won closed his eyes, letting himself be carried away by the ethereal sound. When he opened his eyes again, he found himself in a strange, vibrant world.

 

Colors dazzled around him, and unusual plants glowed softly. He couldn't believe what he saw—plants from legends, like glowing ferns and shimmering flowers. But it was the creatures that amazed him most—winged creatures and dragons with gleaming scales.

 

Joo-won began his step, before long he found himself on a fountain, its crystal-clear waters flowing with golden nectar from legendary Moonlight Bee. These bees were said to bring prosperity and good fortune wherever they went, and now Joo-won witnessed it firsthand.

 

The garden was a sanctuary of flora and fauna beyond imagination—luminous Spirit Vines and dazzling Nebula Trees. The air was fragrant and refreshing, washing away the poison that plagued him.

 

Joo-won wandered in awe. In this surreal world, Joo-won felt something he never felt before-hope. Guided by the music from the dark metallic cube, he followed it to a massive, towering structure.

 

It shimmered with magical energy, its spiral design etched into stone.

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