༺ Azure Heavenly Sword, Namgung Jin (1) ༻
Unrestrained Qi started to run rampant around my body as if a storm was raging inside of me.
I didn’t know where the violent Qi originated from, but it quickly passed through the middle abdomen and continued to climb upward.
My middle abdomen was like a calm pond.
It took me quite a lot of effort to finally calm down the different Qis inside of me after reaching the peak realm…
All my work was wasted, because it felt as if a huge boulder had fallen on it now.
‘God damn it.’
I couldn’t actually say it out loud. I couldn’t afford to even open my mouth as it might mess up the flow of the Qi.
I devoured the flower like a maniac. The impulse was so sudden that it made me question if it was even my own will.
Honestly, eating it was fine, since that was my plan anyway.
My plan didn’t account for the Qi that the flower held inside.
‘Is it just Qi, Taoist Qi, or could it even be demonic Qi?’
There were too many types of Qis that I could feel from it. What kind of flower was this for me to feel all this?
｢You also have a bunch of stuff like that in you, so you are no different.｣
‘…Stop making fun of me, I’m trying to focus.’
He wasn’t wrong.
‘If it wasn’t me that ate this flower, they would’ve probably died right away with their insides being destroyed.
I wasn’t exaggerating. This flower wasn’t something that could be called just a simple herb.
Demonic Qi was always a dangerous Qi to martial artists.
Not only did it make them go mad, but it disabled the Qi they possessed and it made their body weak.
That was something that many didn’t understand when they were blessed by the Heavenly Demon.
The ones that were bestowed demonic Qi by the Heavenly Demon itself still went mad, but their body didn’t become weak nor did they face death.
Instead, their bodies actually became stronger thanks to the demonic Qi, which allowed them to reach higher realms.
‘How does that make sense?’
This was another reason why I questioned if the Heavenly Demon was truly human.
Not only did the Heavenly Demon possess outstanding power, but it was also achieving these feats that discarded all logic, challenging our understanding.
I was certain of it because I had lived as a demonic human before.
Demonic Qi could not coexist with normal Qi.
Which was why this flower felt that much stranger.
‘For what reason were they growing this flower?’
Not only did this flower hold Qi and demonic Qi, but it also held Taoist Qi. Taoist Qi was understandable since it wasn’t much different compared to normal Qi.
Demonic Qi was another story, however.
The only reason why my body was able to hold all those different types of Qi inside my body was because the demonic Qi had been given to me by the Heavenly Demon.
While I was sweating with Qi flowing around my body, Elder Shin spoke.
｢It seems like it’s still bearable.｣
‘Yeah, thankfully it’s bearable for now.’
The pain I was feeling right now wasn’t as bad as when I had absorbed demonic Qi from the Sword Master.
That was why I was able to think about other stuff during the process.
‘Did they not make this flower for it to be consumed?’
No matter how I looked at it, this flower could not be consumed, so maybe they had created it for a whole different reason.
If one wanted to endure after consuming three different kinds of Qis, they had to possess the exact same mix in their body.
The different types of QI had to be able to coexist in one’s body, and if they couldn’t, they would break it apart.
‘That is some bullshit.’
Basically, one would need a miracle to be able to eat this.
Elder Shin spoke.
｢Three different types of Qis coexisting in the same vessel… It’s as if this was created just for you.｣
Such a thought had also struck me.
With all the crazy stuff that had happened to me, this idea wasn’t that far-fetched. Nonetheless, there was no way that was the case here.
‘If they created it for a different reason than consumption, I don’t know what that reason it. And if they meant for it to be consumed…’
That meant that there was someone in the Black Palace that was just like me. Someone who would be fine even if they consumed the flower.
Who was that?
‘The Palace Lord?’
The Lord of the Black Palace, also known by some as the Dark Pavillion, was a person that was one of the top martial artists of the Unorthodox Faction. I didn’t know much about them. I only heard that they died after being defeated by the Murim Alliance in a battle.
But thinking about it now, I wondered if that person had really died.
I had to doubt every single thing when it came to the Black Palace because of their connection to the Demonic Cult.
‘But what if it’s not that person?’
Was it for the Heavenly Demon itself? Are they already making moves behind the scenes?
It was a horrifying thought.
I had to pray that that wasn’t the case. If the Heavenly Demon was already orchestrating its appearance at this time, then all the information I knew from my past life would be useless. The timeline would be just too twisted.
The Qi that rampaged inside my body started to calm down. The absorbing process was being finished.
To prove that, my Destructive Flame Martial Arts started to purify the demonic Qi that had been absorbed, and the amount of Taoist Qi in my body increased.
Elder Shin’s tone was positive, because the vast Taoist Qi inside of me showed off its presence along with a scent of plum blossoms.
The increasing Taoist Qi would help me in the future as it could be used to pacify the unrestrained wild Qi coursing through my body.
With all this increased my Qi reserves, I was going above the realm of martial artists that had been training for sixty years.
‘It took me so long to reach this stage before.’
How long did it take me again? I believe I reached this level around the time I started to spread my name after becoming a demonic human.
It was fast. In not even a year, my growth was substantial.
‘But I still need to grow faster.’
I still wasn’t in a position where I could be satisfied.
I had to reach at least half of my past life’s prime by the age of twenty.
Steam was coming out of my mouth as I breathed.
Thankfully, I was successful in absorbing most of the Qi the flower held.
– Chirp! Chirp chirp!
Sunlight came in through the windows, and I heard chirping sounds. Because I had been immensely focused, I didn’t even notice how much time had passed and that it was already morning.
The biggest change I had gotten from this wasn’t the fact that the volume of my Qi had increased.
I summoned flames in my hand. The color was slightly different as it was mixed with some taoist Qi of Mount Hua.
The flames that used to be just wild before now had their own pattern. It meant that I now had more control over my flames.
I extinguished the flames by clenching my fists.
I couldn’t help but smile, it was that big of a change.
“I can’t believe it worked.”
Only after a few months of reaching the peak realm, my clan’s flame arts had also reached the 5th realm.
* * * *
I didn’t get any sleep during the night, but my body couldn’t feel more refreshed.
It was possible that I felt that way because I reached a higher realm.
After leaving my room, I immediately went to the training area.
The training area was soon filled with flames. I only focused on condensing my power in recent days since Elder Shin had told me to do so, so it had been a while since I had gotten to discharge as much flames as I wanted.
‘I feel noticeably more comfortable since reaching a new level.’
The unrestrained nature of my flames had been reduced, and the flame itself was denser and more potent. Despite that, it was easier for me to control.
Although it looked like it would burn away everything in its path, I could make it so that it wouldn’t damage anything nearby.
The flame rings around my body also spun around faster.
‘Should I also try condensing them?’
I wanted to test how far I could go, but I erased my flames when I felt a faint presence.
I spoke after blowing away the heat.
“I was thinking of visiting you, but hello.”
In the entrance of the training area was a giant, eight-feet-tall man with his white hair tied.
｢What is that nonsense of a body?｣
Even Elder Shin, who was used to seeing muscular men in Mount Hua, was shocked after seeing this giant.
The Second Elder, who had just sent me away to Mount Hua after giving me a treasure, was staring at me with a shocked expression.
Did he see me train just now? I noticed Second Elder’s eyes shaking.
“How did you end up like this in just a few months?”
“You are speaking as if I got heavily injured or something.”
End up like this? That sounded dramatic, anyone would think his words were about some injury.
Whether he could hear me or not, the Second Elder continued to speak with a trembling voice.
“Dragon… Yangcheon, you were a dragon all along.”
“Why are you saying these things in front of me, it’s embarrassing…”
“I just thought that your talent bloomed a little late, but this old man didn’t expect that you were this formidable.”
It was understandable that the Second Elder was surprised. I would react the same if I sent someone away on a trip and they came back a peak realm martial artist.
“Did your Qi increase?”
“Yes, I got lucky.”
I didn’t consume just one, but many different Qis.
One may have been willful, and the other may have been forced, but at the end of the day, all of that was part of the process of becoming stronger.
‘Thanks to that, I got a head start.’
The journey of a martial artist starts once they had reached the peak realm. At least according to my standards.
Hearing that thought of mine, Elder Shin couldn’t help but exclaim, thinking I was being absurd.
｢Aren’t your standards too high? Peak realm is a dream for countless martial artists.｣
‘I’m a bit too desperate to use the same standards as them.’
It was understandable that others aimed lower, but my sights were set above the sky.
The future would be doomed if I stopped to look around me.
“The Lord really has a talent when it comes to giving birth to great children.”
‘I’m not sure about that one.’
Sure, the daughters’ talents were impressive, but their personalities sucked.
‘I’m the only normal one.’
I may have been immature back when I was young, but since I fixed myself, I was probably the most normal one out of all of them.
｢In my eyes, you may have luck with getting women, but your guilty conscience is gone. It looks like you’ve gone crazy because of the lack of sleep last night.｣
After letting out a fake cough, I walked toward the Second Elder. The old man still had a very shocked expression.
“Your jaw is going to hit the ground at that rate.”
I said these words because his mouth was wide open.
After approaching the Second Elder, I showed him the bracelet that I had on my arm.
“The Celestial Plum Blossom told me that you had given him this. What is this?”
“Oh, right. I did send him this.”
His reaction indicated that he had forgotten about it. ‘I heard that you sent this to the Celestial Plum Blossom so that it’s given to me, what are you on, old man…?’
“It’s nothing much.”
“You also said the same about Mount Hua’s treasure last time…”
“That was a practical joke, but this time it really is nothing.”
There was no credibility in those words as it came from none other than the Second Elder himself.
When I stared at him with doubt, the man bonked my head with his huge fist.
I rolled on the floor, hurt by the sudden impact.
‘This crazy old man, I swear…!’
Despite me reaching the peak realm, I still couldn’t dodge the Second Elder’s bonking.
“You brat! How could you doubt me like that! I personally came to see you because we haven’t seen each other in a while!”
“But you shouldn’t just use your fists like that! What will you do if my head breaks, senior?!”
“Break my ass! I only gave you a cute tap!”
“A cute tap…?”
‘I heard the loud smack coming from the top of my head, and you’re saying it was just a cute tap…?’
｢I guess being shameless is a unique hereditary trait in your household.｣
My head was ringing already, but the harsh words that came from Elder Shin stabbed straight into my chest.
The Second Elder spoke to me while I was rubbing my head.
“Anyway like I said, it’s nothing much, so just keep it on your arm like that.”
“Why do I have to keep it on when it’s nothing much?”
“Do you want another taste of my fist?”
I shut up at his threat. ‘I swear I’ll get you back next time…’
I didn’t know why everyone was trying to hang things on my body recently, whether it was the Second Elder or Gu Huibi.
While looking at me avoiding his eye contact, the Second Elder smirked.
“Despite reaching that level, your shitty personality is still the same… I don’t know if I should be happy or not.”
“What brought you here in the morning?”
“I told you, I just came to see you.”
“Then you should’ve just sent a servant to summon me. I planned to visit you today anyway.”
“And I planned to train today anyway.”
It seemed like he wasn’t lying since the Second Elder’s thick muscles looked even more pumped than usual.
He really must have been training before we ran into each other.
“Oh, did you hear that Yeonseo came out?”
Gu Yeonseo, who I had last seen back on Nine Dragons Day, finally came out from her closed training.
Although it did bother me that the last time we had seen each other we weren’t on the best of terms.
‘I don’t think I have to visit her.’
If she needed anything, she would come to me herself.
“Oh, and some people from Namgung Clan came as well.”
The old man’s interjection made my eyes open wide from shock.
“The Namgung Clan?”
“Yes, I believe they came because of your fiancée.”
It had only been one day since Namgung Bi-ah had arrived in Shanxi. There was no way they could have come here this fast since it would have also taken time for the letter to reach them.
‘Does that mean they were already here?’
It seemed like they had been waiting for Namgung Bi-ah to arrive in the Gu Clan.
“I wonder why we’ve been having such important guests over recently, whether it’s from the Tang Clan or the Namgung Clan.”
“I’m sorry, but I have to go somewhere.”
“Hmm? Where are you… “
I passed by the Second Elder, in a hurry to leave. I was just thinking of walking at a fast pace, but Qi started to flow around my body.
Qi only acted on will. This meant that it was activated by my emotions getting the better of me.
‘This is urgent.’
I noticed that I was feeling desperate, but I didn’t know why I felt this way.
It took no time for me to go to the guest house that Namgung Bi-ah was staying in.
It was thanks to the increase in my Qi that I was able to get there so fast.
When I arrived, I saw that Namgung Bi-ah was already outside the building.
However, the situation was strange.
She looked like she had just woken up from sleep, and her white skinny arm had been grabbed by someone.
Judging by how it seemed like she was putting strength into the arm that was being grabbed, the person holding her couldn’t be weak.
It didn’t seem like a good situation, so I planned to go over there to stop whatever was happening.
I also wanted to know what was going on.
“What’s going on her-“
I stopped my steps after hearing a sharp sound.
Namgung Bi-ah’s head was turned around.
Her cheek became red, and blood flowed down her mouth.
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