༺ Obsidian Insignia ༻
“I messed up…”
Was the first thought Gu Yangcheon had when he returned to his place.
‘I’m screwed. Royally screwed.’
“I’m so retarded. Why did I do that.”
I remembered how Gu Yeonseo collapsed to the ground after being slapped. Her nose was bleeding, too…
My body was pretty weak and I didn’t put any Qi into it, so it probably didn’t do any serious damage.
“But even so, I went too far.”
I wasn’t talking about the slap itself when I said ‘I went too far.’ That was honestly justified on my part.
It was just that I destroyed Gu Yeonseo’s reputation.
Did I really have to make a Gu blood relative eat dirt so pathetically in front of all that crowd in the middle of our clan’s festival?
It was understandable that Gu Yeonseo got so hot-headed because of her young age.
But I was almost twice her age if I combined both my current age with my previous life’s years, and I still let my emotions get the better of me.
“I’m still so immature, even with all this experience.”
Wait, wasn’t it the Second Elder’s fault that he instigated me into doing all of that at his age?
…Why was I even asking, of course it was his fault.
Breeze passed me by and left behind a sound that tickled my ears.
The spring breeze was still cold, even though winter had already passed.
I could withstand the cold, even in light clothing, thanks to my flame Qi.
I turned to the sound of the sneeze and found Muyeon and Wi Seol-Ah standing there.
Wi Seol-Ah came over to me while Muyeon gave his greetings. She had a roll of cloth in her hands.
“What are you holding in your hands?”
“Young master… your hand…”
I checked my hand.
The skin on my palm was peeling off and there was a bit of blood coming out.
It was because I had slapped Gu Yeonseo while her body was still swathed in Qi.
A person with Qi inside their body had faster regeneration compared to an average person. An injury like this would heal pretty quickly.
“This is nothing. I’m fine—”
Before I could finish, Wi Seol-Ah rushed to cover my hand with the cloth. She was clumsy with it, as she didn’t quite know what to do.
I wanted to do it myself, but I couldn’t stop her when I saw the tears dripping from her eyes.
She looked so cheerful while she was watching the Second Elder beat up Peng Woojin, so to see her act like this at such a small injury threw me off a little.
‘Wi Seol-Ah wrapping bandages…is pretty cool, I guess.’
The future Zenith was bandaging my hand for me. Wouldn’t this be considered an honor?
She finally stopped bandaging me after my hand had become twice as thick.
Wi Seol-Ah spoke to me like she was about to start weeping at any second.
“Young master, does it hurt a lot…?”
“It didn’t at first, but now I feel like it does after this.”
“So you’re saying it doesn’t hurt, right? Thank goodness…”
‘Are you only listening to what you want to listen to?’
I took a little walk in the night and circled around my place.
Was Gu Yeonseo alright?
I decided not to worry about it.
Not like this already ruined family relationship was going to be fixed from now.
Obviously not for Gu Yeonseo, and obviously not for me, too.
When I came back to my place, the lights were already on in my room. I asked one of the nearby servants what was going on.
She replied with an astonished expression, saying, “Huh…? They said they already informed you…”
I checked to see who was in my room, so I opened the door and there he was.
“Oh! Young Master Gu!”
A lunatic… No, it was Peng Woojin.
“Hello, my name is Peng Woojin.”
“I know, Sir Peng.”
“You can just call me Bro Peng or Brother Peng.”
“I don’t think we are close enough for me to address you like that…”
Why is this lunatic here?
And why was Peng Ah-Hee covering her face right next to Peng Woojin.
It looked like she was embarrassed as her ears were all red.
Peng Ah-Hee aggressively pulled on her brother’s clothes and spoke.
“Brother… Shouldn’t we apologize first for something we did?”
I was able to hear the embarrassment in her quivering voice.
Upon hearing Peng Ah-hee the realization dawned upon Peng Woojin.
“Right… I should have come here alone since you guys broke up. I apologize for not realizing sooner.”
“Oh my god… you moron.”
I agreed with Peng Ah-Hee.
Peng Ah-Hee had no choice but to speak for her brother.
“Apologies for coming here so late at night without saying anything beforehand. My lunatic of a… My brother really wanted to see you and I couldn’t stop him.”
“Sir Peng? Wanted to see me?”
“You may call me Bro Peng.”
“I will pass.”
I didn’t want to be involved with him.
Peng Woojin just sat still with a smile on his face, not saying anything as the tea that the servants brought grew cold.
“So what brings you here…?”
Was he here to complain to me about the incident with the Second Elder? Peng Woojin still had a red swelling on one side of his face.
That was the spot where he’d gotten hit by the Second Elder.
‘He said he controlled his strength…’
How is this him “controlling his strength?” Did putting in a bit more strength mean he could make heads explode with his punch?
…The mere thought of that scared me. It might actually be possible.
“I really have nothing to do with what the Second Elder did to you. I swear I tried to stop him.”
“What are you talking about?”
Huh, is he not here because of that?
Peng Woojin started to speak as I expressed my confusion.
“I just wanted to see you since I heard you were the little brother of the Sword Phoenix.”
“You’re close with my eldest sister?”
I had never heard about Peng Woojin being close to Gu Huibi. Well to be honest, I wasn’t really close to her either.
But if I had to choose, I was probably still closer with Gu Huibi than Gu Yeonseo.
“I thought of her as close, but I’m not sure how she feels.”
‘Then you probably aren’t.’
Gu Huibi’s personality was not the type to be friendly with Peng Woojin. It was more likely for her to try initiating a fight instead of a connection with him.
“That’s why I came here to see you.”
“Why do you want to see me? It’s not like I’m special or anything.”
What does he want from a useless guy like me, huh?
Plus, our clans in general weren’t really on good terms with each other after the engagement was dissolved
Peng Woojin spoke.
“I thought that the Sword Phoenix was the only fun person in the Gu Clan, but there was one more.”
Was he talking about me?
Fun? He was going on about “fun” again. Like the first time I saw him, he was always looking for “fun,” which I didn’t really get.
‘He definitely is a weirdo.’
Although, it wasn’t that strange, since there weren’t many martial arts masters who were normal anyways.
Of course, I still didn’t want to involve myself with him.
It might be beneficial to get into Peng Woojin’s good books since he would become the Sword King in the future, but…
‘This guy is hard to read.’
He was very hard to understand because of his bizarre personality.
“If you want to meet someone from Gu, it would be better to go see my sister instead. I’m not all that special.”
“I probably won’t be able to see her if I go there right now, though.”
“…You don’t have to go now. You can go tomorrow.”
Hm, I wonder if she is still unconscious.
“I came to see Young Master Gu. I don’t really have interest in the Young Lady Gu anyway.”
“Brother, can you please learn to not say some things sometimes?”
“Hm, sorry. I’m not very good at that.”
‘What am I going to do with this person?’
I felt like I was going to get a headache all over again.
Peng Woojin took something out of his pocket.
“This is my gift to you.”
The item looked like a small black wooden insignia that had “Peng” written in gold on it. It didn’t particularly seem all that special, but Peng Ah-Hee was shocked as if he had given me something very important.
“Brother, isn’t it absurd for you to just give this away?”
“Who cares, they gave it to me for me to use. Whoever I give it to is my decision.”
“This is essentially a guest pass to the Peng Clan. If you come visit with that, you would be treated just like a Peng Clan family member.”
“Please take it back…”
Why was he giving me this?
If I took it, I really felt like I was going to be inevitably involved with Peng Woojin.
“But, I have broken the engagement with your clan, so…”
“I don’t care about that.”
“Brother, I care.”
“Please take it, Young Master Gu.”
He ignored Peng Ah-Hee completely.
It would be good to have the Peng Clan’s favor.
But I had no idea why Peng Woojin was treating me like this.
“How about you hold onto it and give it to my eldest sister instead? I heard you were very close—”
“I was going to, but Sword Phoenix didn’t even bother listening to me. This is quite the precious thing to have… Why is she refusing it?”
He already got rejected! Damn it.
“Then what about my second sister?”
“I’m giving it to you because I’m interested in you.”
“…I like women, Sir Peng.”
“Oh, I like women, too, of course. Then again, maybe not? Probably yes.”
Why are you questioning that… You’re giving me goosebumps.
Peng Woojin took back the Obsidian insignia, seemingly disappointed when I kept refusing it.
Peng Ah-Hee couldn’t raise her head up after her brother’s insane act.
Well, at least she was normal.
I just wanted to lay down on the bed more as time passed by.
Because of the duel, I had used my body too much and was really tired.
Peng Woojin, who seemed to notice my fatigue, got up to leave, even though he still seemed disappointed.
I guess that was really all he came here for.
Peng Woojin asked me a question as he was about to leave.
“Are you going to enroll in Heavenly Dragon Academy?”
To live as a martial artist of the Orthodox Faction meant that I would have to get through the Heavenly Dragon Academy set up by the Murim Alliance.
Although it was possible to learn enough martial skills within the clan alone, in order to be recognized as a swordsman qualified to close the Gates of Demons, graduation from a martial academy after being taught everything about demons was required.
Of course, martial academies existed in other places as well, and not just at Heavenly Dragon Academy.
But for those of the Orthodox Faction, it was obvious to enter Heavenly Dragon Academy.
‘Though I should try to think of a way to run away.’
The education lasted for a whole year.
I didn’t have the spare time to just waste an entire year like that.
“Right, then you would become my subordinate.”
Peng Woojin tapped my shoulders with a smile.
He was trying to establish ties with me through the academy since his other methods weren’t working.
‘Was it because I won against Gu Yeonseo and also slapped her hard afterwards? Why is he so obsessed with me?’
It would be weird even for a woman to act like that, so a man expressing so much interest towards me gave me goosebumps.
Peng Ah-Hee, while following her brother out, stopped to look at me.
“I told you to talk to me formally, I’m older.”
“You said when I speak formally, it makes you sick, so what do you want me to do?”
Peng Ah-Hee finally continued after hesitating for a while.
“Why are you suddenly apologizing?”
“…When I knocked you over and broke your arm on the day our engagement was annulled.”
I went through such a scary thing?
“What did I do to make you do such a scary thing…”
“You told me I was the child of a concubine or whatever.”
“I deserved it, then.”
I honestly probably deserved having both of my arms broken for that. So it was a bit weird to see her apologizing instead.
“You don’t need to apologize. I should be the one to do so instead. I apologize for my conduct back then.”
As we were both in the same situation, me saying that to her back then only made me a hypocrite.
It was just due to my own pride.
I didn’t know if she accepted my apology or not, but at least her expression seemed to soften up.
“Take care as well. And though you may not like what my brother gave you, he gave it with good intentions, so use it whenever you want.”
“Gave me what, I thought I returned that—”
I sensed something in my pocket.
When I searched my pockets, the black wooden insignia came out.
“When did he…!?”
…When Peng Woojin tapped my shoulders.
He put it in then?
I let out an empty laugh.
“What a lunatic.”
I heaved a sigh and put the black wooden insignia back in my pocket.
* * * * *
On the third day of the Nine Dragons Ceremony.
It was the day of celebration and partying, but I got into the carriage to return to the clan as soon as I could.
I heard that Gu Yeonseo had already set off at midnight.
‘She woke up, thankfully.’
I was thankful she woke up without any lasting damage, but it was even harder for me to face her now, when it was already quite difficult before.
After the preparations were done, the carriage set off.
I was trying to rest, but then Wi Seol-Ah started to lean towards my shoulder as she fell asleep.
I quickly passed Wi Seol-Ah to another servant as I also began to doze.
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