Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 152

Friendly Martial Arts Competition (5)

༺ Friendly Martial Arts Competition (5) ༻







  – Aghhhhh!


  A terrifying scream pierced the air, followed by an eerie echo. 


  Strewn across the ground were bits of flesh that had just been cut, bathed in blood.


  He prayed that he dodged the worst, but reality didn’t listen to him.


  It only continued to chase after him.


  – H, Help m-




  The one who tried to run away had his neck sliced off.


  Blood splattered everywhere, but not a drop of blood got on the killer’s clothes. 


  It looked as if the killer dodged every drop of blood. 


  A hidden observer, who was watching this unfold with trembling shoulders, turned in the opposite direction and started to run. 


  His legs didn’t listen to him as he was in immense fear, but he forced them to move.


  ‘I-I need to let the main palace know…!’


  That a monster appeared.


  And that a change in the plan was necessary.


  ‘How did he know?’


  The man couldn’t comprehend. 


  He did hear that a branch in Shaanxi had been destroyed a few months ago.


  But that was because Ya Hyeoljeok acted recklessly against the leader’s orders. 


  It was said that he got killed because of his dumb actions.


  He even lost a valuable asset in the process.


  What a dumbass he was. The man thought, recalling Ya Hyeoljeok.


  This place wasn’t like Shaanxi. 


  No martial artists were captured and they meticulously erased any traces, as Shaolin and the Murim Alliance were close to this place.


  Even the Harmonic Sword and the Chief Abbot of Shaolin, both of whom were capable of reading Heavenly Qi, couldn’t find this place.


  ‘But then…!’


  What in the world was that monster then?


  ‘How did it find out about us and attack?’


  Moreover, it was by itself at that.




  The man clenched his teeth as he put strength into his legs.


  He recalled how his branch manager had his neck cut off just earlier.


  He witnessed with his own two eyes how a martial artist, who had reached the Peak Realm, had his neck cut off in one blow. 


  ‘A sword… Did the monster even wield a sword?’


  The man couldn’t remember.


  His memories became foggy due to the immense fear he felt. 


  All he did was run.


  After all, he thought that he needed to let his leader know.


  ‘Just a little more…!’


  He wasn’t far from the escape route.


  Once he made it there, he could-




  Thud…! Roll…


  The man, after frantically running to escape, had his head sliced off and his body collapsed on the ground.


  The last survivor of that branch had been killed, just like that.




  The sound of footsteps echoed rather loudly in the branch hideout that was now only filled with silence. 


  The killer had not a scratch on them and looked completely clean even after slaughtering tens of martial artists. 


  Corpses were strewn across the ground, as if they were violently cut by a sword, but the killer, who had caused this mayhem, wasn’t even holding a sword in her hand.


  “I’m sorry.”


  In the empty space, a weak voice echoed in the cave. 


  Who was the apology for?


  The person, all by her lonesome, continued to speak.


  “For borrowing your body without permission and making you do these things with your hands.”


  The one who she was speaking to couldn’t hear her. 


  As that person was forcefully put to sleep by the woman to shield her from witnessing such horrors. 


  “…I’m really sorry, but just a little more.”


  She couldn’t stay for that long anyway.


  This was almost the last time that she could use this child’s body.


  She also knew that her actions would bring forth that time sooner.


  But even so, she had to do it.


  It was too late to atone for her sins.


  And what she failed to do in her past life, this child would do it. 


  So in order to do that, she wanted to, at least…At the very least…


  Clean up some of the pebbles on that person’s path. 


  She wondered whether her efforts would make any difference, but she pressed on regardless. 


  ‘I’ll do this even if it’s the last thing I must do.’


  Which was why she was here right now. The girl escaped the darkness and went back into the light without anyone noticing. 


  Her footsteps were fast. Faster than anyone.




  The streets of Hanam were bright, even at night. 


  The bustling crowds provided a sense of comfort to Hongwa as she mingled among them. 


  “Where were you!”


  Hongwa quickly headed toward Wi Seol-Ah and hugged her.


  “Sis was worried…!”


  “Oof… sorry…”


  “If you keep worrying Sis like this… I’m not going to help you next time.”




  “I get that it’s for your Grandpa Wi…”


  “Sorry, Sis… this won’t happen next time. I got lost.”


  Hongwa couldn’t bring herself to scold Wi Seol-Ah after looking at her sobbing face, so she let out a sigh.


  “…You did all the things I asked you to, right?”






  “However! I don’t think we need to!”


  “…No, never mind. Let’s go. Brother Muyeon is probably so worried that his face will be flooded with sweat, even in this winter…”




  As Hongwa pulled her away, Wi Seol-Ah’s gaze remained fixed on the distant palace of the Murim Alliance. 


  She didn’t lie.


  As she genuinely believed she didn’t need to do anything more. 


  ‘After he obtains everything from this…’


  After you receive all those things you desire…


  She could finally do it then, after that happened. 


  When Wi Seol-Ah looked at the snow, she was reminded of Jang Seonyeon.


  This time, he wouldn’t kill that bastard.


  To be more accurate, he couldn’t.


  Which was why she had to do it herself.


  She would shoulder all the burdens from his past life and then disappear. 


  ‘Apologize to him? I probably can’t even do that.’


  She wanted to say it to him someday.


  If she ever got a chance.


  If she could meet him once more.


  She wished to look into his eyes and convey her feelings… 


  ‘But I know that I don’t deserve it. I do not even dare to hope for that.’


  She let out a sigh in the chilly breeze.


  ‘He won’t want to meet me like this.’


  And this child wouldn’t want it either.


  She was just a trace of her burden. 


  Which was why she couldn’t and didn’t dare to bear any hope. 


  Wi Seol-Ah looked back at Hongwa again.


  Her hands were cold from waiting for her for so long, and her ears became red as well.




  The only thing she could offer as an apology was to share some warmth. 




  Hongwa looked toward Wi Seol-Ah after noticing something strange.






  “Um… Did you do something?”


  “Huh…? Do what?”


  When Wi Seol-Ah replied with sparkly eyes, Hongwa tilted her head in confusion and looked forward again.


  The winter evening passed quietly, as if nothing happened.  




  Some time had passed since the new bracket was announced earlier in the day. 


  It provided enough time for the fighters, who had just competed in the tournament, to rest and grab a bite to eat. 


  As I was idling away, Tang Soyeol, who came out from the medical room, spoke to me.


  “Young Master Gu… I’m sorry I couldn’t come to cheer you on during your fight earlier.” 


  “It’s fine, so stop making that expression.”


  When I responded bluntly, Tang Soyeol’s shoulders flinched slightly. 


  She had been showing that reaction whenever I spoke informally to her.


  ‘What’s up with her?’


  She was the one who asked me to speak comfortably to her, yet she wasn’t doing it herself.


  I said that she could, but she rejected doing so, saying that it would feel like cheating or whatever.  


  What did she mean by cheating…?


  I could never fully grasp her reasoning. 


  I continued to munch on dumplings to fill my stomach.


  Beside Tang Soyeol and Namgung Bi-ah, there was another guest who had come to visit me.


  Actually, it was that guest who brought these dumplings for me.


  The guest then spoke with a hint of disbelief. 


  “…I really thought it was just a coincidence, but you really charmed a girl?”


  “Why are you insulting me as soon as you get here?”


  “I’m complimenting you, you dummy.” 


  It was a girl with short black hair.


  It was Peng Ah-hee, who stopped me back at the banquet. 


  “I came all the way here just to check on you, yet you’re talking like this…” 


  “Yeah, why did you come anyway?”


  “I told you. I came here to watch.”


  Peng Ah-hee’s sudden appearance in my barracks, with dumplings in hand, left me utterly bewildered. 


  After all, she came so randomly. 


  And with dumplings at that.


  “You said that you weren’t even gonna participate in the tournament.”


  “You’re speaking informally again.”




  “…Uh, never mind, just don’t.”


  She spoke with a hint of disdain. 


  Why was she getting mad at me when she was the one who told me to do it?


  “I only came here for the banquet this time. I know that the lord of the clan would’ve said something if I didn’t go. And Brother said he’s going too for business, so I followed him.”


  I could see the Lord of Peng Clan acting that way, considering his personality. 


  He reminded me of a man who looked like a huge bear with a fiery temperament. 


  ‘It is quite fascinating how children like these came from that man’s face and personality.’


  Just a glance at his face was more than enough evidence to prove my point.


  Peng Woojin and Peng Ah-hee were handsome and beautiful, but that man was completely different.


  ‘I’d have to assume that the mother’s side is extremely beautiful.’


  And furthermore, Peng Ah-hee was the child of a concubine, which meant that both wives were beautiful.


  “What are you staring at? Do I have something on my face?”


  “Nah, nothing. So what do you want from me?”


  “I’m not here to see you. I’m here to see a friend.”


  “A friend?”


  Peng Ah-hee’s gaze moved toward Tang Soyeol. Then Tang Soyeol started to cough while eating. 


  Seizing the moment, Peng Ah-hee continued. 


  “You’re really doing a good job, huh?”


  “…Cough… Ahem…”


  They knew each other?


  Peng Ah-hee directed her attention to Tang Soyeol.


  “Do you even have an appetite right now?”


  “…Err… “


  “I heard that you lost your first fight?”




  “Wow~Greattttt Job. And you were so confident too.”


  Tang Soyeol then hid her face behind her green hair as she had no response. 


  She looked like she wanted to disappear into a mouse hole. 


  Peng Ah-hee then let out a sigh as she looked at Tang Soyeol.


  “…Are you okay?”


  “Yeah… I’m not hurt.”


  “You look like you are, though.”




  “I’m kidding. Your opponent must have been strong.”


  Tang Soyeol appeared on the verge of tears at Peng Ah-hee’s words. 


  Despite that, she continued to eat dumplings one by one.


  “…Were you hungry?”


  “…Yeah, porridge doesn’t taste too good, you know.”


  “That’s why I brought it here for you.”




  Tang Soyeol made a sad expression as if she just had rain abruptly pouring on her.


  Peng Ah-hee then shifted her attention to me. 


  “She’s a nice girl even though she can be rude at times.”




  I made a strange expression after hearing Peng Ah-hee’s words.


  “Rude? She was never rude to me though.”




  Peng Ah-hee showed even a bigger reaction after hearing my words. 


  But it was true that Tang Soyeol never displayed any rudeness toward me or my group.


  Instead, she seemed caring and considerate. 


  Upon hearing that, Peng Ah-hee looked at Tang Soyeol with an astonished expression and spoke. 


  “You… you really did a good job faking it, huh?”


  “N-No! What do you mean faking it!”


  “You unbelievable girl… The world probably already knows what your personality is like already.” 


  Tang Soyeol looked frustrated, but Peng Ah-hee didn’t change her expression.


  I could tell from their interaction.


  They really were close, huh?


  “Soyeol, I always knew you had really weird tastes, but I never expected it to turn out like this.”


  “…What did I even do.”


  “What’s the point of telling you? You chose… “


  Then Peng Ah-hee scrutinized my appearance from head to toe. I couldn’t help but feel very offended for some reason…


  “You. Be careful too.”


  “With what…?”


  “Be careful when you sleep and don’t eat any presents that the Tang Clan sends you. The lord of that clan really loves Soyeol- “




  Tang Soyeol, unable to hold back, shouted with great force. 


  Because of that, Namgung Bi-ah, who was sleeping in the back, woke up abruptly. 


  “Oh my gosh!”


  Peng Ah-hee, who didn’t know Namgung Bi-ah was here, screamed in surprise. 


  The situation really turned into a mess.


  “W-Why is that lady here?”


  “She said she’s sleepy.


  The girl who had fought right after me in the tournament, was sleeping just like that because she claimed to be tired. 


  ‘I guess it makes sense, considering her opponent.’


  Her opponent, by the way, was Gu Jeolyub.


  Thanks to that, Gu Jeolyub was probably somewhere sulking in a corner. 


  “But why is she in your- …Oh.”


  She cut herself off, seemingly realizing that I was engaged to Namgung Bi-ah.


  Though that didn’t really justify her presence here right now.


  “But even so… isn’t she not allowed here?”


  The reason she asked this was because I was up against Namgung Cheonjun next.


  Namgung Bi-ah herself didn’t seem to care, but it was a different story for me. 


  I suggested to Namgung Bi-ah that she might want to return to her own barracks, given the attention we were attracting. 


  But when Namgung Bi-ah heard those words from me, she instantly furrowed her brows and laid down to sleep. 


  As if she was trying to express her rejection through her body.


  Peng Ah-hee looked at Namgung Bi-ah, who remained silent, and tried to lighten the mood by chattering. 


  “Uh, because of the relationships and all… It’s hard for you to cheer for one side, right?”


  “…I’m not cheering.”


  Namgung Bi-ah responded quietly to Peng Ah-hee.


  “…There is no need.”


  Her words might have sounded cold to some people.


  After all, Peng Ah-hee shut up right away after hearing them. 


  But unlike her, I understood. 


  That there could have been a misunderstanding because of her lacking vocabulary, but I knew that she meant something like ‘He’ll be fine even if I don’t cheer for him’.




  This problem stemmed from her tendency to withhold her thoughts and only express some of it, but she seemed like she had no intention of fixing that.


  Not that I cared about it at this point.


  Amidst this somewhat awkward situation, a servant from outside spoke to me.


  “Young Master, the time is… “


  “Oh, I’m coming now.”


  I knew it was almost my turn to compete, which was why I stopped eating and flowed my Qi around. 


  My body warmed up a little and the relaxation I had felt moments ago gave way to tension. 


  I was in perfect condition. 


  As I followed the servant to the arena, I noticed a clear difference compared to the last time. 


  The arena was much larger this time.


  And looked much firmer as well. It seemed like they used expensive materials to build the stage so that fighters wouldn’t break anything. 


  It really did look like it wouldn’t break easily. ‘Easily’ being the keyword. 


  I slowly ascended the arena. 


  Then, I began to hear people talking. It was astounding how many spectators there were despite the cold weather. 


  Why did everyone like watching fights so much?


  “A kid? A kid like that has made it up to the top 8?”


  “How did he? Did he get lucky with his matchups?”


  “I heard that Wudang’s young prodigy lost to that kid…


  “Wudang…. out of all the sects? No way, it must be a false rumor.”


  Among the spectators, there were other people who came to watch, not just the young prodigies I saw back in the banquet. 


  These were likely people who had donated to the Murim Alliance. 


  As ordinary folks weren’t allowed to watch the tournaments. 


  “Gu Clan of Shanxi…? Isn’t that the clan that belonged to the Tiger Warrior?”


  “Woah… The Tiger Warrior had a male child?”


  “But then why did no one know about it until now… Maybe he’s a collateral relative?”


  “You idiot! A collateral relative wouldn’t have made it this far. Being the son of the Tiger Warrior also means that he is the young brother of the Sword Phoenix, so he must be incredibly talented.”


  “Hmm… Then that’s more disappointing.”


  “What is?”


  “He may be talented, but his opponent is… you know, so his winning streak will likely end here. I’m disappointed about that.”


  The men in the spectator seats commented after watching the young man who came up on the arena on the opposing side. 


  “Even if the kid has talent, it won’t be enough against that young man.”


  A man with a sculpture-like appearance and white hair had entered the stage. 


  A blue uniform with gold embroidery. 


  His imposing presence, combined with a hint of cold Qi, left a strong impression on everyone. 


  The young man was from the most renowned sword clan of the Central Plains. 


  The center of the four noble clans of the Orthodox Faction.


  The Lightning Dragon, Namgung Cheonjun of the Namgung Clan.


  His eyes gleamed as they scanned the arena stage. 




  The sword he slowly drew from its sheath sparkled in the moonlight. 


  It was a sword provided by the Murim Alliance, but the way he held it made the sword itself appear exceptional. 


  As I prepared myself, Namgung Cheonjun spoke to me all of a sudden.


  “A fool, you are.”


  I could hear his voice even though he spoke quietly, thanks to his use of Qi to enhance it.


  The judge hadn’t come up to the arena yet.


  Moreover, Namgung Cheonjun was speaking to me quietly so that the spectators couldn’t hear him.


  “I could commend you for making it this far, but you are still foolish as ever.”


  “Brother-in-law, the way you speak to an older brother-in-law is quite rude, you know.”




  Namgung Cheonjun almost raged out loud due to my taunt.


  As expected, it seemed like he really hated me calling him, ‘Brother-in-law’. Why was he the one lashing out when he was the one who insulted me first? 


  I was tempted to make more fun of him. 


  Namgung Cheonjun, who seemed to have calmed down, spoke once again.


  “Didn’t I say earlier? If you don’t want your big nose to get hurt, you should forfeit.”


  “My nose isn’t that big. It’s smaller than brother-in-law’s, you know?”


  “…Your tongue still doesn’t know when to stop, and you still don’t seem to know your place either.”


  The way he held his sword changed a little.


  He got into a more comfortable posture so that he could swing it whenever he wished.


  Even so, it didn’t appear that he was taking the fight seriously. Why does each and every member of the noble clans always let their guard down without fail?


  No wonder their clans fell into ruin in the future. How could they not when someone who was considered a blood relative acted this way?


  Namgung Cheonjun, oblivious to my thoughts, only continued his words.


  “Do you really think you won in that incident back in Sichuan?”


  “What incident? Oh, when brother-in-law got beat up by me and crawled on the floor?”


  “…If usage of Qi had been allowed, I could’ve easily sliced your neck off.”


  I almost laughed out loud after hearing Namgung Cheonjun just now.


  Oh, what should I do with him? 


  “Brother-in-law, you know something?”


  “You bastard keep…- “


  “If the old man I know heard your words right now, he would’ve lashed out.”


  Elder Shin might have tried to rip his ass in half if he heard Namgung Cheonjun’s words right now.


  “Are you really a martial artist if you can’t do anything without Qi? If that’s your mindset, you might as well pick up some random dude and tell him to be the Young Lord of Namgung Clan. He’d do better than you.” 


  “You piece of…!”


  He tried to shout something, but the judge was making his way onto the arena. 


  Even the judge appeared different from those in earlier fights. 


  He looked like a strong judge who could always interfere to halt the fight if necessary. 


  Spectators, who had been talking while looking at Namgung Cheonjun and I, became silent when the judge arrived. 


  It was because they were concentrating on the exciting fight that was about to begin. 


  “Quarterfinals, Namgung Cheonjun of Namgung Clan vs…”


  Namgung Cheonjun infused his sword with Qi as soon as the judge called his name. The judge didn’t say anything about us having to show respect to each other.


  Which suited me just fine. 




  I realized it after feeling the tingly sensation that passed by my cheek.


  Namgung Cheonjun’s sword definitely contained Lightning Qi. It seemed like he didn’t just spend his time playing around.


  “Gu Yangcheon of Gu Clan.”


  I could accept the fact that he was practically brimming with confidence. 


  After all, it was true that Namgung Cheonjun was a genius as well.


  It was just that there were too many others that stood in front of him.


  I honestly didn’t really care about his arrogance.


  Who was I to judge when he himself knew his own talent all too well, yet still wanted to boast about it? 


  Though, it would be nice for him to leave me alone and stop being so annoying.


  Moreover, it would also be nice if he fixed the way he looked at Namgung Bi-ah. 


  I might be close-minded, but I was also somewhat understanding. 


  I was a crazy dog in my past life, but now I managed to restrain myself to some extent. 


  And this time, for sure…


  If Namgung Cheonjun had concealed that greed in his eyes…


  I wouldn’t have cared too much about this.


  So you could say that it’s Namgung Cheonjun’s fault for failing to do so. 




  I heard the judge’s voice.


  At the same time,


– Fiery Fangs of Beast


  The giant flame that erupted from my fist…


  Enveloped half of the arena stage.  


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Аdvаnсеd сhарtеrѕ аvаіlаblе оn gеnеѕіѕtlѕ.соm
Іlluѕtrаtіоnѕ оn оur dіѕсоrd – dіѕсоеnеѕіѕtlѕ

Childhood Friend of the Zenith

Childhood Friend of the Zenith

천하제일인의 소꿉친구
Score 9.4
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
Instead of struggling meaninglessly, he acknowledged his place.


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