༺ Why is he venturing out again…? (2) ༻
“Come back after you have gotten some rest. You’re going to die at this rate.”
Those were the words Muyeon heard from the leader of his swordsmen squad before becoming an escort.
Muyeon swung his sword every night in order to forget that memory. Yet, they would never fade away.
Martial artists, who had no will of their own other than performing their art. Yet, those memories were like shadows, ink on the page.
Muyeon’s sword was similar to that.
That was the essence of Muyeon’s current sword.
A hollow sword that had no purpose.
He was just swinging it. That’s why no matter how many hundreds or thousands of times he swung the sword, the memory would never fade away.
A prodigy of Ancient Gu Clan. Besides the First Elder’s grandson, Gu Jeolyub, Muyeon’s talent was definitely that of a genius.
It was said that Muyeon would have become the first one to reach the Peak realm in Ancient Gu Clan’s history.
Come to think of it now, it was all useless.
Were all first-rate martial artists that obsessed with rank?
Muyeon still couldn’t understand himself.
Why did I come this far, for what reason?
What is left for me?
I still remembered the members of the swordsmen who screamed desperately for help.
What is my purpose of wielding a sword? A swordsmen served to protect with their sword.
And yet, I couldn’t protect them.
Then who am I?
I didn’t know.
I lived like a crippled man. It went on like that until I received the order from the leader.
“I can’t let a martial artist like you rot here like this, not in the current situation. So, this is the best place for me to send you. Go there and take it easy.”
The place I was sent to was the escort squad. An honorable position, protecting the direct descendants of Gu Clan. Yet Muyeon didn’t look at it that way.
“Report each and every one of their actions.”
That was the order he received as soon as he had joined the escort squad.
Why? Am I really protecting them?
In Muyeon’s eyes, the escort team existed in order to observe, rather than escort.
But he didn’t object to the order. Was he in any position to? Muyeon couldn’t figure it out.
Muyeon gets assigned to who he will be escorting shortly after.
He was the third and only son out of the four children of Gu, Gu Yangcheon.
The first impression wasn’t all that good. Every descendant of Gu Clan was exactly like that, his sharp eyes and mouth showed that he’d have a bad temper.
I didn’t talk to him much, but I could definitely tell that he didn’t have a good temper. Not just that but he was arrogant as well.
‘Nice to meet you, Young Master.’
‘You’re the escort?’
“Yes, my name is Muyeon.”
‘Oh my, I told them to bring me a woman, they suck at their job.’
‘Don’t talk to me, you’re annoying. Go sit in a corner and don’t let me see your face.’
…No wonder why a fellow senior of the swordsmen squad gave me a yakgwa.
‘What is this for?’
‘If he starts to get angry, just listen with one ear and let it out the other, give this to the Young Master. Things will be slightly better after that.’
I was thankful to the senior for that advice. Thanks to him, I was able to deal with the Young Master a bit more effectively.
I didn’t know if it was the leader’s intention, but after spending a week with Gu Yangcheon, I wanted to return to my swordsmen squad.
The new job was easier physically, but it was much harder mentally.
Then one day the Second Elder was looking for Gu Yangcheon.
Then Gu Yangcheon ran away to the streets as soon as he heard the news.
Do I have to stop him?
I thought about it for a short moment.
To be honest I was more scared of Gu Yangcheon’s outrage than the Second Elder’s scolding.
So I just followed him out to the streets and quietly observed him.
Gu Yangcheon didn’t particularly do anything outside.
He was just watching people as they walked by, going on with their lives.
To my surprise, the air around him seemed to change into this desolate silence.
What was he thinking? Usually, he had a bad temper, yet, sometimes certain deep emotions would come to surface.
Immense regret and mollifying sorrow lingered across his face.
However, at the same time, his face seemed peaceful and resigned.
The only word that I could think to match the expression that was lingering on his face was, ‘Surrender’.
Why did the Young Master, who was destined to become the Lord give up?
I couldn’t comprehend what pain that boy was going through.
I didn’t really want to pry any further either, as I wasn’t in a position to anyway.
Then one moment,
The air around Gu Yangcheon changed.
To put it into words.
I unconsciously placed my hand on the hilt of my sword. I heard from many others that I had good senses.
I quickly scanned the area with my eyes but didn’t feel any threat.
What was this prickling feeling I had? The feeling even gave me the chills.
But it didn’t last long.
“Want a potato?”
Her face wasn’t really visible, but a kid that seemed to be around the same age as Gu Yangcheon appeared in front of him with a basket full of potatoes.
The prickling feeling around the area disappeared. Was that kid responsible for the feeling?
There was no way, but it was better to be safe than sorry. I went closer to Gu Yangcheon, ready to draw my sword any moment.
Shockingly enough, Gu Yangcheon was eating the potato that the child handed to him. The boy that would always flip the table when the dishes weren’t to his liking, that Gu Yangcheon was eating a potato.
The child’s appearance was even more problematic. The clothes she was wearing were tattered and dirty.
I didn’t know when Gu Yangcheon would burst into anger like the time when he would throw his clothes away after wearing it once.
I had to send the kid away immediately.
“How dare you-”
“You got any yakgwas?”
“Do you have any yakgwas?”
Why was he suddenly asking for yakgwa? I wanted to say that he greedily ate all of them on our way, but I couldn’t say it out loud.
Thankfully, there was one more yakgwa when I searched my pocket.
‘Hahh… Learned martial arts only to become an escort that brings yakgwas…’
That was what I thought at that moment.
Gu Yangcheon took the yakgwa from me.
I thought that Gu Yangcheon would eat it in order to cleanse the lingering taste of the potato.
“You want to try this?”
He offered it to the child instead.
I obviously thought that Gu Yangcheon would curse the child out after eating the yakgwa.
That was the Gu Yangcheon I had always known.
But he changed.
He was even apologizing to her saying that he would give her more if he had more. I just couldn’t understand the situation at all.
‘I need to check where the sun rises tomorrow.’
Whether it was west, east, south, I had to check.
The child that was happy after getting the yakgwa disappears with an old man shortly after.
The weird thing is that only a few days later, the girl and the old man I saw in the streets were now working at Gu Yangcheon’s place.
That day was definitely the starting point of when Gu Yangcheon started to change.
Gu Yangcheon started to train. Even training alone was surprising news, but he was also training at a high skill level too.
He trained to the point where even I would sometimes be in awe.
He also changed his attitudes towards the servants. Not that he was kind to them or anything, he just didn’t show any care.
Whether they worked hard or made mistakes, he didn’t care. The servants jubilated saying that it felt like heaven.
A lot of things had changed.
‘Did he really change…?’
I often thought about the expression on Gu Yangcheon’s face. That expression concerned me constantly.
It felt like he was living while hiding something. As if a kid in mid teens would have something important to hide in the first place.
‘Maybe he didn’t change, but more like that’s his true self.’
But what for?
I didn’t know.
When I ventured out to the streets with Gu Yangcheon again. He navigated through streets and alleys to find the Hao Clan.
For what reason does a person from the Orthodox Factions involve themselves with an Unorthodox Faction, and how did he even find out about this place?
I couldn’t understand anything.
Gu Yangcheon even spat out information about the Lord of Hao Clan.
I was so shocked that I almost drew my sword too late.
The swords of Hao Clan’s guards’ were faster than I expected.
But Gu Yangcheon didn’t even flinch one bit despite all the swords pointed at him.
How could he stay calm like that?
I suddenly got reminded of the leader’s words when he would get drunk.
‘You know, the clan of Gu isn’t all that bright and sunshine as you may think it is. Don’t delve too deep into it though, you might not be happy from what you come across.’
My mind was in a complicated state when I was reminded of that.
After emerging from Hao Clan, Gu Yangcheon bought a ton of yakgwas as if nothing happened.
With all my money at that… Still never got the money back.
When we returned to the clan, Gu Yangcheon requested that I keep all of this a secret as this was strictly his personal business. I replied that I would comply.
But I had to report everything that happened.
When I was writing everything in the report, I couldn’t understand myself.
All I had to do was just write it. That was my job. But why wasn’t I able to write it?
The answer was simply my guts. My guts were telling me that I shouldn’t write it down.
But for what reason? What was the problem? My mind was a mess.
In the end, I only wrote that he only went to the Hao Clan, but didn’t write about the lord of Hao Clan.
It was a difficult night. Not being able to understand anything myself just made it worse.
I suddenly felt the urge to swing my sword. So, I went outside and grabbed my sword.
How many months has it been since I felt the desire to swing my sword. It felt different than when I swung without any will.
Who am I?
Who was Gu Yangcheon?
What is the Gu clan?
I asked all those questions to my sword and it replied.
Just like that, I was enlightened for the first time in a few months.
That made me feel joy like a child, I even bragged about it to the old man, who was sweeping Gu Yangcheon’s place.
My head felt refreshed.
“…I think I can go back now.”
I felt like I could return to being the swordsman. This could be thanks to Gu Yangcheon.
I felt thankful to Gu Yangcheon who never asked what I was so agitated over, despite him noticing it.
That’s why I also couldn’t talk to Gu Yangcheon about what his complications were.
Why he wore the mask of scumbag and eventually decided to throw that mask away. What was Gu Clan’s secret, I didn’t dare to think about it.
So, I was about to request to return to the swordsmen squad.
But they told me to go to Sichuan.
* * * *
“The Military Exhibition of the Tang Clan?”
A day has passed since the Second Elder absurdly told me to just run away.
When I complained to him saying running away was absurd, the Second Elder looked at me disappointedly and went to find a way to get me to Sichuan.
Which is how he brought up the idea of the Military Exhibition of Tang Clan.
“We get an invitation every year but it wasn’t something I was fond of going to.”
The Military Exhibition was one of the events the Tang Clan hosted. And this was an event hosted in order to showcase their military prowess.
“That starts around this time…?”
Once or so, I’ve attended the event in my previous life using the status of Young Lord.
I remember a lot of cool looking weapons being displayed there.
“It’s going to start in about 15 days, so it would be right for me to leave now.”
I barely had enough time to travel such a long distance. Can I really reach Secret Vault of the Golden Nature Clan of Sichuan in that short amount of time?
“But how did you get the approval?”
The reason why I attended the event previously was so that I could make my face known to the Tang clan after I’ve become the Young Lord.
It was unexpected to hear that I was allowed to leave for almost a month, it wasn’t easy for a descendant of Gu Clan to do that.
It was only possible before because I was the Young Lord then.
The Second Elder laughed.
“I just have to do a favor for the Gu Clan.”
“You are going that far?”
What kind of favor will he be doing where it would be easy?
I honestly thought he would just send me off in a random carriage that was on its way to Sichuan.
I mean, it’s still better than running awa-, wait, that is running away.
I got goosebumps realizing that I just had the same thoughts as the Second Elder.
‘I’m at least better than this old bear of a man…’
Yes! Of course I am.
“The promise was made already, and Yangcheon.”
“I don’t know why you are trying to go to Sichuan, but you are the direct descendant of the Gu Clan. Mark that in your head and act appropriately.”
He was basically telling me not to cause any trouble.
I made a rather strange look upon hearing his words. They would’ve been more persuasive had it come from a different person.
But it was really unrealistic to hear the Second Elder telling me not to cause any trouble.
“What is that face you’re making? This old man is suddenly getting the urge to hit you in the top of your head right now.”
“…You looked so amazing a moment ago that I became speechless.”
Anyway, things went nicely, even if I failed to find the secret vault of Golden Nature Clan.
If that happens, I want to make sure that Gaecheon Clan doesn’t get a hold of the vault in any way possible.
“So, when do I leave?”
“What do you mean when? You need to leave now.”
What is this man saying?
How can I leave if I didn’t even prepa-
“I told the servants to get everything ready so you should be able to leave now.”
Oddly the preparation were done rather quickly…
“What about my opinion?”
“You seemed to want to go as soon as possible, so this old man got everything ready.”
“Isn’t’ ‘soon’ a bit too soon…?”
“The trip is long so wouldn’t it be better for you to go and return home early?”
He wasn’t wrong but it still felt a little bit odd.
I saw Muyeon approaching from afar. Muyeon had a blank face as if his soul escaped from his body.
Why does that guy look like that now?
It looked like he was going to the carriage without any choice, ordered by the Second Elder.
The crew included Muyeon and some servants. Wi Seol-Ah wasn’t in the carriage.
I was worried that she might be, but thankfully she wasn’t.
‘But do I leave without saying anything to her? I feel like she’d be sad if I did that.’
I was going away for almost a month. It was indeed easier for my mind to leave her here, but I couldn’t see her for a month.
“But can I really leave just like this? Shouldn’t I at least tell the-”
“Go! This old man has taken care of everything. Now set off!”
He crammed me in the carriage and then closed the door.
“What kind of farewell is this…!”
I couldn’t finish my sentence. The carriage had already started going.
Just like that, the carriage set off, leaving the clan behind.
* * * *
After the carriage had left, the Second Elder turned around and headed towards Gu Yangcheon’s place.
“Now let’s talk, Senior.”
Even though there seemed to be no one inside Gu Yangcheon’s place, the Sword Emperor was waiting for him there.
The smile he always had on his face was gone and only his cold eyes remained.
“About why the Lord requested me to do such a thing.”
The Second Elder settled down in front of the Sword Emperor. The huge size of the Second Elder was incomparable to the Sword Emperor.
It seemed like the Second Elder would be able to easily pin him down with his weight advantage, but the Second Elder knew.
To never judge a book by its cover.
In that small vessel, he contained the strength of the Heavens. The Sword Emperor, despite the title he was given, didn’t even need a sword at the state he was in currently in.
“About why you are desperately searching for the Immortal Healer. I’m curious.”
The Sword Emperor didn’t say anything but just stared at him. Then the Second Elder let out a sigh.
He knew that he wouldn’t respond to his question.
“Then I’ll ask a different question.”
The Second Elder took a sip of tea. He slowly gulped it down and spoke again.
“Your granddaughter, what is she?”
The cold eyes of the Sword Emperor turned to the Second Elder.
Their gazes clashed against each other.
“Is she even human?”
The Sword Emperor’s Qi engulfed the room like a raging storm upon hearing the Second Elder’s words.
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