༺ The Demon Sword (3) ༻
This is a story that happened sometime in the past.
In a mountainous area, cold corpses were stacked on top of each other.
The corpses included members of the Orthodox and Unorthodox factions as well as demonic humans. And in the midst of those corpses stood Namgung Bi-ah, holding her sword and gazing up at the sky.
Namgung slowly turned her gaze towards me upon hearing my call.
She looked even more fearsome than she already did due to the blood drops splattered across her white cheeks.
Then there were her eyes. Those black eyes that held no emotions.
Looking at those eyes made me feel like I was looking at nothing but an abyss.
｢You’re the only survivor, did you kill the rest?｣
All of the sword wounds on the bodies of both the martial artists and the demonic humans’ seemed to have originated from none other than Namgung Bi-ah herself.
During the battle, she had slashed anyone who stood in her way, regardless of whether they were an ally or not.
After witnessing such a sight, I spoke.
｢I told you that we don’t have much time, so what the hell are you doing?｣
Upon hearing my words, Namgung Bi-ah started walking towards me, her blood-soaked sword particularly standing out as the distance between us narrowed.
She didn’t seem to have any intent to kill, but, what made Namgung Bi-ah so dangerous was the fact that she never showed any signs of her killing intent.
No matter what.
A human that had never let her emotions shake her core.
That was what made her such a scary swordsman.
Namgung Bi-ah, now standing right in front of me, wiped at the blood on her cheek and spoke.
｢There was nothing here.｣
｢Yeah, because you erased it all.｣
A sudden swing of Namgung Bi-ah’s arm holding the blade saw all of the blood on the sword that it held splatter on the ground—the previously bloodied blade was now pristinely clean.
A massive sword arc followed her sword swing, the winds violently stirring in tandem for a brief moment.
Namgung Bi-ah asked me a question after cleaning her sword.
｢What did the leader say?｣
｢They gave me an order to bring you back, saying that you would probably go on a rampage like a lunatic.｣
｢The second part, was what you truly wanted to say?｣
｢I guess you still have some sanity left in you since you were able to notice that.｣
Namgung Bi-ah went mad, and to none other than her sword.
She sheathed her sword after she was done cleaning it, and then proceeded to move.
I let out a sigh after watching her.
｢You’re going the wrong way, Demon Sword.｣
｢…Where is it again?｣
｢To the left.｣
Namgung Bi-ah finally found the right path after I had corrected her several times.
A master that had just killed at least hundreds of people here was now showing a dumb side.
It was definitely weird seeing her go into crowds of martial artists and slay them with overwhelming ease when she would sometimes do stupid things like this.
The name really fit her well.
Namgung Bi-ah who had been slowly walking, stopped her steps.
｢The Sword Emperor must be strong, right?｣
｢…Seeing as you’re asking such an absurd question, I guess I was too quick to think that you still retained a bit of your sanity.｣
I, who had been walking after her, was also forced to cease my steps. I then replied briskly.
I spoke to her with a strict voice, as she seemed to be having weird thoughts.
｢I’ll do you a favor this once and remind you, just in case you’ve forgotten: don’t do anything outside of your boundaries; the Sword Emperor is for our leade-｣
｢What would the Sword Emperor’s sword be like?｣
｢Sigh… This crazy bitch.｣
I shook my head and turned around, then continued walking.
After taking a few steps, I noticed that nobody was following me. Thus, I turned around and witnessed Namgung Bi-ah quietly mumbling to herself while going in the wrong direction.
Do I really have to stop her?
I thought to myself for a brief moment.
I picked up a rock that was lying on the ground and threw it at Namgung Bi-ah, infusing a bit of my Qi into the rock in order to perfectly aim for her head.
The rock I threw dropped to the ground midway through its journey and was cleaved into two fragments.
｢Are you looking for a fight?｣
Namgung Bi-ah was looking straight at me with her sword already drawn.
This was the only time Namgung Bi-ah showed her emotions.
Her Qi had started suppressing the area, which made my body feel quite the pain.
I rubbed my face to ease the discomfort and spoke to her.
｢You are going the wrong way.｣
Upon hearing my words, she quickly sheathed her sword, her overwhelming Qi disappeared in tandem.
A few seconds later, Namgung Bi-ah, who had finally seemed to have found the right way, stopped once again.
She looked like she was conflicted by her own thoughts.
｢I was thinking about it.｣
｢This isn’t the right way, no matter how much I think about it.｣
Namgung Bi-ah, after saying her part, disappeared from my sight. I rubbed my face once again, this time in frustration, after witnessing her actions.
｢…That’s not the right way either, you idiot…｣
I was able to reach the destination in less than a day,
And Namgung Bi-ah, who had ditched me, arrived after four days.
* * * *
Everyone’s gazes turned to me upon hearing my shout.
The eyes of Namgung Bi-ah, in particular, were quite scary.
Then again, they only reinforced the thought in me of not wanting to be involved with her even if I died.
The name of Namgung which was one of the four noble clans? Her beauty? Her swordsmanship?
None of that mattered to me.
Her being a psychopath automatically nullified any boon she might have been carrying.
Muyeon looked at me, confused because of the fact I had suddenly run out while shouting curses.
I wanted with all of my heart to just shut my mouth, but this was too much for me.
Namgung Bi-ah asked inquired while looking at me.
“You are the leader of this caravan?”
I felt goosebumps run up my skin the moment I heard her voice.
Should I reply to her?
Namgung Bi-ah, not caring about my response—or lack thereof—paid her respects to me.
“I am Namgung Bi-ah from Namgung Clan. If it isn’t a bother for you, then how about we travel to Sichuan toget-“
“No, we are not going to Sichuan, and yes, it will be a bother for us.”
Everyone’s eyes widened at my instant rejection, with Namgung Bi-ah in particular tilting her head.
It feels like she didn’t predict that I would respond in such a way.
I guess no sane person would reject a request from someone who came from the Namgung Clan, but, I had more to say.
“We cannot be exactly sure that you are from the Namgung Clan, and it is dangerous to let a martial artist into our fold without knowing their true identity.”
Her light blue hair alongside her blue clothes with the Namgung name sewn into them showed that she was definitely hailed from the Namgung Clan, but, my point could not be argued against.
I wouldn’t accept her, no matter what.
Upon hearing my rejection, Namgung Bi-ah said, “Ah…” and nodded her head.
And then she suddenly drew her sword.
Muyeon, who was watching her intently while listening to my words, Muyeon was the quickest to react, as he immediately entered a battle-ready stance.
But, Namgung Bi-ah just stood there and closed her eyes.
I couldn’t hide my nervousness upon seeing this familiar sight.
‘This bitch isn’t going to…’
At first, the flow of air changed.
It felt like I was standing on myriad blades rather than on solid ground, and the air around me felt like it was just a step away from shredding me into pieces.
This feeling was one that I was extremely familiar with due to my previous life’s affiliation with the lunatic in front of me.
After a few seconds had passed, she slowly opened her eyes.
The moment she opened her eyes, her frightening Qi instantly spread to engulf the area around us.
The few escorts who had been slacking all immediately drew their swords after feeling her Qi.
However, before any sword could reach her, Namgung Bi-ah’s Qi suddenly disappeared from the area.
There were multiple swords that were threatening her at the moment, but Namgung Bi-ah’s calm face in the midst of it all was truly an insane sight to behold.
The appearance of the Sword King.
The Namgung Clan’s appearance and pride were reflected in such a frail-looking lady.
“I haven’t fully mastered it, so this is as far as I can show for now, but hopefully it has proven my identity.”
Namgung Bi-ah, in order to show that she was from the Namgung clan, used such a reckless and dumb way to prove it.
But, it was also the most definite way of showing proof.
All the escorts that were standing here were now most likely certain that she was indeed the Young Lady of the Namgung Clan.
She had used the clan’s iconic skill after all.
I nodded my head after hearing her, and then I responded.
“What an immense Qi that was. But. There is now ‘zero’ chance that we will bring such a dangerous martial artist along with us. I apologize.”
Of course, her proving her identity didn’t mean I would change my mind.
* * * *
After safely rejecting Namgung Bi-ah’s company, we started to move again in order to get to Sichuan.
Unexpectedly, Namgung Bi-ah didn’t say anything to my rejection. She only nodded her head.
Was I finally able to put one of my problems aside?
I was thankful to the gods.
‘How in all the hells was it even possible that I met her here?’
I still remembered as clear as day the sight of her slaughtering everything in her path, no matter whether it was an ally or foe.
Regardless, why was the lady of Namgung roaming around here by herself?
“Sigh… I’m so tired.”
Just this short meeting with Namgung Bi-ah had honestly made me feel more exhausted than the four days of travel.
“Young Master, Young Master!”
“What do you want?”
Wi Seol-Ah, who was calling me, was looking out the window.
She seemed to be looking at something.
“She keeps following us.”
What does she mean by followin- No.
A scary thought suddenly crossed my mind as I processed the meaning of Wi Seol-h’s words.
As if hearing my thoughts, Wi Seol-Ah spoke again, confirming my nightmare.
“That pretty lady from earlier, she keeps following us.”
Oh my god…
When I gazed outside of the carriage window, Namgung Bi-ah was indeed following us from a distance.
‘For fuck’s sake, is this what her nodding her head meant?’
That if we didn’t accept, she’d just follow us?
…I’m seriously going to go crazy.
As much as I wanted to curse her out and tell her to fuck off, I didn’t have a good excuse to do so.
‘I told her that we were not going to Sichuan, so why is she following us!?’
Does she have the same destination as us? There is no way.
I had never seen that insane psycho go in the right direction.
Fine, let’s just ignore her. Ignoring her is the answer.
The problem came when it became nighttime and we stopped to camp for the night.
We had finally managed to find a decent area to camp in and set up our campfire, but I saw another campfire not too far away from ours.
It was none other than Namgung Bi-ah.
I don’t know where she got it from, but she was grilling a frog with her campfire.
Because of her stupidly absurd beauty, she looked beautiful even though she was just sitting with no thoughts in her head.
She was just sitting there. Blatantly showing that she was following us.
And where in hell did she even get that frog?
I turned my head away to ignore her and caught sight of Wi Seol-Ah running around the place with dumplings. It seemed like the servants had prepared another batch for the escorts.
I had heard some time ago what I’d thought was just some bullshit about the escorts’ fatigue going away when Wi Seol-Ah handed them dumplings,
But, after experiencing it, I had to say that it was honestly relatable.
“Young master! Dumpling!”
I grabbed the dumpling she offered and ate it.
Yeah… eating dumplings definitely made me feel better.
‘…At least I have you here.’
I must have had a good appetite, as two dumplings disappeared instantly. I felt like I needed to eat more as I wasn’t full yet.
In order to get more, I searched for Wi Seol-Ah, but,
‘…Oh god, no.’
Wi Seol-Ah was handing out dumplings to Namgung Bi-ah.
Namgung Bi-ah looked at the dumpling Wi Seol-Ah offered and showed a super rare expression of surprise. She hadn’t expected to be offered anything.
“Do you also want to eat one?”
I immediately stood up and went toward Wi Seol-Ah.
On reaching them, I grabbed her shoulders and pulled her away.
“What are you doing with an outsider?”
Wi Seol-Ah looked sad because of my slightly angry voice.
“I mean… it’s sad to see her trying to eat a frog…”
“She probably wanted to eat it; don’t act recklessly again and go back.”
Wi Seol-Ah walked back with a sad face because of the scolding she received from me.
In the midst of this, Namgung Bi-ah was looking up at me with a dumpling in her hand.
After finishing my conversation with Wi Seol-Ah, I turned my now-irritated attention to her and asked.
“Why are you following us?”
“I just have the same des-“
“And don’t give me that nonsense about us having the same destination.”
She stopped talking, momentarily stunned, after I cut her off and correctly predicted what she was going to say.
“I know that you are from the Namgung Clan.”
“Then… why didn’t you let me join your caravan?”
“I just felt like it. I’m not obligated to accept you into the caravan just because you’re from the Namgung Clan.”
“What I don’t understand is, why is the precious Young Lady of the Namgung Clan traveling to a far away place all by herself?”
I kept getting goosebumps because I was showing respect to Namgung Bi-ah, but I had to endure it as it was needed…
Namgung Bi-ah scratched her cheek with the hand that wasn’t holding a dumpling. She seemed a bit awkward.
“…We all set off together, but… I lost them midway…”
…I couldn’t think how to respond to her.
She probably had a lot of people with her, and was in a carriage, so… how did she manage to get lost!?
‘…If I didn’t have experience with her in my previous life, I probably wouldn’t have been able to understand this situation.’
I remembered that she was barely able to tell if her right hand was actually her right hand or not, and vice versa.
The Demon Sword had been blessed by the Gods with the ability to get lost in any and every circumstance.
“We aren’t going to Sichuan.”
“Really…? I felt like you were.”
The stupid girl who would always get lost weirdly had good senses in this department.
I let out a fake cough and continued to speak.
“…Anyway, I won’t say any more about you following us, but please only do that much and nothing more.”
I felt like this should be enough.
No, it had to be.
As I hurriedly tried to leave, Namgung Bi-ah called and stopped me.
“Um, Young Master.”
“I’m Namgung Bi-ah.”
“…Yes, I know.”
A few seconds of silence passed after this, with Namgung Bi-ah simply staring at me without saying anything.
What does she want me to do with her name?
After an awkward moment, Namgung Bi-ah once again tilted her head and then opened her mouth as if she had just come to a realization.
“Now that I’ve introduced myself, please tell me your name.”
I was going to say no because I felt that if I told her name, I would be involving myself more with her,
But then I got a better idea.
“-My name is Gu Jeolyub.”
“Jeolyub, who hails from the Gu Clan. Gu Jeolyub.”
Namgung Bi-ah nodded her head after hearing the name.
The nod felt like she was telling me that she would remember the name.
…Sorry Jeolyub, but it looks like I’m going to be borrowing your name for a bit.
I never thought I’d feel guilty towards Gu Jeolyub.
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