༺ Why is she here? (1) ༻
An event where space was ripped apart and demons ushered out from there, such a phenomenon was referred to as the opening of the ‘Gate of Demons.’
Demonkind; cruel, brutal, and unforgiving to anyone and anything – the most dreaded enemy of humans.
How terrifying would it be to unleash such fierce and brutal monsters, who were far more superior than regular beasts, upon the world, en masse?
When the first Gate of Demons was discovered, it felt like the beginning of the end. A disaster of similar magnitude had never been registered before; in fact, nothing in the past even came close to it.
Fortunately, it was discovered shortly after that the demons were weak against martial artists. And with this discovery, a legion of martial artists united and combined their strengths with the sole aim of stopping the disaster that the advent of demons had proven to be.
As the years passed by, the number of demons decreased, and, while lasting damage was already done, the people at least began to have hope – the demons could be beaten.
But there was one small hurdle, and that was that the Gate of Demons never really completely disappeared.
More Gates started to appear one after the other, and the martial artists eventually found out one glaring trait that most Gates seemed to have: they would seemingly close on their own after releasing a certain amount of demons.
As a result of this realization, many swordsmen were given the task of managing the Gate of Demons. And this task would go on for centuries.
One clan that had this task fall upon them was the Gu Clan. A clan that would come to bear the title, ‘Guardians of Shanxi’.
Now, one major, unavoidable problem associated with managing the Gates was the fact that the demons that came out of these Gates were as cruel and brutal as they were strong.
They would destroy everything around them, and they ate any living creatures in their vicinity.
If there were any towns nearby, one would not be able to imagine how many deaths would occur in the wake of demons reaching them.
In recent times, however, the severity of the Gate of Demons could be considered fairly low as everyone had been educated and prepared for the possible and sudden opening of a Gate.
Once every season, a Gate of Demons much larger in size in comparison to the norm would appear.
This Gate would unleash demons that were much bigger and stronger than the already frightening members of demonkind that were released by normal Gates, in accordance with these actions, it earned itself the name, ‘True Gate of Demons.’
At the location of one such Gate, was where the head of the Gu clan could currently be found.
He had finally finished sealing the gate at sunset, and now returned to the small ceremony that had been arranged for him.
While he’d have liked to see it hosted as a small ceremony, it was a gathering of all of the blood relatives currently in the district and so, in all honesty, it could hardly be called a ‘small’ ceremony.
* * * *
The one to break the silence was Gu Cheolun, the head himself.
“I heard about the achievement.”
He blurted out randomly, not specifying to whom he was talking.
The first child of Gu family, Gu Huibi, was already working in the Gu army and was already racking up achievements, and the youngest child was currently not in the district.
And well, those words most certainly weren’t directed at me.
That left only one name in the air.
“Yes, I’ve reached the third realm thanks to slight enlightenment.”
Gu Yeonseo responded with a smile on her face, completely opposite from how she’d looked at me earlier.
“You are progressing fast for your age, it’s nice to see. Keep it up.”
“Thank you, father.”
Mine and Gu Yeonseo’s eyes met while she was turning around.
The bright smile she had on her face was gone like it had never been there in the first place, and in its place emerged a frown.
‘It’s like she’s looking at a bug.’
Gu Yeonseo was now 15 years of age, and to reach a level that high at such a young age was quite impressive.
It truly showed her talent and effort.
I admit that it’s impressive, but this uncomfortable atmosphere only makes me feel sick in the stomach.
‘I have some digestive medicine in my pocket that I got before. I think I’ll have to take it after this.’
One thing that was relieving to see was that I was able to eat well compared to my previous life, where I would not have been able to eat because of how bad things were.
I grabbed a dumpling from the overwhelming amount of food that I was starting to feel would end up breaking the legs of the table that held them.
… And as such, I couldn’t eat. Sigh…
I put the dumpling back where it was.
Unlike the way he complimented Gu Yeonseo, he simply stared at me.
Was this just a coincidence?
“I heard that you were out.”
Out? Is he saying that I went out before his return?
Gu Cheolun stared at me, seemingly waiting for a response, while I struggled to infer the meaning of his words, and an appropriate response that I could give.
“Yes, I went out for a little while.”
I gave him a response that – I hoped – wouldn’t cause any trouble.
The only thing that would cause a problem was if I met Wi Seol-Ah, but that was my problem.
Gu Cheolun didn’t say anything after. It seemed like he wanted to say something, but I didn’t pry anymore.
‘I wonder why he is acting this way.’
He was never the type to contemplate for a long time.
Gu Cheolun didn’t say anything till the end, and not long after, the gloomy dinner finally came to a close.
I had been trying to eat, but the constant stares from everyone made me lose my appetite.
Sometime after Gu Cheolun left, Gu Yeonseo also left – well, after also staring at me for a while.
I was contemplating eating some leftover dumplings, but I put my chopsticks down with a sigh and stood up to leave. The first family dinner I’d had in so many years had ended like that.
I still felt a bit sick in the stomach, so I put the digestive medicine in warm water and drank it.
Hopefully, I’ll be able to feel a little better.
I guess I can go and lie down for today.
‘Oh… He told me to come to his room after.’
I was reminded of my task to go to Gu Cheolun’s room, and now I began to wonder why he’d called me.
What exactly have I done now? I think I’ve been called to his room so many times for causing so much trouble that I genuinely couldn’t figure out the reason why he called me today.
I just decided to man up and go since I probably did something that caused this.
Right as I finished preparing mentally;
“Young master, the Lord left me a message for you, saying, ‘You don’t need to come to my room’.”
The servant left immediately after delivering the message.
And I was left alone at the dinner table, a stupid and puzzled look on my face as I stared at the dumplings.
Seriously, what’s going on?
* * * *
In my previous life, I had longed for ‘Freedom’.
I wanted to live a life in which I took actions of my own will rather than actions that were meaningless to me.
I may have chosen to live a longer life by turning into a demon myself at the time, but if I had known that I would regret the decision, I would have rather simply ended myself right then and there without any hesitation.
But since I didn’t, I had to live a life where I couldn’t kill myself even if I wanted to.
How regretful I was.
And how many things I learned from that.
I foolishly couldn’t admit to my lack of talent and wanted to become the star without putting in any effort.
The days when I released all of my anger onto others due to my own arrogance and incompetence.
By the time that I finally realized that pouring out my wrath on others didn’t hide my incompetence, it was already too late.
So that’s why, when I was given a second chance, I just knew that I had to take it.
I had to live a life different from my previous one.
It was an incredibly stupid form of atonement, but it was also the only way I knew.
And because of that, the first thing I thought of after the family gathering was;
‘Can I kill the heavenly demon?’
It was an indescribably absurd desire to have.
‘How dare I think of such a thing, killing one of the three strongest existences in the world?’
‘How can I kill the monster that burned two of the Ten Sect Alliance?’
Those would probably be the questions on the lips of anyone who heard my thoughts.
It was a futile thought, in all honesty.
The Heavenly Demon will be slain by the Celestial Sword, Wi Seol-Ah, and all the demons will perish soon after.
If I’m being truthful, I just want to live a slightly longer life.
But, there is no avoiding the clash between me and the demons in the future.
I’m still one of the children in the Gu clan, no matter how stupid and incompetent I am.
Can I really hold off the demons by myself when even the four great clans struggled to do so?
Should I just run away and leave everything behind? Maybe I should go hide in the mountains so that they can’t reach me-
“…How foolish am I, to think of running away, even with the second chance I’ve been given.”
I shuddered at the thought.
I wanted to slap my cheeks to wake myself up, but I couldn’t because I was afraid of losing my balance.
I erased all the fearful thoughts in my head.
How long has it been since I decided to live a different and better life, and I’m already thinking of throwing that away.
I clenched my teeth and made up my mind.
I don’t know how much time has passed, but it is definitely past midnight now.
I took a deep breath until I couldn’t collect any more air, and let it out.
The breath I let out had a small bit of Qi within it.
‘What a pathetic amount of Qi that was…’
The little Qi I had in my body, couldn’t at all be compared to what Gu Yeonseo had achieved at such a young age.
Then again, I hadn’t put in any effort, compared to her.
I couldn’t do much with the small Qi that I currently had.
‘It may be small, like I predicted, but at least it’s something to work with.’
There weren’t many things I could do, but that didn’t mean that there was nothing at all that I could do.
The ability to use flame martial arts is passed down to the blood relatives of the Gu clan.
It is similar to using Qi to form fire, but the use of it is different.
With enough practice and training, the ability to use flame arts forms within the body.
Many years of training resulted in the first successful flame art, which granted a visage similar to that of a person surrounded by an aura of fire.
The reason Gu Cheolun was given the nickname ‘Tiger Warrior’ was because his warrior-like stance with flames emanating from his body made him look akin to a ferocious tiger, along with the way he punished evil using his power.
Just like her father, the nickname given to Gu Yeonseo in the future was Flaming Sword because of how the Qi around her sword resembled a flaming sword.
I too definitely had a little bit of fire Qi within me.
I had to reach the fourth realm to be able to use flame arts, and the seventh realm to be able to engulf myself fully in flames.
I’m only at the 1st realm right now.
I was nothing compared to my father who had reached the seventh realm, let alone Gu Yeonseo.
The reason why I’m training right now, as useless as it may seem in the middle of the night, is because I’m still young.
I have to hurry to reach the second realm before it was too late.
I may have left all my greed for martial arts in my previous life, but I still had to get stronger in order to protect myself.
I didn’t want to be reminded of my previous life where I lived as a demon, but I used it to convince myself to get stronger.
The problem now though, was that;
“…I might be seriously hurt if I keep going.”
I dug for all the little Qi I had in my body, and channeled it all into one place.
It wasn’t easy. Not only did it need immense focus, but to use such a little amount of Qi for this was a very difficult task.
I was drenched in sweat not long after.
It was impressive to achieve even this much with the pitiful amount of Qi that I had in my body, but to do more with it would be tantamount to me placing myself in serious danger.
I let out a breath shortly after.
I had a smile on my face after, feeling a bit satisfied with what I’d just achieved.
I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t do more, but it was a start.
My body heating up was telling me that I was improving.
It was proof that I had just reached the second realm in the flame arts.
It was thanks to my lack of training that made it so that more Qi was spread throughout my body than I had previously thought.
“Although I don’t actually know if it’s right to thank my lack of training.”
It may have been a few hours since I’d started my training, but reaching second realm made me feel refreshed.
“Climbing up like this little by little will probably benefit me in the future.”
I couldn’t wash my whole body, so I just washed my face, changed my clothes, and threw myself on my bed.
‘This isn’t a bad way to start,’ I thought to myself. ‘Let’s just keep this up…’
One step at a time. However, not too slowly.
I’ll persevere and break through whatever obstacle is in front of me.
Only because I don’t want to relive a horrible life again like in my previous life, only because of that.
‘Let’s not do anything that will cause me more problems in the future and just do the bare minimum.’
Let’s just live quietly and peacefully, until everything is clear and resolved.
To live quietly until the death of the Heavenly Demon was my thought process at the time.
“He-Hello! I’m W-Wi Seol-Ah!”
What brings her here so out of nowhere..?
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