༺ Sword Phoenix (2) ༻
The Dishonored Venerable, one of the Heavenly Venerables, often said that; we are living in the age of shooting stars.
It was a saying that he coined because genius martial artists continued to appear out of nowhere as if they had fallen from the sky akin to a shooting star.
It was an unfair world.
There were too many young people with great natural talent, so many that a lot of them ended up becoming prodigies rather than geniuses.
Then those who were deemed to be prodigies became mediocre.
And in the end, those who should have been able to pass off as mediocre ended up being seen as dunces.
It truly was an unfair world to live in.
This may have been the greatest era of the world when looked at from certain perspectives as there were countless great martial artists that popped up.
But it was the opposite for me.
You were born in the wrong generation.
I’d heard it before.
You aren’t talentless… But it’s not enough.
I’d heard it thousands of times.
A bit disappointing when compared to your elder sisters.
No, I’d heard it tens of thousands of times.
It was around this time in my previous life that rage began to fill me.
Because I wasn’t the only star to shine in this world that had been filled with far too many stars.
At that time, I’d blamed it all on the absurdity of this world.
Since blaming my own blood didn’t make sense as my sisters shined throughout the world.
However, even if I didn’t become the star of the world, it didn’t matter much.
Because even among the stars, some stars outshined others.
Some examples were the Lightning Sword of the Namgung Clan and the Poison Queen of the Tang Clan.
Mount Hua’s Dragon Sword was still quiet around this time, but even he would light his sword with flames that would outshine others.
It also wouldn’t be long until Mudang’s sleeping dragon woke up.
Out of all the countless young martial artists of the world, the ones who became the Dragons and the Phoenixes with talent and effort represented the stars of this current era.
Many had believed that the future Zenith of the world would come from one of the Dragons and Phoenixes.
The Sword Phoenix was special even among them.
She was the greatest prodigy of them all.
The one who showed her might even while being surrounded by many dragons of the world.
After Peng Woojin took the position of young lord in clan and stepped down as the ‘greatest prodigy’, that title automatically went to the Sword Phoenix.
Surprisingly, no one objected to it.
The young prodigies who were most likely filled with pride and arrogance didn’t even dare to object to that.
It showed in essence just how mighty the Sword Phoenix truly was.
And, it was why I’d never liked her.
I never liked how even as we’d come from the same father, she had talents that I couldn’t even dream of having.
I never liked how the Sword Phoenix would always be mentioned before my name wherever I went.
To me, the Sword Phoenix was like a mountain that I wouldn’t ever be able to climb no matter what I did.
Or like an ocean that I couldn’t cross to the other side no matter how much I rowed.
That was why I didn’t like her.
Why I wanted to run away every time her name was mentioned.
Well, after telling myself all of that for a long time, a thought popped into my mind.
Is this really true?
It was a question I had no answer to.
Because I already knew the answer in the first place.
…The biggest problem of them all, is—
That no matter how many reasons I make up to hate her, I was always aware of one fact.
That even if I made countless reasons to hate her,
I couldn’t truly hate her in the end.
That was what I didn’t like.
At least up until now—
“Yes… I meant; Yes, sister…?”
“Yes, yes. This is the way it should be. Hey your hands are going down, lift them up properly.”
I lifted my shaky arms up in the air and thought,
…Not hate her my ass.
—I felt like I could do it easily now.
…This cruel bitch.
I, who had run away as soon as I heard the news, was caught right away, all too easily.
The Second Elder who was right in front of me instantly reached out and grabbed me.
“Where are you going?”
“…Lord Second Elder, can you please pretend you didn’t see me, just this once?”
“What are you talking about? Let alone the marriage, I told you your sister came back!”
“Yes, one of them is enough, but now I’m running away because there are two reasons for me to!”
“…This old man can’t understand you. Your sister came back after a long time, so why are you running away?”
“How can I see her without knowing what she’ll do to me…? I’m going to go live in the mountains for a few months, so don’t look for me.”
“…Did you get sick during your trip to Sichuan or something? Why are you acting like this? It makes me want to knock you out.”
I stopped my actions following the Second Elder’s scary words.
This crazy old man!
And out of all the places he could’ve grabbed me, he just had to grab me by my neck; now I couldn’t do anything to run away.
Even if my Qi had increased, compared to the Second Elder, it was still nothing.
But… even then, I continued looking for the best path of escape and how I could initiate said escape.
Then, I felt a presence that I did not want to ever feel.
It’s… It’s coming closer…!!
I thought she was in the Lord’s room…!
I felt a presence from far away moving coming closer and closer to us.
I was able to notice it from this far thanks to my newly improved qi.
As the presence came closer, I felt my body start heating up.
What the- what is this?
Her presence alone was causing me to feel pressure.
Honestly, did she manifest flames around herself or something?
How can a human being come closer this casually while releasing an aura of that magnitude?
At least try to hide it…!
The crazy bitch didn’t even try one bit to hide her Qi, as if she was actively trying to melt the whole place down.
The Second Elder let me go after he felt the grand Qi approaching us.
He knew that even if I tried to run away now, there would be no point.
And as soon as I finished thinking.
Someone lightly jumped over the gate and appeared in front of us.
I turned to look at the intruder.
Unlike the Qi she was emanating, she had a very fragile body.
Her long hair had shades of red, and her eyes were colored a dark red; definite proof that she had reached the 5th realm of the destructive flame martial arts,
And that she was a martial artist who could proudly identify herself as one of the strong martial artists in the world.
She inherited the fierce look typical of the Gu Clan, but she had well-formed facial features which made her a beauty.
To compare, while my second sister had an innocent looking face, this terrifying creature inherited all of my father’s facial features.
The cape that was being blown away by her Qi had a picture of a golden tiger in it.
The cape that the leader of the swordsmen of the Gu clan wore.
The woman stared at me for what seemed to be an eternity and then suddenly swept back her hair.
It was only then, that the pressuring Qi finally disappeared.
When I finally found myself able to breathe comfortably, the woman with red lips spoke.
“You should greet your sister when you see her first.”
Cold sweat flowed down my face.
…What should I say?
I thought of hundreds of things I could say, and finally settled on one and spoke…
There was no response.
She only tilted her head sideways.
It looked like she wasn’t satisfied with my response, so I pressed on.
“Hello, eldest sister…?”
She nodded right away, seemingly she was satisfied with my new response.
…I’m going to go insane.
The Sword Phoenix, Gu Huibi.
She was the eldest sister of mine who I hadn’t seen for many years.
How do I say this, she looks the same?
Gu Huibi was looking at me with fiery eyes.
…Why is she staring down at me like that?
No, wait… why is she?
Our height shouldn’t be that different.
…At that moment, I found that I had unknowingly lowered my knees to the ground.
Did my instincts make me kneel?
Shockingly, it seemed like the fear I’d felt made me act like that.
“I like how you act fast.”
Gu Huibi smiled ominously, seemingly satisfied with my current appearance.
…Her smile was extremely scary.
“You need to lift up your hands too.”
“…Huh? Why my hands?”
“Are you going to make me repeat myself?”
I immediately raised my hands into air.
This had also been done outside my own will.
What shitty education this is…?
“Yes… I mean, Yes, sister…?”
“Yes, yes. This is the way it should be. Hey, your hands are going down, lift them up properly.”
Why was she acting this way when we hadn’t seen each other in so long?
When I looked at the Second Elder, hinting that I needed help, I saw him looking at me with satisfaction.
“You siblings are still great to each other.”
“…Does this look good to you?”
Gu Huibi, who for some reason gave me a punishment, left me hanging and showed respect towards the Second Elder.
“It has been a while, Lord Second Elder.”
“Yes, it has. How have you been, Huibi?”
“Same as always, Elder.”
“Same indeed. I heard that you are doing a great job as the leader of the swordsmen.”
“It’s all thanks to everyone following me.”
The Second Elder and Gu Huibi were having a nice friendly conversation.
It was all nice and all but,
How long do I have to keep my hands up?
…Especially at my age.
My hands were shaking.
Not because my arms were tired, but out of shame.
“This just isn’t it…!”
I couldn’t hold it.
There was no way I was going to let myself be humiliated like this now that I’ve returned to a new life.
I couldn’t hold myself and brought my arms down to complain to Gu Huibi.
“How old am I for me to do such a thing-”
“Raise them again.”
For fucks sake…
Gu Huibi turned away from the Second Elder and moved closer to me to look at me.
Thanks to her eyes being lit in red due to her qi, it made her look more mysterious and scary.
“Do you know what you did wrong?”
“Trying to run away when I heard of your return to the clan…?”
“…You tried to what?”
Fuck me… That’s not it.
When I tried to avoid eye contact after letting out a fake cough, Gu Huibi poked my cheek with one finger and forcefully turned my head around.
What’s going on? What did I do for me to get punished right now?
They say that humans become smarter during emergencies, that was probably true as I immediately thought of another reason.
“…Is it because of second sister?”
“Yes, if you are punishing me because I slapped her face-”
“You slapped Yeonseo?”
…I guess this isn’t it either.
I felt like I was admitting all my sins accidentally.
But the weird thing was, Gu Huibi looked apathetic even though I was admitting the said sins.
I wonder what was up with her to the extent that she didn’t seem to care about her younger sister getting slapped.
“That’s weird, I didn’t know Yeonseo would get slapped by someone at your level.”
“If that’s not the reason, then why are you giving me this punishment?”
It looked like my words displeased her, as she looked at me with forceful eyes.
Her stare felt like it was pricking my skin.
“I heard you are arranging another marriage.”
I unconsciously made a dumb face.
What did I just hear from her?
Did I hear her correctly?
I think she said marriage… But, what does me marrying someone have to do with me getting punished right now?
Gu Huibi continued speaking, uncaring about my thoughts and confusion.
“Why didn’t you tell me this beforehand?”
“Because I also found out today…?”
I mean, even if I knew earlier, why would I have to tell Gu Huibi this?
…So wait, I’m really getting punished because of this stupid reason?
“That’s why you are mad at me?”
“Of course this is why I’m mad! How dare you go through another marriage without my permission!”
“What are you saying right now? Are you crazy!?”
I could only laugh dryly at this absurd situation.
What the hell is she on about, did she get drunk in the day or something!?
When I shouted back at her, Gu Huibi frowned.
That was the expression of her getting really angry.
T-This might be a bit dangerous…?
As I had predicted, heat emanated from Gu Huibi’s body.
I could just tell how much Qi she possessed thanks to her cape flapping like crazy.
…I think I’m screwed?
The instincts I’d honed as a little brother who grew up with beatings were telling me that it wasn’t too late to put my head on the ground.
But my logic told me,
That it was too late.
‘You idiot… what are you telling me to do then.’
When I sneakily shuffled back in order to run away, I heard Gu Huibi’s scary voice.
“Crazy? How dare you say such-”
Then an unexpected voice interrupted the current situation.
Gu Huibi’s Qi that was about to explode any moment disappeared in an instant.
I turned to the direction that the voice came from and saw Wi Seol-Ah holding a dish of warm dumplings and staring at me.
I then felt a cold sensation, so I looked away from Wi Seol-Ah and at Gu Huibi again.
Gu Huibi who had previously looking at me with fierce fiery eyes, was now glaring at Wi Seol-Ah.
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