༺ Sword Phoenix (4) ༻
“I heard that you destroyed the Lightning Dragon’s arm.”
My father uttered those words the instant I stepped into his room.
Without even a greeting, he asked me a question straight away.
…And what a hard question this is.
I knew that he was always like this, but still.
I also didn’t know how to answer. Should I just tell him the way it happened?
“No, I didn’t destroy it. I simply broke it-”
That was the response I came up with after thinking it through, and it wasn’t much of a reply.
They both pretty much meant the same thing, but I couldn’t just say nothing.
Thankfully, my father didn’t seem to care too much about my response.
“And why did you do that?”
That was the most important question anyways.
He had probably heard about everything from the servants but still wanted to hear it directly from me.
After taking a deep breath, I slowly started to speak.
“I accepted a duel that the Lightning Dragon first challenged me to, and since he attempted to kill me, I retaliated.”
It was a rather short answer, but that was all to it in reality.
I might have taunted him a little as he was being annoying, but it was his fault for getting baited.
“The Lightning Dragon tried to kill you?”
“Yes, we promised each other to not use our Qi, but he put Qi into the wooden sword he was using, and attempted to kill me with it.”
“All the spectators that were watching.”
The person who had noticed it the most clearly was probably the Young Lord of the Tang Clan.
Tang Soyeol was also there, but she didn’t look trustworthy as she seemed numb after my duel ended.
My father nodded to my response.
“Then that’s all there’s to it.”
No matter how many times I looked at him, he had always had a bland reaction.
He’d just heard that his son won against the Lighting Dragon in a duel, but he showed no reaction.
I almost never saw the sight of my father being shaken by anything.
Even when his own son turned into a demon, even when his children were dying one by one, and even when he himself was dying.
While I was standing in silence, he suddenly spoke.
“It seems you’ve achieved a new level.”
Those were the words that my father said to Gu Yeonseo during our meal before.
It was funny to think that he was now saying the same words to me.
But, even when I’d achieved the 3rd realm of the flame arts in such a short amount of time, my father didn’t seem to care all that much.
He was almost too bland…
Even if it was a small compliment, my mouth kept trying to form a smile which I tried my best to stop.
I couldn’t believe how happy I was for being complimented at my age…
Although this is a first for me.
Have I ever been complimented by anyone? I don’t think so.
That was probably why I was so easily fazed by such a small compliment.
After asking me his questions, my father didn’t speak any further.
I sometimes wondered if he ever suspected me of lying.
After my father finished looking at a letter, he brought up a new topic.
“I assume you also met your fiancée there since you had some conflicts with the Namgung Clan.”
The real important matter…
Sigh… fiancée, huh.
That word gave me goosebumps.
I hid my trembling voice and asked my father,
“Can I ask how this even happened?”
“The marriage arrangement with the Namgung Clan. I wanted to ask how it all happened.”
No matter how much I thought about it, it felt too random and sudden.
I didn’t get any new marriage agreement in my previous life, and furthermore it’s with the Namgung clan?
My father answered while neglecting my agony.
“It was a decision that was made in the Elder’s meeting. It shouldn’t be a problem for you.”
Not a problem my ass…
What happened in there that Namgung Bi-ah suddenly become my fiancée?
I heard my father speak while I was thinking furiously.
“You may have caused some trouble with the Peng Clan’s marriage arrangement, but I believe that you won’t mess this one up.”
Did he notice that I wasn’t fond of this marriage agreement?
I detected the message hidden in his words…
Don’t mess up for a second time.
Because of this, I couldn’t really talk back to him.
All I could do was keep my mouth shut.
The sound of letters folding and opening echoed in the lord’s room while I stood in silence, waiting for his next words.
Because father not telling me to leave meant that he still had something left to say.
– Tap tap
It was the sound of him tapping the table with his ring finger.
It was a natural habit of his whenever he had something to think about.
I frowned upon seeing this habit of my father’s.
Because I had the same habit, and it was something that made me similar to him.
Every time this happened, I was hit with the reality that at the end of the day, I was truly his son.
“The heart of summer is near.”
I was roused from my thoughts by my father’s words.
What is he on about all of sudden?
“Yes, it is indeed summer.”
I knew that it was getting hotter and hotter as days passed.
But what made him talk about it?
“The martial art tournament of Mount Hua will start soon.”
My heart skipped a beat at my father’s words.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe when I heard Mount Hua.
Because I was reminded of the Mount Hua that was burnt to ashes.
…Let’s not think about that.
I took a deep breath to calm down my heart.
My father looked at my appearance and asked,
“…It’s nothing. What about the tournament?”
My father didn’t respond to my question and instead handed me a letter he’d been holding.
I carefully took the letter and opened it.
And then frowned at its contents.
I looked back to my father.
“…Why are you giving me this?”
“Bring her here.”
“Because you have to.”
What nonsense is he on about?
I continued to ask my father while not hiding my frown.
“You know that I just returned from a trip to Sichuan, right?”
“I’ll give you one week to prepare for your trip.”
“I am assuming I don’t have the option to say no…?”
What kind of shitty order is this? Making me go through another long trip after I’ve just returned from one.
I started thinking about the possibility of the heat getting to him, but that’s kind of impossible for someone who literally trains in flame arts… no?
Did he have a change in his mindset?
The Gu clan was a clan that didn’t really let its direct family members easily leave its vicinity.
Gu Huibi was an exception to this as she was so talented that she was noticed by everyone.
But I was different.
It wasn’t the weirdest thing for me, the son of the clan, to go on a trip to the outside world,
But on the outside, I still looked very young, and I didn’t know what his intentions were, sending me to the outside world this easily when I hadn’t even become the young lord of the clan yet.
Plus, I didn’t think many people really appreciated my being in the outside world.
That’s what I thought that father thought about me, but he’s telling me to go on a trip that far?
“Father, even so, isn’t it a bit too much for you to tell me to go all the way to Mount Hua-”
“If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”
“Oh? Then I’ll take the option of not go-”
“However, I’ll reward you with ‘Euphoric Heavenly Pill’ from the Clan’s secret vault if you go.”
“-Of course I shall go as the son of the Clan, do I leave right away?”
Because of the pill he mentioned, I accidentally said yes…
…Was I being snobbish?
I felt a little guilty as I looked at my father who was frowning a little.
But going on a journey in exchange for Heavenly Pill was just that good a deal.
It was a medicine that was the second best after Sorim’s sohua medicine, and once consumed, it would give the person the amount of Qi that they would get after 20 years of training.
And my father was being serious about opening up the clan’s secret vault to give it to me as a reward.
My Qi had already increased thanks to my previous trip, but it wasn’t all that much in reality; it only looked like a lot because of the pathetic Qi I had possessed beforehand.
In the end, both my physical body and the amount of Qi I possessed were still lackluster.
“…You said you’d give me one week of preparation for the trip?”
I felt like it wasn’t enough time since I had some things to take care of.
“Do you need more time?”
“May I leave after 10 days?”
Father nodded to my request.
Then he started to read letters again.
How many letters did he have to read?
10 days, huh.
Thankfully, he allowed me.
I had 10 days to spend in Shanxi, and it hurt me knowing that I had to leave again after such a long trip, but for the Heavenly Pill it was worth it.
It was a bit weird for my father to bring up Heavenly Pill for such a task as this.
He wouldn’t lie about such things, but was this really significant enough that he would offer me that as a reward?
My father suddenly pointed towards the door whilst I was standing and thinking.
“You are done here. Go and rest now.”
I felt uncomfortable being here, so I was relieved that I was allowed to leave.
Although this meant that I had to visit the Haomoon clan right away, and after that I also had to continue my training.
Mount Hua, huh.
I had memories of the plum flowers blooming beautifully.
And memories of all of them burning into ashes.
Do I really have the right to step my foot into Mount Hua?
Let’s not think about it.
This wasn’t good.
There would be no end once I started thinking about it.
But, that wouldn’t happen in this life.
As always, I just had to keep the secrets to myself.
All I have to do is just follow the order.
It would do me more good to focus my thoughts on the mission I’d been given.
I reorganized everything my father and I talked about after I left his room.
Particularly the contents of my mission: bringing the last-born of Mount Hua to the Gu Clan.
When I returned to my place, the Second Elder and Gu Huibi had already left.
How dared they cause so much trouble and just disappear like that?
Of course, I was still thankful as I was able to enjoy the peacefulness.
When I headed towards my room to change my clothes, I noticed the Sword Emperor holding a broom.
The Sword Emperor, who also noticed me, bowed respectfully.
…It’d been a while, and that appearance of him always made me feel uncomfortable.
When I looked towards the oddly familiar sound of crying, I noticed Wi Seol-Ah was holding her hands up in the air with her knees on the floor as punishment.
It was the same as what Gu Huibi had made me do before.
“What did she do for her to be punished like that…?”
Tears were flowing down her face.
Even then, the Sword Emperor didn’t seem to care about Wi Seol-Ah who was crying, and continued to clean the area.
I wondered for a while about why she was getting punished, and realized the answer shortly after.
Oh yes, she followed me to Sichuan secretly.
It looked like she was getting punished for being gone for a whole month without telling him.
Shit, my eyes met with Wi Seol-Ah’s gaze when I was trying to pass by without being noticed.
Wi Seol-Ah kept looking at asking me for help, but I couldn’t do much about it.
…Running away is my only option.
The one delivering the punishment was the Sword Emperor… this wasn’t something I could help Wi Seol-Ah with.
“…Uh, it’ll get colder at night, so please go rest once you’re done.”
Still, I felt like I had to say something, so I spoke to the Sword Emperor.
The Sword Emperor responded with a kind smile.
“Yes, thank you for the concern, Young Master.”
Getting cold at night my ass, it’s summer.
Wi Seol-Ah looked shocked at my horrible attempt of saving her.
“Uh uh! How dare you raise your voice when you’re being punished!”
Wi Seol-Ah cried like a dog to the Sword Emperor’s punishment.
But I can’t do much about this, and it’s your fault in the end, so please bear with it…
I left the area slipped into my room.
And covered my ears as Wi Seol-Ah kept calling me from outside.
I just wanted to lay down on my bed and sleep the tiredness off.
I’d used up too much of my energy earlier in the day because of the whole marriage thing, then there was Gu Huibi’s presence on top of that.
It would be fine if I just fell asleep now, as it was almost night time anyway.
While I was trying to relax, I felt a presence outside the door.
“Young master, it’s your servant, Hongwa.”
“What is it?”
“I came here wondering if you want to have dinner.”
“…Oh, I don’t really have a good appetite right now, so I’ll pass.”
The servant left after my words.
I thought about eating some dumplings, but I really didn’t have a good appetite.
I just wanted to sleep.
Since I could just eat some food later after my midnight training.
However, I started regretting my decision not even half an hour later of sending the servant away.
Because someone barged into my room while I was taking a sweet nap.
“Little brother! You’re not going to eat dinner you said!?”
It was Gu Huibi who had a dumpling in her hand.
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