༺ Sword Phoenix (5) ༻
How long has it been?
Seeing as I still felt tired, it didn’t seem like I’d slept for that long.
“What do you mean you’re not going to eat when you need to grow up!?”
I was forced to wake up to the sound that stabbed at my ears.
On opening my eyes, the first thing that came into view was a dumpling.
…Why is there a dumpling here?
Is this actually a dream? That seemed likely, considering I have only eaten dumplings for the past few days.
“…Dumplings huh, are these beef dumplings?”
“Little brother, are you talking in your sleep?”
Accompanying the suddenly heard voice was a familiar pair of red eyes.
My brain only started to work when those eyes came into view.
My blurry sight rapidly cleared, and as it did so sharp facial features appeared in front of me, forming a face that told me the identity of the individual before me.
“Yes, it’s your awesome and beautiful sister.”
I ignored the last part of her words.
“Why are you here?”
“Am I not allowed to be here?”
“Yes, since this is my room.”
“Which means it’s also my room.”
“…What are you saying, are you drunk?”
Gu Huibi tried to give me a bonk on the head due to my words but I quickly moved to dodge.
One of Gu Huibi’s eyebrows visibly rose at my action.
“Huh… How dare you dodge me?”
“Why are you trying to hit me as soon as you come into my room?”
“How dare you talk to your older sister like that when she came to check on her little brother who said that he wouldn’t eat?”
“…You could’ve just ordered a servant to do it.”
I was going to ask if she came here just to annoy me, but I decided not to.
If I did, I would probably get burnt alive.
Gu Huibi lifted her hand up again in order to hit me, but she put it down shortly after.
Did she just give up?
She slowly handed over a dish of dumplings to me.
“I picked them up on my way here, so don’t starve and eat.”
“You just happened to just come across this many dumplings…?”
“You talk too much. Do you want to be burnt to a crisp along with these dumplings?”
Before she decided to act on her threat, I quickly started eating.
Thanks to them being steamed recently, they were still warm.
Though I still felt uncomfortable around her, I couldn’t deny the fact that she came here thinking about me.
Gu Huibi chuckled at my response seemingly finding it funny.
“’Thank you’? The dumplings must be really delicious, as I don’t know how long it’s been since my little brother said such kind words.”
Well, I guess that’s not too surprising.
Because at around this time, the past me probably hated everyone in the clan, let alone the family members.
“I meant what I said, but it seems like you always have something to say, even when I’m simply saying thanks.”
“Your crude manner of speaking hasn’t changed, yet I wonder what happened for you to change so drastically… Is it because of the Namgung girl?”
I spat out the dumpling that was in my mouth at Gu Huibi’s words.
I’d started choking on it.
“I guess you love her so much that you can choke on your food.”
I felt her sharp gaze on me as I coughed.
What nonsense was she on about though?
“Why are you bringing up Namgung all of a sudden, I thought I was going to die.”
“Was she pretty?”
Gu Huibi wasn’t even listening, she only cared about what she wanted to hear.
Still, ‘was she pretty?’ she asked.
If we were being objective, then Namgung Bi-ah was considered beautiful by many.
Like, a lot.
I would have to bring someone at least on Wi Seol-Ah’s level if they were to compete with Namgung Bi-ah’s looks.
Her being covered in blood while sweeping through an army of enemies by herself and still managing to look beautiful was something I had become used to seeing in my previous life.
Not that my opinion of her mattered since I had seen her so many times that I’d grown numb to it.
“The Lightning Sword said that she’s pretty.”
“…You know him well?”
“I’ve seen him a few times, but we never talked much, he also looked suspicious anyways.”
Since there were only so many prodigies that could become one of the dragons and the phoenixes of the world, they must have run into each other a few times.
The weird thing about it was how Gu Huibi said that he looked suspicious.
That Namgung fucker was pretty decent at acting, were Gu Huibi’s senses that good?
When I was about to finish the dumplings, Gu Huibi took something out from her pocket.
I became speechless after seeing what she took out.
“What is that?”
“Can’t you tell just by looking?”
I can, which is why I’m asking for fucks sake.
The thing Gu Huibi had taken out was none other than white liquor.
Why is she bringing alcohol to someone else’s place?
Gu Huibi giggled when she saw my expression.
“You want a drink?”
“…Be honest, did you actually come here so you could drink?”
I swear, she’s not right in the head.
Ignoring my words, Gu Huibi took out a glass for the liquor and started drinking by herself.
“Are you going to leave after you finish drinking?”
“No? I’m going to sleep here.”
That was easily the craziest thing I’d heard in the past few days.
“Then sleep here, I’ll go sleep somewhere else.”
“How can you be so cold? How nice would it be if us siblings slept together for the first time in a while?”
“First time in a while my ass, when have we ever slept together?”
We had never been that close.
Still, I had my guard up after I said so I could dodge if she tried to attack me again.
Strangely enough, Gu Huibi simply smiled and looked up at the moon.
What the…? Did we ever sleep together?
I never had a memory such as that even in my previous life, so what was that strange expression on her face?
Gu Huibi then suddenly started laughing as if she’d only just heard my words.
“Yeah. We never even slept together once. You are so cold.”
“…When are you going to leave?”
“Little brother, why are you constantly trying to kick me out?”
“Because this is my room?”
Isn’t it obvious…?
Gu Huibi continued drinking like she hadn’t heard my response.
– Drip drip
After some time spent drinking at frightening speeds, it looked like Gu Huibi was finally down to her last drops of liquor.
After the last droplets fell into the glass, Gu Huibi retrieved it and stood up disappointedly.
Was she finally leaving?
Gu Huibi suddenly called.
It looked like she was a bit drunk because of her drinking so fast.
‘Wait, is she drunk?’
I tilted my head in confusion.
If she had reached the 5th realm in the flame arts, she had to be way over the level of a first-rate martial artist.
Which would mean that alcohol shouldn’t affect her too much.
So she definitely purposely let the alcohol make her drunk.
That was usually done by martial artists who enjoyed drinking, but had Gu Huibi ever enjoyed drinking?
I had no memory of this.
Gu Huibi waved her hands.
She was signaling me to come towards her.
The moonlight that was hidden behind her lit up Gu Huibi while she waved her hand.
It looked like her red hair was shining more brightly thanks to the moonlight.
“Want to have a duel with your sister since the moon is beautiful?”
“You really drank three bottles…?”
Is she crazy…?
And what does a duel even have to do with moon?
I accidentally dropped a dumpling because her random words had dumbfounded me.
Gu Huibi just maintained her smile.
I didn’t like how her face was turning red because of the alcohol.
“Are you going to be fine?”
Is she talking about me getting beat up by her?
In all honesty, I wasn’t really into getting beat up, nor was I ready for it.
I just wanted to go back to sleep since I still felt tired.
After sleeping, I want to wake up and…
“That, are you going to be okay after not combining it?”
I dropped my dumpling following Gu Huibi’s sudden words.
I looked at Gu Huibi with shock.
Gu Huibi’s finger was pointing at my abdomen area.
…How did she know?
I’d organized the Qi that I gained from the giant snake, but the Qi that ended up not incorporating with my Qi continued to linger in my body.
And the Qi that lingered inside a martial artist’s body served as poison to them.
Even while knowing this, I couldn’t afford to risk absorbing them as it could damage or even kill me.
The thought of that was just too scary.
Why did I always run into situations where I had the option of absorbing power?
…Maybe it’s because I go to places or do things that make me run into them.
The reason why I didn’t let go of the lingering Qi was because of my greed.
The greedy thought that maybe I could absorb these Qi as well.
That was one of the reasons why my body felt tired when it shouldn’t.
The solution to the dilemma was simple: let go of the lingering Qi,
It could be done during my training or during a fight.
I spoke to Gu Huibi.
“…Is that why you want to fight me so late at night?”
“Not really, I just want to teach a little brat a lesson.”
“What are you…”
I was then reminded of something.
There was no way, but I still had my doubts.
“Is this why you were giving me all that crap earlier in the day too?”
When Gu Huibi appeared at my place with overpowering heat,
In order to withstand her, I needed to use some of the lingering Qi.
Gu Huibi flinched at my words, but she immediately returned back to her usual expression.
“Little brother, aren’t you going too far with that? Why would I make myself go through all that.”
“Are you sure?”
“You just keep talking. Maybe you’ll shut up once I burn all your hair to a crisp?”
Burn all my hair… How can she be so violent?
Unbeknownst to me, Gu Huibi already had a wooden sword in her hand.
…Where did she even get that?
Maybe her main reason for coming here was to duel?
“Is your sister now seem like a joke to you because you haven’t seen her in a while? You didn’t grow one bit in height, but your confidence is through the roof.”
Gu Huibi said those mean words with an evil smile, but I didn’t take them to heart.
It was the same as when we met for the first time in a few months for Gu Huibi, and a few years for me, and it was the same right now.
I finished the dumpling in my mouth and stood up to walk towards Gu Huibi.
Gu Huibi’s expression morphed into one of visible shock.
Why did she look surprised when she called me?
“…Woah, little brother, you’re not running away this time?”
“You don’t even want to beat me up that much anyways, so stop trying to scare me.”
I walked past Gu Huibi, heading towards the training area.
I turned my head and spoke to Gu Huibi as I did so.
“If we fight here the whole building will be destroyed.”
“How funny of you to worry about the building when you’ll be done after just one blow.”
Gu Huibi then giggled after those words.
I ignored her and slowly walked towards the training area.
I would usually talk and fight back following such words, but, even if I lived my whole life as a dick, it wasn’t easy for me to talk back to someone who had died for me.
What does it mean to have the same blood?
I had never thought that having the same blood meant anything in my previous life.
It was the same for my father and my sisters.
I had just been unlucky to be born to the same father as them.
Furthermore, I wasn’t even born from the same womb as them.
My mother who gave birth to me was different from their mother.
And as if to make it all worse;
The girl who was the most talented sword wielder in Gu Clan’s history,
And on the other hand, the most pathetic Young Lord in all of Gu Clan’s history.
Such a comparison destroyed me.
I couldn’t blame this for all my sins, but I couldn’t say that it didn’t play a large part in them.
That’s what made self-pride so scary and selfish, and also pathetic.
I had always thought of Gu Huibi as a monster who wanted to kill me when I was young.
Why was she so obsessed with me?
At that time, I had thought that it was because I was easily able to take the spot of the successor while Gu Huibi couldn’t.
Why would I ever think that Gu Huibi wanted the spot of the successor when I didn’t know that I was walking into hell with my own feet?
I stood straight, facing Gu Huibi in the training ground while she pointed her wooden sword towards me.
The training ground was dark because it was late at night, but that wasn’t a problem for the blood descendants of the Gu clan.
Gu Huibi slowly enveloped herself in red Qi.
A feat only possible after one had achieved the 5th realm of the destructive flame arts.
It wasn’t just a process of holding and producing heat,
But rather harmonizing that process with her own Qi which then led to its change in appearance.
Its appearance resembled a flame that ignited.
Fear not the dark, as the martial artist of Gu, they will shine in their own light.
Those were the words left by the ancestors of the Gu Clan.
As if she was backing those words up, the flame that engulfed Gu Huibi even reached her wooden sword.
Thanks to her overpoweringly excessive amount of Qi, the whole training area was now lit up brightly.
I observed Gu Huibi slowly and clearly.
She didn’t look too different from the visage I had of her in the memories of my previous life.
The body of a martial artist aged slower than average humans.
That was why when I looked at Gu Huibi, I was reminded of the tragic past.
Her one arm that ceased to move because of how badly it had been trampled upon.
And me, who had been gazing into those red eyes which had been losing light as she slowly slipped away into death’s embrace.
Did it rain back then as well?
I just remember that the weather wasn’t good.
Both versions of Gu Huibi’s voice could be heard.
Is it because I am tired?
It probably wasn’t the case.
It was most likely because I could never forget that moment.
Time after time, if I could have just met Gu Huibi after my death.
I’d always wanted to ask her one thing.
What she said to me with a smile even when she was dying.
I wanted to ask her.
Why did she say those words to me?
And why did she go that far for someone like me?
…Not that I would ever hear from her anyways.
“Are you not going to come at me?”
I just wanted to ask.
“Nah, here I come.”
I stepped towards Gu Huibi.
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