༺ Sword Phoenix (6) ༻
You are bound to forget some of your memories especially if it’s from a long time ago.
That was just the way humans were, and even for Gu Huibi who was a talented martial artist, it wasn’t much different.
However, there was one thing that she couldn’t forget.
｢Please, take good care of Yangcheon.｣
The warmest memory that Gu Huibi had.
The memory that she would always think of whenever she went through tough times, served as both a remedy and a poison.
To Gu Huibi, she was the kindest and most beautiful person of them all.
She was the opposite of the wild son of the Gu Clan.
It honestly felt like she loved them more than her biological mother.
The mother that let her son lie his head on her knees,
The mother who never lost her smile no matter how much trouble her children caused.
And the mother who worried about her children more than they bothered to get concerned about themselves when they got hurt.
She totally deserved to be called by that title as she didn’t lack anything.
And now, the mother who looked over them not with power but with a kind heart was no longer there with them.
Gu Huibi told herself that she would do anything to fulfill her mother’s request to save Gu Yangcheon.
However, Gu Huibi failed to do so, as she was different from her kind mother.
She put the effort in order to fulfill her request, but it was just impossible since her birth.
So she had to look for a different way.
Gu Huibi first thought that she needed strength, so she started to learn how to use a sword.
Thankfully, she had great natural talent.
She still had an aggressive personality because the Gu Clan’s blood still flowed in her veins at the end of the day.
Which she kept even after her leaving the clan,
However, Gu Huibi never forgot about what she learned.
As long as there is love, it is possible to save the people you care about.
Gu Huibi never forgot about what her mother had shown her.
And Gu Huibi would continue to live with what she had learned from her mother.
She would even live with this mindset till the end of her life.
I called my little brother.
My younger brother seemed to grow a little ever since the last time I saw him.
I was able to notice that he got skinnier as well, whereas before he would always look for sweets that made him look chubby.
This was also the reason why I felt bad and brought him some dumplings.
It made me happy though, seeing him enjoy the dumplings I brought him.
I spoke with a voice that expressed no sign of love whatsoever.
To me, it looked as if a cat was showing its claws which just seemed cute in my eyes.
It looked like my young brother had some lingering Qi in his body which he probably got from his trip to Sichuan.
And when I looked away for just one moment, he caused another trouble.
No matter how much I scolded him, he never listened.
‘How dare he agree for another marriage arrangement.’
It was the same as when they decided the engagement with Peng Clan,
Something like this would only happen when I’m away from home.
At this point, I kind of started to hold a bit of a grudge against my father who kept arranging these marriages for my brother without even letting me know.
And it would always happen when I’m out for a business purpose, so is he doing it on purpose?
But the most bizarre thing was, that he changed to a completely new person when I was only away for a few months.
He was my little brother.
There was no way I wouldn’t recognize him.
It’s just that he now had that martial artist look to him.
I mean, just look at him now.
If something like this were to happen, my little brother would have already been hiding in a corner of his room, but he is showing no fear when I’m standing in front of him right now with an overpowering Qi.
He was instead looking for a chance.
The chance that he could take in order for him to attack.
How to describe this.
How magnificent? Or does that make me look like a pervert.
A duel against a strong fighter is always enjoyable.
Because there was no backing down on either side.
Which was why I never knew that I would feel something like this against my little brother.
I would always worry about what to do with him when he never listened to me…
But to see him change for the better in this short span of time, made me feel both proud and somewhat regretful that I wasn’t there for it.
If he still maintained his wild personality, I was going to consider bringing him to my swordsmen group with force,
But it looks like there is no need for that.
‘Is this also because of that Namgung girl?’
Because of my emotions getting to me, my Qi went out of control for a brief moment.
The Military Exhibition of Tang or something? Did they meet there?
I thought that he would make a shitty excuse again and wouldn’t go this year as well.
‘I heard that the Second Elder did something that made him go.’
That’s what I heard.
Of course, it had to be the Second Elder who I can’t even complain to… Sigh.
Namgung girl huh… I wonder if she’s pretty.
I would assume just by looking at the Lightning Dragon, that she would look half decent at the very least.
I would have preferred if I could just meet her in real life,
But I couldn’t even find a way for me to meet her whatever their clan is doing with her.
‘…The only thing that I was able to find about her.’
Was that she was the top beauty of Anhui.
How useless of information this was.
I stopped my trail of thoughts when my brother called.
Gu Yangcheon was already in his fighting stance.
“I just called you because it looked like you were thinking about something in the middle of a duel.”
“Woah, you are looking out for your sister in case she gets hurt? How kind of you.”
Gu Yangcheon didn’t respond and stretched his neck and body.
Every time he stretched, the cracking sound of his bones could be heard.
Although it only looked that way to me.
And even though he was in his fighting stance, I couldn’t feel the specific heat that came from the 3rd realm of flame arts.
Was he preparing something else? Or, maybe he was just nervous?
“Little brother, you’re not going to use a sword?”
“I don’t use a sword anymore.”
I stopped for a moment upon hearing Gu Yangcheon’s words.
He doesn’t use a sword, he says…?
I saw him carry around a wooden sword a few months ago,
So did he stop using them because he felt that it wasn’t for him?
But that would mean that Gu Yangcheon had to have trained with a sword for a long time.
So if he just stopped using a sword because he simply didn’t like it.
‘Shouldn’t I scold him for that?’
Was my thought at first, but I erased it shortly after.
‘…I guess I’ll let him be.’
I couldn’t scold him for small things like that.
Because I wasn’t his mother or anything.
“…Yeah, whatever. It’s his choice anyways.”
I pointed my wooden sword towards Gu Yangcheon and said.
“Are you not going to come at me?”
“Nah, I’m coming.”
I also went into my fighting stance at my brother’s answer.
I honestly wasn’t going to be serious at all in this duel.
I wanted to teach him a lesson because of the marriage agreement he made…
But I didn’t want to hurt someone who was already hurt.
‘Let’s just take it easy, just enough for this to be a light spar.’
My main reason for doing this was to take out Gu Yangcheon’s lingering Qi anyways.
So I had to realize my main goal for this duel.
It’s been a while since I’ve dueled with my little brother.
Unlike Gu Yeonseo who was obsessed with me, Gu Yangcheon despised clashing swords with me.
Which is why this was new to me.
‘Go easy on him.’
I wanted to enjoy this as long as possible.
If I accidentally put in too much strength then the duel would end right away.
Which would also make me fail at my mission of taking his lingering Qi out.
I was well aware how capable I was at fighting.
I was always better than the rest of Five Dragons and Three Phoenixes which further made me realize how talented I was.
You can argue that I was arrogant because of these thoughts I had.
But I definitely had the talent to back it up.
‘But that Peng clan’s crazy guy…’
No, he goes by the title Young Lord of Peng now.
Unlike his crazy personality, his talent in martial arts was incomparable.
Because he was different even when compared to the talented prodigies of the world.
But even so, he wasn’t completely out of reach.
It won’t take long. That was my judgment.
I heard Gu Yangcheon’s voice again.
I realized again, that I was thinking about something else.
No matter who my opponent was, I shouldn’t be making these kinds of mistakes.
I was thinking of apologizing to him at first, but I felt something strange.
Because Gu Yangcheon’s voice was much closer than before.
Before I could even utter a word, my body reacted.
My body instinctively acted on its own because of all the fighting I did with the demons for the past few months.
I swung my wooden sword in the air.
It released red Qi which drew a half circle in the air,
But there was no one there.
It wasn’t from in front of me.
I quickly tilted my body away from the sensation I felt from my flank.
I barely dodged it.
And as soon as I dodged it, I heard an explosion of Qi where the punch landed.
It all happened in an instant.
I took a few steps back and looked at Gu Yangcheon with shaky eyes.
Where I was standing before, stood Gu Yangcheon.
The fist he lightly let loose had a red aura around it.
And because of me moving away from him, the area around Gu Yangcheon became dark again.
But then I was able to see Gu Yangcheon’s eyes from the dark.
He had a slight crimson glint in his eyes.
The red Qi that formed around one’s body.
And the change in one’s physique.
It was all possible after reaching the same point I had reached.
I asked the same question.
I was able to see since we used the same martial art.
That whatever he was using was indeed the destructive flame arts, but something was different about it.
If I had to compare it to someone, it was similar to the Lord of the clan.
The way he was standing, the way he was staring at me,
And the Qi that formed around his body.
I was able to see the Tiger Warrior in Gu Yangcheon.
I wasn’t saying that because he was his son.
It was just weird that I was able to see my father from Gu Yangcheon who was only at the 3rd realm when my father was about to reach the max rank of flame arts.
After shaking off his hands, Gu Yangcheon said.
It felt pressuring.
I never felt anything like this even against demons.
It wasn’t his Qi that was pressuring me.
It was just the way Gu Yangcheon was that made me feel pressured.
The greatest prodigy,
Me, the Sword Phoenix herself.
‘…How astounding this is.’
I wonder what happened for that child to change this much.
I felt horrible for going away for those few months.
Because I wasn’t able to be there to witness his change.
I was so disappointed in that.
Gu Yangcheon, while looking at me, spoke.
“Are you done letting your guard down?”
“…I know, right? How could I let my guard down?”
If Gu Yangcheon didn’t call my name?
And if he aimed for my chin rather than my flank?
Would I still be standing here fine?
I wasn’t sure of that.
I forcefully hid my joy and asked Gu Yangcheon,
“Little brother, did something happen while I was gone?”
“Yeah, a lot has happened.”
He answered with a rather sour face.
I guess it wasn’t all that pleasant for him.
“Oh no… This is bad.”
I slightly licked my lips.
I loved the idea of my little brother accomplishing great things.
I finally felt relieved that my brother who looked like he was going the wrong path, finally changed to a better path.
Unrelated to that though, my martial artist instincts were telling me,
To bring the enemy down to his knees.
I couldn’t forget about my main goal for this duel though, but I couldn’t help but feel a little greedy.
‘Just a little, it can’t hurt right?’
Just a little, surely my brother can handle it right?
The moment I decided as such.
I executed the idea right away.
‘…Is she finally back to her senses?’
I sighed to the heat that felt much hotter than before.
I wonder what she was thinking about for so long.
She just kept frowning, then smiling,
Then repeating them over and over again.
It would have ended right away if I just aimed for her chin, but I was doing this to take out the lingering Qi in my body anyways.
That was probably Gu Huibi’s intention as well, so I just gave her a warning attack.
I just wanted to tell her something like ‘Wake up, I’m at least strong enough to be a martial artist.’,
But perhaps I went a bit far?
‘Holy… How much of it was she hiding?’
I had to flinch at the heat that passed by me.
I was certain.
That the heat she put out right now wasn’t the heat of a 5th realm flame arts.
It was at least higher than that.
“…You’re finally back to your senses, right sister?”
I asked somewhat nervously, but Gu Huibi smiled while being engulfed in flames.
“Yeah! I’m fine, I’m fine.”
It doesn’t look like you’re fine.
I suddenly thought of a nickname for that woman who seemed to be not right in her head right now.
Mad Flaming Sword Gu Huibi.
‘…To put it simply, I was just calling her a crazy woman that was in flames.’
No matter how I looked at it, it wasn’t a nice way to call someone, though it fit her really well.
Did I excite her too much?
Thanks to me, reaching the 3rd realm, it felt much easier to use my Qi.
And with that, I was successful in giving her a surprise attack.
“…Though I regret it now.”
It looked like I excited that crazy fire boar a little too much.
Now it was going to be hard to stop her.
“I’m coming, little brother…!”
“…On second thought, I don’t think you- Oh for fucks sake.”
Without letting me finish, Gu Huibi charged towards me.
And that night, my training ground was destroyed thanks to Gu Huibi’s rampage.
Meanwhile when Gu Yangcheon’s place was being destroyed.
In the Lord’s room of the Namgung clan.
Lord Namgung Jin, was asking his escort while not being able to hide his trembling eyes.
“What is this?”
The escort who brought him the letter, couldn’t say anything but kneel down.
“…This happened because of my negligence. I apologize, My Lord.”
Words of the escort didn’t even reach the ears of the Lord.
What mattered the most was the letter that was in the Lord’s hand right now.
Namgung Jin read the letter with shaky hands that his daughter left him.
He read the short sentence she had left for him.
It was hard for him to even understand the content, as no effort was put into this letter.
But even then, Namgung Jin was certain that this letter was indeed left by her daughter.
As it was only possible for her, to leave such an effortless letter and still walk around so prominently in the Namgung Clan.
“…You say you don’t know when she disappeared?”
The escort answered Namgung Jin’s question.
To which Namgung Jin responded with a frown.
The Lord wondered if he should be proud that she managed to escape the sights of all the escorts in the clan.
And he would have been very happy if it wasn’t for the letter he read.
Namgung Jin couldn’t hold his anger till the end and crumpled the letter.
“…Bring her back.”
The fierce voice echoed throughout the whole room.
Because of the overpowering pressure, the escort couldn’t even answer properly.
He just instead tried his best to hold in his scream and nodded his head.
In the crumpled letter that Namgung Bi-ah left,
Were the words that were written.
Namgung Bi-ah just ran away from her home.
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