༺ Mount Hua (1) ༻
It had been one month since the Hao Clan was given a request from the Gu Clan and during that month, Dowoon-Chu had experienced various events — significant and insignificant in nature.
After Gu Yangcheon left Hao Clan, the first task Dowoon-Chu had set about working on hadn’t been the mission Gu Yangcheon had given him, instead, it had been an effort to gather information on the Gu Clan.
This was done as he’d guessed that for Gu Yangcheon to know about the Lord of Hao Clan, it had to mean that he’d gotten the information from his clan.
Dowoon-Chu had to know.
Did the Gu Clan kidnap the Lord of Hao Clan?
If so; when was it done, and how did they manage it?
And why had they sent Gu Yangcheon to inform Hao Clan about it?
Alongside the information gathering focused on the Gu Clan, Dowoon-Chu also had to focus on Gu Yangcheon’s request.
And while one month was too short for Dowoon-Chu to complete it, she still had to try.
Because if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have an answer for Gu Yangcheon.
And so, Dowoon-Chu had first gone about gathering all the information she could find in relation to the Gu Clan.
Hao Clan had secured themselves with walls surrounded by the Gu Clan as they held valuable information whilst also having the ability to gather more.
So Dowoon-Chu had thought that as long as she put in the effort, even without using all her clan’s power, information on the Gu Clan would be readily accessible.
However, in a surprising turn of events, no information asides from what was already known could be found about the Gu Clan.
Not even the ‘Four Noble Clans’ were so hard to investigate, so Dowoon-Chu found it strange.
It was as if someone was purposely stopping Hao Clan from gathering information on them.
…Are they hiding the Heavenly Venerables in their clan or something?
It was so odd that Dowoon-Chu had momentarily entertained such an absurd thought.
It was quite difficult for Dowoon-Chu to succeed in her mission in only a month with the little information Gu Yangcheon had left.
The person he was looking for was at a rather far location, which only made it harder for them to gather information on him.
Although Dowoon-Chu had heard that her operatives were able to find something strange.
Outside of that, however, there was too much information and questions to be found.
But even then, Dowoon-Chu still had to maintain her mask of calmness.
To never let curiosity cause a change in her expression, as it was a big weakness to show an opponent signs of curiosity.
That was the mindset Dowoon-Chu had lived with throughout her life, and it was supposed to stay that way.
However, for the second time since she had met Gu Yangcheon, that mindset had been shattered.
Because she couldn’t help but feel curious about the sight before her.
After hesitating for a while, she finally asked,
“…Young Master Gu, may I please ask you a question?”
“What happened to your eyes…?”
Dowoon-Chu pointed carefully at his left eye.
Gu Yangcheon’s left eye which had previously been pristine, was now blue with a huge bruise on it.
“…I told you not to ask.”
Gu Yangcheon frowned the moment he heard the question.
Did he really have to ask about this…?
I was already a bit pissed off as I had to come all the way here with my exhausted body.
I unconsciously released a sigh after hearing Dowoon-Chu’s question.
The bruise was a scar I had received from my battle with the fire boar last night.
That piece of…
That crazy boar, I’d told her to calm down, but she wouldn’t listen no matter how many times I said it.
What made it scarier was the fact that Gu Huibi had been smiling throughout the duration of our duel.
What had made her so excited that she’d charged at me like that?
She’d said that she would help me get rid of my lingering Qi, but halfway through the duel it just looked like she was having fun.
In the end, I was thankfully able to burn out the lingering Qi that was in my body thanks to Gu Huibi’s duel, but I also got the bruise.
When the duel finally ended, Gu Huibi seemed to realize that she had gone too far as her face was riddled with guilt when she was looking at me.
…What kind of person continues to attack with their elbow after missing an attack with their sword?
Fortunately, she’d been lacking a bit of Qi since she initially missed an attack. However, if she had hit me with full force my head would’ve exploded.
I swear I’m never going to duel her again.
In the middle of all of this, Dowoon-Chu just kept looking at my bruise, seemingly concerned.
Was he looking for a chance to attack me here?
Dowoon-Chu let out a fake cough on noticing my discomfort at his continual staring.
“…Ahem, I heard that you had some business during your trip to Sichuan.”
I paused momentarily at Dowoon-Chu’s words, the cup of tea I’d been about to take a sip from suspended in motion.
The only business I had in Sichuan was the secret vault and there was no way that he knew about… right?
“I heard that you beat the Lightning Dragon.”
I felt immediate relief on realizing what he was talking about.
Thankfully, he didn’t seem to know anything about the secret vault.
I’d forgotten about half of what Dowoon-Chu asked me about; the incident with the Lightning Dragon was that insignificant to me.
“The story of Gu Clan’s son breaking the Lightning Dragon’s arm in a duel, isn’t this about you?”
“I didn’t break it… I just gave it a love tap.”
There were only so many people in the Military Exhibition of Tang, so who was spreading all these rumors…?
“As long as there are eyes, there will definitely be mouths.”
Dowoon-Chu gave a response that made me feel like he’d read my mind.
Then again, I had honestly expected the story to spread much quicker as it was about the Lightning Dragon getting humiliated. Surprisingly, it hadn’t spread all that much.
“The Namgung Clan is trying to stop the rumors so that they don’t spread further.”
Yeah, that sounded like something they’d do.
Although, for them to stop the rumors from spreading…
They probably gave the Beggar’s Sect some gold coins.
It was harder to stop rumors from spreading after they had already been exposed to the world than it was to spread rumors, and yet the Namgung Clan had been successful in doing so.
They must have used quite a bit of their gold coins in order to do so.
It was even more shocking that Dowoon-Chu didn’t seem overly concerned about this story.
…So he’s more surprised about the bruise on my eye than the fact that I beat the Lightning Dragon?
What kind of bullshit is this…?
“Anyways, how’s my request going?”
Dowoon-Chu took out a letter in response, as if he’d been waiting for me to ask him.
I took the letter and opened it without hesitation. It was something I had been waiting one whole month for.
“…What is this?”
But something was strange.
I frowned after reading only a few lines.
The short letter contained the information on the location of the child I was looking for, and apparently the child already gone to a different area with his grandfather during the time that I handed the request to Dowoon-Chu.
That was simply absurd.
It was absurd that the child had already left the area, and him leaving with his grandfather was another oddity.
I’d heard that he was an orphan, but now I was seeing that he had a grandfather. Furthermore…
“You say that he has left the area?”
“Yes, that was all we were able to find.”
A boy who looked to be 10 years of age with half his hair being gray and was living in a unique mountainous region.
No matter who looked at it, the boy was unique, so it would be hard for them to make a mistake.
This meant, that either Hao Clan was lying to me, or the information I had on the boy wasn’t accurate to begin with, or…
History had changed again.
What a drag.
If Hao Clan was lying to me though, I wonder why they would do that.
If I had to look for a reason, it would probably be that they were looking for a way to gather more information they needed from me,
Or that they already had the boy kidnapped as they thought that the boy was someone significant to me…
Both scenarios weren’t really bad for me, however, because if any of them were true then it made it easier for me to accomplish my goal.
But, if the information I had on the boy had been inaccurate to begin with, that really was problematic.
If he lied to me even when he was in a situation like that…
The information I knew about him had come directly from him after all.
And if he’d lied to me even while he was in such a situation…
The thought of it gave me goosebumps.
Would he really lie to me even when he was taking his last breath?
I couldn’t be sure, as there was a slight possibility that he would actually be the type of person to lie even when about to die.
He was a normal person without any Qi that had gone against thousands of martial artists using nothing but his brain.
Whatever the answer was, I couldn’t do anything about it.
I couldn’t afford to go around looking for what the answer was.
I would soon need to leave for Mount Hua.
…A lot of problems have popped up at once.
“…What should I do about this?”
I was walking in the streets after leaving Hao Clan.
As I didn’t have anything else to talk about with them, I told them that I’d be back in a few days.
And as was the usual whenever I went out into the streets, I was going to buy some yakgwa.
It had almost became a habit at this point.
As I received a bunch of yakgwa from the store, I noticed how Muyeon made a sad face behind me.
I wondered why he was making that face.
“…What’s up? Why are you looking like that?”
“…I don’t have money, Young Master.”
Muyeon suddenly spat out those words.
What is he on about though?
Why does he automatically assume that he’ll be the one paying for it?
Because of this, I felt like kidding around with him for a bit.
“What!? Why are you telling me that now!?”
At my words, Muyeon revealed an expression filled with despair as if he had just been waiting for that response.
As soon as I saw his expressions, I took out some silver coins from my pocket and watched with amusement as Muyeon swiftly went from despairing to shock.
I spoke to him while laughing.
“Hey, it was just a joke. Did you really think you were going to pay for it?”
“No… It’s just.”
“No? Then why were you acting like that.”
“…If you have money, then can I please have the money you borrowed from me a while back-”
“Here is your yakgwa!”
“Oh! My yakgwa is here, let’s go back home now.”
I grabbed the yakgwa that came to me at the perfect timing and started walking back to my clan.
It sounded like Muyeon was calling me in a sorrowful tone.
But I ignored him for now.
I’m sorry… I swear I’ll pay it back next time.
The biggest change in Gu Yangcheon’s place would have to be all the wooden sculptures that were being added.
The bland and boring place had been somewhat brightened up; in part thanks to Wi Seol-Ah, and the Sword Emperor’s hobby.
So the Second Elder thought as he looked at the recently finished eagle sculpture.
“You said he left Anhui?”
Asked the Sword Emperor.
The Second Elder carefully put down the wooden eagle sculpture so that he wouldn’t break it.
“That’s what I heard.”
“…Did something happen?”
The Immortal Healer was a man that acted like the wind.
He never stayed in one location for a long time.
And that person going to Anhui brought about a whole different meaning.
Anhui was the Lord of Heaven, Jeolcheon’s region and he was looking for him.
For the Immortal Healer to be in Anhui while Jeolcheon was in that region…
The Sword Emperor had felt that bad things were looming on the horizon.
If Jeolcheon knew somehow that the Sword Emperor was looking for the Immortal Healer, then he would have never let him go.
But somehow he already left Anhui?
“Do you know where he left to, Gu Ryoon?”
The Second Elder started to think about the Sword Emperor’s question.
The reason why Second Elder had gone to Namgung was because of the Lord’s request.
It was for Gu Yangcheon’s marriage arrangement, as well as things related to the Immortal Healer.
He’d been given a lot of work as a result of him sending Gu Yangcheon to Sichuan, and he really felt like Gu Yangcheon deserved a proper bonking the next time he saw him.
The Immortal Healer was already gone by the time the Second Elder arrived in Anhui.
Many said that they didn’t know where he left to.
But the Second Elder heard from some people that he was heading for the Shaanxi1Shaanxi and Shanxi are adjacent states in China. Gu Clan is from Shanxi and Mount Hua is from Shaanxi. They have similar spelling but their pronunciation are different. Province.
“Shaanxi… is it Mount Hua?”
It was a familiar area. As it was also a place that Gu Yangcheon was going to in a few days.
“What are you going to do?”
“If needed, I will look for him myself.”
The Sword Emperor searching himself? To hear the man who had become a lowly servant just so he could hide from the public eye, say that he would search by himself…
It meant that the Sword Emperor was really desperate.
The Second Elder couldn’t easily understand the Sword Emperor’s situation.
He asked what he was going to do, but the Sword Emperor didn’t answer till the end.
Then a few days later,
The Second Elder found out that the names of Wi Seol-Ah and the Sword Emperor were written on the paper that showed who would be leaving for Mount Hua.
For a farmer, summer was hell.
It was because most of the farm drying off which made them make less money, as well as them having to embrace the heat that came with the summer.
One could argue that every season was the same…
But summer was easily the hardest for a person that helped his mother with farm work.
“Mother! I don’t think we can sell this one!”
I shouted disappointedly while throwing the dried crop on the ground.
This dogshit season.
I wondered how long was left until this shitty season ended.
Every year, I would sweat my ass off working, but nothing changed.
It was at that moment that the seemingly endless sunlight was covered up by something.
In hopes of the clouds bestowing rain upon me, I gazed up at the sky.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t rain, but I was shocked when I saw the person casting their shadow upon me.
I was so shocked that I fell on my butt and screamed.
A girl who had azure white hair which shone in the sunlight, and who had white pale skin which looked like it would only form after living in darkness for eternity.
It was the appearance of an angel that my father would always talk about when he was drunk.
The girl spoke.
Gods, even her voice was beautiful.
I couldn’t calm down my heart that was beating like crazy.
“Where do I need to go if I want to reach Shanxi2Here Bi-ah is asking directions for Shanxi (Where Gu Clan resides) not Shaanxi…?”
Shanxi…? Why Shanxi?
Does the girl live in Shanxi…? I, who wasn’t in the right mind, thought about such a thing.
But I was barely able to return to my senses.
“Y-You can reach Shanxi if you just head east…”
The girl seemed to be in a hurry because as soon as I told her that, she flew off…
Sh-She flew off in the sky!
I screamed with a shaky voice.
“What! What are you screaming for!?”
“M-Mother, it’s an angel!”
“…You crazy child, you lost yourself when you got rejected by your previous love.”
“No, I swear, look-”
No matter how much I tried to argue, she ignored me and focused on her work.
I also had no evidence to back my words up.
“…What is this?”
I suddenly noticed that there was a silver coin on the floor where the girl was previously standing.
It was an amount of money sufficient for my whole family to feed for a few months.
Did the angel leave this behind for me? I swiftly put the coin in my pocket.
However, there was one weird thing.
The angel asked me where Shanxi was. And I told her that it was to the east.
“…So why did the angel go west?”
I even pointed in the direction of it with my finger…
I would never find out why even till the day I died.
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- 1Shaanxi and Shanxi are adjacent states in China. Gu Clan is from Shanxi and Mount Hua is from Shaanxi. They have similar spelling but their pronunciation are different.
- 2Here Bi-ah is asking directions for Shanxi (Where Gu Clan resides) not Shaanxi