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Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 5

Hao Clan (1)

༺ Hao Clan (1) ༻

 

  In the days when the Sword Emperor was still called the “Wind Sword”.

 

  While the Lord of the Tang Clan was away to deal with a True Gate of Demons that emerged near Sichuan, the Black Dragon along with his army launched a surprise onslaught on the Tang Clan. 

 

  The Black Dragon was a martial artist who had surpassed the peak realm, and his army, the Black Dragon Army, consisted of first rate martial artists numbering in the hundreds.

 

  They had planned to devour the Tang Clan, and conquer all of Sichuan during the absence of their Lord. And without a shadow of a doubt, there was certainly plenty of time left before the Lord received news of the invasion and returned. 

 

  If luck wasn’t on their side, the Tang Clan may have ceased to exist on that day.

 

  However, as fate would have it, the Black Dragon didn’t factor into account the presence of the Wind Sword in the Tang Clan at the time.

 

  What unfolded was a scene that few would believe if they hadn’t witnessed it themselves.

 

  The hundreds that comprised the Black Dragon Army, along with the Black Dragon himself, were all slain by the Wind Sword.

 

  People from afar, watching the Wind Sword take on the entire army by himself, would comment that; while the way his sword danced looked to be as beautiful as the crescent moon, there was only death and carnage left in its wake.

 

  When the long disaster was finally over and the Black Dragon along with his army lay vanquished, only the Wind Sword was left standing.

 

  As a token of their appreciation, the Tang Clan crafted a sword for the Wind Sword.

 

  Wi Hyogun would carry that sword even after becoming the Sword Emperor.

 

  The Moonlight Sword. 

 

  It was a sword crafted by the greatest blacksmiths in the world. 

 

  But instead of holding that beauty of a sword…

 

  “It’s just a broom.”

 

  In the hands of Wi Hyogun, it was serving as a broom.

 

  … Is this really alright?

 

* * *

 

  3PM had just passed. 

 

  I sat on the floor while embracing the soothing sunlight. 

 

  I may have looked like I was meditating, 

 

  But instead, I was looking at the back of a hard-working man cleaning the area with a broom. 

 

  A man with gray hair and a hunched back was slowly but vigorously sweeping the floor. 

 

  It was hard to believe, but that old man was the Sword Emperor. 

 

  “…I still can’t believe I’m seeing the Sword Emperor clean my place with a broom…”

 

  Was this really okay?

 

  Two days have passed since the Sword Emperor and Wi Seol-Ah became servants of mine. 

 

  I feel like I went half out of my mind during those two days. 

 

  I had asked the Steward1The person who manages both managerial affairs and military affairs in the clan why they suddenly came to work as my servants, and,

 

  ‘It was the Lord’s command.’

 

  Was all he’d said. In all honesty, I’d half-expected that that would be the case. 

 

  And, well, it’s not like I could have just barged into the lord’s room and complained about it. 

 

  Wait, no, maybe it would have been better to argue about it?

 

  I had many thoughts, but couldn’t make a decision. Meanwhile, time continued to flow without regard for me or my worries. 

 

  Is it fine to leave it as it is now? I had a thought that throwing a tantrum to kick them out would be better for my future, 

 

  But I didn’t think that I had enough spare lives to dare to cause any trouble for the Sword Emperor, so I gave up on that thought. 

 

  I noticed another problem after looking away from the Sword Emperor. 

 

  “Seol-Ah, it’s dangerous to carry all that stuff alone! Wanna carry it with me?”

 

  “No! Seol-Ah can do it by herself!”

 

  “Uh, hey! Seol-Ah! In front of you…!”

 

  “Huh? Kyaa!”

 

  “…”

 

  I turned away from that sight. 

 

  Wi Seol-Ah may seem like she was loved and treated like the youngest sister among the servants,

 

  But, honestly?

 

  She was horrible at doing chores. 

 

  Should it be possible for her to be that bad at physical work when she has so much physical talent as a martial artist? 

 

  Even now, she spilled all the laundry while trying to carry it. 

 

  The other servants then had to comfort Wi Seol-Ah who had tears on her face. 

 

  But, that doesn’t bring back the laundry that is now rolled all over in dirt… 

 

  The good thing is though, that this happened before the laundry was washed. 

 

  As I sighed to myself and began to stand up…

 

  Wi Seol-Ah ran over to me when she saw me rise to my feet.

 

  “Why don’t you just continue your work?”

 

  “I was told to always follow the young master!”

 

  “…Who told you that?”

 

  “My grandpa!”

 

  “…I see.”

 

  Why did he tell her that…

 

  I think it was because they wanted me to have a personal servant. 

 

  But honestly, that was an excuse in my eyes. 

 

  The reason why the other servants treat Wi Seol-Ah so nicely is because she is doing the work they hate doing the most.

 

  Well, it’s also true that Wi Seol-Ah lightened up the heavy atmosphere when she came in as a servant. 

 

  But even so, I’m still a child of a family possessing decent wealth, so is it really fine to choose my personal servant so effortlessly?

 

  The Steward had to have played a part in this. 

 

  ‘Do both my father and the Steward know about the true identity of Wi Moon who is the Sword Emperor? Or did they just randomly pick servants because of how so many were quitting…?’

 

  There was no way that the Steward doesn’t know about what happens within the clan, so there must have been a reason,

 

  …But it’s probably the latter. 

 

  Wi Seol-Ah tried to straighten my clothes, but I told her I’d do it myself as she was too clumsy with it. 

 

  I noticed that tears welled up in her eyes because of how she was disappointed at being rejected. 

 

  But, I really couldn’t rely on her yet because of how clumsy she was. 

 

  ‘No, is it even alright to order her to do such a thing?’

 

  I may have a lot of time on my hands, but I still needed to hurry. 

 

  One of the reasons why I was leaving the house was because of that. 

 

  I sent Wi Seol-Ah away to other servants when she tried to follow me outside. 

 

  It was easy to send her away since I used the fact that she was still clumsy in her work. 

 

  Wi Seol-Ah had a disappointed face because she couldn’t go outside with me. 

 

  I didn’t know what to do with Wi Seol-Ah. 

 

  I couldn’t just treat her like any other servants, but to treat her differently from others was also hard. 

 

  Me and the Sword Emperor’s eyes met as I was about to leave the house. 

 

  The Sword Emperor respectfully bowed his head to me.

 

  I quickly moved my steps to head outside of the house as I felt extremely uncomfortable. 

 

  Outside the house, my escort, Muyeon, was waiting for me. 

 

  “I heard from the Steward that you were about to venture out onto the streets.”

 

  “It won’t take long, and I’ll probably come back before sunset.”

 

  “Understood, Young Master.”

 

  He didn’t ask any more questions. It was easy to see that he was well trained as an escort. 

 

  ‘It’s just pitiful that he had to become my escort.’

 

  After walking for a little, I found the spot where I first met Wi Seol-Ah. 

 

  I felt this last time, but how much training did I lack for me to be tired after only walking for that long?

 

  I wanted to take a break, but I had to hurry since I needed to return before sunset. 

 

  I passed through the crowded street and searched around in the small alleys. 

 

  Muyeon told me that it was dangerous for me to be here, but that didn’t stop my actions. 

 

  “Found it.”

 

  After searching for a while, I finally found the building I was looking for.

 

  It may look old and poor, but it was definitely the building I was looking for.

 

  “I was worried that this building wouldn’t exist at this point in time, but I was worried for nothing.”

 

  “Young Master… For what reason did you come here?”

 

  “Why? Does this place look strange?”

 

  “Honestly, yes… The atmosphere around here doesn’t feel too good, let alone the building.”

 

  “You have good senses. That’s exactly it.”

 

  – Creak.

 

  When I opened the old door, the people inside began staring at me. 

 

   “Huh, a little kid? Did someone do something to him without us knowing?”

 

  “Don’t say such disgusting things. He probably just took the wrong way.”

 

  “Then what’s with the guy standing behind him, he has a sword on his belt.”

 

  Muyeon had placed a hand on his sword due to the aggressive atmosphere he was feeling in the dim building. 

 

  The inhabitants didn’t seem to care though.

 

  One of them spoke to me.

 

  “Hey kid, what brings you to this dangerous neighborhood?”

 

  It had been a while since I was treated this poorly, but to be honest, I was used to this feeling rather than the treatment I received at home.

 

  I replied with a slight smile.

 

  “Why, you ask? I’m here as a customer, of course.”

 

  “How disrespectful our little kid here sounds, maybe he’ll learn if I cut off his tongue?”

 

  Muyeon tried to draw his sword at the man giggling in front of me, but I stopped him. 

 

  “Young Master, he dares to-“

 

  “Hold on for a sec.”

 

  After I stopped Muyeon who was ready to swing his sword, I spoke to the man who had an ominous smile on his face. 

 

  “You probably knew who I was ever since I set foot in this area. Let’s just take it easy.”

 

  I wanted to appeal to him, but I didn’t have much time left. 

 

  The smile on his face disappeared after my words.

 

  “Hey, I don’t have much time left, and I came here knowing everything, so let’s cut to the chase.” 

 

  “What the hell are you talking about?”

 

  He tried to put on an act again, but it was too late. 

 

  “You may be worried that the Gu Clan found out about this place and is trying to destroy it, but we don’t have any good reason to, and we don’t gain anything from it.”

 

  I see cold sweat flowing down his cheeks. 

 

  “Like I said, I don’t have much time. I came here as a customer, so hurry up and call the branch manager. Unless you want me to actually destroy this place.”

 

  The man’s pupils quivered upon hearing my bluff. 

 

  I had to make this bluff even though I had no ability to destroy this place in the first place. It was the only way to get through with these guys.

 

  Muyeon inquired with a confused tone.

 

  “…Young master, what is going on…?”

 

  “It’s nothing, I was originally going to go to that place, but there was a problem in doing so.”

 

  Muyeon seems to have realized something. Does he know about the place I was referring to? 

 

  He might have better senses than I’d initially thought.

 

  I would have liked to come here by myself, but I couldn’t afford to do so with this body. 

 

  “Sorry for bringing you here, but I honestly can’t do much about it.”

 

  The place I’m referring to is “Beggar’s Sect” which was able to take a spot in the Ten Sect Alliance solely because of its power in knowledge. 

 

  It would have been easier to just visit there.

 

  But they wouldn’t do anything that would be problematic for them. 

 

  Well, not unless I pour them a fortune. 

 

  Anyways, the business I had would cause problems for Beggar’s Sect, so I had to go to a different place. 

 

  If Beggar’s Sect was said to be the best place for getting information in the Orthodox Faction, 

 

  Then this would be the best place to get information in the Unorthodox Faction, 

 

  Hao Clan. 

 

  I was at the Hao Clan. 

 

* * *

 

  It didn’t take long for me to get proper treatment in the Hao Clan.

 

  The man led us to the cellar that was behind the building. 

 

  Muyeon declared, ‘I can’t let the Young Master go to such a dangerous place alone!’, but I had to ignore him because I didn’t have enough time to persuade him.

 

  When we went down to the cellar, a young man with a snake-like face was waiting for us. 

 

  “I’m the branch manager, Dowoon-Chu.” 

 

  He was incredibly handsome, although it was probably a disguise considering this is the Hao Clan. 

 

  “We didn’t expect someone like you to come to this place as a customer… We apologize for being so aggressive.”

 

  “No need to apologize. Will you accept my request?”

 

  “Before that, may we ask why someone like you that comes from the Gu Clan chose us instead of other places?”

 

  “You keep asking weird questions, I told you I came to ask for a favor.”

 

  “We are asking why you chose us instead of Beggar’s Sect.”

 

  Why did I choose to come all the way to the Unorthodox Faction rather than go to the Beggar’s Sect in the Orthodox Faction?

 

  “This is a request that only the Hao Clan can fulfill. Why do you keep asking when you clearly know the answer?”

 

  I respond in a slightly annoyed tone, following which the snake-eyed man smiles. 

 

  “I’m sorry if it made you upset. I had to make sure because of the rumors about you that have been going around…”

 

  It was understandable that he was skeptical about me since I was a teenager who had barely reached 15 years of age, and then on-top of that, I was a teenager who came from the Gu clan. 

 

  “The reason why I, the branch manager, came out to see you was solely because of the Young Master’s surname. “

 

  “Yes, I know my name carries significant weight, I’m asking if you are going to accept my request. This is the third time now, you know?”

 

  “The Hao Clan never refuses any request, as long as the price is appropriate.”

 

  Dowoon-Chu signaled that he will hear my request out. 

 

  Finally, I could speak. 

 

  “I’m looking for a person. A boy that’s just over 10 years of age.” 

 

  I handed a piece of paper to Dowoon-Chu that had a description of his appearance and the area he was in. 

 

  Dowoon-Chu responded with a confused look on his face. 

 

  “I don’t understand, Young Master. If you are only looking for a person, then there was no reason to come to the Hao Clan.”

 

  “The area is a bit far and I know little about the place. Plus, Beggar’s Sect is expensive.”

 

  As well-known as Beggar’s Sect was, the place had high credibility.

 

  And as high as the credibility was, so was the price. 

 

  If I made the same request I made to Hao Clan to Beggar’s Sect, they would probably charge me twice or more. 

 

  However, one problem I had was,

 

  “Young Master, we don’t operate at small prices either.”

 

  It didn’t mean that it was cheap.

 

  “I know, but I came to Hao Clan knowing that I can pay.”

 

  Dowoon-Chu was looking at the paper I handed him. 

 

  “It may be easy to find the person as the description of his appearance sounds unique, but it isn’t an easy request because of how far it is from Shanxi, combined with the fact that the area of that place is huge.”

 

  “So you’re telling me it is going to be expensive, right?”

 

  Dowoon-Chu told me the price. 

 

  Muyeon, who was standing behind me, choked on his breath after hearing the price. 

 

  How much allowance did I have to save up in order to have enough? It was scary just thinking about the price. 

 

  But, it didn’t matter. 

 

  “The more we fail to find the person, the lower the price will be, but as of now the price is-“

 

  “Sorry, but we are not paying in cash.”

 

  “…Excuse me?”

 

  It was dangerous in itself for a man from the Orthodox Faction to come to the Hao Clan and make a request.

 

  It was a matter of being associated with the Unorthodox Faction Faction while bearing the name of Gu. 

 

  But even then, the reason I came to Hao Clan was because I was confident that they wouldn’t tell anyone about this, and I had assurance that they would accept my request no matter what. 

 

  “I have a very juicy piece of information, one that I can perhaps pay with.”

 

  “…Young Master, did you forget where you were?”

 

  Obviously, I didn’t forget what this place was. This place rivals Beggar’s Sect in terms of how much information they have. 

 

  “I dare to say with confidence, that the amount of information we hold is greater than Beggar’s Sect.”

 

  Beggar’s Sect was restricted in how much they could do, compared to Hao Clan, who didn’t care about what they had or needed to do.

 

  He probably gained enough confidence to say that because of such a key distinction between the two. 

 

  “Furthermore, the information the Young Master holds is something we probably already know about. If you don’t have the means to pay, let’s just pretend that this never happ-“

 

  “The Lord of Hao Clan.”

 

  Dowoon-Chu stopped talking after hearing my words. 

 

  His expression which was previously hard to read, was now filled with fear. 

 

  “The location of the Lord of Hao Clan who had disappeared. Aren’t you curious?”

 

  Multiple swords were directed at me from several directions right as I finished my sentence. 

 

 

 

 

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Footnotes:

  • 1
    The person who manages both managerial affairs and military affairs in the clan
Childhood Friend of the Zenith

Childhood Friend of the Zenith

천하제일인의 소꿉친구
Score 9.4
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
Instead of struggling meaninglessly, he acknowledged his place.

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