༺ The Plum Blossom Dragon (3) ༻
“Are you feeling alright now?”
Yung Pung had been the one to ask me that question, and it was odd…
Shouldn’t I ask that question?
He looked happy which was quite the contrast to the current situation where he was being treated like a criminal.
For some reason, I felt like, at the moment, Yung Pung sort of resembled Peng Woojin.
…I can smell the lunatic in him.
It definitely wasn’t a pleasant feeling.
Regardless, I had to find out why he was in that situation, so I moved closer to him.
｢What happened for such a beautiful outfit to get covered in dirt…?｣
I ignored the supposed Divine Sword of Mount Hua’s words.
“So, why are you in this situation?”
“Haha, um… Something happened.”
Muyeon who was shocked to see me quickly ran towards me.
“Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I am, I was just a little dizzy earlier.”
I looked at the people from Mount Hua who continued to stare at us while standing opposite us.
Who are these guys?
They were adorned in white outfit, and some of them had the same plum symbol on their uniforms that Yung Pung had.
They were the plum blossom swordsmen of Mount Hua.
They were the talented people that had been able to blossom after their endless training.
And they were at the very least first-rate martial artists, if not higher.
“What’s going on?”
Upon hearing my question, Muyeon retrieved his sword and came to me to answer.
“You fainted while talking to that man, so we captured him before things got ugly.”
“Captured him…? That guy?”
Their actions were understandable since I had indeed fainted whilst talking to him.
But it was surprising that Yung Pung had been so easily captured.
Didn’t he want to ask me something?
Judging from his face, I am assuming he let himself get captured without a fight.
Yung Pung smiled as he seemed to understand what I was thinking.
“I felt like after you woke up, everything would be resolved nicely; so there was no point in me fighting back.”
“Even though you forcefully stopped our carriages before?”
Yung Pung laughed awkwardly at my response.
“That… I do apologize for that. We also had our reasons.”
Yung Pung and his people along with the plum blossom swordsmen of Mount Hua.
The title ‘Plum Blossom Swordsmen’ was famous throughout the world, but there were only a small number of people who held that title.
This was because no clan in the world had an overflowing number of martial artists that were first-rate or above.
But for them to be all moving together as a group meant that this was not a normal problem.
“Do they also have a reason on stopping us here?”
Yung Pung smiled bitterly at my question.
I turned to Muyeon, asking that he release Yung Pung as we didn’t have any issues with him, and then moved towards his people.
As I moved, however, something came to mind that caused me to slow down my steps;
…Wait, wouldn’t they notice the Qi if I go closer to them?
Now that I thought about it, the qi that was inside my body could be problematic.
If Yung Pung had been able to notice it, wouldn’t other highly trained plum blossom swordsmen be able to do the same?
The ghost spoke to me at this point, calming my nervousness.
｢Do not worry and just go.｣
…You can even read my mind?
That was a bit annoying.
｢Just barely. I was able to hear it even clearer because you were so nervous about it. Anyway, just go, I have a solution.｣
I didn’t want to believe it, but it was too late anyways, so I decided to believe him.
｢Now that I think about it, I also have a question for you as well.｣
What is it?
｢I’ll ask it later, aren’t you in more of a hurry than I am?｣
I arrived in front of the man who seemed like he was the leader of this crew.
｢The fact that Mount Hua still exists in the world… is enough.｣
“I am Gu Yangcheon from the Gu clan.”
“I am a student of the second generation of Mount Hua, Shinhyun.”
“I see, Lord Shinhyun, may I ask what is going on right now?”
Shinhyun had a troubled look on his face as he turned his gaze to Yung Pung.
It seemed like there was a problem on this side as well.
Yung Pung ran towards us after getting released, chuckling nervously upon reaching us whilst scratching the back of his head.
His chuckle was cut short when Shinhyun suddenly bonked his head.
…I was expecting a bonk sound, but ‘pow’?
Yung Pung, meanwhile, had started to roll on the floor whilst screaming after a sound that shouldn’t have come from a human’s head after he received bonking.
“Oooh… that hurt so much, master…”
“That hurt? I’m more hurt.”
“It’s because you beat up your lovely disciple, right?”
“You want another bonking?”
Shinhyun let out a sigh as if the light of the world was just turned off.
“You know it hasn’t even been a month since I told you not to cause any trouble, right?”
“So you remember. Then how come you still acted this way by yourself?”
“…I apologize. But we have to think about the situation.”
“Yes, we do, but in reality, it is our situation and ours alone. Do you think outsiders will understand that?”
Yung Pung stopped talking after hearing Shinhyun’s words.
But Shinhyun continued to talk with no intention of stopping.
“You are a taoist before you are a martial artist. Everyone knows your talent, but that is why you were told to not be arrogant.”
“Those words came from none other than the Lord himself. You have to realize that although you are being called the Sword Dragon, that doesn’t mean that everyone in the world is on your side.”
Shinhyun turned away from the sad Yung Pung, then approached us and bowed his head.
“Our disciple has caused you a lot of trouble.”
…I can’t exactly say much after you delivered such a thorough scolding.
He probably did it on purpose so that I couldn’t complain afterwards.
Is it a mindset of ‘I’d rather beat him up myself’?
What? What’s not bad?
I let out a sigh at the awkward situation unfolding before me and spoke to Shinhyun.
“…If you are done, I would like you to explain this to me as well.”
I felt like something was going to happen, but I had to find out what it was.
They had stopped our carriage so abruptly, so it was only fair that they told us what exactly was going on.
Shinhyun seemed to be stunned momentarily upon hearing my statement, but then spoke shortly after organizing his thoughts.
“…Recently, the people of Mount Hua have been disappearing randomly.”
“The people of Mount Hua?”
“Yes, more specifically, the swordsmen of Mount Hua that act outside of the clan.”
Swordsmen of Mount Hua huh.
…Such people are disappearing?
It was common for swordsmen to lose their lives while defending against the gate of demons, but for Mount Hua to send their own swordsmen to fight against the demons meant that it was a major problem.
They had even gone as far as to send some of their plum blossom swordsmen as well.
“We were in the process of scouting for danger as the situation is bad.”
“Even though Mount Hua is a bit far from here?”
We still had to go a long way to reach Mount Hua.
Yet the people of Mount Hua are searching all the way here?
Shinhyun released a bitter smile at my comment.
“…I can’t tell the outsiders the reason.”
“If so, then that’s fine.”
Something had happened, but I didn’t think I needed to dig into it any further.
It probably wasn’t anything too serious considering I didn’t hear about it in my past life.
“…Anyway, while we were finishing our job here, our student said that he felt something and suddenly ran off which caused all this.”
He’d felt the Qi of Mount Hua in some random unknown carriage, so he first stopped us without thinking about the consequences.
I understood that he was desperate considering their situation, but his actions without considering the consequences deserved to be admonished.
I asked Shinhyun.
“What is your opinion on this?”
Shinhyun carefully responded to my question.
“Now that I am this close, it certainly wasn’t a mistake. I can definitely feel it.”
Shinhyun pointed to the carriage I was riding as he spoke.
“I would like to search for it, as long as you give me permission.”
“You feel it from that carriage over there?”
“…Yung Pung said that he had felt something within me as well, you don’t feel that?”
“Something from you?”
Shinhyun thoroughly scrutinized me after hearing my question.
I felt his qi searching around my body, but I didn’t fight back as it was harmless.
Shinhyun looked towards Yung Pung. It seemed like he didn’t feel anything.
“Yung Pung, what did you feel within him?”
Yung Pung looked towards me and frowns.
“Wha, why can’t I feel it… I could have sworn I felt it earli-”
“Don’t make excuses.”
Yung Pung flinched upon hearing Shinhyun’s words.
Then he muttered.
“…I apologize, it seems like I made a mistake.”
“You shouldn’t be apologizing to me.”
Yung Pung after hearing Shinhyun’s words, stood up and bowed his head.
“I apologize Young Master, I behaved quite rudely.”
As I said that, I wondered why he couldn’t feel the Qi now when it had previously been so blatantly noticeable.
The ghost answered my question.
｢I told you earlier, I have a solution.｣
Those indeed were his words.
I didn’t know what he did to solve this, but the Qi that had been lingering around me was now hiding itself within my body.
It was a relief that the problem I had been most nervous about was solved so smoothly.
I spoke to Shinhyun after letting out a sigh of relief.
“There is no need for you to search the carriage.”
“…What do you mean?”
“I already know about the Qi you felt. Please wait here.”
Muyeon who already knew what I was thinking swiftly brought the box from the carriage to me.
On receiving it, I opened the box and showed him the treasure within it.
Yung Pung was the fastest to react, followed by Shinhyun.
It was a little late, but the other members of Mount Hua that stood behind also showed the same reaction.
“The Great Plum Blossom Stone.”
After unwrapping the cloth, the scent of plums spread, and the stone shining in pinkish light was revealed.
Shinhyun was visibly dumfounded and asked.
“W…Why is it that this stone is in your possession?”
He didn’t even seem to consider that it could be fake… which was understandable since there was no way that anyone could be skilled enough to replicate this stone perfectly.
It wasn’t called a treasure for nothing.
“…I was on my way to return the stone to Mount Hua, as our clan was tasked to take care of this stone for a brief time.”
“From… your clan?”
How could I explain this…?
I couldn’t just say that we won the treasure due to our Elder’s drinking bet.
Yung Pung interrupted our conversation.
“This… so this is what our Lord lost in the drinking bet-”
“Shut your mouth!”
Oh, so these guys knew the full story.
That made it easier for me as I wouldn’t have to explain things.
Shinhyun’s ears had turned a bright-red from embarrassment.
It was understandable, since this was caused by the man who represent the head of Mount Hua.
…Although the same goes for us.
I wondered what kind of meeting the Second Elder could have attended for such a thing to happen.
I was curious, but I didn’t want to pry.
“…Anyway, so that’s one of the reasons why we were on our way to Mount Hua.”
We both seemed to have a lot on our minds, but it wasn’t what we could say out loud.
We would only be embarrassing ourselves further if we continued to speak more.
Shinhyun let out some fake coughs.
It was probably to break the awkwardness of the situation.
“Anyway… If that’s why you came here, since we were done searching here, you can let us take the treasure-”
“That I cannot do.”
Shinhyun’s eyes widened at my quick response.
As much as I wanted to just leave after giving him the treasure, this was only one of the reasons why I came here.
My main goal here was to retrieve my little sibling.
“I was tasked to hand the treasure back to the Lord of the clan myself, so even if you are from Mount Hua, I don’t think I can easily give this to you.”
Shinhyun groaned at my response.
Whether it was because he didn’t expect such a response or that he had a lot of thoughts, was something I did not know.
However, he quickly organized his thoughts and responded.
“…I understand. However, since we all saw the treasure already and can’t move away from it easily, please allow us to travel along with your clan.”
Basically, he was saying ‘if you won’t give it, then we will follow you’.
I nodded at Shinhyun.
It was understandable as we were talking about the treasure of their clan.
…I’m satisfied enough by the fact that I got away with absorbing some Qi from the treasure.
If I was caught with that, I couldn’t even imagine what kind of trouble I’d be in.
｢Haha, I knew this was going to happen ever since you started to devour all of that like a pig. What would you have done without me, tsk tsk.｣
…Those were the first things he said after remaining quiet for so long. I really hoped that he would just stay quiet, but it seemed like he had no intention of doing so.
｢Mount Hua huh… The kids from the clan are so strong so I would assume the grownups are no different.｣
It sounded like he was emotional.
It felt a little frustrating to hear him talk while I had to go through all the actual headache.
“Can I ask you something?”
The person that interrupted our ‘conversation’ was Yung Pung who was quietly sitting next to me.
Shinhyun stared at Yung Pung who had interrupted my trail of thought, but Yung Pung ignored his master’s gaze.
Then Shinhyun’s eyes heated up.
“No, I really have something important to ask…!”
So I asked Yung Pung.
“What is it that you want?”
“You said you came from the Gu Clan, right?”
“…You are saying the Gu Clan from Shanxi, right?”
Yung Pung’s expression slowly turned strange at my response.
…Why does he keep asking about my clan anyways?
Shinhyun’s voice was nervous as if he knew that Yung Pung was about to cause trouble again.
But after hearing the words that followed, Shinhyun’s expression morphed to resemble Yung Pung’s.
“Isn’t the Gu Clan of Shanxi, the clan senior belongs to?”
Following Yung Pung’s words, Shinhyun along with all the other people of Mount Hua turned to stare at me.
Their gazes were much more intense than when they had looked at the treasure.
…Why were they acting like that?
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