༺ Immortal Healer (5) ༻
“How are you feeling?”
The Celestial Plum Blossom asked after he was finally allowed to enter the hut.
I also snuck in when things had somewhat calmed down inside.
“You shouldn’t come all the way here when you are so busy…”
“I just happened to stop by, so no need to say that.”
The Plum Blossom Sword then smiled at the Celestial Plum Blossom.
The Immortal Healer was still glaring at him, but he didn’t speak or say anything else.
‘The Immortal Healer huh…’
I was quite a bit astonished after hearing that the elderly man was actually the Immortal Healer himself.
He was a man who was incomparable in the field of medical techniques.
Moreover, he was known as someone who could heal anyone, but due to his wandering nature, it was hard to make contact with him even for high-ranking clans and prominent sects.
But to come across the Immortal Healer here…
‘…I didn’t expect him to have such a personality though.’
｢Ever since times immemorial, a master of a specific field has always shown to be weird in their own ways.｣
‘…Oh, so that’s why…’
It was definitely credible since he was a reliable example of that trait himself.
｢What! What do you mean by that!?｣
Putting aside the matter of the Immortal Healer, the real problem here was Zhuge Hyuk.
I kept looking at him while he was quietly sitting down and looking up into the air with that characteristic emotionless expression.
‘Zhuge Hyuk is the grandson of the Immortal Healer?’
I had indeed heard that he was traveling with his grandfather, but I didn’t expect said grandfather to be the famed Immortal Healer himself.
‘What is going on here…?’
What could have happened for him to turn into that monster?
If that guy really is the Zhuge Hyuk I know, then just what could have happened to him that drove him to take the Heavenly Demon’s side?
The background he had recounted to me was completely different than the one I am currently witnessing with my own eyes.
Of course, I didn’t believe everything he told me back then, but I never thought that he would actually be the grandson of the Immortal Healer.
Does this also play a role in his transformation in the future?
‘Why is everything getting more and more complicated?’
Why was it that I could never have anything easy going on for me in my life?
I glanced at Zhuge Hyuk and thought to myself.
…Can I really kill him?
Or should I even kill him?
And if I do, when should I, and would it cause probl—
I clenched my head at the headache I got after hearing Elder Shin’s voice…
When I gazed at the direction the voice – other than Elder Shin’s – had come from, I saw the Celestial Plum Blossom looking at me.
“Are you feeling ill?”
“No, I’m fine…”
“Tae! The child said he’s sick!”
The Immortal Healer shouted angrily at the Celestial Plum Blossom and continued boiling medicinal herbs.
Slowly and carefully boiling the herbs, he handed the concoction over to the Plum Blossom Sword.
“Sleep after you drink this, you’ll feel tired after taking the medicine.”
A nervous expression floated on Gu Ryunghwa’s face, worrying that her master might drop the medicine from her thin and scrawny-looking hands.
From the outside, she looked like a weak elderly woman, but both the Celestial Plum Blossom and the Immortal Healer called her Swordmaster.
And my sister, Gu Ryunghwa, seemed to be her disciple.
Now I understood why Yung Pung had said that Gu Ryunghwa was his senior.
Probably, that was also the reason behind Gu Ryunghwa being treated as a second-generation student even though she joined the sect even after the third-generation students.
‘Why didn’t I know that she was a disciple of the Plum Blossom Sword?’
We didn’t talk much in my previous life, but I had never heard about Gu Ryunghwa being a disciple of the Swordmaster of Mount Hua from others either.
That probably meant that this information hadn’t been spread outside the vicinity of the sect.
How did Gu Ryunghwa even become her disciple?
And what happened for the student of the Plum Blossom Sword to be so unknown to the world?
I just knew that Gu Ryunghwa was a martial artist of the Mount Hua Sect and nothing else.
The Plum Blossom Sword was a Swordmaster who was respected by many swordswomen of the martial world.
And if I had to list the top martial artists of the Mount Hua Sect, the Plum Blossom Sword would be included at the same tier as the Celestial Plum Blossom.
A female Swordmaster that never hesitated to run into danger to save others in need.
When the true gate of demons appeared in Shaanxi, not only did the Plum Blossom Sword evacuate all the people to safety, but she also became a generational hero after holding off all the demons until the Celestial Plum Blossom’s arrival.
However, her sudden inactivity and the news of her disappearance from the martial world was a hot topic that was often discussed by many.
‘Was it because of her disease?’
Needless to say, she didn’t look fine.
Just the fact that she looked older than the Celestial Plum Blossom, even though being younger, was enough reason to reach that conclusion.
While I kept staring at her like that, our eyes suddenly met.
I was surprised by that and flinched, but the Swordmaster merely smiled at me kindly.
“Nice to meet you.”
“I should have met you much sooner, but too much time has passed away already for that.”
“You know me?”
Did she hear about me from Gu Ryunghwa?
I was nervous, naturally assuming that she didn’t relay anything good about me to her master.
However, the words that left her mouth next were totally out of my expectations.
“You look very much like Cheonhee.”
Words that I never expected to hear— a name that I thought I had already forgotten.
How did she know that name?
“You… knew my mother?”
Cheonhee— the name of my mother.
Let alone her name, I have even forgotten that smiling face of hers, and the voice with which she used to call my name.
The Swordmaster merely smiled at my question.
“She was a friend of mine… a really dear friend.”
“My mother was a friend of yours…?”
I was unaware of my mother’s experiences from her younger days, but I often heard that she had lived an ordinary life…
‘…I guess it’s not too weird.’
Since there was a girl like Wi Seol-Ah around.
The problem here was that I started learning way too many things around me only now, after my resurrection.
“…He doesn’t look anything like her.”
Were the words Gu Ryunghwa spoke while being nestled in the Swordmaster’s arms.
She was glaring at me fiercely.
“That guy looks nothing like my… mother. Mother looked like a rabbit, while that guy looks like a mantis in human skin…!”
｢See I didn’t just say that you look like a mantis for no reason!｣
Why is it mantis out of all the options…
There are so many cute or cool animals in the world but why is it that she only compared me to a mantis?
｢Why don’t you realize the possibility that maybe you don’t look cute or cool?｣
‘…Elder Shin, you can stop now.’
The Swordmaster patted Gu Ryunghwa’s head and spoke.
“Ryunghwa, why are you being so rude to a person that came all the way here for you?”
“Now, now… apologize to your brother.”
Gu Ryunghwa’s lips curled into a sulky pout at the Plum Blossom Sword’s words.
She was still a kid, after all.
Her expression told me that she was cursing at me even though her mouth emitted words of apology.
However, she still listened to the Swordmaster’s words.
The Swordmaster smiled after seeing Gu Ryungha’s behavior and continued.
“4 years ago, when I visited the Gu Clan, I wanted to see you as well… but… you were not in the clan at the time.”
4 years ago?
‘Oh, is it during then?’
The time around which I began to see the darkness of the Gu Clan.
The time that I slowly started getting destroyed from the inside.
It wasn’t a good time for me.
The Swordmaster gazed at me with that kind smile of hers without knowing about that fact.
“I’m glad I can at least see you now…”
“Of course, it was very disappointing for me when I couldn’t see you back then.”
Is it because I am the son of her close friend?
It all started to make sense now. The reason why Gu Ryunghwa left for the Mount Hua Sect a year after the Swordmaster visited our clan 4 years ago was probably due to this.
Moreover, since none other than the Swordmaster wanted to make Gu Ryunghwa her disciple, it was understandable why the father or the elders didn’t refuse the offer.
Of course, that decision of theirs was probably strengthened further due to my existence.
“You look very similar to Cheonhee.”
I smiled inwardly at the Swordmaster’s words.
They were words I could never relate to.
“I don’t remember my mother having such a sharp expression on her face though…”
“The outside may be different, but you certainly are very much like her, especially that aura of yours.”
｢Even in the middle of this, that woman doesn’t deny the fact your face is indeed fierce.｣
‘Do you really have to tease me every time?’
Aura huh, what does that even mean?
Trying to understand what she meant now was extremely difficult as all my memories of my mother had grown dim.
I just vaguely remember my time with her being warm and comforting.
That was the only thing I could remember about her.
While I was starting to become engrossed in my own thoughts, I sensed someone next to me handing me something.
I wondered who it was, and I found that it was actually Zhuge Hyuk; I was slightly surprised at that.
Towel? What does he want me to do with it?
“What is it?”
Even when I asked, the guy just continued to stare at me without even moving his mouth.
Gu Ryunghwa had already told me that he was a disabled boy who was unable to talk,
However, it was strange to me since I remembered him talking just fine in my previous life.
Was that also due to the power of the Heavenly Demon?
They were even able to make a disabled person talk?
Were they even human at this point?
As I didn’t react or respond much, the boy just put the towel back into his pocket and sat near the Immortal Healer.
Was he always like that?
The guy that always had that nasty smile on his face… the guy that led thousands of people just with his words alone without any hesitation…
Were they really massacred by the same kid that was currently in front of me?
Then just what in the hell happened for Zhuge Hyuk to become a supporter of the demonic cult?
The Immortal Healer spoke while gazing at the Celestial Plum Blossom.
“You fucker… why did you come here?”
“…Jeez, how could you call the Lord of the Mount Hua Sect a fucker…”
“Want me to leave?”
“Call me whatever you like… I came here to see how my disciple is doing.”
“Just shit with your mouth at this point, your face is blatantly telling me that you came here for something else.”
“Did you come here for that kid?”
The Immortal Healer gazed at me as he spoke those words.
“I mean… you know, might as well kill two birds with one stone since I came here—”
The Celestial Plum Blossom avoided Immortal Healer’s gaze after being caught red-handed.
It seemed like the Immortal Healer was about to spout flame from his eyes after seeing him doing that.
“The promise between us ends with the Swordmaster. I’m sure you know this yourself.”
It was very uncomfortable for me to sit here.
I came here when I wasn’t even given a proper explanation, however, learning that we had come to the Immortal Healer for my sake made me feel even worse.
“Jeez! Can’t you just let it pass? That’s what friends are for, you know!”
“Now you are just being utterly shameless! Do you not know just how much it cost for you to hire me to ask something like that!?”
“Are you really gonna be so petty?”
“Petty my ass, I’m about to drown you in this medicinal herb.”
What is this abomination of a conversation I am hearing right now?
Is this really the conversation between the greatest Taoist, the Celestial Plum Blossom, and the legendary healer, the Immortal Healer?
The Plum Blossom Sword just maintained that kind smile of hers even while hearing all this bickering.
It looked like she was used to it already.
“My answer is still no.”
“Come on now…”
“It’s obvious that he’s not in a normal condition and if I also take care of him, I can’t put all my attention into the Swordmaster. Are you okay with that?”
My eyes became bigger after hearing the Immortal Healer’s words.
Not in a normal condition? Who…?
I ate, pooped, slept, and walked quite well up until now though… I couldn’t understand why he said that I was not in a normal condition just now.
If it was anyone else, I would have taken those words as pure bullshit, but the problem here was that they came from the Immortal Healer himself.
“Judging by your reaction, it seems like you weren’t aware of that yourself, but you’re telling me to fix that?”
“Hey, I never asked you to fix it… Only to check—”
“Get out of here with that nonsense of yours, Dohwa.”
Immortal Healer’s voice was tinged with notes of extreme anger.
“That’s the responsibility of a healer. Are you telling me to neglect a patient even after knowing that they are hurt?”
“Plus, I have someone that I have to take care of in front of me—”
“Would the Leaf of Dragon’s Candle do it?”
The Immortal Healer stopped moving after hearing those words leak from the Celestial Plum Blossom’s mouth.
He was so stunned that even his hand that was boiling the medicine so diligently had stopped.
He wasn’t the only one that was shocked as I was just as shocked.
‘He has the Leaf of Dragon’s Candle?’
The Dragon’s Candle was a sacred herb that was extremely hard to acquire even if someone had a lot of money.
It was often said that even one root of the Dragon’s Candle was capable of making a good chunk of the greatest medicines that were available in the world.
…And he offered that to him?
It wasn’t strange to hear that the Mount Hua Sect had possession of Dragon’s Candle,
However, a precious thing like that was not something that should’ve been offered just to get me checked.
Moreover, he even offered the leaves of Dragon’s Candle…
“Dohwa, are you being serious right now?”
“If it turns out that I am lying, I will bark like a dog in front of you.”
Even so, for a sect leader to bark like a dog is just…
It wasn’t something that a leader should ever say, but I guess it’s more believable now that he said that—
“…You piece of shit, you said that last time and you barked like a dog like it was nothing…!”
Everyone froze instantly after hearing what the Immortal Healer just said.
The Lord of the Mount Hua Sect actually barked like a dog? Surely the Immortal Healer was joking right now… Right?
Thinking like that I looked at the Celestial Plum Blossom, only to see him standing there with an awkward expression on his face.
“Hey! There are kids watching…!”
“You idiot, you caused so much trouble that surely it won’t get any worse.”
I thought for a second.
…Will the Mount Hua Sect be alright like this?
｢…Don’t talk to me.｣
‘Are you really okay with Mount Hua being like this?’
｢What’s Mount Hua? I don’t know what that is. My memories have been faint lately… Could it be that I have dementia…?｣
This old man wasn’t normal either.
He even used dementia as an excuse even though he’s a ghost already.
“…Can’t believe this didn’t work.”
“Then if it turns out I was lying, I will step down as the Lord of the Mount Hua Sect.”
The Swordmaster called out to the Celestial Plum Blossom with utter shock on her face.
Shocked that he even bet his position as the lord of the sect.
He was such a man that even bet the clan’s treasure for a drinking game so…
It was really hard to trust someone like him.
After hearing the Celestial Plum Blossom’s words, the Immortal Healer looked at me again.
I assumed that betting his position as the Lord of Mount Hua was enough to make the Immortal Healer believe in him.
“How about it?”
The Immortal Healer thought for a while.
Is the Dragon’s Candle really that valuable?
Soon, he let out a sigh…
“…I’m just going to check him and that’s all I’m doing… Even if something is wrong with him, I’m not going to do anything about it.”
After musing by himself for a while, the Immortal Healer finally accepted the Celestial Plum Blossom’s request.
“Oh yes, yes! That’s enough.”
“Uh… sorry to interrupt, but what about my opinion?”
“…I’m never going to accept your requests ever again.”
“Then I’ll just have to come to you over and over again till you do.”
“Just shut your mouth already!”
After speaking those words, the Immortal Healer reached out his hand towards me.
“Pull up your sleeve and lend me your arm.”
I couldn’t help but hesitate at the Immortal Healer’s words.
I knew that the whole reason why we came here was because the Celestial Plum Blossom knew about the Qi of the Mount Hua Sect that was swirling inside of me,
However, I doubted if he could even figure out the condition of the Qi inside of me. Moreover, if he really was able to figure everything out, I feared him being able to discover my demonic abilities as well.
｢Lend him your arm.｣
｢The longer you hesitate, the more suspicious you look. I’ll take care of the thing you are nervous about, so lend him your arm.｣
I listened to Elder Shin’s words and pulled up my sleeve and reached my arm out to the Immortal Healer.
｢However, I hope you tell me what you are so nervous about as payment.｣
The Immortal Healer grabbed my arm and slowly checked my pulse.
Soon, a very small trace of Qi came inside my body from the tips of the Immortal Healer’s fingers that were touching my arm.
I guess even if one was a healer, they had some amount of Qi in them at least.
After touching my arm for a while, the Immortal Healer finally spoke in an extremely astonished and horrified tone.
After hearing his words, I couldn’t help but feel my mind go blank.
“You aren’t just abnormal, but you are basically a walking dead.”
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