༺ The Walking Dead (3) ༻
During the time when Gu Yangcheon and Namgung Bi-ah were asleep.
The sect leader’s residence, located at the summit of the Mount Hua Sect, was still illuminated with lights.
Inside the building, a single candle was lit to provide light to the residence, and green plum tea was being brewed by the owner of the residence.
It was for a guest that would soon arrive.
After filling up the cup with freshly brewed tea, the Celestial Plum Blossom spoke up with his eyes still closed.
Following his remark, the residence’s door opened.
Surprisingly, the man who entered the residence was none other than the Sword Emperor.
He appeared to be already familiar with Celestial Plum Blossom.
Calmly, the Sword Emperor entered the residence and sat straight across the already-seated Celestial Plum Blossom.
Having settled down, the Sword Emperor spoke while gazing at Celestial Plum Blossom.
“I’m sorry to have visited you this late…”
“It’s alright. I was feeling a bit lonely as of late, anyways.”
Feeling his throat dry up, the Sword Emperor took a sip of the tea to quench his thirst.
The Celestial Plum Blossom patiently waited for him to speak up.
After some time had passed with the Sword Emperor organizing his thoughts, he started speaking to the Celestial Plum Blossom.
“I came here because I wanted to ask you something.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom knew… he was aware of the question that he so desperately sought answers to even at this late hour of the night.
“You may ask, I’m all ears.”
Hearing those words, the Sword Emperor inquired without any hesitation in his voice.
“Lord, do know where the Immortal Healer is?”
Hearing the Sword Emperor’s question, the Celestial Plum Blossom opened his closed eyes.
It was a question that he expected to come out of the Sword Emperor’s mouth, but he never expected him to be so blunt with it.
That was enough to show the desperation the Sword Emperor was feeling right now.
The Celestial Plum Blossom replied.
“Yes, I do.”
His prompt reply made the Sword Emperor’s eyes widen instantly.
“Then, were you already aware that I was looking for the Immortal Healer?”
“Yes, I was actually. Moreover, I am also aware that Wudang and Shaolin are searching for you.”
However, he had no idea if they were explicitly seeking the Sword Emperor or were after something else connected to him.
“Why are you telling me this so readily, then?”
“Because I knew that you came here after knowing everything.”
The fact that the Sword Emperor visited the Celestial Plum Blossom so late at night.
He was easily able to understand that it wasn’t due to the Mount Hua Sect having a stellar reputation.
“Isn’t that right, Sword Emperor?”
Shaanxi was a vast land.
Even though he was aware that the Immortal Healer was present in these lands, the Sword Emperor believed that it would be difficult for him to find him.
Furthermore, using his Qi to search for the Immortal Healer would only draw unwelcome attention his way.
Hence, he had believed that it would take him days of searching at the minimum.
That was what he had believed thus far, but contrary to his expectations, it had been rather easy to find the whereabouts of the Immortal Healer.
Starting from Huayin had been the right course of action, indeed, as he felt a dense Qi from the vicinity of the mountains.
The Immortal Healer wasn’t a martial artist.
He did have a small amount of Qi unlike other average doctors of the world,
But there was no way that he would have such a dense and heavy Qi in him.
Moreover, the Qi felt similar to a taoist.
Along with the scent of the plum flowers.
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that this was some sort of locational magic.
As locational magic wouldn’t have as blatant of a presence as the one he felt from this location.
It would be more appropriate to say that it was a type of barrier.
There was almost no difference between a barrier and locational magic, but they had one particular distinction.
That being… one of them was primarily used for concealment while the other was used for defense.
And there was only one martial artist in the entirety of Shaanxi that the Sword Emperor knew of who was capable of constructing a Qi barrier of such immense size.
“I wasn’t entirely certain, which is why I came here to ask you.”
No matter how thick and sturdy a barrier was, it wasn’t a difficult task for the Sword Emperor to just slash through it.
Despite his desperation, the Sword Emperor opted to first meet with the Celestial Plum Blossom and talk with him about this matter.
“It seems like you didn’t just barge through.”
“I thought that it’d be more respectful for me to ask first before doing something like that.”
“…This late at night?”
“I’m just joking with you.”
The Sword Emperor was searching for the Immortal Healer in these lands.
That was what he was pursuing for the past few days which resulted in his absence.
The Celestial Plum Blossom knew about that as well.
Though, he was unaware of the exact reasons behind his search.
However, the important thing here was… that the sect leaders of Shaolin and Wudang were looking for Sword Emperor.
‘To move around while avoiding those two forces… is this the capability and prowess of the Sword Emperor?’
While thinking so, the Celestial Plum Blossom suddenly asked him a question.
“Can I ask why you are looking for the Immortal Healer?”
The Sword Emperor immediately looked down after hearing the Celestial Plum Blossom’s question.
“The reason I am looking for him… is similar to why anyone else would.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom nodded after hearing the Sword Emperor’s reply.
Everyone had their own reasons to look for the world’s greatest doctor, but, at the end of the day, they all had one similarity.
It was to live or save others’ lives.
Even though the Immortal Healer seemed unwilling to help, the Celestial Plum Blossom was aware that he was always disclosing his whereabouts no matter where he went.
He also knew that… even though the Immortal Healer always went on a tangent on how he wanted to quit being a doctor, he still wanted to help others from the bottom of his heart.
The Celestial Plum Blossom stared keenly at the Sword Emperor.
No matter how he looked at this situation, it didn’t seem like the Sword Emperor was looking for the Immortal Healer for himself.
The Celestial Plum Blossom was already aware of the fact that he was a high-level martial artist, but he was not able to figure out just where the Sword Emperor stood among the people of that level.
He knew that martial artists throughout the world would always place himself and the Sword Emperor at a similar rank.
But only the Celestial Plum Blossom… and he alone knew…
That the Sword Emperor stood in an entirely different realm compared to him.
The Sword Emperor.
‘…How fearsome that title is!’
With such a majestic title, Wi Hyogun gave off the impression that he was never influenced by anything in the world.
But for such a man to act like this and look so weak and pathetic made it impossible for the Celestial Plum Blossom to understand what was going on with him.
‘…Is the reason the Shaolin and the Wudang are looking for the Sword Emperor also related to that?’
The Celestial Plum Blossom always had a different ideal compared to them, so he didn’t exactly know about the undercurrents that were surrounding the Sword Emperor.
It was just that those two sect, who always preached to ‘care’ about the future of the world felt a bit ominous to him.
Instead of them, he actually preferred people that only cared about their own benefits such as Gu Ryoon or the Immortal Healer.
That was also the reason why the Celestial Plum Blossom was friends with them.
The Sword Emperor suddenly spoke to the Celestial Plum Blossom as he was lost in such thoughts.
“I kindly request that you tell me where the Immortal Healer is.”
“I think it’s more important to consider the Immortal Healer’s opinion on this matter rather than mine.”
“Then, how about I open the door myself and go ‘there’ to talk to him?”
What he meant by ‘there’ was probably the small hut where the Immortal Healer was currently residing.
This could be seen as a threat.
As it basically implied that he would just break through the barrier to get to the Immortal Healer.
The Celestial Plum Blossom could only respond with a bitter smile.
“What would you do if I tell you that you are not allowed to?”
The Sword Emperor didn’t respond to the Celestial Plum Blossom’s question, but the Celestial Plum Blossom already knew…
That he was willing to pay any cost to reach the Immortal Healer.
Even if that meant creating a conflict between him and the Mount Hua Sect.
‘What in the world could make him so desperate?’
Back when he led the Murim Alliance, he wasn’t necessarily an easygoing person, but he was never this kind of desperate man either.
The Celestial Plum Blossom heaved a deep and heavy sigh before speaking to the Sword Emperor again.
“Now is not the time.”
The Immortal Healer was taking care of the Plum Blossom Sword at this time.
Gu Yangcheon was an exception since the Celestial Plum Blossom personally led him to the hut and it was a quick checkup that was over in an instant. But this… this was a whole different matter altogether.
“The Immortal Healer is currently looking after someone else. So even if you go to him right now, you won’t be able to get what you want from him.”
The Sword Emperor looked up after hearing the Celestial Plum Blossom’s word who was just staring at his teacup in silence till now.
“It’s not entirely impossible.”
“…What do you…”
The Celestial Plum Blossom asked with a smile.
“Can you do me a favor?”
The Sword Emperor didn’t respond, but he fixed his posture.
It meant that he was going to accept the request.
* * * *
Is this an emergency?
Am I going to face an emergency just as I woke up in the morning…?
Those were my thoughts after seeing Wi Seol-Ah.
That this was indeed an emergency like no other.
It didn’t seem like anything big was going on at first glance, but an alarm was going off in my head that was signaling to me that I was about to face a crisis.
Wi Seol-Ah’s eyes also seemed different from usual.
Instead of her typically kind smile and puppy eyes, she now donned an expressionless visage on her face.
The Wi Seol-Ah that always had a smile on her face was no more.
And the prolonged silence that could only be described as being uncomfortable of the highest order only made everything worse.
After dripping with cold sweat for a while, I finally asked.
“…D-Did you have a good sleep?”
It was an utterly cold response.
I felt like I was about to break out into cold sweat once again.
‘…Wait why am I being conscious of this anyway?’
It’s not like I did anything, right?
Namgung Bi-ah was the stubborn fellow who insisted on sleeping with me, so I was just an innocent victim here…
So, why am I the one feeling conscious about all of this toward Wi Seol-Ah?
I felt that… as her master, I needed to say something to her.
It seemed like she was starting to forget about her status due to the lenience I had been giving her all the time.
It was absolutely absurd for me to feel this way toward Wi Seol-Ah as her master.
I glared at Wi Seol-Ah after organizing my thoughts till there.
I saw my reflection in Wi Seol-Ah’s pure and clear eyes.
I then spoke out, thinking of scolding her for acting like that in front of her master.
“…You want a yakgwa?”
…You still don’t refuse food even at times like these huh?
When my head was starting to hurt like hell as I was not able to think up of what to do in this situation, Namgung Bi-ah got up from behind.
Her eyes looked droopy as she hadn’t fully woken up yet, but for some reason, she looked rather happy.
Namgung Bi-ah waved her hands toward Wi Seol-Ah.
Wi Seol-Ah frowned after seeing Namgung Bi-ah’s hand gesture.
She even started to tear up a little soon after.
“Sis… you’re so mean.”
Namgung Bi-ah became confused after hearing Wi Seol-Ah’s sudden and random words.
Wi Seol-Ah continued to speak with tears brimming in her eyes, threatening to fall at any moment.
“I… I also want to sleep with the young master.”
Wi Seol-Ah was on the verge of crying after uttering that line.
Namgung Bi-ah quickly went up to her and wiped her eyes with her clothes.
…What is going on here?
“I also want to sleep with him…”
Wi Seol-Ah continued to grumble but didn’t push back Namgung Bi-ah and let her do as she wanted.
She just continued to grumble with tears in her eyes while being embraced by Namgung Bi-ah.
And in the middle of all that, I just blankly stood there like an idiot.
｢Then why are you just blankly standing there—｣
“Then let’s sleep together.”
Wi Seol-Ah glanced at Namgung Bi-ah after hearing her words, while my body froze in shock.
“What did you just say?”
Namgung Bi-ah then responded to my question in a light tone…
“We can sleep… together.”
My head started to ache at the sheer nonchalance with which she spoke those words.
Not only did I have to think about Wi Seol-Ah, but I also had no intention of sleeping with Namgung Bi-ah again.
Plus, Wi Seol-Ah probably didn’t want to do that either—
“Sis, can I really do that…?”
Namgung Bi-ah just nodded her head in response to the Wi Seol-Ah who had asked that question with shiny eyes; filled with anticipation.
“Yeah, let’s sleep together from now on.”
Things were getting weirder and weirder by the second.
I immediately decided to interrupt them as I felt like things were going in a direction that they should not go…
“What are you guys sayin—”
“Young Master! Good mor—”
The person who came in with a loud voice, interrupting my words, was none other than Yung Pung.
He who had entered the room with a bright smile on his face immediately chanced upon the scene of Wi Seol-Ah who was sobbing, Namgung Bi-ah who was hugging her, and me who was watching them with a blank expression.
“Uh… I, I came here to tell you something…”
Yung Pung’s eyes started trembling because of the awkward situation he had chanced upon.
“It seems like I came at the wrong time, I-I’ll come back later.”
“Wait, no, you came at the right ti— Where are you going, Master Yung Pung!?”
Whether he heard me or not, Yung Pung just quickly chose to disappear from the spot.
After Yung Pung closed the door and left hurriedly, the sound of the door closing echoed throughout the silent room.
He only returned to my room around half an hour later that day…