༺ Nine Dragons Day (3) ༻
The reason why the engagement between the Young Lady of Peng and myself was carried out was quite simple.
The Gu Clan had a status that was similar to the Four Noble Clans, and both the lady of Peng and I were around the same age.
I would have become the next Lord if everything went well, and the Peng judged that this engagement between the Gu and the Peng would be for the better.
They would also benefit from our marriage, so it wasn’t weird for the engagement to be carried out.
The problem was that I was such a troublemaker.
The agreement of the marriage would have been maintained regardless, but,
The rumors of my behavior getting worse and worse spread to other areas, including the Peng Clan, and my reputation didn’t seem good from their perspective.
Of course, the finishing blow that ended the engagement was me spouting filth at her.
The Young Lady of Peng, Peng Ah-Hee, shouted in shock.
I was more curious than she was, though. Why was she here?
It may be close in comparison to other places, but it was still a long journey by carriage to come here.
So, why was a Peng Clan family member here in Shanxi, where the Gu Clan was holding an important clan ceremony?
“That should be my line. What brings you here?”
Peng Ah-Hee flinched when I took a step forward towards her. Then Peng Ah-Hee’s escort stepped in front of her, as if…
As if she were trying to protect her from an enemy.
Damn, were things that bad between us?
Peng Ah-Hee, who calmed down, now that she was hiding behind her escort, responded to me.
“I just have some business here. You guys don’t own all of Shanxi, so must I report everything that I do here?”
“Hm… Got nothing to say to that.”
After that exchange, I ignored her and proceeded to order dumplings. I can’t forget about what I really came here for.
Peng Ah-Hee was dumbfounded that I was ignoring her, but I didn’t care.
I didn’t want to further involve myself with her, especially if she was here for business. It was definitely a hassle for her to see me.
The dumplings I ordered were quickly done, and the stacks of dumplings looked quite delicious.
I took the dumplings and turned around to leave, but a small voice called to me from behind.
I stopped and turned around to a Peng Ah-Hee who was looking at me nervously.
The words that came out of her were… quite random.
“…I heard that the Gu Clan will be picking new swordsmen tomorrow.”
“Huh?” The Gu clan will indeed pick new swordsmen on the second day of the ceremony.
But why is Peng Ah-Hee asking about that?
Her expression and tone of voice were weird, so I asked her,
“Why are you asking about that? Are you participating?”
“Why would I participate?! And why are you so informal? I’m one year older!”
“My apologies, Senior Sister, I forgot.”
“Don’t call me that all of a sudden, you’re going to make me puke.”
…What does she want me to do?
She probably didn’t have any good memories involving me, as the dissolution of the engagement didn’t end well.
It was probably better for me to leave her alone, so I once again turned to leave.
“Right, anyway, have a good time here, whether you are here for work or vacation.”
I sneaked a glance at her once more while taking the dumplings.
Peng Ah-Hee flinched again when I turned to look at her.
Remembering the dumplings that I had on me and not wanting them to cool, I eventually moved my gaze away from her and began my trip back, Muyeon stepping after me.
I sensed Peng Ah-Hee continuing to stare at my fading back as I left the area.
* * * *
The Young Master of the Peng clan, Peng Woojin, was a man everyone wanted to be. He was rated as someone with the potential to be the greatest,
But he didn’t really put in any effort.
Whenever he talked about his dreams, he always made sure to state that being the Lord wasn’t his dream. He would talk afterwards about how he couldn’t do much about reality.
He eventually became the chief of Heavenly Dragon Academy, which was led by the Murim Alliance, and became the youngest person to become a Lord in history.
But, he always looked like someone who was going to doze off the next second.
One day, Peng Woojin had asked Peng Ah-Hee if he could leave the clan.
Peng Ah-Hee had sarcastically said yes to him like she always did, but Peng Woojin, while dozing off, took what she said seriously and replied,
“Alright then, I’ll do that.”
Sometime after that discussion, Peng Woojin left a brief letter stating, ‘I’ll be back after a little while’ and then disappeared.
When the news broke out that the Young Master had disappeared, everyone looked for him and, after a while, found that it was surprisingly hard to find any trails of him.
After a long futile search under their own terms, the Peng Clan eventually requested the Beggar’s Sect and, after a while, were finally able to get a bit of information on their missing Young Master.
Peng Woojin had gone to Shanxi.
The Lord of Peng, after receiving this piece of information with regards to the whereabouts of his son, gave a seemingly absurd order to Peng Ah-Hee. She was to bring the Young Master back.
While the order – rather, the person tasked with fulfilling it – seemed strange, the truth was that, even with how often Peng Woojin and Peng Ah-Hee bickered, they were still quite close to each other, and so Peng Ah-Hee was the one person that the Lord of the Peng Clan trusted would be able to return with Peng Woojin.
Peng Ah-Hee by herself already felt guilty about Peng Woojin’s disappearance, as, after she recalled the seemingly random and harmless conversation they’d had some time back, she couldn’t help but feel that it was partly her fault for what had happened, and so she had eagerly set out for Shanxi.
“…It already hurts my head, having to deal with my brother, why did I have to run into him?”
To Peng Ah-Hee, meeting Gu Yangcheon was a stroke of misfortune.
The dissolution of the engagement aside, Gu Yangcheon and Peng Ah-Hee would almost always get into fights with each other whenever they met, so it was only natural that they didn’t have a good relationship.
Gu Yangcheon was always aggressive, and it never mattered to him who he was talking to.
Peng Ah-Hee was also aggressive, however, and as such, she’d always gone toe to toe with Gu Yangcheon.
Then Gu Yangcheon said something that crossed the line.
When her uncle heard his words, he had immediately ended the engagement between the two. Those words…
‘What’s so great about you, you’re just a concubine’s child!’
Peng Ah-Hee, while she had been undeniably hurt at the time, didn’t hold his words against him as a grudge, partly because she knew that he’d spoken out of anger, and partly because she’d responded to him in kind when he’d said those words.
Regardless, as a result of Gu Yangcheon’s mouth, the Gu Clan had to apologize to the Peng Clan and the engagement between the two was dissolved.
Her surprise was understandable since she saw that Gu Yangcheon had seemingly changed so much in only a few years.
“His eyes seemed to have changed.”
Did he become mature? Or maybe he was just having a good day…?
‘Yes, that’s it. There’s no way a dog like him will attain maturity so quickly.’
While Peng Ah-Hee wanted to believe that, she knew that she’d caught a vastly different feeling from the Gu Yangcheon she just met. Vastly different in comparison to the Gu Yangcheon whose lack of control had caused their engagement to be broken off.
“…I don’t know how to describe him.”
It was hard for Peng Ah-Hee to put it into words.
Eventually sighing to herself, Peng Ah-Hee put aside her thoughts on the strange meeting and asked her escort.
“So, did you find anything?”
“…I couldn’t find anything tangible, My Lady, but I could confirm that the Young Master is indeed here in Shanxi.”
“Sigh… This bitch of a brother, why did he have to come here out of all the places he could have wandered to.”
Peng Ah-Hee wanted to ask why he chose Shanxi out of all the options, but she already knew what Peng Woojin would say.
He would say something random, like, ‘It’s far but also close at the same time.’
His talent was definitely commendable, but she just couldn’t understand his personality.
He definitely had the blood of Peng, but his personality differed too much from the other members of their family.
“It’s going to be night soon. Let us return and rest, My Lady.”
Peng Ah-Hee sighed again at the words of her escort and then looked in the direction Gu Yangcheon had disappeared to.
“Once I find you, I swear…”
Peng Ah-Hee huffed and then proceeded to leave the area. A few seconds afterwards, at the dumpling store…
A man sneezed suddenly while devouring dumplings.
After wiping his nose he looked around and muttered,
“Is someone talking shit about me? Why do I feel like sneezing?”
Shrugging to himself after a few seconds, he continued to eat his dumplings.
* * * *
The break of dawn signaled the start of the second day of the Nine Dragons Ceremony. I still wasn’t fond of it, but time was something that I couldn’t control.
The martial artists of the Gu clan would participate in the Nine Dragons Competition which would start early in the morning.
Other martial artists would also be able to participate as long as they showed their certificates.
The long line of people that stood early in the morning consisted of all the participants that would participate in the competition.
What’s so good about becoming a part of swordsmen squad that so many people want to embark on the path of sword?
The Four Noble Clans and the Ten Sect Alliance would probably go through something similar to the Gu Clan if not bigger.
“Maybe not the Ten Sect Alliance, considering they only pick their own people… Probably.”
That’s what I’d heard, so I wasn’t sure.
In the arena stood the swordsmen of Gu who celebrated last night, they were going to be the judges.
Even though they had drank so much last night, they didn’t look any different from any other day—whether it was due to them pretending to be alright, or them actually being fine.
When I asked Muyeon a bit later, he told me that they’d woken up 2 hours early in order to get all the alcohol out of their system.
I knew they drank too much.
Wi Seol-Ah, who seemed to be full of spirit after the dumplings she ate yesterday, walked over to me with the same red outfit that I wore yesterday.
I took the outfit from her, then heaved a deep sigh and said.
“…Alright, today is the last day.”
“Young Master! Today is the day they’ll do that stuff, right? Like when they go all ‘pew-pew’ and ‘pow-pow’!”
“…Can you be more specific? I don’t understand what you’re saying.”
“The thing that Muyeon does all the time.”
I think she’s talking about the secret training Muyeon does with his sword back at our place.
But… Isn’t ‘pew-pew and pow-pow’ too hard for anyone to understand?
“That really looks cool. I want to try it someday.”
‘…You’ll probably do it to the point that you’re tired of it.’
That’s probably an understatement for Wi Seol-ah.
I don’t know what she went through to become what she became in the future, but I doubt that it was possible to kill the Heavenly Demon with nothing but her talent.
I held back my words as I looked at Wi Seol-ah who was in high spirits, and then turned to focus on changing my clothes.
After changing, I began to make my way to where I would probably spend the rest of my day.
I was walking slowly as I had some spare time, but suddenly I heard someone shouting with a loud voice.
“Why? Why am I not allowed?!”
“…L-let’s calm down first.”
“I told you that I don’t have much time left! Are you going to be responsible if I get caught?”
It looked like a man that wanted to participate in the Nine Dragons Competition, but he seemed to be complaining as though he had some problems.
What was weird about this situation, however, was that there were swordsmen standing there, tasked with getting rid of these sort of troublemakers, but,
They weren’t doing anything to him.
‘Well, whatever, I’m sure they’ll figure something out.’
There’ll probably be more than just one or two men that would complain like that, but I’m sure that they’ll handle it all nicely.
However, my thoughts and steps came to an involuntary halt, upon hearing the words the man said next.
“What’s wrong with being a member of the Peng Clan? You said I can enter as long as I show my certificate!”
“…But still, Um… We still have to make sure-”
“What more do I need to show? What, should I write ‘I am the Young Master of the Peng Clan’ on my fore- Oh, will you believe me if I do that? I’ll go write it right now.”
“W-wait! Please calm down!”
‘What did he just say…? Young Master of Peng Clan?’
…Surely I misheard that, right?
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