༺ Let’s Make a Bet (1) ༻
Did I hear wrong?
No matter how I looked at it, those words shouldn’t have come out of his mouth.
I continued to stare at my father in confusion, but as soon as he finished talking, he stopped looking at me.
“I’m listening. You may speak.”
“By chance, do you and the Namgung Clan’s lord not get along?”
Father reacted to my question. The eyes that were looking at the letters on the desk were now directed at me again.
“Why do you think that?”
“It just feels that way.”
Judging by both Namgung Jin and Father’s reactions, for some reason I felt that the two didn’t have a very good relationship.
‘Did something happen between those two?’
Father didn’t answer my question. He just stared at me for a bit, then looked away.
He didn’t confirm, but he also didn’t deny it.
“I was going to tell you this at night originally, but I might as well tell you now, since you are already here.”
‘I guess he’s just going to dodge the question I asked just now.’
I never got to get an answer, and I didn’t think he would tell me. Pushing for an answer would just do me more harm.
“First, the Heavenly Pill that I promised you.”
I forgot he had promised me that.
He said that he would give me that as a reward if I managed to bring back Gu Ryunghwa from Mount Hua.
‘I totally forgot about that because of so many other things I have eaten recently.’
From Mount Hua’s treasure through demonic Qi to the flower from yesterday. I had absorbed way too much Qi in such a short period of time. Thanks to that, there is a war raging inside of my body.
Furthermore, I still had the herbs that I had gotten from Celestial Plum Blossom.
“It would be poison to me right now.”
And Father also seemed to notice that.
Because I absorbed the flower’s Qi the day before, my Qi increased even more.
Thanks to that, I still wasn’t done stabilizing the Qi that was flowing inside my body right now.
It would be rather difficult for me to add even more Qi to that.
While I was thinking about what I should do, Father asked suddenly.
“Did you overcome the wall?”
I stood up straight at the sudden question.
He wasn’t directly looking at me, but I instinctively knew that he was inspecting my body.
‘Lies won’t work on him, and it seems like I’ve been caught already. Not that I was going to lie about something like this in the first place.’
After hesitating for a moment, I replied,
Father nodded to my response.
His mouth slightly moved along with that response. It was quite surprising, as this was the first time that I had seen my father make such an expression.
‘Is he happy?’
That being said, his expression looked way too scary.
“You may have reached a higher point than other kids at your age, but don’t let that turn into arrogance. Just proceed as you have been until now.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“If you want, I can give you the Heavenly Pill as I promised, but is there something else you want?”
Since I knew that the pill wouldn’t be very helpful for me right now, it would be better for me to take something else as a reward. Or I could just take the pill now and consume it later.
“I’ll need some time to think about it.”
Father nodded once again to my response. Clearly, he agreed to give me more time.
I was waiting for him to speak as I thought he was organizing his thoughts, but he didn’t.
‘What’s going on?’
Surely this wouldn’t be all he had to talk to me about, so why was he not saying anything?
There was the time I had fought Ya Hyeoljeok in Mount Hua, how I cured the Sword master, and more things like these to talk about. All of those events might be considered more significant than me reaching the peak realm.
I even briefly wrote about them in the letter I had sent him, and prepared some excuses to use when we met in person…
But my father didn’t ask me anything.
“Is there something more you want to say?”
He asked me this instead, seemingly wondering why I was still there.
“That’s what I want to say. Why aren’t you asking me more questions?”
“The things I wrote in the letter back then.”
It had taken me four days to finally write that letter and four days of consulting with Elder Shin.
But my father seemed to not care at all.
To prove that, he promptly added, “Everything was written in the letter as you said, so what’s the problem?”
“Is that enough?”
“No need to ask me pointless things. You may leave as it seems like we went over the important things.”
Instead of asking me more, he told me to leave. He really had no intention of asking me anything.
I was glad since I didn’t have to make any excuses, but it also bothered me.
I really didn’t expect that he wouldn’t ask me a single thing about everything that had happened to me.
‘I knew that Father always was like that, but isn’t he way too careless?’
It felt somewhat ridiculous.
Either way, since things turned out well and I was about to leave, I was reminded of one more thing. I immediately brought it up.
“Lord, about the Tournament of Dragons and Phoenixes.”
He didn’t respond, but I continued to speak anyway. It was because I was reminded of Tang Soyeol wanting to go to the tournament with me.
Honestly, I brought this up as I thought that he would obviously deny this request.
“Lady Tang told me that she wanted to go to the tournament with me. Is it okay if I go with her?”
“The daughter of the Tang Clan?”
I already left the clan two times this year.
And considering how I had basically been trapped in the clan before I became a young lord in my past life, this was a big difference.
Plus, at a time like this, sending me to the Tournament of Dragons and Phoenixes when there would be so many important figures there? There was no way that something like that would be possi-
“It’s fine, you can go.”
“I figured that you wouldn’t let me, then shall I deny her re- wait what?!”
“We already have the invitation letter, so I’ll send you with escorts.”
Father made a strange expression when I asked him.
‘Why are you the one making that face?’
“Why are you letting me go?”
“You are acting strange right now. I approved because you asked.”
“Because it’s strange. You don’t care if I just leave the clan like that?”
“Do so if that’s what you want.”
“What in the…”
The situation was developing in a weird way. ‘This isn’t how it should’ve gone. Why is he agreeing to this request?’
He seemed way too different compared to my past life. And that difference made me dumbfounded even more.
‘What’s the problem?’
He wouldn’t change this much just because I had reached the peak realm, though he did still have the same emotionless expression as before.
It seemed like something had changed in him, but I didn’t know what that was.
“Anything more you want to ask?”
“No, I have nothing.”
“Then you may leave.”
In the end, I got to my feet and prepared to leave. That was when Elder Shin suddenly piped up.
｢You aren’t saying that you won’t go.｣
‘The Tournament of Dragons and Phoenixes?’
｢Yes, even though you said you didn’t want any more long trips.｣
As Elder Shin said, I wasn’t fond of leaving the clan again, and I hated long trips even more…
But the Tournament of Dragons and Phoenixes in Henan was important.
It wasn’t too far compared to other places, and I had to meet someone there anyway.
I was waiting for something like this to happen as I hadn’t had any reason to go there, but this was a good opportunity.
There were still a few years to go, but it was better to take care of it fast.
Though it did bother me a little that I had to go there with Tang Soyeol. ‘Oh well.’
While I was thinking those thoughts, Elder Shin asked me.
｢Henan, huh? Is Shaolim Sect still in Henan?｣
‘Of course Shaolin Sect is still in Henan.’
Shaolin Sect of Henan.
It was one of the Ten Sect Alliance, and the clan that had the most influence in the Orthodox Faction.
The Murim Alliance being currently located in Henan was the proof of that.
Also, Shaolin Sect didn’t have any potential young prodigy at this moment, but a few years later, they would produce a talented young prodigy that would take over the throne of the Dragon that would have been empty after Peng Woojin.
I had a pretty deep relationship with that person in my past life.
｢If you go to Henan, can you go to Shaolin Sect?｣
‘To Shaolin Sect? How come?’
｢There is something that I want to see. Just seeing it will be enough for me, so please go there.｣
‘ And I’ll just have to go there and nothing else?’
｢Yes, don’t worry since just watching is enough for me.｣
The Murim Alliance and Shaolin Sect weren’t too far away from each other, and it was the first time Elder Shin had made a request like this to me. There shouldn’t be any problem if all I had to do was go there and watch.
After briefly organizing my thoughts, I was about to leave the lord’s room, but father suddenly spoke to me from behind.
I turned around after hearing my father’s voice.
“Get prepared as we have something scheduled in two hours, I’ll send you the location.”
“A schedule all of sudden?”
What schedule? I had planned to see the Immortal Healer.
As I looked on, confused, father continued to speak. My expression changed as soon as I heard the next words.
“Don’t be late, it’s your engagement.”
Just hearing it made me exhausted.
* * * *
After leaving the lord’s room, I went to the guesthouse that Tang Soyeol was staying in.
Martial artists of Tang Clan were guarding outside.
They greeted me respectfully when I arrived and didn’t try to stop me.
Even if I was a member of the Gu Clan, they wouldn’t just let me in the house this easily. Did Tang Soyeol tell them about me prior?
As I was getting closer to the guesthouse, someone ran toward me.
“Young Master Gu!”
I hadn’t even gone inside the house, but Tang Soyeol somehow knew of my arrival and ran out to see me without any shoes on.
“Lady Tang! You should at least wear shoes!”
Tang Soyeol’s servant quickly shouted from behind.
It was only then that Tang Soyeol finally realized how she appeared in front of me. Her face turned beet-red and she quickly went back inside. She returned a moment later.
The Tang Soyeol that came back seemed much calmer and tidier than before, but I didn’t know how to react as I had already seen her careless appearance earlier.
｢Just go with the flow. That’s probably the best way.｣
I listened to Elder Shin’s advice and smiled at her.
“Thank you for coming.”
“It wasn’t any trouble. I had something to tell you anyway.”
“Something to tell me? What might that be…?”
When I accepted her request to go to the tournament with her, she was initially shocked, but soon began to jump around.
“W-What…! Really?! Is this real?”
“Huh? Yeah… The Lord said it’s fine.”
Did this really make her that happy? It was quite rare to see a direct descendant of a noble clan acting like that.
‘I think Namgung Bi-ah said that she’d also come.’
She said that she’d also go with me if I was going, but I didn’t know what would happen with that now that Namgung Jin was here at the Gu Clan.
“When should we start leaving? What should I wear? What should I bring…?”
“Lady Tang, let’s calm down first- “
“I didn’t get to bring that many things since I came here in a hurry, so is there a poison that you lik-… Oh, you already told me you don’t.”
The smile I had forced onto my face almost broke.
‘Normal people don’t like poison in the first place, woman…’
‘Do all people in the Tang Clan bring poison with them to drink? Like, do different kinds of poison have different flavors or something?’
I did meet someone from the Tang Clan that became a demonic human in my past life, but I didn’t remember him carrying around poison like that.
I just knew that their resistance against poison was stronger than the average martial artists’.
I guessed Tang Soyeol was immune to thousands of poisons as she was that obsessed with them.
My thoughts became complicated when I saw Tang Soyeol smiling creepily while grabbing both her cheeks which had become red.
‘It really looks like she likes me.’
It would be hard to not notice it considering how blatant she was about it.
｢Indeed. You finally notice it after she blatantly shows it.｣
I hate how Elder Shin was always talking shit.
‘But why does she like me?’
I couldn’t figure it out no matter how long I thought about it. The only time I had seen her in this life was back when I had gone to the Tang Clan’s Military Exhibition.
And we hadn’t even talked to each other that much, nor had we met up. I couldn’t find any reason for her to like me.
After looking at Tang Soyeol for a bit, I spoke.
“You know that I’m engaged. right…?”
｢You crazy bastard…! How could you just say it so blatantly!｣
Elder Shin shouted at me, but I didn’t really know how to phrase it differently. It was true that I was engaged to Namgung Bi-ah, and I would be lying if I said that I didn’t have any feelings for Namgung Bi-ah or Wi Seol-Ah.
Tang Soyeol’s request was definitely a good excuse for me to go to the Tournament of Dragons and Phoenixes, but if that girl really had feelings for me, there would be way too many problems for me to just leave it like that.
｢You only act rationally at times like this… You couldn’t be more distasteful.｣
‘Elder Shin… You just don’t like me, right?’
｢And you are only keen at times like this… Tsk!｣
I knew my words would make Tang Soyeol feel bad. Even if she didn’t have any feelings for me, those would still offend her, since they implied that I thought she liked me.
It was something that I shouldn’t have said in front of her face whether it was correct or not. Though I said it anyway because I didn’t want to mince words.
Tang Soyeol stared straight into my eyes, her gaze somewhat sad and disappointed.
She bit her lips for a moment, then said, “It’s… fine.”
Before I got to ask what was fine, she spoke again.
“I can do it. I can.”
Tang Soyeol spoke in a determined voice with her fist clenched. Seemingly, she had made up her mind.
The problem was she never actually told me what she could do.
｢This wretched world, what does it want to show me?｣
Muttered a certain Taoist under his breath, feeling he had been betrayed by the world.
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༺ Let’s Make a Bet (1) ༻