Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 119

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༺ Sword With No Honor (1) ༻
 
 
 
  Leaving my place while walking with fast steps, I was able to arrive at my destination relatively fast.
 
  The destination was the guesthouse that Namgung Bi-ah was currently staying in.
 
  To my knowledge, Namgung Jin was likely to be staying in that place as well. 
 
  When I heard the piece of news from the Second Elder, I, at first, had thoughts of heading to the Gu Sunmoon— it was likely to be the place where the two were having their conversation. 
 
  I was thinking of going there because I believed that it would bring out the best reaction from Namgung Jin. 
 
  I thought long and hard about visiting there, but I still decided it would be best if I visited Namgung Bi-ah to check on her condition. 
 
  The sun had not set yet during the time the engagement talks were taking place. However, the moon was already hanging in the sky at the moment. 
 
  Following the road that was covered with sporadic fallen leaves, I arrived at the front gate of the guesthouse. 
 
  The moment I was about to enter the compound, I was blocked by someone. 
 
  “You can’t enter.”
 
  When I checked to figure out the originator of that cold and strict voice, I found out that it was a martial artist of the Namgung Clan.
 
  Looking at the rude man, I spoke. 
 
  “Do you not know who I am?”
 
  “I do.”
 
  “Then I wonder what you are doing right now.”
 
  “This is the lord’s order.”
 
  “I’m sure I already sent you guys a message regarding my visit…”
 
  I have already mentioned this before, but to reiterate, I had sent a message via a servant to this place since I didn’t want to recklessly barge in without informing them of anything. 
 
  “Did my servant not come?”
 
  “The servant indeed arrived here.”
 
  “Then what?”
 
  The man didn’t respond. 
 
  Oh…? Is he ignoring me now? It did offend me a little, but I didn’t think it was too big of a deal or anything.
 
  It may have been a guesthouse that belonged to the Gu Clan, however, the fact of the matter was that it was currently occupied by guests from the Namgung Clan. Besides, I didn’t plan to be stubborn if they didn’t welcome any visitors even though said visitors may be blood relatives from the Gu Clan. 
 
  If it was any other clan though, I would’ve probably thrown a tantrum right here right now. However, I didn’t want to cause a scene for such a small matter, especially so since they were a noble clan. 
 
  However, there was a problem, and it was… 
 
  “You got to say something for me though, you said a servant arrived here, right? ”
 
  “…We rejected the servant due to the lord’s orders.” 
 
  “Yes, that’s also why you are blocking me here, isn’t it? Then one more question…”
 
  Sneakily, as I tried to enter the compound, the martial artist man grabbed onto my shoulder with his palm. He had no hesitation in touching me. 
 
  Looking at the eyes of the man, I spoke in a confused tone. 
 
  “Where is my servant?”
 
  Instantly, I could feel the man’s hand shudder at my question. My servant should’ve returned to my residence and informed me about the rejection from the Namgung side. 
 
  However, my servant never arrived, even as the day turned into night. 
 
  Of course, it could’ve been possible that my servant just forgot to inform me about the rejection, 
 
  And if that were to be the case, then I can just easily scold her and be done with this matter. 
 
  But why do I get the feeling that that isn’t the case for some reason?
 
  The martial artist of the Namgung family hesitated ever so slightly before responding. 
 
  “…We don’t know about that ourselves—“
 
  “Hey.”
 
  “…!”
 
  The moment I cut his speech off, the tone of my voice changing to a more hostile one, the man looked down at me with clear shock on his face.
 
  Instantly, I dropped the smile I had forced myself to make. 
 
  “You should at least not tremble while speaking if you’re going to lie. Do you think I’m an idiot or what?”
 
  With a roar, Qi rushed out of my body like a storm. Immediately, the man went for his sword but, at this distance, it was already too late for him to do anything. 
 
– Crack-!
 
  The hand that had been grabbing my shoulder till now, twisted at an awkward angle. Immediately after, I delivered a Qi-enhanced jab straight to the man’s ribs. 
 
  A scream was about to leak out, along with the sound of the heavy impact, due to the pain he felt at my strike… however, I immediately knocked him down, before he could even leak any sound, by striking his chin. 
 
– Thud.
 
  Pathetically, the martial artist of the Namgung Clan collapsed on the spot. Carrying his collapsed body on my shoulders, I threw him inside the gate. 
 
  Seeing the violent scene, the other guards finally appeared, pulling their swords out in the process. 
 
  Enhancing my vision, I took in my surroundings. 
 
  ‘I don’t think there is anyone here that overcame the wall before the wall.’
 
  It seemed that, even amongst the tens of martial artists that gathered in this spot right now, there wasn’t a single person that had reached the peak realm. 
 
  Isn’t it strange? I could’ve sworn that the Lightning Dragon’s escort was a martial artist that had surpassed the wall already, but not even one of the escorts of the lord of the clan reached the peak realm?
 
  ‘Is this him letting his guard down, or just his arrogance on display?’
 
  Whichever it is, both fit him to a T. 
 
  It was also possible that they were hiding their true power, however, I had to pay attention to another matter. Noticing something off transpiring outside, Namgung Bi-ah quickly came out of the guesthouse. 
 
  However, she wasn’t the person I was looking for this time. 
 
  Already flooding the guesthouse with my Qi, I was able to locate what I had been searching for— it was in the corner of a room. 
 
  Suppressing my raging emotions, I moved toward that location. It felt that the martial artists of the Namgung Clan were yelling something at me, but I couldn’t register their words right now. 
 
  Their hands reached out, trying to block me since I was moving while ignoring them, but when I broke the chin of a man that tried to come toward me, I was easily able to achieve a momentary state of silence. 
 
  With no further interference, I arrived in front of the room and opened the door. 
 
  “Oough.. ogh…”
 
  A servant could be seen inside. 
 
  Her face had become swollen… so much so that it was hard to even recognize her. Moreover, due to the overwhelmingly damaged body of hers, she wasn’t even able to move right now. Her wounds were so bad that she couldn’t even clearly pronounce the word, 
 
  However, the tears that leaked out of her eyes due to the pain she must be feeling were more than enough for me to know what happened. 
 
  It was none other than the servant that I had sent to the Namgung Clan’s compound earlier in the day. 
 
  I didn’t even know her name. I just knew that she was one of my servants. Also that she often came over to my residence to inform me about the meals. 
 
  Every time, her body would flinch when I thanked her and an awkward smile would hang in her face in response. 
 
  I was never really close to her and I was sure that she felt the same way toward me. 
 
  However, my emotional state was still in turmoil at seeing one of my people in this state. 
 
  “What to do here.”
 
  I cupped my face, covering it since I didn’t know what kind of expression I might be making right now. 
 
  Then I saw the servant trying to say something to me with her quivering lips that weren’t even able to move properly. 
 
  “Auyaahh…”
 
  I couldn’t understand what she was trying to convey. And it’s not like a servant could talk to me telepathically either. But I still felt like shit as I could vividly feel the emotions that she harbored. 
 
  “Seriously, what should I do?”
 
  “Young Master Gu… This is— “
 
  I struck the guy’s mouth when he tried to explain this situation in an awkward tone. With the advent of a ‘Pow!’ sound, his teeth immediately fell to the floor. He tried to block the bleeding of his mouth with his hand so I just twisted that joint of his. 
 
  Accompanying the echoes of a horrific sound, bones burst out of the arm that I had twisted. And with that scene, the goons of the Namgung Clan realized that the situation had taken a turn for the worst. Immediately, they pulled out their swords and got into a battle stance. 
 
– Hwa…
 
  Flames bubbled out of my body in calm waves. 
 
  I had to make myself calm right now. I didn’t even know who the servant was, nor did I even know her name. Her current state shouldn’t anger me so. 
 
  At least, that was what I was trying to make myself think. 
 
  Otherwise, I would just slaughter everyone here. 
 
  “Wai—“
 
  “Don’t come here.”
 
  Namgung Bi-ah tried to approach me, however, I stopped her in her tracks— holding in the steaming breath that reflected the boiling emotions of anger within me. 
 
  “If you come right now, I may be very annoyed at you.”
 
  Namgung Bi-ah froze like a stone statue at those words. Both of her eyes started trembling violently and it was evident that she was trying to convey something to me. However, she didn’t open her mouth in the end. 
 
  Namgung Bi-ah probably wasn’t aware of this event that had taken place here. If she had known, something like this wouldn’t have ever happened in the first place.
 
  This was the result of my carelessness, in the end. I never expected that something like this would’ve happened. 
 
  It wasn’t that I couldn’t, but more like I refused to. 
 
  ‘Fuck.’
 
  An intense surge of heat flooded the guesthouse and its surroundings. The destructive flame arts inside my body began to surge out without my control. The speed of the surging revolutions gradually got faster and faster, and it seemed like the unruly flames would explode any moment now. The revolving flames inside of my body were practically roaring at the sight of the entrance being blocked by the goons of the Namgung Clan. 
 
  The martial art always corresponded to the wielder’s emotions. 
 
  It applied to everyone; no matter what level they may have achieved. 
 
  That’s why it was always important to stay calm and level-headed. The more stumbling blocks of cultivation that a martial art practitioner overcame, the broader their mind would become. Subsequently, it would lead them to achieve peace and a tranquil state of mind. 
 
  That was why all martial artists desired to overcome the walls and stumbling blocks in their path of cultivation. 
 
  However, I had not achieved such a level yet. 
 
  That was probably why I was feeling so infuriated right now. 
 
  “Hey.”
 
  “…Huh?”
 
  “Could you go to the medical room with her?”
 
  I had no choice but to go to Namgung Bi-ah for this favor. I couldn’t just leave her there in that state. The silently standing Namgung Bi-ah instantly ran toward the servant, covered in blood and grime, without any hesitation and carried her on her back. 
 
  Immediately after, she evoked her Qi and started running toward the medical room at full speed. 
 
  “Stop her! We can’t let the Young Miss leave the ho—“
 
  The martial artist that was trying to shout something flinched almost instantly. The whole surroundings had been engulfed in all-annihilating flames, after all. A heat that even made it hard to breathe was now pervading the whole space. 
 
  Between the surge of intense heat, I spoke out. 
 
  “I’m not gonna ask why you did something like this, as I already know that the answer will be something extremely stupid.” 
 
  If I asked them why this event transpired, their excuses would be quite obvious. ‘The servant was rude’, ‘How dare a servant talk like this’, or it could’ve been possible that they just didn’t like her.
 
  Or they would say something like, ‘Because of the lord’s orders.’ or something. None of their replies were important here though. 
 
  “P… Please calm down, Young Master Gu.”
 
  “He’s right… This is all…”
 
  “So you guys shouldn’t ask me why I’m doing this either.”
 
  A ferocious smile stretched my lips as I spoke those words. I didn’t want to smile right now, but I couldn’t stop my mouth from trying to lift up. I don’t know if it was a habit that got ingrained in me from the past, but I would usually smile whenever I was extremely angry. 
 
  “I’m just doing this because of a stupid reason like yours.” 
 
  At the end of my words, flames covered the world and the men in front of me. 
 
* * * *
 
 The putrid smell of sizzling human skin pervaded the surroundings. Even Namgung Jin wasn’t able to speak easily when he saw Gu Yangcheon after entering through the gate of the guesthouse. 
 
  There were at least tens of martial artists guarding the guesthouse at all times, which consisted of second-rate to first-rate warriors. There were also those who were infinitely close to overcoming their wall in the group of guards. 
 
  He wasn’t able to set up a proper group of escorts since he came to this place in a hurry, but that didn’t change the fact that the martial artists were from the Namgung Clan. 
 
  They weren’t just some nobodies who would end up in such a sordid state due to some child. 
 
  “…What are you doing right now?”
 
  The guys that were unconscious, their bodies badly wounded. Each and every single of them had, at the minimum, one part of their body broken or twisted in a grotesque angle. Furthermore, there were even some fellows whose injuries were so severe that they couldn’t be healed no matter what. 
 
  “You dare, to make the people of the Namgung Clan end up in this state and what did you say just now? A bet? I compliment you for your immense talent but you are going wild without realizing just how scary the world can be. Do you have a death wish!”
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s eyes didn’t flinch even once while hearing Namgung Jin’s fierce roaring. 
 
  Instead, a smile gradually bloomed on his face which only served to offend Namgung Jin further.
 
  He wondered what was wrong with this fellow. Despite Gu Yangcheon having a small body and an immature mind, Namgung Jin knew that he was a martial artist that had surpassed the wall and climbed up to the Peak realm.
 
  It was obviously hard for him to observe him thoroughly since the little fellow was holding back his Qi, but it was honestly hard to not notice that piece of info at this point. 
 
  It was so unfair. The fact that such a talented kid just had to be the son of Gu Cheolun. Also, the fact his own son just had to be around the same age as this child. 
 
  ‘How come the world is never on my side?’
 
  Namgung Jin was far angrier due to that fact than the scene of the martial artist of his clan struggling on the ground, vomiting blood. 
 
  “I agree, I never planned to be this wild, but the world just doesn’t give me a break.”
 
– Tap tap. 
 
  Using the end of his right foot, Gu Yangcheon touched the body of a martial artist who had lost consciousness. 
 
  Namgung Jin looked at that sight and frowned further. 
 
  ‘Something must’ve happened here.’
 
  There was no way this happened without a reason. Namgung Jin clicked his tongue inside his mouth. It would have been better if this was due to the unruly whim of the little fellow in front of him. 
 
  While hiding this inner thought of his, Namgung Jin continued to roar out.
 
  “Are you acting this way just because this is Gu Clan’s land!?”
 
  “Not necessarily. I’m more respectful than you may think.”
 
  He didn’t lose to any of Namgung Jin’s arguments. 
 
  Does that brat not know who his opponent is? With that thought, Namgung Jin evoked his Qi with a nasty smirk on his face.
 
  Instantly, his Qi turned into all-encompassing pressure. The domineering aura that leaked out Namgung Jin pressed down onto Gu Yangcheon’s shoulders. 
 
  Namgung Clan’s Qi— the King of Swords. 
 
  It was the sole art that enabled the Namgung Clan to obtain the title of King. 
 
  It wasn’t at a pretentious level like Namgung Cheonjun and Namgung Bi-ah. Rather, it was the true pressure of the King of Swords that only leaked from a martial artist that had reached the end. 
 
  He poured out all of this energy down onto the boy in front. The boy might have reached the peak realm, but he would have no choice but to fall on his knees, not being able to endure the pressure, within a few seconds. Namgung Jin just had to show the boy that they were on completely different levels. And he believed that it would be easier to have a conversation with the boy while looking down at him. 
 
  That was what Namgung Jin thought…
 
  “…Oh no!”
 
  However, Gu Yangcheon was enduring the full brunt of his Qi, as though it were nothing to him, which was out of his expectations. If things were to proceed normally, the boy should’ve been kneeling on the ground right now, not even being able to breathe properly due to the pressure. 
 
  However, again subverting his expectations, he even started walking toward Namgung Jin as if the pressure had no effect on him at all.
 
  When Gu Yangcheon arrived right in front of Namgung Jin with a steady gait and calm steps, he looked up and spoke to the lord of the Namgung Clan. 
 
  “I have said this before,”
 
  He continued, showing Namgung Jin that he wasn’t feeling the least bit pressured. 
 
  “How about we make a bet?”
 
  “That’s funny, kid. Just because you are engaged with my daughter, you think that a brat like you can do something to m—“
 
  “If I lose this bet, I’ll give you my left arm.”
 
  Namgung Jin was unable to finish his words when he heard the calm words that leaked out of Gu Yangcheon’s mouth. He even had to question himself if what he heard had been right. 
 
  “What did you just say?”
 
  “Do you not want it? One of my arms.”
 
  Namgung Jin laughed at the mocking words of the boy. He may have had the talent, and the level he had reached was indeed high, but Namgung Jin realized once again that he was just a young and immature child. 
 
  “What would I even do with your arm if I get it?”
 
  When he replied with an equally mocking tone, Gu Yangcheon spoke while looking straight at Namgung Jin’s eyes.
 
  “You probably need it, for something like your son’s future… Isn’t this why you came to our clan in the first place?”
 
  Immediately, the mocking smile hanging on Namgung Jin’s lips disappeared altogether. He had no choice but to look at Gu Yangcheon properly from now on. 
 
  He was wrong. He wasn’t just some young and immature brat. 
 
  How far was he able to deduce for him to say those words? Namgung Jin couldn’t help but have many such questions after hearing the words of the boy. 
 
  Those words were meaningful, yet they were also hollowed. 
 
  “…You.”
 
  “If you can’t manage such a thing, then you could just ask for something else.”
 
  Namgung Jin nodded his head instinctively, not even noticing he did that action at first, after he heard those words. 
 
  Ripping off the arm of a child, who was basically confirmed to become the Young Lord of the clan, was just way too excessive; especially so since they were in the lands of the Gu Clan. 
 
  Even though Gu Yangcheon had already mentioned that it’d be alright, this would only lead to a war between the clans. 
 
– Crack.
 
  Feeling he was being played into the hands of the little boy, he asked Gu Yangcheon. 
 
  “I will let you speak even though I feel that it’s pointless. What is it that you want for you to be like this?”
 
  “I just want one thing.”
 
  Gu Yangcheon picked up one of the swords that were lying on the ground nearby. 
 
  A sword all of a sudden? Without even getting time to wonder, Namgung Jin had no choice but to unsheathe his own sword after hearing the following words of the boy. 
 
  “If I beat you in a duel, then I would like you to pass over your daughter to me.”
 
– Pss-! Pssh-!
 
  Before Gu Yangcheon could even finish speaking, his cheek was grazed by something with a violent sound and blood leaked out instantly from his wound. It was none other than a sword slash coming from Namgung Jin which brushed by his cheek. 
 
  “I must look like a joke to you because I keep giving you a pass.”
 
  His voice, brimming with emotions, disappeared into the thin hair. His tone changed to a darker and deeper one than before— a telltale sign that the man was approaching the limit of his patience. 
 
  “The only reason that I have not beheaded you right now, even after all your insults, is because you have the blood of the Gu Clan running in your veins. I’ll give you a warning, do not cross the line further.”
 
  Using his hand, Gu Yangcheon wiped the blood that flowed out from the wound on his cheek. He wasn’t even able to see when Namgung Jin unsheathed out his sword and swung it to injure him just now. 
 
  That was a testament to how skilled he was in manipulating Qi. 
 
  I guess there is no chance of winning after all in a real duel, thought Gu Yangcheon even in his current situation. 
 
  “What’s the reason for your anger right now?”
 
  “You little…”
 
  “Is it because of your daughter, or because I challenged you to a duel? Or perhaps, are you afraid?”
 
  The sword in Gu Yangcheon’s hands was aimed at Namgung Jin. This was the first time that Gu Yangcheon stood face-to-face with the arrogant face of Namgung Jin.
 
  Since the only image that came to his mind from his past life was the scene of Namgung Bi-ah holding the arrogant lord’s head in her hands. 
 
– Rumble.
 
  Lightning Qi zapped around Namgung Jin’s body. The Qi of a Fusion realm martial artist was so dense that it was hard for a lower-level martial artist to even breathe at the mere evocation of the Qi. This was a first for Gu Yangcheon in this life, feeling such dense and concentrated Qi. 
 
  Namgung Jin looked down at Gu Yangcheon and spoke.
 
  “Are you challenging me to a sword duel?”
 
  “Yes, as you can see. I’m rather skilled at using a sword.”
 
  Namgung Jin burst out into a fit of hollow laughter after hearing Gu Yangcheon’s words. No joy or happiness could be felt in that laughter of his. 
 
  “This was the first time in decades that I have felt so insulted. For me to be insulted by a boy that barely lived one-fourth of my life.” 
 
  “But I did give you an excuse just now.”
 
  “Shut your mouth… I’m holding myself back from ripping out that nasty mouth of yours.”
 
  He’s holding himself back huh?
 
  How come though? At the very least, he should’ve unsheathed the sword and cut off Gu Yangcheon’s neck right here and now. However, Namgung Jin was still holding himself back.
 
  Was his temper always like that? 
 
  Not a chance. 
 
  He was just being cautious right now. It was possible that he was being cautious because of Gu Yangcheon’s father— Gu Cheolun, or perhaps because he was in the territory of the Gu Clan.
 
  Whichever it was, it didn’t matter to the boy. As he was able to enact this performance due to those reasons. 
 
  With apathy in his eyes and a ferocious smile on his face, Namgung Jinspoke to Gu Yangcheon, in the end. 
 
  “Fine, I’ll do as you want, as I think ripping apart your arm and bringing it to your father is the only thing that could satisfy me right now.” 
 
  Namgung Jin didn’t mention Namgung Bi-ah even once. He didn’t even bother to question what meaning Gu Yangcheon’s bet held. 
 
  It was either because he didn’t think that he would lose, or just that he didn’t care about his own daughter, 
 
  Gu Yangcheon, however, thought that it was due to both of those reasons.
 
  “The guys on the ground seem like they are going to die any second now. Shouldn’t we hold this duel after we treat them?” 
 
  It was weird how it was none other than Gu Yangcheon that seemed to be worried about the injured martial artists. Even though they were in this state due to his rampage. Namgung Jin spoke, not caring about the condition of the martial artists. 
 
  “No matter. This won’t take long anyways.”
 
  His words were arrogant and heartless. 
 
  Though, being the Azure Heavenly Sword, there was definitely credibility behind his confidence. 
 
  It was Gu Yangcheon’s plan to make him mad in the first place, but he couldn’t help but wonder after he achieved this feat so easily…
 
  ‘Does he have a shorter temper than I thought?’
 
  「If I just think of the shitty way of your talking, that Namgung guy is honestly a Buddhist.」
 
  ‘…Surely it’s not that bad…’
 
  「Not that bad my ass! I’m honestly more surprised that you still have your neck on your shoulders right now. What did you plan for you to take it this far?」
 
  A duel against the lord of the Namgung Clan.
 
  Something like this was impossible to win in Elder Shin’s eyes, even if there was a rule where both of them were banned from using Qi. 
 
  Furthermore, Gu Yangcheon had picked up a sword just now. This basically meant that he threw away even the slightest chance of winning that he had, no matter how minuscule that may be. 
 
  「What are you going to do—」
 
  Elder Shin was about to ask why Gu Yangcheon got himself into this fucked up scenario, but then he stopped before finishing his words as he got an inkling of what was going on in that shitty head of his. 
 
  He thought of this just in case…. As Gu Yangcheon wasn’t a sword user.
 
  Furthermore, he never saw Gu Yangcheon train with a sword. This only meant that he had zero chance of winning in this duel.
 
  Unless someone else fought for him.
 
  「…You little piece of shit.」
 
  ‘Yes.’
 
  「You set up this situation for yourself to fight in… right?」
 
  Gu Yangcheon responded as if Elder Shin’s words were the most absurd thing he heard all day. 
 
  ‘What nonsense are you speaking of?’
 
  「Right? Even I thought that question was—」
 
  ‘Of course, Elder Shin has to fight for me. I don’t know how to use a sword.’
 
  「You really are a fucking piece of shit.」
 
  Elder Shin couldn’t help but curse in the end after hearing Gu Yangcheon’s blatant words. 
 
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