Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 159

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༺ The Thing I Wished To Show You (3) ༻
  With each step, a wave of Qi surged forth. 
  The tingly sensation that could be felt was definitely the result of Lightning Qi.
  And that Qi was so powerful…
  That it felt like thunder was striking down near Namgung Bi-ah. 
  Jang Seonyeon clenched his teeth, forcing his frozen body to awaken. 
  He had to use a great amount of Qi just so that he could move his body again.
  ‘This? This is my best?’
  Jang Seonyeon pointed his sword down and tried to ignore the cold sweat trickling down his face.
  While steadying his breath, Jang Seonyeon looked at Namgung Bi-ah. 
  The sword that was pointing down and her relaxed expression made her look like she was out for a walk, rather than a battle. 
  Her beauty added an air of regality to her appearance…
  But her Qi was quite the opposite. 
  ‘This is… the Master of Swords?’
  That was the Namgung Clan’s signature skill.
  And it was a skill that warned the opponents of the user’s true power. 
  ‘The Master of Swords’ art of the Namgung Clan. The overpowering power of the greatest clan was emanating from Namgung Bi-ah right now. 
  ‘…So she really lives up to the Namgung name huh.’
  The Namgung Clan’s Master of Swords art may be considered a Sword Art, but it didn’t require physical sword swings. 
  Instead, it infused the user’s Qi with the lightning element, enhancing its destructiveness.  
  As if something giant was pressing down on the opponent. 
  It felt as though a colossal force bore down upon them, compelling the opponent to kneel and acknowledge the user’s fangs and overpowering presence. 
  They didn’t hide their greed to surpass others.
  The title ‘Master’ was fitting, for it truly demonstrated the user’s self-earned power. 
  And this skill was considered a Sword Art because it showed the user’s determination to exhibit their might through the sword. 
  The Master of Swords. The presence of the Namgung Clan that unfolded right before him was horrifying. 
  “…Aren’t you… coming?”
  Upon hearing her quiet whisper, Jang Seonyeon’s instinct told him…
  That it might end if he didn’t move now, and that he had to reevaluate his current opponent.
  With the Master of Swords active, Namgung Bi-ah began to move gracefully. 
  Her steps were so light that it made her look like she was going on a walk,
  But Jang Seonyeon instinctively raised his sword. He felt like he needed to. 

  Along with the impact, Jang Seonyeon was pushed away.
  Though they were initially about ten paces apart, Namgung Bi-ah closed the distance to Jang Seonyeon in an instant. 
  Sparks flew as their swords clashed. 
  It was heavy.
  Namgung Bi-ah’s sword, which Jang Seonyeon blocked, was so impossibly heavy for him.
  How could such power come from that thin arm of hers?
  Jang Seonyeon couldn’t afford to think for much longer. He knew that he didn’t have any leisure to.
  Jang Seonyeon charged his Qi.
  A small echo of a sword, this echo was coming from Jang Seonyeon’s sword. 
  Jang Cheon’s exclusive skill, Typhoon Harmonic Wave Sword. 
  It was a Sword Art that was made by resonating the sword with Sound Arts. 
  This was the Taeryung Clan’s martial art and the skill that gave the current Alliance Leader his title of the Harmonic Sword. 
  ‘I can’t use it for long.’
  It was a high-ranking skill, so he couldn’t maintain it for a long time.
  Sound Arts required the user to possess a very high proficiency with their Qi, to begin with. 
  And the fact that Jang Seonyeon could use such a difficult skill at a young age showed his genius talents. 
  It required him to use a reckless amount of Qi while swinging his sword when it was already hard to maintain it even without the added complexity of movement. 
  Which inevitably slowed down his sword swings compared to his usual speed. 
  Of course, Sound Arts had its merits as it had the capability to unbalance the opponent, compensating for the decreased speed. 
  With more time, he would fix this flaw as he progressed.  
  In the future, it would become natural for him to maintain this skill, while also using his sword like it’s nothing. That’d be more likely once the energy received from the baptism had fully merged with his body. 
  With these abilities, Jang Seonyeon should have easily outmatched any other young prodigies. 
  That should’ve been the case, but-
  The deadly point of the sword brushed past Jang Seonyeon’s hair. 
  Some of his hair fell down onto the ground. Jang Seonyeon knew that he was in an urgent situation.
  It was more problematic as the sword lunged at him once again. 
  When the Lightning Qi exploded following her attack, Jang Seonyeon took a step back.
  ‘Damn it.’
  Whether he used his Sword or Sound Arts, Jang Seonyeon couldn’t land a single blow on that girl.
  Her horrifying pressure ensnared Jang Seonyeon’s feet, forcing him to evade her relentless assaults. 
  He couldn’t rely on his usual sword techniques. 
  But what about that girl?
  ‘She could move at such speed, even while maintaining that?’
  Jang Seonyeon couldn’t understand.
  As he had to sacrifice his own speed to maintain his skill.
  Jang Seonyeon felt like he knew, after experiencing the Master of Swords for himself. For her to use that skill, she had to use more Qi than him.
  Moreover, she needed to have an even more detailed control of it as well.
  ‘Despite that,’
  ‘She is still able to swing her sword at such speed?’ 
  Jang Seonyeon couldn’t believe it. 
  But the proof was right in front of his eyes.
  Clang-! Clang!
  Namgung Bi-ah’s attacks didn’t stop as she had no intention of letting him counterattack. She displayed no fatigue whatsoever. 
  Her enhanced Lightning Qi was so powerful that it felt as though each clash would burn his sword, 
  And he felt like he was going to lose consciousness every time he blocked her attack. 
  In the end, Jang Seonyeon focused intensely, channeling all of his Qi at once. Just as Namgung Bi-ah closed in on him, 
  His sword echoed loudly. This should slow her down.
  He had to use way too much Qi for this, though.
  Nevertheless, he had to change the flow of the battle. 
  After all, he saw no other way to continue at this rate. 
  ‘I’ll first make her stop, and gain some dista- ‘

  A heavy impact struck his chest. Jang Seonyeon let out a groan and rolled on the ground shortly after. 
  Jang Seonyeon assumed that she wasn’t going to be able to break through his Sound Arts. 
  But Namgung Bi-ah had effortlessly come through it and landed a punch on his chest. 
  “Cough… Cough…!”
  After a moment, Jang Seonyeon finally managed to get up, and he proceeded to look around. 
  It was to see where Namgung Bi-ah was located. 
  He intended to block her next attack if she continued her assault, but contrary to his expectations…
  Namgung Bi-ah was standing still. 
  ‘Is she not continuing her attack?’
  ‘But then what about just now?’
  Jang Seonyeon recalled the recent events. 
  ‘Did my skill not work?’
  That was impossible.
  He was certain that his skill had been utilized successfully. 
  But then how…?
  Then, Jang Seonyeon noticed Namgung Bi-ah’s expressionless face.
  Blood had started to trickle down her mouth.
  Jang Seonyeon realized then.
  His attack had indeed worked, but Namgung Bi-ah had forced her way through it. How was that possible?
  Her head and body should have been affected. 
  ‘Just like the Poison Phoenix last time, it should’ve made her vomit blood and fall to the floor, especially considering how she didn’t know that I was preparing this attack.’
  But Namgung Bi-ah was standing still like it didn’t affect her, casually wiping the blood off her face with her hand.
  She didn’t even let out a groan.
  Nor was she frowning in pain.
  The Master of Swords art remained in effect, and Namgung Bi-ah gazed down on Jang Seonyeon. 
  There was no arrogance in her eyes.
  Only peace.
  It looked like a calm lake with nothing happening there.
  She was so beautiful and glorious that it felt like a pearl was made into human form.
  That appearance of hers exuded dignity. 
  ‘So that’s what the Namgung Clan is.’
  And when such a thought passed through his mind, Jang Seonyeon bit his lips.
  To the point that it drew blood. 
  ‘I can’t win at this rate.’
  He had to admit it. That winning against the girl before him seemed nearly impossible. 
  Which was why…
  He had to use a different method.
  How long had it been since the fight started?
  Probably not very long in real time. 
  After all, there had not been too many clashes between the two.
  However, the silence lasted for an extremely long time. The fact that all these people kept their mouths shut and were watching in silence signifies just how shocking the situation was. 
  Finally, someone spoke, breaking the silence.
  “There’s… no way.”
  He spoke in shock.
  This was only the beginning.
  As others began to speak as well. 
  “That right now, that’s the Master of Swords, she’s using it like an expert, even when the Lightning Dragon couldn’t dare to…”
  “The way she moves her sword, it’s like she’s dancing… She is way too beautiful.”
  If you were to ask anyone in the Central Plains if they knew about the Namgung Clan, they would all say yes.
  The Namgung Clan was so well-known that even those who live in remote mountains or caves would have heard of it. 
  And the skill of their clan, the Master of Swords, was equally well-known. 
  After all, only this skill could manifest such overwhelmingly destructive power.  
  Not only did it require physical training, but it also required a certain martial realm so that they could have full control over their Lightning Qi.
  Those were the requirements for mastering the clan’s art. 
  While it might not sound too difficult just by hearing about it, 
  It’s no easy feat to reach that level. The teachings were only passed down to the clan’s blood relatives.
  Thus, it was a challenging skill to acquire. 
  And it was pretty much impossible to reach that point with average talent.
  Namgung Cheonjun was a good example of that.
  Even Namgung Cheonjun, who was widely considered a genius, had only recently begun to tap into his Lightning Qi and wouldn’t dare to attempt using the Master of Swords.
  But then, what about Namgung Bi-ah?
  ‘She’s been using it ever since we first met.’
  I recalled the first moment I met her after my regression. 
  It was during my trip to Sichuan when I encountered a lost Namgung Bi-ah. 
  The energy she emitted when she mentioned she came from the Namgung Clan was definitely the Master of Swords. 
  It meant that she was close to perfecting that form ever since we first met. 
  “Sis is so cool…”
  Tang Soyeol was next to me, watching the fight with excitement. 
  Wi Seol-Ah, who was also next to me, nodded in agreement. 
  Even for me, Namgung Bi-ah, with her overwhelming presence as she looked down on Jang Seonyeon, was undeniably impressive. 
  ‘…She really let loose.’
  It made sense, as Namgung Bi-ah broke free from the constraints she had placed upon herself. 
  Just before ascending to the arena stage, Namgung Bi-ah asked me if she could dispel the energy that was blocking her. 
  She was referring to the Qi that lowered her presence.
  I taught it to her because she looked uncomfortable putting on a mask every time we went out. 
  ‘I gave her an extremely brief explanation and demonstrations, but she grasped it immediately.’ 
  It was utterly absurd.
  After all, it took me forever just to learn that one trick.
  I had to admit that she had talent. It was scary how there were too many geniuses in the current generation of the Central Plains.
  And then, there was me, who had rotted away in that world back then.
  But had I improved now? 
  I still couldn’t say for certain. 
  Thinking about it now, the Demonic Sword was a monster.
  ‘She was strong enough to destroy and erase her own clan single-handedly, after all.’
  Even if the Lord of Heaven wasn’t there, the fact that she was able to destroy a clan all by herself was all the proof needed.
  She was different from me, who had to get Demonic Qi and demonic skills from the Heavenly Demon, while also having to spend a long time in the Abyss to become a monster myself. 
  Because while the Demonic Sword had demonic Qi, she never received any demonic arts from the Heavenly Demon. 
  Then what for? Why had she chosen to become a demonic human?
  I asked her this question repeatedly out of curiosity. 
  Though the Demonic Sword never really gave me a satisfying answer every time I asked her.
  – A peaceful life.
  She only repeated that same answer.
  “Sis… she’s much stronger than before.”
  I couldn’t help but sympathize with the shock Tang Soyeol was feeling.
  She was way beyond my expectations.
  While I knew she was strong and had some knowledge of her martial realm… 
  Namgung Bi-ah turned out to be a much stronger person than I expected. 
  “Sis Bi-ah is so cool!”
  Wi Seol-Ah exclaimed with enthusiasm, to which I simply nodded without saying anything.
  I didn’t say that out loud this time. I felt embarrassed for some reason…
  About the fact that I was worried about her.
  However, Namgung Bi-ah was pushing back Jang Seonyeon with a supremely overpowering presence. 
  There was one dangerous moment when she was struck by Jang Seonyeon’s skill…
  But Namgung Bi-ah endured it.
  Could it be said that she possessed exceptional mental fortitude? 
  Because her inside was probably still in utter turmoil right now.
  Her Qi must be rampaging wildly due to the damage she took, but Namgung Bi-ah showed no signs of struggling to maintain her skill. 
  Which meant that she was skillfully controlling her wild Qi with precision. 
  ‘…She’s crazy, for real.’
  She had effortlessly surpassed the levels of most young prodigies. 
  Jang Seonyeon too, had quite the talent. 
  I hate to admit it, but the fact that he was a skilled martial artist, both presently and in the future, didn’t change.
  After all, he wouldn’t have been capable of such feats without innate talent. 
  ‘I wonder what kind of expression he’s making.’
  My gaze wasn’t directed toward the arena but rather at a high point in a nearby building. 
  It was where the important people of the Murim Alliance were. 
  I couldn’t see them, but the Alliance Leader would obviously be there and there was a good chance that Shaolin’s Chief Abbot was there as well. 
  I thought about using my Qi to get a closer look at them, but I stopped. 
  Because it would be problematic if I was caught doing that.
  ‘Is his expression souring or is he being entertained?’
  I didn’t care whichever it was.
  Though I did prefer it to be the former. 
  ‘I’m also a bit disappointed I couldn’t beat him up myself.’
  I wanted to break his arm or leg, but I guessed this was also fine.
  Since I’d get rid of him myself in the future anyway.
  “She told me to believe in her.”
  I didn’t really know what Namgung Bi-ah meant when she said those words to me.
  But now I felt like I understood a bit more. 
  ‘I think I can relax a little now.’
  She wouldn’t trip like the dumb Gu Jeolyub, who messed up his movements during his attack.
  Nor would she let her guard down like a wimp and roll on the ground as Namgung Cheonjun did.
  She had full control of the fight and in my eyes, the fight wouldn’t drag on much longer.
  All I needed to focus on at the moment was how I would handle my own fight against Moyong Hi-ah- 
  Right as I was lost in thought, I suddenly looked towards Jang Seonyeon.
  My instinct was telling me to do so.
  The sound I heard after, was of someone rolling on the ground.
  It all happened in an instant.
  Jang Seonyeon, who was previously on the ground, had now stood up and Namgung Bi-ah, who rolled on the ground a few times, also rose up right away.
  Namgung Bi-ah was covering her nose while looking at Jang Seonyeon in a shocked expression.
  “What just… happened?”
  Tang Soyeol, who was watching, had the same expression as Namgung Bi-ah.
  I couldn’t respond to Tang Soyeol at the moment. 
  It was flinching.
  The energy that was inside my abdomen.
  I wondered what the hell was moving around so much.
  But then, I quickly realized it was the unknown energy I absorbed from Namgung Cheonjun that was going wild.
  The amount of the energy was rather little, so my Flame Qi was almost done devouring it.
  Despite that, the energy was rampaging with great power. Far stronger than I could have ever anticipated. 
  It became abundantly clear to me at that moment. 
  “That bastard.”
  That it was Jang Seonyeon’s fault that the energy inside me was going wild.
  Unintentionally, I clenched my fist. 
  And the energy responded by growing even more intense. 
  The same energy that was inside both my body and Jang Seonyeon’s. 
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