༺ The Thing I Wish To Show (3) ༻
Ting… ting… ting…!
In the basement deep underneath the Murim Alliance Palace at Hanam…
The sound that rang in his ears was the same as usual.
He slowly moved, following the torches mounted up on the wall.
The stairs that led downwards appeared as endless as ever and the sound that continuously rang weighed heavily on his chest.
“Your expression doesn’t look that great.”
Namgung Cheonjun gulped when he heard that voice.
It was because the question held no emotion, let alone concern.
“…Are you making fun of me right now?”
“No way, what reason would I have to make fun of you? It probably wouldn’t even be that fun.”
A man completely covered in black, from head to feet.
Peng Woojin smiled lightly.
“It was just a bit funny.”
Peng Woojin’s expression couldn’t be seen as he was only looking straight ahead, but Namgung Cheonjun knew.
Unlike Peng Woojin’s playful voice, he wasn’t smiling right now.
“…What is funny to you?”
“How could it not be, when the almighty Lightning Dragon is shaking that much.”
“Who… are you saying is shaking-!”
Namgung Cheonjun, who was about to shout, fell silent.
It was because Peng Woojin turned around.
When he looked into those obsidian-like eyes, the heat that was boiling inside of him completely died away.
Almost as if he was terrified.
Namgung Cheonjun clenched his teeth, silently fuming over his wounded pride.
“What are you so scared of?”
Peng Woojin’s emotionless face and a calm voice that matched it.
Namgung Cheonjun found it hard to deal with such traits.
Peng Woojin looked into Namgung Cheonjun’s eyes for a moment before speaking again.
“I don’t understand. Is it because of the defeat?”
“Judging by how your expression rotted right away, I must be half correct, at least.”
Every time Peng Woojin spoke, it pierced deeply into Namgung Cheonjun’s chest, leaving scars.
To be more accurate, it felt like he was stabbing at old wounds.
Namgung Cheonjun lost against Gu Yangcheon in a duel.
Moreover, in a humiliating manner at that.
Even the almighty Namgung Cheonjun couldn’t find an excuse for that.
After all, they were simply in different leagues.
Namgung Cheonjun didn’t want to admit it, but the martial artist in him was already acknowledging it.
As a martial artist, Gu Yangcheon has reached a level he could hardly even imagine.
‘…A bastard like him.’
Even while cursing at him in his mind, Namgung Cheonjun felt sick.
After all, he kept questioning if he was even in a position to say such words.
But most importantly…
‘…The energy disappeared…’
The power he finally managed to acquire had disappeared.
Namgung Cheonjun couldn’t help but wear a grim expression.
‘Where did it go?’
It was a new power that would’ve put him far beyond the other Dragons.
Although short, Namgung Cheonjun felt its strength during his duel against Gu Yangcheon.
And as such, it was that much harder for him to forget about such power.
Because he knew the strength of it, he wanted it back even more.
‘Why… why… why did it disappear?’
His longing turned into a thirst that left him parched.
It was even more so since he had gotten a sip of it once before.
‘If I have that power, whether it’s the Water Dragon, Sword Dragon, Sword Phoenix, or even Peng Woojin standing before me, I might be able to surpass them all.’
The taste of that power had left Namgung Cheonjun yearning for it even more.
Peng Woojin looked at Namgung Cheonjun, then looked away.
What an ugly color.
‘No, maybe I can’t even call it a color anymore.’
The young man who had still shined with color before, albeit in a tiny amount, had now lost all of his color.
And with that, Peng Woojin had lost interest in Namgung Cheonjun completely.
He had no interest in someone who was void of color.
‘Did he say that the Heavenly Qi disappeared?’
Peng Woojin remembered Namgung Cheonjun shouting in arrogance and how his face fell in despair as he admitted to losing that newfound power.
It was pathetic.
That he tried to progress not with his own power, but with power given from a different source.
How far did he expect to progress with power given to him like that?
‘He doesn’t even know what he looks like.’
It didn’t matter anymore though.
Whatever means he held, it didn’t matter to Peng Woojin.
He stopped caring about him after all.
Putting that aside…
Peng Woojin found it a bit interesting how he lost his power.
He may have lost all interest in the Lightning Dragon, but he was interested in the situation.
‘They said that he used it before the power fully integrated into his body. Perhaps, that’s the problem?’
It was before the power made its home inside his body, so maybe it disappeared when he exhausted it?
This theory made sense, but Peng Woojin still wondered if his theory was really correct.
Reflecting on the final moments of the duel between Gu Yangcheon and the Lightning Dragon, Peng Woojin clearly remembered the appearance that Gu Yangcheon had shown to Namgung Cheonjun.
And the dark atmosphere that sent shivers down his spine.
He didn’t show it outside, but his killing intent rampaged inwardly.
Peng Woojin definitely felt it.
Was that face full of annoyance the true appearance of that boy?
Or, was there more to it?
Peng Woojin was curious.
About the existence of Gu Yangcheon himself.
‘What in the world are you hiding, Young Master Gu?’
Peng Woojin touched his mouth with his hand.
As expected, his lips were forming a smile on his face.
He had to control himself so that he wouldn’t burst out in excitement.
His utter glee that kept erupting inside made it uncomfortable for his body.
However, Peng Woojin relished this feeling.
The boy emitted such a light, so how could he not be excited?
It was obvious how excited he was as he formed a smile on his face.
Peng Woojin wanted to go see Gu Yangcheon right this instant.
But he couldn’t right now, which was why his desire grew larger and larger.
Not long after, an entrance appeared.
A giant door glowing in a blue light.
One might question why there was no guard stationed at such a secretive place.
However, Peng Woojin knew that there was no need for it.
As he expected, when Namgung Cheonjun went closer to the door, it started to open as if it had been awaiting his arrival.
When the door opened along with a loud sound,
A woman appeared from the door and welcomed the two men.
Peng Woojin looked at the woman.
Her face wasn’t visible as she was wearing a veil.
But the fascinating thing was that Peng Woojin still couldn’t see through her even with the use of his Qi.
Which meant that it was no ordinary woman.
Peng Woojin then asked the woman.
“Is the Chief Abbott here?”
“The Heavenly Eye has not arrived yet.”
Peng Woojin was certain that he would be the first to arrive.
“He left a message saying that he would be late as he had something to discuss with the Harmonic Sword.”
Peng Woojin then glanced behind him.
Namgung Cheonjun seemed to have reached the peak of desperation, his sweat dripping in abundance.
As he struggled to find the right words, the woman spoke on his behalf.
Peng Woojin, hearing this, wore an unexpected expression.
“I heard that outsiders aren’t usually permitted to enter, but then how come you’re allowing me in?”
“The Dancer has allowed it, saying that both of you are welcome to come inside.”
Peng Woojin’s interest was piqued by her words.
“That fastidious woman?”
His words were sharp like a blade.
Peng Woojin, who knew how important the ‘Dancer’ was to the woman, definitely crossed the line by saying such words.
However, the woman with the veil showed no reaction despite hearing Peng Woojin’s words.
“I’ll be guiding you now.”
She only continued to speak in an emotionless tone.
After seeing that appearance of hers, Peng Woojin shook his head lightly.
“You are as lame as ever.”
Having lost all interest, Peng Woojin passed by the woman, and Namgung Cheonjun followed hurriedly.
When the two men entered into the darkness,
The woman looked at the staircase the two men came down from for a very long time.
As if something was there.
Once the woman was done, she turned around and proceeded back into the door.
The giant door slammed shut, plunging the area back into darkness.
The semifinals ended and nighttime came right after.
I didn’t feel particularly tired, but I was mentally drained.
It was because many others started to see me differently.
It was because I won against the Pissing Dragon and overpowered the Snow Phoenix as well.
Forget about the young prodigies, even those around me were looking at me in a way that made me uncomfortable, so how could I not become mentally tired?
‘This kind of feeling always makes me exhausted.’
Of course, the gazes I received in my past life were a far cry from what I was encountering now, which meant it was a different sensation.
But in the end, I was still sick of it.
I’ve experienced way too many things to be excited by thi-…
“Young Master, Young Master!”
“Did something happen?”
Wi Seol-Ah asked while rubbing her head on my shoulder.
The hair accessory I had given her emitted a pleasant, flowery scent that reached my nose.
“You seem like you’re in a good mood!”
I covered my mouth with my hand after hearing Wi Seol-Ah’s bright words.
Was I actually in a good mood without realizing it?
‘…I’m getting goosebumps.’
Did I really become excited about getting attention because I won against children?
Thinking about it that way, it made me look pathetic.
As I felt my mood begin to sour, a hand that resembled a white gem suddenly reached out and landed on my forehead.
“…Suddenly… your mood seemed like it was getting worse…”
It was the hand of Namgung Bi-ah who was lying on the medical room bed. After hearing her, I put on a smile.
Who’s worried about who?
“Just make sure you stay lying down as you don’t need to worry about me.”
While saying that, I observed Namgung Bi-ah.
The sword wound that had torn through her chest.
I knew that she was a first-rate martial artist and that the injury was light, but the fact that it could have been dangerous did not change.
The doctor said that it wouldn’t leave a scar, so I guess that was a silver lining.
But Namgung Bi-ah didn’t really seem to care whether it left a scar on her or not.
Instead, Tang Soyeol went wild saying that she can’t allow that to happen.
“…I want to leave.”
When Namgung Bi-ah suddenly spoke, I shook my head.
“Because I know you would go to the training area right away.”
“…You don’t need to look at me that way.”
Upon returning from my duel earlier, the first thing Namgung Bi-ah did after seeing me was say that she wanted to leave.
I would understand if she wanted to just leave and do nothing else, but I knew that training was her goal just from seeing how she was searching for her sword.
‘Why is she looking at me like that too?’
Where did she learn to make her eyes look so pitiful?
Recently, whether it was Wi Seol-Ah or Namgung Bi-ah, they seemed to have figured out the power of their beauty and started to use it as an advantage.
When I strictly said no to her, Namgung Bi-ah went back to her usual expression right away.
Then she spoke in a disappointed tone.
“…Soyeol said… that he would listen if I did this.”
“Sis… I definitely recall that I didn’t teach you this so that you could use it here, right?”
To prove her innocence, Tang Soyeol appeared.
She was shivering, suggesting that the outside was quite cold.
Upon her arrival, I asked.
“Did you go somewhere?”
“Oh… I went to see Young Lady Moyong.”
As I was listening to her, I flowed my Qi around to produce heat.
Tang Soyeol’s expression then started to relax as the cold was going away.
While watching that, I asked.
“When you say Moyong, you mean the Snow Phoenix?”
I felt this last time too, but it seemed like there was something between Tang Soyeol and Moyong Hi-ah.
Though they didn’t really seem that close.
If I had to list one thing, it seemed like Tang Soyeol felt uncomfortable with her.
‘Was she bullied or something?’
But judging by how Tang Soyeol took care of that Hwangbo pig last time, she didn’t really seem to have a weak personality.
Her friend, Peng Ah-hee, said it herself that Tang Soyeol had a quite strong personality.
Her face seemed quite different from her personality.
If I had to compare them with animals, Wi Seol-Ah was like a puppy, Namgung Bi-ah resembled a cat…
And Tang Soyeol seemed the most like a squirrel.
“Rodents always did have a fierce personality…”
“Nothing, really. Did you eat?”
“I didn’t yet, so that I could eat with you…”
Tang Soyeol replied, her embarrassment showing as she smiled shyly.
“Hmm? Are we eating?”
Wi Seol-Ah’s eyes widened at the mention of food.
I then started to squeeze Wi Seol-Ah’s cheeks as if I had been waiting for the chance.
“…You lost even more.”
I could tell as soon as I touched them.
That Wi Seol-Ah’s cheeks had lost fat again.
Thanks to that, she became prettier as days went on, but I was very disappointed as the sensation of touching her cheek became worse.
“Are you sure you’re eating two bowls a meal?”
“Yeah… I had three earlier…”
“Then why is this happening, what are you hiding in your stomach?”
Why are you losing weight when you eat that much in a day?
I even told her to have night snacks.
When I expressed my curiosity, Tang Soyeol spoke as if it was obvious.
“Young Master Gu… you never touched Seol-Ah’s stomach, right? What’s there to hide when it’s that slim?”
“Isn’t it weirder for me to touch it?”
Tang Soyeol realized what I said was true, so she nodded her head.
Then Wi Seol-Ah spoke while pulling on her clothes.
“Stomach? Do you want me to show you?”
“…Wha… What would I do by seeing it? Just stay still.”
She was ready to lift her clothing at any moment, so I hurriedly pulled her hands down.
It wasn’t only us in the medical room, what was she doing?
“You seemed curious…”
Was it because I rejected her?
Wi Seol-Ah had a disappointed look on her face.
Was she really so carefree that she had nothing else to be disappointed about besides something as trivial as this?
I was thinking about giving her a finger flick, but instead, I ruffled her hair with my hand.
While doing so, I asked.
“How was the Snow Phoenix?”
About Moyong Hi-ah’s condition.
“Huh? Huh, she didn’t have too big of a problem. Her clan was more concerned about her than the doctors, so it’s likely better for her.”
That would indeed be better than relying solely on the medical room doctors.
Especially when I thought about the disease Moyong Hi-ah had.
To my knowledge, the servant who accompanied her might be a servant, but she was also famous for her medical capabilities.
She was one of the students of the Immortal Healer, after all.
‘She probably didn’t get injured since I did hold back.’
Thanks to that, I had to use more Qi than expected, but the outcome was still okay.
To be honest, for the sake of the Snow Phoenix who forced herself to come this high up in the tournament, I wanted to exchange a few strikes with her, but because the Snow Phoenix was not in her right mind at the time, I had to end it fast.
‘Not that I know why she was like that back then.’
Was it because she was still young compared to her in my past life?
The Snow Phoenix in my past life was a woman who didn’t know how to be dumbfounded.
She was a woman so cold that I could see her standing in the snowfield all alone.
A woman who didn’t flinch even in the face of death.
There was only one moment that the Snow Phoenix became shocked in my memories.
And considering the fact that I was responsible for it, I couldn’t help but be a little bit concerned.
‘If Elder Shin was here, he would’ve raged at me.’
It was obvious.
That old man would’ve scolded me about how I had another woman around me.
‘I wonder when he’ll wake up again.’
I didn’t think he had disappeared completely.
After all, I could feel his presence inside me, especially as I reached higher levels.
It’s been a few days since I met Jang Seonyeon. While I understood that such a thing could happen in my fight against Ya Hyeoljeok…
Was my emotional shock really that much for him to sleep for this long?
‘I can’t believe there is not one thing I could figure out.’
The fact that I didn’t understand my own body was beyond annoying.
Just as I was lost in my thoughts, I suddenly heard a voice that roused me from my contemplation.
“Can I go… see tomorrow?”
Namgung Bi-ah asked me carefully.
She was likely referring to the upcoming fight.
“Where do you think you’re going with your body?”
“I can move…”
I knew how much Namgung Bi-ah wanted to train right now.
How could she not have the desire to move, when she had such an enlightenment?
‘If it was enlightenment I would forget in a short time, I would’ve moved right away,’
But looking at her, it didn’t seem like Namgung Bi-ah would forget about her enlightenment.
Even now, a sword dance was ceaselessly playing out in her eyes.
She probably wanted to swing it at this instant.
And the reason why she was holding back was probably because of what I said.
I wanted to tell her that she should rest tomorrow as well.
It might seem like I was being overprotective, but her chest wound made it difficult for me to say otherwise.
However, I knew that she was restraining herself, the martial artist in her just for me, so I felt like I couldn’t hold her back any longer.
“It’s fine if you… are careful. You can move.”
In the end, I gave her the response she wanted to hear.
After I gave her my approval, Namgung Bi-ah put on a smile as if she had been waiting.
‘I wanted to show it to her too.’
Just like how she wished to show me…
I, too, had something I wanted to show her.
Though the meaning might be different compared to hers.
So the next day…
I met Jang Seonyeon on the arena stage.
The moment I had been eagerly awaiting had finally arrived.
You can rate/review this series here.