Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 165

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༺ The Thing I Wish To Show (5) ༻
 
 
  “How could this be?”
 
  “…How could he be so out of his league?”
 
  On top of the building with a full view of the fighting stage, there was an unusual blend of atmospheres within the exclusive gathering of the Murim Alliance’s higher-ups. 
 
  At first, there was excitement, which then turned into shock, and now it was astonishment.
 
  The final battle unfolding below was nothing short of astonishing. 
 
  It had left even the seasoned martial artists, who had seen all manner of spectacles, speechless in their amazement. 
 
  Swoosh-!

 
  The rowdy conversations instantly became quiet. 
 
  The tall building began to fill with a dense energy. 
 
  The powerful Qi that pressured the nearby space was from none other than the current Alliance Leader, Jang Cheon.
 
  Clench.
 
  He clenched his fist.
 
  Jang Cheon’s wide eyes were fixed on the arena stage.
 
  ‘…That’s…’
 
  Not even an hour had passed, yet the arena stage was already in shambles. 
 
  Jang Cheon gulped and started to think.
 
  ‘He really is a monster.’
 
  The arena stage was constructed from the notoriously tough and durable rocks of the Bigu Mountain.
 
  Breaking them was no easy feat and even a first-rate martial artist could only hope to leave a scratch with their weapon.
 
  ‘But he smashed them like it’s tofu.’
 
  The boy, who had not even lived a quarter of his life, possessed a level of destructive power that defied belief. 
 
  And in addition to his immense strength, he appeared to have absolute control over it. 
 
  A kid his age would be considered a genius if they possessed either great strength or the ability to harness it with precision.
 
  But that boy had mastered both aspects.
 
  And he seemed to have extensively trained both aspects to the point that they seemed threatening. 
 
  “…Hm.”
 
  This was said by someone else who wasn’t Jang Cheon.
 
  And what he just said represented everyone’s feelings in this building. 
 
  The reason for this sound was simply because of a gnawing sense of incompetence and jealousy. 
 
  Everyone in this building had to acknowledge their jealousy toward that child, plunging deeply into their thoughts. 
 
  Even the most significant people in the world were feeling jealous of him, truly displaying his unbelievable talent.
 
  ‘Son.’
 
  Jang Cheon wished he could close his eyes this instant.
 
  The downfall of his son, whom he had believed to be chosen by the heavens, was a wound that cut deep.
 
  Throughout his life, Jang Seonyeon had never once disappointed his father.
 
  With great talent and a kind nature, he became a child who was already guaranteed to be the future lord of the Taeryung Clan.
 
  Jang Cheon thought that his son would leave his name in the history of the world as long as his son grew at this rate.
 
  Instead, he realized that the path his son was facing was more challenging than he could have ever imagined. 
 
  A giant wall named Gu Yangcheon.
 
  Possibly, a wall that he might never overcome. 
 
  Jang Cheon only prayed that his son would not be destroyed at that very spot.
 
  That was all that he could hope for. 
 
******************
 
  His thoughts were all over the place.
 
  That was probably exactly how he was feeling.
 
  All the rocks that were being scattered along with dust…
 
  And the pained groans and the sound of Qi explosion that endlessly resounded…
 
  Even among all of these things, Jang Seonyeon swung his sword. 
 
  Swish!
 
  His sword swung toward his opponent. 
 
  The compressed Qi in his sword made a small mark in the air every time he swung. 
 
  There was no shaky movement at all.
 
  He had swung this sword countless times in his life, so there was no way that it was going to shake now.
 
  Ring…!
 
  The quiet resonance of the sword indicated that his swordsmanship was very much well-advanced. 
 
  He possessed the Qi of a first-rate martial artist and the Qi around his sword certainly posed a threat. 
 
  His swordsmanship was nearly flawless, and he was far more than just a young prodigy…
 
  But all of that was pointless if the attack didn’t land.
 
  “Ugh…!”
 
  Amid his flurry of sword strikes, a hand reached out and grabbed Jang Seonyeon’s neck.
 
  It could have been dangerous if the sword skimmed him even a little bit, but he had no hesitation.
 
  No, maybe he had no hesitation because he knew that he wouldn’t be hit?
 
  Slam!

 
  Without any consideration, Jang Seonyeon’s opponent started to beat him up repeatedly. 
 
  Jang Seonyeon’s body tumbled across the arena stage, which was already marred by damage.
 
  “Cough… Huff…”
 
  How many times was this already?
 
  It had to be at least five by now.
 
  Because after that, Jang Seonyeon stopped counting.
 
  “Ha… Huff.”
 
  He gasped heavily. 
 
  His body was also aching everywhere, but he couldn’t afford to rest. 
 
  Pow!
 
  “Ughh…!”
 
  Jang Seonyeon’s chin was forced upward.
 
  It was because he was kicked into the air. 
 
  “You’re spacing out in the middle of a duel?”
 
  After hearing the voice that followed, Jang Seonyeon had to snap out of his thoughts.
 
  He definitely didn’t space out.
 
  It was simply that he couldn’t see the attack.
 
  He couldn’t see Gu Yangcheon coming closer or his attack. He couldn’t see anything.
 
  ‘Dammit…!’
 
  ‘Could this really be possible?’
 
  ‘The Young Lady of Namgung I fought yesterday showed unbelievable strength as well, but it wasn’t anywhere near this level.’ 
 
  ‘Can this even be called talent?’
 
  ‘This is…’
 
  ‘A monster…’
 
  When that thought suddenly appeared in Jang Seonyeon’s mind, he flinched and bit his lips. 
 
  It was because he was reminded of what Peng Woojin told him.
 
  – Do you really think you’ll win against him? Against that monster?
 
  Back then, Jang Seonyeon thought that he could.
 
  He even thought that it wasn’t going to be that hard. 
 
  ‘Doesn’t that make sense?’
 
  ‘I was the chosen one, and he wasn’t.’
 
  ‘It obviously had to be easy.’
 
  ‘But then, why…!’
 
  ‘Why can’t I even see that bastard’s movement?’
 
  Jang Seonyeon had to conceal his trembling lips. 
 
  They were in different leagues.
 
  Such a common saying had never hit Jang Seonyeon so hard.
 
  But he was able to realize this fact in just a few clashes. 
 
  Gu Yangcheon felt like a being from a whole different realm.
 
  He didn’t even seem human. 
 
  If either of those weren’t the case, then there shouldn’t be such a talent as his in this world.
 
  Because it was extremely unfair for others to share the world with a talent like that. 
 
  Tingle-
 
  Suddenly sensing a presence, Jang Seonyeon swiftly raised his sword to defend himself. 
 
  Slam!
 
  As soon as he raised his sword, Jang Seonyeon was sent soaring into the sky by the impact.
 
  He made sure that he was protecting himself with Qi, but his opponent ripped through his shield like it was paper. 
 
  When Jang Seonyeon thought his body would soon crash back to the ground, 
 
  “Hey.”
 
  Along with a short call, Jang Seonyeon’s body was captured by Gu Yangcheon’s hand. 
 
  “What the hell are you doing?” 
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s voice was so fierce that it sounded like a beast roaring at him. 
 
  “What did I say earlier? I told you to use everything you had from the beginning.” 
 
  “…Huff… Huff…”
 
  “You used it just fine last time, but what’s wrong? Are you feeling ashamed to use it against me?”
 
  “…What… are you…”
 
  “Right, I knew that I would get a dumb answer like this even if I asked, I did something foolish.”
 
  Gu Yangcheon made an annoyed expression on his face and then let go of Jang Seonyeon right after. 
 
  Once freed, Jang Seonyeon promptly got back on his feet. 
 
  ‘What…. What should I do?’
 
  The incomprehensible situation had left his brain in disarray. 
 
  Jang Seonyeon knew that he was able to get up like this right now because Gu Yangcheon was going easy on him.
 
  It was obvious. 
 
  Despite rolling on the ground painfully that many times, he hadn’t shed a drop of blood.
 
  Which meant that his body itself wasn’t that much damaged. 
 
  It was the same case for the Qi inside his body.
 
  His Qi flow was broken and he took great impact from the attacks, but besides those, he didn’t take too much damage.
 
  Which meant…
 
  ‘…He was holding back?’
 
  It meant that Gu Yangcheon had been carefully controlling his power in each attack.
 
  In the middle of a duel at that.
 
  And Jang Seonyeon couldn’t fully grasp the terrifying and impressive nature of this.
 
  “Okay, listen closely. I’m going to share something that will help you throughout your life.”
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s voice brought Jang Seonyeon back from his thoughts.
 
  The voice he was hearing sounded rather far away.
 
  Gu Yangcheon, who had been right in front of him a moment ago, was now standing at the end of the arena stage. 
 
  ‘What is he doing there…?’ 
 
  “…!”
 
  Jang Seonyeon then opened his eyes widely after feeling chills starting from his back to the top of his head. 
 
  The wind blew. 
 
  It wasn’t strange at all for there to be a cold breeze in the winter…
 
  But what Jang Seonyeon felt wasn’t a cold breeze. 
 
  Heat.
 
  A scorching heat wave was radiating from all around him. 
 
  Starting from Gu Yangcheon, this intense heat wave swept fiercely through the area.
 
  ‘…What is this unbelievable nonsense?’ 
 
  The fact that Jang Seonyeon couldn’t believe what he was seeing wasn’t only because of the heat. 
 
  It was the fact that this stifling heat was composed entirely of Gu Yangcheon’s Qi. 
 
  ‘How much Qi does he have to possess in order to…!’
 
  The arena stage was nowhere near small. 
 
  Instead, it was almost excessively large, leading people to wonder why it had been built so big. 
 
  But Gu Yangcheon possessed so much Qi that he was completely filling up the arena with his heat?
 
  The problem was that it didn’t stop there.
 
  Blaaaaze-!
 
  A terrifying sound that came from somewhere.
 
  Along with the breeze, flames started to intermingle with the lingering heat in the air. 
 
  The blazing flames then started to engulf the area as if they were ready to devour Jang Seonyeon. 
 
  “I thought about why you won’t use your power. Understandable, right? I didn’t think you were retarded, but you were being weirdly stubborn when it’s obvious that you won’t win.”
 
  Jang Seonyeon gulped after hearing Gu Yangcheon.
 
  Jang Seonyeon’s shoulders felt weighed down by Gu Yangcheon’s speculation. 
 
  “You.”
 
  Unlike the flames that were proceeding to engulf the area, Gu Yangcheon’s expression couldn’t be more annoying than ever. 
 
  “You’re scared, right?”
 
  His tone, though light, cut deep, and his words burrowed deep into Jang Seonyeon’s nerves. 
 
  “You are worried that you might lose to me even if you use that power, and you are trying to give yourself an excuse once you go down on the ground completely, that’s why you aren’t using it.”
 
  Jang Seonyeon bit his lips after hearing Gu Yangcheon’s words.
 
  ‘How in the world does he know…?’
 
  Jang Seonyeon wasn’t referring to the excuse part. 
 
  He was referring to how Gu Yangcheon knew about the power within him. 
 
  ‘Did he find out from yesterday’s duel?’
 
  Those lacking Divine Qi could not detect it. 
 
  This applied to everyone even if they were the Three Heavenly Venerables or other prominent figures. 
 
  Even the Chief Abbot of Shaolin wouldn’t be able to recognize it, let alone his father. 
 
  That ‘Dancer’ said it herself, so it should have been correct.
 
  But somehow that bastard was certain.
 
  ‘He knows I had something inside my body.’
 
  ‘Did he… also receive the baptism?’
 
  Jang Seonyeon pondered for a moment, but he knew that such a thing never happened.
 
  Because he couldn’t sense any Divine Qi from his body.
 
  “You are thinking about something else again, for fuck’s sake.”
 
  “…!”
 
  “You’re gonna piss your pants too at this rate. You should only pay attention to fists in the middle of a duel.”
 
  Why was he suddenly talking about piss? Thought Jang Seonyeon for a moment, but his curiosity disappeared right away.
 
  To be more precise, Gu Yangcheon made it disappear.
 
  “Ugh…”
 
  Jang Seonyeon let out a groan.
 
  It was because Gu Yangcheon was letting out overwhelming killing intent. 
 
  It was so strong that the killing intent took on a physical form, grabbing Jang Seonyeon’s throat. 
 
  ‘To let out such disgusting killing intent in the middle of an Orthodox Faction duel…Has he gone insane?’
 
  Jang Seonyeon quickly glanced at the judge.
 
  “What…!?”
 
  But the judge was watching the duel with the same expression as before.
 
  ‘He didn’t… notice?’
 
  Jang Seonyeon got goosebumps all over his body.
 
  That disgusting and sticky killing intent was evidently targeted solely at him. 
 
  So that no one else could feel it except him.
 
  “You seem to keep having some other thoughts and have no intention of using your power, so I decided to get serious.”
 
  The flames that had been lingering in the air started to spin around, but were soon absorbed back into Gu Yangcheon.
 
  More accurately, they condensed within Gu Yangcheon’s arm. 
 
  That was dangerous.
 
  It wasn’t even instinct, but just by looking at it, Jang Seonyeon could tell. 
 
  “I’ll die if I don’t use it.”
 
  It sounded like he said those words without much thought being put into it,
 
  But Jang Seonyeon knew that there wasn’t any lie contained in what he just said. 
 
  The fact that he felt like he would faint at any moment due to the killing intent, was proof of that. 
 
  And as if to add further proof, Gu Yangcheon extended his fist from the arm with the swirling flames. 
 
  It was an attack he lightly let out without even focusing on his posture.
 
  His movement definitely seemed poor, yet the result was far from it.
 
  Roooaaar-!
 
  The dragon-shaped flames roared, as if they were ready to devour the entire arena, and charged toward Jang Seonyeon.
 
  Jang Seonyeon felt as though not even his bones would survive if he was hit by that attack.
 
  In the end, Jang Seonyeon released the lock and unleashed his power. 
 
  He felt the sensation of his body being enhanced and his muscles getting bigger. 
 
  Swoosh!
 
  When he used the power, he was able to escape from the killing intent that was holding him down.
 
  And right before he was about to be struck by the flames, Jang Seonyeon swung his sword without hesitation. 
 
  Swoooosh!
 
  The enhanced sword then cut through the flames in one swing.
 
  The flames disappeared, and the Qi that was forming the flames exploded, forming an impact in the air. 
 
  This meant that Jang Seonyeon had successfully blocked the attack.
 
  Jang Seonyeon also briefly staggered from the exertion but quickly regained his posture. 
 
  And because of the fact that he was able to block that outrageous attack, he became relieved. 
 
  Using that power two days in a row made him feel exhausted, but it didn’t matter to him. 
 
  Because the Divine Qi inside his body assured him that all of his opponent’s attacks were pointless, as he was able to block them all. 
 
  ‘I did it-’
 
  Crack-
 
  “…Huh?”
 
  Along with his dumbfounded reaction, Jang Seonyeon looked at his right arm.
 
  It was because he heard the sound of something breaking from there. 
 
  Then he was able to see.
 
  His right arm was broken brutally.
 
  “Good job.”
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s voice sounded right beside him and Jang Seonyeon’s sight lowered. 
 
  Thud!
 
  It was because his head dropped as one of his knees hit the ground. 
 
  The sudden pain was so intense that Jang Seonyeon couldn’t even scream. 
 
  “I told you earlier that I’d start with the arm.”
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s voice definitely held a bit of laughter. 
 
  “Now I can start beating you up in a more painful manner. That’s nice, isn’t it?”
 
  After hearing Gu Yangcheon talk excitedly with a kind tone, Jang Seonyeon’s eyes started to quiver. 
 
  It was at that moment that Jang Seonyeon truly recognized the emotion gnawing at his chest. 
 
  The emotion that was eating him away slowly, steadily building like a towering stack. 
 
  It was definitely fear.
 
  ‘…N-…’
 
  Gu Yangcheon’s fist appeared right in front of Jang Seonyeon’s eyes. 
 
 
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