Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 27

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༺ The Demon Sword (4) ༻
 
  It had been two days since Namgung Bi-ah joined our ‘caravan.’
 
  I was finally about to reach my destination.
 
  And once I did, I would probably have to go to the Tang Clan first.
 
  In all honesty, I had expected the trip to Sichuan to be a bit more dangerous than it was.
 
  Instead, after we met Namgun Bi-ah, we encountered a very small number of demons and didn’t really come across any real threat.
 
  The trip to Sichuan took close to 10 days.
 
  While it was undeniably boring because of how long it was, I couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that we didn’t run into any real problems along the way.
 
  Well, aside from the one that was now a part of our group.
 
  “Sigh…”
 
  I kept rubbing my face at the sight that made me sigh just by looking at it.
 
  “Look over there! It’s a squirrel!”
 
  “…Yes.”
 
  “Have you ever eaten a squirrel before?”
 
  “Yes… Huh? Oh, no.”
 
  Wi Seol-Ah had gotten off the carriage and was having a chat with Namgung Bi-ah, who was slowly following us from behind.
 
  It was mostly Wi Seol-Ah starting the conversation first and then Namgunng Bi-ah replying briefly, but the fact that she kept responding while walking at the same speed as Wi Seol-Ah showed that she didn’t mind talking to her.
 
  Wi Seol-Ah would also grab Namgung Bi-ah’s clothes every now and then when she was about to go off in the wrong direction with a dumb face.
 
  “…Why are they friendly towards each other?”
 
  I kept telling her not to go near strangers, but she kept saying she felt bad for Namgung Bi-ah and constantly approached her. 
 
  Why does she feel bad for her?
 
  Do I have to yell at her?
 
  “Sigh…”
 
  I never would have thought I would see the day when those two would act friendly towards each other.
 
  “Muyeon.”
 
  “Yes, Young Master.”
 
  “How long till we… Are you tired? What’s up with your face?”
 
  “It-it’s nothing, I’m fine.”
 
  …Fine my ass, you look like you’re about to die from fatigue.
 
  The reason why Muyeon was so tired was because of none other than Namgung Bi-ah.
 
  On the first day of Namgung Bi-ah’s following us, she randomly challenged Muyeon to a duel.
 
  Muyeon, without hesitation, denied her challenge.
 
  ‘I am the escort of the Young Master. I cannot afford to put my attention into something else, as I have to do my job as an escort. I apologize.’
 
  Namgung Bi-ah who was rejected, nodded her head, but she kept looking at Muyeon as if she had found something in him that made her obsessed.
 
  No, to put it more precisely, she was looking at his sword rather than Muyeon himself.
 
  Regardless, due to her constant staring, Muyeon had been losing sleep, hence his current situation.
 
  Then again, First-rate martial artists wouldn’t have been this tired even with some lack of sleep, so… was he tired mentally?
 
  ‘That crazy psychopath had this personality ever since she was this young.’
 
  A lunatic who drew her sword first if she found a martial artist who wielded a sword that amused her.
 
  It made sense that all she did was look for the Sword Emperor and other sword wielders in my previous life.
 
  She wasn’t as crazy now as she had been in my previous life, but she was definitely still a lunatic.
 
  She was a bit better right now because Wi Seol-Ah was chirping all around her like a baby bird, but I could see that she would still occasionally glance at Muyeon’s sword.
 
  …Maybe Wi Seol-Ah is talking to her because she noticed that?
 
  ‘Nah, no way.’
 
  There’s no way Wi Seol-Ah could have noticed that.
 
  Well, I couldn’t find any bad things that could originate from them being together at the moment, so I just let them be.
 
  We were going to arrive soon either way, and then we would part ways. And after that, I just needed to never run into her again.
 
  It sounded simple enough to pull off.
 
  With that thought, I closed my eyes, thinking about taking a nap.
 
  Was it because of the constant training I did? I was able to fall asleep pretty quickly.
 
  …
 
  How long has it been since…?
 
  I heard the voice of Muyeon from outside.
 
  “Young Master, I can see our destination.”
 
  We finally arrived in Sichuan, after a week of travel.
 
  * * * *
 
  I stretched my stiff body and got off the carriage.
 
  It would take around a day to reach the Tang Clan from here, so we had to take a rest in order to regain our energy.
 
  You would think that it was better to reach the destination first and then rest.
 
  The issue was that once we arrived at the Tang Clan, they would be prepared to greet us then and there, and so we wouldn’t have any time to rest.
 
  This was one of the hassles that came with being a member of a noble clan; you wouldn’t be able to go anywhere without people greeting you.
 
  “I wonder if they’ll have rooms.”
 
  “We should be able to find some quickly.”
 
  It was always difficult to find rooms at times like this.
 
  We had a good number of people in our caravan, and we wouldn’t get any special treatment for being a noble clan in this area.
 
  Wi Seol-Ah, who had been looking around and feeding her eyes, found something and immediately pulled on Namgung Bi-ah’s clothes, while Namgung Bi-ah stood still with a dumb look on her face.
 
  “Hey! She’s wearing the same clothing as you!”
 
  “…Ah.”
 
  At Wi Seol-Ah’s words, Namgung Bi-ah’s and my eyes immediately turned in the direction she was pointing out.
 
  Clean blue clothing, unlike the dusty, dirty clothing of Namgung Bi-ah, and the word Namgung sewn into the bottom of the clothing.
 
  They were Anhui’s rulers, representatives of the Namgung Clan.
 
  And they were definitely martial artists.
 
  Just as we had found them, it appeared that they had also found us, as surprise could be seen on the faces of those who turned towards us.
 
  Then someone from the group ran towards Namgung Bi-ah.
 
  “Sis!!”
 
  It was a boy who seemed to be around the same age as me.
 
  Besides her dumb look, Namgung Bi-ah had a cold appearance that made it hard for people to reach out to her,
 
  And that boy was basically the male version of her.
 
  Namgung Bi-ah slowly raised her hand as she looked at the boy.
 
  “Hi… Cheonjun.”
 
  “Where did you disappear off to, sister!? Do you know how many people from the clan were looking for you?”
 
  “Sorry… I got lost.”
 
  Namgung Cheonjun massaged his temple upon hearing Namgung Bi-ah’s response.
 
  “That’s why I told you to travel with us with ropes tied to you.”
 
  …Ropes?
 
  What is she, some sort of dog…?
 
  ‘Then again, with the number of times she gets lost, maybe…’
 
  Ignorant of my thoughts, Namgung Bi-ah responded to her brother’s words.
 
  “…Still, that’s a bit embarrassing.”
 
  “Right, is that why you disappeared after only one day of traveling? You were the one that told us not to be worried about you getting lost this time.”
 
  “…Sorry.”
 
  Namgung Bi-ah lowered her tail upon hearing Namgung Cheonjun’s strict words.
 
  Namgung Cheonjun, who seemed to only now notice us, quickly showed his respect.
 
  “I am Namgung Cheonjun from the Namgung Clan.”
 
  I knew it—this boy was the Lightning Sword.
 
  This boy was the future representative of the Orthodox Faction and would also become one of the five sword masters of Murim. So right about now, he should be…
 
  “I am Gu Ya-, Gu Jeolyub from the Gu Clan… Are you perhaps the one called the Lightning Dragon?”
 
  I quickly corrected myself as I remembered the name I had given Namgung Bi-ah.
 
  At my question, Namgung Cheonjun’s face blushed slightly. It was kind of annoying, seeing such a handsome guy blush.
 
  “…It’s a bit embarrassing and undeserved, but I am indeed called that.”
 
  He was embarrassed, but he was still showing pride and confidence.
 
  The Five Dragons and Three Phoenixes.
 
  That’s what the eight greatest martial artists were called during this time.
 
  This group included my eldest sister, Gu Huibi, the Sword Phoenix.
 
  The Lightning Dragon, Namgung Cheonjun, I think he was two years older than me.
 
  I couldn’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure that it was two years.
 
  I felt someone staring at me weirdly, so I turned around.
 
  Wi Seol-Ah was looking at me with weird eyes.
 
  It probably was because of how I’d given them a wrong name.
 
  “…?”
 
  It looked like there were question marks floating above her head, so I quietly signaled to her to be quiet.
 
  She, thankfully, seemed to notice and remained silent.
 
  Namgung Cheonjun then asked me a question.
 
  “Ah, a martial artist from the Gu Clan. If it doesn’t cause you any trouble, may I ask how my sister came to join your caravan?”
 
  That lunatic randomly appeared with a bunch of demons and then followed us.
 
  “We met her by coincidence when she got lost, so we decided to travel with her.”
 
  I couldn’t say what I really thought, so I had to put it in a nice way.
 
  And then I felt Namgung Bi-ah staring at me weirdly just like Wi Seol-Ah before.
 
  I mentally prayed to all of the Gods that she would keep her mouth shut since she had eaten so many of our dumplings along the way.
 
  It seemed that I underestimated what a combination of accursed luck and a dumb girl could bring.
 
  “No…? He said we-“
 
  “Alright, Young Lady of Namgung, it was fun traveling with you. Please be careful not to get lost next time.”
 
  Of course, I wasn’t just going to stand there and let her finish.
 
  Namgung Cheonjun, on the other hand, smiled and spoke after watching this.
 
  “Thank you for taking care of my sister… Are you perhaps coming to see the Military Exhibition of Tang Clan?”
 
  “Uh, well… Yes.”
 
  Namgung Bi-ah flinched at my response.
 
  Was it because I’d lied to her, saying that I wasn’t going to Sichuan?
 
  I mean, what are you going to do about it? I don’t like you.
 
  “Then did you already find a place to stay? We don’t have anything to offer you at this moment, but we can offer you rooms. Let us go together since we have the same destination.”
 
  Namgung Cheonjun offered with a smile, and looking at that smile made me feel like he might have actually rented an entire building.
 
  ‘…No, I don’t want to be involved with you lunatics any longer.’
 
  I had no intention of accepting the offer. This much was already enough, and I didn’t want any more involvement.
 
  I expected that Namgung Bi-ah would attend the Military Exhibition of Tang Clan since she said she was going to Sichuan.
 
  But why bring two direct descendants of the clan?
 
  Whether it was the Lightning Dragon or Namgung Bi-ah, they were both direct blood descendants of their clan, so what made them both come?
 
  ‘Well, that doesn’t matter to me. This ends here.’
 
  I already had a different goal in mind while coming here in the first place, and I had to cut off my involvement with Namgung Bi-ah. I would, for sure, be able to find a place to stay if I looked hard enough.
 
  Muyeon, who seemed to have just found a place to stay, came over to me right on time. With this reassurance in mind, I immediately spoke to Namgung Cheonjun with the intention of denying his offer.
 
  “Thank you for the offer, but we seem to have found a different-“
 
  “Young Master… There were no rooms nearby. Should we just camp again in the lake area…?”
 
  “…Was what I was going to say, but since you have offered so sincerely, I can’t reject, can I? We are in your debt, Young Master Namgung.”
 
  Fuck my life.
 
 * * * *
 
  I thought that it would have been better to just sleep in the carriage if we failed to find a place to stay.
 
  But it would have been problematic for the escorts to camp out at night again.
 
  Fine, that was just an excuse. I myself had grown tired of camping outside at night.
 
  Namgung Cheonjun, after finishing guiding us to the place to stay, pulled Namgung Bi-ah away and disappeared.
 
  I kind of felt bad for Namgung Bi-ah, as she had displayed a rare emotion of fear upon seeing Namgung Cheonjun’s angry face. It seemed like she was going to get an earful.
 
  But it was karma for her, so I didn’t really care.
 
  What was weird, however, was their relationship.
 
  They looked to me like siblings who had no problems with each other.
 
  But the Demon Sword I remembered from my previous life made me think…
 
  The first thing that the Demonic Sword had done after she became a demonic human, was to bring an army of demonic humans and erase the Namgung Clan from the world.
 
  She made a name for herself in the demonic realm by killing the Lord, Elders, and even servants of the clan.
 
  So what was that sense of togetherness that I got from both of them?
 
  I never had a proper conversation with Namgung Bi-ah in my previous life.
 
  The same could be said for the other demonic humans.
 
  Everyone had their own goals and desires, which was why they turned themselves to the Heavenly Demon, so they didn’t have any intention of being friends with one another.
 
  Because of that, I don’t really know about the background of the Namgung Bi-ah who became the Demon Sword… not that I want to know anyways.
 
  I was tired, so I stood up to go to my room.
 
  My room was upstairs, so I was climbing up the stairs when I saw Namgung Bi-ah coming down from the stairs.
 
  “…Ah.”
 
  Namgung Bi-ah, who made eye contact with me, seemed to be showing me respect, and I was startled by that.
 
  ‘What the…?’
 
  Namgung Bi-ah spoke, regardless of my shock.
 
  “Thank you for guiding me here, Young Master Gu.”
 
  “…You did follow us here without our approval.”
 
  “Thank you, let’s meet again.”
 
  No, let’s not.
 
  Namgung Bi-ah, who looked better than usual, probably because of the scolding she got, passed by me.
 
  When I started to go up again, Namgung Cheonjun was looking at me.
 
  I was thankful for his offer, so I tried to thank him again.
 
  “Oh, Young Master Namgung-“
 
  But Namgung Cheonjun just passed by me while hitting my shoulder, as if my words were being thrown into the night’s air.
 
  Then I heard a voice from one step below.
 
  “…Know your place.”
 
  Namgung Cheonjun’s voice was quite different from his warm voice from before.
 
  It was much colder.
 
  “I was going to let you go the first time, but you truly don’t know your place. How dare you talk to my sister?”
 
  I could feel his killing intent as our eyes met.
 
  “I’ll let it pass this time, but if I see such a thing happen again, then I’ll cut through your neck.”
 
  After speaking, Namgung Cheonjun left to go after Namgung Bi-ah.
 
  To that, I nodded my head rather than being angry.
 
  It was honestly better this way.
 
  ‘…I knew they were all lunatics.’
 
  I had never seen anyone normal from the Namgung Clan, even with both my current and previous lives combined.
 
  That guy, Namgung Cheojun, was just another one of them.
 
  And our brief chat confirmed my thoughts about never involving myself with that clan of lunatics.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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