༺ Mount Hua (3) ༻
I stood, dumbfounded, after hearing the shocking identity of the wrapped stone I had been tasked with delivering.
The Second Elder felt awkward after seeing our reactions, so he continued with a noticeably subdued voice, much unlike the vigorous tone he usually used.
“…Uh, I got it from winning a bet while we were drinking, but I forgot to give it back to him…”
“…You used one of the clan’s four treasures as bet?”
What kind of nonsense is this?
It would have been more believable if he’d just said that he stole it… but this?
What kind of Lord uses his clan’s treasure in a drinking bet!?
The Second Elder continued speaking.
“…Don’t be too sad, this old man also bet something that rivaled that stone he bet.”
“…Sad? What do you mean sad?”
“Huh? I thought you were sad because you thought this old man didn’t bet anything when the opposing side bet one of his clan’s four treasures.”
“…What the hell are you going on about?”
And did he say he bet something that rivaled this stone? The Second Elder had such an item…?
At that point, I came to the conclusion that the Second Elder was just pulling my legs.
Yeah, there’s no way that this is really their clan’s treasure.
I smirked after assuring myself that the Second Elder was just playing with me.
“Hey, even if I look dumb to you, isn’t your joke a bit too much?”
I unwrapped the cloth, not believing the Second Elder’s words and intending to put an end to the joke…
And instantly, the smell of plums spread everywhere.
It was a soft scent.
When I looked down at the unwrapped item in my grasp, I saw a round, shining stone.
I rewrapped the stone right away.
…f*ck. No matter how I look at it, this is the real deal.
If the stone shining and producing the scent of plums wasn’t a treasure, then I didn’t know what was.
“How could you wrap this kind of treasure in some cheap cloth!?”
“Hey! The Lord of their clan gave it to me that way, so what are you yelling at this old man for!?”
“What kind of person wraps this kind of treasure in some cheap cloth like this?”
I felt like I was going insane.
How was I supposed to deal with this? I was now in a situation where I had to get to Mount Hua whilst bringing this treasure with me.
I’d never imagined receiving one of Mount Hua’s treasures from a member of the Gu Clan.
“…Why are you making me deliver this anyways, you should just take the safer option of making the delivery group deliver it for you.”
“There is no safer option such as right now, so don’t worry.”
I thought about his words for a second, wondering what they meant…
Then I remembered the Sword Emperor who was talking to a horse behind me.
If the Second Elder and my father knew about the real identity of the Sword Emperor, then his words were understandable.
…Still, why are you making me carry this?
I thought my heart had stopped when I first saw the stone.
While I was holding the treasure with shaky hands, the Second Elder spoke with a smile.
“Oh, I already spoke with their Clan’s Lord, so you just need to go there without worrying about anything.”
“So everything has been planned out already without my consent…”
Why was I always made to do things without having any say in their proceedings?
I felt like I wasn’t being treated properly at the moment, even as I was the clan’s only son.
…Then again, I have never really been treated well…
Since everything had already been planned, I had no option of rejecting the request.
I carefully put the stone in my pocket; as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just ask the Sword Emperor to hold it for me.
Thankfully, the stone was pretty small, so it wasn’t really noticeable.
After I put the stone in my pocket, Muyeon spoke to me.
“Young Master, we are now ready to go.”
“I’ll be there right away.”
As I turned to head towards the carriage, the Second Elder stopped me.
“Just like when you went to Sichuan-”
“Yes, I’ll come back without causing any trouble.”
“You say that but you came back after breaking the Lightning Dragon’s arm.”
“Anyways, where is my sister?”
Gu Huibi, who had been next to me not too long ago, had suddenly disappeared.
When I asked that question, the Second Elder laughed.
“She’s probably crying somewhere since she can’t see you anymore.”
“She’s probably crying behind some tree since she can’t see you because she’s going far away this time, so don’t worry about it.”
I faked a laugh at the Second Elder’s absurd words.
This was even harder to believe than the fact that the stone I was holding was one of the four great treasures of the clan.
That fiery woman was crying because she is worried about me? Yeah right.
It was more believable that she would tease me now that she was assigned to somewhere really far.
The thought of Gu Huibi crying made me laugh a little.
It really didn’t fit her at all.
“Yeah, anyways, I’ll be back.”
I had to leave soon, so I went inside the carriage after respectfully bidding my farewell to the Second Elder.
“Yeah, have a nice trip.”
“Yes Lord Second Elder, take care.”
As soon as I got on the carriage, I heard the neigh of the horse, and the carriage started moving, signifying the start of our journey to Mount Hua.
After Gu Yangcheon left, the Second Elder went into his house and felt something in the corner of the room.
The Second Elder let out a sigh unnatural for his personality.
“Were you that sad?”
The person curled up in the corner flinched upon hearing the Second Elder’s question.
“It’s not like Yangcheon is some three-year old kid, so why are you crying like that?”
“He…is still a fragile little kid…! He’s even skipping his meals because of his training…”
The sobbing voice belonged to none other than Gu Huibi.
“If you only take care of Yangcheon, Yeonseo will be sad.”
“Yeonseo takes care of herself well, but Yangcheon always causes troubles wherever he goes.”
The Second Elder couldn’t say anything in response to that point.
Even this time, he returned from the Sichuan trip after breaking the arm of Namgung Clan’s heir.
The Second Elder had wanted Gu Yangcheon to break his leg as well after hearing everything that happened, but he had to compose himself as an elder.
“…I barely got to see him too…”
The Second Elder turned away from Gu Huibi who continued to cry.
…She may have been called the Sword Phoenix, but to the Second Elder, she was just a granddaughter who still hadn’t matured yet.
The Second Elder, after watching for a bit, left the room and quietly closed the door.
And after about 7 days,
Someone walked towards the Gu clan’s gate and knocked on it.
Three days before Gu Huibi left for her mission.
She was in an extremely bad mood due to a certain incident.
And it only became worse because of the person that appeared in front of her.
“And who are you again?”
She spoke without any formality.
It was right to show respect whether the person being spoken to was younger or older, but Gu Huibi was someone who didn’t care about things like that — even if it made her seem disrespectful.
The person before her seemed unaffected by Gu Huibi’s disrespectful way of speaking and simply bowed her head, showing respect.
“I am Namgung Bi-ah.”
She’s absurdly pretty.
That was the first thought Gu Huibi had when she saw Namgung Bi-ah for the first time.
The servant her brother would always bring alongside him was already absurdly pretty, yet this Namgung girl rivaled her.
‘The greatest beauty of Anhui’… She really lived up to that name.
“Yeah, I heard that, but why did you come here?”
Gu Huibi didn’t know why, but she noticed that the clothes Namgung Bi-ah wore were covered in leaves and dust.
Had she gone through some rough road or something? She even seemed to have some demon’s blood on her clothes as well, as if she’d fought some demons on her way here.
Namgung Bi-ah responded firmly to Gu Huibi’s question.
“I came here to see my fiancé.”
She wasn’t wrong, but it really irritated Gu Huibi.
“I heard that it’s not completely official yet.”
‘Was it not official?’ The expression on Namgung Bi-ah’s face seemed to be asking that question.
Unlike her cold brother, Gu Huibi felt like her brother’s fiancée seemed to be a bit empty-headed.
I don’t like her.
But she had something to say to Namgung Bi-ah that brightened her mood.
Of course, this wasn’t something she had fancied a few days back, but back then she’d had no idea that it would come back to help her.
She spoke to Namgung Bi-ah.
“Aw that’s unfortunate, my little brother isn’t in the clan right now.”
“Yeah, little bro. I’m his older sister.”
Namgung Bi-ah nodded her head as if she’d just understood.
Then she modestly bowed her head, showing respect.
To that sudden action, Gu Huibi felt startled.
What the hell?
She then responded with a reluctant expression.
“…Uh, yeah… Hello.”
“Then… Where is he right now…?”
“He went to Mount Hua. Far, right? Unfortunate for you, so you should just go back home-”
Gu Huibi was forced to halt her words in the middle of her cold response.
It was because Namgung Bi-ah had brightly smiled upon hearing about Gu Yangcheon’s location.
It hurt Gu Huibi’s pride to admit it, but her smiling face made her look almost too beautiful.
Namgung Bi-ah who was about to turn around stopped and asked her.
It was a really random question.
“Are you a sword wielder?”
“…Yeah, did your younger brother not tell you?”
Namgung Bi-ah tilted her head at Gu Huibi’s question.
Little brother? She’d never heard of such a thing from him.
Namgung Cheonjun never made an effort to talk about people that were stronger than him.
And that meant that the woman in front of her was stronger than him.
She was extremely strong, Namgung Bi-ah could tell just by looking.
She is probably even stronger than me.
The explosive but fluid aura around her was telling Namgung Bi-ah that.
It was similar to her fiancé, but much stronger.
It excited her.
Namgung Bi-ah felt an urge to fight her slowly rise.
Furthermore, she is a sword wielder?
The woman in front of Namgung Bi-ah was the perfect martial artist she was looking for.
It made Namgung Bi-ah want to stick to her for even a few days just so she could agree to have a duel with her. However,
“…Unfortunately, now is not the time.”
“Thank you for telling me.”
Namgung Bi-ah bowed her head once again.
Gu Huibi felt like her mind was going numb because of the Namgung girl’s polite attitude.
But she swiftly returned to her senses and spoke to her.
“Like I said, my little brother isn’t here in the clan right now… So go back to your own… What the-?”
Suddenly realizing that Namgung Bi-ah was no longer before her, Gu Huibi cut herself off in surprise.
“What the, where did she go…?”
Gu Huibi stood there in a daze for a while, feeling like she had just seen a ghost.
The next day.
A letter from the Namgung clan came, asking the Gu clan to get ahold of Namgung Bi-ah if they happened to see her.
But, it was already too late.
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