Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 55

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༺ The Plum Blossom Dragon (5) ༻
  This was the first night since we started traveling together with the crew from Mount Hua.
  It had certainly been an unexpected accompaniment, but, thankfully, traveling with them hadn’t really affected things for us as they took care of their own food and lodgings.
  Then again, traveling with us probably did them more harm than good because they had to match our pace. 
  That was the price they have to pay in order to keep the treasure safe.
  Their behavior was understandable when one considered the priceless treasure we had in our possession. 
  Clans without their own wouldn’t know, but the clans in the Ten-Sect Alliance as well as the Four Noble Clans probably had at least one treasure of their own. 
  And these treasures pretty much served as the symbols of their clans.
  And to lose such significant treasure in a drinking bet is just…
  Even the old ghost had chosen to remain silent in the face of this situation when in other situations he would always choose to nag me whenever I talked badly about Mount Hua. 
  “…Betting such an item is one thing, actually accepting the item is another.” 
  Why would he actually accept such an item being offered in a bet? 
  Honestly, I could imagine the Second Elder happily accepting the offer with a wide grin on his face.
  …Because of him, I even got this lowly ghost.
  「How dare you call me a lowly ghost!?」
  “Anyways, you said you had something you wanted to ask me.”
  I’d used my training as an excuse to step away from the camp at night. 
  I was even able to put up a weak sound barrier since my Qi had increased.
  After I was done with my preparation, the ghost-
  Oh yeah, what should I call him?
  「You may address me as Elder Divine Sword of Mount Hua.」
  “I’ll call you Elder Shin for short.”
  「…You really don’t listen huh, you could’ve at least called me Shincheol, not Elder Shin. What kind of person calls someone like that?」
  “Then should I just call you old ghost?”
  「Just call me however you like…」
  Elder Shin let out a sigh.
  Whether he was really a hero of the past or the Divine Sword didn’t matter to me.
  I just need to know whether or not he will bring me trouble.
  That was what really mattered. 
  I was really uncomfortable with having to deal with another mind in my head while I only had one body to work with, and I didn’t want to have to worry about a scenario where he took over my body completely.
  If possible, I wanted to be completely free of it, but it seemed like it wasn’t going to be that easy.
  Earlier, he was able to control my Qi… This might be dangerous.
  How can I deal with this situation?
  This was such a hassle.
  While I was mulling over my thoughts, Elder Shin interjected.
  「It seems like you have much to think about.」
  “Yes, it is problematic after all.”
  If he was able to read my mind even slightly, then he probably knew what I was worrying about. 
  There was no use in hiding it.
  “What can I do so you can leave my body?”
  「You think I would stick with you if I knew a way? There are so many kids from Mount Hua here that I’d rather take over.」
  Elder Shin continued to speak.
  「Don’t worry about such a pointless thing, I have no interest in your body.」
  “But it’s not like I can just believe that.”
  「What will you do if you don’t believe it then? You got any other solution?」
  “…Maybe we can find one if we look for it.”
  「It’s not that easy. You seemed to be worrying about how I was able to control your Qi, but hiding your Qi was my limit, so don’t worry about it.」
  “…Then how did you make me faint?”
  If Elder Shin was being honest, then what about the interaction I’d had with the Sword Dragon? 

  It was a disgusting sensation, feeling my Qi move around my body without my control.
  Elder Shin responded to my thoughts as he was dumbfounded by it.
  「I didn’t do that, you little brat.」
  「Whether you believe me or not is your choice, but, in the first place, it’s weird that you expect everything to be fine while containing that thing.」
  “What do you mean by contain?”
  Elder Shin responded as if he hadn’t expected my question.
  「…Huh, so you don’t even know what you’re harboring within your own body.」
  “Can you at least explain first-”
  「I think I’ve answered enough, it’s my turn. It’s only right to have a fair trade.」
  It seemed like he had no intention of letting me know what I was ‘harboring’ within my own body.
  What an old man he was, there was no way that this guy was really the world-famous Divine Sword of Mount Hua.
  His personality especially was completely different from what everyone said he was like and instead was a complete mess-
  「I guess you don’t want to hear it.」
  “…I’m just joking with you. I think you have a very large and far-reaching mind which symbolizes the clan.” 
  For f*cks sake… Why is this guy so narrow minded?
  「…I can read your mind, you know.」
  “…Just ask what you wanted to ask already.”
  The conversation was, in the end, largely pointless; we had to get to the point.
  「I want to ask you something.」
  “Yes, ask away.”
  「Do you know what generation the current lord of Mount Hua is from?」
  The generation of the current lord, huh… the current lord would be the Celestial Plum Blossom. 
  He was one of the few sword wielders comparable to the Sword Emperor. 
  Of course, to me, he was just a man that sold his clan’s treasure after losing a drinking bet. 
  Anyway, to answer what generation the Celestial Plum Blossom belonged to;
  “I don’t know.”
  “…I mean, why would I be curious about the lord of some other clan let alone what generation they are from? I’ll ask the people from Mount Hua later.” 
  「You little br-, no, never mind. I’ll ask you something else.」
  Elder Shin took on a serious tone, much unlike before, as he spoke;
  「What happened to the Blood King?」
  The Blood King?
  I had to stop at Elder Shin’s question.
  The Blood King? I had to think about what he meant when he asked that question. 
  “What do you mean?”
  「I mean exactly what I asked. Do you not know the Blood King?」
“Of course I know him, I’ve heard the story of the Blood Disaster to the point of my ears bleeding.”
  「…Thankfully the story seems to have been passed down to the newer generation, but that’s not what I’m asking about. I want to know about what happened to the Blood King at the end.」
  “…Isn’t it weirder that you don’t know? You are the Divine Sword, after all.”
  He was the hero that had stopped the Blood King and returned light to the world while also strengthening his clan even further.
  Yet he was asking about the Blood King that he himself defeated? 
  「Just answer my question. What happened to the Blood King?」
  “According to the history, the Blood King perished. It was none other than you guys that stopped him after all.”
  「‘You guys’?」
  I was referring to the five masters that fought in the Blood Demon war which included the Divine Sword himself. 
  After I listed the names of the masters, Elder Shin responded in relief. 
  「…Thankfully, I am also included in that group.」
  “At this point, I’m more curious than you are. Why are you asking me this? Are you really the Divine Sword of Mount Hua?”
  「I am indeed the Divine Sword, Shincheol. However,」
  Elder Shin paused for a bit.
  「The last battle I had with the Blood King is something I don’t remember…」
  “…What do you mean by that?”
  He doesn’t remember?
  「I can tell that a long time has passed, judging by the title Shinhyun is being called. I can also tell that I was still alive after stopping the Blood King by reading your mind.」
  「But, after that… I can’t remember anything else.」 
  “So you don’t even know why you were trapped inside the treasure?”
  「You think I’d be going through all this hassle with you if I knew why?」
  “At least you are not completely stupi-… At least you know it’s a hassle.”
  I couldn’t call him stupid, so I said it in a nicer way.
  According to Elder Shin’s words, it seemed like he’d lost parts of his memory.
  Is this some side effect of him being trapped inside the treasure? 
  Why do I always come across a problem whenever I do something?
  …Is it karma?
  If it was karma, then I couldn’t say much about it.
  It was my fault for living the way I did in my past life.
  I felt like someone was whispering those words in my ears.
  「I don’t remember…」
  “Anyways, isn’t it all fine since the Blood King died and Mount Hua maintained their position?” 
  「Your simple-minded way of thinking is the reason why you are lacking, but I envy that right now.」
  “Why are you talking shit like a smartass?” 
  「…So you knew.」 
  “Now it’s your turn to answer my question.”
  「About what?」
  “The thing I am containing, what do you mean by it?”
  It was something I’d been concerned about the whole time.
  What is it that I am containing?
  The old man laughed as he found my nervousness entertaining. 
  “Why are you laughing?”
  「What would change if you hear it from me when you don’t even believe me in the first place?」
  “But it’s better to hear it first, right?”
  「What a shameless fellow you are.」
  “No point in hiding it since you can read my mind already.”
  I was much more comfortable when I didn’t have to act.
  Elder Shin spoke while I was making a tired face. 
  「I do not know the thing that you are containing inside of you.」
  He was talking as if he knew all about it earlier?
  He really is a fraud-
  「Oh my, let me finish.」
  「I’m honestly more astounded that you are not even able to feel it.」 
  “What do you mean?”
  「You really don’t feel anything when you have that reckless thing inside you?」 
  Reckless? Was he referring to the destructive flame arts?
  I had no problem with him calling that as it indeed was a Qi with a very violent flow, but it sounded more like Elder Shin was describing a beast rather than martial arts. 
  「It wasn’t happy with me entering your body and it tried to act recklessly on its own, so I put it to sleep. Be grateful, you little shit.」 
  “…Put it to sleep?”
  「Even now, if I let go of the leash, it will act recklessly. Do you want me to test it?」 
  As soon as Elder Shin finished talking, I felt the same disgusting sensation I’d felt earlier. 
  The sensation that felt like Qi with spikes was moving around my body while stabbing every part of it. 
  I couldn’t even breathe while my knees fell to the ground.
  Just when I was about to lose my consciousness,
  「You see now?」
  The pain disappeared along with Elder Shin’s words. 
  And I was finally able to breathe again.
  “Huff, huff… What… is this?”
  My heart was beating much faster than before because of the sudden pain.
  「It seems like the Qi you absorbed from the treasure has woken up the beast you had inside. That’s why I told you not to overeat.」 
  “I told you, I didn’t do it on purpose…”
  Even if my body wasn’t used to the pain, the fact that it was able to make me faint in just a few seconds,
  This was a huge problem.
  Was it because of my own qi, my demonic ability, or something completely different? 
  Or it could be possible that Elder Shin was lying too. 
  I still had a long way to go to reach Mount Hua, and now I had to deal with this. 
  At this point, I started to think that maybe it was my fault that I kept getting into trouble whenever I tried to do something. 
  「I can feel the sense of doubt you have, and I’m honestly impressed how you can even think that way after coming this far.」 
  “Please, stop reading my mind.”
  「You only have yourself to blame for being so easy to read. You should know that by now.」 
  I got rid of the sound barrier I had previously set up earlier.
  If I stayed here any longer, the escorts would come to look for me.
  「It’s not completely bad for me to be in your mind, and it’s not like I enjoy being inside you, but I’m enduring it, so stop your whining and think about how you can solve this situation.」
  「You said you are going to Mount Hua, and since both the treasure and I originate from that place, maybe you can find the answer there.」 
  Could I really find the answer in Mount Hua?
  I hoped that I could. 
  …Especially because I didn’t want to stay with this annoying old man any longer. 
  「You little brat!」
  I ignored Elder Shin and started making my way back to the camp. 
  Both the beast that was inside me and the old man that was somehow able to put that beast to sleep…
  Both things were questionable, 
  …But in the end, there was nothing I could do here to find a solution, so I had to go to Mount Hua. 
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