༺ Immortal Healer (2) ༻
Deep inside a cave, the sound of metal clashing echoed.
The sickening smell that lingered was so pungent, it made him frown.
Baechong walked deeper into the cave with shaky legs.
After he followed the torches that had been hung up on the walls of the cave, he found a large man sitting on an even larger chair.
Beside the chair, rested a giant sword that boasted a size similar to the average adult male.
Baechong walked towards the colossal man and slowly kneeled before him.
The owner of the giant sword looked at Baechong unhappily and then spoke.
“Our tail was caught?”
He spoke with an incredibly dissatisfied tone.
Baechong gulped down his saliva and responded.
“Yes sir… I believe the Mount Hua Sect is onto us.”
“Hmm… I guess it was too greedy of us to kidnap the Tidal Sword, huh.”
A Plum Blossom Swordsman, the Tidal Sword, Shinchung.
After they had kidnapped him when the opportunity presented itself, their tail was caught by the people of Mount Hua.
Unfortunately, the Mount Hua Sect noticed sooner than they had anticipated.
“It’s probably too risky to capture more of their clan members after they had noticed a change.”
“I will report it to the main palace.”
“Don’t be late, you saw what happened to the guy that got his arm chopped off because he was late, right?”
The large man took out a letter and threw it at Baechong as he chewed on some fried scorpions.
“I heard that another problem occurred in Yeoncheon, do you know what it is?”
“…I heard that the Racoons appeared.”
“Racoons? How did they know?”
Racoon was a derogatory term used to describe the Hao Clan.
They caught on to us at that place out of all the places? I get that the Hao Clan was known for possessing an extensive information network, but I couldn’t understand this situation.
“Hmm… is there a traitor?”
They couldn’t be sure that there wasn’t one in their midst, but it was hard to believe that they had a traitor that worked for a clan like the Hao Clan and not a group like the Murim Alliance.
The large man’s hand stopped moving.
It was because he ran out of fried scorpions to eat.
Baechong who quickly noticed, spoke to the man.
“I will tell our guys to bring in more.”
“I like how quick-witted you are.”
The large man stood up with a smile.
His huge physique was enough to overpower the average person.
Baechong continued to speak.
“There was an order from the main palace.”
“Go on, I’m listening.”
“The Immortal Healer is said to have appeared in Shaanxi.”
The large man’s eyes widened at Baechong’s words.
“The Immortal Healer?”
“I heard that he was in Anhui last time, and now he’s in Shaanxi? That man has quite the energy for being so old.”
“We sent some people to find his exact location.”
To Baechong’s words, the large man showed off his yellow teeth.
The threatening aura that came from the large man shook the entire cave.
“I don’t remember ordering you to send our guys to find him?”
His hand reached for Baechong’s heart.
Before it reached his heart, Baechong quickly spoke.
“The leader gave the order himself…!”
After he heard Baechong’s words, the man’s hand stopped, and the threatening aura slowly disappeared as well.
“Yes… Here is the letter that was directly sent to me.”
Baechong handed over the letter with shaky hands, and the large man took it and opened the letter.
In the letter, there was a stamp that the Lord marked himself.
Because of this, the large man’s expression became dissatisfied.
“For him to send a letter without telling the branch manager, I get that the leader is busy, but that hurts a little.”
“…Right! He must have been busy.”
It’s because you suck at your job, you pig!
Baechong thought to himself.
But he couldn’t actually say this out loud, so he gulped the words back down his throat.
“So, what am I supposed to do, kill him?”
The order and its details were all written in the letter, but it was annoying how he barely read the contents.
However, Baechong couldn’t do anything about it.
“…To capture and imprison was the order.”
“…Hmm, imprisonment again.”
“Yes, the leader ordered us not to harm the hands or the eyes no matter what happens.”
The large man made an unhappy face after hearing Baechong’s words.
Baechong cooled down the anger he felt.
It annoyed him how that man was given the branch manager position.
But his strength alone was reason enough for him to become the branch manager.
The Giant Oni, Ya Hyeoljeok.
His strength was enough for him to belong in the main palace.
However, his over-the-top nasty way of fighting got him kicked from the main palace, so he became a branch manager of this place.
Basically, despite his stupidity, he was still given the branch manager position after getting kicked out of the main palace based solely on his monstrous strength.
“Oh, I can rip apart anyone who interferes, right?”
“…Yes, as long as the Immortal Healer is captured.”
“Yes, yes, I hope we find him soon… Even better if more of those guys from the Mount Hua Sect come.”
Ya Hyeoljeok picked up his giant sword after saying that.
It was without a doubt a humongous sword, but compared to Ya Hyeoljeok, it seemed quite small.
The sword swing sent out a wind slash that went right above Baechong’s head.
Baechong had to calm his racing heart after he heard the sounds of destruction that came from behind him.
Ya Hyeoljeok didn’t care about Baechong and flashed his yellow teeth with a smile.
“The Sword Dragon, huh? I heard that he was decent amongst the kids… I hope I see him soon, nothing makes me happier than stepping on those little kids.”
Ya Hyeoljeok giggled.
Baechong clenched his eyes shut as he heard the giant sword scratching the ground.
After Ya Hyeoljeok walked past him and finally left the dark cave, Baechong was then able to finally let go of the breath that he held back.
He couldn’t do this anymore.
Baechong couldn’t work under that maniacal pig any longer.
* * * *
After the talk with the Celestial Plum Blossom ended, I had breakfast and started to make my way toward Mount Hua.
Due to the mountain’s absurd height, we couldn’t bring the servants with us, so we just brought some of the escorts which included Muyeon.
Namgung Bi-ah also wanted to follow me to Mount Hua, so I just told her to do as she pleased.
I knew that even if I told her not to follow me, she wouldn’t listen anyway.
We started to go up the seemingly endless peak of Mount Hua, the Lotus Peak.
If it was me from before, I would have collapsed after having barely gone a quarter of the way up.
But thanks to the persistent training I had done for the past few months, it wasn’t too bad for me.
Of course, I was so tired midway up that I had to start using my Qi.
“Young Master! We are almost there!”
I frowned at Yung Pung’s words.
“…You said that earlier.”
“We are almost there for real this time!”
How is that guy so energetic…?
Yung Pung had climbed all those stairs with me, but he didn’t even break a sweat.
Plus, Namgung Bi-ah who was following me also didn’t seem to be tired either.
She was sweating a bit, but it didn’t seem too bad.
…Am I just weak?
Stay quiet if you were about to go on about your ‘Back in my day stories’.
I stopped Elder Shin from talking.
Elder Shin remained silent after I guessed what he was about to say correctly.
After climbing up the endless mountain without rest, the gate of the Mount Hua Sect finally appeared.
“We are here…!”
After we climbed up the hellish mountain, I looked back at the view from the top of the mountain.
The Scenery from such a high mountain was indescribably beautiful.
“It’s beautiful, right?”
I nodded my head at Yung Pung’s words.
It seemed like I wasn’t the only one that was awed by the beautiful scenery.
｢…It’s still… still beautiful, thank goodness…｣
I heard Elder Shin’s emotional voice.
It was different and lighter than usual.
While staring at the beautiful scenery from on top of the mountain, I heard the gate open from behind me.
“What are you doing there?”
Yung Pung was surprised by the voice and quickly bowed.
The person that came out from the gate was none other than the Celestial Plum Blossom.
What kind of leader of a clan greets his guest directly from the gate…?
“Gr-Greetings, My Lord.”
“Oh, Yung Pung, good work.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom patted Yung Pung’s head.
The escorts of the Gu Clan froze up after seeing the Celestial Plum Blossom.
Even Namgung Bi-ah and Muyeon who usually seemed emotionless had their eyes wide open.
I also bowed and showed respect.
“I am Gu Yangcheon of the Gu Clan.”
“We already had our intense meetup in the morning, so why are you saying hello again?”
The Celestial Plum Blossom laughed.
“Come in, I hope you aren’t too disappointed since there isn’t much to see here.”
We followed the Celestial Plum Blossom into the Mount Hua Sect.
Inside the Sect, there were trees that had plum blossoms in full bloom despite the fact that it wasn’t the season for them to bloom. It made me feel as if we were still in the middle of spring.
I believe that this was related to their Qi.
The Qi of Mount Hua was called the Spirit Qi.
I would assume it had earned that name since it could affect the nature around it.
After walking through the flowering plum trees, I noticed that there were buildings sprawled around the area.
They seemed to have been built a long time ago, but they showed no signs of aging. They must have been cleaned quite frequently.
After our group had passed through several small buildings, there was one building at the very end.
It was the clan leader’s residence.
“Oh, everyone else please stay outside besides that child.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom said as he pointed at me.
I stopped in my tracks at his words.
I was surprised at first, but I followed him into his residence after telling the escorts I would be fine.
Namgung Bi-ah seemed a little disappointed, but nothing could’ve been done about it since it was the leader’s order.
It was rather empty inside the building of one of the heads of the Ten-Sect-Alliance.
The only things inside the building were the things he needed.
In the middle, the Celestial Plum Blossom started to brew tea.
Oof, this is more uncomfortable than I expected…
“This old man has nothing to serve you besides this plum tea…”
“I like plum tea.”
“Oh… that’s good, it seems like most young men nowadays don’t like plum tea.”
I didn’t really like it, but I didn’t dislike it either.
The plum tea the Celestial Plum Blossom brewed himself had a pretty dense scent to it.
After taking a sip, it was much sweeter and sour than I had expected which I liked.
Wi Seol-Ah would like this as well.
Even at a time like this…
I was reminded of Wi Seol-Ah by something as simple as sweets now.
I started to become more aware of how much I thought about Wi Seol-Ah.
“It seems like it’s to your liking.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom smiled.
Did I take that many sips?
“I would like to give you something to chew, but I have nothing else besides this.”
“It’s no problem. The tea you gave me is good enough.”
After drinking a bit more, I carefully handed him the box I brought.
It was the box that held the treasure inside.
The Celestial Plum Blossom opened the box and unwrapped the cloth.
Then a shining light along with the scent of plum flowers filled the room.
The Celestial Plum Blossom let out a sigh after seemingly being relieved.
Then he wrapped it in cloth again and flung the—
He threw it!?
The box that held the treasure inside landed in one of the corners of the room.
“Thank goodness… The Elders won’t nag at me anymore now that I had gotten the stone back.”
…Can he really treat the stone like that? Isn’t that the treasure of his Sect?
Elder Shin, is this really—
I kept calling him, but Elder Shin didn’t respond.
Since when did it start? Elder Shin hadn’t talked at all for the past few minutes.
It didn’t seem like he was being quiet on purpose either.
I was woken up from my thoughts after hearing the Celestial Plum Blossom’s voice.
He had something to say.
“I thank you for bringing me the treasure, child of the Gu Clan.”
He spoke in a serious tone that was filled with respect.
I too also fixed my posture.
“It must have been a difficult trip for you to come all the way here.”
“Not at all, Lord.”
“I already sent my thanks to the Lord of the Gu Clan, but please tell him again directly that this old man is truly thankful.”
“Yes, I won’t forget and will make sure to deliver your message.”
The Celestial Plum Blossom took out a letter.
He marked the letter with a symbol in the shape of a plum flower.
This officially ended the mission of bringing the treasure to Mount Hua.
When I was carefully putting the letter in my pocket, the Celestial Plum Blossom spoke to me.
He was back to his usual tone of voice after finishing the business between the two clans.
“Since we finished our business with the treasure, let’s now talk about the thing you have inside you.”
The topic finally came up.
Cold sweat started to flow down my face.
I expected to be caught…
But to be caught so quickly was unexpected.
While I looked at the Celestial Plum Blossom with shaky eyes, he was just sipping on his tea.
Was he letting me speak first?
What do I do, should I just pretend that I didn’t know about it?
While I was engrossed in my thoughts, the Celestial Plum Blossom started to speak.
“The thing I feel within you is definitely that of Mount Hua’s.”
…Shit, I don’t think I can lie now.
I guess even with Elder Shin suppressing the power of Mount Hua, it wasn’t enough to be hidden from the Celestial Plum Blossom after all.
“I’m curious as to why that’s inside you.”
It would be nice if Elder Shin was here to help me at a time like this…
But I couldn’t hear Elder Shin. I wasn’t sure if it had something to do with the Celestial Plum Blossom.
I couldn’t think of anything to say.
I wasn’t confident enough to deceive the eyes of the Celestial Plum Blossom.
In the end, I took a deep breath and started to tell the Celestial Plum Blossom everything that had happened on my way to Mount Hua.
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