༺ Foxier than One Might Think (1) ༻
A few seconds after she clenched her eyes shut.
After sensing that she hadn’t gotten hit, unexpected as that may be, Gu Ryunghwa opened her eyes once again…
She believed that the first thing she would see after opening her eyes would be the tip of a wooden sword,
But it happened to be someone else’s back instead.
It wasn’t the biggest back out there, but it oddly resembled the one that was present deep in her memories.
Along with a familiar sound, she was able to feel the scalding heat…
The wooden sword that had been swung towards her was actually stopped in its tracks by someone’s hand.
Before she could even realize just what had happened in this place, the heat that was smothering the entire area ceased to exist.
And the voice of the owner of that back rang out…
“What are you doing?”
With the advent of that voice and the subsequent question, the woman dueling against Gu Ryunghwa immediately avoided making eye contact with that person.
Gu Ryunghwa was finally able to register the identity of the person who had saved her just now.
He had sharp eyes along with an expression that seemed to convey his annoyance with everything in this world.
It was none other than her own brother, Gu Yangcheon.
* * * * *
‘I thought it was going to break.’
My hand was still left tingling.
I interfered in between as I thought something irreversible might have happened if I didn’t, but even then I didn’t expect something like this to take place here.
Namgung Bi-ah had channeled Qi into her sword, however, it was not to a high degree.
But even then, if I hadn’t used my Qi too then my hand would’ve surely crumbled into pieces.
“What are you doing?”
Namgung Bi-ah avoided eye contact with me when I asked her that question.
Did she also know that she went too far?
“Why did you even bother to use a sword against her as an opponent?”
Namgung Bi-ah still didn’t respond to my questions.
I think I saw them having some sort of a conversation, but I wasn’t able to hear them quite clearly from back there.
The still hesitating Namgung Bi-ah finally decided to speak with a sulky expression on her face.
“…She said ugly.”
“Even though that’s not true…”
What the hell is she saying?
Did Gu Ryunghwa call Namgung Bi-ah ugly or something?
‘…Does she really have that bad of a sight or what?’
Gu Ryunghwa was certainly on the prettier side among the ones who had the blood of our clan.
Furthermore, she didn’t even have those sharp and scary-looking eyes like most of the members of our clan, which made her look even prettier.
But she still was lacking compared to Namgung Bi-ah.
I looked at Gu Ryunghwa and asked her.
“Did you call her ugly?”
“…What the hell are you talking about?”
“I know right? What the hell am I even talking about?”
I felt like there was some sort of misunderstanding going on here.
Gu Ryunghwa looked at me with a strange expression.
“…What’s your relationship with that woman?”
She was looking at Namgung Bi-ah.
…Did I never tell her?
Right, I didn’t, did I?
Similar to last time, Namgung Bi-ah had cut me off once again.
Gu Ryunghwa quite literally froze after hearing the word that came out of Namgung Bi-ah’s mouth.
She then repeatedly looked at me and Namgung Bi-ah back and forth, and gradually began to frown with a look of disbelief in her face.
As if she was saying, ‘…But how?’
To be more accurate, she was probably thinking something along the lines of,
‘Someone like you is marrying her…? Really?’
Whatever she may be thinking right now, it was hard to explain things about our circumstances to her.
“…You came all the way here with your fiancée?”
“Not that I did… we just met on our way here.”
We really did meet midway.
However, Gu Ryunghwa probably wouldn’t believe that it was a coincidence for us to meet on the way to this place.
…But it really was like that.
Lost in her own thoughts, Gu Ryunghwa gazed at Namgung Bi-ah for some time before she was seemingly reminded of something all of a sudden.
Namgung Bi-ah who was also looking back at her with the usual emotionless expression on her face.
Gu Ryunghwa got up from the ground and patted the dirt and dust off her clothes and slowly trudged toward Namgung Bi-ah.
I thought that she would bark back at her for what happened here, so I decided to interfere but…
Surprisingly, Gu Ryunghwa bowed her head down in front of Namgung Bi-ah instead.
“Thank you for your guidance.”
She was being respectful to her even though Namgung Bi-ah was the reason for her current miserable condition.
Namgung Bi-ah looked at Gu Ryunghwa for some time and then proceeded to pat the grass that was on Gu Ryunghwa’s shoulders with her hand.
Gu Ryunghwa flinched for a moment at her action but then continued to speak in a small tone.
“…I also… apologize for speaking so rudely.”
Why was she looking at me when she said that?
After Gu Ryunghwa apologized, Namgung Bi-ah apologized back as well.
“…I’m also sorry…”
Why are they saying sorry to each other all of a sudden?
While I kept dumbfoundedly standing in this place due to the confusion about this whole situation, Gu Ryunghwa started to run off into the distance.
“Where are you going?”
“Mind your own business!”
After shouting back at me for who knows what she was mad at me for, she again bowed her head down to Namgung Bi-ah before disappearing into the forest.
Even though I saved her…
“What’s up with her…?”
I really didn’t know what was going on anymore.
After Gu Ryunghwa left, Namgung Bi-ah came closer to me.
She had an awkward expression on her face.
“…I wasn’t going to actually hit her…”
I smiled after hearing her excuse.
The minuscule trace of Qi inside her sword and the force behind her swing told me that she was just trying to scare her with that strike.
But even so, I interfered, thinking that she would hurt Gu Ryunghwa so part of it was my fault as well.
Seeing the awkwardly standing Namgung Bi-ah, I asked her a question.
“What were you doing with her anyway?”
“…I was just having a duel with her.”
“…Right, it does make sense since it’s you.”
How can anyone be this obsessed with duels?
Maybe she’s also possessed by a ghost like me? I really considered that thought in my mind.
Namgung Bi-ah suddenly asked.
“You know her…?”
I stopped thinking for a moment, wondering what the hell she was asking about again.
Soon however, I looked toward the direction where Namgung Bi-ah was staring at and understood what she meant; as that was the direction where my sister had ran off to.
Oh, did I never tell Namgung Bi-ah about her?
I responded to her in a nonchalant voice, not thinking much about it.
“She’s my little sister.”
I guess I never really told her…
So she was doing all that with her not even knowing that she was my sister?
I guess that did make sense as we didn’t really resemble each other at all.
However, Namgung Bi-ah’s expression after she heard my response was problematic.
I had never seen her make that face before in both of my lives.
Which even forced me to ask her what was going on…
This was the first time I’d seen her look like that.
How should I say this, it looked like she was in despair… or maybe she was feeling shocked?
There were a myriad of emotions mixed into that expression of hers.
Though the nature of them was certainly on the negative side.
She started to mumble something to herself, but I couldn’t hear it as she spoke in a very quiet tone.
So I went closer to her.
“I messed up…”
Those were the 3 words she had been muttering over and over again.
I didn’t know just what she messed up to act like that,
But I just ignored it because I was used to Namgung Bi-ah being weird.
* * * * *
The next day soon arrived.
Thankfully, I was able to get another room, so I had a good sleep the previous night.
Namgung Bi-ah didn’t really say anything about it, but Wi Seol-Ah was definitely feeling disappointed, judging from the face she was making.
I did feel a bit bad for her, but since I had told Hongwa about it beforehand, Wi Seol-Ah was taken by her to sleep in a different room.
Thanks to that, I was able to get a good sleep for the first time in a while.
Elder Shin just rambling on about anything and everything was a bit annoying, but I was tired enough to fall asleep even with him rambling on like a madman.
I believed that since I had gotten a good sleep this time, then it would be fine for me to train with Yung Pung now.
So I followed him to train.
But I was wrong. Terribly wrong.
I swear this clan’s training is torture in disguise.
Self-torture at that.
I went back to the lodge with trembling legs and collapsed to the floor immediately after I entered my room.
I usually didn’t sweat or get cold due to the nature of my Qi,
But for me to sweat this much…
And they do this crazy training every day?
This really was a clan of perverts.
｢…What did you just say?｣
Elder Shin started cursing at me again, but I just ignored him.
I was used to his shouting already, so I was able to easily ignore him now.
While I was sprawled on the floor, sweating like no tomorrow, a cup of glass was put down next to me.
It was Wi Seol-Ah who was accustomed to doing that whenever she came to this place.
“Young Master, are you okay…?”
“No… I’m not okay.”
I was down on the floor, exhausted out of my mind. No way in hell was I okay.
I asked Wi Seol-Ah about Namgung Bi-ah’s whereabouts since I wasn’t able to find her in the morning.
“Sis went out a bit ago!”
That was what she told me in response.
Is she training with her sword arts somewhere?
I picked up the cup of water with my still trembling hands and quickly gulped it down my throat.
I must have been extremely thirsty considering how sweet the water I drank felt.
While I was drinking water, Wi Seol-Ah continued wiping my hair, which was drenched in sweat, with the towel on her hands.
It was pointless since I was about to shower anyways, but I was still grateful to her.
“Should I bring you more water?”
“Nah, I’m good.”
I got up after pushing my body up with my arms.
While I was sitting on the floor with all parts of my body still aching from that monstrous training I had before, Wi Seol-Ah came close and placed her shoulder next to mine.
“You can lean on me!”
Did I look that tired…?
For her to tell me to lean on her.
I always made fun of Wi Seol-Ah saying that she was round and whatnot but she was actually on the skinnier side.
She was, in fact, so skinny that I felt like she would fly away even with the slightest push.
With that said, however, it made no sense to me how she was able to get all that power during house chores with such a fragile-looking body,
But I didn’t think much of it since it was Wi Seol-Ah, after all.
I leaned on her shoulders but she didn’t wobble, not even a little bit.
She had such a fascinating body…
｢You feeling glad?｣
I immediately felt like bursting out into laughter after hearing Elder Shin’s words.
Do I feel glad?
I looked at Wi Seol-Ah after hearing his question.
She was looking toward the pond inside of the lodge I was assigned to with the usual look on her face.
Did she find the fish in the pond cool?
‘Or is she thinking about eating them?’
I suddenly felt nervous about that thought considering all the things she usually said about eating weird things.
Although I don’t think even she would really eat them…
I continued to stare at Wi Seol-Ah while leaning on her shoulders and she suddenly turned her head to look at me.
When our eyes met, Wi Seol-Ah smiled brightly…
My mind went blank after seeing her smiling face.
It hit me harder than usual due to my close proximity with that smile of hers.
‘…Her face really is a weapon of mass destruction.’
Maybe I need to cover that face up starting now rather than a few years later?
Considering the way she looked now even in a servant’s uniform, I was already able to imagine just how beautiful she would become when she fully grew up… That was basically why I was considering putting a veil on her face starting from now.
Even though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to be by her side forever.
I then began to wonder,
Of what they were thinking.
Both the Sword Emperor and my father.
I responded back to her call, but she didn’t speak back.
Wi Seol-Ah just called me and then kept on staring at my face.
I stared back, and it felt like I was going to get absorbed into those deep black eyes of hers.
Why is she just staring at me without saying anything?
I was about to speak up as I thought that she wouldn’t say anything at this rate,
“Young Master Gu—!”
When Yung Pung suddenly appeared with a bright smile on his face…
I feel like something like this had happened before already…
Maybe it’s just me?
I lifted my leaning body up after Yung Pung made visited my lodgings.
Having seen me like that, Yung Pung avoided eye contact with me, not knowing what to do in this situation.
“What brings you here?”
“…Uh, I… apologize. It seems like I interrupted you.”
“…Huh? No, I wasn’t doing anything.”
｢You even held your breath back there… you liar.｣
Yung Pung still looked like he was nervous even while speaking with me.
I was thinking that it was because of me, but I noticed that he was looking at something else.
I think he was looking at Wi Seol-Ah?
I began to wonder the reason behind Yung Pung’s weird behavior so I looked toward Wi Seol-Ah, wondering what was up with that, but I only saw that she was smiling like before.
“Master Yung Pung…?”
“Uh… Oh, I just came here to ask you if you want to have a meal together since we finished our training…”
I tilted my head in confusion after hearing Yung Pung’s words.
Why come all the way here when there are other third-generation students he can ask?
Don’t they eat all together usually?
It seemed like something was going on between them behind the scenes.
I had to eat anyways, so I readily accepted his offer.
“Oh, then you have a seat, since I have to go and take a shower.”
I had sweated a lot so I needed to wash up.
“You should just stay here, since you probably don’t have anywhere else to go, right?”
“No, I’ll just rest on the ground, or climb up a tree and rest up there. So please, just quickly come back.”
“…Oddly specific and contradictory of you, isn’t it?”
Why was he acting like that?
“Anyway, just take a seat here. I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
I think I heard Yung Pung calling out to me from behind, but I just ran away to take a shower since I was feeling quite hungry.
‘I wonder why Yung Pung is acting so weird today.’
Maybe he went crazy because he trained too much?
That seemed to be the most probable cause behind his behavior.
While I was walking towards the shower, Elder Shin suddenly started speaking up inside my head.
｢…You, did you not see the girl’s face?｣
｢You don’t even know how to look at one’s expressions now, do you?｣
What the hell is he saying all of a sudden?
I thought she was just smiling as usual when I looked at her.
So, what in the hell did Elder Shin see?
｢…Or maybe she hid it on purpose? She looks like a puppy, but she is foxier than I thought.｣
What the hell is this old man spouting…?
I ignored him since I thought that he was just rambling on about random things again.
Since, no matter how I looked at it, Wi Seol-Ah wasn’t a fox.
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༺ Foxier than One Might Think (1) ༻