༺ Why is she here? (2) ༻
One day in my previous life, I woke up in a particularly troublesome mood and did something bad.
Something so bad that, even as I reflect on it right now, I cannot help but wonder just what exactly made me take things that far.
It had been so bad that my usually expressionless father had revealed a look of pure rage; it had been so bad that the man had deemed it necessary to personally scold me.
Because of that event, I was sent to the 5th Army, where my sister Gu Huibi had been stationed, and made to stay there for half a year as punishment.
Of course, that did nothing to change my shitty personality.
That punishment was also the reason I met Wi Seol-Ah for the second time.
Then again, it was probably, no, that meeting was definitely not a good event for her.
The point of this long recollection was that I should avoid Wi Seol-Ah for at least another half year.
So, why is Wi Seol-Ah currently in front of me, at my place?
The first thing I saw after opening my door was the face of someone I shouldn’t encounter until at least half a year had passed, so, my astonished expression was justifiable.
This is a dream… It has to be a dream.
“I did sleep late last night…”
I was starting to see things because of my fatigue, this is why people need to get proper rest.
I sighed and shook my head.
Just as I turned around and started to lock the door, however, I felt a tug on my clothes.
Looking down, I saw small hands gripping the hem of my top, and tracing the hand upwards with my gaze, led me back to the face of Wi Seol-Ah.
‘…This isn’t a dream?’
As a mix of confusion and realization began to set in, I noticed that she seemed to want to say something…
Someone appeared at this juncture, and with swift and fluid movement, smacked the hands holding onto my shirt.
She immediately released my shirt, yelping in pain and shock as she stepped back.
My eyes, however, widened involuntarily as I realized the identity of the individual who’d just appeared before me.
Wi Seol-ah’s appearance was already one thing, but the Sword Emperor Wi Hyogun was here as well…?
I involuntarily cursed out in my mind, and a second later, began thanking all the Gods that the curse remained in my mind and didn’t slip past my lips.
If it had, I would probably have died of a heart attack right there and then.
Wi Hyogun, an angry look evident on his face, started to berate Wi Seol-Ah.
“Wi-ah you little brat! How did I tell you to act in front of the young master?”
“I’m sorry, grandpa…”
“Apologize to the young master, brat!”
“S-Sorry, young master!”
What… What the hell is going on right now?
While I struggled to make proper sense of the situation before me, Wi Hyogun bowed his head to me.
No… Why is the Sword Emperor bowing his head to me?
Can someone please explain what the hell is going on?
“Starting today, I, Wi Moon will be here serving you as we are in debt.
I don’t know if you will be happy with a weak old man like myself, but I’ll make sure to do my best.”
Wi Moon? Not Wi Hyogun?
‘Wi Moon’ glances at Wi Seol-Ah following which she immediately lowers herself to take a somewhat modest posture.
“S-Starting today, I, W-Wi Seol-ah will be serving the young master alongside my grandpa.
I l-look forward to your kindness.”
A sudden spell of dizziness assaulted me, and for a second, my vision blurred.
As I reached up to hold my head, I struggled to comprehend the situation before me…
Now, one would not properly understand my current predicament without knowing exactly, ‘Who is Wi Hyogun?’
He is one of the ‘Heavenly Venerables’.
The Heavenly Venerables consist of the three greatest martial artists currently in existence, out of the countless martial artists that inhabit the world of Murim.
The achievements of the Sword Emperor are too many to be listed.
The Black Dragon, now known as the defeated king, was defeated by the Sword Emperor.
And soon after that victory, the Sword Emperor became the head of the Murim Alliance.
He was given the title of ‘First Sword’ solely due to his individual strength.
At this point in time, before the appearance of the Heavenly Demon, he is very likely to be the strongest being in existence.
‘Now such a person wants to serve me?’
For what reason was the potentially strongest being in existence using a fake name to hide his identity?
As the Sword Emperor, even the four noble clans would welcome him with open arms and great fanfare.
I can’t think of any conceivable reason as to why he was here, and then there was also the fact of him hiding his identity.
If he owed a debt to my father, Gu Cheolun, then it would mean that my father called him here.
‘Does my father know about this?’
This never happened in my previous life.
The one time that I saw the Sword Emperor in my previous life, nothing happened between us.
I probably didn’t leave a favorable impression with him back then, however, due to the trouble I’d been causing.
‘My head hurts…’
My plan was to keep the flow of things the same while slowly gathering my own strength and waiting for the Orthodox Demonic War to end.
But now, the future has definitely changed.
I dropped my palm from my head and carefully examined Wi Hyogun.
At a glance, he seemed an unassuming old man with a benevolent smile.
If I didn’t know what he really looked like from my previous life, I would most likely have simply seen him as an average old man.
Even then, if Wi Seol-ah wasn’t here right now, I would probably have subconsciously rejected the notion that this old man was Wi Hyogun.
‘But… what am I supposed to do?’
What am I supposed to ask?
Do I ask him why he is actually here? That would be strange though, as there is no reason why the current me should have so much as an inkling about the true identity of Wi Hyogun.
Then, am I supposed to pretend that I don’t know who he is, and simply accept the fact that the Sword Emperor and his student are serving me?
What made me the most afraid was that their current presence meant that a lot of things will change in the future.
‘Fuck, where did it all go wrong?’
The only ‘major’ thing I’d changed was that I treated Wi Seol-ah differently from how I had in the past.
Just because of that action, has history changed so sharply?
‘Or… do I bring back my arrogant persona and kick them out by saying I don’t need an old man and a little girl?’
While numerous thoughts were swimming around in my indecisive mind,
“My granddaughter,” Wi Hyogun continued speaking.
“My granddaughter doesn’t know much about the world yet, and so you might be unhappy with her work, but I can assure the Young Master that she is a fast learner, one I will make sure to properly and quickly educate her so she meets all of your expectations.”
I glanced at the girl in question as Wi Hyogun spoke and found her hiding behind him and seemingly grabbing onto his clothes.
And from between her messy bangs, I noticed her shaky eyes.
‘Why is she so nervous? Do I seem that bad?’
Wi Seol-ah spoke as soon as our eyes met, “I’ll do my best… I’ll really do my best…”
No, if she’s so nervous in the first place, then why is she, why are they even here? Why not work for Gu Cheolun or Gu Yeonseo instead?
What exactly are these two trying to achieve by coming to work for me?
As the seconds ticked by, I realized that Wi Hyogun and Wi Seol-Ah seemed to be waiting for my response and snapped out of my thoughts,
“Uh… Yes, it’d be my pleasure.”
I couldn’t think of a solution, and as I said those words, I couldn’t help but feel like this second chance has been ruined from the start…
‘Why… why has something like this happened so suddenly?’
* * * *
During the night Gu Yangcheon had spent training his fire Qi…
“Are you sure about this?”
Gu Cheolun was having a conversation in his residence with a candle in front of him.
“I don’t see why not.
I’m not in a position to be picky about what I do.”
“But, Great Elder, you know yourself that if you so desired, you would easily be accepted into the four noble clans, but instead you are here going through all of this trouble…”
“I don’t find this troublesome at all, Lord Gu.”
Wi Hyogun slowly took a sip of the tea that had cooled down.
“Also, I wouldn’t call this troublesome.
I can do more if it’s for the sake of my granddaughter.”
“Rather, it’s a pity that I made you oblige to such a heavy request because of this relationship with this useless old man, so I feel sorry for you.”
“I heard that shaolin monks and the shamans are looking for Seol-ah, so I’m even more indebted to you now.”
Gu Cheolun couldn’t say anything.
“If I’m being honest, Lord Gu.
I didn’t plan to come to you for help at first.
Regardless of whatever the shaolin and the shamans did, they probably wouldn’t have been able to find me if I’d just hid and lived in the mountains.”
“You can call it the greed of a dying old man.
Living with an old man like myself probably wouldn’t bring happiness to Seol-ah, so I wanted her to experience the world a bit.”
“If that is the case, then it is even more reason why you should stay at my place.
Gu Yangcheon may be my child, but he is a child that lacks a lot.”
Gu Cheolun couldn’t understand why Wi Hyogun wished to stay at his son’s place.
Unlike the daughters, Gu Yangcheon was still an arrogant and immature child.
Gu Cheolun wanted with all of his heart to change and correct him for the better as a father, but couldn’t because of certain things that stood in his way.
Gu Cheolun had heard that the two had encountered each other on the street, and so the first thing he’d done on meeting Wi Hyogun was profusely apologize for the wrong that he was sure that his son had done.
One cannot imagine how shocked he was when he learned of Gu Yangcheon’s behavior during their meeting.
Meanwhile, Wi Hyogun chuckled at Gu Cheolun’s words.
“I myself was worried at first because of all the rumors, but I believe that I have told you already that he is a mature child.
Rather than that, the Lord Gu seems to want to keep all the children for himself.”
Wi Hyogun had very easily – and involuntarily – obtained information about the third child of the Gu clan through rumors after his arrival in Shanxi, and he’d wondered just how bad this third child actually was that the rumors were so common and widespread that a newcomer like himself could obtain such detailed information with such ease.
Wi Hyogun had at first wondered why the daughters were blessed with luck and the son wasn’t.
It was a total coincidence, his and his granddaughter’s run-in with Gu Yangcheon in the streets.
Wi Hyogun shook his head as he began to recall what had happened…
It was all because of the fact that he couldn’t stop his granddaughter who had seemed to be so excited for the first time in a long time.
Thus he let her run off.
And then I noticed that my granddaughter was talking to a boy her age.
It was easy to see that the boy was from the Gu clan.
The Qi that flowed within his body was that of his father’s, and while it may have been small compared to the Lord himself, it was definitely the Qi of flame arts.
Gu Yangcheon’s face was already telling me that he had a rough personality with his sharp eyes.
My granddaughter offered him a potato with a bright smile.
Now, what do I do if he acts according to the rumors? Well, I had no intention of saving her unless her life was threatened.
He wanted her to experience that not everyone in the world was good.
However, contrary to his expectations, the boy did not say or do anything bad.
Instead, he stopped his escort from hurting his granddaughter and gave her a yakgwa.
He even treated Wi Hyogun with respect when he approached him.
I thought that he would only look at me as a simple civilian because of my dirty and torn clothes.
The title of Sword Emperor had given me a false belief in myself, making me think that I was a human who had reached perfection.
‘Hyogun, you still lack training.’
I reproached myself.
I was foolish to judge a boy just because of his looks and rumors.
“I’m fine with this child.
Rather, I hope that he will be satisfied with us.”
What would have happened if it went according to the rumors?
If Gu Yangcheon had treated Wi Seol-ah harshly, would I have made a different decision?
“…Yes sir, please tell me if there are any problems.”
Gu Cheolun couldn’t understand why Wi Hyogun saw Gu Yangcheon as a good child, but he decided not to object any longer.
As the conversation dulled towards its end, Gu Cheolun inquired,
“But are you fine with this?”
This was a question that was unrelated to the first question.
Wi Hyogun knew the meaning behind the question as well, so he was unable to answer easily.
“If the Lord said so…”
His response was accompanied by a bitter smile.
It was rumored that the Shaolin Master could read the flow of humanity through the Heavenly Eyes that he possessed.
“Yes, something is bound to happen if he himself was the one to say it.
But you can easily understand….”
At that moment, a small breeze blew from outside and put out the small candle fire.
“That Seol-ah is in the center of the upcoming disaster, and that she must wield a sword to withstand the disaster.”
Wi Hyogun chuckled wryly.
The wrinkles on his face darkened as he spoke.
“That’s why I ran away.
I know that it is selfish, but why did it have to be Seol-ah? Isn’t it cruel? There is me who was given the name Sword Emperor, and there were others who are also capable.”
Wi Hyogun was tired of this reality.
“I can’t make her wield a sword because of a disaster, especially when it’s not enough to give her a flower.”
Wi Hyogun puts his wrinkly hands on his face.
“I will never make her wield a sword even if I have to die and my soul turns into ashes.”
This sentence, along with the story it originated from, was one that would have made Gu Yangcheon devastated if he had heard it.
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