Childhood Friend of the Zenith Chapter 143

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༺ Dragons and Phoenixes Tournament (2) ༻
  My hand’s grip grew stronger, bit by bit. 
  It was because Jang Seonyeon was putting strength into his hand as well. 
  He still maintained his smile, but there was a hint of jealousy. 
  Jang Seonyeon’s strength took me by surprise. Had he already broken through his limits at this point of time? 
  After feeling that, I thought about putting more strength into my hand, but Jang Seonyeon loosened his grip. 
  “Your way of greeting is rougher than I expected.”
  Jang Seonyeon shook his hand in the air.
  “I’m sorry. I’m not very good at controlling my strength.”
  I responded back with a smile to Jang Seonyeon, who was also smiling at me. 
  Tang Soyeol quietly whispered, ‘Oh no…!’, but I did my best to ignore her.
  “No worries. It happens. The Gu Clan, huh? I’m honored to meet a blood relative of such a great clan.”
  Yeah, I’m sure you are. Even Though three out of the Four Noble Clans were here, you spoke as if the Gu Clan was greater than them. 
  I knew it was a compliment, but coming from him, it was hard to take it in a positive way. Since I didn’t know what he was hiding behind that smile of his.
  “I’d like to talk more, but unfortunately, I’m short on time.”
  I didn’t respond to Jang Seonyeon.
  Especially since I could not say, ‘Let’s meet again.’. 
  After our brief exchange, I went to my seat. 
  There wasn’t much I could do to him at that spot. 
  I also left because I could not afford to look at Jang Seonyeon’s eyes any longer. 
  It felt like I might lose control of my fist at any second. 
  I wanted to twist his neck right then and there. 
  I sat down and took a sip of the tea that was served in front of me.
  However, that did little to quell my boiling anger. 
  Whether it was all the talking going on in the banquet, or the mixed Qi in the air caused by the presence of numerous martial artists in one spot…
  I cared about none of those right now.
  ‘I feel sick.’
  The fact that I couldn’t do anything to him, even though he was right in front of my face, grated on my nerves. 
  “Young Master Gu…?”
  Tang Soyeol, who was next to me, spoke with concern after reading my expression.
  I forced a smile on my face.
  “I’m fine. I just don’t feel too well right now.”
  “No, usually when you make that handsome face, it means you have a problem…”
  Moyong Hi-ah started to cough after hearing Tang Soyeol’s serious tone. 
  Handso… Never mind.
  I was beginning to realize that Tang Soyeol had weird tastes, especially after seeing her greet Namgung Cheonjun. 
  No, it was actually crazy weird.
  While Namgung Bi-ah refilled my emptied tea cup, I turned to check on Wi Seol-Ah. Wi Seol-Ah seemed tired, just like before.
  Was it because she had to stand throughout the event? 
  ‘But even so, I can’t let her sit down in a setting like this.’
  Since that was the case, I hoped she could endure a little longer. 
  Wi Seol-Ah didn’t seem to mind too much, as she waved at me whenever our eyes met. 
  But even so, I had to keep checking on Wi Seol-Ah.
  Mostly because something might have happened with Jang Seonyeon before I got here. 
  ‘Why am I even worried, though?’
  Many things changed and I was the only one who knew about that. 
  Why was I worried when even Wi Seol-Ah still didn’t know anything yet? 
  Despite this realization, I couldn’t shake off my concern for her. 
  Even though Wi Seol-Ah probably was clueless…
  “The son of the Alliance Leader…”
  “This is the first time that a child of the Alliance Leader has participated in the Dragons and Phoenixes tournament.”
  “Yeah, he’s someone I’ve never seen before.” 
  “What do you think? From the outside, he looks like a wimp.” 
  “You still judge people just by their looks? You should know not to judge a book by its cover. Just look at the Poisonous Bee, tsk tsk…”
  “It’s none other than the Alliance Leader’s son, so I think we could have high hopes.”
  “A new dragon might be born into the world.”
  “Oh, did you know? The Gu Clan this time…”
  People around me were talking about Jang Seonyeon as well. 
  Which just showed how significant his background was.
  He was the Alliance Leader’s son, who was unknown to the world, and was a blood relative of the Taeryung Clan. 
  To put it in different terms, he would be the future leader of his clan after the Harmonic Sword. 
  Amidst all this chatter, I continued to wipe my hand on my clothes because of the disgusting feeling that remained on it. 
  The hand that shook hands with Jang Seonyeon.
  That filthy sensation was lingering for so long.
  ‘What should I do?’
  It wasn’t that I never expected to meet him.
  But I certainly didn’t anticipate it happening this year. 
  ‘…This happened this year?’
  I already knew that Jang Seonyeon appeared in the Dragons and Phoenixes tournament to become a young prodigy.
  After all, it happened in my past life.
  However, was that supposed to be this year?
  From what I could recall, I thought it would occur a bit further in the future. 
  ‘And if that was the case, does that mean the future has been changed?’
  My actions had already changed the future, so perhaps this was another twist in the timeline. 
  I stared at Jang Seonyeon, who sat far away from me.
  That bastard still had that same face.
  I clenched my fist to hold back myself. 
  Since I couldn’t afford to do anything right now.
  God dammit.
  “Young Master Gu.”
  Tang Soyeol’s voice snapped me out of my inner turmoil, and I turned towards her. 
  Tang Soyeol was pointing towards the entrance of the banquet. 
  I wondered why, so I focused, then saw someone entering.
  It was the Lightning Dragon, Namgung Cheonjun.
  ‘I thought I’d be the last one.’
  While the Lightning Dragon entered with all attention on him,
  Namgung Cheonjun’s expression seemed much more relaxed than last time. 
  Did something good happen?
  That wasn’t the only strange thing, though.
  I thought for sure that he’d try his best to sit next to us.
  However, Namgung Cheonjun only gave one look towards Namgung Bi-ah before choosing a different seat.
  Whether it was a coincidence or not, he went towards where Jang Seonyeon was sitting.
  I wasn’t the only one that reacted to Jang Seonyeon either.
  Moyong Hi-ah, who was next to us, also got up immediately as if she was waiting for him.
  “…I think I need to move my seat, is that allowed?”
  I became a little confused after hearing her.
  ‘Why is she asking me that?’
  It was hard to deny her request as she looked at me with her striking sky-blue eyes. 
  “Yes, go ahead.”
  Everyone was assigned their seat for the Dragons and Phoenixes tournament, 
  But it was not forbidden to switch seats of the same ranking. 
  However, the story would be a little different if a lower ranking tried to switch seats with a higher ranking.
  I heard a sigh.
  It was a deep and cold sigh, which definitely belonged to Moyong Hi-ah.
  I could never read her.
  I wondered why she was reacting that way.
  It looked as if she was a little hesitant towards him. But what reason would Moyong Hi-ah have to hesitate about him? 
  I could think of several possibilities, but considering how she had stubbornly clung to him in my past life, her behavior seemed rather strange. 
  ‘But I shouldn’t care about that right now.’
  While maintaining my normal expression, I also had to calm down my boiling anger inside.
  Ironically enough, my training method with Elder Shin was helping me control my threatening aura that could erupt at any moment. 
  Was emotion also a form of Qi?
  I couldn’t completely suppress them, but I felt like I could keep them in check and channel them. 
  ‘Does this also count as enlightenment?’
  Of course not, it was just something I had always been capable of but had never learned to harness properly. 
  Elder Shin would have probably spoken to me while nagging at this moment. 
  ‘He’ll probably return soon.’
  I had to believe that. Since I couldn’t really search for him or anything.
  All I did was greet him, yet my mind was so shaken already. 
  ‘What do I do…?’
  It was similar to back when I met Zhuge Hyuk, but this case was different. 
  I would kill him, and that was not going to change. 
  The only thing in question was how I would go about it. 
  I had no way of doing so at this moment. It was impossible to take any action with so many eyes on me. 
  ‘This feeling is always so annoying.’
  I understood that this wasn’t the right time. 
  I also knew that acting recklessly would be detrimental.
  But the desire to kill him clouded my judgment like a fog. 
  I kept calming down my desire, which threatened to break free from the fog.
  Let’s not forget my main goal of coming here.
  I had to realize that he wasn’t my main goal for this trip. 
  I felt a hand on my shoulder and another hand gripping mine. 
  Wi Seol-Ah was putting her hand on my shoulder after sneakily coming behind my back. When I looked at her with a shocked expression, Wi Seol-Ah wore a bright smile. 
  And the cold sensation on my hand came from Namgung Bi-ah.
  Namgung Bi-ah was grabbing my hand tightly. 
  She wasn’t smiling like Wi Seol-Ah, but she was staring into my eyes.
  ‘Is she worried?’
  It seemed like they had noticed a change in me.
  I found it amusing that something as simple as this could calm me down, yet I was also impressed by their perceptiveness. 
  I spoke to her.
  “I’m fine.”
  “You don’t look fine…”
  “What reason would I have not to be okay?”
  “Exactly… so why aren’t you okay then…?”
  I said that I was fine, but Namgung Bi-ah had no intention of believing me.
  Instead, her grip on my hand tightened. 
  After warming Namgung Bi-ah’s cold hand, I calmly pulled my hand away.
  “I’m fine now. I really am.”
  “Young Master, is it because you’re hungry?”

  “…Yeah, I must be.”

  I took a deep breath.
  Finally, I felt like my thoughts were settling in the right way.
  ‘Let’s calm down.’
  It wasn’t like this was the only chance and it didn’t even qualify as a real chance. 
  Instead of risking everything by acting impulsively, it made more sense to wait for the right moment or create an opportunity. 
  Tap tap… tap… tap.
  My fingers, which had been tapping on the table in a display of frustration, slowed down. 
  I quietly closed my eyes.
  When I closed my eyes, I was able to feel the sensation of Wi Seol-Ah’s hand on my shoulder more clearly. 
  Which helped me realize even further. 
  For her… 
  And for myself. 
  Those were enough.
  I opened my closed eyes and glanced at Jang Seonyeon, seated a bit farther away. 
  Whether it was by chance or not, that bastard met my eyes. 
  His smile as he greeted me was still just as disgusting,
  But I was able to smile back at him this time.
  Even if he bore no sins in this life…
  I wasn’t a particularly forgiving person, and I didn’t intend to let him off easily. 
  Even if it weren’t today, I wouldn’t wait too long until it happened. 
  And more than anything,
  – The Alliance Leader is entering.
  Even though I couldn’t do anything to that bastard right now…
  I had no intention of sitting idly by either. 
  Everything that that bastard might gain from this gathering,
  I planned to claim it for myself. 
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