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    “Brother! Wake up! Brother!”

    Kwak Jun-ha repeatedly called out to his older brother, but the unconscious Kwak Hyung-jin did not respond.

    “Hyung-ah! Don’t die! Brother!”

    That’s when it happened.

    From far away, the sound of someone approaching could be heard, and human-like figures came into view.

    Kwak Jun-ha cried out in a desperate voice.

    “Please help! Please save my brother.”

    As if his voice had reached them, the figures gradually drew closer.

    It was a strikingly handsome young man, a large man who resembled a bear, a warrior, and a physician carrying a medicine chest.

    Kwak Jun-ha, sobbing, said.

    “My brother, my brother…”

    The handsome young man took Kwak Jun-ha’s hand and spoke warmly.

    “You don’t have to worry anymore.”

    ***

    I saw a child lying with a pale face, having lost a lot of blood.

    He must be about twelve years old now.

    Come to think of it, there wasn’t much of an age difference between us.

    I’m fifteen years old now.

    However, since I died at the age of thirty-nine, I often forgot that I was young.

    Ah, I shouldn’t be like this.

    Anyway, that’s not what’s important.

    Just by looking, it was clear that his condition was serious.

    “Will he be alright?”

    The physician nodded at my question.

    “Yes, I brought plenty of medicine, and we’re not too late, so there won’t be any problems.”

    “I’m counting on you.”

    I let out a sigh of relief.

    Fortunately, we were able to save the child’s life without being too late.

    And it was a relief that I remembered in time.

    If we had been just a little later, I might not have been able to save my master’s son.

    I didn’t bring the physician to save the child in order to put my master in my debt and make it impossible for him to refuse my request for him to become my master.

    Of course, I will ask him to become my master, but not in this way.

    My master always drank with a gloomy expression on his eldest son’s birthday and the anniversary of his death.

    I do not know the feeling of having buried a dead child in one’s heart.

    I never married and had no children.

    But whenever I saw that expression on my master’s face, my heart ached so much.

    He probably couldn’t forget the image of his son covered in blood, dead.

    This time, I really wanted to save my master’s eldest son.

    I wanted him to live in Hubei Province with good memories.

    The physician examining the child said.

    “He has passed the critical point. We should take him and treat him now.”

    “Please do so. I will inform his father.”

    Fortunately, there were writing materials inside the house.

    I wrote a message on the paper saying that I was taking the injured child to the Eunhae Merchant Group and that his father should come to the medical pavilion there. I left the message and returned to the merchant group with the two children.

    .

    .

    .

    After explaining the situation about the child to my father, I headed back to the medical pavilion.

    Beside the sleeping child was his younger brother, holding his hand tightly.

    “Brother…”

    The younger brother’s appearance, earnestly wishing for his older brother to wake up.

    I know the younger brother’s name.

    Kwak Jun-ha.

    He was one of my bodyguards.

    And he died with me on the day I was ambushed.

    I smiled bitterly, recalling his final moments.

    “Young master, please escape quickly. These people are not ordinary.”

    “What are you talking about? We have to go together!”

    “It has been an honor to serve you, young master. And thank you for bringing joy to my father. Although he never said it, my father was truly happy to have met you.”

    “Bodyguard Kwak!”

    With those words, Kwak Jun-ha charged at the enemies to let me escape.

    In the end, I died as well, but…

    And another memory he left behind while he was alive.

    “Well, if you ask me about my biggest regret, I would say it was that day when I was eight years old.”

    “That day?”

    “Yes, that’s when my older brother died. If I hadn’t begged him to play with me that day… my brother wouldn’t have died.”

    The look in his eyes as he said that was the same look I saw in my master.

    If saving my master’s eldest son was my duty as a disciple to my master, then for this guy, it’s repayment for giving his life to save me.

    While I was lost in thought for a moment, Kwak Jun-ha asked me.

    “Excuse me, is my brother really going to be okay?”

    I nodded.

    “Yes. The physician said he would be fine, didn’t he?”

    “But why hasn’t he opened his eyes yet?”

    “We put him to sleep on purpose. He won’t feel pain while he’s sleeping, right?”

    Kwak Jun-ha nodded at my explanation.

    “So let’s not be too impatient.”

    “Yes, young master.”

    The moment Kwak Jun-ha called me ‘young master,’ it overlapped with what I had experienced back then.

    So, without realizing it, my face stiffened.

    Seeing my slightly stiff expression, Kwak Jun-ha spoke cautiously.

    “It’s because everyone here calls my brother ‘young master.'”

    “Ah… I see.”

    That’s when it happened.

    “Young master.”

    Palgap entered the medical pavilion, looking for me.

    “The child’s father has arrived.”

    “Oh, really?”

    I turned my head and faced him without having a chance to prepare myself.

    The man who was my master.

    Kwak Myeong-hyeon.

    He had just returned from traveling, wearing a sword at his waist. His face was unshaven, his beard was thick, and his clothes were shabby, but his eyes were sharp.

    “Hyung-jin-ah!”

    He called out the name of the child lying on the bed and rushed over to check on him.

    My master’s appearance had not changed at all from my memory.

    Perhaps because of the martial arts he had mastered, he had a somewhat cold impression, but there were few men as warm-hearted as my master.

    Kwak Jun-ha answered, sobbing.

    “F-Father, while playing with brother, he fell and stabbed his stomach on a bamboo, sob…”

    I patted Kwak Jun-ha’s back and added an explanation.

    “Today, while taking a walk in the bamboo forest, I found an injured child and treated him. Fortunately, he has passed the critical point and just needs to rest for a few days.”

    “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

    My master bowed deeply to me in gratitude.

    “Please receive my gratitude, young master!”

    Overwhelmed, I quickly waved my hands.

    “No! It was just a matter of fate.”

    “I don’t know how to repay this kindness.”

    “It was simply the child’s destiny to live. So please, raise your head.”

    I placed my hand on my master’s shoulder to help him stand up.

    At that moment, I felt my master flinch.

    He lifted his head to look at me, and his eyes seemed somewhat perplexed.

    Just then, Kwak Jun-ha shouted, as if the child had opened his eyes.

    “Huh? B-Brother! Are you awake?”

    My master quickly turned his head and asked urgently.

    “Hyung-jin-ah. Are you conscious?”

    “Ah, Father…”

    “What a relief! What a relief!”

    Seeing my master repeating the words of relief and Kwak Jun-ha rejoicing at the fact that his brother had woken up, I felt a strange emotion.

    I may not know my master’s heart, but I think I understand Kwak Jun-ha’s feelings. I, too, felt an indescribable emotion when I saw my second brother again, who had died with his neck cut.

    But my feelings now were a little different from that.

    Because I had saved a child who should have died.

    Is that why?

    Watching my master and Kwak Jun-ha rejoicing, I felt my eyes redden for no reason.

    That evening,

    A woman came to the medical pavilion of the Eunhae Merchant Group.

    She was the mother of the child I had saved and my master’s wife.

    She was also a woman who would be called the Bamboo Forest Fairy in the future.

    In a way, saving the child named Hyung-jin could have been to repay the Bamboo Forest Fairy who had saved my life.

    However,

    Putting aside all those reasons, if I were to say the real reason I saved Hyung-jin, there was no particular reason.

    What reason do I need to save a child who can be saved, a child who died tragically?

    The moment I realized that today was the very day the child had died, without any thought of calculations, I rushed to the medical pavilion.

    I forcibly dragged a physician and ran to the bamboo forest, and fortunately, I found the child in time and was able to save him.

    I had heard from Kwak Jun-ha that the reason his brother died was due to excessive bleeding, so I made sure to bring plenty of hemostatic medicine and blood-clotting powder.

    “I am truly grateful, young master.”

    “You don’t have to do this. It was just a matter of fate.”

    “How can I repay you…”

    At the Bamboo Forest Fairy’s words, I shook my head.

    “I didn’t do it expecting repayment. So please don’t think that way.”

    I managed to dissuade her.

    At that moment, my master, who had been watching me, said to me.

    “Young master. May I have a word with you in private?”

    .

    .

    .

    A short while later.

    The place my master led me to was the bamboo forest where his house was located.

    Palgap and the bodyguards were watching over me from a distance.

    “I apologize for bringing you all the way here.”

    I shook my head at my master’s words.

    “No. I’m sure you brought me here because you didn’t want what you’re about to say to be heard by others.”

    “…You noticed?”

    “Yes. After all, the place you know best is the safest place, isn’t it?”

    “You are perceptive.”

    “You flatter me.”

    I replied respectfully.

    Suddenly, my master’s eyes changed.

    “Do you happen to know about the Black Dragon Constitution Constitution?”

    “…!”

    At that moment, I couldn’t help but be surprised.

    It was because I never thought my master would mention the Black Dragon Constitution Constitution.

    In the future I had experienced, my master had never spoken to me about the Black Dragon Constitution Constitution.

    But now that he’s mentioning it like this…

    It means he knew about it before.

    But there was a part that didn’t make sense.

    He mentioned the Black Dragon Constitution Constitution to me even though it was our first meeting.

    If that’s the case, in the future I experienced, there’s no way my master wouldn’t have pointed out his own disciple’s body constitution.

    The difference between then and now is that this time, I’ve consumed the Blue Ice Plum Fruit, so I have fifty years’ worth of internal energy accumulated in my dantian, and the Hyeonryong directly intervened to save my life.

    I silently looked at my master without saying a word, and my master said with a faint smile.

    “You know, don’t you?”

    He seemed to have noticed from my expression.

    My master continued in a calm voice.

    “Actually, when you touched my body earlier, I realized that you have an immense amount of internal energy within you, and the nature of that internal energy is of the yin attribute.”

    “…”

    “And I also learned that your body constitution is the Black Dragon Constitution.”

    To be honest, I don’t know my master’s exact level of cultivation.

    It’s certain that he’s a master above the pinnacle, but he never told me.

    Since he knows this much, there’s no point in hiding it any longer.

    Moreover, if he’s someone I intend to take as my master, all the more so.

    “How did you know?”

    “That my internal energy has a yin-attribute? That’s probably because the martial arts I’ve mastered are ice-attribute.”

    “And that my body constitution is the Black Dragon Constitution?”

    At my question, my master looked at me and smiled.

    But for some reason, that smile felt somewhat wistful.

    “It’s because I once met someone with the Black Dragon Constitution by chance.”

    “What? There’s someone with the same body constitution as me?”

    “Yes, but I cannot tell you who it is. I apologize.”

    It seemed like there was a reason he couldn’t say.

    If that’s the case, I couldn’t press him about it.

    If it’s necessary for me to know, he’ll tell me someday.

    “It’s alright. If there’s a reason, it can’t be helped.”

    My master opened his mouth.

    “The reason I’m telling you this is that you cannot cultivate yang-attribute martial arts.”

    “Probably not.”

    “So, I was wondering if I could teach you ice-based martial arts?”

    “What?”

    I was surprised by the unexpected proposal.

    I was going to propose that he become my master, but he made the proposal first.

    “I heard from the physician. If you hadn’t found my eldest son, he would have surely died.”

    “That was just… a matter of fate.”

    “I think so too.”

    My master continued.

    “You saved my child, and as a result, I got to meet you. And I learned about your body constitution and internal energy. It’s all fate. And I’d like to teach you ice-based martial arts in accordance with that fate.”

    My master clasped his hands and bowed to me.

    “Please allow me.”

    It was surprising in many ways.

    I never imagined that my master would ask me to become his disciple.

    And my answer was already determined.

    “I should be the one asking you. Master.”

    “You’re allowing it?”

    He seemed slightly surprised, as if he didn’t expect me to accept so easily.

    I answered again with a smile.

    “Yes.”

    And so, my master became my master once again.

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