After I was done arranging things here, I placed one hand on my waist as I looked around once more.
After cutting the overgrown grass and removing the moss from the pond, the abandoned space soon transformed into a small personal garden.
‘No matter who sees this, it won’t look like an abandoned place anymore.’
Now content with how the landscape transformed because of me, I began to warm up.
Truthfully, I never once tried to use my inner strength properly ever since I regained my abilities.
I didn’t have a clear grasp of my inner strength in the beginning, that’s why it was dangerous to use it back then.
But after I had gotten used to it more over time, that’s not a concern anymore.
At best, I had only fought those street thugs from before.
I faced Diana as well, and I had a few sparring sessions with Cassion.
Thus far, I didn’t have a proper reason to exert myself, nor was there a reason for me to use my strength, really.
So naturally, I had yet to check just how much strength I had at the moment.
So, I was planning to figure that out today.
There’s no one looking, and I just found the perfect clearing to let loose.
At the same time, I also had to test Cassion’s sword.
After stretching my shoulders, I picked up the sword, which I had set down earlier.
One hand was on the sword’s smooth scabbard, the other hand was on the sword’s hilt.
Closing my eyes and taking a deep breath, I felt my five senses becoming sharper.
The sword was unsheathed.
Similar to how it was in front of Blanca earlier, the well-forged blade appeared while accompanied by the shrill sound.
After tossing the scabbard far away, I got into my stance.
‘The sword is a bit too long for me.’
But that didn’t matter.
Cassion, who was the owner of this sword, had a much larger physique than me, so it’s only natural.
I kicked a few stones upward with one foot.
The stones were flung in the air.
And before they could even fall to the floor, my body shot forward.
The long, sharp sword split all the stones.
The three stones that were in the air just now soon turned into nine pieces as they met the ground.
And when I stepped on those small stones, they instantly turned into powder that was scattered around.
‘It has a good feel to it.
It performs as good as it looks.’
After admiring it for a short moment, it was only then that I clutched it properly in my hand.
From now on, it was time to test the sword in earnest.
This whip sword.
This sword wasn’t just a regular longsword, but a whip sword.
Arm, hand, sword.
My energy naturally flowed like a single stream of water.
After being infused with qi, the slitted blade stretched silently.
It looked as though it had been dismantled.
The blade, which came undone along the slitted lines, had fine threads connecting them from the inside.
I swung it like a whip.
Extended to a length more than three times my height, the sword whip struck the ground.
The grass that was cut rose in the air and fluttered to the ground.
As I swung the whip sword into the air, it smoothly reached the targeted thin tree.
Again with an accompanying sharp sound, the tree snapped in half.
After this, I tested the whip sword more in various ways.
How the blades followed as I moved my body.
How long it would take for the whip form to return to its sword form.
Also, whether the whip’s length could be adjusted easily.
In the end, everything was satisfactory.
I was a little apprehensive about how the sword’s creation was finished without a single test run, but my worries ended up unfounded.
Swung like a whip just now, the weapon returned to the form of a long sword smoothly.
As I stared at it, I murmured under my breath.
“Just who the hell is Blanca…”
Once again, I realized how fortunate it was that she was an ally.
‘I think I’ve checked every aspect of the sword by now…’
Now, it was time to check my own physical condition.
Even after a long time of testing the sword, I was in a better condition than I thought.
My breathing was fine, too.
My outer strength was dreadful though, so of course it would be a joke to say that I was any sort of a ‘murim master’.
Still, it’s not as bad as I thought it’d be.
I picked up the scabbard, which I had left some distance away, and sheathed the sword and set it down.
Then, I took my fan from my waist.
In the first place, this was my main weapon.
Once again, I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.
The body I had possessed in the second transmigration was one of the numerous children of the Baek School’s household head.
The Baek School was a sect led by my transcendental father, and it was located on a very rugged mountain.
The mountain soared higher than the clouds, and there was a superb view of the cliffs and stone mountains surrounding the place.
Amid the mystical scenery, there were beautiful white petals fluttering all year round, perfectly matching the Baek School.
[ t/n: Baek can also mean ‘white’ ]
A sect led by a transcendental.
A perilous location.
White flowers that were in full bloom all year.
In line with such a setting, the people of the Baek household were all very austere and elegant.
These characteristics of theirs would become the most evident in their martial arts techniques.
When I was young, I learned martial arts while holding a branch of a willow tree.
It was only when I grew up that I finally held a weapon and mastered those techniques.
In my case, it was an iron fan.
The teaching that could most famously sum up the Baek School was this:
‘Martial arts is an artform.
Treat each gesture as if you would strike an orchid, as if you are drawing a line.
Move in such a way that there is no way for others to distinguish whether you are dancing or practicing your martial arts.’
As I looked back on my memories of that time, I raised one hand.
Since I’m here to check my strength, I was conditioning myself with the same mindset I had in the second round.
The hand holding the iron fan lightly split through the air.
Like a butterfly’s wings.
Each step of mine was made carefully and delicately, as though I was running across a lake.
And, my eyes were looking straight ahead.
I moved my hands and feet, my arms and shoulders, my legs and torso, my waist and knees.
The series of movements was like a smooth and graceful flow, splitting the air.
Of course, as my fan cut through the air, it sounded more like a snake than a butterfly.
As I twisted on my toes, a branch of a tree was cut down with the fan’s blade.
Showing a neatly sliced cross-section, the branch fell down with a snap.
Now imbuing my fan with inner strength, the petals and leaves that were barely formed on the thin flower tree fell off with the sound of ususu.
In a good mood now, I felt thrilled.
Right, and there lay the problem.
I was so exhilarated.
And when someone became this excited, sometimes they would become blind to their surroundings.
It’s called ‘carelessness’.
Feeling pleased, I unfolded the fan again with a clack.
And with my inner strength, I threw the iron fan.
Like a wing, it was flung and its trajectory was changed according to the direction I wanted it to go.
The arc I wanted it to take was behind me.
So, it went around my back and I waited for it to return to my hand.
However, the fan that was flung behind me did not come back.
Even though it was supposed to be here now.
Did I fail to control the iron fan’s arc
But that couldn’t be.
My movements were alright when I threw it.
With my brows knitted together, I slowly turned around.
I had a bad feeling now, so I hesitated to look behind me.
Finally, as I directed my gaze in that direction, I stood still.
Because there was someone standing there.
Holding the fan I had thrown.
Feeling my throat going dry, I gulped.
After transmigrating as Rosetta, I now face my biggest crisis in this life.
I forced my thoughts to run double time, contemplating hard about what to do in this situation.
In the meantime, the person who saw me was the first to speak.
His voice was as stiff and as dry as ever, but as I saw the slight wrinkle upon his forehead, this was enough to tell me that he was not anymore calm.
Blinking, I forced myself to answer him.
The person who saw me was none other than Rosetta’s father.
* * *
It was by pure happenstance that, today of all days, Duke Valentine came to this place.
Ironically, it was Rosetta herself who brought upon this encounter.
A few weeks ago, after seeing Rosetta crying at Cassion’s funeral, Duke Valentine was left in turmoil.
Why did her tear-stricken face overlap with that of his late wife.
Even weeks later, the answer to this perplexing question still eluded him.
The unanswerable question lingered in his mind.
While he was working, he would stop in a daze and recall how Rosetta cried.
And even while he was eating or sleeping, Rosetta’s sobs seemed to echo in his ears.
And funnily enough, each and every time, the face of his late wife followed.
His head was about to explode.
He couldn’t understand why he was being like this.
That child was not his daughter.
How could she be his daughter when she had been birthed by the woman who killed the love of his life
And besides, that child…
Rosetta shared not a drop of blood with the departed Lillian.
But why was it that Lillian’s face kept overlapping with that child’s face
At one point, a fleeting thought passed through his mind that Rosetta looked like she was a child born between Lillian and himself.
‘No matter how I think about it, that’s just absurd.’
That was impossible.
It was a strange thought even to him.
However, as the idea had already formed, there was no way to stop it from growing.
After Lillian had passed away, this was the biggest emotional storm that he was experiencing.
Duke Valentine—Daymond Valentine—was a man of a brusque disposition, ever since he was born.
He was stern by nature, but it was a product of the harsh environment that had raised him.
It was perhaps family tradition for children of this ducal lineage to be brought with utmost coldness, and Daymond’s parents were the coldest of the Valentines.
He was more familiar with the words cold, logic, competition, victory and solitude rather than the words love and emotion.
And then he met Lillian.
Sometimes like the sun’s rays, sometimes like a lightning bolt.
Daymond’s quiet life was changed as she caused a stir within him like so.
He gave his all to Lillian.
If she laughed, they laughed together.
If she cried, then they cried together.
Everything she cared about, he valued as well.
‘But in the end, it all led to tragedy.’
In any case, that was what Lillian meant to Daymond.
Everything that made up the world.
Of course, it was no wonder that his world became achromatic once more when she left this realm.
He cherished his children, but he didn’t know how he’d be able to raise them without Lillian by his side.
In all his life, he had always been so far detached from family, even more so than strangers.
And so, this led to avoidance.
He thought that it would be better not to see them because he couldn’t properly act like a father.
And whenever he saw Rosetta, his blood always ran cold.
It brought him pain to stay in his own home.
However, this avoidance resulted in Katie’s deeds.
Yet again, he chose the wrong decision.
He should not have trusted others.
Katie was the one who managed the mansion’s internal affairs.
After spending a long time apart from his children, it had become awkward to even see each other’s faces.
Regardless, whether it was just giving words of consolation, or just having some casual conversation.
Even eating together.
Everything was as stiff and unfamiliar as though they were strangers.
But Daymond himself wasn’t fully aware of how awkward it was exactly.
This awkward and uncomfortable distance between the parent and his children.
This rational and business-like relationship.
When it came to the connection between parent and child, this was all he knew.
That’s how he was.
It’s been too long now to remember how he acted while Lillian was still here.
This heart of his was far from remembering the time when it still knew love—it had become dried up and twisted.
To him, this colorless world was now filled with nothing but silence and forlorn.
However, his life began to be shaken up by a storm of emotions once more.
By none other than the remnant of the sinner who killed Lillian.
That sinner’s daughter, for even just a moment, felt more like Lillian’s child compared to Damian and Alicia.
Those weeks of turmoil and agitation finally led him to come to this place today.
At the end of the abandoned trail, this had been Lillian’s favorite garden.
After she passed away, he shed only tears of blood whenever he saw it.
It had once been a secret place for only them.
‘Daymond! Let’s make this a place just for the two of us!’
‘Let’s have a small pond here, and… How about we plant some flower trees ourselves’
As he walked through the thicket, Lillian’s voice followed him like an apparition.
So, too, followed an image of her brightly smiling face, which he had not forgotten.