Chapter 17 - Father’s Disciple
I was questioning myself when the conversation resumed.
“Swordsmanship exists to protect precious things, not to slaughter. You seem to have forgotten this basic principle.” My father’s stern voice was so sharp that it made me flinch.
However, the other man was adamant. “I didn’t forget. I simply don’t want to have a weakness.”
His words reminded me of myself. I bitterly smiled. ‘I’m a person with many faults… that’s why nobody needs me.’
My father had kept a distance from me for as long as I can remember. My ex-boyfriend, Mikhail, was no different. Although I wasn’t upset about this, I felt sympathetic towards my past self. I sighed.
“Sometimes, a person gets stronger to protect their weaknesses,” my father said.
I wondered what he wanted to protect. Perhaps it was his lofty status and sense of honor, or more graciously, his precious subordinates. After all, he had always placed great importance on his work. ‘I don’t know what his weaknesses are, but he can defend himself no matter what happens. Unlike me…’
At that moment, the young man’s grim voice broke my unhappy thoughts. “Master.”
I widened my eyes. ‘Master? I don’t think my father took any disciples…’
Surprised by what the man had just called my father, I peeked past the corner to look at them again.
“I don’t want to hear any more of your lectures. I’ll be going.” His tone was so grim and indifferent that even my father paled in comparison.
‘There’s no need to be better than him at things like that…’ I continued to watch them with a frown.
“Someday, you will also find someone; a precious existence that you will want to protect,” my father said. Although he spoke sternly, his voice was filled with an affection that I had never witnessed before.
I unconsciously bit my lower lip before straightening my expression. ‘There’s nothing to mull over. I’ve already decided to give up on trying to receive his affection.’
I still had a long, happy life ahead of me. I didn’t want to be dragged down by this anymore.
‘Let’s not be shaken.’
If I gave up trying to win my father’s affections, nothing he said could hurt me anymore. I firmly promised myself to stay resilient.
At that moment, my father’s disciple lowered his voice to a cold whisper. “Well, I haven’t found that precious existence yet, but it looks like I’ve found a hiding rat.”
I came to my senses upon hearing the very thing that aroused my worst fears. ‘What? A rat?’
I shuddered with disgust as goosebumps rose on my skin. My melancholy thoughts had disappeared without a trace.
‘Where is the rat?’ I couldn’t bolt from my spot without being noticed, so I scanned my surroundings. The thought that this creature might be near me was terrifying.
“Shall I catch it?” The man’s voice was like that of a savior’s.
I nodded violently. ‘Yes, please catch it!’
However, my desperate pleas were rejected by my father. “Don’t,” he said.
I felt displeased. ‘Why not, Father?’
As I silently disagreed with him, my father’s disciple spoke perversely. “Why? Do you know who I’m talking about?”
‘What?’ I didn’t expect my father to say that he was acquainted with a rat, but then it occurred to me that I was in a novel. I managed to calm myself.
‘In fairy tales, animals and humans can communicate… My father is a transcendent being, so maybe he can talk to animals. If he saw the rat often, he might have developed some affection for it.’
Even so, I couldn’t help but feel uneasy. ‘I really hate rats!’
In my previous life, I once saw a rat the size of the entire length of my arm. I had been looking around the warehouse of a convenience store that I was working part-time at. Although the rat scampered away after I made a great fuss, I was too scared to enter the warehouse after that and soon quit my job.
Now I was faced with the same problem in this life, but what’s worse is that this rat had infiltrated my own home. I didn’t feel safe here anymore; it could’ve found its way around the corridors, rooms, and everywhere else. The rat might have even nibbled the food I ate.
‘This is frightening!’ The more I thought about it, the more my courage grew to take action. ‘If I ignore this problem, more rats may overrun my home.’
Because my mother was no longer here with us, I was still the only lady of this family, and therefore the high-ranking lady. Although I didn’t have much authority, this position was a good enough reason for people to take me seriously if I asked them to catch the rat.
‘I’m going to tell Father.’
I was about to walk up to him with determination when I heard him say, “If you touch that child… even if it’s you, I won’t let it slide.”
I had never heard my father speak in such a chilling tone before. It sounded like he was warning me. I immediately changed my mind. ‘Maybe I should just go back to my room. I need to live.’
I squeezed my father’s pendant and quietly left.
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