Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 542

September 24, 2023 • 12 min read • 608 views

Whoosh!

The Unmado Riverboat was burning.

There was not a single living soul aboard the massive Unmado River boat.

The martial artists of the Ghost Fleet had slaughtered everyone aboard the Unmado Riverboat.

To ensure there were no survivors, they searched twice, thrice, and executed anyone they found.

It wasn’t just men they killed.

All the women on board were raped before they were murdered.

After all the slaughter, the ship carrying Go Il-won vanished into thin air.

The burning Unmado Riverboat was spotted by another boat traveling down the Yangtze.

“What’s that?”

“A boat’s on fire.”

“Get us closer.”

The boat approached the Unmado Riverboat, hoping to find any possible survivors. But not a single person had survived the inferno.

“Bleargh!”

“What the…?”

Witnessing the horror inside the Unmado Riverboat, people couldn’t hold back their vomit.

A gruesome spectacle unfolded before their eyes.

“What godforsaken bastards would do such a thing….”

The boat’s captain muttered, clenching his fist.

He had been acquainted with Hwang Cheol, the captain of the Unmado Riverboat.

He frantically searched for Hwang Cheol’s body, digging through the wreckage.

Hwang Cheol’s body was found at the prow, his limbs severed.

Seeing Hwang Cheol’s dreadful state, the captain shut his eyes tight.

It wasn’t just Hwang Cheol. All the crew members, Jang Duson, and the passengers – everyone was dead.

The captain hastily shouted,

“Quickly put out the fire. We’ll tow this ship back to Poyang Lake.”

“Yes!”

The crew members started to extinguish the fire that engulfed the Unmado Riverboat.

Thankfully, putting out the fire on the water-soaked boat wasn’t too difficult.

The captain and the sailors attached the now extinguished Unmado Riverboat to the rear of their boat.

Throughout the journey, the crew wept and raged.

“Who on earth would commit such a heinous act?”

“It must have been those martial artists from the murim world, right? Who else could have done such a thing?”

“The Golden Heavenly Hall? Or maybe the Silver Lotus Hall?”

“Who knows? They’re all equally vicious.”

The crew vented their anger.

They had traversed the river countless times, but they had never sailed under such tension.

Due to the brutal conflicts between the Golden Heavenly Hall and the Silver Lotus Hall, they were always on high alert whenever they sailed to Poyang Lake.

The boat slowly entered Poyang Lake, towing the half-burnt Unmado Riverboat.

The moment the charred Unmado Riverboat came into view, all eyes were focused on it.

The fishing boats cautiously operating in the bay of Lake Poyang, the vessels associated with the Golden Heavenly Hall and the Silver Lotus Hall, and the people waiting at the docks – everyone’s gaze was fixed on the Unmado Riverboat.

Among them were Pyo Wol and Hong Yushin.

“Why the Unmado Riverboat?”

Hong Yushin looked at the half-burnt Unmado Riverboat with a perplexed expression.

On the other hand, Pyo Wol’s face hardened beyond recognition. He instinctively felt something grave had happened.

Thud!

Finally, the ship towing the Unmado Riverboat arrived at the dock.

The People who had been waiting at the dock approached the captain and the sailors.

“What happened?”

“Why are you hauling the Unmado Riverboat?”

In response to their queries, the captain lowered his head and said,

“See for yourself.”

“Huh?”

“You’ll understand once you see it.”

At the captain’s words, people hurriedly climbed onto the Unmado Riverboat.

“Ugh!”

“What is it?”

Those who had unknowingly climbed onto the Unmado Riverboat covered their mouths with their hands.

The deck of the Unmado riverboat was littered with half-burned corpses. Those with weaker stomachs immediately vomited at the gruesome sight of the corpses.

“Who could have….”

“The captain of this ship was certainly brother Hwang Cheol. He was due to retire in a few days…”

“Wha…wha…”

“Sob!”

Voices choked with tears echoed from all around.

The sight was so gruesome that people couldn’t bring themselves to inspect the ship any further.

Pyo Wol climbed onto the deck and began to slowly survey the surroundings.

‘They were trapped on the boat and slaughtered like cattle in a slaughterhouse.’

He examined the state of the corpses.

Each one had deep, fatal wounds.

They were not precise strikes aimed at vital points or arteries. These were crudely inflicted injuries, a result of brute force or high inner energy levels.

The kind of damage inflicted by those who had learned barbaric martial arts.

The more he saw, the more familiar the wounds became.

He had seen these kinds of wounds somewhere before.

Pyo Wol carefully examined all the wounds on the corpses on the deck.

“Did you find out anything?”

Hong Yushin approached Pyo Wol.

Pyo Wol shook his head and moved on to the next corpse.

“Hmm!”

“What’s wrong?”

Hong Yushin looked at Pyo Wol with a puzzled expression.

“This man appears to be a Taoist from the Wudang Sect.”

“What?”

“I have seen his face when I visited the Wudang Sect before.’

The man Pyo Wol pointed out was Yun Kwang, the third generation disciple of the Wudang sect.

Yun Kwang lay dead with his mouth wide open, his face twisted in agony. Not far from Yun Kwang, Han Kwang had also drawn his last breath.

“Why is the disciple of Wudang Sect here?”

Hong Yushin frowned.

Currently, the Wudang Sect was in a semi-seclusion state.

While they hadn’t officially declared a shutdown, they had locked their doors and restrained any external activities.

“With this, the Wudang Sect has a reason to intervene in the kangho Great War.”

The disciples of their own sect had been killed in the Bay of Poyang lake, the site of the ongoing Kangho Great War.

It would be strange if the Wudang Sect to remain silent.

And it wasn’t just the disciples of the Wudang Sect who had been killed.

The bodies of numerous martial artists, their weapons still clutched in their hands, were found as well.

Although it was unclear which sect these martial artists belonged to, it was certain that the sects associated with them would not stand idly by.

“A storm is set to hit Poyang Lake,”

Hong Yushin shook his head in despair.

In his mind’s eye, the lake had already transformed into a sea of blood.

Thanks to Pyo Wol, who had briefly managed to unify all the assassin guilds in the area, there seemed to be a momentary lull in the Great Kangho War. However, the event that occurred today would surely rekindle the flames of conflict.

Along with this, public sentiment would inevitably grow more hostile.

Most of the passengers aboard the Unmado Riverboat were people with no connection to the Kangho.

It was an unspoken rule in Kangho that even in the fiercest battles between martial artists, civilians should not be harmed.

A sect that lost public sentiment, no matter how strong its martial prowess, could not rule the world. History had taught them that.

Therefore, all the sects in Kangho endeavored not to lose public sentiment.

This was true for both the Golden Heavenly Hall and the Silver Lotus Hall, but today’s incident was like pouring fuel onto the already raging public outrage.

“Everyone, please disembark the boat.”

“Everyone off.”

The late-arriving martial artists of the Silver Lotus Hall forcibly evacuated the passengers on the boat.

Their faces were marked with clear signs of perplexity.

Only martial artists could commit such a heinous act.

Though the act was not committed by the Silver Lotus Hall, they were inevitably lumped together and subject to criticism.

It was crucial to prevent rumors from spreading.

At least until they identified who was responsible for such an act. But many people had already witnessed the carnage aboard the Unmado Riverboat.

Silencing everyone at the dock was impossible.

“Who in the world committed such a horrendous act?”

The face of a Silver Lotus Hall’s martial artist turned ghostly white. And Pyo Wol watched him closely.
***
News of the massacre on the civilian-operated Unmado riverboat near Lake Poyang spread quickly throughout Kangho.

The shock of the event was that immense.

All the martial artists aboard the Riverboat were brutally killed, the passengers were indiscriminately murdered.

While the male passengers were cleanly dead, signs of brutal rape were evident on the corpses of the female passengers.

From young girls to middle-aged women, all were left mutilated. The sight left the witnesses speechless.

The series of events ignited public outrage.

Already not particularly fond of the martial artists, their anger was ignited by this incident.

The ordinary people had only one way to resist the martial artists or the Kangho factions.

That was, to refuse cooperation.

Even the most powerful sects would be as good as blind and deaf without the cooperation of the locals.

For this reason, the major sects took special care of the cities within their sphere of influence.
They had nurtured these cities to be favorable towards them for hundreds of years. However, the massacre of the Unmado Riverboat at Poyang Lake was enough to shatter centuries of hard work.

Especially in areas near Poyang Lake, the flip in public sentiment was severe.

This put many sects on high alert.

Even the Golden Heavenly Hall and the Silver Lotus Hall found themselves under pressure.
Both factions blamed each other, asserting that the root cause of all the trouble lay with their opposition.

Kangho was in deep chaos.

And one of the factions lost in this chaos was the Wudang Sect.

The leaders of the Wudang Sect were all gathered in their main hall.

“Prominent figures such as the revered Cheongjin, known as the Gate of Wisdom, along with the resilient Gonjin, Sangjin, hailed as the First Sword of Wudang, and other esteemed elders, had all gathered in one place, their faces etched with a solemn expression.”

Gongjin, who had remained silent till now, broke his silence.

“Tae Won’s body has been found.”

“Hmm!”

“Finally……”

The elders were silent, their eyes tightly closed.

The bodies of Yun Kwang and Han Kwang were found on the Unmado Riverboat. But, mysteriously, Tae Won’s body was not found, which had left them with a glimmer of hope that he might still be alive.

Gongjin continued.

“It was discovered by a disciple from our main sect while searching for the massacre site at Yangtze. However, the condition of the body is terribly horrifying.”

“How so?”

“His head has been crushed to the extent that it’s difficult to identify him.”

“That can’t be……”

“Who on earth committed such an atrocious act that incurs the wrath of the heavens?”
The elders roared in fury.

Even though Tae Won was of lower rank among the main disciples, his calm nature and outstanding martial skills made him beloved by the elders.

He was a naturally calm person, and his excellent situational judgement allowed him to surpass the other disciples and take on the crucial task of monitoring Kangho’s situation.

The elders had never doubted that Tae Won would carry out this mission excellently. But the news of his death came as a shock.

The Wudang Sect had lost all the disciples it had sent to lake Poyang – Tae Won, Yun Kwang, and Han Kwang.

Bang!

Sangjin slammed the desk and abruptly stood up.

“Elder Cheongjin! This is undoubtedly a challenge to the Wudang Sect. Please let me go. I will find the people responsible for what happened to Tae Won and the others and make them pay.”

“Sangjin!”

“If we stay still like this, the others will look down on the main sect. Even though the main sect is in temporary closure, if we let this go, the reputation of the main sect will hit rock bottom.”

“You draw too much attention, Sangjin. If anything goes wrong, the Great War could escalate.”
The face of Cheongjin, the Gate of Wisdom, was full of worry.

Even though the Wudang Sect had somewhat retreated from the limelight, it remained a towering force in the murim world.

If Sangjin, the symbol of Wudang Sect’s power, made a move, both the Golden Heavenly Hall and the Silver Lotus Hall might misinterpret it as an attempt by the Wudang sect to intervene in the great war.

A single misstep could drag the Wudang Sect into the Great War.

And that was something Cheongjin desperately wanted to avoid.

Sangjin retaliated.

“So are we just supposed to stand here and do nothing? Three of our children from the main sect have been killed. We must find the murderer and punish them.”

“Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll send someone who is part of our main sect but unknown to the outside world.”

Cheongjin finally offered a solution after deep contemplation.

“Do we have someone like that in our faction?”

“Elder Cheongjin, could it be…?”

“Ah!”

The elders seemed to think of someone, gasping in surprise.

A smile formed at the corners of Cheongjin’s lips as he spoke.

“But isn’t that child currently being trained by Il geom Sasuk?”

“I received a message from Sasuk not too long ago. He said he has taught him everything he knows.”

“Really? If that’s the case…”

The elders looked at each other, their faces reflecting a mutual understanding.

‘This could be a cunning plan.’

All, except for Cheongjin, harbored the same thought.

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