Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 559

September 25, 2023 • 10 min read • 638 views

Pyo Wol stepped outside.

“He could see a small river flowing gently, mountains surrounding the basin like a folding screen, rice fields terraced along the hills, and the villagers working in them.”

The landscape was as beautiful as a painting.

It was a peaceful village, not far from Poyang lake.

The village was so peaceful that it was hard to believe that it was so close to Lake Poyang, where the Great Kangho War was taking place.

Its small size and irrelevance to the murim world shielded it from attention, blessing it with peace.

The population of the village barely exceeded fifty, and the villagers made their living from farming and fishing in the river.

While they could not be called affluent, they managed to put food in their mouths and live on.

The village’s isolation fostered an innocence among its inhabitants.

“You sure did find a hidden gem,”

Pyo Wol marveled at Sal-no’s resourcefulness.

A place not far from Poyang Lake, yet completely off the radar of the martial arts clans, it was indeed a paradise for hiding.

For the first time since arriving, Pyo Wol felt truly at ease.

“Ah! A handsome big brother!”

“Wow!”

When Pyo Wol stepped outside, the children playing nearby rushed over.

They circled him, laughing and chattering, unafraid of the stranger.

Pyo Wol slightly furrowed his brows.

He was unaccustomed to this noise.

“Where are you from, big brother?”

“What’s it like outside?”

The children swarmed around Pyo Wol, chirping like sparrows.

Pyo Wol shook his head slightly and walked on, the children following like chicks behind a mother hen.

The children continued to laugh and chatter, showing no fear of this stranger.

Pyo Wol frowned a bit.

Had they been trained martial artists, they would have felt a serious threat just from the change in Pyo Wol’s expression. However, the naive children did not understand the meaning behind Pyo Wol’s expression. And so, they chattered even more.

“Huh?”

Suddenly, Pyo Wol looked down. A little girl of about six was holding his finger.

When their eyes met, the girl spoke.

“Hold me!”

“….”

“Hold me!”

When Pyo Wol didn’t respond, she shook his hand and repeated her request.

Pyo Wol stared at her, and she stared back.

TL/N- I can already feel the storm coming

Pyo Wol was the first to break eye contact.

For some reason, he couldn’t look into the girl’s innocent eyes for long.

Pyo Wol, who had never backed down from any foe’s gaze, found it strangely difficult to bear the girl’s gaze.

Pyo Wol asked,

“You want me to hold you?”

“Yep! Hold me.”

Pyo Wol carefully picked up the girl and held her in his arms. As he did, she spoke again.

“On your shoulders.”

“You want me to carry you?”

“Yes!”

The girl nodded.

Pyo Wol placed the girl on his shoulders, and she responded with a bright smile, as if pleased.

“Wow! I can see so well!”

Pyo Wol, with the girl on his shoulders, moved towards the river.

The children followed as if it was the most natural thing in the world.

Even the farmers tilling the terraced fields noticed the scene.

Seeing the children following a stranger could have been a cause for concern, but there was no sign of worry in their eyes.

The girl, still sitting on Pyo Wol’s shoulder, whispered to him.

“Pretty!”

“Huh?”

“Big Brother! You’re pretty. I’m going to marry you.”

“….”

Pyo Wol was at a loss for words at the girl’s bold claim. But it was only for a moment. Pyo Wol soon shook his head.

“I don’t think that’s possible.”

“Why?”

“I’m not from here.”

“So, you’ll leave?”

“Yes!”

“You can’t!”

“I’m sorry! But I can’t stay here.”

At Pyo Wol’s indifferent response, tears welled up in the girl’s eyes.

Pyo Wol gently wiped away her tears with his pale hand.

“Everyone has their own life. This place isn’t suited for me.”

“Why doesn’t it suit you?”

“I’m of a different breed. If I stay in such a peaceful place, it’ll be thrown into chaos.”

“It’s hard!”

“The world is like that. It’s hard. You’ll understand when you grow up.”

“I don’t know! I just want to marry you.”

Seeing the girl’s insistence, Pyo Wol unwittingly smiled.

That’s when it happened.

“It’s a pleasant sight.”

A sudden, clear voice came.

Without surprise, Pyo Wol turned around.

Sal-no was standing there, looking serene.

Pyo Wol set the girl down and said,

“Now, go play with your friends.”

“Okay!”

The girl ran to her friends who were playing nearby.

Pyo Wol watched her for a moment before shifting his gaze back to Sal-no.

“You came early.”

“I had an urgent report.”

“Urgent? Is there a problem with Thunder Eye or Ye-Seol?”

“No. They are faithfully carrying out their duties as commanded by the Supreme Leader. Soon, we will receive news of their completion.”

“And then?”

“There has been an incident at Poyang Lake.”

“An incident?”

“Je-won… the Je-won merchant group has been attacked.”

“Who? Could it be the Golden Heavenly Hall?”

“No. King Gujin attacked the Je-won merchant group.”

“King Gujin?”

Pyo Wol’s eyes turned cold.

For a moment, Sal-no felt a chilling sensation down his spine.

Pyo Wol asked,

“So, what’s the damage?”

“Fortunately, merchants and workers were able to flee without harm, but the damage to the martial artists is severe. Half of the martial artists from the Je-won merchant group were massacred by King Gujin. Thankfully, the leader was able to escape with the help of his men, however…”

Sal-no was unable to finish his sentence.

Looking at Sal-no’s face, Pyo Wol said,

“So someone else died instead.”

“Yes!”

“Was it… Noh Tae-tae?”

“Yes.”

Pyo Wol closed his eyes.

He had suspected this when he heard about the incident at the Je-won merchant group.

His ominous premonitions had never been wrong. But this time he wished they had been.

Even for a person who had exhausted her destiny, he had hoped for a peaceful end.
Sal-no continued,

“Noh Tae Tae helped the leader escape, and stayed behind till the very end. Even under King Gujin’s relentless threats, she held on till the end…”

“She defended the honor of the Je-won merchant group with her remaining life.”

“Yes! She was a remarkable woman. Even in such a dire situation, she calculated so far.
Though looted, the financial loss is not significant..”

Because of their size, the Je-won merchant group would never store all their wealth in one place. They spread it over several warehouses.

The Je-won merchant group had crumbled under the calamity known as the Wolf King, but her death preserved their dignity.

Not just their dignity, but she also saved the lives of her son, Joo Jang-hwan, and other kin, without taking any blame.

Although the Je-won merchant group suffered a massive blow due to King Gujin, it will surely be restored to splendor.

“Any traces of King Gujin?”

“Shall we pursue?”

“Pursue!”

“Understood.”

Sal-no answered promptly without a question.

His skin tingled as if he had come into contact with lightning.

His master’s face showed no change, but Sal-no knew.

He knew how furious Pyo Wol was, and how immense the killing intent he was holding in.

The tingling sensation he felt was proof of Pyo Wol’s fury.

Pyo Wol immediately returned to his quarters.

He shed his ordinary clothes and changed into his black martial robe.

Around his waist, he wore a leather belt made by Tang Sochu, and within it, he concealed two daggers.

After adding a pair of gauntlets to his arms and donning the Black Blood Robe, also made by Tang Sochu, he was ready.

With preparations complete, he stepped outside, but Sal-no was nowhere to be seen.

He had already left the village to carry out Pyo Wol’s orders.

Pyo Wol took a moment to look back at the village.

The sound of children playing echoed with the picturesque landscape.
Pyo Wol muttered

“It’s a shame, Just when I had grown accustomed to this place…”

He knew he would probably never return to this place.

With that, Pyo Wol moved his steps outside the village.

“Big Brother!”

A young girl’s voice rang out.

Looking in the direction of the voice, he saw a little girl waving her hands vigorously.

“You have to come back.”

Even though the girl shouted at the top of her lungs, Pyo Wol did not respond.

After watching the girl for a moment, Pyo Wol left the village.

He walked briskly along a shadowy mountain path.

After about an hour, he joined up with Gwando.

Following the trail along Gwando, a familiar vast landscape appeared in the distance.

It was Poyang Lake, a lake so vast that it could not be captured in a single glance.

Upon arriving at Poyang Lake, Pyo Wol headed straight towards the Je-won merchant group.

Having been here before, finding the Je-won merchant group was not difficult.

Many martial artists were guarding the outside of the Je-won merchant group.

Pyo Wol recognized them as martial artists of the Silver Lotus Hall.

‘It seems Jo Seolpung has arrived.’

It was not strange for him to have come.

Although he had severed ties with the Je-won merchant group to work for the Silver Lotus Hall, it did not mean he had completely cut off blood relations.

Noh Tae-tae provided great support to Jo Seolpung from the shadows to allow him to spread his influence.

Jo Seolpung also adored his great-grandmother Noh Tae-tae, and had never stopped worrying about her safety.

So, when he heard that the Je-won merchant group had been attacked, he was the first to rush over.

Pyo Wol watched the martial artists surrounding the Je-won merchant group for a moment, then took a leap.

Despite the many martial artists guarding the place, none of them noticed Pyo Wol infiltrating the Je-won merchant group.

Pyo Wol landed silently in the main hall of the Je-won merchant group, like a thief-cat, and looked around.

Looking around the interior, he saw a straight line of destruction from the main gate to the inside of the Great Hall.

It was the path through which King Gujin had invaded.

The floor was still covered with blood stains that had not been completely wiped off.

The red blood stains showed how brutal King Gujin’s hands had been.

Pyo Wol walked along the roof of the main hall towards the inside.

The further he went, the stronger the traces of destruction, and there were bodies that had not been cleaned up yet.

Even though their breath had stopped, their expressions of pain and despair were still vivid.

He could tell how much terror they had felt before they died.

As he moved past the corpses into the interior, he saw a group of people.

It was Joo Jang-hwan and his blood relatives who had managed to escape King Gujin’s attack.

Their faces, filled with anger and grief, were looking forward.

Silently descending from the roof of the great hall, Pyo Wol wedged himself between them.

In front of Joo Jang-hwan and his clan were bodies laid out in a row, covered with white cloth.

Among them was the body of Noh Tae-tae.

“Ah… Mother! sob”

“Grandmother!”

“Sob”

Tears flowed as they gazed at Noh Tae-tae’s body.

Even in death, Noh Tae-tae maintained her gentle expression.

Were it not for this tragedy, one might mistake her for sleeping.

Pyo Wol silently watched Noh Tae-tae.

Then, a man quietly approached him.

Standing next to Pyo Wol, he spoke.

“Fortunately, she died from a single blow. She must not have felt much pain.

The man’s voice was thick with unshed tears.

Without even turning to look, Pyo Wol recognized who the man was.

“Jo… Seolpung!”

“Grandmaster Pyo!”

The man was none other than Jo Seolpung, Noh Tae-tae’s great-grandson.