Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 617

October 31, 2023 • 10 min read • 1306 views

Pyo Wol slowly rose from his bed, careful not to disturb the sheets.

Beside him, Hong Ye-seol was soundly asleep.

Moving silently, Pyo Wol stepped outside.

In the distance, the Songshan Mountain, shrouded in darkness, loomed.

A brightly lit area stood out in the middle – the site of the Shaolin Temple.

Since Pyo Wol’s departure, the monks of the temple had been holding nightly meetings.

Even now, they would be fervently discussing how to confront Jang Cheon-hwa.

After briefly gazing at Songshan Mountain, Pyo Wol turned his head.

Swish!

From deep within the annex, the sharp sound of a blade echoed.

Following the sound, Pyo Wol found Soma.

Soma was relentlessly practicing, pushing himself to his limits, swinging his sword.

His entire body was drenched in sweat, and his breath came in ragged, heavy gasps.

From what Pyo Wol remembered, Soma had started practicing early in the evening. He had been tormenting himself for over three hours now.

Even a martial artist of unmatched stamina would wear out with such incessant exertion.
Sigh

Softly exhaling, Pyo Wol approached Soma.

Sensing Pyo Wol’s presence, Soma looked up, but something was off about his gaze.

His eyes were bloodshot and radiated a menacing intensity.

‘Mind Demon,’

Pyo Wol immediately recognized Soma’s condition.

The shock of Il-geom’s death had unsettled Soma’s mind, and in overindulging in martial arts, he had inadvertently succumbed to Mind Demon.

Mind Demon, an affliction of the mind, can sneak up unknowingly.

If one’s spirit were calm, they could easily dispel the Mind Demon and find inner peace. But with Soma’s disturbed mind, he had been unknowingly consumed.

There were two ways to free oneself from the Mind Demon: one was to achieve self-realization and drive it out, and the other was to forcefully suppress it.

“Huuuu!”

A strange breath hissed from Soma’s mouth.

Fixing his menacing gaze on Pyo Wol, he suddenly attacked.

Zing!

Darkness was sliced by the gleaming blade.

Clang!

Using his armored wrist-guard, Pyo Wol blocked Soma’s attack.

Soma’s sword, ‘Gongpo,’ was a legendary blade, but the wrist-guard Pyo Wol wore was equally formidable.

Thanks to it, Pyo Wol deftly repelled Gongpo.

“Yaaah!”

Soma twisted his body in mid-air, launching another assault.

Gongpo seemed to split into ten separate blades, aiming for Pyo Wol’s vital points.

Only one was real, while the other nine were illusions.

With keen perception, Pyo Wol identified the genuine strike and defended against it.

Clang!

With a loud clang, Soma was thrown back. Yet, in an instant, he regained his balance and retaliated.

Shoo-shoo-shoo!

His sword fiercely lunged forward.

Pyo Wol defended himself from every strike, parrying with ease.

At first, his armored wrist guard alone was enough to fend off the onslaught. Over time, however, Soma’s attacks became more powerful, forcing Pyo Wol to draw his Soul Reaping Thread.

Clash-clash-clash!

Their weapons met, clashing repeatedly. Sparks flew, illuminating the surroundings momentarily before fading away.

“Yaaaa!”

Soma, screaming wildly, gave it his all. He attacked with such wild abandon, it was as if he was releasing all of his pent-up emotions.

Pyo Wol absorbed each blow.

It was unclear how much time had passed.

Soma’s swordsmanship grew more refined with every move.

Concurrently, its potency escalated.

Pyo Wol brought out the essence of Soma and extracted not only its latent power, but also all the techniques he had learned.

Blinded by his fervor, Soma wasn’t even aware of the techniques he was employing. It was the realm of becoming one with the sword.

Pyo Wol made sure Soma remained immersed, handling all his relentless assaults.

Over time, Soma’s chaotic swordplay began to streamline, shedding unnecessary flares and focusing more on precision.

His techniques became simpler, but paradoxically, their power magnified.

At some point, mirages began to emanate from Soma’s sword. These mirages then concentrated into a sword aura. Given a little more time, this aura took the form of a vivid, tangible sword.

It was the Sword Qi.

Swoosh! Whooosh!

Unaware that he had manifested the sword qi, Soma continued to swing his blade.

This was Pyo Wol’s miraculous doing.

He induced enlightenment in Soma, guiding him to reach this pinnacle. As a result, Soma had ascended to the realm of Sword Qi.

He was already well-prepared, from the grand techniques he learned at Xiaoleiyin Temple to the martial arts imparted by Master Jin.

Soma’s vessel had been filled to the brim.

All Pyo Wol did was carefully add a single drop to make sure the vessel didn’t shatter.

That single drop caused the vessel to overflow, pushing Soma to transcend to the next level.

Only someone like Pyo Wol could accomplish such a feat.

Because of his profound knowledge of Soma, he was able to forcefully guide him toward such enlightenment.

“Haaah!”

Gathering his last bit of energy, Soma unleashed his Sword Qi.

Instead of dodging, Pyo Wol used his Threaded Serpent Qi to block Soma’s attack.

Zrrrring!

A tremendous shockwave ensued as the two forces collided.

The impact shook Soma back to reality.

“Ugh!”

He had woken up, but the internal injuries he sustained were not light.

Before he realized what had happened, Pyo Wol’s voice pierced through.

“Channel your Qi!”

“Brother?”

“Do it now!”

“Alright!”

Without a moment’s delay, Soma activated his Qi flow.

It was an epiphany he had gained during his clash with Pyo Wol.

Because it was an unconscious realization, if he didn’t solidify it right away, it might vanish like a mirage.

As Soma channeled his qi to absorb this newfound wisdom, Pyo Wol performed protective incantations at his side.

Another martial arts prodigy was being born.

All thanks to Pyo Wol.

Pyo Wol had never intended to take on a student. He doubted that he could fully impart his own knowledge, nor did he want to impose the grueling path he had taken to master the martial arts on anyone else.

To Pyo Wol, Soma was both a cherished younger sibling and a disciple of sorts. Watching Soma evolve into a martial grandmaster brought him a unique sense of satisfaction.

Suddenly, a figure cautiously approached from the shadows.

Even in the dim light, her curvaceous silhouette was unmistakable – it was Hong Ye-Seol. She had awoken from a deep sleep, stirred by the sounds of their duel.

Observing Pyo Wol and Soma with a puzzled expression, a glint of recognition flashed in Hong Ye-Seol’s eyes.

Being a martial artist herself, she quickly grasped the unfolding situation.

She swiftly retreated to her room, only to return shortly, holding a set of clothes.

She kept her distance, watching the two from afar.

Finally, Soma recovered his enlightenment and woke up from his trance.

“Phew!”

Soma exhaled deeply as he stood up.

Pyo Wol spoke,

“Congratulations on your epiphany.”

“Brother!”

“You did well.”

“Thank you, brother!”

Soma replied with a bright smile, realizing what had happened during his trance.

At that moment, the waiting Hong Ye-Seol approached.

“Congratulations on your fortuitous insight.”

“Sister!”

“And on your growth spurt.”

“Huh?”

Soma’s eyes widened in confusion and Hong Ye-seol gestured with her hand to measure his height.

“Oh!”

Only then did Soma realize that he was now at eye level with Hong Ye-Seol.

In that short period of time, he had grown to a height comparable to Hong Ye Seol’s. From the appearance of a ten-year-old, he had matured to look like a boy of fifteen or sixteen.

Taken aback by this sudden physical transformation, Soma’s eyes widened in astonishment.

Unable to cope with the physical change, his clothes were torn open, revealing his underbelly.

Hong Ye-seol handed over the clothes she had with her.

“Wear these.”

“Ah! Thank you, sister.”

“Don’t mention it…” Hong Ye-seol smiled warmly.

Now, the restraining shackles that had been placed on Soma had completely dissolved, accelerating his growth.

If things went as Pyo Wol predicted, Soma would grow to the size of an adult within just a year.

While it was a bit saddening that they would no longer be able to see his adorable younger self, it was still a cause for celebration.

The time that had stopped for Soma had now started flowing again.

***

“What happened?”

Hong Yushin was stunned to see Soma’s changed appearance.

He couldn’t help but gape in amazement.

A sudden growth spurt overnight was certainly shocking.

Perhaps finding his newfound growth a bit unfamiliar, Soma gave an awkward smile. He had
grown almost a foot taller.

The transformation was so drastic that even Soma felt foreign to his own body.

As he grew taller, the way he saw the world changed.

Whereas before he saw the world from about an adult’s waist, now he could see it from about his chest.

“How did the little guy grow so much? Did some miracle happen overnight?”

“Stop it, brother! I feel so awkward.”

“How do you think I feel? Wow!”

Hong Yushin continued to express his astonishment. At that moment, Pyo Wol spoke to Soma.

“You’ve suddenly grown taller, so your body won’t be balanced for a while. You should rest and concentrate on finding your balance.

“Alright!”

Soma nodded.

He already felt the imbalance in his limbs as if they were not his own. It would take considerable effort to regain his old senses.

Soma headed straight to the Courtyard.

Hong Yushin turned to Pyo Wol with a questioning gaze. ”

“What really happened? I’ve heard of half-transformations, but I’ve never heard of a boy becoming a man overnight.

“Various factors aligned perfectly. The most important thing is that Soma broke through his own barrier.”

“Broke through?”

“He’s reached the stage of Profound Qi.”

“My God! So, you’re saying Soma has reached the Absolute Realm? At that age?”

Hong Yushin was shocked. He had never heard of anyone of Soma’s age reaching the Qi realm. If his memory served him right, this was an unprecedented event in the history of Kangho.

“By age alone, Soma was probably the youngest of the greatest martial artists of all time. This meant that he had even more potential to grow.

‘If Kangho finds out about this, it’s going to cause an uproar.’

The rise and fall of martial clans often depended on how many powerful martial artists they had.

If a clan could recruit a young prodigy like Soma, the clan’s future would almost certainly be secure.

Hong Yushin looked at Pyo Wol with a mix of awe and reverence.

‘What method did he use to elevate Soma to the Absolute Realm?’

He was well aware of Soma’s abilities. Although Soma possessed admirable martial arts, he was still far from the Absolute Realm. Yet, in just one day, Soma had reached that peak.

Without Pyo Wol’s intervention, such a feat would have been impossible.

‘Who exactly is this man?’

He thought he knew Pyo Wol well, but now he doubted how well he really understood him.

Perhaps what he knew about Pyo Wol was just the tip of the iceberg.

A sudden chill ran through him, causing goosebumps to rise all over his body.

Those goosebumps didn’t fade easily.

It was then that Pyo Wol spoke.

“What became of your dealings with the Shaolin Temple?”

Pyo Wol’s voice snapped Hong Yushin back to reality.

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