Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 619

October 31, 2023 • 10 min read • 1230 views

After enjoying their hearty meal at the inn, the trio resumed their journey.

Full from the delightful meal, smiles adorned the faces of Hong Ye-seol and Soma.

Soma, particularly, seemed elated, humming a little tune to himself.

Hong Ye-seol understood Soma’s joy perfectly.

Unexpected gains in martial prowess, physical growth, and now, a delicious meal.

There was no reason for Soma not to be in high spirits.

Feeling satisfied, Hong Ye-seol glanced at Pyo Wol.

He walked ahead, his gaze fixed forward, his face as expressionless as ever.

But for Hong Ye-seol, there was a subtle change. A change that only she could notice due to their close bond.

She approached Pyo Wol, querying,

“Are you alright?”

“Why do you ask?”

“Your expression seems different today.”

“Is it?”

“What’s on your mind?”

“Look ahead.”

“Eh?”

Hong Ye-seol cast a puzzled look forward.

In the distance, a man who appeared to be a merchant was walking with a cart pulled by an ox.

The cart was loaded with a lot of goods, and the oxen were having a hard time.

She tilted her head slightly,

“Who’s that man?”

“Watch closely.”

“What’s…?”

Hong Ye-seol’s voice trailed off.

As the merchant came closer, she could see something strange in his eyes.

Her face hardened for a moment.

Pyo Wol whispered.

“Don’t react, just walk.”

Only then did Hong Ye-seol realized her mistake.

She relaxed her face and continued walking calmly.

Soon, the merchant passed them by.

He didn’t spare a glance at Pyo Wol and his companions, concentrating solely on leading his herd.

However, Hong Ye-seol could feel his secretive gaze.

If she hadn’t listened and paid attention, she would never have felt it.

She didn’t know who he was, but it was clear that he had mastered the art of surveillance.

What alarmed Hong Ye-seol earlier was the merchant’s skin.

Although he looked as if he had traveled a long way, his skin was clear and unblemished, with no signs of sunburn – a stark contrast to his clothing.

What was even more suspicious was his rapport with the ox.

For someone transporting such a heavy load, harmony with the ox was crucial, but something felt off.

Pyo Wol commented quietly,

“That’s the fourth time.”

“Pardon?”

“Twice at the inn, once on our way here, and now again.”

“Haa! I’ve become too complacent.”

Hong Ye-seol sighed deeply.

It was a mistake she would never have made if she was alone.

Being with Pyo Wol had lulled her into a false sense of security.

She realized she had unconsciously come to trust and rely on him.

Biting her lip until it bled, Hong Ye-seol scolded herself.

When she raised her eyes, they sparkled with newfound determination.

They were sharp, like drawn daggers. The assassin Hong Ye-seol had returned.

As she shifted her stride, she inquired,

“Who could it be?”

“We’ll know if we keep watching.”

“You mean they’ll appear again?”

“We’ve already had four instances of surveillance. No doubt there will be more.”

“I suppose so.”

Hong Ye-seol glanced around cautiously.

The terrain they traversed was an expansive plain.

Ideal for long-range surveillance.

Though not visible to her, she was sure that somewhere on this plain, eyes were watching them.

There are three types of surveillance: farsightedness, which involves watching from a distance; nearsightedness, which involves hiding in plain sight and watching from close range; and close encounters, which involves getting close to the target without being seen.

Ordinary surveillance was usually done from a distance.

Because it can monitor without arousing suspicion.

Getting closer requires more effort, and the risk of discreetly approaching your target requires advanced skills.

To perform such complex surveillance, both long-range and short-range monitoring is required.

Few groups have the means and skill to conduct such intricate operations.

One of the best at this was the Hao Clan.

But they had a close relationship with Pyo Wol, so they had no reason to track him.

Besides, Pyo Wol had been with Hong Yushin just a few days ago, so Hao Clan was ruled out as a suspect.

Having listened silently to their conversation, Soma carefully suggested,

“Brother, what if we hide and monitor them in return?”

“If we hide, they’ll hide too. We may never find out who’s behind this.”

“I see.”

Soma nodded, understanding.

Such meticulous watchers would surely have a plan for emergencies.

It would be fortunate if they merely lost track of them, but they might also disappear completely. That would make it even more challenging to uncover their true identities.

While they didn’t know who was watching them, it was imperative to root them out from the beginning.

“For now, let’s keep walking as if we’re oblivious.”

“You mean to catch them off guard?”

“Exactly.”

“Understood. I’ll follow your lead.”

Soma replied with a smile.

He seemed much more mature than just a few days ago.

Whether due to his appearance or not, even his thoughts and actions seemed more profound.

The trio continued walking, feigning indifference.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, no more close observers appeared.

But they remained vigilant.

Suddenly, in the distance, a bird soared into the sky.

Hong Ye-seol recognized it immediately.

“It’s a messenger pigeon.”

To the casual observer, it was just a bird, but it was, in fact, a well-trained pigeon.

Sharpening her focus, she saw a tiny canister tied to the pigeon’s leg.

It was clear that the watcher was reporting to his superiors.

The surveillance was still ongoing.

A deep shadow crossed Pyo Wol’s eyes.

He didn’t know who was in charge, but it was well organized.

Had it been anyone other than Pyo Wol, they might not have even noticed they were being watched.

In fact, even Hong Ye-seol, one of the Ten Blood Assassins, didn’t realize she was being watched until Pyo Wol informed her.

Such a surveillance system couldn’t be established in a short span of time.

It would have to be painstakingly created over a long period of time before it could take shape and be used.

Pyo Wol murmured,

“It’s a familiar scent.”

“What do you mean?”

“It smells like us.”

“Then, they’re from the same fold as us?”

Hong Ye-seol’s expression grew grave.

If they were of the same ilk, they could only be assassins.

However, most of the active assassins in Kangho were grouped under the name Black Sect and were under Pyo Wol’s command.

There was no reason for the assassins of the Black Sect, now under the command of the Hundred Wraith Union, to watch Pyo Wol.

Hong Ye-seol looked at Pyo Wol,

“If not Kangho’s bandits, could it be from overseas?”

“Perhaps… maybe So Yeowol and Song Cheonwoo have reappeared.”

“So Yeowol?”

Hong Ye-seol looked puzzled.

She didn’t expect to hear their names here.

Pyo Wol replied with a furrowed brow,

“They must have finished assimilating the remnants of Guryongsalmak.”

If it was indeed So Yeowol targeting him, it made sense.

In the current Kangho, no one knew the Guryongsalmak better than Pyo Wol.

He understood their physiology, their organization, and their methods of sowing chaos better than anyone else.

“They must have heard about the collapse of the Ghost Fleet.

Even though they operated independently, the Ghost Fleet had branched out from Guryongsalmak.

So Yeowol might have hoped that the Ghost Fleet would keep Pyo Wol in check. But with their unexpected demise, she must have felt a significant threat.

Then everything started to make sense.

So Yeowol was very cautious and meticulous.

She wouldn’t act unless she was 90% certain of success.

‘The question is, what plan has she devised?’

So Yeowol wouldn’t act until she was absolutely sure that Pyo Wol couldn’t escape.

If Pyo Wol showed any signs of being aware, she might hide even deeper.

To draw her out, he’d have to convince her that she was almost certain to succeed.

After gathering his thoughts, Pyo Wol spoke,

“Soma!”

“Yeah?”

“When we reach the next village, pretend you have urgent business and leave ahead.”

“How far?”

“Just far enough to not arouse their suspicions…”

“Got it, brother!”

Soma nodded without question.

It was clear that he understood Pyo Wol’s intentions behind such an order.

Hong Ye-seol asked,

“What about me?”

“You’ll stay with me. If you leave as well, they’ll definitely get suspicious.”

“Understood.”

“But keep an eye out for any useful terrain or landmarks nearby.”

“Yes!”

Hong Ye-seol nodded in affirmation.

The three continued their journey, engaging in casual conversation. Their interaction seemed quite natural.

As they walked, the sun began to set behind the mountains, and they soon spotted a village not too far away.

They decided to stay in an inn on the outskirts of the village.

“Welcome.”

Upon entering, they were greeted warmly by a middle-aged man who appeared to be the innkeeper.

Pyo Wol inquired,

“We plan to spend the night. Do you have available rooms?”

“Of course. How many would you like?”

“Just one for now.”

“Go up to the second floor and head to the end of the corridor. That’s our best room. You’ll find it comfortable.”

“Alright.”

“Oh, how would you like to handle dinner?”

“What do you recommend?”

“We’re good at everything. Just place your order, heh!”

The innkeeper chuckled with a hint of pride.

Pyo Wol asked after studying the innkeeper’s face for a moment,

“Do you have Dongpo Pork?”

“Dongpo…pork? Yes, we do.”

“Then, I’ll have a dish of Dongpo Pork, some fruits, and rice.”

“Understood. I’ll bring it to you as soon as possible.”

The innkeeper bowed to Pyo Wol before hurrying off to the kitchen.

Pyo Wol took a seat, his gaze lingering on the retreating figure of the innkeeper.

Soma looked puzzled and turned to Pyo Wol.

“Dongpo Pork?”

To make the Dongpo Pork, which was invented by the Sodong Sect in the old days, you needed high-quality pork, and it took a lot of time to cook.

It wasn’t a dish typically served in a quiet, rural inn due to its price point and preparation time.

Usually, travelers to such inns preferred simpler, quick meals.

But Pyo Wol, fully aware of this, had deliberately ordered a dish that took a long time to prepare. This seemed strange to Soma.

Unlike the clueless Soma, Hong Ye-seol immediately grasped the reason for Pyo Wol’s peculiar order.

A typical inn wouldn’t openly claim to serve anything and everything, especially in the countryside, where ingredients were limited.

It would be more logical to specialize in a few signature dishes.

What heightened her suspicion was the acceptance of the Dongpo Pork order — a dish requiring premium ingredients and lengthy preparation.

This hinted at the innkeeper’s lack of experience in the food business.

Whispering softly, Hong Ye-seol remarked,

“It’s a probe.”

It was an act of directly interacting with the subject under surveillance to monitor their movements and reactions.

The innkeeper was on such a mission, and Pyo Wol and his companions were the targets.

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