Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 631

December 5, 2023 • 11 min read • 938 views

The Black Sect’s losses to the Grand Heavenly Net were not small.

Numerous assassins lost their lives and many were injured. There was no way they could move with Pyo Wol.

Eventually, Thunder Eye and Blood Shadow stayed behind to deal with the aftermath.

They couldn’t bring all of Black Sect’s assassins to Mount Wudang, so they decided to find a safe house nearby and stay there.

Pyo Wol took only Soma, Hong-Ye-Seol, Hwangbo Chiseung, and Nam Shin-woo with him to Mount Wudang.

Several days had passed since the battle, but exhaustion still showed on their faces.

Every one of them had sustained considerable injuries.

As they stopped frequently to treat their wounds, their journey to Mount Wudang was slowed down.

A sense of urgency appeared on Soma’s face as Mount Wudang loomed in the distance.

He thought of Mount Wudang as his homeland, and the grace he had received from the One Sword Master had made him especially nostalgic.

Turning to Pyo Wol, Soma spoke,

“Brother! I am going to go to Wudang Mountain first. You take your time.”

“Very well.”

“Thanks, brother!”

Soma thanked Pyo Wol for his permission.

He told the others that he would go first and left.

In the blink of an eye, he was out of sight.

He had used his full strength to perform his Qigong.

Pyo Wol and his group continued at a leisurely pace.

By the time they reached the Gyun County near Mount Wudang, the sun was almost set.

Fortunately, they arrived in Gyun County just in time, but climbing Mount Wudang now was out of the question.

They secured lodgings at an inn in Gyun County.

There were plenty of vacant rooms, ensuring a comfortable stay for the night.

After securing their rooms, they gathered in the inn’s dining area for a meal.

Hwangbo Chiseung remarked as he observed the interior,

“It’s not very crowded in here, I guess there aren’t many guests.”

“With the Wudang Sect closing its doors, travelers are scarce,”

“True,”

During the Wudang Sect’s prime, Gyun County was always bustling with visitors.

Everyone, from martial artists to commoners, flocked to witness the might of the Wudang Sect. At that time, finding an empty room in an inn in Gyun County was as difficult as pulling stars out of the sky.

Now, however, most rooms lay empty, signaling the drastic decrease in visitors.

The Wudang Sect had no choice but to close its doors after suffering heavy losses in the battle with Dragon Mountain Manor.

It was the first time in decades that the Wudang Sect had suffered this much damage. In the past, they had resorted to sealing themselves off. But even then, Gyun County was not completely deserted.

They were forced to go into seclusion, but their reputation was through the roof. People didn’t completely cut ties with the sect because they trusted that they would recover quickly.

But now things were different.

People believed that it would take at least two or three generations for the Wudang Sect to recover from such a devastating blow.

That’s a staggering sixty years.

There was no need to station anyone in Gyun County for such a long time without getting anything.

Hwangbo Chiseung sighed,

“Ah! The hearts of the Kangho are truly cold. Even a wealthy family will face hardship for three generations if they fall, but to cut ties so quickly just because the once mighty Wudang Sect has faltered…”

“Most are just too preoccupied with their own struggles,”

“The Great Kangho War is at its peak. So, it’s to be expected.”

In response to Hong Ye-seol’s answer, Hwangbo Chiseung shook his head.

The Great Kangho War was like an abyss with no end in sight, and it swallowed up so many people.

Once a person stepped into it, they would never be able to get out on their own.

The more he thought about it, the heavier his heart became.

Hwangbo Chiseung turned to Pyo Wol,

“My lord! My throat feels dry. Would it be alright to have a drink?”

“Go ahead!”

“Thank you.”

Hong Ye-seol said, raising her hand.

“I’ll drink with you.”

“Let’s do so.”

Hwangbo Chiseung replied with a smile.

Immediately, he called over a servant to order the drinks.

Soon after, alcohol and food were served.

While Pyo Wol and Nam Shin-woo didn’t touch the alcohol, Hwangbo Chiseung and Hong Ye-seol drank back and forth, toasting each other.

Suddenly, Nam Shinwoo spoke to Pyo Wol .

“Do you think my master is alright?”

“You seem worried.”

“Yes, I haven’t heard from him since.”

“They’re brothers, so I’m sure everything’s fine.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes!”

Upon hearing Pyo Wol ‘s assured response, the shadow over Nam Shin-woo’s face lightened a
bit.

“I wish I could see our master soon.”

It had been several months since they parted with Wind Saint.

Nam Shin-woo wished to see Wind Saint again, even if it was just a day sooner.

With the effects of alcohol taking hold, Hong Ye-seol and Hwangbo Chiseung chatted like old friends.

They both had Pyo Wol in common and found much to discuss.

They discussed in depth what to do next.

Pyo Wol set his chopsticks down and looked out the window.

Beyond the window was a panoramic view of Wudang Mountain, shrouded in darkness.

By now, Soma would probably have reached the Wudang Sect and been conversing with the people there.

Pyo Wol hoped that Soma wouldn’t be too heartbroken.

At times like this, he wished he could drink like Hong Ye-seol and Hwangbo Chiseung, but with his extraordinary patience, he suppressed such desires.
***
The next morning Pyo Wol and his group climbed Mount Wudang early.

Normally, there would have been a long line of visitors at this time of day. But after the Wudang Sect sealed its gates, no one would come.

They even bolted the doors of the sect and stopped accepting visitors, so there was no reason
for people to come.

The path leading up to the Wudang Sect was usually well-maintained. But now, with the absence of human traffic, weeds grew thickly.

It felt strange seeing the weeds reclaiming the path once trodden by many.

No matter how powerful the Wudang Sect was, they were only borrowing parts of the Wudang Mountain.

Pyo Wol realized that the real owners of Mount Wudang were the weeds, not humans.

Such fleeting existence reminded him of the futility of human desires.

Humans may live for a hundred years or so – a long time to some, but still shorter than the ancient trees of Mount Wudang.

Humans must be the only ones who live such a short time and fight so bitterly among their own species.

Pyo Wol had not expected to be so contemplative while climbing Mount Wudang. Normally, he would shake off such thoughts, but today, he allowed himself to be immersed in them.

After a long walk, they finally reached the gate of the Wudang Sect.

The legendary pond, Sea Sword, was also in view.

The gate, which should be wide open, was firmly shut.

Leaf litter had piled up in front of the gate, indicating a lack of activity for a long time.

“Ah! What happened to the Wudang Sect…”

Hwangbo Chiseung sighed.

The Wudang Sect was once on par with Shaolin.

At its peak, over two thousand disciples resided here, and the gates were thronged by countless visitors.

Seeing its decline was heart-wrenching.

Suddenly, the firmly shut gate creaked open.

“Welcome, Grandmaster Pyo Wol ! We’ve been expecting you.”

The middle-aged monk who respectfully greeted Pyo Wol was Woo-gong, the first disciple of the Wudang Sect.

Pyo Wol nodded in recognition.

“It’s been a while.”

“It would have been a happier reunion under better circumstances. Please, come inside for now”

“Where’s Soma?”

“He’s waiting for you upstairs.”

“Is he?”

Pyo Wol entered the inner sanctuary, followed closely by Hong Ye-Seol and others.

Boom!

As soon as they entered, the disciples who came with Master Woo-Gong firmly closed the gates again.

Master Woo-Gong led the way for Pyo Wol’s group.

He was the chief disciple of the Wudang Sect.

A promising candidate to become the next leader. The fact that he personally came to greet them was a sign of the seriousness of the Wudang Sect’s current situation.

Pyo Wol refrained from asking about the condition of the Wudang Sect.

He didn’t want to bring up a painful situation, especially when it was clear it would be a sore point.

The place Master Woo-Gong took them to was the Upper Palace Hall.

It was the central chamber where the sect leader, Cheongjin, resided. All the important decisions of the Wudang Sect were made here.

The hall was filled with elders. However, their number had decreased significantly since Pyo Wol had last seen them.

In the battle against the Dragon Mountain Manor, more than half of their elders had perished.

The losses among the main disciples were even more devastating.

It was not without reason that the Wudang Sect chose to go into seclusion.

It was a necessary decision to preserve their current strength and nurture the next generation.

“Welcome.”

Cheongjin and the elders greeted Pyo Wol warmly.

Some still regarded Pyo Wol with disdain, but they didn’t openly express their feelings.

While looking around, Pyo Wol noticed Soma’s absence.

“Where is Soma?”

“That’s precisely why we invited you inside. Normally, we wouldn’t allow outsiders like you within the Wudang Sect.”

Such was the nature of the seclusion.

Visitors couldn’t just come and go as they pleased. They had to literally bolt and lock their doors and not interfere in the affairs of the outside world at all. This ensured that other sects recognized and respected their seclusion, refraining from any interference or attacks.

Pyo Wol asked,

“What’s wrong with Soma?”

“There’s nothing wrong with Soma himself.”

“Then?”

“It’s his stubbornness.”

“Stubbornness?”

Pyo Wol looked puzzled.

He wondered what had happened last night that made Soma so stubborn that Cheongjin had to mention it.

“What is Soma being stubborn about?”

“He wants to officially join the Wudang Sect.”

“So, he wants to become a Taoist?”

“Exactly!”

This unexpected revelation caught Pyo Wol off guard.

He hadn’t anticipated that Soma would insist on becoming a Taoist of the Wudang Sect.

“Why is he being so stubborn?”

“He changed after visiting the residence of the late One-Sword Master.”

The body of Il Geom Jin had not been left in this world; it was cremated.

Normally, Il Geom Jin had always said that he wanted his body to be left to the birds and animals after his death, rather than being cremated. But his disciples couldn’t bring themselves to follow his wishes. So they cremated him and scattered his ashes near his residence.

For Soma, this place was familiar.

It was where he had spent time with Il Geom Jin.

Although their time together there was brief, it was a place filled with significant memories for Soma.

No one could know what change of heart Soma experienced there.

“Is Soma qualified to become a Taoist?”

“Given that he received teachings from the One-Sword Master, it wouldn’t be right to say he isn’t qualified.”

This sparked debates within the Wudang Sect. Some believed that since Soma was akin to a disciple of the One-Sword Master, he should be allowed to join. However, others were concerned that admitting Soma would disrupt the hierarchy of the sect, given the esteemed position of the One-Sword Master.

After all, the One-Sword Master held the highest rank within the Wudang Sect.

Being recognized as his official disciple would place Soma on the same hierarchical level as Cheongjin.

Such a change could potentially throw the balance of the Wudang Sect into disarray.

“Where is Soma now?”

“He went up to Geumjeong Peak early this morning to watch the sunrise.”

Geumjeong Peak was at the heart of Mount Wudang.

Around Geumjeong Peak, seventy-two other peaks circled, forming a pattern reminiscent of an incense burner.

“I’ll go see him.”

Pyo Wol rose from his seat.