Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 632

December 5, 2023 • 10 min read • 958 views

When Pyo Wol reached the Geumjeong peak, the sun was already high in the sky. Soma stood atop the peak, the sun shining down on him.

Unaware of Pyo Wol’s arrival, Soma looked down at the world below Mt. Wudang

After waiting for a moment, Pyo Wol finally spoke.

“Soma!”

“Huh? Brother!”

Only then did Soma realize that Pyo Wol was there, turning to face him.

They had only been separated for one night, but Soma’s demeanor was very different from yesterday.

His eyes seemed deeper, and the aura he radiated was more profound. Such dramatic changes in a person were rare.

It was clear that something had happened to Soma, something akin to the Buddhist term enlightenment or awakening.

Pyo Wol approached Soma and asked,

“You said you want to become a Taoist monk?”

“Yes!”

“Have you had this in mind since you started climbing Mt. Wudang?”

“No! I never thought about it until I reached the mountain.”

“So, your thoughts changed as you crossed the mountain pass?”

“More precisely, when I entered the old man’s residence.”

“Il Geom Jin?”

“Yes!”

“Did he leave any relics?”

“No! Not a single thing… He left no trace, no letters, no old clothes. Can you believe it? How can he live for decades and not leave any trace of his existence? How can someone leave no trace that he lived? Do you think that makes sense?”

“…”

“It made me curious. What kind of life had he led to be so detached from worldly affairs and to leave the world without any lingering attachment?”

“You wish to become a Taoist monk just for that?”

“I felt the need to protect the Wudang sect that the master had spent his life protecting.

Soma could not forget the eyes of the Taoist monks who had greeted him the night before.

Dark eyes devoid of vitality, as if they had lost all hope. From the head monk, Cheongjin, to the lowest ranks, all bore the same eyes.

Soma wondered how heartbroken Il Geom Jin would be if he saw those eyes.

That was when a sudden realization hit him.

For a brief moment, Soma grappled with numerous dilemmas and agonies.

It took an hour for him to regain his composure, and by then, his sole determination was to follow in Il Geom Jin’s footsteps and protect the Wudang sect.

He sought out Cheongjin and declared his wish to become a Taoist monk.

Half a day had passed since that decision.

Pyo Wol asked,

“Do you still feel the same?”

“Brother!”

“Yes?”

“I’m sorry. I know I owe you a lifelong debt of gratitude, but right now, my heart is telling me to choose this path.”

“Your heart commands it?”

“Yes! Strongly.”

“Do you have no regrets about becoming a monk? You’ll have to relinquish all worldly desires.”

“The old man did it, didn’t he? I can do it too.”

“I see.”

“And even if I were outside, what else can I do besides killing? That’s all I know. At least here, I won’t kill people carelessly, right?”

Soma smiled.

To Pyo Wol, that smile was dazzling.

He had never seen this side of Soma before, so he respected Soma’s wishes.

“If that’s your wish, it might not be a bad idea to become a Taoist monk of the Wudang Sect.”

“Thank you! I knew you’d understand.”

“Let’s head to the Upper Place Hall. Everyone’s waiting for you.”

“Okay!”

With a nod, Soma followed Pyo Wol.

The two of them chatted about various things as they descended the rugged mountain path.
Upon entering the Upper Palace Hall, they were warmly welcomed by Hong Ye-seol, Hwangbo Chiseung, and Nam Shin-woo.

“Welcome.”

“You look pale.”

“Brother!”

Soma smiled and hugged them one by one.

In his behavior, the three saw a foreshadowing of what was to come.

‘He’s decided to become a Taoist priest after all.’

‘Can the Wudang Sect truly accept Soma?’

“‘He’s going to become a Taoist’?

All three couldn’t hide their disappointed expressions.

At that moment, Cheongjin asked Pyo Wol,

“What happened?”

“Soma’s resolve is firm.”

“What does Greatmaster Pyo think?”

“I respect his decision.”

“Hmm.”

Cheongjin narrowed his eyes, taken aback by the unexpected answer.

But his conflict didn’t last long. Everyone was waiting for his decision.

Opening his eyes, Cheongjin addressed Soma.

“So, you’ve decided to be a Taoist priest?”

“Yes!”

“Once you become one, you can never return to the world. Do you still want to?

“Yes!”

Soma replied without a hint of hesitation.

Cheongjin looked at the other elders.

The elders nodded subtly.

The previous night, Soma briefly revealed his level of skill.

He had demonstrated his supreme martial skills to convince Cheongjin and the elders.

Soma’s abilities left a deep impression on Cheongjin and the elders.

Given that they lost many masters like Il Geom Jin, the future of the Wudang Sect was precarious. Thus, they had to choose Seclusion.

But with a supreme master like Soma joining, things would change.

Although they couldn’t end the seclusion immediately, it would surely shorten the duration.

The real challenge was Soma’s rank.

Having been mentored by Il Geom Jin, he should ideally be given the same rank as Cheongjin. However, this would make senior disciples like Woo-gong subordinate to Soma.

If the future leaders of the Wudang Sect were to be subordinate to Soma, it would cause all kinds of problems.

After pondering for a while, Cheongjin proposed a solution.

“This is what we will do. Even though Soma had spent time with Il Geom Sasuk, he hadn’t formally learned the martial arts of the Wudang Sect. It’s more like a shared bond, so he’s not bound by the Wudang Sect’s hierarchy. I’ll take Soma as my disciple and formally pass on the martial arts.

“Hmm.”

“By the original gods…”

The Wudang Sect elders squinted their eyes, indicating how shocking this declaration was. Yet, following Cheongjin’s logic, it made sense.

If Soma becomes Cheongjin’s disciple, he would be ranked as a ‘Woo’, a top disciple.

Although revolutionary, it was still preferable to him being at the elder ‘Jin’ rank.

Disciple Woo-gong supported Cheongjin’s decision.

“It would be reassuring to have a disciple like Soma.”

These were the words of disciple Woo-gong, the sure successor to lead the Wudang Sect.

Even the elders found it hard to argue against this.

Furthermore, their current situation wasn’t one where they could be picky.

The Wudang Sect was facing a crisis, and they needed drastic measures to overcome the present difficulties.

Having spent much time with the true masters, Soma was already a martial arts expert at the pinnacle of his abilities.

He was on a path much higher than the rest.

Considering his young age and the heights he’s already reached, there was no telling what he might achieve in a few more years.

‘If we open up our secret techniques to him, perhaps we might see the greatest martial artist in the history of the Wudang Sect.’

With such a formidable presence, Wudang Sect’s seclusion might be lifted much sooner.

Such was the existence of an absolute master.

Having just one could determine the fate of an entire sect.

Moreover, Soma was the younger sworn brother of Pyo Wol.

In dire situations, he could call upon Pyo Wol’s protection.

Of course, it would be best if such events never transpired, but one could never predict what the future held.

Cheongjin spoke to Pyo Wol,

“I will officially admit Soma into the Wudang Clan after the current matter is resolved. Until then, I’d be grateful if you could vouch for him in the main sect.”

“Very well,”

Pyo Wol nodded.

It was indeed a groundbreaking decision to have Soma become a disciple of the Wudang Sect.

Even though it was a choice of necessity, outsiders couldn’t grasp the depth of the situation.

For a sect with the history and legacy of the Wudang Sect, it was rare to take in outsiders.

To some, this move could be seen as denying their history and breaking traditions.

To mitigate potential backlash, the endorsement of a renowned figure was necessary.

Someone of Pyo Wol’s stature was more than qualified.
***
Life within the Wudang Sect was incredibly monotonous.

Such is lifeis the life in a martial arts sect.

Rising early for spiritual cultivation, followed by meals, then either practicing martial arts or immersing oneself in reading.

A life far removed from worldly pleasures.

Currently, the Wudang Sect was in seclusion, with no outsiders visiting, allowing for pure dedication to the martial way.

Perhaps this was the closest the Wudang Sect came to its original form.

Thus, Pyo Wol, Hong Ye-seol, and Nam Shin-woo’s lives also became monotonous.

Living in the sect naturally meant adapting to a lifestyle similar to that of the monks.

Yet, they didn’t complain.

Having backgrounds as assassins, Pyo Wol and Hong Ye-seol were used to such simplicity, and Nam Shin-woo was never one for extravagance.

In fact, they quickly acclimated to the sect’s lifestyle.

“Haah!”

“Chaa!”

On the spacious training grounds, the young disciples of the Wudang Sect honed their martial skills.

Most of them were boys under fifteen.

During the battle with Dragon Mountain Manor, more than half of the key disciples had perished.

Of those who survived, many suffered severe injuries that might render them unable to regain their former prowess.

Now the only hope lay with these younger third-generation disciples and those currently in training.

They urgently needed to nurture these youngsters to restore the sect’s strength.

Hence, the masters trained them rigorously.

Any slight mistake in their moves would be met with sharp reprimands.

“Isn’t that the wrong move? If you use all your strength at the beginning, you will be exhausted quickly. Is the essence of Wudang’s martial arts brute force? No. It’s the continuous flow and the soft overcoming the strong that has been our guiding principle for a millennium. You must never forget that. Understand?”

“Yes!”

The disciples responded in unison.

“Then let’s start again from the beginning.”

“Yes!”

With a unified voice, they stamped their feet, signaling the start of another training round.

The dust on the floor rose into a cloud, quite a sight to behold.

Pyo Wol watched wordlessly as they practiced their martial arts.

Their foundations were very solid, thanks to the rigors of their training.

The disciples were truly gritting their teeth and immersing themselves in their practice, exuding an aura so fierce that it reached even Pyo Wol.

‘Perhaps the seclusion of the Wudang Sect won’t be for too long after all.’

After all, the strength of a long-established sect could not be ignored.

If these disciples continued with this level of determination, the Wudang Sect would surely rebound in no time.

The training of the young disciples continued for a long while.

Pyo Wol watched for some time before turning away.

As he was almost back to his lodging,

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Suddenly, an urgent bell echoed from the direction of the sword platform. In a sect in seclusion like the Wudang Sect, such a sound could only mean one thing: someone was attempting to force their way through the main gates.

Pyo Wol quickly used his light-footed skills to race toward the Sea Sword pond.

At the entrance stood Wudang Sect’s martial artists, confronting an old man.

The old man spoke,

“I need to enter the Wudang Sect immediately. Open the gates.”

“No matter who comes, it’s futile. The gates of the Wudang Sect will not open. Please leave.”

“Hmph! Have I ever seen such insolence? This matter concerns the fate of Kangho. If you won’t open the gates willingly, I will force them open.”

Just as the old man was gathering his energy, Pyo Wol stepped forward.

“Wind Saint?”

Upon hearing Pyo Wol’s voice, the old man looked up. It was indeed Wind Saint.

“So you’re here.”

“What brings you here?”

“I came to see you.”