Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 650

December 25, 2023 • 18 min read • 1027 views

“What’s that?”

“Is that the Silver Lotus Hall?”

The martial artists who had been fighting for a while stopped moving and looked in the direction of the mountain. It was a large mountain on the other side of Poyang Lake.

A bolt of lightning struck the top of the mountain, drawing everyone’s attention.

It was common for lightning to strike during rain. But this bolt was unlike any they had ever seen.

Exceptionally thick and clear.

Intensely bright.

For a moment, it blinded everyone, making them feel as if the end of the world was upon them.

A one-armed man wiped the blood from his mouth and muttered, “My Lord!”

The one-armed man muttering with an exhausted expression was Hwangbo Chiseung.

Beneath him lay a martial artist in red, bleeding heavily. It was Jeok-hon, the leader of the Red Annihilation Army.

After a prolonged battle, Hwangbo Chiseung narrowly defeated him.

Though Jeok-hon’s life was taken, the injuries Hwangbo Chiseung sustained were severe.

He was drenched in blood, looking almost demonic, with his internal injuries making every movement painful.

Nevertheless, Hwangbo Chisueng instinctively started walking towards the lightning-struck
mountain.

“My lord!”

“You beast!”

A Red Annihilation Army martial artist, enraged by Jeok-hon’s death, attacked Hwangbo without a second thought.

With a powerful strike, Hwangbo Chisueng admonished him,

“Do not stand in my way.”

Boom!

The attacker, charging like a bull, was sent flying.

Without looking back, Hwangbo Chisueng continued his march.

***
“Panting heavily, Hong Ye-seol lay on the ground.

Like Hwangbo Chisueng, she too was covered in blood.

In front of her was an old man with a hole in his chest, spewing blood –

It was Cheolgeumak, one of the three elders of the Heavenly Martial Sect.

In disbelief, Cheolgeumak muttered,

“Impossible… How could this happen?”

He blinked, unable to accept his defeat.

Eventually, Cheolgeumak’s voice faded, signaling his death.

Slowly, Hong Ye-seol rose to her feet, her gaze fixed on the same lightning-struck peak.

Breathing heavily, she looked around.

The martial artists of the Silver Lotus Hall and the Golden Heavenly Hall were battling like frenzied demons. Many lay dead or injured, their moans filling the air. Yet, their relentless assault on each other didn’t cease.

Gazing at the chaos, Hong Ye-seol murmured,

“That’s enough. The Black Sect’s involvement ends here.”

With a sharp whistle, she signaled.

The Black Sect’s assassins, who had joined the fray, began to retreat like a receding tide.

“What’s going on?”

The martial artists from both sides looked puzzled. However, the fighting persisted.

As Hong Ye-seol prepared to leave, a voice halted her.

“Wait a moment.”

It was Namgung Seol, equally bloodied.

The flush on Namgung Seol’s face was as deep as Hong Ye-seol’s.

Hong Ye-seol asked.

“What’s wrong?”

“If you’re going to help me, you should help me all the way. Are you going to back out?”

“Yes!”

Namgung Seol’s elegant brows furrowed deeply at Hong Ye-seol’s response. How could Hong Ye-seol suggest leaving before the war had even ended?

“Why? When I asked for your help, you feigned ignorance. You decided to join the battlefield on a whim, and now you want to leave? Are you playing games?”
9
“Didn’t our intervention, at least, give your Silver Lotus Hall a fighting chance?”

“If you’re going to show kindness, why not see it through to the end?”

“I’m sorry. Our assignment only goes up to this point…”

“Assignment?”

“Yes.”

“Who gave you such a task?”

“Who do you think?”

Hong Ye-seol’s gaze settled on Lee Geom-han, who was engaged in fierce combat.

“Was it Geom Han?”

“It wasn’t him.”

“Then who?”
***
Tssss!

Steam rose from his charred body.

Only his eyes remained intact.

Even those were bleeding profusely, with veins prominently showing.

“Heuh!”

He lets out a grotesque gasp.

Even his vocal cords were burnt, so his voice was unable to come out properly.

The man, whose body was entirely charred, was Jang Cheon-hwa.

He had been struck by the lightning, summoned by Pyo Wol.

His entire body had been reduced to charcoal by the lightning that Pyo Wol had attracted.

Both of his hands were charred to a crisp. The thunderbolt had traveled through his silver net and burned both of his hands. It was fortunate that it stopped at his hands.

If not, Pyo Wol might have met the same fate as Jang Cheon-hwa.

With great effort, Jang Cheon-hwa managed to speak.

“You summoned… lightning. Quite a feat.”

“It was the only solution I could think of. With my martial arts, I had no confidence in defeating you.”

Pyo Wol spoke, clutching his chest.

Had he been a moment late in harnessing the lightning, his heart would’ve been torn to shreds by the Formless Heart Sword.

That’s how overpowering Jang Cheon-hwa’s martial arts were.

Pyo Wol felt this even before they began their duel. He realized that with his own martial arts, he couldn’t possibly overcome Jang Cheon-hwa.

Hence, he desperately conceived the idea to summon lightning using the Spider Silver Net.

It was a gamble with his life.

Fortunately, a thunderstorm was occurring, which made this tactic possible.

At Pyo Wol’s response, Jang Cheon-hwa’s face twisted in an odd way.

Was it pain, or was he trying to smile?

“Huh! Anyway, you are the victor now. What do you plan to do? With your martial arts, you could rule the Kangho.”

“My journey in Kangho ends here.”

“What?”

“It’s the end of the commission I was assigned.”

“Commission?”

“I was hired by Lee Cheong. In case he lost, he asked me to assassinate you.”

“Heh! Lee Cheong hired you for this? Haha! How very like him. Heh!”

Jang Cheon-hwa laughed, coughing up blackened blood.

With each laugh, dark blood spewed out. Still, he didn’t stop laughing.

The area around his charred chest became stained with blood. Mixed in were fragments of his scorched insides.

After a while, Jang Cheon-hwa stared at Pyo Wol with bloodshot eyes.

“One last question. What did Lee Cheong offer you in return?”

“Nothing…”

“What?”

“I didn’t take anything.”

“Heh… Heh!”

“I regret it now. If I had known you were this strong, I would have asked for something.”

“You… should have. An assassin who takes no payment for a hit? Makes my end all the more
tragic…”

Jang Cheon-hwa’s voice faded until it stopped completely.

It was the end of a martial artist who dreamed of becoming the greatest.

Pyo Wol stood up, gazing silently at Jang Cheon-hwa’s lifeless body.

Whooosh!

As he made his way down the mountain, a torrential downpour drenched him.
***
The man silently gazed at the fishing rod cast into the lake.

Since morning, he’d been fishing, but not a single fish was caught. Yet, without any hint of disappointment, he kept watching his rod.

On the straight bamboo fishing rod, a butterfly, which seemed to have flown from somewhere, had landed.

In spite of the occasional gust of wind, the butterfly continued to flap its wings without leaving the rod.

“Heh!”

Suddenly, the man chuckled.

Swoosh!

An intangible force struck the butterfly.

It disintegrated into dust and vanished without a trace.

Only then did the man rise.

The sun had long since slipped behind the western mountains, and dusk had settled in.

Returning home, he reeled in his rod, which had been cast into the water.

His home was a large manor house not far from the lake.

“Did you catch any fish?”

Upon his return to the mansion, the steward greeted him.

“Not at all,”

The man shook his head and handed over his fishing rod.

The steward closely inspected the rod.

The hook that should have been attached to the fishing line was nowhere to be seen.

It was only natural that no fish was caught with a hookless rod. Yet every day, the man went to
the lake with this very rod.

It wasn’t merely to pass the time.

The steward knew all too well that it was a ritual for the man to reflect on himself.

The man then spoke to the steward,

“Go to the training hall.”

“Yes!”

The steward led the way, holding the fishing rod.

The training hall was located in the deepest part of the manor. Its size was truly huge

This is because even the hills behind the manor belong to the training grounds.

“Haaa!”

“Cha!”

From the training ground, shouts and cries of young martial artists could be heard.

Hundreds of children practiced their martial arts. Their faces filled with intense focus and determination.

The man asked the steward,

“What about the achievements?”

“About ten have reached the level where they can harness their internal energy,”

“Only that many?”

The man looked at the steward with a disapproving expression. Then the steward quickly lowered his head and answered.

“I apologize. If we push them any harder, we may have fatalities.”

The steward’s voice trembled.

This wasn’t an ordinary training ground.

Deadly traps and mechanisms were set up in the wilderness. The children had to pass through these challenges daily, and many perished in the process.

They were already at their limits, and pushing them further would undoubtedly result in more deaths.

The man coldly remarked,

“Since when did you start caring for their wellbeing?”

“I apologize.”

“They are expendable. If we run short, we can always get more, be it through kidnapping or buying. So, push them harder.”

“Understood.”

Sweat dripped down the steward’s back.

The man, for a brief moment, glared at the steward. His eyes glinted with an insane gleam.

The steward hardly dared to breathe.

Fortunately, the man turned away and disappeared.

With a sigh of relief, the steward murmured to himself,

“The Lord’s madness had gotten worse. How will we handle this?”

The man’s name was Jang Hoyeon.

At one time, he held immense power in the Golden Heavenly Hall, enough to dominate the
world.

However, after the war with the Silver Lotus Hall, the Golden Heavenly Hall was defeated. Its leader, Jang Mugak went into hiding with the remnants of Heavenly Martial Sect. And Jang Ho-yeon was left behind in Kangho

He was left behind, like an abandoned dog.

Kangho was never kind to the defeated.

Both Jang Ho-yeon and Rain Mountain Manor had become nearly public enemies in the pugilistic world.

In the end, Jang Ho-yeon had no choice but to lead the forces of Rain Mountain Manor to this remote place.

During this journey, he lost his father, Jang Pyeong-san.

The grief of abandonment, and the loss of his father, fueled Jang Ho-yeon’s desire for vengeance.

He used the wealth of Rain Mountain Manor to build a stronghold in this land and train his forces.

“One day, I will return to Kangho, reclaim my place, and bring retribution upon Pyo Wol and Lee Geom-han,”

With that resolve, Jang Ho-yeon entered his abode.

His abode was a stone chamber.

The air inside, completely isolated from the outside, was cool.

Just as Gucheon had discussed with him long ago, he too felt the chill of this stone chamber with his whole body and his desire for revenge burned.

He had been living in this chamber for several years, so he was used to its coldness.

But today felt different.

The air felt slightly warmer than usual.

“Could it be?”

It was the moment when Jang Ho-yeon’s eyes sparkled.

Whack!

Suddenly, he felt suffocated.

Something invisible was strangling his neck with terrifying force.

A ‘silver wire’?

The thing constricting his neck was a fine silver wire, almost invisible to the naked eye.

Jang Ho-yeon tried to break the wire with both hands, but it was futile. He concentrated his internal energy into his hands holding the wire, but the wire didn’t budge.

“Ugh!”

A groan escaped from Jang Ho-yeon’s lips.

His eyes bulged as if they were about to pop out at any moment.

‘What in the world…?’

He couldn’t believe the situation he was in.

His long-desired revenge, now seemed so distant. The realization that he might lose his life in such a meaningless way drove him mad.

‘It’s him. The Reaper has come.’

There was only one being who could fool his senses and approach him.

Gripping the wire, Jang Ho-yeon struggled to turn around. In the darkness, a pair of red eyes stared back.

“Pyo… Wol!”

Slash!

At that moment, his fingers and his neck, which were holding the silver thread, were cut off at the same time.

This was the tragic end of the ambitious Jang Ho-yeon.

Thud!

Jang Ho-yeon’s severed head rolled around on the floor and stopped near the figure with red eyes

The being with red eyes looked at Jang Ho-yeon’s head for a moment and then quietly left the
manor.

No one in the manor noticed that he had been there. Even the fact that their owner, Jang Ho-yeon, lost his life.

Whisk!

The red-eyed man easily climbed over the manor wall and walked forward.

Under the moonlight, his elegant appearance was revealed.

Pale and fair-skinned, possessing a face more beautiful than most women’s, it was Pyo Wol.

Several years had passed since his battle with Jang Cheon-hwa, but he still retained his otherworldly beauty.

Pyo Wol reached a remote hut.

As he approached, the door of the hut opened, and someone came out.

It was a beautiful woman who radiated a cold aura, as if frost could form in her footsteps.

Pyo Wol recognized her identity.

“Namgung Seol!”

The woman was Lee Geom-han’s lover and was known as the ‘Viper of Mad Martial Sect’, Namgung Seol.

Namgung Seol looked at Pyo Wol with deep-set eyes and asked,

“The task?”

“Completed.”

“Remarkable. To take down the great Jang Ho-yeon so effortlessly.”

“It wasn’t easy,”

Pyo Wol answered honestly

To perfectly assassinate Jang Ho-yeon, he had to invest a considerable amount of time and effort.

Namgung Seol bowed her head slightly.

“Thank you, for accepting my insistence.”

Originally, after Jang Cheon-hwa’s death, Pyo Wol had decided not to take any more assignments. But Namgung Seol had pleaded, even kneeling to request one final task.

That final task was the death of Jang Ho-yeon.

Pyo Wol was also reluctant to leave Jang Ho-yeon alone, so he accepted her request.

Looking at Namgung-seol, Pyo-wol asked,

“Let me ask just one thing.”

“Go ahead.”

“Why did you request the assassination of Jang Ho-yeon instead of Jang Mugak? “Isn’t it better for your lover if Jang Mugak is dead?”

“For him, Jang Mugak needs to stay alive.”

“A kind of competitor? Pushing each other, evolving…”

“It’s similar, but different. For him to become the true pinnacle of Kangho, he needs a significant accomplishment.”

“You’re suggesting Lee Geom-han needs a sacrifice.”

“Yes!”

Namgung Seol answered candidly.

To Pyo Wol, whose insights saw through all, a clumsy lie would never work. She knew from experience that it was better to be honest.

Undoubtedly, Pyo Wol dominated the nights of Kangho.

For the past few years, and for many more to come, Pyo Wol would live in the shadows of this world. However, Lee Geom-han was different from him.

He would rule in plain sight. To do so, he needed a figurehead to elevate him.

That was Jang Mugak.

After his defeat, Jang Mugak took his followers and hid in Yunnan province.

The goal is to restore power in Yunnan Province, just like the Celestial Demon Troupe did in the past. Even though Namgungseol knew that fact, he neglected them.

She planned to strike them decisively at the right moment to elevate his fame to its zenith.

“How terrifying!”

“You’re the only one who has ever made me feel afraid.”

Namgung Seol was sincere.

While she feared no one, before this man, she felt paralyzed, like a frog in front of a snake.

‘This is the last request. I won’t have any further dealings with him.’

As long as she didn’t provoke him, he wouldn’t attack her.

Pyo Wol had made it clear this would be the last request.

Still, she needed to be certain.

“Do you really plan to retire?”

“After bidding farewell to my friend, I plan to live peacefully.”

“Who’s this friend?”

“That’s not for you to know.”

“I overstepped. I won’t interfere any further. I genuinely hope you find peace in your retirement.
Then…”

With genuine sentiment, Namgung Seol bowed.

Of everyone in the world, the one person who both feared and checked Pyo Wol was her.

Indeed, she had tried everything to eliminate him. That’s why she had no choice but to acknowledge Pyo Wol.

Despite all her efforts, she couldn’t best him.

Now that Pyo Wol planned to retire, a weight was lifted from her shoulders.

She hoped his retirement would last forever.

Pyo Wol silently turned away.

Namgung-seol kept her gaze on his retreating form, disappearing into the darkness.

‘The Reaper! I hope to never see him again.’
***
Pyo Wol’s next destination after parting from Namgung Seol were the snowy peaks of Sichuan.

The crisp mountain air refreshed Pyo Wol’s spirit.

His steps were light as he ascended.

He had completely severed his ties with Kangho after fulfilling Namgung Seol’s request.

Although many still had ties to him, he had no intention of being active in Kangho again. So he disbanded the Black Sect.

The impact his trained assassins would have on Kangho remained to be seen, but now, it was none of his concern.

Their fate was in their own hands.

The higher he climbed, the colder it got.

Even Pyo Wol, who had reached a transcendent state of martial prowess, could feel the biting cold.

At last, Pyo Wol arrived at his destination.

Just below the mountain’s peak was a vast ice cave.

Without hesitation, he entered.

While the harsh cold winds blew outside, inside the cave was surprisingly warm.

Pyo Wol knew the reason.

The cave was connected to the mountain’s qi veins.

The warmth from these veins was absorbed by the cave.

The deeper he went into the cave, the stronger the warmth became.

As he ventured deeper into the underground cavern, the heat grew more intense.

Even the mighty Pyo Wol found it difficult to breathe.

Finally, after a strenuous journey, he reached the innermost part of the cave, where a colossal creature coiled itself.

Its massive body was so large that even if several adults stretched out their arms, they couldn’t touch it. Its scales shimmered as if holding back flames.

It was an enormous snake.

One could never believe its gigantic size unless they saw it with their own eyes.

“Gwia”

Pyo Wol reached out, touching the snake’s scales, which felt as hot as if they held flames within.

Feeling Pyo Wol’s touch, the massive snake raised its head to look at him. It had two large horns on its head.

It was Gwia.

Over the past few years, after several hibernations and moltings, it had grown to this monumental size. With every molt, it grew several times larger, and now, it was even bigger than the mythical dragons tamed by the greatest of warriors.

Pyo Wol stared into Gwia’s eyes.

He could feel all of Gwia’s emotions.

Pyo Wol whispered to Gwia,

“Yes! It’s time… for the final transformation.”

Though no one had told them, both Pyo Wol and Gwia knew.

Gwia was on the verge of its last molt.

And after this final transformation, Gwia would become an entirely different being.

Suddenly, cracks began to appear on Gwia’s body.

The final molt had begun.

This was a challenge that Gwia had to face alone.

Pyo Wol, taking one last look at Gwia, left the cavern.

Outside, a woman in a red silk dress awaited. It was Hong Ye-seol.

She silently approached Pyo Wol.

Both stood side by side, gazing at the cavern where Gwia resided.

Suddenly, the mountains shook violently, as if in the throes of childbirth.

After a while, the trembling ceased, and a blinding burst of light erupted from the mountaintop.
Gazing at it, Pyo Wol and Hong Ye-seol beheld a magnificent creature rising into the sky. Huge horns adorned its head.

It was a creature neither had ever seen, yet they instantly recognized its true form.

“A dragon!”

The mythical creature of legends.

Gwia had transformed into a dragon and ascended.

The dragon gracefully soared above their heads before vanishing as if it was a mere illusion.

Whispering to the skies, Pyo Wol murmured,

“Gwia…”

He felt a deep void in his heart, as if a part of him was missing.

Filling that emptiness was the warm touch of Hong Ye-seol. She held his hand and spoke,

“Leave the title of ‘Terror of Jianghu’ behind. From now on, live as the human Pyo Wol.”

“Yes! That’s what I’ll do,”

Pyo Wol replied with a smile.

It was the smile of a man, simply being human.

Complete. Thank You so much guys for all the love and support.

If you are interested you can read Martial Artist Lee Gwak here. It is the prequel to Reaper of the Drifting Moon and is a great read so far. Maybe it will be even better than ROTDM. I hope you guys enjoy it.

P.S- All Patreon chapters of Martial Artist Lee Gwak are now free to read. Up to chapter 75. Thanks a lot and see you on Monday