Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 277
Light Novel: Volume 12 Episode 2
As the small knife passed by the rough wood gradually became smoother and smoother.
The man sat at a wooden table diligently carving a piece of wood.
The movements of his hands were very precise and elaborate.
In no time at all he had shaped the wood to his desired shape.
The man put down his knife and began to assemble the pieces of wood he had just finished carving.
After a few moments the man’s hands held a small doll.
A human shaped doll equipped with arms and legs. It also has eyes nose and mouth but it was crudely drawn that its appearance seemed to evoke an eerie sense of horror.
The man began to carve strange patterns on the back of the doll which was about the size of a child.
What the man was carving on the doll’s back was a talisman of sorts.
The intricate patterns of the talisman was grotesque in its own right.
But the man did not just stop at just engraving a talisman on the doll.
The man poured a specially prepared red liquid into the talisman. The red liquid quickly solidified after it filled in the engravings on the talisman.
Only then did the man smiled with satisfaction.
His smile was extremely sinister.
The man with a skinny and emaciated appearance was none other than Heuk-ho.
He flipped the doll in his hand back and forth satisfied with his workmanship.
Heuk-ho tossed the newly-made doll onto one side of the room.
There were quite a few other dolls in the room besides the one he just made.
They were all things made by Heuk-ho himself.
There were also talismans carved on the backs of the other dolls.
Those talismans were in no way ordinary.
It was thanks to those talismans that Heuk-ho could control those dolls from a distance.
In his youth he learned how to use talismans from a Taoist master.
The taoist claimed that he was a member of the Maoshan Sect.1
Nowadays when people think of Taoist experts many think of people who belong to martial arts sects such as the Wudang and the Mount Hua sect but in the past there were many Taoists who specialized in alchemy2 like the Maoshan sect.
However as Taoist sects in the form of religious organizations gained power Taoists who used alchemy like the Maoshan School naturally declined.
In an attempt to overcome the unreasonable reality some sects aligned themselves with forces that created confusion in Jianghu like the Celestial Demon Union. But this only worsened their collapse and the way people looked at them grew colder.
Such was the case with the master of the Maoshan sect who had taught Heuk-ho the art of puppetry. He hid out from the public eye since he was extremely afraid of showing himself out in the open.
Heuk-ho had no talent in other alchemy related techniques. He only boasted a talent for the art of puppetry. So while he did not understand any other aspects of alchemy he learned and mastered the art of puppetry like it was his own.
There were occasional cases like this.
A person whose talent specialized in only one particular area.
Heuk-ho was such a case.
He absorbed the art of puppetry taught to him by the master of the Maoshan sect with frightening ease.
But even if the Taoist master was the one who taught him the art of puppetry he still insisted that Heuk-ho should refrain from using it too often. His reason being was the possibility of attracting the attention of Jianghu. Alchemy was too unconventional of a skill that could easily lead him to being accused of wrongdoing.
After that the Taoist master suddenly disappeared and Heuk-ho became an assassin after meeting another master. He was recognized for his ability and was recruited into the Hundred Wraith Union.
The combination of his puppetry and assassination skills made him one of the Ten Blood Assassins in the Hundred Wraith Union.
Until now he has never failed a mission.
No matter who his target was they would not survive.
Heuk-ho prided himself as strong.
No client dared to disrespect him and he never let them down.
But that pride was shattered this time.
Lee Yul treated him like a failure and even looked at him like he was a problem child.
“You underestimated me too much”
Heul-ho bared his teeth and laughed.
He had never been one to be controlled by anyone.
He could never stand having his life controlled by someone other than the head of the Hundred Wraith Union.
He giggled as he stood up from his seat.
One side of the room was filled with dolls but it wasn’t enough.
He needed more dolls.
Making dolls wasn’t a problem as long as there was enough wood.
The problem was the talisman.
Or more precisely the red liquid that fills the engraved letters of the talisman.
The core to the talisman was the red liquid.
He needed to get more of that red liquid.
Heuk-ho opened the door and stepped out.
A fairly spacious warehouse greeted him.
Something was hanging upside down in the warehouse.
The thrashing object with a gag in its mouth was a person. A man was hanging upside down with a rope tied around his ankles.
With his trademark eerie smile Heuk-ho approached the man hanging on a rope.
As Heuk-ho approached the tied up man had a terrified look on his face.
The man tried to say something but he couldn’t because of the gag on his mouth.
Looking at the man’s face full of fear Heuk-ho muttered
“Well aged. This should be effective.”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out the knife he had used to carve wood.
The man’s terror was palpable.
His eyes bloodshot and foam dripped from the gag in his mouth.
At that moment Heuk-ho sliced through the man’s throat with his knie.
With a gruesome sound of cutting blood gushed out of the man’s neck.
Heuk-ho held up a bucket to catch the blood.
The strong resentment contained in the blood was the essential medium for his art of puppetry.
As he waited for the bucket to be filled with blood he looked around the warehouse. The warehouse was filled with people hanging upside down like persimmons dangling precariously at the edge of a tree.
He leisurely admired the gory spectacle he had created.
* * *
Pyo-wol looked around the house for a moment.
It was more like a shack than a house.
The rotten beams barely supported the roof and the thatched roof and walls could barely keep and block out the wind.
The conditions in the shack were so poor that one might wonder how anyone could live in such a place. But Pyo-wol didn’t care about the appearance of the shack.
The important thing is that the shack is hidden from prying eyes and its location is on the outskirts of a poor neighborhood in Runan.
There was a fairly large swamp in the outskirts of Runan.
It used to be a clean pond but it turned into a foul-smelling swamp. This was because the slums which were formed around it caused all kinds of filth to flow into it.
The filth continued to flow in but there was no way out so the swamp rotted away.
The stench of the swamp was so unpleasant that no sane person approached this area. It was the last place people who had been pushed out of the slums would settle.
Pyo-wol threw a silver coin to the owner of the shack making him the new owner.
As soon as the previous owner sold the shack he ran away without looking back. He was afraid that Pyo-wol would change his mind and ask for the money back.
The poor surrounding environment may be daunting for others but it was actually the optimal environment for Pyo-wol.
Since entering the Runan Pyo-wol hasn’t had a place of his own.
He had not thought of preparing a hideout since he did not know that he would stay here for a long time. But now the situation has changed.
He believed in the saying that a cunning rabbit has three burrows.3
An assassin like him has to be a cunning rabbit.
He had to prepare his own hiding place that others did not know about.
He needed a space that no one could approach and this place perfectly met the conditions he wanted.
An environment that makes others uncomfortable is a natural fortress for an assassin.
Traps machineries and high walls aren’t always needed to make a place a fortress. Even the slightest inconvenience that makes someone reluctant to approach is already a great weapon for an assassin.
And the swamp directly behind his shack was fantastic.
Pyo-wol had already looked around the swamp in the morning and he realized what else he needed to prepare.
It would have been much easier if Tang Sochu was with him but unfortunately he was still in Chengdu. It was impossible to call him now.
From now on he would have to make his own preparations.
As he left his hut a foul odor stung his nostrils. But Pyo-wol did not even make a disgusted expression he just continued walking on his way.
The slums were like a maze.
The houses were not planned and built in the beginning but rather formed haphazardly since people who were pushed out of the city settled in arbitrarily.
Even those who lived in the slums often took wrong turns so this was a place where ordinary people wouldn’t dare to enter.
In recent years the slums have expanded explosively.
Many people who lost their homes because of the battle between Snow Sword Manor and Jin family became attracted to this area.
Even the Hao clan didn’t know the conditions and layout of the slums since they just recently came to the area.
The fighting between the two factions was ravaging the city of Runan.
A lot of warriors coming into the city are not receiving their wages while the common people are constantly being driven into poverty causing them to steadily pour into the slums.
The eyes of those who had lost everything were empty.
Their pupils had lost their focus without any will.
That’s the condition of the people staying in the slums. They were only breathing because they were alive but they had no desire to live.
Unlike in other slums where residents would be wary of a stranger like Pyo-wol entering their area and even pounce on them like a thug to steal their belongings there was no sign of that here. Perhaps the slum dwellers instinctively sensed that Pyo-wol was different from them.
Pyo-wol left the slums and headed toward the workshop district.
The workshop district in Runan was experiencing an all-time boom due to the influx of martial artists.
People who wanted to get new weapons or repair their old ones visited the workshop district every day.
As a result every workshop was packed with customers.
Pyo-wol went from workshop to workshop buying every item he needed one by one. But since he had visited so many workshops the amount of items he bought was far from little.
As a result he had to go back and forth between the workshop district and the slums twice.
Even after returning with the last batch of the goods Pyo-wol didn’t rest.
He began to wander around the swamp area setting up various traps.
They were the kind of traps that don’t seem to have much power individually but when combined they become formidable.
Pyo-wol spent the whole day constructing all the traps he wanted.
Of all the traps he built the swamp itself was his favorite.
Formed by the accumulation of filth and various debris the swamp emanated toxic fumes.
The toxic fume was so strong that most martial artists would feel dizzy and vomit upon exposure but this level of poison had no effect on Pyo-wol.
His blood itself was the most lethal poison in the world.
Pyo-wol looked around the swamp for a moment and examined the traps he had created.
Outwardly there was no indication of any traps.
For a trap made in haste this was good enough.
It was different from when he created the Heaven and Earth Net in Chengdu. Back then his goal was extermination but now it was about securing a safe hideout.
This was enough to prevent even ordinary people and most residents from accessing it.
It was then.
As Pyo-wol looked around the swamp he suddenly saw a strange sight.
The surface of the swamp was slightly churning.
He couldn’t understand why the water was rippling when there was no wind.
It was a toxic swamp.
The environment was too harsh for any living organism to survive. Unless they had perfectly adapted to the poison like Pyo-wol it should have been impossible for any being to survive in the swamp.
At that moment something burst through the filth that covered the swamp.
It was a small snake.
It was only about the size of a child’s little finger and had a length of one hand span. At first glance it seemed no different from any other ordinary snake.
What made it special was the color of its eyes and body.
Its carnelian red eyes contrasted with a transparent silvery body.
Its red tongue would flick out occasionally giving it a graceful and elegant appearance.
The silver snake left the swamp and slithered leisurely through the bushes.
Just then Pyo-wol saw a weasel approaching the snake.
It hid itself in the bushes as it cautiously approached the snake.
As silent as an assassin it concealed its presence perfectly. If things continue as they were the snake would have fallen prey to the weasel without any resistance.
Animals like weasels were natural enemies of snakes.
Some animals have such strong immunity to venom that they could even survive being bitten by a snake.
The weasel struck like lightning. It was almost impossible for the snake to keep up with the weasel’s movements.
The weasel’s teeth were aimed precisely at the snake’s neck. Once bitten in that spot no snake could resist.
When the weasel’s teeth were about to touch the snake’s neck
Suddenly the snake deftly ducked its head to avoid the weasel’s attack and instead bit down hard on the nape of the weasel’s neck.
The weasel that was bitten in the neck had its eyes immediately rolling back in his head and making him collapse on his stomach. Foam appeared at the corners of its mouth for a moment and then the weasel died.
The snake’s venom was so potent that it couldn’t be considered a normal venom.
Pyo-wol pointed a finger at the snake.
Now we see how both sides are preparing for the war. I can’t wait when Pyo-wol finally makes his move. Anyway thank you for reading!
Maoshan Sect. Raws: 모산파(茅山派). 茅 máo – reeds rushes grass; surname 山 shān – mountain hill peak 派 pài mài bài pā – school of thought sect branch Alchemy. Raws: Fangshu 방술(方術). 方 fāng fēng páng wǎng – a square rectangle; a region; local 術 shù – art skill special feat; method technique A crafty rabbit has three burrows. Raws: jiǎo tù sān kū 교토삼굴(较免三窟). Meaning: Chinese Idiom. A cunning rabbit will prepare several hiding places. In other words a sly individual has more than one plan to fall back on. Chinese characters: 较 compare comparatively more 免 spare excuse evade 三 three 窟 cave cellar hole underground