Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 3
Light Novel: Volume 1 Episode 3
Manhwa: Chapter 2
Pyo-wol hastily brought the plate to his face.
An unidentified smell stimulated his sense of smell. He didn’t know what kind of food it was.
It was clear that the mix of things was probably a collection of leftovers.
Still it will taste better than the moss that Pyo-wol had ever scraped. In fact immediately after smelling the food Pyo-wol’s mouth was constantly drooling.
However Pyo-wol did not take food for granted.
It was the food given to him by the man who imprisoned him here.
He couldn’t tell the contents inside of the food.
If it contains poison then he can die.
He doesn’t have a choice when it comes to eating moss.
However the situation is different now.
He can choose whether to eat the food in the plate or eat moss. After all there was still plenty of moss left. So even if he doesn’t eat this food right now he can still survive for a while.
That thought didn’t stop from saliva drooling from the ends of his mouth. Still he have time to deliberate about it.
He had to get information about the food.
The means to get information in the dark where a single light does not enter were extremely limited.
Since he cannot use his vision which is the most convenient means of obtaining information then it is necessary to mobilize the next developed sense which is his sense of smell.
Pyo-wol took a deep breath almost sticking his nose to the plate.
A lot of smells mixed in.
It was as if the garbage had been collected in one place and the various smells were mixed. Some were stinking some still smelled edible.
If it was the old him he wouldn’t be able to distinguish the smells mixed together. Before being imprisoned here Pyo-Wol was just an ordinary boy. He was just a kid with no talent to stand out.
However while being trapped here a great change took place inside him.
He became vigilant and doubted everything.
Even if it’s a minor thing.
Being trapped in an underground space without a single point of light for a long time made Pyo-wol’s sense of smell as sensitive as a hunting dog.
Pyo-wol soon distinguished the odors that could never be distinguished one by one. He wouldn’t have been capable of doing this before if he was still living on the outside.
Peowol compared the odors he distinguished to those that remained in his memory.
‘This smells like rotten fish and tea leaves. This is pork bone and the remaining shavings.’
The types of food in the small plate were incredibly diverse.
It was incredible that Pyo-wol himself could distinguish all of these smells.
There was no poison mixed in.
It was all the residue of food that someone had left behind.
To some it may be just rotting stinky food but for him it was a valuable resource that provided a lot of information.
There were more than five types of food that Pyo-wol managed to identify.
It meant that there were enough people to eat at least five kinds of food.
‘As I thought I wouldn’t be the only one.’
He didn’t think they would have made more than three by three square meter underground all for himself. To prepare such a space considerable funds and manpower were required.
It meant that it was not a space that could be created by an individual’s deviation or obsession.
If there were five kinds of food there was a high probability that five or more people ate it. Plus the different degrees of spoilage in each food meant that the time they were eaten was different. This meant that several people ate at a time lag. The amount offered was too much for one or two people to eat.
Above all each food contained the scent of a different person.
There were only five body orientations that Pyo-Wol knew. (표월이 파악한 체향만 다섯이었다.)
It was clear that more than five people had imprisoned themselves here for some purpose.
‘No I can’t be the only one.’
Pyo-wol thought that there would be others who were imprisoned besides himself.
Using such a space to confine only one person is too expensive and inefficient.
Pyo-wol organized his thoughts.
‘The number of people who manage this place is at least five and the number of people in the same situation as me must be at least more.’
The thought bit the tail on the tail. (생각이 꼬리에 꼬리를 물었다.)
‘Those who locked us up would have made this place for some purpose. The problem is what could possibly be their purpose?’
He could not yet guess the purpose of those who locked themselves here.
This was because the information was too scarce to infer with only one unidentified food mixed with food waste.
Pyo-wol did not worry.
There was plenty of time left for him.
After all there was nothing else to do here.
The best thing he can do to spend time with was thinking.
If he continues to think and think endlessly he will one day be able to come across the truth.
Fortunately there was no odor that could possibly be poison from the unidentified food.
Pyo-wol carefully began to eat his food.
This was also a gamble.
Nutrients other than moss were needed to restore stamina and muscle strength.
Even if it’s a mix of garbage.
After sorting out all his thoughts Pyo-wol began to eat the unidentified food on the plate with his hands.
The sound of him eating food echoed in the darkness.
The food tasted terrible but it was still more edible than moss.
* * *
Food was given at the same time once a day.
The time was not actually accurate. It was just Pyo-wol guessing with his sense. (정확한 것은 아니었다. 그저 표월의 감으로 그렇지 않을까 추측해볼뿐이었다.)
The quantity given is such that a person can barely survive for a day.
The food also tasted different every day.
This is because different kinds of food are mixed every day. However there were foods and spices that were always present. (하지만 꼭 빠지지 않고 섞여 있는 음식과 향신료가 있었다)
It was pork offal and hot spices.
Whatever food was mixed these two were always included.
That meant that it was easy for the personnel here to get pork and hot spices.
‘A place rich in pigs and hot spices.’
There are very few places like that in the world.
Pyo-wol has wandered the world alone since childhood. Thanks to that compared to his peers he had a lot more information.
One of them was Sichuan Province.
There was a wide basin in the jar-like closed terrain. (항아리처럼 폐쇄된 지형 안엔 넓은 분지가 존재했다.)
For this reason it was particularly famous for raising large numbers of wild grass-eating animals particularly pigs and sheep. And the unbearable heat continued in summer due to the nature of the basin confined to the high mountain range and people sought spicy food to beat the heat.
Spicy food using pork and lamb was known as a symbol of Sichuan Province.
Pyo-wol thought that this place was somewhere in Sichuan.
I didn’t know the exact place name but I had a feeling that it would not be a place far away from Sichuan.’
‘Sichuan Castle is famous for its unique closeness.’
The word ‘closed’ also meant that it was an easy place to avoid other people’s surveillance.
In other words the group that imprisoned Pyo-wol here was planning something to avoid the eyes of others and it was clear that they had chosen a place in Sichuan Province as the location.
It was never a good thing if they were trying to avoid the gaze of others like this.
‘There’s no way those who do good things can do such inhumane acts.’
Pyo-wol bit his lip.
Blood bursted out and moistened his lips but he felt no pain.
This kind of pain is nothing because he was already used to extreme pain.
Pyo-wol felt even great anger towards those who imprisoned him here.
It was clear that he as well as anyone would be equally furious if they were trapped in this space for no reason and treated as nothing but a beast.
Pyo-Wol suppressed his fiery anger.
Feeling anger is in no way beneficial in this situation.
He had to hide his anger and become more cold.
He had to figure out as much information as possible and use it to his advantage.
No one had taught him but Pyo-wol was learning his own way of surviving in the dark.
He guessed that he had been trapped here for at least four months by the amount of food he had eaten.
The giver of food did not say anything to Pyo-wol.
The small window was just mechanically opened once a day and supplied him with food.
Pyo-wol also felt the limit of his mental powers because he couldn’t talk to anyone for four months and was isolated in a dark space alone.
More and more time was spent talking alone.
After asking and answering by himself he wondered if his mind was already split.
But each time Pyo-wol held on to his spirits like crazy.
It was as if time had stopped here.
Staying sane in a place like this has never been easier.
In particular it was easy to go crazy if he had nothing to do. So what Pyo-wol chose was to move. He walked along the wall in a narrow space of three or more in all directions. He walked and walked and walked until he collapsed from exhaustion.
He was like a hamster running on a wheel.
Calluses were formed on the soles of the feet and little by little muscle started to form in the legs. When he remained standstill his hunger was tolerable but as he began to move a feeling of extreme hunger tormented him.
The food given once a day was insufficient. So he scraped up the walls and ate moss.
He chose to eat moss to survive through the day despite the numbing hellish taste.
Pyo-wol’s whole body was soaked with sweat.
He would eat moss and roam the narrow space all day long. Thanks to this he now has some muscle in his legs. The skin was still skinny due to a lack of nutrients but it was not as weak as if it would break if he touched it with his fingers like before.
When the leg muscles had gained some strength Pyo-wol contemplated on doing some upper body exercises. He soon decided on doing push-ups. So his time now is split into walking and push ups.
The push-ups cause him as much pain as the first time he walked.
At first just doing ten repetitions made him out of breath. But as he endured the pain and continued trying the number of repetitions increased day by day.
A few months passed like that.
Although he couldn’t see it with his own eyes Pyo-wol felt that his body had changed quite a bit.
He was still skinny but it was not just the skin that was covered like before but strong muscles under the skin.
Pyo-wol had to put in a lot of effort before this could happen.
He was constantly fighting with himself not with anyone else to the point of collapsing.
It was a different kind of pain from the initial hunger. Pyo-Wol learned how to endure such pain on his own. That wasn’t the only thing he learned. He began to perceive the passage of time through his own internal body reactions.
It is possible to measure the approximate flow of time through the defecation cycle the time when the mind becomes clear and various other body changes.
There was another change.
It was his eyes.
His eyes began to adapt to the awful darkness.
He didn’t know when it started but little by little the landscape around him slowly came into his eyes. It might just be distinguishing shapes and lines but it was still a great progress.
Pyo-wol was satisfied with at least being able to stop being blind.
The underground space he saw with his eyes was desolate as he expected. There was not a single piece of furniture in the square space.
On one side the feces and feces excreted by Pyo-wol had accumulated and gave off a foul odor. And unidentified insects gathered to eat the feces.
It was surprising that so many bugs lived in a dark space where there was no light.
Pyo-wol looked at the swarm of insects from a distance. If he had seen such a sight before coming here he would have been disgusted and frightened but now he doesn’t feel anything.
Isolation in the dark wore out his emotions and his capacity for feeling fear seemed to have been killed.
His wrist suddenly tingled.
Surprised by the pain as if being stabbed by a needle Pyo-wol looked at him and saw a small snake biting his wrist. It was a small snake with degenerated eyes like other bugs.
The snake soon wrapped its entire body around Pyo-wol’s wrist with a tight bite.
Pyo-wol tried to get rid of the snake immediately. But at that moment his eyes suddenly turned red and the intense heat filled his head.
That was the last thought he had before Pyo-wol lost consciousness.
The snake biting his wrist fell. The snake crawled away from Pyo-wol and went back with the other insects.
The food that snakes could eat deep underground was extremely limited. For the little snake insects were its only food source.
It was a coincidence that Pyo-wol was bitten by a snake that had come all the way to this place for the swarm of insects. The snake enjoyed its supper without paying any attention to the fallen Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol fell to the floor unable to move.
His whole body felt like it was on fire.
The venom of a small unknown snake was truly terrifying.
Poison flowed through his blood vessels and attacked his whole body. Nerves and internal organs were attacked by poison. Despite the intense pain Pyo-wol did not scream once. His whole body was so stiff that he couldn’t even move.
Pyo-wol’s eyes were wide open in extreme pain. His eyes were red as if blood had burst all over and he was about to pour out blood.
As the poison attacked his body the heat continued to intensify.
Pyo-wol could not even let out a scream and had to endure the pain.
It would have been less painful if he had lost consciousness but perhaps it was the effect of poison his mind was rather clear. So he had to feel the excruciating pain vividly with his bare mind.
Three days passed in excruciating pain.
The last three days felt more painful and longer than the time he had been confined in the underground space.
Different parts of Pyo-wol’s body were broken as he endured the pain by clenching his teeth.
It was almost three days after the paralysis was relieved. (마비가 풀린 것은 사흘이 거의 지날 무렵이었다.)
The numbness that bound his body as if it were a lie was released and the heat in his body disappeared.
In the end he won the battle against poison.
He managed to hold on to his life but the result did not come easily.
He overcame the poison but most of his internal organs muscles and nerves were damaged. He will recover to its original state over time.
He has no energy to move right now but he forced himself to. Pyo-wol crawled towards the only door leading to the outside.
A plate of food was placed in front of the iron gate.
His mouth was dry and he couldn’t feel any taste but he had to eat something to survive.
Pyo-wol crawled like the snake that poisoned him.
After crawling for a while Pyo-wol who barely reached the iron gate hurriedly put his face into the plate. As he licked the food Pyo-wol murmured.
“I won’t die. No matter what!”
His eyes now bright red in the darkness.
I cannot find the novel version of this manhwa anywhere so I decided to do it myself. I cannot read nor write in Korean so I mainly use Machine Translation and edited it to make it readable.
Those in the underline are sentences I don’t quite understand even with MTL. So I added the raw version. If anyone can help translate it would be highly appreciated!