Light Novel: Volume 13 Episode 17
Powerful vibrations resonated throughout the ship, spreading to every corner.
‘It has begun.’
Pyo-wol knew what the rumbling, traveling through the soles of his feet, meant.
“What’s going on?”
Every cabin doors in the ship bursted open almost simultaneously, and martial artists wearing sailor attire soon came pouring out.
Every single one of them had a fierce glint in their eyes.
In such a situation, chaos would typically ensue, but they all moved with unwavering composure. Just by observing their actions, one could tell how well-trained and disciplined they were.
The men who emerged from the cabins immediately rushed towards the source of the intense vibrations.
They surged forward like a tidal wave, yet their movements were orderly, devoid of any excitement. They all responded with such cold efficiency as if they had anticipated such an event.
Elite warriors of their caliber are not easily forged.
They would have had to navigate countless training grounds and go through numerous obstacles to reach that level of mastery.
Pyo-wol hung from the ceiling of the corridor, watching such martial artists beneath his feet.
Countless men passed under the ceiling where he was hiding, but not one of them managed to notice his presence.
This was because Pyo-wol did not just merely conceal his breathing and movements, but erased his very presence altogether.
It is common for individuals with a strong intuition and keen sense to sense things that are not visible. What more for martial artists. Senses of people well-versed in martial arts are remarkably sensitive, surpassing imagination.
However, since Pyo-wol completely erased his presence, he could only be perceived as a part of the environment.
Pyo-wol moved along the ceiling like a spider, hanging upside down.
His extraordinary sense of balance and strength, as well as his perfectly honed assassination techniques, made such a feat possible.
His destination was the captain’s quarters, located in the deepest part of the ship.
There was no one in the corridor now since all the crew members had descended to the lower decks.
Pyo-wol had no more reason to continue crawling on the ceiling, but he still didn’t descend to the floor.
He remained glued to the ceiling, looking ahead.
There seemed to be nothing in sight. No martial artist could be seen guarding the entrance of the captain’s quarters.
Maybe it was because the ship was floating in the middle of the sea so no crew member expected any intruders.
Pyo-wol could have dropped down from the ceiling, opened the door and gone straight to the captain’s cabin, but he didn’t.
His senses told him that someone was hiding, even though he couldn’t see anyone.
And it was not just one person, but four individuals.
They were all hiding.
It was highly likely that even the people aboard this ship did not know of their presence. That was how remarkable their hiding skills were.
Their concealment skills were so advanced that only skilled assassins like Pyo-wol would have any chance of detecting them.
With their level of concealment, they were on par with the assassins of the Hundred Wraith Union.
As Pyo-wol remained attached to the ceiling, he created a thin thread of qi.
He pushed the qi thread toward the direction where the four individuals were hiding.
Like a snake, the thin qi thread wriggled and extended forward.
Six meters, seven meters… and then eight meters.
It took eight meters for Pyo-wol to finally feel a slight reaction from the other side.
It wasn’t a definite movement, but he could clearly feel something foreign.
If so, that meant that eight meters was the radius their senses could detect.
With their level of perception, they could stand up against the assassins of the Hundred Wraith Union Pyo-wol had encountered before.
‘Were assassins of this level so common?’
It was no easy task to raise a skilled assassin.
To create a single assassin, at least a hundred sacrifices were needed.
The Blood Shadow Group that raised Pyo-wol was proof of that fact.
To cultivate Pyo-wol and a few other assassins, the Blood Shadow Group had to sacrifice several times the number of people. But even then, it would still be a mistake to assume that such an arduous and grueling process would result in an assassin that could be used in combat.
For a perfect assassin to be born, they have to undergo numerous training sessions and complete a lot of assassination missions.
But for one assassin to properly carry out their mission, extensive support was necessary. In addition to information and equipment required, a multitude of personnel support was also needed.
That’s why hiring and commissioning a skilled assassin is so expensive. The number of individuals involved increases the commission fee.
This is also the reason why the Hundred Wraith Union always kept the number of their assassins at a hundred. Going beyond that scale would made it difficult for them to sustain the financial burden. In other words, they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
It was even harder for other places to raise proper assassins.
It would require more than double the funds and time compared to the Hundred Wraith UNion.
In reality, raising a skilled assassin was an impossible task.
Though exceptional assassins like Pyo-wol existed, they were literally the exception. An anomaly.
Assassins like Pyo-wol could not be planned and raised deliberately.
The assassins hiding in front of the captain’s cabin were undoubtedly far inferior to Pyo-wol. However, it was impossible to cultivate them elsewhere, outside of the Hundred Wraith Union.
Yet, they couldn’t have been part of the Hundred Wraith Union either.
There was no reason for the assassins of the Hundred Wraith Union to guard the captain of a ship floating in the middle of the sea.
‘Then did the person inside there raised these assassins himself?’
It was a ridiculous conjecture, but Pyo-wol had a strange feeling that his guess was most likely true.
The vibrations from the lower deck became stronger.
It meant that Yul Ayeon was fighting fiercely.
Pyo-wol did not know long she would last. It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust her skills, but the martial artists on this ship truly just gave off an aura of seasoned warriors.
So while Yul Ayeon was still holding on, Pyo-wol had to finish his business.
Pyo-wol suddenly descended from the ceiling.
The moment Pyo-wol revealed himself,
A hidden secret compartment near the door opened and four men sprang out.
They were the assassins who guarded the captain’s quarters.
They attacked Pyo-wol without hesitation.
They sent their swords flying at the shortest distance possible, aiming for Pyo-wol’s vital spots such as his neck, heart, and head. They all intend to deliver a swift and fatal blow.
Their swords and daggers pierced into Pyo-wol’s body.
But a second later on, the assassins’ eyes widened.
They had clearly succeeded in their attack, but they felt no such sensation in their hands.
This was because in the next instant, Pyo-wol, who had been impaled by their weapons, disappeared like a mirage.
The assassins exclaimed in astonishment. They were so surprised that they broke the unwritten rule of assassins, which was to never utter a word during a fight.
In that moment, a thread of qi went down from the air and coiled around their necks. The qi thread soon pulled them up into the air.
Agonizing groans escaped from the assassins’ mouths.
Their bodies were swiftly lifted into the air.
The assassins struggled and tried to sever the thread that was wrapped around their necks. But, the thread of qi didn’t break, and instead dug deeper into their throats.
On the verge of death, the assassins lifted their heads and looked up at the ceiling.
And there they saw Pyo-wol hanging upside down.
They couldn’t believe what they were currently seeing.
They couldn’t understand how the man they had attacked vanished right before their eyes, and in the next moment, was hanging from the ceiling above their heads.
They couldn’t fathom how such a thing was possible.
Unfortunately, however, they didn’t have time to unravel the mystery behind Pyo-wol’s movements.
This was because Pyo-wol tightened his grip on the Soul-Reaping Thread with an even greater force.
In the end, the thread of qi deeply penetrated their throats and cut off their breathing. They didn’t die because of suffocation but rather, because of decapitation.
The blood flowing from their necks dripped to the floor.
Only then did Pyo-wol pull back his Soul-Reaping Thread.
As Pyo-wol landed on the ground, he muttered to himself,
The technique he had used earlier was inspired by the Body Substitution Technique.
It involved deceiving the opponent’s eyes using afterimages, similar to Body Substituition. The only difference was that Pyo-wol’s new technique was many times more sophisticated.
He called this new technique of his, Demon Shadow Exchange.1
It was a technique created solely to deceive the opponent’s eyes for a single moment.
It was also a technique that Pyo-wol had poured his heart and soul into perfecting during the past four months at Tianzhongshan.
However, this was the first time he had used it in actual combat. Therefore, he couldn’t guarantee its success, but fortunately enough, it worked well even against his fellow assassins.n𝚘𝗏𝓮)𝗅𝒃/1n
If he could already deceive the eyes of assassins then deceiving other mercenaries or martial artists would be much easier.
Pyo-wol opened the door to the captain’s quarters and entered.
At that moment, a sharp sword qi shot towards his neck.
The sword qi pierced through his neck and shattered the wall behind him.
However, Pyo-wol remained unharmed.
This was because Pyo-wolused his recently developed technique, Demon Shadow Exchange again.
Although the said technique consumed a significant amount of his strength and energy, it nonetheless allowed him to save his life.
The one who had launched a surprise attack on Pyo-wol was none other than the ship’s captain.
The captain, who wore a white cloth over his face, was not at all surprised by his failed attempt of harming Pyo-wol.
His gaze followed the true body of Pyo-wol that was positioned behind.
He quickly kicked the ground and rushed toward Pyo-wol.
Like lightning bolt, the captain’s sword aimed for Pyo-wol’s neck.
Just before it made contact with his neck, Pyo-wol deflected the captain’s sword with his phantom dagger.
The captain’s sword, which seemed to recoil backward, changed its trajectory and aimed for Pyo-wol’s throat once again.
Crash, crash, clank!
The captain’s sword and Pyo-wol’s phantom dagger clashed multiple times in an instant.
They deflected each other’s attacks, and followed it with their own counterattacks.
Their movements flowed like water, seamless and natural.
It was as if they knew in advance what kind of attack the other party would unleash, responding accordingly.
Despite facing a sudden intruder, the captain did not utter any clichéd words like “Who are you?” or “Reveal your identity.”
He only focused on attacking Pyo-wol.
He attacked Pyo-wol and pushed him against the wall.
He wanted to corner his opponent and cut off his escape route.
It was the best way to deal with an assassin who had invaded his territory. It was a response that was impossible to pull off unless it was deeply ingrained in the body.
Not once during the attack did the captain open his mouth.
The captain’s lips that were visible through the white cloth were firmly closed, and his eyes followed Pyo-wol’s every move.
In the meantime, Pyo-wol unfolded his Demon Shadow Exchange technique again.
The captain’s sword once again futilely cut through empty space.
He fell for it again, even though he had already experienced it.
That’s how powerful Pyo-wol’s Demon Shadow Exchange technique was.
The technique would take away the opponent’s breath, allowing the user to assume a counterattacking stance.
Now that Pyo-wol believed that he had sufficiently verified the power of his Demon Shadow Exchange technique, he decided that it’s finally time for him to overpower his opponent.
In a flash, another phantom dagger appeared in Pyo-wol’s hand.
Wieldin two phantom daggers in his hands, Pyo-wol’s counterattack began.
A series of clashes erupted between the two.
A sword against two daggers.
The exchange of offense and defense continued without a moment’s rest.
The two maneuvered through the spacious captain’s cabin, aiming for each other’s throats. Yet, every furniture in the room such as desks and chairs remained intact.
It was a far cry from the usual clashes between martial artists, where all the objects in the area would end up being destroyed.
The captain was of the same kind as Pyo-wol.
He was a being with the nature of an assassin ingrained deep in his bones.
The longer the two fought, the more immersed Pyo-wol became in the fight. He had now became exceedingly familiar with his opponent’s gaze, gestures, and even breathing.
At first, it was a mere guess, but as the battle progressed, he finally became certain.
The captain was someone Pyo-wol knew.
Although Pyo-wol didn’t know why the captain had tightly wrapped the white cloth around his body like that.
Pyo-wol used Black Lightning.
In an instant, the way he viewed the world changed.
The technique harnessed the power of lightning to elevate his physical reflexes to their peak and expand his field of vision.
Pyo-wol brushed past the captain.
In an instant, a deep cut appeared on the captain’s cheek, and the white cloth that covered his face was torn away.
The captain only stood still, staring at the cloth as it fell to the ground.
The once-white cloth was now soaked with red blood.
If the cut had been a little deeper, it would have reached his bone.
The captain’s face, exposed through the torn white fabric, was truly a wretched sight. It was as if his flesh had been gnawed and torn away by ants.
His appearance resembled a horrifying scene from a nightmare.
The captain’s face turned toward Pyo-wol,
“It’s been a long time, Pyo-wol!”
Thank you for reading!
Demon Shadow Exchange. Raws: 마영환위(魔影換位). 魔 mó – devil / magic 影 yǐng – picture / image / film / movie / photograph / reflection / shadow / trace 換位 huànwèi – to swap places / (logic) conversion / (car maintenance) to rotate (tires)