Light Novel: Volume 13 Episode 20
Pyo-wol and Yul Ayeon watched as the ship sank from an island.
The ship was engulfed in flames, spewing out fires as it sink to the bottom of the sea. The ship resembled a whale screaming in agony as it died.
Scattered corpses floated around the sinking ship.
Among the dead bodies, there were those who were killed by the two of them, but most of those corpses had died due to the cannon fire.
“How could they do this?”
Yul Ayeon covered her mouth with her hand as she stared at the scene.
The ship that fired the cannon clearly belonged to the same organization as the ship it shot, yet it still did so without hesitation.
Such an act was incomprehensible to Yul Ayeon’s common sense.
“They should be on the same side… Do they not value their comrade’s lives?”
“Perhaps keeping their secret is more important than their comrades’ lives.”
“Still, how can a human–-“
Yul Ayeon’s lips quivered.
She had numerous large and small wounds all over her body.
These were injuries inflicted by Jin Yoo-gun during their fight.
The fight between the two was fierce.
In terms of martial arts alone, Yul Ayeon had the upper hand, but Jin Yoo-gun’s swordsmanship was not to be underestimated either.
With his practical experience on the battlefield, his swordplay was unpredictable and vicious. Yul Ayeon couldn’t easily overpower him. On top of that, she found herself in a difficult situation when Jin Yoo-gun’s subordinates joined the battle.
If the cannon hadn’t been fired at that time, Yul Ayeon would have ended up suffering much more serious wounds.
The moment the cannons hit the ship, Jin Yoo-gun and his men immediately ceased their barrage of attacks and quickly fled the ship together.
There was no trace of hesitation in their actions.
Yul Ayeon was at a loss for words, unable to grasp their intentions, as they retreat like a fast ebbing tide.
After escaping the burning ship, Jin Yoo-gun and his men boarded each of their own small boats. They then quickly made their way towards the newly arrived ships, three hundred meters away.
Along the way, many of the small boats were overturned by huge waves, resulting in the loss of many lives among the group.
But, all of them still left, without bothering to rescue those who had fallen into the sea.
Yul Ayeon escaped with Pyo-wol to an island near the ship. It was the same island they had used to infiltrate.
“So, we didn’t gain anything in the end. No, we did recover the Demonic Soul Blade, so it’s not like there was no gain at all. Still, it’s surprising. To think that such a group exists in the world.”
Yul Ayeon shuddered.
When it seemed like the Phantom Fleet’s identity was about to be exposed, they fired their cannons and sank the entire ship.
While Yul Ayeon and Pyo-wol managed to preserve their own lives, they could not save a single one of those who were trapped in the cage.
They didn’t even manage to know their stories, where they were captured, or even their names.
The eyes of those who had lost hope still haunted Yul Ayeon’s mind.
She doesn’t think she’ll be able to forget the look in their eyes for a long time.
In the end, those people were left to perish in the cold depths of the sea without being rescued.
Yul Ayeon could never forgive herself for not being able to save them.
Yul’s faint sigh was drowned out by the sound of the waves.
Pyo-wol suddenly looked at his own hand.
A blunt and deformed spear tip was embedded in it.
It was the spear that the Phantom Fleet Captain had thrown. Pyo-wol had cut off the cumbersome body of the spear and kept only the tip or blade.
This was his only clue in finding the Phantom Fleet’s captain.
At present, this spear tip was the only item associated with the captain. That was why Pyo-wol had brought it with him.
The captain’s gaze, his aura of intimidation, still shook Pyo-wol’s heart.
* * *
Pyo-wol and Yul Ayeon returned to Haimen on Tae Musang’s boat.
The first person to greet them was Tarha.
“Are you okay?”
Tarha embraced his one and only granddaughter tightly.
“Are you really? You have so many wounds. What on earth happened?”
“Ha, you’re not going to believe what happened.”
“Still, tell me.”
At Tarha’s urging, Yul Ayeon told the story of her experience on the Phantom Fleet. Tarha listened to the entire story in silence.
“I can’t believe such an outrageous group exists in the world.”
“At least, we were able to retrieve the Demonic Soul Blade. This was all thanks to Master Pyo.”
Yul Ayeon handed the Demonic Soul Blade she had gotten from Pyo-wol to Tarha.
Tarha breathed a sigh of relief as he looked at the Demonic Soul Blade in his hands.
The two of them had traveled thousands of miles, all the way from the distant land of the Western Region to find this item. But while the two of them had accomplished their goal, Tarha’s heart was not at ease.
Tarha looked at Pyo-wol.
“Thank you for your help! But, it seems like we still have quite a lot to talk about. So how about we sit down and talk somewhere?”
“That sounds good.”
Together with Tae Musang, the four of them left the harbor and headed to an inn.
Prior to their arrival, Tarha had ordered the innkeeper to clear out the inn. Thanks to that, the three of them would be able to converse in peace without worrying about prying eyes.
Since this wasn’t something Tae Musang needed to hear, he waited outside until their conversation was over.
It was Pyo-wol who started the conversation,
“The first time I became aware of their existence was…”
Pyo-wol’s story began and continued for a long time.
Pyo-wol calmly recounted his experiences and what he had discovered so far. However, the expressions on Tarha and Yul Ayeon’s faces as they listened grew increasingly serious.
They never imagined that such a terrifying group existed behind the scenes in Jianghu.
‘Kowloon Assassin Guild?’
‘Where on earth did such a group originate?’
The expressions of the two were very grave.
In the past, they wouldn’t have paid much attention to such stories. After all, it was an event unrelated to them.
But this time was different.
They realized that the Phantom Fleet’s area of activities extended beyond Jianghu. Given how they even reached the Western Region, they knew that the disturbance caused by them would continue without end.
The Phantom Fleet wasn’t just a problem for Jianghu across the sea. It was a major issue for the Western Region as well.
As long as they remained alive and running, the conflict in the West would not come to an end.
Tarha asked Pyo-wol,
“Why are you chasing after such a group? Do you have any personal grudges against them?”
“I just got involved somehow…”
“Just for that reason?”
“There are times when you have to risk your life to fight for reasons even less than that.”
“I see. So, what are you going to do from now on? Are you still planning on chasing after the Phantom Fleet?”
“Why not chase them? You’ve been tracking them all this time.”
“How can I know where they are in the vast sea and chase after them? The sea is different from the land. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that I can’t.”
Pyo-wol thought soberly.
The fact that Yul Ayeon and Pyo-wol were able to sneak onto the Phantom Fleet’s ship was simply due to luck. The group they were pursuing happened to be anchored not far from Haimen, and they were able to immediately begin their pursuit. If Tae Musang didn’t know how to sail, they wouldn’t have been able to track them down.
It was only through a combination of coincidences and various factors that they were able to find out the true identity of the Phantom Fleet. If even one factor had been missing, they would never have found the Phantom Fleet.
They had obliterated all the evidence and even resorted to shooting cannons at the ship their colleagues were on.
There was no way such meticulous individuals would leave traces for pursuit.
Moreover, it was impossible to track them when they were hiding in the sea, and not on land.
It was not Pyo-wol’s approach to waste time on an impossible task.
He preferred to focus on tasks that had a chance of success, on what was possible.
As such, he’d put the idea of tracking down the Phantom Fleet to rest.
‘They will come to find me when the time is right.’
Even now, Pyo-wol can’t forget how the Phantom Fleet’s leader looked at him.
There were only a handful of martial artists in Jianghu who could show off their skills over a distance of three hundred meters.
Pyo-wol didn’t think that such individuals would stay on the sea forever. As humans, it was certain that they would eventually come ashore.
Pyo-wol had a feeling that fate would bring them together, even without him actively seeking them out.
“What about the Kowloon Assassin Guild? Will you continue tracking them as well?”
“Why stop tracking them after all this time?”
“I feel like there are limitations to tracking them this way. It would be much more efficient to make them come to me.”
“Hmm… That makes sense.”
This time it was Pyo-wol who asked,
“How about you? What are you guys going to do now? Are you going back to the Western Region?”
“We originally planned to do so, but we changed our mind. If we go back like this without eliminating the root cause, which is the Phantom Fleet, the turmoil in the Western Region will continue. It would be better to stay here and try to grasp their movements.”
“You’re going to stay here?”
“I intend to take this opportunity to establish a base here. Fortunately, the factions that dominate this place are weaker than expected.”
Pyo-wol immediately understood Tarha’s intentions.
Tarha intends to take control of Haimen.
Having already partially seized the Red Bandana Association, the only remaining obstacle was the Sea Dragon Sect.
Although the Sea Dragon Sect is said to be the ruler of Haimen, since they have no absolute experts, it would be easy to suppress them with Tarha’s martial arts.
Some might see Tarha’s actions as an invasion of the West to take control of Jianghu, and perhaps, that was truly their intention, but Pyo-wol didn’t care.
All that mattered was that Tarha and Yul Ayeon would take control of Haimen, and if that happened, it would somehow benefit Pyo-wol as well.
“This place is where trading with the Western Region is most active. If we control such a place, we will surely be able to capture the movements of the Phantom Fleet at some point.”
“But you also might never be able to return to the Western Province.”
“It doesn’t matter. I may be treated as a foreigner here and eventually die as an outcast, but since my only granddaughter has already mixed their blood with this place, she’ll fit right in.”
A wry smile appeared on Tarha’s face.
It was a strange smile that seemed to be both resignation and a spark of mischief.
Tarha turned to Yul Ayeon,
“Bring that guy in, I’m sure he’s tired of waiting outside.”
Yul Ayeon immediately went outside.
When she returned a few minutes later, Tae Musang was by her side.
Tae Musang noticed the serious atmosphere and glance around. Tarha couldn’t help but burst into laughter at Tae Musang’s cautious behavior, finding him highly amusing.
Haha! You’re like a drenched cat, always being so cautious.”
Sure enough, not long after returning from the sea, Tae Musang’s entire body was soaked in seawater. While Pyo-wol, Tarha, and Yul Ayeon expelled the moisture with their internal energy, Tae Musang couldn’t do the same.
Still, Tae Musang spoke confidently without being discouraged,
“I may be a cat now, but eventually, I will become a mighty tiger, so don’t be surprised.”
“A tiger, you say?”
“Yes! Not just an ordinary tiger, but a great tiger that will dominate Jianghu.”
“You’re quite ambitious, aren’t you?”
“I will prove that I’m not just someone who babbles nonsense.”
“Do you have confidence in learning martial arts properly if I teach you?”
“I will learn with all my might, Master!”
Tae Musang knelt down on his knees.
He had already made up his mind in his mind that he would learn martial arts from Tarha no matter what.
He had said before that he would put it off until after he had avenged the children, but he later realized that it was impossible to avenge the children without learning martial arts.
Since he did not master any martial arts, he could only watch and wait patiently as Pyo-wol and Yul Ayeon boarded the Phantom Fleet.
He no longer wanted to be at the mercy of others, having others control his fate because he was powerless.
To avoid being controlled by others, he had to learn martial arts himself.
It was then.
“I want to learn too! Please take me as your disciple!”
Another boy appeared from inside the inn.
He was Geomyeon.
His clothes bore vivid traces of bloodstains, remnants of the wounds he sustained the previous night.
Though he was struggling to move his injured body, Geomyeon crawled over to Tarha and knelt before him, similar to Tae Musang.
“I also want to learn from you, too. Please accept me as your disciple, Master.”n𝓞𝑽𝑒(𝐿𝔅/1n
“How fortunate for me to have unexpectedly gained two disciples in such a remote place.”
His words were equivalent to accepting Geomyeon as his disciple.
Geomyeon pressed his head to the ground and said,
“I will not let you down!”
It was not only Tae Musang who possessed extraordinary qualities but also Geomyeon.
Finding disciples like them was by no means an easy task.
“Very well! I will accept both of you as disciples of the Mara Sect. However, mastering the martial arts of the Mara Sect is by no means an easy task. You may even lose your life during the training process. So if you’re afraid, you can change your decision and withdraw now.”
“I’m willing to risk my life if I can become as strong as you, Master!”
“The same goes for me!”
The resolute voices of Tae Musang and Geomyeon echoed in the inn.