Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 353
Light Novel: Volume 15 Episode 3
The room was comfortable and the bed was soft.
Thanks to that Pyo-wol was able to get a good night’s sleep.
After sleeping soundly and waking up his physical condition was excellent. Sleeping deeply like this seemed to clear and clarify his mind much more than sleeping and camping in the mountains.
When he opened the window he could see the vastness of Poyang Lake. Like Lake Tai there were many fishing boats operating in Poyang Lake.
Pyo-wol stood still like a statue gazing at the scene for a long time.
It was almost an hour later when he moved again.
After a quick wash Pyo-wol came out to the restaurant.
It was still early in the morning but there were already quite a few people having their meals inside.
They stole glances at Pyo-wol as he came out.
‘That guy is–’
‘He’s as handsome as I’ve heard.’
The news of Pyo-wol’s arrival had already spread throughout Lake Poyang.
Those who witnessed Pyo-wol’s duel with Yong Hasang yesterday spread the news. So there were quite a few people who intentionally came to Southern Heaven Pavilion to see Pyo-wol’s face.
As soon as Pyo-wol sat down on the chair an inn servant quickly rushed over.
“Did you sleep well?”
“Would you like to have a meal?”
“Just something simple please.”
“Okay just wait a minute.”
The inn servant placed a teacup and teapot on Pyo-wol’s table first before hurriedly running back to the kitchen.
Pyo-wol poured tea into his teacup.
The fragrant aroma of the tea lifted his spirits.
As Pyo-wol looked out the window and sipped his tea
“May I join you for a moment?”
Suddenly a clear voice called out.
When Pyo-wol raised his head and looked at the owner of the voice he saw a woman with extraordinary beauty standing in front of the table.
She was a striking woman with a healthy glowing complexion and a lively face. She wore a vest made of fox fur and she had a jet-black whip rolled up around her waist.
The woman smiled brightly as she looked at Pyo-wol.
“I’m Yeom Hee-soo of the Huaying Fortress.”
“It’s one of the factions that formed after the Heavenly Heights Stronghold got divided.”
Pyo-wol nodded at Yeom Hee-soo’s explanation.
There was something about Yeom Hee-soo’s atmosphere that reminded him of Bok Hojin from the Changjiang Fortress. He could sense the distinctive carefree vibe and free-spirited atmosphere of the Nokrim faction from Yeom Hee-soo.
“I had a meeting with Master Namgung and Master Yong here yesterday. But since I arrived late I didn’t get to see you Master Pyo.”
“Where are the two of them?”
“They left me alone saying they wanted to have one more drink. I don’t know where they are either. I don’t know when they’ll come and I don’t feel like eating alone either. So I was wondering if we could have a meal together.”
“Have a seat.”
Yeom Hee-soo smiled sheepishly before sitting down in front of Pyo-wol.
She placed both hands on the table and rested her chin looking at Pyo-wol’s face.
“You’re as handsome just as the rumors say. I often wondered how good-looking a man could be and thanks to you my eyes are pleased since morning.”
“What will you have for breakfast?”
“The same thing as Master Pyo.”
“Oh yeah. I need to place an order.”
Yeom Hee-soo suddenly realized the meaning behind Pyo-wol’s gaze and called the inn servant to place an order.
Pyo-wol asked Yeom Hee-soo
“The Changjiang Fortress also broke away from the Heavenly Heights Stronghold right? In that case your factions are like siblings.”
“Both are branches that originated from the Heavenly Heights Stronghold. But we’re not that close. We pay attention to each other’s movements but we don’t want to work together–”
“That’s just how power works. After the first lord no one has firmly seized control of the Heavenly Heights Stronghold. So eventually the Heavenly Heights Stronghold split into six factions. Actually it will even more odd if those factions were to get along. Especially when the leader of Chanjiang Fortress Master Bok is very ambitious and frequently gets into conflicts with the other sects. That is also the reason why no one looks and treats them favorably.”
“What brings you here then?”
“Master Namgung requested it. He thought that the current atmosphere of Jianghu was unusual so he asked to join forces.”
He realized that such a thing could be possible considering Namgung Wol’s temperament.
Namgung Wol was more righteous and determined than any man Pyo-wol had ever met.
“So how did it turn out?”
“For now I agree with Master Namgung’s opinion but I’m not so sure about Master Yong which is why Master Namgung arranged a separate drinking session to convince him. I’m also curious to see how it will turn out.”
Smiling brightly Yeom Hee-soo’s expression looked extremely mischievous. Just by looking at her expression one could tell how playful and clever she was.
“Your meal is ready.”
At that moment an inn servant came over with a tray of food.
The tray contained freshly cooked warm rice stir-fried beef and a few side dishes.
“Enjoy your meal.”
The inn servant bowed and then went back to the kitchen.
“Even though I’m already full this looks great.”
Yeom Hee-soo looked at the sizzling beef and smiled.
She took a portion of the sizzling beef with her chopsticks then proceeded to fill her bowl with a heaping portion and started eating.
She chewed with delight filling her mouth with a mixture of beef and rice completely disregarding the gazes of others.
Pyo-wol on the other hand ate his food as slowly as possible. The contrast between the two was striking.
When Yeom Hee-soo finished her bowl of rice Pyo-wol’s bowl was still full.
Yeom Hee-soo asked Pyo-wol
“Does the food taste bad?”
“No it’s delicious.”
“Then why are you eating so slowly? You’ll lose your appetite if you eat slowly like that.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
Yeom Hee-soo made a strange snorting sound as she watched Pyo-wol eat.
Normally she didn’t like people who ate their food slowly and in small portions like Pyo-wol.
She considered it as bad luck.
The Huaying Fortress she currently belonged to was fundamentally a Nokrim faction. For them indulging and savoring the taste of food was considered a luxury.
If she ate slowly like Pyo-wol she would often get her food snatched away. That’s why Yeom Hee-soo had developed a habit of eating quickly since she was young.
Eating slowly like Pyo-wol would without doubt make her the target of hungry people.
‘Good-looking people always look good no matter what they do.’
Yeom Hee-soo stared at Pyo-wol in a way that was almost overwhelming. Ordinary people would feel uncomfortable when someone stares at them so intently but Pyo-wol didn’t show any signs of discomfort and continued to eat at a steady pace.
Finally Pyo-wol’s long meal came to an end.
Pyo-wol rinsed his mouth with tea and stood up.
“Hm? Don’t you still have food left?”
“I have somewhere to go.”
“Where? Can I come with you?”
Yeom Hee-soo pouted her lips at Pyo-wol’s firm refusal.
It was a cute expression that could make anyone want to bite her but it wasn’t enough to change Pyo-wol’s mind.
Yeom Hee-soo didn’t push any further.
It was just something she wanted to try.
Pyo-wol left the restaurant leaving Yeom Hee-soo behind.
The moment Pyo-wol completely disappeared from her sight Yeom Hee-soo sent a signal to someone.
— Wol Gwi!
— Yes my lady?
Her henchman Wol Gwi replied to her signal.
— Follow that guy’s tracks. Report to me all the locations he goes to and all the people he meets.
Leaning back slightly in her chair Yeom Hee-soo murmured to herself
“If I’m curious about something I can’t stand not knowing.”
She wasn’t just saying this because she was attracted to Pyo-wol’s appearance.
His face might be indeed heart-stoppingly handsome but it wasn’t enough for her to give her heart to a man simply based on his face.
She wasn’t called the Hundred-Faced Flower1 in Huaying Fortress for nothing.
A flower with a hundred faces.
And as of now she had only revealed one side of it.
* * *
Pyo-wol walked out of the South Heavenly Pavilion and strolled along the main street.
There were numerous shops lined up on both sides of the street with street vendors scattered in the middle.
The merchants were shouting at the top of their lungs.
“We have ginseng imported from Haedong!”
“These are incense burners from the West!”
“Come here. I’ll give you a good deal!”
With the voices of bargaining customers added the street was incredibly noisy.
Pyo-wol walked down the street observing the bustling area.
His destination was the Poyang Lake Branch of the Hao clan.
Similar to the Lake Tai branch the Poyang Lake branch was located in a relatively unknown area.
Hong Yushin had once told Pyo-wol about the Hao clan’s branches and among them the Poyang Lake Branch was one of the most special.
This was because while most other branches were hidden in brothels or inconspicuous locations the Poyang Lake branch disguised itself as an ordinary house without any distinguishing characteristics of the Hao clan.
The Poyang Lake Branch operated independently without any intervention from the main headquarters. It was a gathering place for individuals with exceptional intelligence and skills.
The information they provided was as accurate and reliable as the intelligence analyzed directly by the main headquarters. As a result the main branch seldom interfered with the affairs of the Poyang Lake branch.
Because of its unique nature Hong Yushin provided Pyo-wol with detailed information.
Pyo-wol’s motive for finding the Poyang Lake branch of the Hao clan is directly related to tracking Hong Yushin and So Gyeoksan’s whereabouts.
Since the incident occurred nearby the Poyang Lake branch would have the most information.
It didn’t take long for Pyo-wol to find the Poyang Lake branch.
The only problem was that the Poyang Lake branch had turned into a black pile of ashes.
He looked around wondering if he had come to the wrong place. However the scenery was exactly the same as Hong Yushin had described.
He hadn’t come to the wrong place.
Pyo-wol looked at the Poyang Lake branch again.
Everything appeared as a desolate scene of charred remains
Just then a child passing by looked at him curiously
“Sir do you have any business here? This house has burned down–”
“Do you know when it burned down?”
“Three or four days ago. Anyway it burned down around then.”
“Do you know what happened?”
“I don’t know. I went to sleep and when I woke up everything was already burned.”
“My dad says everyone burned to death without leaving anyone behind.”
“So they all died?”
The boy nodded.
Pyo-wol left the boy behind and walked into the charred remains of the Poyang Lake branch.
Everything was burnt to a crisp.
There were hardly any intact pillars left and the roof had completely collapsed. Blackened beams and bricks covered the floor.
It seemed impossible to find anything here.
That’s why the officials had only roughly collected the bodies and didn’t properly investigate the cause.
Pyo-wol began to carefully examine the charred remains of the Poyang Lake branch.
Although his face and body became covered in black soot he paid no attention to it.
‘They have been attacked.’
Pyo-wol found traces of weapons imprinted on a burnt pillar.
It was the mark left by a powerful weapon like a sword or axe and it wasn’t just one or two marks.
Although they were not visible under the ashes traces of fights were discovered throughout the area. Moreover the marks belonged to different weapons.
It wasn’t just one or two people who were mobilized. It was clear that at least a dozen or more armed individuals were involved in the attack.
‘It was an organized attack.’
It had been five days since Pyo-wol had set out from Lake Tai.
If the fire had happened here at that time the Lake Tai branch would have known about it. But the Lake Tai branch hadn’t heard of such an incident.
It was clear that someone had deliberately blocked the information here.
The organization that has the most extensive information network in the world is the Hao clan. So the fact that the attackers were able to neutralize and blind the eyes and ears of the Hao clan’s information network demonstrated how capable they were.
There was nothing more to be gained here.
Pyo-wol brushed off the ashes from his body and walked outside.
The boy was also no longer in sight.
Pyo-wol’s next stop was the office that had taken care of the bodies.
When Pyo-wol mentioned that he wanted to see the bodies an official replied with a sigh
“Well you’re too late they’ve all been cremated.”
“Nobody came to claim the bodies and they were decaying emitting a strong odor so we had no choice.”
The official said that all the bodies had turned to ashes and were scattered in the river.
With that all the clues related to the Hao clan were gone.
But Pyo-wol didn’t give up.
He flicked a coin towards the official who chuckled in return
“Hehe! Well what else are you curious about?”
“Has there been a wealthy person who recruited a theater troupe recently?”
Huaying Fortress has been introduced and mentioned in Chapter 323. Anyway thank you for reading!
Hundred-Faced Flower. Raws: ???(百面花). 百 bǎi – hundred / numerous / all kinds of 面 miàn – face / side / surface / aspect / top 花 huā – flower / blossom