Light Novel: Volume 15 Episode 12
Cheol Dae-jin removed the hat that restricted his field of vision.
He instinctively sensed Pyo-wol’s strength.
His opponent was not an ordinary existence that could be dealt with such a clumsy restriction.
Cheol Dae-jin looked at Pyo-wol and muttered,
“A big shot has arrived.”
Although Pyo-wol had not revealed his identity, Cheol Dae-jin immediately recognized him.
Just by looking at his extraordinary, non-humanly beautiful face, Cheol Dae-jin could tell. There was only one man in the entire Jianghu who possessed such eerie beauty.
Pyo-wol’s face was distinctive enough that even someone who had never seen him before could recognize him at a glance.
Thanks to that, Cheol Dae-jin was able to identify Pyo-wol with a single glance.
Even when facing Pyo-wol, Cheol Dae-jin’s expression did not show any fear.
Instead, he looked at Pyo-wol with a determined expression.
Pyo-wol also silently gazed back at Cheol Dae-jin.
Their gazes collided in the air, creating an oppressive silence.
It was Pyo-wol who spoke first.
“Why did you annihilate the Poyang Lake branch of the Hao clan?”
“So, you managed to figure that out.”
Cheol Dae-jin did not bother to deny it.
He knew that telling clumsy lies would not work on someone like Pyo-wol.
Instead, his eyes continued to move ceaselessly, observing Pyo-wol.
His facial expressions, gaze, posture, and even the subtle tremors of his muscles. But there was nothing that could be read from Pyo-wol’s outward appearance.
Despite standing right in front of him, Pyo-wol seemed as if he didn’t exist at all.
Cheol Dae-jin had faced numerous enemies, but this was the first time he encountered such an opponent.
‘To think such an individual exists in Jianghu.’n()O𝐯𝑬𝒍𝐁1n
He had heard the rumors about Pyo-wol and thought they were greatly exaggerated.
Rumors in Jianghu tended to be inflated, and people often showed an excessively enthusiastic reaction to newly emerging martial artists.
Even when they turned out to be not that impressive in reality.
Cheol Dae-jin had also thought of Pyo-wol as one of those overhyped martial artists, until he saw Pyo-wol with his own eyes.
He got a feeling as if all the senses in his body had awakened.
His body reacted first, preparing for survival.
That’s how threatening the other party was.
Above all, what bothered him the most were Pyo-wol’s pupils.
Those mysterious crimson eyes, which he couldn’t read through, unsettled him.
At that moment, unexpected words flowed out of Pyo-wol’s lips.
“Why did they wipe out the Hao clan’s Poyang Lake Branch?”
“It must be because they have something to hide around here. The Poyang Lake branch has been doing a good job of hiding itself up until now, but it must have been a nuisance recently. That begs the question, why were they a nuisance? It’s probably because of Hong Yushin. Ever since he disappeared around this area, the Poyang Lake branch has started making their moves.”
Pyo-wol’s words were not directed at Cheol Dae-jin.
He was speaking out loud to organize his own thoughts. However, when Cheol Dae-jin heard his words, he felt a chill run down his spine.
With the way Pyo-wol described it, it was as if he saw the whole thing with his own eyes.
“Also, the Heavenly Flower Variety Theater Troupe disappeared right after their performance here. It can’t be a coincidence that they disappeared in the same area where Hong Yushin disappeared. Either they found out a secret they shouldn’t have, or they went where they shouldn’t have, it must be one of the two.”
At that moment, Cheol Dae-jin shouted and attacked Pyo-wol.
He couldn’t let Pyo-wol continue his speculation, or else everything would be revealed.
Cheol Dae-jin’s sword aimed for Pyo-wol’s neck. However, his sword didn’t pierce Pyo-wol’s throat.
Pyo-wol had retreated as much as Cheol Dae-jin advanced.
It was just one step.
The distance between Cheol Dae-jin’s sword and Pyo-wol’s neck.
In the next instant, Pyo-wol released the Soul-Reaping Thread from his hands.
The Soul-Reaping Thread flew towards Cheol Dae-jin at a terrifying speed.
Cheol Dae-jin swung his sword to deflect the incoming Soul-Reaping Thread. However, the Soul-Reaping Thread that came out of Pyo-wol’s hand was not just a single strand.
Ten strands of Soul-Reaping Thread intertwined like a spider’s web, pressuring and attacking Cheol Dae-jin.
Seeing Cheol Dae-jin in danger, his subordinate attacked Pyo-wol.
As the swords clashed with the Soul-Reaping Thread, a metallic sound resounded.
Cheol Dae-jin’s sword, which was infused with qi, remained intact, but his subordinate’s sword, which did not have qi in it, was instantly cut off by the Soul-Reaping Thread.
At the moment his subordinate was stunned, he was struck by a phantom dagger on the forehead.
He died without even being able to scream.
Cheol Dae-jin didn’t even spare a glance at his subordinate’s death.
That was because he had no time to spare.
He frantically unleashed his sword technique.
One after another, the Blood Demon Eight Form1 that gave him the nickname, the Grass-Cutting Blood Demon Sword, unfolded.
Shoo, shoo, shoo!
The air was filled with the sword energies he unleashed.
The sword energies turned into rain and poured toward Pyo-wol. However, not a single drop of rain touched Pyo-wol’s body.
Ding, ding, ding!
The Soul-Reaping Thread revolved around Pyo-wol’s body, deflecting every single one of Cheol Dae-jin’s attacks.
As if each thread possessed a will of its own, they moved freely to block Cheol Dae-jin’s sword strikes.
“This is ridiculous…”
Cheol Dae-jin’s mouth gaped open in disbelief.
He had never imagined such a style of martial arts existed.
A martial artist using Qi Threads?2
He had seen qi manifesting in the shapes of swords and other weapons, but never anything like this, which made him even more puzzled.
To break through the Soul-Reaping Thread, he needed to unleash a powerful sword strike.
He had been forced to use only sword techniques to conserve his internal energy, but now was not the time to think about the consequences.
‘I will have to pour everything into a single strike.’
He poured all of his internal energy into the sword. As a result, a vivid ring of light formed around the sword, taking the shape of the sword.
It was the manifestation of Sword Qi.3
“Cha-at! Blood Rain Line Qi!”4
He shouted loudly as he swung his Sword Qi.
The Soul-Reaping Thread that collided with the Sword Qi shattered like a withered branch.
Cheol Dae-jin intended to overwhelm Pyo-wol in an instant.
It was then.
An unexpected sound erupted, causing his sword strike to halt midway.
Cheol Dae-jin’s eyes widened.
A particularly clear strand of the Soul-Reaping Thread was blocking his Sword Qi.
It wasn’t an ordinary Soul-Reaping Thread.
It had the thickness of a snake’s spine.
It was the Snake Qi Thread.
Pyo-wol flicked his hand, and the Snake Qi Thread, like a venomous snake, pierced through Cheol Dae-jin.
Startled, Cheol Dae-jin attempted to adopt a defensive posture, but it was already too late.
With a feeble resistance, the Snake Qi Thread penetrated his chest.
Cheol Dae-jin coughed up blood and collapsed.
Just like a single drop of ink spreading on the surface of the water, the blood flowed through his chest.
Although the wound was small as a pinprick, the internal damage was severe.
As he lay helplessly on the ground, he opened his mouth,
“Huuh! Impressive… but that’s only as far as you’ll go. You won’t be able to discover anything.”
He gurgled and spat out blood with each word he spoke.
His lips and chest were soon stained red with his blood.
Pyo-wol watched him, not saying anything.
As Cheol Dae-jin looked into Pyo-wol’s eyes, a crimson light flickered.
Even in a state of near-death, the red glow in Pyo-wol’s eyes sent shivers down his spine.
Pyo-wol wiped the blood around Cheol Dae-jin’s mouth with his hand and spoke,
“You don’t need to say anything. I already figured out everything.”
“The fact that your group showed up a day after the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group discovered and ransacked the Blood Ant Gang’s hideout meant that you were staying within a day’s distance from Poyang Lake.”
“You must have traveled either by horse or ship, and even if I consider looking as far as possible, your hideout must be within a two-day distance. Instead of searching far and wide, it would be better to look for a place that can be reached within a day or two and where there is an unusual flow of logistics. By doing that, I would be able to find the place you’ve been trying so hard to find.”
Cheol Dae-jin was left speechless by Pyo-wol’s words.
The fact that Pyo-wol had figured it out in such a short time gave him goosebumps.
‘This person is different. Unlike anyone I’ve ever met…’
After Cheol Dae-jin spewed out a final mouthful of blood, he stopped moving altogether.
He was dead.
Pyo-wol began searching the bodies of the deceased Cheol Dae-jin and his subordinates.
They had traveled a long way, so they should have carried some gold or silver, but not a single one of them have a coin with them.
Instead, Pyo-wol found a peculiar-shaped dagger among Cheol Dae-jin’s belongings.
The blade was blunt and its strange shape was more reminiscent of a key than a dagger.
The problem is Pyo-wol did not know what the key is for.
Pyo-wol examined the key for a moment, then tucked it into his pocket. He figured that since it was something that Cheol Dae-jin had kept so carefully, it must have significant importance.
Noh Tae-tae approached Pyo-wol and spoke,
“Thank you for saving my life. I’m alive thanks to you.”
“Are you alright?”
“I was a little shaken up, but I’m fine.”
“That’s a relief.”
“So, these people are the ones that Master Pyo is looking for?”
“It seems so.”
“Phew! They’re quite audacious. It’s been less than a day since the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group stormed into the Blood Ant Gang’s stronghold, and now they’re striking back.”
Noh Tae-tae shook her head in frustration.
She had never seen anyone so audacious and daring in her entire life. The thought that such people were nearby sent shivers down her spine.
“By the way, do you know whether my children are safe?”
“Let’s go check on them.”
“You will go with me?”
Noh Tae-tae’s expression brightened.
There was nothing more reassuring than having Pyo-wol with her.
There was no one stronger than Pyo-wol on Lake Poyang.
Since everyone working at Xielao Manor had been killed, Pyo-wol had to personally drive the carriage.
Pyo-wol drove the carriage with Noh Tae-tae inside, heading towards the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group’s manor.
Worry filled Noh Tae-tae’s face as she looked out the window.
Although she tried to act nonchalant in front of Pyo-wol, in truth, she couldn’t help but worry about her children’s safety.
‘Please be safe…’
For the first time, she prayed to the heavens for her children’s safety.
Pyo-wol drove the carriage at full speed.
The carriage rattled as if it was going to break at any moment, but Pyo-wol never slowed down.
Thanks to him, they were able to arrive at the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group’s manor quickly.
The Imperial Yuan Merchant Group’s manor was in complete chaos, as if a war had taken place.
The main gate, which was huge enough for three or four carriages to enter side by side, was completely destroyed, and the air inside was filled with a strong smell of blood.
Noh Tae-tae got out of the carriage and hurriedly ran inside the manor.
Noh Tae-tae covered her mouth with her hand at the sight that unfolded before her eyes.
Numerous people lay dead before her.
Among them were the people Noh Tae-tae had grown up with.
“Oh my goodness!”
At that moment, an elderly man with a grown beard rushed toward Noh Tae-tae. He was none other than Noh Tae-tae’s son and the leader of the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group, Ju Jang-hwan.
Ju Jang-hwan embraced Noh Tae-tae and spoke.
“Are you safe, Mother?”
“Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. Fortunately, these people appeared in time and helped us.”
Ju Jang-hwan pointed to the men standing beside him. The men surrounded them and greeted in response,
“Namgung Wol of the Heavenly Guardian Association pays respects to Noh Tae-tae.”
“Yong Hasang of the Dragon Sky Valley greets the esteemed leader of the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group.”
“Yeom Hee-soo of the Huaying Fortress extends her greetings.”
They were members of the newly formed Anti-Golden Heaven Society.
When the blood-cloaked people invaded, Ju Jang-hwan’s life was in grave danger. It was only with the belated arrival of the Shadow Strike Squad that they were able to fight back, but it was still a futile effort.
The ones who came to their aid at that moment were none other than these individuals.
With their combined forces, the blood-cloaked men were cornered.
While their martial arts were impressive, Namgung Wol and the other members’ skills were far greater. In the end, the blood-cloaked men were all killed, and Ju Jang-hwan’s life was spared.
Noh Tae-tae spoke to the members of the Anti-Golden Heaven Society,
“I will never forget this favor. If there is anything the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group can do to help, we will cooperate.”
“Thank you, Noh Tae-tae! We don’t expect anything in return for what we have done.”
Yong Hasang said humbly.
Pyo-wol looked at Yong Hasang for a moment before turning to Namgung Wol.
“Did you keep an eye on the Imperial Yuan Merchant Group?”
“It’s true that we were looking for an opportunity to bring Master Ju Seolpung into the fold. Thanks to that, we were able to save his father in time.”
“Things went as planned then. Now, Ju Seolpung no longer has any reason to refuse in joining the Anti-Golden Heaven Society.”
“Everything starts now.”
Namgung Wol clenched his fist and replied.
Thank you for reading!
Blood Demon Eighth Form. Raws: 마혈팔식(魔血八式). 魔 mó – devil / magic 血 xuè – blood 八 bā – eight 式 shì – type / form / pattern / style Qi threads. Raws: 기사(氣絲). 氣 qì, xì – air, gas, steam, vapor; spirit 絲 sī – silk / thread / trace Sword Qi. Raws: 검강(劍罡). 劍 jiàn – double-edged sword 罡 gāng – stars of the Big Dipper that constitute the tail of the dipper Blood Rain Line Qi. Raws: 혈우선강(血雨線罡). 血雨 xuèyǔ – rain of blood / heavy rain colored by loess sandstorm 線 xiàn – thread / string / wire 罡 gāng – stars of the Big Dipper that constitute the tail of the dipper Snake Qi Thread. Raws: 사사강(絲蛇罡) 絲 sī – silk; fine thread; wire; strings 蛇 shé, yí, tuó, chí – snake 罡 gāng – the name of a certain stars; the god who is supposed to live in them