Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 367
Light Novel: Volume 15 Episode 17
A boy who had always appeared frail and small due to his hunched back yet whose eyes always brimmed with lethal venom.
The ferocity in his eyes had somewhat softened as he managed a theatrical troupe a dream he had long since had since childhood. But now his eyes once again held their original venom or perhaps even more than ever before.
Pyo-wol knew what such a look meant.
It was the look of a beast that has lost everything.
He couldn’t tell what had happened but it was clear So Gyeoksan had suffered a great loss.
So Gyeoksan’s eyes were still fixed on Pyo-wol.
The moment he met his gaze Pyo-wol realized that So Gyeoksan had recognized him.
He may have changed his appearance and aura but there was one thing that never changed.
The occasional flicker of red in his jet-black pupils was a characteristic only Pyo-wol possessed.
So Gyeoksan remembered his gaze.
That’s why he recognized Pyo-wol immediately.
It didn’t matter to him why Pyo-wol had to hide his face and disguise himself as someone else. The only thing that mattered was that Pyo-wol had managed to slip into this place like a venomous snake and that a ray of hope was now shining on him despite him having previously lost all hope.
But So Gyeoksan did not act carelessly. He pretended not to notice Pyo-wol’s presence.
He merely looked at him with chilling eyes.
There was a lot of meaning in his gaze.
Pyo-wol didn’t avoid So Gyeoksan’s gaze. He didn’t take any rash actions either. He just stared.
So Gyeoksan suddenly let out a sinister laugh picked up a bowl that had fallen to the ground and began to scrape and eat the gruel with his bare hands.
The sight terrified Hwang Ak-chu and his men.
Until now they had simply seen So Gyeoksan as a madman but now it felt like a sword was being held to their throats.
Hwang Ak-chu shuddered as he hastily closed the window.
He hurriedly served food in the other cells as well.
There were many cells but only three including the one where So Gyeoksan was locked up actually had people in them. Yet none of them still held Hong Yushin.
He was probably held captive in another area.
“Let’s get out of here.”
As soon as the meal distribution was over Hwang Ak-chu led his men out in a hurry.
Pyo-wol also naturally followed them out.
As soon as he returned to the camp Pyo-wol effortlessly blended in with the others.
Hwang Ak-chu muttered
“By the way weren’t there eight of us who went in?”
“Huh? Wasn’t it just seven?”
“No! There were definitely eight of us.”
“Well there are only seven of us now.”
Hwang Ak-chu furrowed his brow.
He was certain that there were eight of them who had gone in when he last counted. But there were only seven of them right now.
“Did I make a mistake?”
“Don’t they say that your mind could play tricks on you if you stay here for a long time? Seems like such a thing is happening to the boss too.”
“You brat! Are you saying I’ve lost my mind?”
Perhaps because the tension had been relieved they freely exchanged jokes.
The uncomfortable feeling naturally eased off as he conversed with his subordinates.
* * *
Gu Ja-hwang placed a pair of gauntlets on the table.
The stone table echoed loudly demonstrating the weight of the gauntlets.
These gauntlets were made of a special metal found only in the Western Regions.
They weighed three times as much as iron of the same size and were more than five times as hard.
Ordinary people would have their shoulders dislocated just by wearing the gauntlets. Due to their immense weight even the most seasoned warriors would find it impossible to wear them. However for Gu Ja-hwang the weight was just right.
Gu Ja-hwang took out a dry cloth and began to meticulously clean the gauntlets.
Numerous victims’ blood and flesh had stained the gauntlets. Although he had wiped them off roughly if he didn’t carefully clean them whenever he had the time they would become damaged.
That’s why Gu Ja-hwang took the time to care for his gauntlets whenever he could.
In fact in such a closed-off place the only thing he could do was clean these gauntlets.
“So boring! Had I known this was going to happen I would’ve gone to Yingtan myself!”
He had heard two hours ago that there were people looking for them at the Yingtan port.
He had sent his subordinates to check out the situation but he felt a tinge of regret.
No matter how strong he was he was also human.
After living in such a closed-off place for a long time he missed the outside air. However as the warden if he broke the rules and went outside too often the discipline of the prison would inevitably collapse. So he had to suppress his desires and send his subordinates instead.
Gu Ja-hwang took the carefully cleaned gauntlets in both hands.
The sensation of them tightly gripping his backhand and forearm was pleasant.
In this harsh world the only things he could trust were his sturdy body and these pair of gauntlets.
Putting on the gauntlets Gu Ja-hwang stepped outside.
A huge underground cavity came into view.
“The Prison of No Return…1 Whoever built it did a good job naming it.”
A place where once trapped one could never return.
He was the warden in charge of the Prison of No Return.
As Gu Ja-hwang came out the warriors in the camp respectfully greeted him.
“Have you come out?”
Gu Ja-hwang nodded at them as he passed by.
Hwang Ak-chu who had been resting on one side hastily approached him.
“Brother have you come out?”
“Were there any problems?”
“None… at all.”
“Why do you sound like that?”
“Your tone seems different from usual.”
“No everything is fine.”
“Is that so? Then that’s good.”
Gu Ja-hwang stroked his chin with his gauntlet-clad hand.
Hwang Ak-chu watched Gu Ja-hwang carefully.
While they might refer to each other as brothers he knew how strictly Gu Ja-hwang separated public and private matters.
Gu Ja-hwang’s nickname the Golden Mighty Blood Hero was not just a name feared by his enemies but also his allies.
Even someone like Hwang Ak-chu who had been with him from the start held a feeling of fear for him in his heart.
Gu Ja-hwang asked Hwang Ak-chu
“Are there any updates from Dae-jin?”
“None as of now.”
Gu Ja-hwang frowned.
It had been two days since Cheol Dae-jin had left with his men. This was the first time he hadn’t contacted them in such a long time.
“This doesn’t sit well with me.”
“Is it because Dae-jin has yet to contact us?”
“That and I’m also worried about the people asking around about us at the Yingtan pier.”
“Do you think our whereabouts have been exposed?”
At Gu Ja-hwang’s response Hwang Ak-chu’s expression became serious.
He had been with Cheol Dae-jin on the battlefield for quite some time. As such he knew better than anyone else just how excellent his martial arts were and how cunning he was.
Although they held a similar position Cheol Dae-jin possessed a martial prowess a few levels higher than his and was therefore entrusted with external tasks.
“Things will just be a little delayed. Don’t worry too much. Dae-jin is not someone who would easily be defeated.”
“Is that so?”
“He’s like a demon. You can trust him.”
At Hwang Ak-chu’s words Gu Ja-hwang’s expression eased a little.
Although his martial arts weren’t exceptional Hwang Ak-chu had a knack for making people feel at ease. He also had excellent leadership skills so Gu Ja-hwang assigned him to manage internal affairs while Cheol Dae-jin handled external matters.
Gu Ja-hwang asked
“How is he doing?”
“Is he still holding on?”
“Yes! He did not buckle even after taking the Demonic Soul-Exchange Poison.”2
“What a tough one.”
“I’ve never seen such a tenacious person before.”
The Demonic Soul-Exchange Poison is a poison created using a secret recipe from the Western Region.
Once ingested it would corrupt the person’s mind causing them to lose all reason and become obedient to another person’s orders.
Most people immediately succumb upon ingesting the Demonic Soul-Exchange Poison but So Gyeoksan has resisted for several months already. Gu Ja-hwang had never seen anyone with such mental fortitude before which intrigued him even more.
If he could get So Gyeoksan to surrender and obey him he would undoubtedly become a great asset.
“You’ve been burning the Demonic Soul-Exchange incense too haven’t you?”
“Keep it lit. He must be nearing his limit now.”
Hwang Ak-chu nodded.
It was rare for Gu Ja-hwang to use both the Demonic Soul-Exchange Poison and incense at the same time. This just showed how much he coveted So Gyeoksan and the other people imprisoned in the same area.
The problem was that they had strong mental strength and had been resisting until now but their limits were not far off.
It was then.
Suddenly one of the warriors who was guarding the entrance to the Prison of No Return rushed in.
“What is it?”
“We’ve received a letter from outside.”
Gu Ja-hwang quickly snatched the letter and read it.
Hwang Ak-chu asked cautiously.
“Is it from Dae-jin?”
“No it’s about a new guest arriving.”
“Yes! Prepare a room for them.”
“You don’t have to worry there are plenty of empty rooms.”
“Tch! For guests to arrive at a time like this.”
Gu Ja-hwang clicked his tongue.
He had a bad feeling.
He felt something ominous prickling at the back of his neck.
He hadn’t had such a bad feeling since he arrived in this place.
He could sense danger the kind he usually gets on the battlefield creeping up on him.
The problem was he couldn’t put his finger on it.
This was a first.
At least this is the first time such a thing happened since he arrived here in the Prison of No Return.
Gu Ja-hwang shook his head to clear away his negative thoughts.
‘The Ten Thousand Man Slayer should be joining us soon. So what could go wrong?’
Now was the time to welcome the new guest.
“You take some of our men and personally escort the guest here.”
“Yes my lord!”
Hwang Ak-chu bowed and retreated.
He quickly led his subordinates to where the vertical cave leading to the surface was.
After watching him leave Gu Ja-hwang suddenly launched a punch behind him.
A tent exploded with a loud noise.
“What the hell?”
Startled the remaining subordinates rushed over.
They alternated between looking at the devastated tent and Gu Ja-hwang.
They wanted to ask what had happened but Gu Ja-hwang’s face was so serious that they didn’t dare to ask.
Gu Ja-hwang walked towards the collapsed tent.
His fist was emitting a faint glow.
This was proof that he had gathered a lot of qi in his hands.
His subordinates could only swallow dryly at the sight of Gu Ja-hwang.
‘Why did he do that?’
‘Is there an intruder?’
They kept a close eye on Gu Ja-hwang ready to move at a moment’s notice.
All of the martial artists here in the Prison of No Return had followed Gu Ja-hwang through the battlefield.
Even though they were now stuck three hundred meters underground looking after the prisoners their senses and skills as warriors had not rusted.
Gu Ja-hwang lifted the curtain of the tent.
Instantly a sense of relief came over the tense faces of the subordinates.
That was because there was nothing inside the tent that Gu Ja-hwang had pushed aside.
‘As expected. I mean who would dare to invade this place?’
‘It seems the Warden has become sensitive.’
They thought it was fortunate to see this human side of Gu Ja-hwang.
Gu Ja-hwang looked inside the empty tent and muttered
“Did I feel it wrong? I’m sure I felt someone’s gaze.”
He had felt a pin-prick sensation earlier.
Gu Ja-hwang thought it was someone’s eyes secretly looking at him that’s why he launched a powerful punch at the tent. But to his disappointment there was nothing inside the tent where he had felt the gaze.
“Did I really make a mistake? Me?”
Thank you for reading! CH 368-end is MTL
Prison of No Return. Raws: Buhoekok ???(不廻獄). 不 bù fǒu fōu – no not; un-; negative prefix 廻 huí – circle around; return; curving 獄 yù – prison jail; case; lawsuit Demonic Soul-Exchange Poison. Raws: ?????(魔靈換魂毒). 魔 mó – (bound form) evil spirit; devil / (prefix) supernatural; magical 靈 líng – quick / alert / efficacious / effective / to come true / spirit / departed soul / coffin 換 huàn – to exchange / to change (clothes etc) / to substitute / to switch / to convert (currency) 魂 hún – soul; spirit; immortal soul (that can be detached from the body) 毒 dú – poison / to poison / poisonous / malicious / cruel / fierce / narcotics