Light Novel: Volume 15 Episode 23
Screams erupted one after another.
The Soul-Reaping Thread pierced through the foreheads of the martial artists.
At the same time, sharp wind-breaking sounds echoed throughout the underground space.
It was the sound of the phantom dagger slicing through the darkness.
“Sa, save me…”
One after another, desperate screams rang out.
Yu Suhwan’s eyes trembled.
He was a martial artist who had mastered the art of the sword.
From the moment he held a sword in his hand, he had always engaged in fair fights.
He thought that was how a swordsman should fight.
He believed that a swordsman should not resort to underhanded tactics, especially a martial artist aiming for high achievements.
His thinking was flexible, but when it came to martial arts, he was stubborn.
He had been taught that this was the path of a martial artist mastering the art of the sword, and he thought so too.
But watching Pyo-wol’s martial arts, he felt his existing values being shaken to their core.
“Is that how assassins fight?”
“Not all assassins are like that. Only Pyo-wol, that demon, can fight like that.”
Leaning against Hong Yushin, So Gyeoksan denied Yu Suhwan’s words.
“Yes! A demon! He’s always been like that. He likes to mock others from such a high place.”
As he looked at the battlefield, So Gyeoksan’s face was full of envy.
Although he had vowed to devote his loyalty if he was set free, his rivalry and his competitive spirit towards Pyo-wol hadn’t completely disappeared yet.
Harvesting the souls of his opponents with ten strands of the Soul-Reaping Thread, and ending their lives with the phantom dagger, Pyo-wol looked like the Reaper himself.
The darkness amplified his abilities, and Pyo-wol used the darkness to collect the lives of his enemies.
It was a well-choreographed spectacle.
If he performed like that, even the audience would curse the troupe and him.
Pyo-wol had elevated his assassination techniques to the level of art.
Hong Yushin shook his head.
His burning hatred and venom melted away like snow at the sight of the martial artists of the Prison of No Return being killed by Pyo-wol.
That’s how pitiful they looked.
“Eight Constellations? Fuck that! If he targets you in the dark, even the Eight Constellations won’t be safe.”
He shook his head dismissively in exasperation.
He knew Pyo-wol was great, that his assassination skills were so extraordinary that no other assassin in the world could match them.
But it was one thing hearing about it on paper and seeing it with his own eyes.
The goosebumps on his skin wouldn’t go away.
The sound of flesh being sliced resonated in the darkness,
Gu Ja-hwang also stopped his roar.
He realized that there was no point in continuing the roar any further.
His face was a mixture of anger and fear.
Pyo-wol seemed like a mirage, impossible to reach no matter how hard he tried.
He had employed all the methods he knew to capture him, but they were of no use.
Neither his lion’s roar nor his powerful blows had any effect on him.
Once again, he released another strike, but it only shattered the delicate stalactites, it did not even reach Pyo-wol’s shadow.
Something flickered in the darkness of the ceiling.
It was a faint thread, so faint that it could not be seen unless they were a warrior at Gu Ja-hwang’s level.
Even then, it moved so fast that it was easy to miss if he wasn’t paying attention.
Before he knew it, the demonic thread harvested the lives of his men as if they were crops.
Now, only half of them remained.
But they all had their tails tucked like frightened dogs.
“Oh my god!”
Anger surged through him at the sight of his terrified subordinates.
They were not the kind to be consumed by fear.
They were warriors who had fought alongside him on countless battlefields.
Although they were not known to Jianghu as they had only fought outside the Central Plains, they were experts who could hold their own anywhere in Jianghu if they officially went out.
It was extremely painful for him to watch them all scared out of their wits.
It was even worse to think that all of this was due to a single man.
He had only heard the name Pyo-wol, but he really didn’t expect him to be such a terrifying enemy.
Gu Ja-hwang thought of the man who had yet to arrive here.
‘Ten Thousand Man Slayer! What on earth are you doing?’
The only one who might have a chance of catching Pyo-wol was the Ten Thousand Man Slayer, one of the Eight Constellations. Gu Ja-hwang had written a letter to him, asking for support, but he hadn’t heard back.
Gu Ja-hwang gritted his teeth.
At this point, waiting for the Ten Thousand Man Slayer was meaningless.
By the time he arrived, they would surely all be slaughtered.
In the end, Gu Ja-hwang would have to deal with all of this himself.
Gu Ja-hwang tore off his cumbersome clothes, revealing his body which was as solid as steel.
His trapezius muscle on his shoulders bulged like a mountain range, and his arms swelled as if about to burst.
He unleashed the Golden Mighty Blood Demon Technique1 to its extreme.
Once activated, the after-effects were so severe that one would be bedridden for several months, thus, he preferred not to use it unless in dire circumstances.
Gu Ja-hwang muttered,
“Since it’s come to this, let’s burn it all.”
The look in his eyes was not that of one who was thirsty for life.
He moved forward with the kind of look only one prepared for death could have.
Even at that moment, his subordinates were dying.
He could see Pyo-wol’s intentions.
Pyo-wol was clearly trying to inflict extreme despair upon him by wiping out his subordinates first.
He was a cruel man, to say the least.
But when it came to being ruthless, Gu Ja-hwang was second to none.
He was neither devastated nor discouraged by the death of his subordinates.
“I’ll show you who the real madman is.”
He kicked a barrel stacked next to the military tent.
The barrel shattered and a thick liquid gushed out. It was oil.
It had been stockpiled for use in lighting torches and cooking food.
There were twenty barrels of oil stacked next to the military tent.
Gu Ja-hwang smashed all the oil barrels.
The oil spread instantly throughout the underground space.
Gu Ja-hwang threw his torch over the oil.
In an instant, a huge flame shot up to the ceiling.
The flames, fed by the oil, spread throughout the entire underground space.
Crimson flames and black smoke filled the underground cavity, and a horrifying heat rolled in, threatening to melt the cave walls.
The first to inhale the dark smoke was Gu Ja-hwang’s men near the flames.
The toxic smoke containing the unbearable heat melted their lungs instantly. They all collapsed, without even being able to scream.
A few quick-witted ones hastily retreated from the flames, but the entire underground cavity was already engulfed in fire.
No matter where they ran, there was no escaping from the flames and smoke.
Even as his own men perished in the flames, Gu Ja-hwang didn’t even bat an eye.
Hong Yushin and Yu Suhwan were appalled at the sight.
“This is crazy!”
“Is he suggesting that we all die together?”
They were three hundred feet underground.
Though this labyrinth-like underground cave was pierced with tunnels in all directions, there was only one vertical opening where air could escape.
To pour oil on such terrain and set it on fire.
It was nothing short of a suicide pact.
In fact, Gu Ja-hwang lit the fire with such determination.
It was clear that if time passed like this, only his men would die. So, he thought he might as well set the fire with the intention of dying together.
There was one more effect of setting this fire.
That was to completely block Pyo-wol’s hiding place.
No matter how skilled he was at hiding, he couldn’t stay hidden in such intense heat and flames forever.
As long as he was human, he would definitely jump out, unable to withstand the heat.
Gu Ja-hwang was also feeling hot. But he trusted his internal energy and physique.
He created a barrier to block the heat and smoke.
Unless his internal energy was infinite, he couldn’t hold out like this forever. But the same was true for his opponent.
While he couldn’t find Pyo-wol hiding in the dark with his abilities, he was confident that he wouldn’t lose in a battle of patience and internal energy.
Through the searing flames, he squinted and looked ahead.
It was then.
A black shadow descended into the middle of the blazing inferno.n-.𝐨()𝓋-(𝓮/)𝔩-/𝓑./1)-n
It was the spot where the tents had been. There were many things to burn, so the heat was more intense.
Pyo-wol stood in the middle of the hellfire, looking at Gu Ja-hwang as if he didn’t feel the heat at all.
Even in the midst of the raging flames, there wasn’t even a hint of flush on his pure white face.
His still-pale face was like that of a real Grim Reaper.
He didn’t come out to avoid the flames.
If he wanted to avoid the heat, he would have escaped into the tunnel where the fire hadn’t spread yet.
Pyo-wol only revealed himself because Gu Ja-hwang blocked his own retreat and came to challenge him head-on.
Gu Ja-hwang must have thought he had a chance of winning, hence he made the challenge, but Pyo-wol planned to show him what a big mistake that was.
Pyo-wol moved towards Gu Ja-hwang. Then, the flames split to his left and right. It was as if the flames had a will of their own and were avoiding him.
Of course, it was impossible for the fire to have a will.
This phenomenon only happened because of Pyo-wol’s terrifying internal energy.
In the extreme heat and turbulent air, his Black Dragon Robe fluttered.
The fluttering of his Black Dragon Robe made him look like a bat spreading its wings wide.
Gu Ja-hwang’s teeth clashed.
His body reacted before he knew it.
‘Is he this great?’
His opponent wasn’t a mere assassin good at hiding and ambushing.
He was something else, something that wore the disguise of an assassin.
Gu Ja-hwang had fought on countless battlefields and faced many experts, but he had never seen a martial artist like Pyo-wol.
Looking at Pyo-wol alone made his mind and spirit shrink, such a foul feeling was a first in his life.
To shake off his fear, Gu Ja-hwang let out a war cry.
As his roar swept through the underground, the flames burned even more fiercely.
Gu Ja-hwang kicked the ground and charged towards Pyo-wol.
His physique, perfected through the Golden Mighty Blood Demon Technique, was no different from an indestructible diamond.
His hard and solid body, tempered to the extreme, was his weapon.
With speed added to his rock-like body, there was nothing he couldn’t destroy.
Like a raging bull charging at its opponent, Gu Ja-hwang was ready to take on Pyo-wol with all his might.
Even as Gu Ja-hwang charged with terrifying momentum, Pyo-wol did not flinch.
Instead, he ran straight towards Gu Ja-hwang.
“You fool. You dare to collide head-on with me!”
Gu Ja-hwang laughed heartily.
He wouldn’t know how he would fare against a sneak attack, but he believed he had the advantage in a face-to-face confrontation.
‘I will crush you like a fish.’
Just before he collided with Pyo-wol, his body started rotating.
Starting from his ankles, his waist turned, followed by his shoulders.
This method of rotating the body like a top in an instant to maximize destructive power was called Rotating Silk Force.2
The two collided.
At that moment, Gu Ja-hwang realized something was wrong.
He didn’t feel any resistance from Pyo-wol’s body, which should have been pushed away by his Rotating Silk Force.
Instead, Pyo-wol’s figure vanished like a mirage.
‘An illusion? Then where is he?’
Gu Ja-hwang’s eyes widened.
An illusion that deceived his senses completely?
Such a thing was impossible.
His senses weren’t that sloppy. Yet, such a thing actually happened.
Pyo-wol had fooled Gu Ja-hwang’s senses completely by using Demon Shadow Exchange.
It was then.
Gu Ja-hwang felt a strange sensation on both of his shoulders.
When he turned his head, he saw an unfamiliar foot.
Pyo-wol had landed on his shoulder.
Gu Ja-hwang swung his fist to strike Pyo-wol off his shoulders. But at that moment, he felt a strange sensation in his neck.
‘A qi thread?’
Gu Ja-hwang recognized it as the thread of qi that had been ensnaring his subordinates.
He strained his neck and shouted,
“Do you really think you can harm me with that?!”
In an instant, his head was severed from his body and flew into the air.
What Pyo-wol had unleashed was not the Soul-Reaping Thread, but the Snake Qi Thread.
A thread of death, made up of solid qi, cut through Gu Ja-hwang’s flesh and bones.
Thank you for reading!
Golden Mighty Blood Demon Technique. Raws: 금강혈마공(金剛血魔功을). 金 jīn, jìn – gold; metals in general; money 剛 gāng – hard, tough, rigid, strong 血 xuè – blood 魔 mó – (bound form) evil spirit; devil / (prefix) supernatural; magical 功 gōng – meritorious deed or service / achievement / result / service / accomplishment / work (physics) Rotating Silk Force. Raws: 전사력(轉絲力). 轉 zhuàn – to revolve / to turn / to circle about / to walk about / classifier for revolutions (per minute etc): revs, rpm / classifier for repeated actions 絲 sī – silk / thread / trace 力 lì – power / force / strength / ability / strenuously