Reaper of the Drifting Moon Chapter 4
Light Novel: Volume 1 Episode 4
Manhwa: Chapter 3
Pyo-wol glanced at the snake passing near him.
It was the one responsible for biting his wrist. He almost died because of the snake’s venom. But he felt no animosity.
The cold reptile was the first one to settle down in this underground space earlier than him. If anything Pyo-wol was the one intruding.
Pyo-wol did not particularly hate or fear the snake since it did it out of survival. The snake had to bite for it to live.
The snake slaughtered a large insect at the corner where Pyo-wol usually deposited his feces.
While his eyes had slowly adapted to the darkness he had never seen so clearly as he does now. It seemed that some change had taken place inside his body when he fought against the poison that penetrated him.
‘Is this poison tolerance?’
He had heard of stories of people becoming stronger from surviving after being poisoned before.
Pyo-wol thought that it would be the case for himself.
The problem was that not only did he gain resistance to poison some changes have also taken place in his body. It seemed that the poison had a synergistic effect and affected his eyesight.
There was only one way to confirm his guess.
Pyo-wol caught the body of the snake that was eating an insect and returned to where he was prior.
The captured snake immediately opened its mouth wide and dug its fangs at the back of Pyo-wol’s hand.
The effect was immediate.
He could feel the heat rising from the back of his hand. It was enough proof that the poison had started to penetrate his body.
Pyo-wol prepared for the pain by gritting his teeth. Having resistance to the poison did not diminish the pain at all.
Like Pyo-Wol predicted he could feel the excruciating pain at the site of the snake’s bite. Scorching heat rushed through his veins as if it was trying to burn his whole body.
It was painful.
He almost regretted his decision. But the pain was more bearable than he thought.
The first bite had left him completely paralyzed while the second time did not. Sure it was still painful but he can still endure it.
When a day passed the pain started to completely disappear.
Pyo-wol was soon convinced that he had finally developed poison tolerance.
It may only be towards a certain type of poison but it was clear that he had his own weapon that others didn’t know about.
His vision also seemed to have gotten a little clearer.
For the first time a smile graced Pyo-wol’s lips. It was the first smile he made after being locked up in an underground space.
After that another change occurred in Pyo-wol’s daily routine.
Once a day he let the snake bite his wrists. He knew that his body had developed a tolerance but Pyo-wol never intended to be satisfied with his current level.
He wanted a more perfect immunity. So he repeatedly let himself be bitten by the snake every single day.
He also observed the behavior of the snake. The tiny snake with degenerated eyes was the only intelligent creature in the subterranean space besides Pyo-wol.
When he stared at what the snake was doing he can see that it rolls its head. (뱀이 하는 짓을 보면 나름 머리를 굴리는 것이 보였다.)
Snakes were exceptional hunters.
It can approach the prey without making a sound and kill it at once. It stealthily conceals its presence so that even vigilant insects will not notice.
Occasionally there would be insects who noticed the appearance of a snake and when that happened it made a peculiar cry of ‘washing’. Then the movements of the worms hardened like a lie. (간혹 뱀의 등장을 눈치채는 녀석이 있었는데 그럴 때면 ‘씻’ 하는뱀 특유의 울음소리를 냈다. 그러면 벌레들의 움직임이 거짓말처럼딱 굳었다.)
It can incapacitate its prey using sound.
But even so the snake is not greedy. It doesn’t make the mistake of intimidating insects around it and chasing them away.
The appearance of such a snake attracted Pyo-wol’s interest. So besides dedicating his time in training his stamina Pyo-wol would also come and observe the snake. For Pyo-wol watching the snake was his only means of entertainment.
Pyo-wol unknowingly fell in love with the snake’s movements. To increase his strength he tried to imitate the movement of a snake as he walked around the room.
He practiced trying to navigate through the darkness without a sound or presence.
The days went by quickly with him doing the same thing over and over. Pyo-wol routine would consist of eating the served food observing the snake and training his body. Pyo-wol had to constantly repeat these three actions in order not to go crazy.
Otherwise he would have already gone crazy engulfed in terrible pain.
Eating food training the body observing and imitating snakes was the only way to lose weight.
In the darkness Pyo-wol was resembling a snake little by little.
* * *
Pyo-wol opened his eyes to the sudden vibration.
In an instant a look of disbelief appeared on his face.
It was because the iron door that had kept him locked up here for a long time was opening on its own.
Pyo-wol stood up.
Soon the iron door was wide open.
There was no difference in scenery between the inside of his room and the outside. The pitch-black darkness that covers his eyes and the humid air that irritates his skin remained.
Pyo-wol came out of the iron gate and looked around. Outside the door was a large hallway.
On his left side were numerous rooms with doors all wide opened. Perhaps all of the rooms had opened simultaneously. The hallway has no end in sight.
Pyo-wol moved to the room adjacent to his room. He had to walk approximately twenty steps to reach the next room. Given the size of his room which was only about three square meters or around ten steps in each direction there would be another ten steps left that would serve as a barrier in between the rooms.
‘So that’s why I couldn’t sense the presence of others.’
No matter how sensitive his senses were it would not be able to overcome the thickness of the wall.
Pyo-wol looked inside the room.
An awful stench stirred his nose.
It was the smell of rotting flesh.
Someone’s body had been left decaying in the darkness. The foul odor indicated that the decomposition had already progressed considerably.
Pyo-wol went into the room and inspected the body ignoring the foul smell. The deceased had its face collapsed so he couldn’t tell in much detail but judging from the built of the skeleton he could tell that it was a boy of the same age as him.
Perhaps the boy was also imprisoned here at the same time as him. The situation in the other rooms was the same. In each room either a boy or girl of a similar age as Pyo-wol was dead.
Unlike Pyo-wol they could not endure hunger and died of starvation.
Their room was as humid as Pyo-wol’s room so it was full of moss. They probably did not seem to consider consuming the moss. Maybe they weren’t able to adjust well to the darkness like he did and hence failed to notice the moss growing around the room.
A bowl of rotten food was placed in front of their own doors. Similarly with Pyo-wol’s case the food was also rationed. But they must have been picky and left the food untouched.
In the darkness Pyo-wol’s eyes flashed red.
He continued to walk straight down the hallway.
Twenty rooms passed. And twenty bodies were also found. One corpse per one room.
Pyo-wol soon reached the end of the hallway. There was a large iron door blocking the hallway. The iron gate was much thicker and larger compared to the ones that blocked their rooms.
The bolts of the gate were also taken out.
Pyo-wol pushed the door hard and the towering iron gate opened slowly.
Beyond the iron gate the same hallway where Pyo-wol had been imprisoned continued and again twenty iron gates were lined up in a row.
The only difference is that there was only one survivor in the area where Pyo-wol was but in the new section there were as many as two survivors here.
It was a boy and a girl who seemed to be of the same age.
They looked in the direction where Pyo-wol appeared with wary eyes. Judging by their actions it seemed that their eyes were not perfectly adapted to the darkness like Pyo-wol.
It was clear that they had noticed the appearance of a new character through the sound of Pyo-wol’s footsteps. Their pricked up ears were proof.
Pyo-wol only looked at them without saying a word.
Both the boy and girl were skinny as if they had not eaten properly. But compared to Pyo-wol they still seemed to be in better shape.
Pyo-wol glanced at the next room. A body was seen through the door. He could see a food bowl next to the body.
There’s no doubt that there was a sufficient amount of food. So it was either that he died because he could not stand the loneliness and died of madness or he could not overcome the disease he had acquired underground.
One of the survivors spoke cautiously.
“Who are you? Where did you come from? He and I are the only survivors in this section.”
The question was directed to Pyo-wol.
Pyo-wol looked at the girl who asked the question. She was a girl who did not lose her beauty despite being locked in the basement for a long time. She was staring in the direction of the wall like a cat full of poison.
However it seemed that she could not recognize Pyo-wol’s appearance since her eyes were not focused. The boy next to the girl also looked in the direction of Pyo-wol with a very wary look.
If it was too late it had the momentum to attack Pyo-wol. (여차하면 표월을 공격할 기세였다.)
Their eyes weren’t able to fully adapt to the darkness like Pyo-wol but their sense of hearing and smell still developed by leaps and bounds. It is for that reason that they manage to take notice of Pyo-wol’s arrival and become vigilant.
Pyo-wol opened his mouth.
“My name is Pyo-wol. I was locked up in the adjacent area.”
“Area next door?! So are you saying there are other places like this?”
“It seems so.”
In response to Pyo-wol’s answer the girl bit her lip. The girl like Pyo-wol did not know they ended up here and was captured here and lived for several months.
Even as everyone in each of the trapped rooms was dying she clenched her teeth and endured it until she eventually survived.
It was the same with the boy.
He has outstanding mental strength who succeeded in overcoming the feelings of despair and loneliness day by day.
“What are your names?”
“I’m So Yeowol. And he is Song Cheonwoo.”
“I think there are more areas like this.”
Pyo-wol’s gaze was on the other side of the hallway. There was also a huge iron gate similar to what Pyo-wol had passed through.
It was proof that another section existed.
So Yeowol and Song Cheonwoo did not recognize the existence of the iron gate that divided the different sections because they did not have eyes that could see through the dark.
So Yeowol’s voice trembled.
“Oh my God! There’s more places like this?”
Pyo-wol took the lead.
So Yeowol and Song Cheonwoo followed the sound of his footsteps.
If they had held hands they could walk faster but Pyo-wol didn’t. Giving up your hand meant that he would not be able to use it in an emergency. It’s like giving out a weakness.
Even though no one had taught him that Pyo-Wol was aware that in order to survive he must not let anything easily slip into his gap.
“Hold my hand.”
Song Cheonwoo reached out to So Yeowol.
Pyo-wol thought that she would hesitate for a moment but So Yeowol immediately grabbed Song Cheowoo’s hand and followed behind Pyo-wol.
As they moved on to the next area they saw more survivors. This time there were five.
Like Song Cheonwoo and So Yeowol they also gathered together and shared information.
They were alarmed by the sudden appearance of Pyo-wol So Yeowol and Song Cheonwoo. However So Yeowol came forward and explained it calmly and soon the boundaries were softened.
Pyo-wol glanced into the room as the others were having a conversation.
Most of the rooms also had decomposing bodies.
Unlike Pyo-wol’s section only a few people died of starvation. Instead most of them showed signs of self-harm. Some had their heads broken and others showed signs of strangulation. They must have been unable to endure despair loneliness and fear so they chose to commit suicide.
It was a harsh environment for children in their teenage years to endure. It only make sense for them to commit suicide.
The next thing Pyo-wol looked at was at their food bowl.
It was definitely bigger than the food bowl in the area where Pyo-wol was confined and the amount of food was greater.
At least in terms of food it was clear that they received more rations than the area where Pyo-wol was confined.
‘Were they discriminating?’
Whatever the purpose of those who imprisoned them here it was clear that they managed it by giving each section a different level of treatment.
In comparing the sections he has observed the environment in the area where Pyo-wol was confined was the harshest. It was a miracle in itself that Pyo-wol managed to survive there alone.
However the children who are talking outside did not seem to realize that fact.
When Pyo-wol came out So Yeowol sensed his presence and said.
“These children were also imprisoned at the same time as us. This is Lee Min and Go Shinok
And as if they had already shared a common name So Yeowol introduced the children as the representative.
Pyo-wol silently remembered their names.
In the third district Lee Min and Go Shinok stood out.
Lee Min was a beautiful girl similar to So Yeowol while Go Shinok was a very handsome man. He had such a beautiful face outline and appearance that he could not be considered a man. There were probably a lot of girls who fell for him when he was outside.
Lee Min spoke towards the direction she assumed where Pyo-wol was.
“Hello I’m Lee Min. I’ll be in your care from now on.”
He did not know what he was asking for but Pyo-wol silently nodded his head. (무엇을 부탁하는 건지 알 수 없었지만 표월은 말없이 고개를 끄덕였다.)
The survivors continued moving on to the next section.
There were a few more survivors in the next area. Around eight people survived.
Whenever they moved to other sections the number of survivors continued to increase.
In the end the number of those who survived reached a whopping 100 while the number of those who died were more than doubled.
‘Three hundred people were put in and only one hundred of them survived.’
It’s not normal for three hundred young children to be imprisoned. No matter how big Sichuan Province is if three hundred children went missing all at the same time the powerful sects will not remain silent.
‘But if they expand their range to other parts of the world then they probably won’t be noticed.’
In the case of Pyo-wol he was arrested in Honam which was far away from Sichuan. So Yeowol and Song Chun-woo were also orphans so perhaps others are as well.
Even if they disappeared no one would care and look for them. They were the perfect target for anyone to carry out some secret conspiracy.
Pyo-wol opened the door to the next area. However the scenery that appeared this time was different from what he had imagined.
Those in the underline are sentences I don’t quite understand even with MTL. So I added the raw version. If anyone can help translate it would be highly appreciated!
I cannot find the novel version of this manhwa anywhere so I decided to do it myself. I cannot read nor write in Korean so I mainly use Machine Translation and edited it to make it readable.