Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 259

Chapter 259

Death of the Dharma King, Hong Dao.

Hong Dao, the revered abbot of the Shaolin Temple, known as the North Star of the Murim world and one of the Ten Kings, had met his end.

His passing occurred in Hanam, the very doorstep of Shaolin, during the Grand Celestial Banquet.

"How... how can this be possible?"

"Great Master Hong Dao!"

Sorrow and disbelief hung thick in the atmosphere. Yet, out of everyone, only one figure held my undivided attention.

Facing his stoic back, I finally broke the silence.

"Grandfather...No...Master?"

Jeok Cheon-Gang, who had been staring solemnly at Hong Dao's lifeless form, slowly turned to face me.

"I'm heading to Shaolin."

His voice rumbled with an intensity reminiscent of molten rock.

An almost palpable, blade-like aura emanated from the Fire King Jeok Cheon-Gang, making the air simmer and the atmosphere tense with heat.

Yet, amidst this storm of emotions, his gaze remained piercingly cold and unwavering.

For a moment, one could sense he was barely holding back an overwhelming urge, resisting the impulse to unleash his fury on Jong Richu.

What could possibly be more important than avenging his dearest friend?

"Is that Master Hong Dao's last will?"

"Later. Now's not the time."

As the words left Jeok Cheon-Gang's lips, the presence of many began to close in from the horizon. At the forefront, the Thunderbolt Blade King's eyes went wide, taking in the grim spectacle.

"What?! Hong Dao!"

"There's no time to be shocked. Listen closely."

Jeok Cheon-Gang spoke urgently.

"I'm heading to Shaolin. Inform everyone about this and gather them. We cannot delay even for a moment."

"To trap Jong Richu, do you intend to spread the Net of Heaven and Earth?" [Note: I'm borrowing this translation from Peerless Dad - chapter 211. The literal translation is technically Heavenly Spider Web]

"On the contrary."

"What are you suggesting?"

"The Boundless Seeker is on his tail, but it's certain he'll fail. When people gather, come to Shaolin immediately." [Note: The direct translation of this person's moniker is The Thousand Miles Chaser, which kind of lost its poetic nature. So, I'm using Boundless Seeker since that more or less captures the essence of the moniker.]

"You're signaling for us to head to Shaolin now?"

"Precisely."

Jeok Cheon-Gang affirmed with a somber nod.

"If Hong Dao's last testament holds weight... a tempest of blood is on the horizon for Shaolin. Perhaps, the storm has already commenced."

"......!"

The words resonated with a weight that rendered the entire scene silent. The Thunderbolt Blade King stood in stark disbelief, his mouth agape, and I mirrored his shock.

'Shaolin Temple?'

What was Shaolin Temple, if not the epitome of martial prowess? Deservedly called "The North Star of Murim" and "Thousand-Year Shaolin," designations that were rightfully earned due to its prominent position as both a monastery and a martial sect. [Note: The same moniker that was used for Hong Dao is used here again to describe Shaolin.]

Some lore even suggested the entire martial realm was born from the emergence of the Great Master Dharma.

More than just a temple, it was the sanctum of Buddhist teachings and the bedrock of martial disciplines. Even if the strength of Shaolin waned, its illustrious legacy and the reverence it commanded stood firm.

Yet, this very bastion now stood on the cusp of a tempestuous bloodstorm.

"What... what does that mean? Hong Dao's last testament? Who would dare to attack Shaolin?"

"Enough!"

Kwaaah!

Jeok Cheon-Gang's voice thundered, pulling everyone back from their spiraling thoughts. The previously vocal Thunderbolt Blade King instantly fell silent.

"Dark Heaven. They started to move. If the old master's prediction is correct, we will see that damn Jong Richu in Shaolin." [Note: "Old Master" refers to the deceased Hong Dao.]

"Dark Heaven..."

The reaction was instantaneous. Several leaders, the Thunderbolt Blade King among them, exchanged startled looks. Their reactions suggested they had caught wind of such murmurs.

"Now do you understand the urgency?"

As Jeok Cheon-Gang averted his gaze from the Thunderbolt Blade King, he scanned the assembly with penetrating eyes.

"Do exactly as I've told you. That is Hong Dao's last wish."

Time was slipping through our fingers. Without a word, both Jeok Cheon-Gang and I activated our techniques, making our swift exit from the scene.

Ssshhhh!

As I raced against the wind's fury, an unexpected wetness grazed my cheek.

The sky was pristine, devoid of clouds, with no hint of an impending downpour.

Perhaps it was the sorrow of one mourning a comrade, or the anguish of vengeance deferred that welled up in my eyes.

No, it must be rain. I convinced myself it was just a stray droplet.

'Damn him.'

The image of Jong Richu gnawed at my thoughts, fueling my rage.

I clenched my jaw, bracing myself for the ordeals the day was bound to bring.

* * *

Beeeep!

"Search for the criminal!"

"He might be hiding around here!"

"Remain calm, everyone. Nothing will happen!"

The Murim Alliance was as noisy as a disturbed beehive.

While martial artists from the Grand Celestial Banquet scoured the surroundings with flames of determination in their eyes for Jong Richu, the common people moved with uneasy expressions, adhering to regulations.

'It's a waste of effort anyway.'

They remain oblivious to the fact that Jong Richu has long since fled, and that the revered Dharma King, Hong Dao, was dead.

I momentarily entertained the notion of informing them but immediately dismissed the idea from my mind.

'It will only exacerbate the chaos.'

Moreover, I couldn’t afford the luxury of time to go around and tell every leader about it.

They would come to find out soon enough, albeit after a slight delay.

Right now, I had to use all my energy just to follow Jeok Cheon-Gang.

'Fortunately, the distance to the Shaolin Temple isn't that far.'

That was a bit of good news. Previously, after passing the preliminaries, it took about three hours by carriage from Mount Songshan to the Murim Alliance, but with our current speed using advanced techniques, the journey would be considerably shortened. [Note: the preliminaries of the Grand Celestial Banquet. The MC seems to be referring to the time he takes the carriage with Jong Richu and the other three side characters.]

Whoosh!

After rushing like a gust of wind for a while, the bustling crowd and densely packed street buildings disappeared, revealing rice fields.

As we crossed the vast plains, Jeok Cheon-Gang, who had been the harbinger of our path in stoic silence, suddenly spoke.

"Jong Richu, Dark Heaven, Nameless, Buddha's Staff." [Note: AsuraScans flip-flopped between No Name and Nameless. I'm sticking with Nameless for now since that is closer to the direct translation.]

To the uninitiated, these would sound like a jumbled assortment of words. But to me, it was as if a puzzle had clicked into place.

The revelation I had been yearning for since earlier.

"Is that the last will of the Dharma King Hong Dao?"

"Yes. He had to muster all his strength to utter them."

"......"

"Even in a state where he could have stopped breathing, he held on just to convey those words to Grandfather."

Jeok Cheon-Gang’s voice, which had been quivering with emotion, momentarily lapsed into silence.

"What's your interpretation?"

"I think it aligns with what Grandfather had deduced."

"It's just a guess, not a certainty. Speak candidly."

"The first two words, I think, clearly indicate that Jong Richu is Dark Heaven."

"And the next?"

"Nameless, Buddha's Staff... I'm not sure, to be honest."

"Do you remember Hong Dao's disciple?"

"Yes, I do."

The encounter from a year ago with the young martial artist in a Hanam inn remained etched in my memory. He was the disciple of the Dharma King, Hong Dao.

He introduced himself as "Nameless."

The same Nameless that Hong Dao had alluded to. Had he, in his final journey, entrusted Jeok Cheon-Gang with the care of his disciple?

"But what do you mean by 'Buddha's Staff'? Are you referring to that rod-like object monks carry?"

Jeok Cheon-Gang affirmed with a nod.

"Correct. However, the 'Buddha's Staff' Hong Dao referred to is Shaolin's divine artifact, the Green Jade Ruyi." [Note: the Green Jade Ruyi/Scepter is first introduced in chapter 151 of the manhwa and later given to Nameless as mentioned in chapter 164]

"The Green Jade Ruyi?"

Suddenly, a scene from recent memories came to mind - the day when I unexpectedly met Hong Dao. Jeok Cheon-Gang and Hong Dao, in camaraderie, were sharing a laugh, jesting among themselves.

"What can they do?! Who's the one who assigned me with the role of the abbot?"

"I can't believe they entrusted this dumb monk with the thousand-year-old Shaolin divine artifact Green Jade Ruyi, which represents immense authority. The Shaolin must be in great hands." [Note: lifted this line and the one before straight from the manhwa - chapter 151]

That day, the staff that Hong Dao took out from his belongings was unusually short, with a faint green glow shimmering on its smooth surface.

I had been intrigued by its essence then, yet astounded now, realizing its veneration within Shaolin.

"But why would he mention the Green Jade Ruyi in his last will?"

"Not long before he died, Hong Dao mentioned to me that he had entrusted the Green Jade Ruyi to his disciple."

As Jeok Cheon-Gang's brow knitted in consternation, he added,

"The Green Jade Ruyi, while being a treasure of Shaolin, is also a symbol always carried by the abbot."

"Ah!"

A sudden exclamation escaped my lips, as a revelation struck me like a bolt of lightning.

The last words Hong Dao mustered all his strength to say, the reason behind Jeok Cheon-Gang's deferring his quest to avenge his dearest friend and turning towards Shaolin.

"The Green Jade Ruyi!"

"Yes."

Jeok Cheon-Gang's subdued voice continued,

"The true intent of Dark Heaven wasn't merely Hong Dao's demise, but to seize the Green Jade Ruyi."

Suddenly, the pieces of the puzzle slid into place.

Be it Jong Richu or Dark Heaven, their covetous eyes were fixed on Shaolin's divine artifact.

Hong Dao's parting words revealed this fact.

Aware that the Green Jade Ruyi eluded their grasp, it wouldn't take a genius to deduce the Dark Heaven's next target.

'A tempest of blood is on the horizon for Shaolin'

Reflecting upon Jeok Cheon-Gang's prophetic words to the Thunderbolt Blade King, a spine-chilling sensation engulfed me.

[Note: entering a different scene]

"Hoo, huff."

Tadadadak!

Labored breaths, footsteps that didn't stop, and a relentless pace.

Breathless, the middle-aged man's sprint up the mountain trail was abruptly interrupted by a voice—ancient and frail yet oddly compelling.

“It seems our young friend is in quite the rush.”

The voice's bearer was an elderly figure, his beard cascading down like a river to his chest.

Standing erect, his neatly combed hair and thoughtful eyes could have easily mistaken him for an old scholar lost in reverie.

“On such a fine day, wouldn’t it be better to enjoy the scenery as you walk?”

The middle-aged man’s throat tightened, his Adam's apple shifting nervously.

His voice, strained with unease, broke the silence,

“Who are you?”

“Just an old man who came out for a drink. I heard the beauty of Songshan was unmatched, so I thought I might indulge whilst attending to some... minor errands.”

"Errands?"

The man's voice grew louder, tinged with anger and dread,

“Enough games! Are you one of the damned Demon Heads?”

“Hmm?”

Genuine surprise flashed across the old man's face before dissolving into cheeriness.

“You have quite the temper, young friend. But you're still better than the ones I met before. All they did was spew lies.”

“You've met others? You can't mean...”

“Woodcutters, herbalists. So many different types. Ah, there was a couple pretending to pray for rain. This old man almost got fooled by them, whatever their intention was.”

"......!"

“So, I chose clarity over confusion. Ended them all, be they martial souls or mere villagers. It seemed much simpler that way.”

A cold chill raced down the middle-aged man’s spine.

Without a doubt, his scattered comrades, who had been sent to deliver urgent messages, had met their demise.

And his own end felt ominously imminent.

'At the very least, let my death be of consequence.'

Those on the ground might have been ensnared, but not the sky.

The old man drew a fleeting comfort while watching Jeon Seo-Yeong soar powerfully over the plain.

Screech!

With a sharp, Eerie Cry, something dark swooped down on Jeon Seo-Yeong. [Note: Eerie Cry seems to be an actually martial technique]

A creature several times larger engaged in an aerial battle with Jeon Seo-Yeong, which ended tragically quickly.

Kiik. With a final cry, Jeon Seo-Yeong plummeted to the ground. Blood seeped from his gritted teeth and trembling lips.

"Dark Heaven..."

"Oh? So you know of us?"

"Have my years masked my identity? I am the old man once branded as 'Heaven's Nemesis'."

"Your techniques don't reflect those of the common Beggars' Sect fighters. By the look of your martial arts, you don't seem like a lowly one from the Lower District Sect either... Ah, it must be the Hidden Shadow Pavilion."

The old man, delicately twirling his beard, wore a smirk.

"Being dubbed as the 'Heaven's Nemesis' still feels a tad dramatic to me. How does it sound to your ears?"

"How dare you commit such acts and..."

Just as the middle-aged man was about to shout with bloodshot eyes, the old man silenced him with a dismissive shake of his head.

"No, not you."

Then he pointed, with his skinny finger, over the middle-aged man's shoulder.

"I was addressing our friend behind you."

"......!"

Whack!

The world spun around the middle-aged man.

The ground and sky seemed to merge, his vision blurring.

A single sensation consumed him.

'Burning.'

Whoosh. Thud.

His scorched form hit the ground.

And moments later, a heavy boot rested on the charred remains of his head.

"Hansu. Do you find amusement in trifling with these insignificant worms?"

The owner of the coarse voice was a burly old man with a peculiarly red, haphazardly grown beard.

Recognizing his old ally of countless years, Hansu, the scholar-like old man, allowed a wry smile to play on his lips.

"I intended to wrap things up soon enough. Tell me, what news from above?"

"Chaotic and rather entertaining. Oh, the Green Jade Ruyi is with that disciple."

"Is that so? Then let's go together, Yeomho."

With sly smiles, the two shifted their steps leisurely.

With every step, the screams coming from Shaolin Temple grew nearer.

---
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