Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 261


Chapter 261

A sudden swell of emotion. [Note: the Korean term used here is a mimetic word that means to describe the feeling of choking up]

A beard threaded with silver became speckled with blood. The middle-aged monk's voice broke in pain.

“You...you demon. You truly are a demon.”

A measured voice whispered in his ear,

"While the Buddha withstood Mara's temptations and achieved enlightenment beneath the Bodhi tree, remember..." [Note: Mara is the actual name of the demonic god who tried to stop Buddha from achieving enlightenment]

Swoosh.

A hand radiating a chilling blue aura retracted from the monk's chest.

The profound wound crystallized instantly. Each blood droplet morphed into icy fragments before cascading to the earth.

"In the shadow of mortality, enlightenment can falter."

Whether chilled by the frigid Yin Energy that seemed to solidify even his organs or by the looming specter of death, the monk's body quaked.

The source of his terror remained indistinguishable.

No, it was beyond his discernment.

Thud.

Surveying the now lifeless monk, with eyes frozen in their final gaze, stood an elderly figure. This was the Yin Ghost Hansu, his gaze fathomless.

'That was close. It was more challenging than I anticipated.'

His eyes scanned the vicinity. By the now-ruined entrance to the Arhat Cave, four bodies, including the just-fallen middle-aged monk, lay strewn.

'The Four Great Diamond Warriors.' [Note: the exact character used here is Vajras, which probably means nothing to most people, so I translate it to Diamond]

Renowned as Shaolin's elite, their martial prowess was unparalleled.

Especially the last monk, an expert who had reached the initial stages of the transcendence realm. If Hansu hadn't traded his flesh to take bone, perhaps he would have lost his life to the combined techniques of the Four Great Diamond Warriors. [Note: "trading flesh for bone" refers to the fact that he had to sacrifice getting injured to be able to deal a more damaging blow to the opponents]

'Their tenacity is impressive. Somehow, they kept the Shaolin's lifeline going.'

Shaolin suffered near-devastating losses in the last Great Faction War.

Though diminished from its prime, the thousand-year-old strength of Shaolin lingered.

'But today marks its end.'

Everything proceeded as planned. With the fall of the Dharma King Hong Dao and the Four Great Diamond Warriors, Hong Tian's doom at Yeomho's grasp was imminent.

Hundreds of killers, devoid of humanity, would soon turn Mount Song crimson. Once the documents within the Scriptures Pavilion were ashes, they would withdraw. [Note: "Scriptures Pavillion" refers to the library of Shaolin that stores important Buddhist scriptures/sutras and martial scrolls]

Robbed of their martial prodigies and sacred techniques, Shaolin's fall is imminent.

Above all loomed a pivotal task.

'The Green Jade Ruyi.'

The significance of this divine artifact eluded Hansu, but its retrieval was non-negotiable.

It was the edict of the Heavenly Lord. Wasn't 'his' presence a testament to its gravity? [Note: it's not explicitly stated but the Heavenly Lord here is probably the Demonic Sect's leader. Also, the second person being mentioned here remains a mystery but definitely not the Heavenly Lord]

'Hong Dao will be mine, Shaolin is yours to handle. If you fail to find the Green Jade Ruyi… I'll leave the consequences to your imagination.'

Recalling the last words 'he' said, Hansu's face hardened.

There's no room for error. If they fail, they will pay a hefty price.

Crash!

As Hansu rolled up his sleeves, the obscured entrance to the Arhat Cave revealed itself.

Even the imposing stone gate that loomed ahead failed to deter him.

Crash!

With a deafening roar, the gate crumbled.

Amidst a cloud of dust and debris, two glimmering eyes cut through the gloom.

“Master, to what do I owe this intrusion?”

Nameless, the young monk who had been immersed in meditation, gently rose. On seeing him, a smirk graced Hansu's lips.

“You're the disciple of Hong Dao?”

"If I am, how does it concern you?"

"I seek a single prize."

"I possess nothing for you, Master."

“Allow me to clarify. I've come to seize it.”

"From a man drenched in blood, even a grain of rice will remain elusive.”

"Then prepare to part with your life as well."

“Namu Amitabha.” [Note: this is a common chant in Buddhism, it's typically shortened to just Amitabha]

Grasping his prayer beads with clasped hands, Nameless’s gaze was steadfast.

“You'll find it's not as simple as you think.”

[Note: transitioning to a different scene]

The confrontation between Hong Tian and Yeomho was nothing short of electrifying. Both, having mastered the zenith of martial arts, battled with fervor.

Swoosh! Kwa-kwang!

Each blow, parry, and movement pulsated with raw might.

This duel was between titans who had touched the transcendence realms of martial arts, a space where mere mortals dare not tread.

Yet, as the minutes ticked by, the scales of victory swayed.

Kwa-ang!

When their aura-charged fists clashed, a scarlet trace oozed from the corner of one man's lips.

“Guh...”

The monk's grey robe, the "kasaya", took on a blush of red.

Recoiling from the unseen force, Hong Tian took several steps back, allowing Yeomho to flash a grin, revealing his yellow-stained teeth. [Note: not sure why dental hygiene is being brought up in a fistfight, but this may be another hint that implies Yeomho is rather old]

“Youngster. When you were still nursing, I was already mastering the world. You're still thirty years too early.”

Wiping away the blood with his sleeve, Hong Tian, though worn, had eyes ablaze with fervor.

"Not many legends like you remain. Isn't it time you sought solace in the temple?"

“Combined, the Orthodox factions couldn’t bind me. You, merely a fledgling, stand little chance.”

As Yeomho's aura flared brighter, doubt clouded Hong Tian's mind. He knew Yeomho's claims were more than mere boasts.

'What manner of being is he that he can fly about so freely?'

During the Great Faction War, the Yin-Yang Twin Demons were supposedly past their prime.

Yet, despite clearly being well into his hundreds, Yeomho was still radiating undying vigor.

With power that seemed limitless and a history stained with countless unspeakable acts, he had amassed a reservoir of experience beyond comprehension. Even time, which might have been the sole chink in his armor, seemed to have spared Yeomho its ravages, leaving him shrouded in an aura of eternal night.

'But there is still hope.'

Hong Tian's pupils shifted ever so slightly. His gaze fell upon over a hundred martial disciples who were clashing with the masked figures.

These were the legendary 108 Arhats of Shaolin, the temple's crowning jewel and pride.

Handpicked through a stringent process, they brandished their staffs and whips, repelling the masked aggressors with zeal.

"Face the world's malevolence and show it no quarter!"

"Unleash the Gate of Death!"

The essence of the 108 Arhats unveiled itself when they orchestrated the fabled 108 Arhats Formation. Every member executed their role with practiced precision.

Echoing combat sequences honed over countless hours.

Clash! Slice!

Much like the divine hand of Buddha, the indomitable spirit of the 108 Arhats began to topple the masked assailants. Blood painted the battleground as the invaders fell like dominos.

Despite beginning at a disadvantage, the battle had now found its balance.

'If this persists... we might prevail.'

The Murim Alliance was merely hours away. Once the backup arrived, the tables would turn on the Yin-Yang Twin Demons and their masked cohorts. Hope flickered in Hong Tian's eyes.

"Ha ha ha!"

"......?"

"Your every thought is painted across your face. Such innocence."

Suspicion knitted Hong Tian's brows.

Something was amiss in Yeomho's laughter.

'Did he foresee this?'

But how?

Before he could delve deeper into his thoughts, the ground trembled and erupted.

Boom!

Caught off guard, Hong Tian's eyes widened in disbelief.

Amid the massive cloud of debris, suspended in a moment that seemed to stretch on, were the severed limbs of warriors and a crimson rain, reminiscent of a monstrous beast tearing through the formation of the 108 Arhats.

"No!"

Despair echoed in Hong Tian's voice as reality snapped back.

The heart of the explosion carved out a cavernous space. Over two dozen monks lay in ruins as the masked warriors flooded in, unstoppable.

Swish, swish, swish!

Despite their reputation, the monks were still mortal.

The shimmering sword light filled their paralyzed vision.

On this battlefield, hesitation was a luxury with a steep price.

"Ahhhhhh!"

"Master!"

The once-impenetrable formation of the 108 Arhats was unraveling. Some of the elder monks attempted a desperate rally, but their efforts were thwarted.

What they were up against were not ordinary humans, but creatures worthy of being called demons.

"The Heavenly Lord decrees: Kill the enemies."

Soft, persistent chants echoed as a crimson aura bathed a masked figure's whole body.

The eyes of the Arhat monks widened in disbelief and horror, for they had never before witnessed such a spectacle.

"What... what is this?"

"It's demonic energy! Everyone, avoid it!"

But their realization came moments too late.

Suddenly, the scarlet brilliance that had ensnared numerous Arhats and several of the masked invaders detonated outwards.

Boom!

A cataclysmic burst. Roars fused with shrieks.

Bodies were torn asunder, and the rain that poured seemed tainted with blood.

In the midst of the devastation, Hong Tian's eyes were alight with crimson fury.

"How...how dare they!"

Shaolin, the Shaolin Temple, is collapsing.

A sanctuary undisturbed even during the Great Faction War, was now awash with carnage and death.

The young disciple who greeted him with a smile every morning had stopped breathing, and there was no trace left of the bhikkhu he had befriended over decades. [Note: the original Korean characters are translated to 'priest', which is a bit confusing since that's more of a Christianity thing and Buddhist temples don't have priests. The best equivalent I can find is bhikkhu, which seems pretty close to a priest in terms of role]

In the hellish scene before him, drops of blood fell from Hong Tian's tightly clenched fist.

"This... this cannot be."

Yeomho's laughter echoed in response to Hong Tian's murmured disbelief.

"That's the Blood Explosion Demonic Technique. Admittedly, it's intricate and challenging to master. But in situations like this? Quite fitting. I brought a few to test it, and it's proven more potent than anticipated."

"How dare you-!"

Hong Tian's cry, tinged with desperation, propelled him forward.

However, he was met with a fist, its force magnified by a crimson glow.

Boom!

Hong Tian's protective energy shattered, as Yeomho's mighty blow struck him with devastating effect.

Blood, laced with fragments of his innards, spewed forth, accompanied by excruciating pain.

"Kueeek!"

As he was hurled backward, through his hazy sight, he saw Yeomho, advancing with a nonchalant gait.

"Such folly. After mastering Shaolin's techniques, have you abandoned the Heart of Stillness Philosophy?" [Note: it's actually a martial technique, but since it seems to relate more to the mind than the body, I decided to use the word philosophy instead]

"Cough, cough!"

It was an egregious oversight. Maintaining one's composure, no matter the provocation, was paramount.

His adversary was already formidable, akin to the Ten Kings during the War.

A strategic stalemate, biding time, would have been the prudent choice.

"This bastard..."

Yet, despite his ragged breaths, Hong Tian found the strength to rise.

The battle was far from over. If he were to fall, Shaolin would crumble in his wake. Until his last gasp of air, he was bound by duty to protect this sacred place.

He had to ensure that at least one soul from Shaolin survived. Even if it was a humble monk, someone had to survive.

This was the last duty of the venerable monk who had devoted his entire life to Shaolin.

"Come."

The fiery determination in Hong Tian's eyes made Yeomho furrow his brow.

"It's always the same with your kind. Those on death's edge always feel the need to grandstand."

"What could a demon like you possibly comprehend?"

"At the very least, this much."

Yeomho smirked malevolently.

"You're about to die."

Whoosh!

Severely wounded, Hong Tian could no longer match Yeomho's blistering pace.

Yeomho's fist lunged forward, colliding with Hong Tian's shoulder.

Crunch!

The sheer force cleaved through Hong Tian's flesh and bone.

Hong Tian's vision, with his consciousness sinking beneath the pain, blurred as a visceral cry erupted from his lips.

"Urrraaaaah!"

"You damned brat, how dare you dodge this old man's fist? Let's see if you can dodge this one too." [Note: it seems he may have aimed for the heart, but Hong Tian dodged at the last minute]

Yeomho pinned Hong Tian's head under his foot as the latter writhed in pain and injuries.

With just a fraction of his strength, Hong Tian's head could be crushed like a watermelon.

"And what's that phrase they use in these moments? Ah, yes."

Yeomho feigned a thoughtful slap to his forehead.

"May you attain rebirth in the Pure Land." [Note: the Pure Land is a blissful realm in Buddhist cosmology where individuals can practice and attain enlightenment, distinct from the Christian concept of Heaven as an eternal resting place in the presence of God]

Grrrrr.

The pressure increased steadily.

Hong Tian was teetering on the brink of death.

"Remove your filthy foot. Before I turn not only you but also your wretched spirit into ashes."

"Let's turn him into crispy chili peppers."

Two voices resonated in his ears.

The first voice belonged to an old man, and the other was so young it sounded almost childish.

Yeomho's eyes widened, his demeanor shifting as he whipped his head toward the voices.

"Fire King...!"

---
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