Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 267


Chapter 267

Paaat!

A sudden flash of obsidian blinded me momentarily.

Just like that...

"Where the hell did that bastard go?"

Overwhelmed by the mingled sensations of pain and shock, I found myself frozen in astonishment.

He had simply disappeared, as if effaced from existence by some divine hand.

All that remained to attest to his existence was the spattered blood around me and his hand which still encased Cheong Pung's throat.

Ding!

-You have completed the quest, [Life or Death]!

-You have gained a massive amount of experience!

-Level up!

-Level up!

With the system notification, my physical condition rapidly improved.

Fractured bones realigned, wounds stitched themselves closed, and my previously sapped strength replenished, coursing through me with newfound vigor.

Yet, confusion persisted.

"What the hell just happened?"

I was supposed to vanquish him, at any cost.

Lost in my introspection, a familiar voice reached my ears, and a hand was promptly offered to me.

"Are you alright?"

Though emotionally tumultuous, I felt physically intact. Gratefully, I clasped Jong Richu's hand and rose.

"I'm fine. Thanks to you, I'm alive." [Note: the phrase that the MC used here is an informal expression commonly used among peers or those of the same age. Essentially, the Sword Saint is surprised on why the MC is still speaking to him this way.]

"That's good. Then, first help me with the wounded... Wait, what did you just say?"

Jong Richu blinked.

His brows furrowed, clearly taken aback by my acknowledgment.

"What?"

"Excuse me?"

"Is there a problem?"

Pausing to collect his thoughts, Jong Richu hesitantly inquired,

"No, no. But did you hear... that thing just now?"

"That thing? What are you talking about? I fainted for a moment."

There's a limit to what the body can endure. The repeated cycle of being pummeled, then rising up, being pummeled again, and rising yet again - it's a cycle I'd experienced more times than I could recount.

At one point, a forceful blow to my jaw plunged me into darkness.

"When I opened my eyes, it was almost over. I saw that bastard's ankle and grabbed it right away."

"I see."

Jong Richu seemed on the cusp of articulating a thought, but after a hesitant pause, he simply nodded.

While I wanted to probe further into the events that occurred while I was passed out and discern Jong Richu's true identity, I refrained.

'All that matters is that he's an ally.'

For now, that's enough. There were more pressing matters at hand.

"Grandfather!"

I was deeply concerned for Cheong Pung, but even more so for the grievously wounded Jeok Cheon-Gang.

Drawing closer, I sensed his faltering pulse and labored breathing.

"Can you move aside for a moment?"

After administering preliminary care to Cheong Pung, Jong Richu transitioned his attention to Jeok Cheon-Gang, placing his palm on the latter's Mingmen pressure point. [Note: this is the point in the lumbar region of the back often called the "Gate of Life".]

As revitalizing Qi flowed in, Jeok Cheon-Gang's features softened.

"How is he?"

"He's not critically injured. A severe depletion of his energy has rendered him unconscious, but it's temporary."

"What about Cheong Pung?"

"Same. He's injured but he's young, so he'll recover quickly."

"Phew…"

"It's a relief amid the misfortune."

In the midst of my relief, Jong Richu's eyes met mine, carrying a gentle smile.

Shhh-shhh!

A cacophony of advancing footsteps echoed from below, each step radiating a foreboding energy.

'Not again.'

Gripping my spear, I prepared, but Jong Richu interjected.

"Stay your hand. They come as allies."

Indeed, scanning the faces of the advancing battalion, many seemed familiar.

These were the guardians from the Grand Celestial Banquet.

However, notably absent were several prominent figures, the Thunderbolt Blade King among them.

"Halt."

At the command, the legion halted in place.

From their midst, a figure advanced, the dappled sunlight glinting off his metallic prosthetic leg.

'The Thousand-faced Fox, Song Ho.'

A disconcerting realization dawned upon me.

They don't know Jong Richu is an ally. For them, Jong Richu is the criminal who assassinated the Dharma King and brought a bloodbath to the Shaolin Temple.

Thud. Thud.

With each step the Thousand-faced Fox took, the warriors mirrored, heightening the tension.

A potential confrontation seemed inevitable.

"Wait, wait a minute. It seems there's a big misunderstanding here..."

I was poised to intervene, but Jong Richu, exuding an air of authority, addressed the approaching figure.

"Thousand-faced Fox, Song Ho."

Is he out of his mind?

In a moment demanding clarity and understanding, Jong Richu's casual address was far from ideal.

"Wait, hold on!"

I nudged him sharply, but it was already too late. Jong Richu audaciously posed a question.

"How's your leg?"

"......!"

Is he really insane?

I gawked at Jong Richu.

He's really crossed the line this time. Not only speaking informally but now mocking someone with a disability?

Swiftly, I stepped in, hoping to defuse the situation before the Thousand-faced Fox lost his temper.

"I'm so sorry. He's not usually like this. Let me explain..."

"I can explain for myself."

"Forget explaining. Apologize first, you fool."

Regardless of his previous heroics, his current behavior was unacceptable.

Before further chaos ensued, I took matters into my hands, forcing Jong Richu into a hasty bow of remorse.

Lifting my gaze, the Thousand-faced Fox appeared thunderstruck.

'He's really angry.'

Well, who wouldn't be in this situation? Unless he's Jesus or Buddha.

However, the apology and my mental scrambling for conciliation were cut short by the Thousand-faced Fox's next utterance.

"It has been ages."

With a chuckle reminiscent of days long past, Jong Richu responded,

"Indeed. Your well-being brings me joy. I'd surmised you'd recognize me first."

"I was confused for a long time. Up until two hours ago, I thought the Ever-Victorious Sword, that damned guy, was the traitor." [Note: the direct translation here is "Blood Ghost Sword Demon", which is something I haven't encountered in the chapters that I have translated. Maybe it appears in chapters further back, but from the context, I think he is implying Jong Richu. But again, I am not sure. This is just my own interpretation.]

"Ah, age hasn't spared you either."

"Your intervention allowed me the privilege of age, Grandmaster Mae. Had you not intervened then, my fate would've been sealed."

The Thousand-faced Fox, tapping his prosthetic with a hint of nostalgia, remarked,

"I discovered Night Murder two hours ago. You played a cruel joke." [Note: this was the guy on the roof that was trailing Jong Richu in manhwa chapter 167. I am using Night Murder here so that it is consistent with the manhwa, but I'm not sure if this was the best translation. The original Korean directly translates the moniker to "Hidden Killer" or "Assassin in the Shadows". I think some better alternative names could have been Shadow Assassin, Silent Blade, and if you want to be a tad bit dramatic, Twilight's Terminus.]

"Oh, that friend. Now that you mention it, it's about time he woke up."

"The survival of one presumed dead was the hint I needed to reassess. I'd been misled."

"I wished to remain concealed, at least until the culmination of the Great Celestial Banquet."

Jong Richu reflected, a touch of bitterness clouding his expression.

"I never thought something like this would happen."

"I feel the same. Despite all the precautions, for such a bloodshed to occur in Shaolin of all places..."

"Seeing you here, I assume matters in Shaolin have been settled. Did the Thunderbolt Blade King leave?"

"Yes, as soon as we assessed the situation, we split the forces and moved in two directions. By now, Grandmaster Peng should be sorting things out in Shaolin."

"The devastation is immense. Events have transpired that should've been averted."

"There's much I wish to discuss."

"As do I."

A palpable tension filled the brief pause.

Partially lost in contemplation and drawn into their exchange, I mustered the courage to interject.

"Hey...I mean, excuse me."

Jong Richu – or should I say 'he' – looked my way, a hint of surprise in his gaze. [Note: I am not entirely confident about this sentence. I think what's happening here is that the MC is starting to switch to a formal/respectful tone when referring to Jong Richu.]

"Are you referring to me?"

"Yes. Um, I have a question..."

"Ask away."

Numerous pairs of eyes, carrying a mix of curiosity and skepticism, settled on me. Their expressions silently questioned, "Has he finally come around?"

"May I ask your name?"

He responded without hesitation.

"It's Mae Jong-Hak."

"…Ah. Mae Jong-Hak."

A chill ran down my spine.

Memories of our past interactions, from our initial encounter to our latest exchanges, played vividly in my mind. [Note: Here is a reminder of all the times when the MC directly uses his Shit Talking Divine Art at the Sword Saint up to Chapter 171 of the manhwa: "Fuck off. Bastard." (Chapter 159), "Friends, my ass." (Chapter 159), "Fuck off. Don't talk to me!" (Chapter 164).]

"That's a coincidence. You have the same name as someone I know."

"Do I?"

I drew a shuddering breath, my heartbeats pounding with anxiety.

'It's freezing.'

Doubt gnawed at me. Many share names, right? This Mae Jong-Hak could be entirely unrelated.

Clinging to this fragile hope, I ventured,

"Do you, perchance, go by another name?"

"The Sword Saint."

"Oh, I see."

Damn. It is really him.

As the weight of realization threatened to pull me under, a playful voice, pierced the haze.

"Let's continue to be friends in the future. Buddy."

Oh, I want to die.

***

From a pair of inscrutable eyes, rich with cryptic designs and symbols, a dark brilliance surged.

Wooooosh!

The once radiant torches faded, their light swallowed by an encroaching shadow.

Moments later, as the void lifted, a wave of agitation swept through the gathered figures.

"Blood Lord!"

"What's going on...!"

Their collective gaze centered on a lone figure, bloodied and staggering.

The young warrior stood, drenched in his own lifeblood, each breath a laborious effort.

Gashes from blades marred the Blood Lord's form, blood streaming unabated from the stumps that were once his arms.

"Summon the healer! Quickly!"

"Our Blood Lord is critically wounded!"

In the midst of the rising clamor, the Blood Lord's lips parted slightly.

The arm, which he had fiercely clung to in his last moments, lay discarded on the ground. Clutched within the lifeless hand was a short staff, its muted green luminescence piercing the surrounding gloom.

An awed whisper broke the air,

"The Green Jade Ruyi..."

A relic of the Shaolin, revered for a thousand years.

A mission thought impossible, yet, against all odds, their leader had triumphantly achieved it.

A feat truly worthy of 'his' treasured disciple.

"Congratulations!"

"Congratulations?"

The Blood Lord saw red as he gazed at the kneeling subordinate. A palpable tension filled the atmosphere.

Whoosh! Thud!

With a swift movement and a thud, the subordinate, his chest shattered, slammed against a wall, his blood splattering.

The life leaked from the subordinate's crumpled body.

"Cast this fool to the wild beasts."

In the wake of the Blood Lord's icy command, attendants quickly removed the corpse.

Such brutal episodes were not uncommon among their ranks. While they were starkly reminded of their leader's ruthlessness, none displayed grief or hesitation over the untimely demise of their ill-fated comrade.

"Blood Lord, your wounds demand immediate attention..."

"I feel dizzy. Start now."

Resigning himself to the approaching medics, an internal struggle played out within the Blood Lord.

He yearned to unleash carnage but recognized the need to marshal his resources.

Rapid recuperation was essential if he was to exact vengeance.

'Sword Saint, Fire King, Cheong Pung, and... Sleeping Dragon of Shanxi, Jin Tae-Kyung.'

Recalling the face of the man who had grinned with blood-stained teeth, his blood boiled with rage.

In a fit of rage, he delivered a deadly blow to an attending healer.

Boom! Flop.

As the lifeless form crumpled, he sensed the collective trepidation of the remaining medics and scoffed.

"We can't afford to lose any more precious healers. Continue."

The stalled healing rites resumed, an unsettling tableau of rapid regeneration as shattered bones realigned and wounds closed.

The Blood Lord endured the agonizing process, teeth clenched against the pain. Through the haze of suffering, the image of one man dominated his thoughts.

'You... I will kill you with my own hands. This is a promise.'

---
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