Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 270


Chapter 270

Ding.

- [Logout] completed.

I opened my eyes to the sound of the system alert.

As my senses returned, I wasn't met by the ceiling, as I expected, but rather two sets of eyes studying me intently.

“Eek!”

“Mom!”

Startled, both figures recoiled, their expressions a mix of shock and relief.

Stretching, as though emerging from a deep slumber, I examined my mother and Hayeon.

"Why are you so surprised?”

"Gasp, wheeze.”

"Heavens..."

Their faces looked as if they had seen a ghost. Regaining their composure somewhat, they simultaneously exclaimed.

"I thought my heart was going to drop!"

"You little rascal!”

Smack! Smack!

In her worry, Hayeon tugged at her own hair, while my mother, without a moment's hesitation, delivered a firm smack to my back.

For some reason, the palm of a woman in her 50s carried more weight than any seasoned punch I'd felt.

'Am I in trouble?'

The strength of a mother that lingers in one's very soul.

Only after a few more well-placed smacks did the barrage cease.

But the storm wasn’t over.

“Son.”

I swallowed hard at the heavy voice of my mother. As expected, the atmosphere was tense.

“Yes, Mom?”

“Do you know you've been sleeping for two whole days?”

Hayeon, ever the precise one, chimed in.

“Precisely forty-two hours.”

“That's right. We almost called an ambulance because you wouldn’t wake up.”

Forty-two hours.

I had been asleep for a long time. Since I stayed in Murim for over a year, that seemed about right.

Before leaving, I didn’t know it would take this long.

“Do you have narcolepsy or something? How can you sleep for so long? Even shaking you didn’t wake you up."

Hayeon’s worry was evident. I deflected with a lie.

“What are you talking about? I woke up once or twice in between.”

“No way. Every time mom and I checked, you were always sleeping..."

“I woke up at dawn every day, how would you know?”

“Really?”

“Every time I opened my eyes, it was dawn. I was tired, so I just kept sleeping.”

“No. How is that even possible?”

Of course, it wasn't.

Yet, over the years, I had perfected the craft of navigating the skepticism of my younger sister.

“Hey, Jin Hayeon.”

When I addressed her with such gravity, Hayeon hesitated.

“Uh, yes?”

“Do you know what I used to do in high school?”

“No, I don’t.”

“I slept straight from the first to the seventh period without eating, then slept again during study hours... And wait... you think that's it?”

“There's more?”

“Of course. What do you think I did at home after sleeping in school?”

“Maybe..."

“After school, I came home and slept again. That’s what I do.”

“Incredible.”

Hayeon nodded solemnly. Our mother, who had been listening quietly, spoke with a defeated tone.

“Son, that's not something to brag about..."

Sorry, mom.

Given the likelihood of similar incidents in the future, establishing this precedent might be prudent.

Even if it inflicts another wound upon my mother’s heart.

‘Another tally mark against filial duty.’

I subtly averted my eyes from my mother's earnest gaze. After all, neglecting studies for a day or two wasn't catastrophic. Fortunately, the narcolepsy tangent seemed forgotten.

Wishing to further divert from the topic, I interjected.

“Oh, right. The massage chair. Weren't we supposed to buy a massage chair?”

Hayeon shot me a slightly mocking glance.

“We already bought it, dear brother.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yep. I picked the most expensive one, and it's worth every penny. I almost went straight to heaven after lying on it for a bit.”

“You’d have taken an express train to hell if you had died. But with whose money?”

“What money? Yours. Here, I used your card.”

“...Okay, good job.”

When did she take my card again?

But then again I did sleep for two days, so I can't really complain.

If it's the most expensive product, I wonder how much it costs. Should I have saved some of the funds from the last raid?

Lost in thought, as I inspected the card, an unexpected chime interrupted my reverie.

Ding-dong.

At the sound of the doorbell, both mom and Hayeon perked up their ears.

“Could it be them?”

“They're here!”

Who's here?

I asked with a puzzled look:

“Do we have a visitor?”

“Yes, the delivery person.”

Hayeon’s words were laden with anticipation as she hurriedly left the room.

However, the voice that drifted in after the soft creak of the front door wasn’t of any anticipated delivery person.

“Excuse me. Is Mr. Jin Tae-Kyung here?”

“Who… are you a journalist by any chance?”

“No.”

A voice, gentle yet firm, clarified further.

“I am the team leader. The team leader of the Peace Guild.”

I only know one team leader from the Peace Guild.

Stepping into the living space, past Hayeon’s frame, I discerned a man cloaked in a sleek black coat.

“Team Leader.”

Team Leader Choi nodded in greeting.

“Did you have a good rest?”

“Well, so-so.”

In reality, after struggling in the martial world for over a year, the toll on my psyche was significant.

Reuniting with him after such a gap should have been pleasant, yet trepidation overshadowed any joy.

If this man came all the way to my house, it must be for something important.

“I'm glad to hear you had a good rest.”

“I didn't say I had a good rest, but why are you here? As far as I know, I don't have any media or broadcasting schedules for a while.”

“Of course. You're not a celebrity, Mr. Jin Tae-Kyung.”

“Then why?”

“The workshop for our new guild members is today.”

“A workshop?”

“Yes.”

That should be fine. I was curious about the new guild recruits, and a brief attendance should still allow me sufficient rest afterward.

“When does the workshop end?”

“It's scheduled for about 6 nights and 7 days.”

“What? A week-long workshop... Are we heading to Pyeongchang or Gapyeong?”

“Think bigger.”

“Could it be... a resort in Southeast Asia?”

“Hmm.”

“Phuket? It has to be Phuket!”

Team Leader Choi's face broke into an approving grin.

“We've secured an A-rank gate.”

“Ah.”

“The objective is to build teamwork while fighting monsters.”

"..."

A workshop with monsters. That will be interesting.

***

Grrr... Thud!

With each resounding footfall, the earth trembled. The colossal figure, towering at nearly five meters, commanded attention.

Its entire rocky physique, punctuated with patches of moss, shimmered with moisture, giving it a time-worn appearance.

Vines draped down like tendrils of hair, with two eerie, reddish glows emanating from within.

The creature's eyes. The chilling gaze of the magical entity, devoid of any spark of life, evoked a whispered exclamation from a recruit.

“A Golem..."

A monster worthy of its A-rank designation.

The fledgling B-rank hunters, fresh from their training, could barely mask their trepidation at the golem's sight.

“How do we defeat that...”

“Feels like one hit would kill us.”

Amidst the hushed murmurs and apprehensive glances of the two dozen new guild members, a confident voice sliced through the tension.

“There's no need to be afraid. The Stone Golem may have strong destructive power and durability, but it's incredibly slow.”

Hanging onto every word of the young team leader, whose appearance rivaled that of a glossy magazine model, some of the female hunters responded almost dreamily.

“He says it's slow.”

“If Team Leader Choi Min-Woo proclaims that it is slow, then so it is.”

However, that reassurance was short-lived. The Stone Golem's craggy head pivoted in their direction.

And after a brief, chilling pause, its stony legs propelled it forward at an unexpectedly rapid pace. Its strides, each spanning nearly three meters, blurred into a rhythmic drumming.

Thud-thud-thud-thud!

“...It’s incredibly fast?”

“Damn, I should've been a damage dealer instead of a tanker.”

“Do you think a damage dealer just idles around?”

“By all means, then, wield the shield and stand in the vanguard for me.”

“Well, that's…”

The shadow of apprehension that had cloaked the new guild members began to retreat at the emergence of a crystalline voice.

“Let the breezes quicken. Haste!”

“Summon the might to fracture stone. Strength!”

“Renew the flagging spirit. Healing!”

Ahhh!

A chorus of exclamations resounded.

As gentle zephyrs danced and radiant beams of light anointed each guild member, a tangible surge of power coursed through them.

Their expressions mirrored astonishment.

'What's this? I feel completely different.'

'We have a B-rank healer, but the effect is this good?'

'Wow, she is from the Ares Guild after all.'

Facing their gaze, she, Song Song, furrowed her impeccable brow.

“What are you all doing? If you keep spacing out, do you want to hold your workshop in heaven?”

Their spirits snapped to attention after being doubly stunned — first by the outstanding buff magic that could be mistaken for A-rank, and then by her beauty.

Thud-thud-thud-thud!

Roar!

The Stone Golem, now ominously close at a mere twenty meters, brandished its massive limb.

Whoosh!

Trees, deeply rooted just moments prior, were now airborne missiles, propelled by the golem’s formidable force.

“Erect... shields!”

Clang-clang!

Frantic cries heralded the manifestation of mana-fortified tower shields, forming a protective barrier.

But could they really stop the huge tree trunk, shot with tremendous force, with just these?

Everyone braced for a severe impact when at that moment:

“Fire Wall.”

Whoosh!

A massive wall of fire erupted.

The searing intensity consumed the desiccated foliage, and the tree, despite its moisture-laden core, crumbled upon clashing with the tower shields.

“Incredible…”

“Did you witness that?”

Hovering above the marveling guild members, a voice, rich and velvety, like a narration from a luxury coffee advertisement, reverberated.

“I’ve saved you once, but there won't be a second time.”

It was strange. Beneath the veneer of the butler's cordial words and demeanor lurked a steely, unforgiving intensity reminiscent of a drill instructor from the training center.

No, it felt even more intense than that.

“Fire Wall.”

With a second chant, a new blaze surged to life.

Only this time, the fire stood behind them instead.

“Ouch, it's hot!”

“What's this?”

“Guild Master! Guild Master?”

Butler Kim, having sealed off the guild members’ retreat with a blazing barricade, wore a sly smirk.

“True growth isn't achieved by merely depending on external aid within the gates. Engage with every fiber of your being. Mages, use detection magic to find the core; tankers, protect the healers while luring aggro. Damage dealers? ... I believe there's no need for further explanation.”

Whooosh.

With a mere flick of Butler Kim's fingers, both Team Leader Choi and Song Song found themselves airborne. Suddenly left leaderless, the novice guild members teetered on the brink of chaos.

“Tanker, forward!”

Boom!

An armored titan, with a resonating war cry, anchored his massive shield firmly to the ground.

A few guild members cast wary glances at the newcomer.

Leading the charge was a D-rank middle-aged hunter, whose two-decade experience belied his seemingly novice status.

“What are you doing? Get your head in the game!”

Yet, their fear was justified. The palpable sense of mortal peril spurred them into formation, almost reflexively.

“Hold formation!”

“Secure the line!”

Clatter-clatter!

A formidable phalanx of tower shields rose, their gleaming surfaces forming a near-impenetrable barrier.

Mages and healers channeled their mana, their fingers dancing with arcane energy, while damage dealers readied their most potent onslaughts.

From behind the shield barricade, Im Hyuk-Jung shouted, his face set in fierce determination.  [Note: The direct translation of the name here is either Lim Geok-Jeong or Lim Keok-Jeong. MethodScans, however, translated this name originally to Im Hyuk-Jun. I am keeping it consistent here.]

“Hold on!”

Roar!

The Stone Golem, now at arm's length, lunged at the shield wall.

Kaboom!

“Huff... huff…”

“Ugh…”

Panting and groans echoed from all directions.

Amongst the aftermath, a tanker cradled a fractured arm; spent mages and healers, their mana reservoirs depleted, slumped in exhaustion; damage dealers sprawled amidst the Stone Golem’s ruins.

“Ugh, I'm gonna die.”

“Did we really defeat this Stone Golem?”

It took a whopping five hours for the raid. Considering the number of members - a party of over twenty - the process was grueling and time-consuming. But the hearts of these fledgling hunters, who just recently graduated from the training center, swelled with pride.

“I defeated an A-rank monster..."

“Later, let's all take a commemorative photo. I'm going to frame it and hang it in my living room.”

“Who in the world takes down a Stone Golem on their first raid?”

“Everyone did a great job.”

Just as everyone was reflecting on their achievement with emotion-filled eyes, a nightmare began.

Roarrrrrr!

Grrrrrrrr!

From a distance, the foreboding roars heralded the advance of more Golems. The expressions of the novice guild members rapidly transformed from exaltation to alarm.

'What are they?'

At first glance, there seemed to be more than ten of them, appearing larger and sturdier than the Stone Golems. With every turbulent movement of their massive bodies, there was a flash of light.

A panicked voice rang out.

“It's Iron! Iron Golems!”

“Ahhhhh!”

Among all of the possible golems, the appearance of the Iron Golem, which is the highest ranked of the golem species, was enough to trigger sheer terror.

“Why are they appearing here?”

“They're usually solitary. This isn't the established pattern!”

No one had ever heard or seen Golems leading a tribal life.

Yet, the relentless march of these behemoths, coupled with the ground’s tremors, underscored the grim reality before them.

Desperation set in. The new recruits called out for their last lifeline.

“Please help us! We'll all die at this rate!”

Their pleas were directed skywards, where Team Leader Choi, an earlier observer of the unfolding chaos, wore a smirk.

“We have no obligation to help.”

“...What did you say?”

Had he gone mad?

Disbelief clouded their senses, until...

Swish, slash!

A radiant crimson arc sliced through the air, cleaving an advancing Iron Golem from crown to base.

Boom!

Emerging between the tumbling halves, a silhouette stood tall.

“Taking on herds is awesome!”

The young man, Jin Tae-Kyung, grinned.

---
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