Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 271


Chapter 271

Swoosh!

The hardened flesh of the Iron Golem split under my spear as effortlessly as slicing through silken tofu. Even steel imbued with magic stood no chance against the heat of my attacks.

Each slash and thrust of the spear blade left behind a blazing trail, from which molten metal seeped.

Ding. Ding.

-You have eliminated [Lv.95 Iron Golem]!

-You have earned an immense amount of experience!

-You have eliminated [Lv.95 Iron Golem]!

-You have earned an immense amount of...

"What's going on? Why are they so weak?"

I'm shocked at my own words.

The Iron Golem isn't just any monster. It won't be defeated unless its core is destroyed, and its destructive power and durability are exceedingly high.

'Hardier than a Troll and packing more punch than an Ogre.'

Moreover, its tireless stamina and magical resistance make it a formidable foe.

Perhaps its only shortcoming is its marginal sluggishness. But given its extensive advantages, is that even a significant flaw?

Unsurprisingly, the Iron Golem stands tall among the A-rank monsters, revered as a paragon in its tier.

Yet...

'Why is this so easy?'

A gust tousled my hair as the looming fist of the Iron Golem zeroed in.

The new guild members erupted in panic.

"Look out!"

They definitely need more training. If a team member is in danger, you should at least pick up a nearby rock and throw it to distract the enemy. What are they even doing?

'Well, they're newbies.'

With a tinge of annoyance, I balled up my fist.

In an instant, decades of honed skill channelled into my arm.

A fervent blue flame, symbolic of that prowess, wreathed my fist.

And then...

Crash!

Iron met fire in a cataclysmic clash of fists.

A metallic reverberation rang out, the ground quaked, and the pressurized air detonated. In the ensuing maelstrom, the Iron Golem staggered.

One arm, which had been shining iron just a few seconds ago, now dripped as molten slag - as though devoured by a fire dragon.

Iron Golems, the magical machines, are usually devoid of emotion.

But now, I felt as though I could sense a hint of confusion from the creature.

"The perfect roast needs precision."

I leaped off the ground.

The gleaming chest of the Iron Golem loomed into focus.

Hidden beneath its hulking, Qi-less exterior, the Golem's core throbbed, seeping magic into the creature.

"Consider this roasting on the house."

My hand, charged with the fervor of my Divine Palm of Fire, struck the creature's chest. The once-cold metal yielded to the inferno, sizzling and melting under my touch.

Screeech! Liquid metal gushed forth, creating a gaping void where the Golem's core once thrived, now obliterated.

Grrrooo...

Boom!

Devoid of its core, the massive body lost its strength, crumbling and collapsing. Just as a person can't survive if their heart bursts, so it was for the Iron Golem.

My feet touched down on a mound of molten metal remnants.

"Who's next?"

Roaaar!

A cacophony of mechanical roars echoed as gleaming adversaries surged towards me from every angle.

'Maybe I'll level up if I defeat all of these.'

Eagerly, my spear cleaved through the air. The "Divine Spear of the Fire Dragon", honed to 7th level mastery, left behind a fiery wake.

Kaboom!

Crash!

An earth-shaking detonation heralded the end of the final Iron Golem.

Merely moments had passed, yet a dozen A-rank monsters lay defeated.

Surveying the surroundings, a sea of awestruck faces met my gaze.

"What the hell..."

"Did you see that? Did you see it?"

"Yes. I saw it."

"Wow, he played with an A-rank monster. It was so fast, I nearly missed it."

"I saw it."

Over the heads of the murmuring newbie guild members, a commanding voice rang out.

"Is the raid over already? After the battle, clean up the debris and be aware of your surroundings. The guild leader and Song Song will take charge."

Though the words were polite, the tone was authoritative.

As Team Leader Choi made his graceful descent, the rookies instinctively straightened, promptly attending to their assigned tasks.

'Ah, some people do have charisma, don't they?'

Or should I call it a unique aura? Such charisma is inherent, I believe.

As I was lost in thought, Team Leader Choi approached with a stern expression.

"Jin Tae-Kyung. I've been thinking about this for a while, and now I can't hold back anymore."

"Yes?"

"That spear, where did you buy it?"

Ah, right. Typical Choi behavior. I momentarily forgot.

Whether he knew what I was thinking or not, Team Leader Choi's gaze was fixed on the spear, White Flames, in my hand.

"It's like looking at a work of art. A classic yet beautiful Chinese design. Was it perhaps made of demon iron?"

No, it was made of Ten Thousand Year Tempered Steel.

Of course, telling the truth would just complicate matters, so I evasively responded.

"Well, I'm not entirely sure myself."

Team Leader Choi scanned the spear up and down with a covetous look.

"I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but would you consider selling it to me..."

"Non-negotiable. I won't sell it."

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't. The spear is bound to me. That's what it says in the item information.

Perhaps because of that, it's the only item that can move between both the Murim and the modern world inventories, which are otherwise distinctly separate.

"Ah..."

Seemingly disappointed, Team Leader Choi shifted the topic.

"Anyway, I was truly amazed. You're getting stronger and stronger."

With a blend of jest and candor, I replied.

"If you intensely train for a year under a Transcendent master with dementia, that's what happens."

"Dementia? What?"

"Transcendent master."

"Isn't that a term from martial arts novels? Transcendent master, ultra Transcendent master."

"Exactly. When I retire, I'm thinking of writing a novel as a hobby. Maybe titled 'Murim Login' or something like that."

"That title is not great. I doubt it would be a hit."

"Honestly, I have no intention of writing it."

Amidst laughter, Team Leader Choi interjected.

"It may sound repetitive, but each encounter with you, Jin Tae-Kyung, kindles a recurring thought."

"Which is?"

"Is this person really the same as me?"

A subtle luminescence danced in his amber eyes, reminiscent of a smoldering ember.

"How did an F-rank Hunter become this strong in just a few months? If I hadn't seen you myself, I wouldn't have believed it."

It's a fair doubt.

Second-Awakenings are not common, but they're not so rare that one could call them scarce either.

However, in my case, I had achieved a level far surpassing the typical Second Awakening.

Furthermore, Team Leader Choi had witnessed this metamorphosis firsthand.

'Others might be fooled, but not Team Leader Choi.'

In his eyes, I might as well be a twice-, thrice-, or even a fourth-time awakened individual.

I licked my dry lips.

This is a secret I must take to my grave.

Should this secret ever be exposed, I might find myself taken by the National Intelligence Service or even NASA, condemned to a life of endless scrutiny.

"Team Leader. I apologize, but that is..."

Interrupting, Team Leader Choi nodded slightly.

"I understand that you have secrets you can't share, Jin Tae-Kyung. Given my own situation, I'm not inclined to pry either."

His own situation?

Before I could even grasp the implication of his words, he continued.

"A Hunter with an unprecedented, extraordinary Second Awakening. That in itself is enough. Butler Kim feels the same way."

While Song Song and Im Hyuk-Jun joined later, Butler Kim had been by Team Leader Choi's side, monitoring my growth.

Given that the news was already flooded with headlines like "The Uprising of an F-rank Hunter" and "A Modern Miracle", ensuring my fellow guild members' silence on the matter was of the utmost importance.

I bowed my head in gratitude.

"Thank you. I am in your debt."

"Don't mention it."

"But may I ask one thing?"

"Of course."

"Why are you going to such lengths for me?"

"Ah, that."

Team Leader Choi's laughter hinted at an inside joke.

"You just said it yourself, didn't you? That you're in my debt."

"I did."

"I plan to fully collect that debt, with interest."

"......?"

"Just keep that in mind. Now then."

As Team Leader Choi turned to leave, he hesitated momentarily.

"If you do end up writing that novel you mentioned earlier, please share it with me. I enjoy reading novels more than you might think."

"Then you might not be able to read mine."

"Why so?"

If I were to write, it would be an essay reflecting my experiences, not the kind of novel you'd like.

Seeing me silently smiling, Team Leader Choi tilted his head in confusion.

What was anticipated as a six-night, seven-day workshop concluded in a mere three days.

Roaming unaccompanied, I vanquished every beast that crossed my path; the region lay devoid of any more monsters.

"It was supposed to be a team-building raid, but it turned out like this."

I glanced away from Song Song, who was looking at me in disbelief.

Not only had I wiped out the golems within the gate, but I also single-handedly defeated the boss monster.

The experience points were amazing.

"Ahem. The newbies need to gain raid experience too. Why are you so impatient every time you see a monster?"

"Some things are just irresistible. Let it go."

"Hey, Jin Tae-Kyung."

"Move on, Song Song."

"And if I can't?"

"I'll scold you if you confess to me." [Note: it's clear that Song Song is not confessing. Either this man has gotten brain damage from a year of abuse from the Fire King, or this is just some playful banter between friends.]

Song Song's lips tightened, and she retreated apprehensively.

Though I accomplished my objective, an inexplicable melancholy weighed me down.

'Ah, I loved it...'

I trudged on, as if I were a sorrowful main protagonist.

Exiting the dungeon, a brigade of journalists outside the gate instantaneously unleashed their camera flashes.

I had spent a year in the martial world, but in the modern world, only a few days had passed.

The interest and fervor surrounding me would probably need more time to cool down.

"Please wait! Journalists, please step back!"

"Only authorized personnel beyond this point!"

It took the guards' intervention to shield me from the barrage of flashes.

As the cacophony of shutters subsided, the fresh guild inductees, radiant with zeal, excitedly cheered:

"Great work!"

Their eyes gleamed with admiration. The looks they gave were full of envy and respect.

Of course, most of the attention was focused on me.

A wave of unease washed over me. As I turned to survey the faces of my fellow guild members, I realized someone was missing.

"Has anyone seen Hyuk-Jun?"

"Huh? Now that you mention it, he's not here."

Team Leader Choi replied.

"He departed earlier. He only mentioned it to me, but an unexpected matter arose."

"He left without swapping out his gear?"

"It must have been urgent."

Did something happen at home?

An seed of concern started to sprout within me.

'Come to think of it, we didn't chat much after I returned.'

Since I spent most of the raid moving solo, I didn't have much conversation with others.

Reflecting on it now, Im Hyuk-Jun's expression seemed a bit somber.

I thought it was just nervousness at the time.

'Could it be serious?'

Even after changing my gear and disbanding, the thought didn't leave my mind.

I contemplated calling him for a while and finally sent a message. A simple text suggesting we have a drink sometime soon.

I didn’t want to be overly intrusive.

'Hopefully, this is enough.'

Lost in these musings, the sudden buzz of my smarthphone jolted me.

Buzzz.

It vibrated a second time.

An icon of a phone with a saved name appeared on the screen.

A name I had stored a few months ago and completely forgotten about.

[Park Ji-Hwang, middle school classmate from Garam Middle School]

The guy I bumped into when I went to buy a house and hadn’t been in touch with since.

What's up with him?

With a touch of curiosity, I answered the call.

---
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