Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 273


Chapter 273

“Hello!”

"Hello!”

I felt like the boss of an old crime family; every new guild member I passed dropped into a bow of respect.

The rookies, fresh from their training, greeted me with the exuberance of new recruits eager to make their mark. Their reverence was understandable, given the gap in our experience.

'This field certainly places a strong emphasis on seniority.'

But among these rookies were Hunters, weathered and matured by life, who, despite their age, were new to the craft.

“It's an honor to meet you!”

A burly newcomer, with lines of age etching his face, bent deeply at the waist, admiration gleaming in his eyes.

The sunlight caught the bald spot atop his head, and I found that more distracting than the intensity of his gaze.

“Yes. Keep up the good work…”

“Thank you!”

“Thank you!”

A chorus of gratitude echoed back, and I couldn't help but smirk.

I wasn’t talking to all of you. You bastards.

I internally roll my eyes at the newbies, but my gaze then stops on a young man.

'He seems promising.'

He stands out among the newcomers.

Every gesture of his was measured, reminiscent of a martial artist. He exuded a unique aura.

As if sensing my scrutiny, he met my gaze, a hint of mischief playing on his lips.

"Hello, sir."

His demeanor set him apart; he was relaxed, neither as tense as the rest nor excessively ingratiating.

In my years, I've come across two such types:

The arrogant ones with nothing to show for it, and those whose self-assurance was rooted in genuine skill.

He was unmistakably the latter.

“May I ask your name?”

“My name is Kim Jin-Soo. I graduated top of my class in the B-rank training program. I was also the first to destroy the core of the golem during the recent raid.”

"Is that so?”

"Yes. It was my first time dealing with an A-rank gate, but it wasn't as difficult as I thought.”

He's an interesting guy.

He is proud without being arrogant; the type who will always ensure he gets what's due to him wherever he goes.

When I looked at him intently, Kim Jin-Soo smiled cheerfully.

“You can speak informally if you’d like, sir.”

“I'll consider it when I feel more comfortable. I'd appreciate if everyone would skip the grand greetings though.”

“Yes sir!”

“I’ll keep that in mind, sir!”

They clearly don’t listen.

Amidst the loud clamor, the office door at the end of the corridor slid open.

A crisp white shirt with perfectly ironed black slacks. Only one Hunter in our guild dresses like that for work.

“You’re all lively this morning.”

“A bit too lively, actually.”

Team Leader Choi, coffee cup in hand, gestured toward his office.

“Join me for coffee?”

His office was both spacious and elegantly adorned. Whether by choice or by design, the luxury furnishings suggested a refined taste. An ornate silver nameplate took pride of place on his desk.

[Team Leader Choi Min-Woo]

'Even the nameplate looks expensive.'

Considering the cost of relocating the guild house and recruiting new members, it seems the rumor that Won Myung-Hoon, as the guild leader of the famous Star Guild, had secured an astronomical sum in agreement fees is true.

As I was admiring the nameplate, a cup filled with black coffee was suddenly offered to me.

Team Leader Choi, noticing where I was looking, asked,

“Want me to get one made for you? A nameplate.”

“It’s alright. I don’t even have a formal position, so why bother?”

“We can create a position for you. General Manager. Head of Department. Just name it.”

“Anything?”

“Yes.”

“Then, maybe something modest, like Guild Leader...That's just a joke. Honestly, if I were the Guild Leader, we'd be doomed.”

Besides, if I tried any title, it’d probably end up being something ridiculous like "Face Lady" or "Pants Boss". [Note: The Korean term for "Face Lady" is slang for a woman who is only recognized for her appearance. Similarly, the term for "Pants Boss" is slang for someone who appears in charge but lacks actual authority or influence.]

I took the coffee cup and sat on the sofa. On the glass table, there were more than two dozen newspapers stacked.

From major domestic daily newspapers to foreign newspapers filled with unrecognizable characters. Just looking at them felt overwhelming.

“You don’t possibly read all of these, do you?”

“I scan through them to gauge international trends and gather industry information. It's nothing. Even if you only read five languages, you can make sense of most of them.”

That’s quite significant. Five languages? What kind of life has this man led? I gawked and glanced at one of the open newspapers.

My eyes were immediately drawn to a striking photo of a man in his prime, paired with a bold headline:

- In Memory of Hunter Jeong Hyeon-Woo (with photo attached) - Recent mishaps remind us that even A-rank Hunters are not immune to the perils of the gates. Myeongdong Guild mourns the sudden loss...

Another accident must have happened.

'Myeongdong Guild? That's Ji-Hwang's guild.'

I was about to delve deeper when Team Leader Choi, taking a measured sip from his coffee, interrupted my thoughts.

“Peace Guild will continue to grow. We've already recruited twenty B-rank Hunters and thirty C-rank or lower. At this rate, our growth in the saturated domestic market is unprecedented.”

Indeed, as he said, Peace Guild's growth was meteoric.

Only about four months have passed since the guild was established. Yet, if this momentum continued, it would soon rival the stature of medium-tier guilds.

'In terms of sheer numbers, we might still trail behind some mid-tier guilds. However, it's not a matter of inability, but simply choice.'

Evidence of our burgeoning reputation was clear when the guild's website crashed under a surge of traffic.

There were hundreds of recruitment inquiries daily.

"I must admit, my contributions played a substantial part in that success."

"That's true."

Team Leader Choi responded smoothly.

"It might be true, but there won’t be any bonus."

"…You're quick to catch on."

I tried to tease him slightly, but it didn’t faze him at all.

Team Leader Choi paused, his smirk a little more mischievous,

"However, there might be room for negotiation if you'd grant me a small favor."

"What is it?"

"I'd like you to look after the new guild members for a while."

"…The newbies?"

"Yes. We've selected them carefully, and while they have talent, they are still very inexperienced."

"That's expected. They're brand new."

I nodded in understanding. Field experience held a different weight.

An elite Hunter straight out of the academy doesn't necessarily overshadow a seasoned, albeit lower-tiered, Hunter.

"But why me... what about the others?"

"I already spoke with Butler Kim and Miss Song this morning. I asked them to take turns training."

"What did they say?"

"They were eager. Not a hint of reluctance."

"...What about Hyuk-Jun?"

“I haven't mentioned it yet, but he missed his reporting time and hasn't called in to explain."

Team Leader Choi cast a fleeting look at the clock before continuing.

“His absence is troubling. In any case, the new guild members are hoping to be mentored by you, Jin Tae-Kyung. Most of them applied to our guild largely because of you.”

"Well, I appreciate the flattery.”

I scratched the back of my head.

In the present martial realm, Dark Heaven has made its presence known while Jeok Cheon-Gang lies incapacitated.

Even if I spend thirty days in the modern world, in the martial realm only about three hours would pass. Although I had some leeway in terms of time, mentoring the rookies wasn’t an especially advantageous choice given the potential A-rank gates to tackle.

Moments with my family seemed a far better use of time.

"Please exclude me. From the guild’s perspective, wouldn’t it be more efficient for me to break one more A-rank gate than to teach the newcomers?"

"Efficient..."

"Yes, efficient."

"Well, in that case, there’s nothing I can do."

His lips twitched, mischief in his eyes.

"We entrust our new guild members to you.”

“What?”

"All A-rank gates are fully booked. There’s no chance for at least the next week.”

"Don’t lie! You swindler!”

"If you really don’t believe me, see for yourself.”

I snatched the paper Team Leader Choi extended. It was densely written with the reservation status of A-rank gates all over the country.

Damn, it’s true.

"I'll double your compensation this month – for both raiding and guiding the novices. Or you could simply enjoy a quiet time at home.”

The corners of Team Leader Choi’s mouth curled up in a teasing manner.

Before I could blurt out my refusal, a system notification sounded.

Ding!

- Quest [An Offer You Can't Refuse] has been generated! [Note: the direct translation of the quest title is "I will not! It was too much money to say that."]

- Would you like to accept the quest? Y / N

“What will it be?”

We stared at each other, not saying a word.

“I'll take that as a yes and get the newbies prepared. We have a few B-rank gates lined up.”

Ding!

- You have implicitly agreed!

- Quest accepted!

Damn it.

***

Growl!

A chorus of guttural growls echoed in the dense woods. The cacophony of monsters' breaths grew deafening, their looming presence encircling a group of twenty anxious Hunters.

Grips tightened on weapons, knuckles blanching from the pressure.

From my vantage point on a sturdy tree branch, I observed the pandemonium below, my face a mask of indifference.

Yet, the storm in my mind brewed a debate of utmost importance.

'What should I have for dinner?'

Should I have ribs or perhaps boiled duck, which I haven’t had in a while?

Both options are too tempting to pass up...

“Hold them back!”

"What's the dealer doing? Attack!”

Screams of terror disrupted my thoughts, and I glanced down to see utter chaos.

A wave of about ten Lycanthropes lunged, battering the formation.

The tankers, faces paling, began to falter.

'Of course, they're getting pushed back. They're trying to face the monsters with sheer strength.'

But it wasn't solely the tankers' fault. The dealers, overwhelmed, weren't doing their part.

If the appropriate counter-attacks had been deployed at the right time, this situation could have been avoided.

I warned them several times before the raid started, but it’s the same every time.

'That shield wall will be breached soon.'

My prediction proved true in moments, as the barrier gave way amidst a crescendo of screams.

The most agile Lycanthrope, marked by its distinctive howl, leaped forward.

Its predatory gaze fixed on the healers behind the now broken defense.

ROAR!

HOWL!

To me, it just sounded like a dog barking, but the rookie Hunters, who were only on their second raid, were clearly terrified.

“ARGHHH!”

“Aaaargh!”

A shrill scream, a blend of fear and agony from both mage and healer, pierced the dusky silence of the forest.

The battle was already noisy enough, but that scream will likely attract twenty more.

I mentally tagged the duo responsible for the outburst.

From now on, their nicknames will be 'The Whistling Men'.

“Sunbae! Jin Tae-Kyung sunbae!” [Note: Sunbae is the Korean term for "senior", analogous to "senpai" in Japanese.]

“Help us! Sunbae!”

Frantic faces turned upward, their eyes wide with terror, seeking me out.

Their initial defense had been shattered, and now, they huddled against a solitary, towering boulder, their last refuge.

The Lycanthropes, sensing imminent victory, closed in, almost mockingly coordinated.

'How come these monsters form better formations than us?'

Yawning slightly, I called out,

“I told you, didn't I? If I help, you won't improve.”

“I don't care about improving!”

“Well I care. You know what? If you get used to receiving help, you'll even soil yourself during raids out of habit.”

“We don't want to die like this!”

“Well... who does?”

“Please, help us!”

“Don't give up; keep fighting. Go, team!”

“Save us!”

"By the way, for tonight's dinner, should I go for ribs or boiled duck?"

“Hey, you bastard!”

It was the bald rookie from earlier, his scalp gleaming in the dim light.

The reverence that once graced his gaze had morphed into pure wrath.

“Come down here, you brat!”

Thud!

Out of the blue, a tanker catapulted, colliding with the irate rookie, sending him sprawling.

With the momentum swinging unmistakably towards the monsters, I pondered intervening. But before I could act, an abrupt commotion below caught my attention.

Slush!

Growwwwl...

A guttural growl echoed. In a swift blur, one of the Lycanthropes clutched its slashed throat, crimson spilling forth, before keeling over.

With a confident stride and a sharp swing of his weapon, the young man landed a devastating blow, immediately calling out,

"Formation Three!"

His commanding voice acted like a beacon, pulling the scattered Hunters back to focus.

In moments, a band of twenty Hunters organized into a formidable formation, inching forward in unity.

Leading the charge was none other than Kim Jin-Soo.

"Push forward! Archers, prepare your skills!"

This guy is pretty useful, huh?

Without hesitation, I descended from my perch, spear in hand, cleaving through the oncoming horde of Lycanthropes attracted by the clash.

Shrieeeek!

"Well done."

"Thank you, sunbae!"

Gratitude gleamed in Kim Jin-Soo's eyes as he inclined his head. Behind him, three Hunters lay subdued.

Among them were the Whistling Men and the balding rookie.

In a playful show of authority, I had the balding Hunter doing push-ups.

Might as well preserve what's left of his dignity...

"Learn from today, and you'll do better next time."

"Yes. We won't let you down."

"Then, Jin-Soo, you should rest too. We have another raid in two hours anyway."

Team Leader Choi really went all out, scheduling three raids in a day.

As I mulled over the packed day ahead, a vibrating alert interrupted my thoughts.

[Luxury Brand-Name Fanatic] [Note: the direct translation here is "Brand-Name Fanatic" or "Luxury Goods Addict". This is the name that the MC used for Team Leader Choi's saved contact.]

Did he develop telepathy or something?

Perplexed, I answered swiftly, only to hear the urgency in Team Leader Choi's voice.

- Tae-Kyung, come to Ilsan Hospital right now!

Hospital?

---
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