Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 295


Chapter 295

A suit of armor glimmered, its surface polished to a lustrous sheen. Its dark green cloak fluttered like ethereal wings and purple, ghostly flames flickered in its vacant eye sockets.

Then, a voice pierced the silence.

- Come. Down. Hu. Man.

The voice, grating like metal against stone, echoed. I teetered on the edge of the tree branch.

'Did it just speak?'

This wasn't an entirely foreign experience. The wyvern I encountered before, the infamous 'One-Eyed Carus,' had spoken too.

Yet, the notion of a speaking monster remained a startling rarity.

“A Named Monster…”

The words slipped from my lips, a whisper tinged with disbelief.

Indeed, it was said that only the so-called Named Monsters possessed the gift of speech.

And right before my eyes, a Named Monster was born.

No, not born – it had 'evolved'.

[Lv.105 Skeleton Warlord]

Evolution, huh? I've never heard or seen a Named Monster do this.

'What is this, Digimon?'

Doubt clouded my mind. Was this creature truly a monster? Capable of evolution?

Even I, light years away from an ordinary life, felt a surge of surprise. The guild members' reactions were beyond imagining.

“What's that?”

“Wait, did it just speak?”

“I've never seen anything like that in the Monster Encyclopedia…”

Of course.

Named Monsters are anomalies, each with unique traits and unpredictable power. Their emergence always brings the unknown.

'But why now?'

I licked my dry lips.

The Skeleton Warlord's true power was unknown, yet its aura screamed of a Named Monster's might.

'Plus, there are two A-rank Skeleton Knights.'

Around them, a horde: 150 B-rank Skeleton Mages and Warriors, collectively as daunting as an army.

However, targeting the Warlord and its core force, the Skeleton Knights, might tip the scales.

'I’ve been non-stop raiding up until now.'

Currently, only about fifty members of our guild have passed through the gate.

Yet, more than half are battle-hardened warriors, sculpted by training sessions akin to traversing through hell itself.

After a week of relentless encounters with skeletons, these seasoned fighters could likely withstand adversaries double, perhaps triple, their number.

'The new recruits also have outstanding basic skills.'

Only the finest were selected, lured by salaries rivaling those of the larger guilds.

This recruitment cycle, I took a direct hand in the process, evaluating interviews and various assessments, meticulously gauging their potential for growth.

It was akin to handpicking the sturdiest saplings, those capable of weathering the Ares Guild's storm, and planting them firmly in the Peace Guild's front lawn.

'It's worth taking a bit of a risk.'

Mr. Choi and others had temporarily abandoned their guild responsibilities, dedicating themselves to mastering the Jin Family's Cultivation Technique.

Their presence would have simplified the battle, but even if they were here, I wouldn't have called them to arms.

A hidden blade wields its deadliest force from the shadows. It must remain concealed, especially in a place swarming with prying eyes.

With my thoughts concluded, I summoned a member.

"Jin-Soo!"

"Yes!"

Kim Jin-Soo, effectively my second-in-command, responded promptly. I gestured towards the Skeleton Warlord with my dagger.

Its eye sockets, still ablaze with ghostly flames, seemed to fixate on me.

“That's a Named Monster.”

A wave of gasps and tense swallowing resonated amongst the guild members.

Many were novices, their hunting careers spanning less than two years. Their faces were etched with apprehension, confronting a Named Monster – a rarity even for veterans of two decades.

But Kim Jin-Soo's reaction was distinct. He absorbed the shock quickly, nodding with composed acknowledgment.

“I see.”

"Look at you, acting all calm."

“To be honest, I'm a bit shocked, but we can't just stand here and be taken by surprise, can we?"

Look at this guy.

His bravery was apparent from the beginning, but displaying such valor in his first year was extraordinary.

Feeling my gaze, Kim Jin-Soo allowed a faint smile and added,

"If the situation were desperate, you would have signaled a retreat long ago, right? Am I wrong?"

“Hmm.”

"…Uh, did I miss something?"

“No.”

I let out a chuckle, shaking my head.

“You’re right. This is a fight worth taking on.”

“Ah.”

“I'll take those three over there. The rest are yours. How long do you think you can hold them off?”

After a brief moment of thought, Kim Jin-Soo replied.

“The new guys lack experience, but still... we should be able to hold out for about an hour.”

"An hour?"

"Yes. At least an hour."

Kim Jin-Soo’s reply was laced with confidence. Just then, the Skeleton Warlord slowly opened its gaping maw, unleashing a sound so strange and unnerving, it defied description.

- Gr․ ah, ah․ ah. Ah!

Ding!

- [Lv.105 Skeleton Warlord] has used a special skill!

- Special Skill, [Summon the Dead] has been activated!

- The dormant dead heed their commander's call!

A ghastly wail reverberated, a sound that seemed to rouse the accursed dead.

Thud, thud-thud-thud!

The ground convulsed, quaking under our feet. Countless pale skeletons burst forth from the earth, rapidly forming ranks.

Skeletons armed with dirt-encrusted bone swords and wooden shields, still bearing roots. Mages adorned with skull-themed necklaces stood amidst the throng of Skeleton Warriors.

Even the A-rank Monsters, the Skeleton Knights, swelled in their numbers.

With this new emergence, the skeleton forces now numbered well over 300.

"..."

"..."

In the ensuing silence, I finally spoke up.

“Jin-Soo.”

"Yes."

"An hour, can you do it?"

"Uh, well..."

“Be honest.”

“...Maybe closer to 30 minutes.”

“Really?”

“Yes. The situation has worsened, but we should manage.”

Kim Jin-Soo said with a grim face as he looked at the Skeleton Warlord.

“That is, if that thing doesn't pull any more tricks.”

“It probably will.”

“You think so?"

- Gr․ ah, ah, ah. Ah!

“See? Told you."

Kim Jin-Soo sighed.

“Hah, please."

Ding.

- [Lv.105 Skeleton Warlord] has used a special skill!

- Special Skill, [Commander's Battle Cry] has been activated!

- Under the command of the Skeleton Warlord, the strength, agility, and magic of the monsters have been enhanced!

- The enemy’s momentum has greatly increased!

The Skeleton Warlord’s roar thundered through the air.

Its impact was tremendous.

"Wow…”

Utilizing [Qi Sense], I observed that each monster had gained 5 levels.

The aura emanating from the now 300-strong skeleton army was formidable, a stark contrast to their prior state.

Turning, I caught Kim Jin-Soo’s dazed expression.

"Still think 30 minutes is feasible?”

“.......”

His eyes spoke volumes, silently cursing me.

Even I had to admit the situation was dire. Without delay, I issued the next command.

"Retreat slowly. Don’t provoke them."

“How far should we retreat?"

“To the trail right in front of the gate. Stay ready to escape anytime.”

“The trail is narrow, so it will be easier to fight.”

“Exactly."

Kim Jin-Soo was right; the trail leading to the gate was so confined that only about five men could pass through it side by side.

Even for skeletons, inherently slender in build, only about seven or eight could squeeze through the narrow trail at once.

Yet, there was a change in plan...

“Actually, just get out of here."

A frontal assault was no longer an option.

“What?”

“Take the kids and get out through the gate.”

Upon hearing my command, confusion washed over Kim Jin-Soo’s face.

“Then what about you, Sunbae...”

“You think I'll be playing tag with them while you guys are leaving? Someone needs to buy time."

“Sunbae! That's dangerous!"

“Jin-Soo. No, dear members of the Peace Guild."

I gazed down solemnly at the fifty guild members, their faces turned up towards me like baby birds.

“In our Peace Guild, the safety of our members is always our top priority.”

Some of the more seasoned fighters muttered under their breath.

“That's the biggest nonsense I've heard this year.”

“I think I almost died seven times this week.”

“I'm at about ten.”

The rookies, fresh on their first day, had eyes shimmering with fear.

"Sunbae!"

"Ah, damn it!"

“To go to these lengths for us…!”

My voice grew heavy with emotion.

“For your safety, I'll face any peril. Even if it costs me my arms! Even if my legs are severed! I vow to see each of you safely returned to your families!"

A fervor ignited among some members.

“We can fight!"

“Let us fight with you!"

I clenched my teeth, shaking my head resolutely.

“I cannot permit it! In times like these, sacrifice is inevitable, and I must be the one to step forward."

“But still……!”

Swoosh! Shush!

Before any further objections could be raised, a sinister black aura surged forth.

The Skeleton Warlord, towering at a colossal height, cleaved through a massive tree with a circumference of several meters. Its voice echoed like the scrape of metal on stone.

- I. Will. Destroy. Kill. Obliterate․ You. All!

Swoosh, thud!

I jumped down from the tree and shouted.

“Everyone, return to the gate! I’ll cover the rear!"

This time, there were no dissenting voices. The skeletal army, now numbering over 300, began their relentless march.

Clatter, thump, clatter, thump.

Their approach, bolstered by the Warlord’s special skill, resonated with formidable force.

A ghostly light flickered within their hollow skulls.

- Roaaaaar!

The Skeleton Knight, resembling a deputy commander, unleashed a fierce roar. Rusted arrows and spells of offense flew from their ranks, aimed directly at the Peace Guild members.

Whish, whish, whoosh!

"Defend!"

“Tanks! Don’t lower your shields, retreat slowly!"

“Commence covering fire!"

The gap between us spanned roughly 300 paces. A strategic withdrawal required expanding this distance.

I wielded White Flames, confronting the monster's vanguard.

"You fiends! Dare to attack our precious Peace Guild members!"

Swish, crack!

My spear, surging with energy, shattered bones effortlessly. The spear's radiant energy cleaved through the air, felling ten foes in a single strike.

Then, three Skeleton Knights bore down on me simultaneously.

- Growl!

- Roar!

Swish!

Three streaks of dark aura grazed past, the wind pressure leaving a wound on my neck.

Despairing cries from the guild members, now fleeing down the trail, filled the air.

"Ah! Sunbae!"

"It’s dangerous!"

Clank, clank, clang!

I deflected the incoming attacks with unyielding determination, my voice firm and commanding.

“Go ahead! I’ll be right behind you!"

“But……!"

“Jin-Soo! Hurry up and go!”

After a brief internal struggle, Kim Jin-Soo rallied the guild members toward the gate, his voice resonating with urgency.

"You have to make it back!”

I offered a faint nod and a reassuring smile.

“Okay.”

"I’m sorry, Sunbae!”

"It’s fine. Just go!”

“Sob!”

Kim Jin-Soo's form, laden with reluctance, vanished beyond the gate's threshold.

Left alone, I stood amidst a sea of skeletons crowding the narrow trail.

- So. Fool. Ish. Human.

Creak!

The Skeleton Warlord emerged, parting the skeletal ranks like a macabre tide.

- Are. You. Pre. Pared. To. Die. Hu. Man?

I paid no heed to its taunts.

Only after a thorough sweep of the area, ensuring everyone's safe passage, did I exhale in relief.

“Phew, they’re finally safe.”

- ......What?

“Those kids are too sensitive. When the team leader says to run, they should just bolt. What help could they offer? Right?”

I dabbed at the blood trickling from my neck. I tried to control it, but the cut was deeper than I thought. Maybe about 0.2 centimeters?

“Ah, damn. What a waste of blood.”

The Warlord's eerie purple flames flickered uncertainly.

- What. The․ Hell. Are. You. Schem. Ing?

“Nothing out of the ordinary.”

My smirk was barely concealed as I surveyed the skeleton army, a legion of seasoned cadavers, crammed into the confined space.

“You all are going to die here. That’s all you need to know."

- What. Did. You. Say?

Rather than offering a verbal response, I inhaled deeply, centering myself.

Every muscle in my body tensed, ready for action, as the fiery dragon residing within my dantian responded to the intricate maneuvers of the Scorching Sun Divine Arts.

In the next instant, I became a seamless extension of the spear in my grasp, propelling myself forward with a singular purpose.

"One Strike."

Kwaahhh!

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