Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 322

                            


Chapter 322

Wolhwa, whom I had not seen in a year, seemed to have become more beautiful than before.

Draped in an exquisite ensemble, her smile was mesmerizing. As she glided towards me, reminiscent of a peacock's elegance, her hand found its way to my shoulder.

“My dear Young Master Jin. You’ve become even more handsome haven't you?”

This song and dance hasn't changed.

A light chuckle escaped me as I gently brushed her hand aside.

“You’re still the same.”

“Is that all you have to say after not seeing me for a year?”

"Hmm. I think you’ve become prettier too.”

"It feels like I'm receiving a bow of respect... But I'll accept it. It was worth dropping everything and rushing here."

At that moment, a young beggar, clad in tattered garb, approached with a determined gaze.

Three knots adorned his waist, marking his allegiance to the Beggar Sect.

Those three knots distinguished him as a Third-Knot Disciple of the Beggar Sect. [Note: in typical Wuxia/Murim fiction, members of the Beggar Sect carry different numbers of bags based on their ranking. Nine bags is the maximum, but only the elders carry nine bags. More bags equals a higher ranking. This series uses knots in belts instead, but the principle is stil the same.]

“I am Heuk Geol-Gae, the leader of the Xi'an branch.”

“Hello, I am Jin Tae-Kyung, of the Jin Family of Taiyuan…”

“I already know. You're as impressive as I've heard.  If you beg with that face, you can easily earn dozens of silver nyang a day. Do you have any intention of joining the Beggar Sect?”

“...”

“Well, if not, then fine. Anyway, I don’t think I see the person who called me here.”

Huff, huff.

His question hung unanswered as he scanned the crowd, breathing heavily. His gaze locked onto a distant figure.

"Goong Gi-Bang! You damned fool!"

When did that bastard get over there?

Goong Gi-Bang, crouching under a distant table, offered a sheepish grin.

“Ah, my friend of twenty years, Wang-Ko, is here. But what brings you here?” [Note: Wang-Ko is Korean for King Nose; typically an affectionate term used between friends to call someone who has a relatively large nose.]

“I told you not to call me Wang-Ko! And why am I here? I begged God to prevent something like this from happening, but still, you fucking bastard...!”

Heuk Geol-Gae violently shook the bamboo slip he was holding in his hand.

Underneath the message telling people to bring the necessary information and come to Dengwang Tower, there were eight strands of grayish-yellow hair pulled from a passing stray dog.

To the uninitiated, it was a puzzling addition to the message; but to any member of the Beggar Sect, it was a clear signature of the Eighth-Knot Disciple, the Hugae. [Note: Hugae is Korean for Second Beggar.]

“Cough, that’s because I had no choice.”

“Dammit. If the Judicator Beggar comes to visit me because of this incident, know that it will all be because of you.” [Note: the Judicator Beggar is in charge of enforcing rules and dealing out punishments within the Beggar Sect.]

“Uh huh, that's a lot of talk from a Third-Knot Disciple. Help me get out from under this.”

“You are not a Hugae, but Hu-bastard.”

Despite such words, he extended his hand to pull out the chair so that Goong Gi-Bang could easily get out.

Their banter hinted at a deep bond, forged in the shared struggles of their youth.

‘This is even better. Things will work out easily.'

Yet, for some, this unfolding scene spelled trouble.

I turned to find Hwang Bo-Eom, his features twisted in displeasure, which only drew a smirk from me.

“If this is your first meeting, let's at least exchange greetings. You both are very important figures in Shaanxi Province.”

Though not on par with the esteemed Mount Hua Sect, the Southern Edge Sect's influence in the province was undeniable.

Given their stature in the Beggar and Lower District Sects, Hwang Bo-Eom was bound to recognize them. My comment was a mere nudge to lighten the atmosphere.

“…You first.”

Predictably, Hwang Bo-Eom, familiar with their identities, clenched his jaw, his fingers twitching towards his sword nearby.

'Go ahead, draw it.'

But Hwang Bo-Eom was not as impulsive as the Tiger Swordsman.

His gaze sharpened with calculating intensity.

“What is the meaning of this?”

The response came unexpectedly from behind.

"That's what I was wondering as well. I'm also curious about what my dear Young Master Jin is up to."

Hwang Bo-Eom's gaze shifted sharply to Wolhwa.

"The Lower District Sect has no place in this matter. I advise you to leave."

“Grandmaster Hwang Bo-Eom, I’m sorry, but that might be a bit difficult.”

Wolhwa replied, wearing a radiant smile.

"I've already taken on a commission, courtesy of my dear Jin Tae-Kyung here. Right?"

“Yes. Did you receive the advance payment sent through Jeom Soi?”

“Of course, I did. But one silver nyang is too meager. I will require a more generous reward later, so be prepared.”

I don't know how generous it will be, but that was a concern for another time.

Hwang Bo-Eom, silent yet seething, turned his ire towards Heuk Geol-Gae.

“What is the Beggar Sect planning?”

“Grandmaster Hwang, the current situation is really...”

Heuk Geol-Gae began, scratching his unkempt hair and bowing respectfully.

“I am sorry. It’s beyond my ability to handle.”

“Is that the will of the Beggar Sect?”

Heuk Geol-Gae, startled, bowed deeper.

"Oh, certainly not. How could a mere Third-Knot like me speak for the entire Sect?"

"Then step aside. Unless you want to be enemies with me."

"But our Sect's rules complicate matters. I can't simply step aside."

“You call that an excuse?”

“It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. Right, Hugae?”

Goong Gi-Bang nodded, avoiding Hwang Bo-Eom’s gaze.

“That’s right.”

“The elders looked into this situation, saying it was too late for the Beggar Sect to intervene, but they said let’s see how it unfolds…”

Hwang Bo-Eom, who looked at the two people in turn, shouted like thunder.

"Enough with the excuses! The Beggar Sect should just withdraw already!"

Thud!

With a thunderous crash, he slammed his palm onto the table.

Under the force of his energy, the table splintered, echoing his fury.

And then...

"Oh my."

"This is something."

At this, both Goong Gi-Bang and Heuk Geol-Gae's demeanor shifted.

Exchanging knowing looks, they chuckled amidst the debris.

"Hey, Gi-Bang. Seems we're really beggars. Even here, we're treated like beggars."

"Right. I feel like a beggar today more than ever. It puts me in a shitty mood. Maybe I should call all the beggars in Shaanxi Province."

"That's my job as the branch leader. If I gather the ones just in Xi'an, I'd have about a thousand, right?"

"Don't get ahead of yourself, Third-Knot. I'm an Eighth-Knot. The only one in the Beggar Sect! When Hugae calls, they should come running even from the neighboring provinces."

"Shaanxi will turn into a real beggar's den. At that point, it's not begging, it's looting."

"Oh, looting? I heard there's plenty to eat on Mount Zhongnan... Let's go dry up their food supply."

Not Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, but Goong Gi-Bang and the Ten Thousand Beggars. [Note: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves is a folk tale in Arabic added to the One Thousand and One Nights in the 18th century. It remains one of the most popular Arabian Nights tales.]

I knew the Beggar Sect was a major faction with one hundred thousand members, but hearing this, it feels overwhelming.

'Like a swarm of locusts.'

If 10,000 beggars descended upon Mount Zhongnan, within a month, it would transform from a lush mountain to a barren wasteland. The natural fauna would be decimated, and even the edible grass and tree bark would be stripped bare.

“What kind of nonsense are you spouting now...”

Hwang Bo-Eom's aged hands quivered with indignation.

"Do you think this old man would stand by and watch that happen? I will personally request that the head of your sect punish you two!"

"Do as you wish. He might get beaten to death by my Master, but surely my Master wouldn't kill his only disciple. However..."

Goong Gi-Bang's tone turned ominously deep, like a shadowy abyss.

"As the Hugae of the Beggar Sect, I have issued an order to the Xi'an Branch. And only two people in the world can override the Hugae's orders: the Dragon Head Lord, leader of the hundred thousand members of the Beggar Sect, and the Judicator Beggar, who enforces our rules." [Note: The direct translation of the moniker here is the Dragon Head Lord. This is the leader of the Beggar Sect, previously believed to be the Boundless Seeker. This may be his official title within the Beggar Sect, as the leader of the Sect should be the keeper of the 18 Subduing Dragon Palms.]

“…!”

“My Master, the Dragon Head Lord, has often said: Do we have no homes or no pride? Grandmaster Hwang has offended the pride of a beggar.”

Furthermore, Goong Gi-Bang is a high-ranking beggar.

In his ragged grandeur, Goong Gi-Bang exuded a strange, dignified air.

'A beggar indeed.'

His voice, rich with gravity yet discussing modest affairs, commanded the room's attention. Turning to Heuk Geol-Gae, he inquired,

"Did you bring everything I mentioned in the letter?"

"Of course. How could I not follow Hugae's orders?"

At his signal, disciples from the Xi'an Branch began methodically arranging bamboo slips - a hundred in total.

But that wasn't the end.

"What are you waiting for? Time to contribute!"

At Wolhwa's seductive voice, the standing members of the Lower District Sect began placing bundles of paper next to the bamboo slips.

The amount of paper was comparable to the amount of bamboo slips. Hwang Bo-Eom's face hardened at the sight unfolding before him.

“What is this?”

I looked over the bamboo slips and papers, a glint of recognition in my eyes.

"Don't you see anything familiar? Something like... the endless misfortunes of the Dragon Pheonix Escort Agency over the past two years?"

"…!"

"Let's revisit the past like salmon swimming upstream. And additionally, let's find out how the Thousand-Year Snow Ginseng, which was present and on time until recently, suddenly disappeared without a trace."

The tension between the two representatives was palpable.

Hwang Bo-Eom was ensnared in bewilderment, and the other was Ju Hwa-Ran.

Her demeanor was calm, her piercing gaze fixed on Hwang Bo-Eom with an icy intensity.

"So this is the truth of it.”

“Did you know?”

“I couldn’t have known. I had suspicions, but lacked the means to pursue them.”

Because her adversary was one of the Nine Great Sects.

The following words seemed to echo through the air, carrying the weight of untold struggles.

For two years, the Southern Edge Sect had been the unseen hand guiding the Dragon Phoenix Armed Escort Agency's downfall. To the uninformed, Ju Hwa-Ran's reputation appeared to crumble in mere years, but that was a misconception.

The Agency was already faltering when Ju Hwa-Ran, still young, assumed command.

Her resilience against the Southern Edge Sect's looming threat attested to her exceptional prowess.

But now, the tides were turning.

"You've had a hard time."

At my words, Ju Hwa-Ran bit her lip.

She continued with a brave smile instead of tears.

"Thank you, Young Master Jin. But let's save those words for after this courier journey is over."

Indeed, as she declared, the Dragon Phoenix Armed Escort Agency's journey was far from over.

I nodded subtly to Heuk Geol-Gae and Wolhwa.

“Let’s get started.”

* * *

Hwang Bo-Eom's mind raced with confusion.

'How did this happen?'

Everything had been going smoothly. Over the past two years, he had carefully executed each step, and now only the final touch was left.

Or so he had believed.

“Last summer, the Dragon Pheonix Armed Escort Agency suffered a loss amounting to 1,000 silver nyang due to a failed transaction with the Golden Five Trading Company. In this process, a person named Hwang Cheol-Sim secretly intervened, and according to what the text understands, he was a member of the Southern Edge Sect… .” [Note: the Golden Five Trading Company is a direct translation of the term used here, but I don't think that we have ever seen something like this before. I am not 100% sure if this is a reference to something we have seen in the manhwa (like the Shanxi Five Sects), or something random thrown in here for world building.]

The reports reaching Hwang Bo-Eom's ears sounded distant, almost surreal.

The findings of the Lower District Sect and the Beggar Sect were alarmingly precise.

Cross-referencing these reports revealed new, concrete facts, unraveling like threads in a tapestry.

'This is ridiculous.'

As Hwang Bo-Eom stood immobilized, his thoughts frozen, Jin Tae-Kyung's expression caught his eye.

A slight, mocking smile. Eyes that seemed to pierce through facades.

Jin Tae-Kyung was mocking him.

'It's all because of him. If it weren't for him, if only...'

People said the Tai Yi Ruthless Sword Hwang Bo-Eom was different from his martial brothers.

But they were wrong. In that moment, rage consumed him entirely.

In place of his cold, calculating heart, a more intense murderous intent filled the void.

"You-!"

Swoosh!

A sword drawn from thin air.

A silver streak erupted from the scabbard that Hwang Bo-Eom grasped in his hand.


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