Murim Login (Novel) Chapter 324

Chapter 324

Kwaaaaa!

The Fire of Calamity erupted, devouring the lingering chill of early spring.

Dozens of phantasmal blades from the Tai Yi Spectral Sword, shimmering and multiplying, merged into a singular, formidable weapon.

Sword Aura and Fire of Calamity clashed, an epic collision of powers.

Gugugugung!

A thunderous roar reverberated, muffling all sound, as a vortex of energy encircled the old and young man at its epicenter.

Blue flames wrapped around the wind and surged through the ceiling of Dengwang Tower, soaring like a dragon.

Witnessing this, Hwang Bo-Eom's eyes flickered.

‘Fire Dragon…!'

Unbeknownst to him, his once pristine white beard had turned black with soot.

Engulfed by the young man's intense gaze, Hwang Bo-Eom was oblivious to everything else, his senses overwhelmed.

'It's scorching.'

This unexpected display of Transcendent power was astounding.

His body, fortified by years of martial training, was impervious to extremes of temperature.

Yet, the young man's fiery eyes conveyed more than heat.

They radiated anger, combativeness, and even a strand of chilling logic.

How could this be? This youth, barely mature...

“Cough.”

Gugugrr.

With a dry, hacking cough, Hwang Bo-Eom spat out blood, his gaze fixed on the young man's spear.

The spear, enshrouded in bluish-white flames, featured a translucent silver blade.

A manifestation of Protective Qi, still incomplete.

'No, it's not that. He hasn't yet broken through the barrier. But how could this old man...'

Hwang Bo-Eom, who had transcended that barrier a decade ago.

How could he, enlightened through years of rigorous training and meditation, be bested by a youth barely at the Peak Realm?

“…How is this possible?”

The young man's response was succinct.

“Because I'm stronger.”

“…!”

The spear, resonating with a low hum, exerted immense pressure on Hwang Bo-Eom.

Kagagagak!

“Hah!”

His sudden outburst of power and the use of his ultimate martial arts techniques were all in vain.

The energy channeling through the spear was of Divine Strength, transcending human limits, echoing myths from his youth.

'Pangu.'

The primordial giant who swung an axe to create the world. [Note: In Chinese mythology, Pangu, the first being, emerged from a cosmic egg and used a giant axe to separate Yin and Yang, creating heaven and earth. After his death, his body transformed into various elements of the natural world.]

Before him stood a young man, embodying the might of deities within his mortal frame, wielding more than just Divine Strength.

Seureuk!

The perceptiveness of a Transcendent Master far eclipses that of a typical martial artist.

Yet, Hwang Bo-Eom couldn't evade the unforeseen silver streak.

Decades had passed since he last experienced such pain; the sudden eruption of blood from his shoulder widened his eyes in shock.

'When did he...'

The attack was imperceptible, surpassing even the capabilities of the Tai Yi Spectral Sword, the Southern Edge Sect's pride.

Hwang Bo-Eom, after dedicating eighty years to mastering the Southern Edge Sect’s martial arts, exclaimed in disbelief.

“This can’t be! It's impossible!”

Kwagwagwang!

With a surge of energy, the Protective Qi around his blade ignited, resembling an untamed blaze.

Narrowly escaping the onslaught, Hwang Bo-Eom, his fingers trembling, pointed at the young man.

“Who are you... exactly?”

“You already know.”

Jin Tae-Kyung, the young man, spat out with the boldness of a street thug.

“The future nineteenth leader of the Scorching Clan.”

Hwareureureuk!

The Fire of Calamity wrapped around the transparent spear blade, crackling and roaring with renewed ferocity.

* * *

Ssiaeeeaak! Gwang!

Spear and sword clashed, locked in a fleeting yet intense exchange.

The Fire of Calamity and Sword Aura destroyed everything in their vicinity in a rapid succession of blows.

Shhh! Crack!

With a quick blink, I shifted my stance. A surge of energy burst forth from his sword, raised skyward, slicing through a distant column as if it were mere tofu, sending it crumbling.

Leaping up, I navigated the wooden debris cascading from above. My movements were paradoxical - light yet substantial, fluid yet abrupt.

It felt akin to an unfurling flame.

‘This is truly what the Brilliant Path of Fire was created for.’

I was suddenly buoyant, caught in a moment where time seemed to crawl. I alone moved with haste, as light and swift as a darting bullet.

Ding!

- Enlightenment finds you in various ways. Through endless practice and meditation, and life-and-death battles.

- [Brilliant Path of Fire] has reached seventh mastery!

- You have gained a considerable amount of experience!

Paaang!

A burst of energy propelled me forward. As the system notification chimed, I found myself face-to-face with Hwang Bo-Eom.

Was it because of the unexpected enlightenment, or the increased speed? Suddenly I was too close to thrust my spear.

Instead of withdrawing, I extended an open palm.

Hnngh!

My palm, cutting through the air with fiery speed, reached forward. Hwang Bo-Eom, roaring mightily, countered with his own palm.

His aged palm radiated a dazzling azure glow - the Southern Edge Sect's revered Heaven's Firmament Azure Palm. [Note: the direct translation of the move is something like "Azure Cloud Heavenly Steel Hand" but I have made a stylistic choice here.]

Yet, he lacked time to fully harness his Palm Aura. [Note: like Sword Aura, but now Hwang Bo-Eom is using a Palm technique.]

Ha.

'I'm faster.'

Clap! Hnngh.

Our palms clashed, followed by a pained groan.

Hwang Bo-Eom, his face ashen from internal injuries, clenched his teeth and extended his other hand towards me.

Papapat!

Five wind blades sliced through the air, their effort in vain.

In an instant, if I hadn’t caught his wrist with the Claw of the Fire Dragon, I would have been injured.

'He's finished. Where does he find the audacity to keep going?'

Crunch.

With my thumb, index, and middle fingers, I twisted his captive wrist. A muffled scream escaped his gritted teeth.

Tai Yi Ruthless Sword, Hwang Bo-Eom. It had been ages since he last felt such agony.

As the curtain falls, the actors depart the stage.

The epoch of the Great Faction War, a stage for heroes, had faded into history fifty years prior, leaving its champions dispersed.

The Hwang Bo-Eom before me now was no longer the hero of lore, but a diminished, petty old man.

'This is going to hurt, you ancient bastard.'

Releasing his weakened wrist, I uncurled my fingers, previously shaped like a dragon's talons.

Kkaddeuk.

Daily, I had honed a single stance, each repetition burdened with hundreds of kilograms of iron.

Rooted firmly in the stance, my lower body like deep-seated roots, my waist a sturdy pillar, and my fist, guided by Jeok Cheon-Gang's precise teachings, never strayed an inch.

'At first, I shattered rocks.'

And cleaved through waterfalls cascading from great heights.

'Then, I pulverized cliffs.'

My knuckles, now as tough as a tortoise shell from endless fractures and healings, glowed with a blue-white flame.

The time it took to assume the position and throw the punch was merely a moment.

'Flame-Extinguishing Divine Fist.'

Sssssss.

The Scorching Yang Qi evaporated all the moisture within a few meters. Hwang Bo-Eom's lips, cracked like a drought-stricken field, parted.

"Don't-!"

“Okay.”

As I uttered these words, the Flame-Extinguishing Divine Fist was unleashed.

The protective Qi of the Transcendent Master attempted to ward off the strike, but it faltered almost instantly; my punch shattered the energy shield around him and collided with his fragile flesh and bones.

Kwajik!

“Aaaaargh!”

Propelled backwards by the force, Hwang Bo-Eom crashed through three pillars and a wall, bringing the remainder of the ceiling down with him.

Just as I thought this was the end, a pair of bloodshot eyes pierced through the settling dust cloud.

“Cough, hyugh!”

“Just stay down. If you want to save what little life you have left.”

“How could you, you…”

A tempest of shock, rage, humiliation, and disbelief swirled within Hwang Bo-Eom's gaze.

Eventually, they converged into a singular, potent emotion.

'Hatred.'

His blood-stained lips parted slowly. Blood, mingled with fragments of his innards, oozed out, but Hwang Bo-Eom's eyes blazed with an unyielding ferocity.

In his eyes, I saw the recklessness of a man indifferent to consequences.

"I am... the First Sword of the Southern Edge Sect."

As he spoke, the surrounding hot wind subsided, replaced by a chilling breeze. This cold wind emanated from a solitary figure, from a single sword.

Feeling my overheated blood begin to cool, I murmured to myself.

"This is...”

“Tai Yi Invisible Sword. Look closely. With this, I will sever your breath."

Shiiing-

The sword glided, the wind followed. They were one and the same - each slash bringing a wind sharper than any steel.

A potent aroma of blood hung in the air.

Squeeeee!

A slight sidestep, a movement that spared my life.

The wound on my neck, seeping blood, didn't register in my mind. Invisible sword strikes from Hwang Bo-Eom's distant blade assailed me like relentless waves.

Whoosh, whoosh!

Pain lanced my side. The sword's energy reverberated within me.

Reeling, I raised my arm. An attack, narrowly missing, cleaved through a beam as if it were mere tofu.

'What is this?'

Slice!

But I had no time to contemplate. Another cut opened across my chest. Blood gushed, drenching the ground.

'I can't see it.'

It was like being shrouded in thick fog.

This wasn't a battle of mere strength or speed. It was a transcendent sword technique, wielded by a martial artist whose enlightenment surpassed mine, even as his power dwindled.

But...

'How have I been able to avoid it until now?'

This question suddenly consumed my thoughts.

Dozens of sword strikes rained down on my immobilized form. I gazed blankly at the onslaught.

Then, I closed my eyes. In the ensuing darkness, the face of one person danced before me.

His clear voice echoed faintly.

'In Murim, keep your eyes wide open, and you won’t get cut down by a sword.'

'What if I face death anyway?'

'Then pluck out those useless eyes and see with your heart.'

‘My heart? How would I even do that?'

'Have you tried it?'

Yes. I have.

Well, I am right now.

'This was what you were trying to teach me, right?'

A smile unknowingly crept onto my face.

Blind to the world, yet acutely perceptive, I sensed the imminent sword strikes shrouded in darkness. These were the desperate final efforts of the Tai Yi Ruthless Sword, Hwang Bo-Eom.

'Thank you for the lesson, Grandfather.'

With eyes sealed shut, I maneuvered my body, each movement as finely tuned as a pianist's keystroke.

The sword strikes, missing my flesh, shredded my clothing and scarred the earth.

Kwagwagwagwagwang!

Amidst the cacophony, I slowly opened my eyes. Hwang Bo-Eom's face, etched with shock, entered my view.

His eyes revealed an emotion none had ever witnessed in him before.

'Fear.'

He must know it too. That's why he's so afraid.

My face will be the last thing this old man sees.

"Don't, don't come closer!"

Shiiik!

Advancing a step, I brandished my spear. The sword aiming for my neck met my spear blade and dissipated.

And then another step.

Shishishisheung!

My spear maneuvers were as instinctive as drawing breath. Deflecting, blocking, thrusting – akin to battling a live adversary, yet my advance was relentless.

I was methodical, and Hwang Bo-Eom was frantic. Disregarding his own physical limits, he unleashed his ultimate strike.

Kwaaaaa!

A Sword Aura, potent enough to obliterate the entire hall, surged towards me.

I observed it nearing, then with a swift motion, my spear struck like a bolt of lightning.

Heavenly Strike.

The Claw of the Fire Dragon ensnared the Sword Aura.

And in the next moment.

Snap!

The fragments of the shattered sword lay strewn across the ground. Hwang Bo-Eom, his gaze transfixed on the remnants of his once-mighty weapon, slowly lifted his head.

“What the hell are you?”

"Why..."

I spoke deliberately, addressing Hwang Bo-Eom, the First Sword of the Southern Edge Sect, the renowned Tai Yi Ruthless Sword.

"Why would you insult someone else’s master and act like such a fucking asshole? You're just an old man who is a disgrace to his Sect. Prepare to die, you old bastard."


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