Chapter 81. <The World’s Shabbiest. (1) >
Translator: thursdays Editor: Sasha QC: LightBrin
Murmuring sounds flowed all over the snowfield.
“What the hell just happened?”
“I… I’m alive…?”
“Is this heaven…?”
The members of the Demonic Cult. The people of the Righteous Sect.
The last thing they remembered was their own death. They may have memories of being bitten by Jiangshi, but they had no memories of turning into Jiangshi. From their point of view, years had passed in the blink of an eye.
But there were also people who had been fully aware of the past three years.
Master stared at the snowfield blankly like she couldn’t believe her eyes.
“You’re not simply from beyond the walls, are you? No, you must be from a completely different world… This, this sort of thing is not the sort of sorcery that a mere human can do. It’s an act out of some absurd legend. Or, did I perhaps die and arrive at Paradise without realizing it?”
“No. That’s not the case.”
I shook my head quietly.
“These people, like you, Master, can no longer use martial arts. They’re very weak compared to when they were alive. However, this is not Paradise, and those people have memories of their lives.”
“Please go and check it for yourself.”
“Please go now, Master.”
Master stepped on to the snow. Tap, tap… Her footsteps were very light. They were the footsteps of a person whose lower abdomen chi was taken out. They were the footsteps of a martial artist who lost her inner energy. They were the footsteps of a woman who struggled against a disease for three years.
The Heavenly Demon.
She approached the cultists with those light footsteps. The cultists were still trying to make sense of the situation.
“F, first we have to check the current situation. Everyone stay calm! Send a reconnaissance…!”
“Blood Guard Leader.”
The cultists flinched. A group of 12 or so cultists fell into silence. They then looked at Master, their leader, with a confused look.
Master’s breath thickened, becoming whiter.
“Blood Guard Leader.”
“It really is you.”
The silence was contagious. At first, only ten or so were silent. But when ten people shut their mouths, the dozens of people around them shut their mouths, and the hundreds of people around those dozens shut their mouths as well in a cascade.
The snowfield was silent.
“Demon Lord Wolyeong…”
“Flame Ghost Demon.”
“Yes, my liege.”
“At your command.”
One by one, Master began to call the names of the cultists. The cultists who were called did not ask any questions. They just immediately knelt down. Crunch. Crunch. As they all knelt down, the snow beneath them compressed.
“I had lost you all…”
Master reached out her hand.
“I lost you, again and again.”
Master stroked one of the cultists’ cheek. She patted it.
Her fingers trembled. Seeing their master tremble like so, the cultists hurriedly bowed their heads. This wasn’t something that they should see. It was their way of showing their devotion to her. One thousand members of the cult all turned their gaze to the floor.
It wasn’t just the Demonic Cult members that were in shock, of course.
The old monk stroked his beard.
“I must have died in the cave and crossed the river. When I closed my eyes, there is no Nirvana, no grave, just this snowfield…”
“…And there is also this common man mixed in among us. Oho. Even if I close my eyes, I must still mix with this person. What does the Buddha want from this monk?”
“Seeing how you’re just talking bullshit… you really are the monk!”
The Murim Lord ran and hugged the old man. I finally realized who the old man was. He was the Shaolin head monk, the one who endured the longest after Master and the Murim Lord.
“You came back! You’re alive! My friend, you came back to us!”
“I am not your friend.”
“Ahh! This is undoubtedly a miracle from the Jade Emperor!”
“I hear the sound of a dog eating grass.”
In other words, it was complete and utter nonsense.
“Don’t dirty the ears of this monk, commoner. In the first place, I should never have fallen for your temptation to fight against the Demonic Path. It’s better to quietly join the temple.”
“Ahh! My happiness from seeing you cooled as soon as you talked. It really is the monk I know! I just want to punch you in the face!”
The Demonic Cult members were quiet, and while the Righteous Sect’s fighters were noisy with chatter.
They were experiencing this reunion in their own way.
It was Master who first turned her head to look at me. Master and I exchanged glances. Her eyes were dark. And in her eyes, her heart was reflected. My own heart was smeared, engraved with her feelings.
Master opened her mouth.
Her mouth opened, and she spoke to the Murim Lord.
“I am So Baek-hyang of the Demonic Cult.”
The Murim Lord, who was having a small discussion with his sect members, stopped. The Murim Lord let his peers go from his embrace and stared at Master from afar. Master bowed.
“I am the Heavenly Demon.”
“Maybe today is the delusion of a blind man, but that is all right.”
It was midday.
“It’s okay if I am just a sick patient who is daydreaming.”
The snow in this field was not known as the perpetual snow because it did not melt in the sun. It was called that because even as it melted, more snow continued to build on top of it.
“It’s all right if this is just a dream as the world goes to sleep. After all, life is originally an illness that we live through, and the world is the dream that we all share.”
For humans who wished to remain pure white under the blazing sun, it wasn’t enough that they were born white. They had to endlessly spread the white color over the world. They needed the determination to break, be broken, and scattered over and over again.
“I haven’t forgotten the name of the disease I was trying to get. I haven’t lost the fever of my dreams yet. So I haven’t let go of any people yet, and I haven’t let go of the world. Baraya! The name of the disease, not the martial arts, proves my place, and the fever of my dreams, not my internal energy, is proof of who I am.”
The sound of breaking snow.
“I am here, and as long as I stay here I will continue to be me.”
Even if it melts, it falls again.
“I am the main seat of the Demonic Cult.”
Master recited the declaration of war.
“I request our 990th battle.”
Everywhere, it was silent.
The noisy Righteous Sect suddenly became quiet.
The oldest of them and the youngest of them—they were all last heroes of the Murim world. They came here thinking that it would be the last battle of the great war.
How could they act rashly?
If their last words were their wills and testaments, they wanted the words to be the will of the Righteous Sect.
And the people of the righteous path turned to the one who represented the will of the sect.
“Murim Lord. Namgung family.”
The old man bowed.
“Taesang Family Head. Namgung Un.” “I am the Ax Saint.”
One thousand Demonic Cult members and one thousand Righteous Sect members faced each other.
“Your Demonic Cult made the screams of the common folk into your doctrine. The screams turned to revenge, and the revenge turned to genocide, painting the world red with blood. Blood-stained spirits, full of vengeance! You’ve turned the heavens and the earth red, but you still pretend to be the weak.”
The one who had risen as the lord of the Murim world, with his own voice, explained the difference between the demonic path and the righteous path.
“You ceaselessly cry and grab at the hem of the Heavenly Demon. You beg her to take your place, to take on the evils of the world for you. And as you grabbed onto her sleeves, it became clear that you are weak and pitiful people!”
The old lord bellowed.
“Wrong! You too have hands and feet. How long will you dwell on the evils of the past? The Buddha said that if a tree wants to bear fruit, it must throw away its flowers. But what are you doing? You sell your pain like a florist sells flowers!”
In response, a group from the Demonic Cult growled.
The cultists grabbed the hilts of their swords. Their malice rose and killing intent bloomed. Standing against them was the Righteous Sect’s fighters, ready to fight.
Neither side would have any chi, but the air in the snowfield turned savage.
The corner of Master’s mouth tilted upward.
“I suppose this means you accept the challenge.”
“To surrender, or to the death?”
“To the death.”
The two fighters broke their stances.
At the same time, a thousand Demonic Cultists and a thousand Righteous Sect fighters drew their swords. It was midday. Two thousand blades shone brightly in the sunlight.
“Children of the Demonic Cult!”
Master clenched her fist.
“You can think of today as a dream or a hallucination!”
One thousand cultists cried all at once.
“Perhaps this is all just a vain dream!”
“If so, shouldn’t we live like it’s a dream?”
“Our hearts are candles!”
“Burn this place!”
“For the Demonic Cult!”
“For the common man!”
Master burst into laughter.
“Kill them all!”
The war began.
One thousand cultists roared and ran like beasts. There was no clever footwork. There were no interesting techniques. They rushed like beasts and bit like beasts. It was their war according to their doctrine.
“You hypocrites! I am Demon Lord Wolyeong, the first rank of the Four Demon Lords of our sect! Taste my blade!”
The Demonic Cult’s Shadow Corpse Squadron.
Demon Lord Wolyeong.
“I am Hyun Gong Jin, the faction leader of the Mudang Buddhists! I see there’s no shortage of worthy opponents!”
Mudang Buddhist Faction.
Hyun Gong Jin.
The two men clashed with each other as they yelled. The only courtesy between them was their self-introductions. The fight itself was brutal.
Demon Lord Wolyeong punched Hyun Gong Jin with the hilt of his sword. Puk! Teeth. Blood. White shrapnel exploded and red liquid splattered.
Hyun Gong Jin yelled, revealing his broken teeth. Then he lifted his fingers and stabbed Demon Lord Wolyeon’s eyes. Puk! With the popping sound, “Hahahaha!” Demon Lord Wolyeong was overcome with laughter. The Buddhist’s cries and the cultist’s laughter intertwined.
Another pair of opposites was beside the two of them.
“Of the Four Demon Lords. First rank. Flame Ghost Demon. I will take your head.”
The Demonic Cult’s Memorial Squadron.
Flame Ghost Demon.
“May Buddha have mercy. I am called Jomyeong.”
“With respect to the head monk, I, the first rank of the Four Demon Lords, will allow you to attack me three times first.”
“The Buddha will surely remember your respect!”
At the words of the Flame Ghost Demon, Monk Jomyeong immediately attacked. He wrapped prayer beads around his fist and swung it. The Flame Ghost Demon, who said he would allow him three attacks, immediately ducked down and headbutted the monk’s stomach. “Kuhh!” Monk Jomyeong groaned, then scoffed.
“You said you were yielding the first three hits.”
“Did you really believe me?”
“Do I look like I believed you?”
“Yes.” Drip. The sound of flowing blood interrupted his words. “It looks like you did.”
The Flame Ghost Demon crumpled to the ground. His nose bone was broken. At the moment when the Flame Ghost Demon headbutted him, Monk Jomyeong lifted his knee up as if he had expected it to happen. Looking at the Flame Ghost Demon, whose face was stained from his nosebleed, Monk Jomyeong happily stroked his beard.
“My acting skills have not gone rusty yet.”
“You piece of shit…”
“I still have two more hits to go!”
Holding both ears of the Flame Ghost Demon, Monk Jomyeong repeatedly struck him with his knee. Similarly, the Flame Ghost Demon hit the monk’s knee with his forehead. Crack…! It was the sound of the skull breaking a knee cartilage. “Kuhhhhh!” Monk Jomyeong grabbed his knee in pain and hopped around.
“Kuhahahaha! Th, those guys! They’re fighting like common thugs without their chi! This is their skill! Amazing! The true faces of these Righteous Sect bastards are being exposed to the world. What a wonderful day!”
The Demonic Cult’s Assassination Squadron.
“……You truly are vulgar.”
Mt. Hwa Buddhist Faction.
Thousand Sword Nanhwa.
The two swordsmen clashed with their swords. Clang! As their swords hit, “Kuh!” “Ooh!” Both sides screamed at the same time and clasped their blades. Neither side could handle the impact caused by the collision of their blades.
But neither let go of their swords.
The Sword Demon grinned, baring his teeth.
“Fuck… Stop being stubborn and just let go!”
Thousand Sword Nanhwa replied through gritted teeth,
“That’s what I was going to say…”
The two looked each other in the eye and struck again. Clang! A breathless scream, then clang! The sound of swallowing unnecessary hope, clang! Hands and shoulders trembled. Both of them bled from where their grips had been torn. The blood that flowed from their lips and their grasps mixed together.
But again, neither of them let go of their swords.
The white uniform fluttered. The black robe shook. The sunlight fell over them, casting shadows on the field. Between the sun and the shadow, the Righteous Sect and the Demonic Cult clashed. Blood burst.
“For the Demonic Cult! For the common man!”
“Ahhhhhhhhh! Die! All of you, die!”
“You phony bastards, come at me!”
A monochrome world.
It was not splendid martial arts that flowed vividly there.
It was only the red blood of humans.
“Huff, haha… Ahaha.”
Among it was a particularly red smile.
“Ahahaha! Hah! Ha, ahahahaha!”
She was truly howling with laughter.
“There really are a lot of Righteous Sect kids!”
Master was shouting.
“Good. Come at me. Let us match our swords!”
A black shade ripped through the Righteous Sect’s people. The sun seemed to rise and set at least ten times faster. The movement of the woman who suffered from disease for three years unable to use her chi stood out against the warriors who also could not use the same martial arts.
“This is unfair!”
“Head monk of the Shaolin sect. Did you think you could kill the great me with that meager strength? You horse-faced Taoist. How arrogant to think you could withstand this cult’s power.”
These words were familiar to me.
“Mt. Song is flooded with the grief overflowing from the world! The heaven and earth’s grudge burns the mountain! The Demonic Cult is the peak of the Murim world, and I am the peak of the Demonic Cult! Are you qualified to deal with a god among gods?”
However, Master herself was unfamiliar with these words.
“You shall not pass! Lackeys of the righteous path!”
Sword clashed with sword and flesh bumped against flesh, but Master’s cry pierced through all these sounds.
“Where is Namgung Un?!”
Master laughed and yelled again.
“Call the Namgung family and the Taesang family! Summon the Murim Lord here! No matter how dense the forest is nor how vast the sky, there is only one person who will receive the sword of my great self under this heavenly world! Four Demon Lords! Bring Namgung Un in front of me!”
The sound of her laughter was red and ecstatic.
The old man walked step by step into a world that was turning redder.
“I remember the first day of the war.”
The Murim Lord took off his shirt. The winter air was cold. The cold would be crushing because the Murim Lord could not use internal energy, but he seemed to embrace the cold. Muscles that were as dry as bones stiffened.
“We couldn’t come to a conclusion that day, so the great battle continued onto the second day. We couldn’t finish it on the second day, so it was reserved for the third day. In the end, we started off wrong! When I think about it now, I should have used all my energy from the start.”
The Murim Lord took a deep breath.
Then he straightened up and beckoned with his hand.
“Come on. Madu. Today, luck is on my side.”
The Murim Alliance.
“Luck, you say. Good.”
Master stepped on the snow.
“Your luck today will be your doom.”
They breathed in.
The two stared at each other.
A half breath.
The two walked closer.
When the two breaths met,
Their hands attacked each other as well.
Flurries of snow whipped through the air.
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