Chapter 108. Desperate Fight Against a Bandit

Kang Oh and Eder explored Gummons Tower in search of a hidden dungeon. 

Gummons Tower was a white, 5-story tower.

Different monsters spawned on each floor. There was also an observatory at the top of the tower, which gave players a view of the stars. 

Though they hadn’t been searching for very long, Kang Oh’s Hyper Intuition went off.

It was the feeling that something was out of place, which meant that there was something here. 

"Here!"

Kang Oh pointed at the white brick wall. To be more specific, he pointed at a brick that seemed older and more worn out than the others. 

He immediately pressed on the brick.

Rumble.

The wall turned with a 'rumble', creating a passageway large enough for a person to walk through. 


[You have discovered the hidden dungeon, Gummon's Underground Waterway.]


He found a hidden dungeon!

Yet his expression was frozen stiff because he hadn’t been ‘the first’ to discover it. 

"Tch."

Kang Oh clicked his tongue.

"What's wrong?" Eder asked.

"Someone must've cleared this dungeon before."

Finding a hidden dungeon didn't guarantee a huge payout; only an undiscovered hidden dungeon would. 

"Shouldn't we take a look inside regardless?"

"Yeah. Let's see what shows up."

Kang Oh and Eder exited the pitch-black darkness and entered the passageway.

A few hours later...

Kang Oh defeated the hidden dungeon's boss, the Giant Crocodile.


[You have defeated the Giant Crocodile, Crogel.]


As expected, he wasn't the first to defeat it. Thus, he wouldn't receive a bonus for killing it. 

Kang Oh picked up the items with low expectations. 

They were gloves shaped like a crocodile head.

The gloves were only B-rank. Not only that, but the item's abilities and effects were mediocre. They were like cheap goods that said 'Made in China'.

"I can't sell them and I can't use them for Gluttony either. They're complete garbage."

Kang Oh decided to feed Ubist the gloves and the other junk items later.

"Probably no money too."

He searched the boss room just in case.

However, the crocodile hole only contained 5 gold. 

"Tch. Let's head to the next dungeon."

After that, Kang Oh and Eder went through two more dungeons.

First, they visited Marcytel's Garden. Despite looking everywhere, they weren’t able to find a hidden dungeon there. 

Next, they explored the Levaldo Cave. It was a dungeon filled with monster bears.

He was able to find a hidden dungeon this time. 

However...!


[You have discovered the hidden dungeon, Tomb of the Bear God.]


He didn't see the 'first to discover' message this time either!

"Not again!" Kang Oh shouted angrily.

"Today just isn't your day," Eder comforted him.

"Hoo, hoo."

Kang Oh caught his breath and calmed down. He then calmly assessed the situation.

'It's not just luck. The number of undiscovered hidden dungeons is going down.'

Kang Oh thought back to the list of dungeons he wanted to explore, intent on finding a hidden dungeon. 

Level 120 - 180 monsters would spawn in these dungeons. 

Most of the playerbase could hunt in these dungeons. Thus, it was plausible that some of them could find the hidden dungeons or had already done so. 

How many of these dungeons actually contained an undiscovered hidden dungeon? 

'Most of them will have been discovered already, unless they're so well hidden that it requires my Hyper Intuition to find them.'

Kang Oh realized that it'd be difficult to abuse his Hyper Intuition and find the same success he'd had thus far.

"Phew," he sighed deeply.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah. I'm ok now. I think I need to change my strategy from now on."

Eder stared at Kang Oh, seemingly saying, 'What the hell are you talking about?'.

"From now on, our objective is no longer finding hidden dungeons; it's getting stronger."

Because he'd been so focused on finding hidden dungeons, Kang Oh had slacked on character growth.

However, he decided that now was the time to focus on character growth, or becoming stronger.

Plus...!

He was taking the long approach; by becoming stronger, he could monopolize the higher difficulty dungeons before anyone else.

'I've made enough money to last me a while, so... this is the right time to focus on character growth.'

He'd made so much money from his trip to the Bariton Desert that he didn't need to worry about money for a while.

"I have no problems with that."

Obviously, Eder was in agreement.

Focusing on leveling meant that they’d reach the Goddess of Death, Deborah’s shrine, sooner. 

"I'm going to hit level 200 ASAP."

Kang Oh clenched his fist.

"Level 200?"

"Yeah!"

The reason he'd chosen level 200 was simple.

Gospel, a professor from the Tower, had given him an S-rank necklace in exchange for Bercy’s keepsake; however, the necklace had a minimum level requirement of 200. 

The 'Wind Yearning Flame Necklace' would quadruple the power of any wind-based ability.

Which meant...!

'It'll let me a Tempest Tiger that’s four times as strong!'

So equipping the necklace would be akin to giving a tiger wings. 

"Anyway, let's finish up by clearing this hidden dungeon."

Kang Oh pointed at the entrance. 

"Understood."

The two began hunting within the Tomb of the Bear God.

Devil Bears with horns as black as blood appeared within. The boss, a priest that worshipped the Bear God, was stationed at the end of the cave. 

It wasn't a tough boss, so Kang Oh and Eder were able to defeat it quickly.

Of course, he didn't obtain a 'first time' bonus, and the items it dropped were pretty mediocre.

Not only that, but the altar used for worship only had 7 gold and a single piece of bearskin on top of it. 

Kang Oh and Eder immediately returned to Altein.

"I'll see you tomorrow."

Eder left.

Kang Oh began formulating a plan to level up as quickly as possible.

* * *

If one asked a ranker what the best way to level up was, 8 out of 10 of them would say this:

Fight against monsters that are stronger than you!

Their reasoning was straightforward. 

By fighting against monsters stronger than oneself, one's side stats and proficiency would go up faster.

Furthermore, a player could improve their control over their character by fighting against stronger enemies.

Kang Oh knew he’d have to to do the same. 

Therefore, Kang Oh had picked the Red Beards.

The Red Beards operated from Helm Mountain, where they stole from others as criminals. 

It was said that their leader, Stadion, was over level 400. 

Plus...!

The Red Beard Bandits themselves were over level 200. 

Whoosh.

"Die!"

One of the bandits, who wore white woolen clothes made of wolf fur, swung downwards with their sword. 

Clang!

The bandit whacked Eder's skull shield with his blade. 

"Ugh."

The bandit’s strength overpowered him, causing Eder to fall backwards. 

Then, the bandit attacked the defenseless Eder.

But Kang Oh wouldn't let that happen.

"Huahp!"

Kang Oh swung his sword horizontally.

Slash!

He etched a horizontal white line into the air, dividing the upper and lower body!

Darkness Strike activated simultaneously!

Black and white intertwined, and came rushing at the bandit. 

The bandit forwent dodging and chose to counterattack instead. 

Brave Strike!

His sword emanated a green energy.

Bam!

Their swords clashed.

Kang Oh wasn't pushed back in the least.

They were evenly matched!

Kang Oh's eyes glinted.

This was a first; thus far, he’d never faced an opponent that could endure one of his attacks augmented by Darkness Strike. 

'He’s strong.'

The bandit was over level 200, and possessed strength and skill that a monster couldn't possess.

At that moment, Eder swung his mace at the bandit's back.

Eder had, at some point, stood up and had aimed for the bandit's rear.

The bandit quickly turned around and blocked his mace.

Boom!

Heavy Blow exploded, but the bandit essentially came out undamaged. 

In exchange...!

His attack gave Kang Oh an opportunity. Eder had diverted the bandit's attention which had, in turn, caused the bandit to expose himself. 

'There!'

Kang Oh thrust his sword, piercing through the bandit's side.

Stab!

Red shards of light burst out. This was his first real hit ever since the battle had begun. 

But it was still too early to be happy. The bandit's blade came flying at him.

Whoosh.

Kang Oh defended himself with his own sword. 

Clang!

The shrill of metal upon metal was akin to a scream. He could feel the force behind the bandit's sword through his body. 

Kang Oh was pushed back.

The bandit charged at Kang Oh and swung downwards.

Brave Strike!

Kang Oh felt a chill at the center of his body. If he didn't react in time, then he would definitely be bisected.

He suddenly had an idea. He didn't move and just let the bandit hit him.

Right before the blade made contact...

The Baramut set's Wind Shield activated.


[The Baramut set's special ability, Wind Shield has activated.]

[The attack has been nullified.]

[Cooldown: 60 minutes]


Once the bandit's attack had been nullified, Kang Oh pushed into the bandit's chest area.

"Take this!"

Tempest Tiger!

He swung his sword upwards, a golden tiger following his blade and sweeping away the bandit.

Bam!

"Ugh!"

The bandit tottered.

His white leather was in tatters and there were claw marks on the bandit's skin.

It was a clean hit!

Whoosh.

The aura was followed by raging wind whips, and Kang Oh attacked simultaneously with his sword.

Slash!

Sweep!

A diagonal wound was left on the bandit.

Kang Oh prepared his next attack, aiming for the wound. 

However, the bandit got a hold of himself and counterattacked. Kang Oh was forced back, unable to attack the wound. 

"Haa, haa."

"Hoo, hoo."

The battle had briefly entered a state of lull. The bandit and Kang Oh stared at each other whilst catching their breath.

Eder stood behind the bandit and waited for his opportunity.

Slowly...

The bandit began to move bit-by-bit, and Kang Oh followed suit.

Now…!

"Kuha!" the Bandit screamed and rushed towards Kang Oh.

Kang Oh swung his demon sword.

Clang!

Their swords clashed, causing Kang Oh’s hands to tingle. 

The bandit swung horizontally, aiming for Kang Oh's neck. Kang Oh swung upwards.

Clang.

Their blades collided once more.

Eder had been waiting for this; a black, evil spirit popped out of his mouth.

Aging Curse!

The evil spirit clung to the bandit's back. Then, Eder spat out a rusty chain.

Slowing Curse!

The rusty chains surrounded the bandit in an X formation. As a result, the bandit's movements were slowed.

"Ergh!"

The bandit attempted to break the chains, but it wouldn't work. After all, they weren't real chains, but the result of a curse.

"Good work, Eder."

It'd been a long since he had complimented Eder.

Kang Oh quickly rushed towards the bandit and swung his sword. Eder positioned his shield in front of him and charged.

The two of them gritted their teeth and attacked repeatedly.

Chop, slash, whack!

Heavy Blow! Shield Bash!

But the Bandit wouldn't just take this lying down.

Cut, slash, Brave Strike!

Clang!

Bang!

After that, the three engaged in a fierce battle. 

Kang Oh eventually landed a hit.

Whack!

Black shards scattered. 

The demon sword's special ability, 'Fang Bearing Blade' had caused his attack to ignore the bandit's defense.

Kang Oh used all of his remaining MP to unleash one last Tempest Tiger. 

Kuhang!

That finished it.

The bandit's body fell to the ground.


[You have defeated a Red Beard Bandit.]

[Side stats have increased.]

[Indomitable +1]

[You have leveled up.]


Now Kang Oh was level 150. His side stat, Indomitable, had gone up too.

However, he suddenly felt a chill around his heart. Kang Oh instinctively flung his body away.

Whizz!

An arrow struck where he'd once been.

He raised his head and saw a bow wielding bandit.


[You have encountered the Red Beard's Bear Warrior, Hamir.]


'A named enemy!'

Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.

Hamir notched another arrow.

"Run!"

Kang Oh and Eder rushed towards Hamir.

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