The contestants took their seats as bright lights illuminated the studio.
Jae Woo glanced at Soo Ah, who sat beside him. Her face appeared darker than usual.
"Did something happen?" Jae Woo asked.
"Is it because of her again?"
‘Her’ obviously referred to Yoon Se Hwa.
"Yes. I'm not feeling bad or anything like that... It's like that feeling where you have a problem that's hard to solve."
How was she supposed to deal with someone who's so jealous and possesses an inferiority complex?
"Do your best."
Jae Woo didn't ask for the details; he just cheered her on instead.
Soo Ah smiled.
Jae Woo stared at Yoon Se Hwa. She was speaking with Tae Gyu.
"We'll begin the shoot," a staff member yelled.
The program's MCs, Kang Seol Hee and Jeon Seong Gook, took center stage.
"Hello, everyone! This is Seol Hee, GBS's lead beauty!"
Kang Seol Hee beamed.
"This is Jeon Seong Gook."
Seon Gook softly waved his hand.
After that, they moved on.
This was their fourth shoot, so the MCs and the participants were familiar with how things went.
"Now then, shall we see which team our viewers chose?" Seol Hee said.
"Yes, please show us."
Seong Gook pointed at the screen.
The screen showed the teams' popularity ranking from 4th to 1st.
"The rankings haven't changed. 1st place is still Mr. Oga and Ms. Soo Ah!"
Seong Gook pointed at Jae Woo and Soo Ah.
Jae Woo softly waved while Soo Ah beamed and bowed her head.
"Hoo, hoo. The rankings may not have changed, but you should be worried."
Seol Hee laughed.
Seong Gook looked curious.
"The second place team, Mr. Tae Gyu and Ms. Se Hwa have almost caught up," Seol Hee said.
Se Hwa and Tae Gyu were still 2nd place, but there wasn’t a huge difference in votes between first and second place.
"I see. Mr. Tae Gyu was really cool and strong last time; he was like a knight riding a white horse," Seong Gook said.
"Indeed. He drew in our female viewers."
Seol Hee pointed at Tae Gyu.
"Thank you very much!" Tae Gyu smiled and said.
Beside him, Yoon Se Hwa gave a very TV-like reaction, saying 'Way to go!'.
"In 3rd place is Mr. Bae Shik and Ms. Lisa. Mr. Jake and Hye Yeon are still last!"
Seol Hee revealed the other teams’ rankings as well.
"Ooh, there isn’t much of a difference in votes between these two teams either," Seong Gook said.
"Indeed. We have quite the punishment waiting in the wings, so the bottom two teams are fighting as desperately as the first and second place teams."
Seol Hee raised her voice.
"I wonder who will come in first and last. We'll just have to see to find out," Seong Gook said.
"That's correct. Who will win and who will lose?"
"Let's see what our contestants think."
Seong Gook approached the cast and began interviewing each of them. After that, the teams chose their dungeons.
Jake and Hye Yeon, who failed their level 3 dungeon, picked their level 3 dungeon again.
"Everyone else, please choose your level 4 dungeon."
They decided their pick order via rock-paper-scissors, and it was eventually time for Jae Woo and Soo Ah to choose.
"Oppa, where should we go?" Soo Ah asked.
"If it's ok with you, I'd like to go to Guntrak," Jae Woo said.
This was the dungeon he'd decided upon beforehand.
"Alright. That's ok with me."
"Evil spirits appear in Guntrak though."
Soo Ah flinched. She hated evil spirits.
"It's not like the Maumbharat Palace, where the evil spirits there just try to surprise you."
"Hmm. Let's give it a try."
Soo Ah resolved herself and nodded her head.
"We'll go to Guntrak," Jae Woo raised his hand and said.
"Then let's see what Guntrak's mission is!"
Once she finished speaking, Jae Woo and Soo Ah's mission showed up on the screen.
Mission: Defeat the boss monster, Alky.
Alky was considered a really troublesome boss monster. Of course, that only applied to normal players.
Jae Woo grinned.
Although it was a boss monster, it was still an evil spirit! If that's the case, then his demon sword could cut through it.
"With this, all of our teams have picked their dungeons," Seong Gook said.
"Now, let's see our teams conquer their dungeons... But before that, let's cut to a commercial!"
Seol Hee acted cute.
"We'll see you in a minute. Stay tuned!" Seong Gook finished up.
"Good job everyone."
"Contestants, please gather in the capsule room."
The staff moved around busily.
"Shall we go?"
Jae Woo and Soo Ah stood up.
At that moment...
Yoon Se Hwa quickly passed by them and said, "Make sure you win."
After that, Park Tae Gyu clenched his fist, said 'good luck' and left.
"What was that?"
Jae Woo furrowed his brow. His eyes were saying, 'What's with them?'.
"Were they... cheering for us?" Soo Ah said, sporting a bitter expression.
Yoon Se Hwa was definitely cheering for her... right?
"Hmm. Is this some new attempt at bullying?" Jae Woo said, stroking his chin.
"I'm not sure. Whatever the case, this makes me feel uncomfortable."
"Yeah. It looks like they have some sort of ulterior motive... Well, whatever. For now, let's focus on our job," Jae Woo comforted her.
* * *
Guntrak was an ancient castle.
Of course, it wasn't unscathed. The walls had been knocked down, and only the main building lay standing.
As always, the youngest writer handed Kang Oh a Sabra's Contract.
It would reduce his abilities by 20%.
'20% isn't even a handicap.'
His demon sword could cut through ghosts as well.
'They're all dead.'
Kang Oh eyes glinted as he stared at the castle before him.
"Don't forget to turn on film mode. As always, I'm rooting for you. Good luck!" the writer said.
Kang Oh and Asu activated film mode.
Asu moved first. She walked briskly towards the dungeon entrance. Kang Oh followed her and entered the dungeon.
[Entering the spatiotemporal intersection point, Guntrak.]
Kang Oh examined the dungeon's interior.
Not only was the ceiling high, but there was a lengthy passageway as well.
The thick windows were draped with old, worn-out curtains, and evenly spaced red crosses were drawn on the floor.
The lamps, hung upon the walls, were aflame, but weren't intense enough to properly illuminate the interior.
Thus, the inside of the castle was relatively dark, and it seemed like something would pop out at any time.
Asu grabbed his wrist, dispirited.
"It's alright. Just think of it as any other dungeon. We're here to hunt some monsters, that's all."
"U-Understood. I'm ok!"
Although her voice quivered, she tried her damndest to act tough.
Kang Oh suddenly flinched, looking completely shocked, and Asu followed suit.
She clung onto Kang Oh for dear life.
"What is it!? What is it!?" Asu repeatedly asked, her face buried in his wrist.
Kang Oh didn't say anything. Since nothing had happened, Asu carefully opened her eyes.
Nothing had been there in the first place.
"Oh, come on!"
Asu glared at Kang Oh hatefully.
Kang Oh grinned at her reaction.
"This is funny to you?"
Asu's glare was akin to a laser.
"Oh? You're speaking informally."
"What, what, what!?" Asu said.
"I just didn't want you to be afraid! This place isn't scary, alright?" Kang Oh said.
"Hoo, I understand. I do, but it looks just like a horror movie set."
Asu warily looked around.
"We're shooting an action movie, y'know."
"Really!" Kang Oh said strongly.
Then, Asu let go of Kang Oh's wrist.
With a determined expression, she said, "Let's go."
"Alright. The evil spirits here are over level 170, so stay close."
Right as he finished, he remembered something noteworthy, and added, "I won't be overprotective like last time. We'll fight together this time."
Soo Ah smiled.
A short while later...
Their first enemies appeared.
Their faces were tormented like the figure in Edvard Munch's <The Scream>.
Their arms were like withered branches in the winter with sharp fingers at the ends. As ghosts, they floated in the air without legs.
Like any other evil spirit, they were black.
There were eight of them.
"They're evil spirits."
"Is there anything I should look out for?" Asu asked.
"Physical attacks won't work on them and they're also extremely aggressive, since they loathe humans."
"Physical attacks won't work?"
"Yeah. But your necklace instills your blade with cold energy, so can still damage them with your sword."
"Understood. Anything else?"
"Experience it for yourself."
Asu was no longer a beginner that needed Kang Oh to explain everything to her.
If he explained a couple things to her, then she could figure out the rest on her own.
Once they got a little closer, the evil spirits noticed their presence and came flying towards them.
"C'mon you moths!" Kang Oh drew his demon sword and yelled.
One of the evil spirits readied its sharp fingers and clawed at Kang Oh.
At that moment...
Kang Oh jet-black blade struck first; the blade, a darker shade of black than the evil spirits, passed through the ghost.
The evil spirit's face, which was already contorted in pain, twisted even further and was bisected.
Kang Oh immediately swung his sword thrice more. Whenever he swung his blade, he would slice through the evil spirit's body.
This was Abyss Blade, the ability to cut through the incorporeal!
'It's a perfect ability.'
Kang Oh grinned and cleaved the ghost once more.
As a result...
[You have defeated Guntrak's Evil Spirit.]
With his demon sword in tow, Kang Oh was essentially the evil spirits' worst nightmare.
Plus, Asu was doing a lot better than he'd expected.
She swung her sword properly without fear.
Whenever she swung her sword, the cold energy would inflict damage, causing shards of light to fall from the evil spirits.
The situation unfolded as he'd anticipated; Kang Oh smiled in satisfaction.
Ghosts possessed a tremendous ability: invincibility versus physical attacks.
However, that didn't make them strong enemies.
Their HP and defense were both extremely low and elemental attacks would work on them, even if physical attacks wouldn't.
Due to this, Asu was able to fight them off with relative ease, despite the huge level disparity.
Though she was relatively low leveled, Asu's sword dealt cold damage, allowing her to fight against the evil spirits.
Of course, it was easy to fight them, but that didn't mean that they weren't dangerous.
If Asu were to receive a focused attack from the evil spirits, then her HP would dwindle instantly.
'I won't let that happen.'
Kang Oh kept an eye on their movements and took down any ghosts that may pose a threat to her without getting in her way.
A short while later...
All of the evil spirits were either cut to shreds or were frozen solid.Previous Chapter Next Chapter