Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro, who they'd brought along the way, traveled to a city near the Phamas Mountains via the intercity gate. After that, they headed for the mountains on horseback.
The mining towns and villages in the Phamas Mountains weren't equipped with transfer gates. That’s why they were forced to travel to Balturon Village on horseback.
"Why are we going to Balturon Village?" Eder asked from atop his horse, which had a mark on its forehead.
Once Eder was finished speaking, Sephiro stared at Kang Oh.
All he'd heard was that they were heading for the Phamas Mountains and that he needed to tag along.
"Apparently, the Master Miner, Bower, occasionally appears in Balturon Village," Kang Oh said.
"So?" Eder asked.
"I have something to ask of him," Kang Oh said nonchalantly as if it were no big deal.
"Then there's no reason for me or Mr. Sephiro to tag along..."
Eder restrained himself from saying, 'Why did you bring us along!?'. Then, he and Sephiro secretly exchanged glances.
Sephiro slightly nodded his head.
"You know how dangerous the Phamas Mountains are, don't you? How crazy do you think I am to come here alone? And if we can't find Bower, then we'll stay here until we do; we'll just search the mountains or hunt in the meantime," Kang Oh replied.
It was as though he were rebuking him, seemingly saying, 'You didn't even think about that possibility?'.
Kang Oh ignored him and said, "Have you been to the Phamas Mountains before?"
"I have a few times," Sephiro replied after softly shaking his reins.
"Are there any hunting grounds or dungeons that'll be a good fit for us?" Kang Oh asked.
"I'm not sure. I only visited a few of the villages here for a quest."
"Then we should go to the dungeons I've picked out. If we don't find Bower, that is."
He'd created a back-up plan just in case he didn't meet Bower immediately.
"You're the boss. Do as you please. But you can't make me hunt without rest or late into the night," Sephiro said firmly and stared at Kang Oh.
Kang Oh avoided his gaze.
If they ended up hunting, then he would've forced them to hunt through the night without rest.
"Ah, you have to turn left over there to get to Balturon Village."
Kang Oh pointed at the forked road and quickly took the lead. He'd gotten out of self-incriminating himself.
'Why me!?', Sephiro sighed and thought.
* * *
Kang Oh's party reached their destination a short time after entering the Phamas Mountains.
Balturon Village was surrounded by a wood fence, and the wooden buildings were all clustered together.
"Now where do we go?" Eder asked.
"Bower mines ore on the Phamas Mountains and occasionally comes to the inn here to rest, so we should head there first," Kang Oh answered.
Then, he spoke to a nearby old man, who appeared to be an NPC.
"Do you know where the Balturon Inn is?" Kang Oh asked.
The old man pointed at a certain building.
"Thank you very much. Let's go!"
Kang Oh's party immediately entered the inn.
"So you see, I...!"
The 1st floor was a bar filled with rough men boisterously drinking.
The combination of sweat and alcohol produced a foul stench, so Kang Oh pressed forward whilst holding his breath.
Sephiro must've smelled it as well, as he furrowed his brow and placed his hand over his nose.
Eder was undead, so he didn't really respond to the stench.
"Let's hurry up and find that Bower guy or what not, and then leave," Sephiro said.
Kang Oh headed over to the bar on the other side, where the owner was cleaning a cup with a rag.
As he approached, the middle-aged man abruptly said, "You want a drink?"
"No thank you. I'd like to ask you something," Kang Oh said.
"Nothing's free in this world."
The owner poured some beer into the cup he'd been cleaning and passed it over to him.
It was clear what he was saying. 'If you want to ask me something, then buy a drink first.'.
"Ugh. You could've given me some juice instead."
Kang Oh pulled out a gold coin from his breast pocket and passed it to the owner. Then, Eder picked up the cup.
"If you're not going to drink it, then I will."
Once he was finished speaking, Eder drank the entire thing down.
"I want to ask you something," Kang Oh said, ignoring Eder.
The owner pocketed the gold coin.
"I'm looking for someone named Bower. Do you know him?"
"Did you just say Bower?"
"Isn't he right next to you?"
Then, Kang Oh turned his head. At the same time, the patron drinking beside him turned his head as well.
Kang Oh and the man stared at each other.
"Are you the Master Miner, Bower?"
"Yeah, that's me."
Bower had a large build and drooping shoulders. He also possessed large muscles, which reminded him of a wild horse, or more specifically, how healthy and strong that wild horse was. His thick eyebrows and sideburns were eye-catching, and he looked to be in his early to mid 40s.
"But who are you?"
Kang Oh quickly took out Burkan's letter of introduction from his inventory.
"I came because I need your help mining something. This is a letter of introduction from Burkan."
Bower responded to 'Burkan' and swiped the letter.
"What's your relationship with Burkan?"
"He's my blood brother."
"What do you need help with?"
Once he asked, Kang Oh looked around and whispered into his ear.
"Fine, I'll help you."
Bower had easily accepted his request, so Kang Oh smiled.
However, he'd counted his eggs before they'd hatched. You always had to listen to someone till the very end!
"On one condition!"
"On one condition?"
"You have to help me with something first."
Kang Oh sported an expression of disappointment. As expected, there was nothing free in this world!
"If you don't want to, then that's fine with me."
Bower tossed him the letter.
"No! I really want to do it!"
"Good. It's simple, so you should be able to finish it quickly."
"What do you need me to do?"
"There's this Steel Gubara monster..."
Gubaras resided within mines or uninhabited mines that resembled roly polies.
'Steel Gubaras possess the strongest shell of their species. They're about level 180 too.'
Kang Oh recalled the information he knew regarding Steel Gubaras.
"They're vermin that devour any ore they come across. Kill 200 of them for me."
[Kill the Steel Gubaras]
Kill 200 of the ore-eating Steel Gubaras.
Minimum Requirements: None
Reward: Bower grants your request.
A quest had popped up.
"It doesn't matter where I kill them, does it?" Kang Oh asked.
"Several of them reside in abandoned mine #4. Kill the Gubaras there. If that area isn't periodically cleansed, then the Gubaras will head to the other mines and devour everything there."
Kang Oh nodded his head.
[You have accepted the quest.]
"I'll come back when I'm done."
Kang Oh said his farewells.
"Alright, good luck."
Kang Oh left the bar with Eder and Sephiro in tow. Then, Bower motioned towards the bar owner.
"One more over here."
* * *
Kang Oh learned the location of the mine from the village's residents, and immediately headed for abandoned mine #4 with his party.
"This seems to be the place."
Eder pointed at the entrance of the mine, which resembled a hippo's gaping maw.
"Prepare for battle."
They drew their weapons and then entered the mine.
[Entering the dungeon, Balturon Abandoned Mine #4.]
When a mine is abandoned for a long period of time, then monsters begin to inhabit it and it becomes a dungeon.
This place was no different.
Kang Oh pointed straight forward.
It was a roly poly monster, the Steel Gubara.
Like its namesake, its shell must be made of steel as it shimmered and shined.
"Ah, that!" Eder suddenly yelled.
"What's wrong?" Sephiro asked.
"Ah, I've fought them before."
After remodeling Arumode's body, Eder had come looking for Kang Oh, who'd been looking for hidden dungeons at the time.
Back then, he'd definitely fought against Gubaras.
"When you fought them barehanded?" Kang Oh asked.
Kang Oh could clearly remember that day. He didn't think someone who'd just become a Curse Knight would resort to fighting the Gubaras barehanded.
"Didn't I look so brave that day?"
He looked like an idiot.
Kang Oh glanced at Sephiro.
He could tell what he was thinking.
Sephiro shot an arrow at the Gubara.
The arrow couldn't penetrate its steel shell and just bounced off harmlessly. Then, three Gubaras turned their attention to Kang Oh.
The three bugs rolled over to them, reminding anyone that didn't know that they were indeed roly polies.
Kang Oh batted one away as if he were swinging a baseball bat.
His sword and its shell clashed, reverberating with a metallic shrill.
Kang Oh's strike had caused it to stop rolling.
The stopped Gubara opened up and charged at Kang Oh.
The Gubara's hard shell was used as a means of defense and offense.
Kang Oh dodged to the side, and the Gubara swept past him like a bulldozer.
His eyes briefly glinted.
The Gubara's shell didn't consist of one single piece; it was made up of several pieces.
In a way, it was only natural.
It wouldn't be able to roll if its shell was one huge piece.
Kang Oh aimed in between the sections.
He felt something.
It was still tough, but it was much softer than the rest of the shell! Shards of red light flew through the air like a gun salute.
"Attack in between the sections of its shell!" Kang Oh yelled, and followed up with another attack.
Eder kicked a Gubara away and bashed the shell's attachment point with the corner of his shield.
The Gubara shook as red shards of light burst from its body.
Eder seized the opportunity. He grabbed his mace and bashed the Gubara's back with the spikes.
Red shards lights exploded.
However, the Gubara was by no means weak.
It rushed towards him and threw itself at him.
Eder crazily swung his shield and mace in retaliation.
'Let's go, shall we?'
Sephiro aimed for the shell itself, rather than the vulnerable area in between.
He drew the bowstring as far as he could and then let go.
The arrow spun violently like a drill!
The arrow penetrated the Gubara's shell and dug into flesh.
Was it because the arrow was too powerful? The Gubara didn't even attempt to retaliate and stayed still.
Sephiro prepared his next arrow.
However, his second arrow was too weak, as it couldn't pierce the Gubara's shell and just bounced off.
Then, the Gubara curled up and rolled towards Sephiro.
After dodging the Gubara's attack, Sephiro notched another arrow.
Sephiro forcefully pulled the bowstring as far as it would go.
The arrow spun through the air and pierced the Gubara's head.
It briefly faltered and then charged at Sephiro, damning the risks.
Their fight began resembling a fight between a bullfighter and a bull.
Kang Oh unleashed a technique strong enough to pierce through the Gubara's shell.
The golden aura erupted from his jet-black blade.
[You have completed the spontaneous quest, 'Tempest Tiger 1'.]
[As a reward, proficiency in Tempest Tiger increases significantly.]
[Tempest Tiger has risen to the intermediate rank.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter