Four Yumas traveled along a path, which was surrounded by trees of all different sizes.
Ten Lizardmen chased after Kang Oh’s party.
They’d left the Parmarl Ruins and were now headed for Nuwak Village, but were ambushed by the Lizardmen along the way.
Normally, they would've already taken care of the Lizardmen, but Anracoum told them to avoid fighting and to just run. They wouldn't be able to catch up anyway, as the Yumas were much faster than them.
The distance between their Yumas and the Lizardmen gradually increased.
"They really can't catch up," Eder said, seeing the increasing distance between them.
"Hmm. Regular lizards are supposed to be fast," Sephiro said, sporting an astonished expression.
"Lizardmen are different," Anracoum said, his face covered in paint.
"We weren’t forced into a pointless battle because of you," Sephiro said, thanking him.
"That's my job," Anracoum said nonchalantly.
"What do we do if we encounter a Kruger?" Kang Oh asked.
"Kruger's are stubborn, so running away isn't a good idea. It'll just keep chasing us."
"You have to make something that'll prevent it from following you, like a paralytic poison. Or, you could just kill it."
After that, Kang Oh began asking the guide various questions regarding the Great Forest.
Anracoum wasn't bothered by this, perhaps because he was a guide, and shared his knowledge and information with Kang Oh's party.
"Danger lurks around the World Tree, as well as very powerful monsters, so try not to go there if at all possible."
He even told them what the most dangerous locations in the Great Forest were.
Kang Oh’s party headed south whilst learning more and more from Anracoum.
* * *
There was a black tower atop a hill.
A stone wall surrounded the village, and there were houses of various sizes around the tower.
There were also several watchtowers at the walls, as well as countless crows that flew around said watchtowers.
This was Nuwak Village.
As their mounts approached the village, the gatekeeper came forward.
The gatekeeper's attire was rather peculiar.
He wore a cloak made of bird feathers, and his jaw was covered by a thin piece of cloth. There was also a third eye drawn on his exposed forehead.
Kang Oh's party got off their Yumas.
"I am Anracoum of the Ucle Tribe. And these are Adventurers that are roaming the continent," Anracoum took a step forward and said.
The Nuwak gatekeeper examined Anracoum's painted face, and then stared at Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro's faces.
"Why have you come here?" the gatekeeper asked.
"I'd like to meet the chieftain," Kang Oh replied.
"The chieftain doesn't meet just anyone," the gatekeeper firmly replied.
"Then how can we meet him?" Kang Oh asked.
"You can request a meeting if you become our friend."
"I’d like to become a friend of the Nuwak Tribe."
"Please bring a gift."
[Gift for the Nuwak Tribe]
If you wish to become friends with the Nuwak Tribe, then you will have to present them with a suitable gift.
Kruger's Claw (1/1)
King Warthog Meat (0/5)
Lizardmens' Sword Shards (1/10)
Minimum Requirements: None
Reward: Become a friend of the Nuwak Tribe.
'Well, it's not a tough quest.'
"I'll come back with the gift."
Kang Oh accepted the quest.
[You have accepted the quest, Gift for the Nuwak Tribe.]
"We need King Warthog Meat and Lizardmens' Sword Shards," Kang Oh told Anracoum.
"I know where they appear."
"Let's go right away."
* * *
The sun had completely set, giving way to the darkness of night.
The gatekeeper, who guarded the entrance to the Nuwak Village, lit the nearby poles to illuminate their surroundings.
Kang Oh's party went up the hill and stood before the gatekeeper.
"I bear gifts."
Kang Oh removed the Kruger's Claw, the King Warthog Meat, and the Lizardmens' Sword Shards, and passed them to the gatekeeper.
The gatekeeper politely accepted the gift.
[You have completed the quest, Gift for the Nuwak Tribe.]
[You are now a friend of the Nuwak Tribe.]
The gatekeeper took out a crow feather from his breast pocket and passed it to Kang Oh's party.
"This is a sign that you are a friend of the Nuwak Tribe."
"Please come in."
The gatekeeper moved to the side.
"May we see the chieftain now?"
'Please say yes already!'
"Keep going straight and you'll arrive at a tower. The chieftain resides within the tower, so please head there."
Kang Oh's party was finally able to enter Nuwak Village.
"Oh, the houses here are made of stone," Eder said.
The most noteworthy feature here was the houses made of stone.
"I thought the gatekeeper's clothes were strange, but it looks like everyone here wears the same thing," Sephiro said.
Like the gatekeeper, the villagers here all wore a cloak made of bird feathers, as well as a thin cloth over their jaw. They also had the same third eye drawn on their foreheads.
"The tribes that live in the Great Forest all possess their own special traits," Anracoum answered him.
"It doesn't look like a place that gets a lot of visitors from the outside," Kang Oh said, feeling several villagers' gazes upon him.
The villagers stared at the foreigners, or Kang Oh's party, with curiosity.
No one looked at them warily, so they didn't seem like insular or private people.
Kang Oh's party continued to walk forward, and soon reached the 3-story tower.
Then, Kang Oh knocked on the wooden door.
A short while later, the door opened and out came a girl wearing the traditional Nuwak attire.
"Huh? Who are you?"
She tilted her head to the left and right.
"My name is Kang Oh, and these are my companions. We came to see the chieftain."
"Ah, I see. My name is Sui. Please come inside."
The 1st floor was quite large.
There were long tables spaced evenly between each other, and a blackboard that appeared to be a chalkboard on the wall. There were sitting mats neatly stacked on one side of the room as well.
'What's the best way to put this... It reminds me of a classroom,' Kang Oh thought after viewing the interior of the first floor.
"Please sit down. I'll tell the chieftain that you've come."
Sui gave them some sitting mats and then went upstairs.
"I think this is where I learned my healing arts in the past," Eder looked around and said.
"I heard that the people of the Nuwak Tribe gather in one place and learn until they become adults," Anracoum said.
He was definitely referring to a school.
'I'm kinda looking forward to it.'
Kang Oh believed that the head of the Nuwak Tribe, the one they were about to meet, had created this school system. After all, he wouldn't be called the Wise Soul for nothing.
"The chieftain would like to meet you. Please follow me."
Kang Oh's party followed her up to the 2nd floor; the 2nd floor was clearly different from the 1st.
'Now it's a library.'
The bookshelves were filled with books.
Eder's eyes gleamed. He looked like he wanted to rush over and start reading the books immediately.
Kang Oh forcefully grabbed Eder's shoulder.
They went up to the 3rd floor, which was finally a space fit for a person to live in.
"Welcome. I'm the Nuwak Chieftain, Shula."
'This guy is...'
He couldn't really see the man's face, as his jaw was covered by thin cloth.
But the wrinkles around his eyes, as well as his deep, clear eyes told him of the man's age.
There was something strange about him though; rather than an eye drawn on his forehead, he wore a circlet over his head, which was adorned with an eye.
"Please sit down."
Shula pointed at the seat cushions.
"Sui, could you prepare us some tea?"
His voice was soft and kind.
"Hello, my name is Kang Oh."
Once he finished introducing himself, the others followed suit and briefly introduced themselves as well.
"You... Your body and soul don't match," Shula stared at Eder's pale face and said.
For a moment, Eder was taken aback. This was the first person who'd seen through him before.
"He has some circumstances that are beyond his control," Kang Oh explained.
"You also wield quite the ominous weapon. I feel dark power from your body."
This 'ominous weapon' he was referring to was obviously Demon Sword Ubist.
"I'm capable of using the darkness by trade, but my heart hasn't been corrupted by it."
Though he was 'slightly' greedy.
Then, Sui served them all tea and sat behind Shula.
"I heard you were called the Wise Soul. It's said that you are also the wisest person in the Great Forest."
"I've lived a long time," Shula said.
"I'd like to ask you something."
"Is it about the Parmarl Underground Labyrinth?"
Kang Oh widened his eyes.
"It happened so long ago, before I was even born."
Shula began telling them a story all of a sudden like an elderly man reminiscing of the past.
"It's said that there was a monster that terrorized the people of the Great Forest..."
His story was as follows...
There existed a monster within the Great Forest that became stronger the more blood it absorbed.
It greedily sought other beings' blood and at some point, had become so strong that none could match it.
The monster feasted on blood, and caused every being within the Great Forest to tremble in fear.
But one day...
A courageous and skilled young man came to the Great Forest.
The man volunteered to vanquish the beast and at the time, the people put their faith in him.
After that, the man led the monster into the Parmarl Underground Labyrinth.
"There's only one way out of the Parmarl Underground Labyrinth. The man stated that if you don't come out within a certain amount of time, then the exit will be sealed shut."
The man and monster fought desperately within the confines of the Parmarl Underground Labyrinth, and in the end, the man successfully vanquished the beast.
He escaped the underground labyrinth, covered head to toe with wounds, carrying a red sword that seemed to be smeared in blood.
After being treated, the man left with the sword in tow.
Dozens of years later, the man returned, now old and frail, and right about to die.
The man sought the assistance of the two tribes that hadn't yet forgotten him.
"The bloodthirsty monster is sealed within this sword. I would like to seal this sword within the Parmarl Underground Labyrinth."
The two tribes, having not forgotten their debt to him, did as he asked.
They worked together and created a door that couldn't be opened without the key.
"Why did he make it so it could be opened when he wanted to seal it away?" Kang Oh asked, interrupting Shula.
"That was the man's wishes."
Didn't he want to seal the sword away?
"If there ever came an individual capable of wielding the blade, he wanted them to take this sword and the monster sealed within it to see the outside world once more."
The man had sealed the sword because of how potentially dangerous it could be, but he had also hoped that someone capable of properly wielding the sword would show up.
"Before the man went inside, he asked the two tribes to do him a favor. That if they discovered an individual they believed capable of wielding the blade, then to give them the key without hesitation."
That was the end of Shula's story.
"Was the man's name Grande Loxia?" Kang Oh asked.
"And the Nuwak Tribe must've been one of the two tribes that helped him."
It was obvious. If Shula wasn't a descendant of one of the two tribes, then there was no way he'd know all of this.
"That's also true."
"Then you must possess the key to the underground labyrinth."
Kang Oh smiled.Previous Chapter Next Chapter