Chapter 14. He Who Defies Death, Eder (2)

Destroying the Bone Golem had left behind countless bones, which were strewn across the wide hall. 

"This way."

The green-colored ghost, Eder, pointed to one side of the wall.

Darion waded through all the bones, and found that there was indeed a door.

"I assume this isn't a trap," Kang Oh said, looking suspiciously at Eder.

"Of course not." Eder waved his hands.

But you can never be too cautious.

"Darion, would you mind going in first?"

"I'd rather not."

"So he says. You go first," Kang Oh said, pushing Eder with his demon sword. 

Eder went in first and Kang Oh followed him. 

Like the dungeon's namesake, it was a laboratory.

The shelves were filled with an assortment of unknown medicines, and there were technical books on either medicine or magic strewn across the table.

On one side, Eder's body was completely frozen and stored within a glass tube.

"I will... possess that skeleton over there."

Eder pointed towards a skeleton wearing a doctor's robes.

"You know what'll happen if you cross me, right?" Kang Oh asked.

"Of course."

Eder entered the skeleton and it came to life.

"Please sit down."

Eder pointed towards a table and some chairs.

Kang Oh, Darion, and Eder sat around the table. 

"I need to serve some tea... I'm not prepared for this; it's just been so long since I've last had guests," Eder said. 

Though the skeleton's jaw remained fixed, they could hear Eder's voice coming from the head. 

"Who cares about that. Give me the money you promised!"

"Yes, I'll give you the money. I made quite a bit during my time as a healer."

"How much?"

"I used some of it to fund my research, but there should be about 5,000 gold remaining."

Kang Oh gaped.

5,000 gold!

That was 50 million won. (~$50,000 USD)

"Alright. If you give me the 50 million, then I won't kill you," Kang Oh said.

"In exchange..."

"In exchange?"

Kang Oh scowled and grabbed the hilt of his sword.

"Please do me a favor," Eder said.

Kang Oh was conflicted.

'It'll be such a pain in the ass but if it's worth 5,000 gold in exchange...'

He really just wanted to kill Eder and get it over with.

However, he couldn't make a decision so easily at the mention of 5,000 gold.

"Let's hear what you have to say first," Kang Oh said.

"Please move my body to the Goddess of Death, Deborah's Temple. If you do that for me, I'll gladly give you 5,000 gold," Eder said, and a quest window popped up. 


[Transport Eder's Body]

Eder tried everything to heal himself, but nothing worked.

Now he has but one option. He must find the Goddess of Death and beg for forgiveness.

If you move Eder's body to the Goddess of Death, Deborah's Temple, then you will be rewarded a huge fortune.

Difficulty: Nightmare.

Conditions: Eder's body must remain intact.

Reward: 5,000 gold. Technical books on medicine and necromancy.

Failure: Eder's body does not remain intact, or Eder becomes an evil spirit. 


Kang Oh read the details of the quest and then withdrew his sword. 

'What kind of quest is this!?'

Did he not know what kind of place the Goddess of Death, Deborah's Temple was?

No one even knows its exact location.

All he knew was the rumors; that it was located somewhere in Despia, the land that bordered Hell.

So what was Despia actually like?

Song Lee Shen, who was a geography professor at Peking University, played Arth as well, unable to stop himself from studying Arth's geography and topography. 

His book, Arth is Larger than China, was a worldwide best seller, which contained information regarding Arth's topography and geography. 

Of course, Kang Oh read it too. 

In the book, Song Lee Shen picks the seven most dangerous locations in Arth, and Despia, the 'land bordering hell', was definitely one of them. 

Of course, Song Lee Shen had never actually been to Despia before. He read all kinds of literature on the matter and listened to what the NPCs had to say. Based on this information, he made an assumption as to what Despia was truly like. 

Despia was the underworld; it was inhabited by monsters over level 300, and the sun didn't shine there. 

Furthermore, Song Lee Shen suspected that the environment was so harsh that no person, or player for that matter, could survive inside. 

This was only a hypothesis, so it could be even worse than he suspected.

In other words, Kang Oh would need to be at least level 300 to enter Despia, which would take him quite a long time. 

There were a slew of problems too. If Eder was killed by another player, or his body ran into any problems, or he had a change of heart and went into hiding, it would all be pointless. 

Rather than go through all the trouble, he could just kill Eder and at least get the reward for being the first to clear the hidden dungeon.

"Rest in peace!"

Kang Oh, who'd made his decision, swung his sword.

"Uheok!" Eder screamed.

The chair he'd been sitting on was split in half.

If Eder hadn't quickly avoided his blow, he'd be the one split in half right now, not the table.

"Eh, you dodged it."

Kang Oh approached Eder, emitting killing intent. 

"I'll give you 1,000 gold in advance!" Eder hastily said.

Kang Oh, who'd been preparing his follow-up attack, stopped.

"1,000 gold?"

"Yes, 1,000 gold! Taking everything here won't net you even 100 gold!"

Kang Oh pushed the skeleton's jaw upwards with the tip of his sword.

"The quest has no time limit?"

"Yes!"

"If you become an evil spirit, then I'll kill you with this."

Kang Oh brandished his demon sword. 

"Yes."

"Alright. I'll accept the quest if you give me 1,000 gold."

"Understood."

Contract established!

* * *

There was a secret passageway in Eder's Secret Laboratory that led to a mansion in Altein. 

The fireplace opened up, and out came Kang Oh, Darion, and Eder. 

"I occasionally use this passageway to buy books or medicine."

His skeleton body was covered in long robes, and his face was obscured by a smile mask. 

"This is where I used to live a long time ago," Eder added.

"Is this house expensive?" Kang Oh asked.

"They say it's haunted, so it's dirt cheap."

"Hurry up and show me where the money is," Kang Oh said, having lost all interest in the mansion.

Once they left the mansion, they were met with the sight of Altein's crowded street. 

"I'll take my leave here and return to the Holiseum," Darion said.

"Alright. See you tomorrow."

Kang Oh was so focused on the 1,000 gold that he wasn't worried about Darion at all.

On the off chance that Kang Oh forced him to stay, Darion quickly disappeared into the crowd.

"Let's get going," Kang Oh urged.

"Yes."

Eder led him to the Diana Bank.

Diana Bank was Arth's first bank and had a long history. 

That may be why its Altein branch was so luxurious, with a tower clock to boot. 

Its trademark, the crest with the scale and shield, matched its regal status.

"How can I help you?"

Kang Oh and Eder approached the front desk and were greeted brightly by one of the bank workers.

"I came for an item that was stored in my personal safe."

Eder took out a fist-sized gold coin and held it out.

Diana Bank's signet, the scale and shield, was on the front, and the other side was engraved with the number 1403.

"Let me call my manager."

The manager didn't ask either of them any questions and just started leading them towards Eder's safe.

They passed by a passageway guarded by security and were left at a handleless door. 

"Please insert your coin," the manager said.

Looking at it more closely, there was indeed a groove within the door that was large enough for a coin.

Once Eder inserted the coin, the door opened.

"Then, if you'll excuse me."

The manager left.

"Let's go in," Eder said.

"Hmm. It's weird," Kang Oh muttered as he walked in.

There was a single door, yet it connected you to a different location based on what coin was inserted.

"It's a private safe that was developed by the Archmage, Achelini. The Diana Bank is quite proud of it," Eder said, having heard Kang Oh.

"The gold coin is a magic artifact, so it won't work unless it's used by its proper owner."

So stealing the gold coin by force was a no-go. 

"Can it be given to someone else?" Kang Oh asked.

"I'm not giving it to you," Eder said firmly.

"So it is possible."

"I said I'm not giving it to you."

"Yeah, I got it."

However, there was another door inside of the private safe. 

It was a door with a padlock.

Eder inputted the numbers. Then, he extended his hand, paused, and stared at Kang Oh.

He covered the padlock with his body and then inputted his password.

Click.

The door opened with a ‘click'.

Golden light seeped out of the opening.

"Heok!" Kang Oh gaped.

The door fully opened, revealing gold bars (worth 100 gold each) neatly piled inside.

There were 50 of them!

It was equivalent to 50 million won ($50,000 USD). 

* * *

Kang Oh and Eder were arguing within the safe.

"Give me 1,000 gold first!" Kang Oh said.

"You have to accept the quest first," Eder replied.

Kang Oh didn't think Eder would give him the 1,000 gold advance payment if he accepted the quest. 

Whereas Eder believed that Kang Oh would just take off with the 1,000 gold and not accept the quest. 

"This is different from what you told me. You said you'd give me a 1,000 gold advance payment."

"You have to accept the quest for me to give you an advance payment"

Kang Oh gripped the hilt of his sword.

Since Eder feared the demon sword, if he threatened him with it, Eder was sure to give up.

However...


[Weapon usage is forbidden here.]


An unfortunate message popped up. 

"Within one's private safe, combat skills, weapons, and items cannot be used!" Eder said, smiling proudly.

"Damn it. I told you, I'll accept the quest if you give me 1,000 gold!"

"No. How can I trust you? Please accept the quest. Then I'll give you 1,000 gold."

"How can I even trust you!?"

They were like two parallel lines that would never intersect.

'This damn skeleton!'

'This sword-wielding thief!'

Kang Oh and Eder stared at each other and continued their confrontation.

Eventually, Eder sighed.

"Fine. I concede."

Although he didn't like Kang Oh, Eder was the one who'd lose more by sending him off.

He was both exhausted and lonely, a result of being a ghost for such a long time. Plus, there was no way for him to treat his body.

If he let Kang Oh go, then he'd be on his own.

"Good choice. Give me 1,000 gold."

Kang Oh extended his hand.

Rather than money, however, Eder gave him something else.


[Eder has cast Attach. Will you allow this?]


Like a poltergeist, which stayed in one area forever, a ghost could attach itself to someone and follow them around. 

'What do you think you're doing!?'

"What the hell are you…" Kang Oh scowled, but then he changed his mind. 

'He's a boss monster. Plus, he used to be a really famous healer.'

In other words, wouldn't he be useful?

"Hmph. Can you fight?" Kang Oh asked, changing the topic.

"Yes. My necromancy is better than most. I can cast various curses and I also specialize in bone magic," Eder replied.

"What level are you?"

"429."

"What?"

Kang Oh felt like he'd heard wrong.

"My original body's level is 429. In this skeleton body, however, I can only bring out about a level 80's strength."

"Can your level go up?"

"I cannot level."

'Then it'd be tough to bring him along for a long time.'

In other words, he'd become a burden eventually.

"In exchange, I can use more of my power if you obtain a more powerful undead body for me," Eder said.

"A powerful undead's body..."

"Like a Lich who's lost its life vessel."

'Let's think positively here; even if we fight together, he won't take any experience.'

Kang Oh was gradually warming up to the idea.

"Can you heal too?"

"I can't, so long as I don't reclaim my body."

'That's too bad!'

Eder had been a legendary healer!

If he had been able to heal too, then he could've made some good money with illegal medical treatments. 

Whatever the case, Eder was definitely useful. He had a lot of money too.

"I have one last question. Will you do your best to help me when I'm fighting?"

"If you try your best to find Deborah's Temple!"

"Fine."

Kang Oh decided to work him like a horse. Like Darion!

However, if he wasn't careful, it was clear that Eder, like Darion, would argue with his commands, disobey him, or screw around. 

'If that's the case...'

"Write a contract!"

Kang Oh retrieved a piece of paper from his inventory.

It was the Goddess of Contracts, Sabra's Contract. There was an amphisbaena on the back of the paper, which represented the goddess.

If a contract was formed via Sabra's Contract, the game would check whether the contract was being upheld.

In the event that the contract wasn't upheld, whoever broke the contract would be punished.

Of course, because of how powerful its effect was, it couldn't be used frivolously.

If a contract was forced, unfair, or the contract was ripped apart, then they would be judged accordingly.

The punishment that came after this assessment was no joke!

'So you need to follow the contract to the best of your ability.'

Kang Oh took out a pen and began to write in the details.

Eder watched from beside him.

Once he was finished writing the contract, Kang Oh signed next to his name.

"It's fine, right?"

"Yes."

Eder nodded his head and signed next to his own name.

The letters inscribed on the Sabra's Contract began to shine dimly.

There were no lines that were erased.

If there were unfair or inhumane conditions like 'Absolute obedience with no strings attached.', or 'you will serve as my slave for all eternity', then the system would erase those conditions automatically. Not to mention that the contract would be null and void.

However, there were no problems with Kang Oh's contract.

The contract became two, containing the same information recorded on the Sabra's Contract.

Both Kang Oh and Eder each looked over their contracts.

The contents of the contract were as follows.


1. Kang Oh (the former) and Eder (the latter) have signed a contract with the conditions below.

2. The former allows the latter to attach to him and the former accepts the latter's quest.

3. The latter will give the former an advance payment of 1,000 gold.

4. The latter, who is attached to the former, will actively participate when the former engages in combat and will do his best to assist the former. 

5. The latter will obey the former during battle without question. However, the former's orders must be both logical and proper.

6. The former will do his very best to complete the latter's quest. But if there is a logical and proper reason for the former to delay completing the quest, he may.

7. Upon violating the above statements or destroying the contract, the violator will be subject to the counterpart's designated punishment.

8. When the former completes the quest, the contract is complete. However, the contract may be abolished if the two parties agree before that time.

9. This contract has been notarized by the Goddess of Contracts, Sabra.


[As per the contract, Eder has attached to you. Now, Eder will follow you around.]

[As per the contract, you have been paid 1,000 gold.]


"1,000 gold!"

Kang Oh clenched his fists at procuring what amounted to 10 million won ($10,000 USD).

At that moment, Eder, looking as though he'd suddenly remembered something, said, "If you had a Sabra's Contract, couldn't you have just used it from the start?"

"Ah!"

Kang Oh's face momentarily went blank.

Seeing that, Eder looked dumbfounded.

'You idiot!'

"Hmph."

Kang Oh shook in humiliation. 

Then...!

Eder couldn't see it, but Kang Oh's expression had changed.

He was smirking.

No doubt about it. 

Very wickedly at that!

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