"I like money," Kang Oh said.
Yep, he loved money.
"That's good to hear. Would you like an opportunity to earn some money?"
"Just say the word."
"As you know, we're attacking in four different directions in the coming expedition. I can take care of the east, and I've already procured two other people to film the north and west. But I still haven't found someone that can film from the south."
She'd been looking for someone to film the southern attack; upon seeing Sephiro, however, she had gotten distracted and had come over to speak to him.
"So you're asking us to film the southern expedition?" Kang Oh asked.
"I only need one of you to film it."
"300,000 won ($300 USD)."
300,000 won. It certainly wasn't a small sum.
"How does that sound?"
"It sounds like the two of you are close, so why don't you do it, Mr. Sephiro?" Kang Oh said.
"Huh? You're ok with that?"
He'd gain 300,000 won for just turning on film mode and running around the battlefield.
'I have a different idea in mind.'
Kang Oh grinned.
"Then I'll do it," Sephiro said.
"Understood. I'm counting on you."
Hye Rim bowed her head.
"Are there any other networks that are broadcasting this expedition?" Kang Oh asked.
"Probably. After all, expeditions don't happen all the time. Why, are you going to record yourself and send the footage to another network?" Shin Hye Rim asked, narrowing her eyes at him.
Kang Oh shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, whatever. If you have the chance, please come on my program."
"If the pay is right and you don't show my face."
He was sick of being on TV, but he'd obviously show up if he was offered a large sum of money.
"Then how about we friend each other for now?"
In Arth, if a player knew a person's character code or 'friended' someone else, then they could send each other messages.
He'd only benefit from being in contact with a producer from a gaming network.
Kang Oh and Hye Rim friended each other.
"I'll be going now."
Hye Rim waved her hand and left.
Once she was out of sight, Hye Rim plopped down onto a nearby rock and opened Arth's ranking board.
'ID Search: Kang Oh.'
Players with the name, Kang Oh, showed up in order of rank. There were ten of them in total.
Among them, the top Kang Oh's rank was...
People between rank 9,999 and 1,000 were called rankers. Sephiro and Kang Oh were a part of this group.
A middle ranker was someone between rank 999 and 100.
Finally, high rankers were between rank 99 and 10.
Single digit rankers were called Numbers, and were widely respected by the gaming community.
"Hmm. I thought he'd be a middle ranker... He's lower than I thought," Hye Rim said in a slightly disappointed tone.
She had a discerning eye. When she saw Kang Oh, she knew his skills were the real deal.
But it looked like his rank didn't properly represent his skill.
'Hoo, hoo. Things turned out well for me.'
She believed that Kang Oh had what it took to become a star player. Perhaps he'd become one of the Numbers someday. She'd gotten acquainted with him, so all in all, things had gone well.
Hye Rim stood up suddenly, dusted off her behind, and left.
* * *
Captain of the southern expedition force, Krohn.
The Nuwak Tribe's warriors and shamans, brave men from the other tribes, healers from the Yupir Tribe, and players had all gathered in one place.
There were more than 200 people in total.
Krohn's booming voice carried far.
The expedition was beginning!
The expedition force entered the giant southern entrance to the Winged Snake Nest.
They didn't encounter any Winged Snakes for a while.
But then, they began hearing slithering noises from afar.
Several Winged Snakes were coming to battle the expedition force.
"Everyone, halt! Warriors, up front. Archers, shamans, mages, etc., give us long range support! Healers from the Yupir Tribe, get ready to heal at a moment's notice. Warriors of the Nuwak Tribe, get ready to intercept the Winged Snakes that fly over to the rear."
After ordering the troops, the warriors quickly got into position.
Kang Oh was obviously in between the warriors, and Sephiro stepped back, joining the long-range support.
Like the rest of their tribe, the Nuwak warriors had a third eye drawn on their forehead and wore a feather cloak. They either dual wielded daggers or carried a bow.
These warriors stood in between the front and the rear; Eder, whose defense was high, but had low attack power, stayed with them.
"I see them!" someone yelled.
The snakes' tongues darted in and out repeatedly. They were about 1 meter long, but their color, pattern, and shape slightly varied from snake to snake.
Winged Snakes were level 250 monsters.
They used their wings to fly or move at incredible speeds. They specialized in biting or constricting their opponents, both of which were extremely powerful. There were even some of them that had venom.
They couldn't count how many there were; the tunnel was filled to the brim with snakes.
"Long-range attacks!" Krohn ordered, and countless arrows and various spells flew through the sky.
Whizz! Whizz! Bam! Bam!
The frontmost Winged Snakes spread out their silver wings.
Then, they forcefully flapped their wings. Several Winged Snakes, which weren't hit by the shower of arrows and magic, flew into the air and descended upon the expedition force.
"All forces, attack!" Krohn yelled as loud as he could.
That's how the battle began.
"Keep your eyes open, and don't be afraid!"
"Be careful of the red spotted snakes. They have venom."
The warriors yelled and swung their respective weapons.
Kang Oh pulled back slightly and assessed the situation.
He'd identified his target.
Kang Oh swung Ubist at a snake that was trying to bite a warrior's shoulder.
The jet-black sword struck the snake's neck.
Red shards of light exploded from the wound, which were accompanied by a refreshing 'bam' and a tingling sensation in his hand! Then, the Winged Snake fell to the floor.
[You have defeated a Winged Snake.]
Kang Oh smirked.
He'd attacked a severely weakened Winged Snake; not only had it been hit by a barrage of arrows and spells, but it had been attacked by the warriors as well.
'Good. Next up is...'
Kang Oh looked for the next weakened foe.
He moved relentlessly, and finished off the snakes with little HP left. It felt like his contributions were piling up higher and higher.
Of course, he sometimes pretended like he was fighting a Winged Snake with full HP.
They say that misbehavior eventually catches up to you. He couldn't make his shameless behavior too obvious; he'd need to keep a close eye on his surroundings.
* * *
Each and every Winged Snake was powerful and posed a threat to its enemies.
The snakes ganged up on the warriors like a swarm of bees rushing a wasp.
Though skilled warriors they may be, it didn't change the fact they'd be in danger if the snakes ganged up on them.
"Please send a healing spell our way!"
"Be careful back there!"
The screams never stopped, nor did the intense battle between snake and man.
"Heal the warriors at the front!" Krohn assessed the situation and ordered.
The Yupira healers cast an AoE healing spell.
Prayer to the Stars!
Stardust twinkled around the warriors, replenishing the warriors' depleted HP.
Some of the Winged Snakes opened their mouths wide, shrieked, and rushed at the healers.
"You're not getting any closer."
"Not a chance!"
Then, the Nuwak warriors, which Eder was a part of, blocked their path.
They skillfully wielded their dual daggers. The other half could use a bow just as well as Sephiro.
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
Eder bashed on his skull shield with his mace, drawing their attention.
Several snakes simultaneously rushed towards him.
Eder protected his vitals with his shield and crazily swung his mace.
Heavy Blow! Downward strike! Kick!
He did his very best.
"Long-range support, be careful so that your attacks don't hit our allies!" Krohn yelled.
Sephiro, who'd been shooting arrows, grinned.
The arrow flew from his hand, precisely striking a Winged Snake.
His attack was accompanied by a barrage of spells from both the mages and shamans. Though their spells were weak, their accuracy was high, so the spellcasters continuously bombarded the snakes with them.
* * *
Was it because he'd killed so many Winged Snakes?
Eight Winged Snakes perceived Kang Oh as a threat and simultaneously rushed at him.
Four of them descended upon him from the air, while four others slithered towards him.
Kang Oh switched Ubist with Blood.
Because Blood was a one-handed sword, it was both lighter and quicker than Ubist.
He needed speed, or the ability to counterattack quickly right now, rather than Ubist's weighty, powerful attacks. Thus, he'd decided that Blood was the better weapon at this point in time.
Turns out, he made the right decision.
The Winged Snakes either threw themselves at him or tried to bite him. He avoided or blocked their attacks, all the while swinging Blood relentlessly.
Shards of light were sucked into his sword in a flurry. Ten red stars, or maxed stacks, appeared on his blade instantaneously.
His movements were extraordinary enough that the nearby warriors watched in awe! However, they quickly got a hold of themselves and went to support him.
"Get a grip and help that warrior. There are eight Winged Snakes attacking him!"
"Just stay alive for a little longer!"
"Keep it up!"
With the help of the other warriors, Kang Oh was able to take down the Winged Snakes one by one.
In the process, he made sure to deal the finishing blow on every single one of them.
Kang Oh thrust his sword into the last Winged Snake's mouth, turning it into a skewer.
Kang Oh caught his breath and quickly assessed the battle.
The number of Winged Snakes had noticeably decreased. None of them had survived or were left unscathed.
'Looks like we'll win with ease.'
It seemed as though the expedition force believed that absolute victory was near. That's what Krohn thought, at least.
"Don't let down your guard until the very end. Kill them all; don't let a single one escape!"
He raised his voice.
He was too quick with his judgment.
Something unexpected happened. It occurred in the rear, where the support troops were located. The wall suddenly fell, and a tunnel appeared behind it.
Several Winged Snakes popped out of that tunnel. They attacked their rear troops; though they excelled in support, they had poor direct combat abilities.
"W-What is that!?"
'This is bad.'
In an instant, Kang Oh knew just how bad the situation was.
If their healers incurred casualties, then they'd have trouble advancing!
"Nuwak warriors, do whatever you can to protect our rear troops!" Kang Oh yelled.
Fortunately, the Nuwak warriors were close to the rear troops.
The Winged Snakes' sudden entrance stunned the entire force, but as soon as Kang Oh barked an order, they got a hold of themselves.
Krohn was no different. He regained his composure and immediately gave an order.
"Protect our rear troops. Rear troops, gather around me! We need to get back into formation!"
Several troops were on the move.
The Nuwak warriors and Eder desperately stepped in front of the rear troops, while the other warriors and Kang Oh dashed towards the Winged Snakes popping out of the tunnel. At the same time, the rear troops, which included the archers, shamans, and mages gathered around Krohn.
The battle wasn't over yet. It had only just begun.Previous Chapter Next Chapter