Chapter 167. Witch's Forest

'Oh!'

Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.

The Herculean Stone Monkey, who'd gone someplace as per Wukong's order, had come back with a sack of gold over its shoulder.

Thud.

Upon dropping the sack, golden light peeked out of the opening, and a lovely metallic sound rang out.

'How much is in there?'

It looked like there was at least a few thousand gold inside. Gulp. Unbeknownst to him, he was drooling.

"Is this all of it?" Wukong asked, and the Herculean Stone Monkey nodded its head.

"So this is what you want, right?" Wukong poked at the sack and said.

"Yes. If you give me that, then I won't tell a soul about this place."

Kang Oh zipped his lips with his fingers.  

"Fine. If that's the case, then I have a job for you!" Wukong said, and a quest suddenly popped up.


[Restricted Area: Stone Monkey Hideout]

The mythical creature, Wukong, hates it when humans find his home. 

So if you want the gold, then you have to keep others from finding the Stone Monkey Hideout for 100 days.

Do whatever it takes!

Remaining Time: 100 Days

Difficulty: Unknown. 

Minimum Requirements: The first to discover the Stone Monkey Hideout.

Reward: Sack of gold.

Failure: Wukong leaves his hideout and goes on a rampage.


"If you want something, then you have to do something in return," Wukong said.

"Tch."

Kang Oh furrowed his brow.

Everything had been going so smoothly, but he hadn't expected things to take such an unexpected turn.

"What are you going to do?" Sephiro asked.

"I have to do it."

There's so much money at stake, after all.

"Phew. I get to experience all kinds of stuff when I'm with you, Mr. Kang Oh," Sephiro sighed.

As if killing Kainshell's boss monster wasn't enough, now he was getting a quest from a monster!

"But it was fun, wasn't it?"

"Nope."

Kang Oh smiled and stared at Wukong once more.

"I'll do it."


[You have accepted the quest, <Restricted Area: Stone Monkey Hideout>.]


"Heh. Now you won't tell a soul about this place. If you do, then I'll turn this metal that you love so much into scrap," Wukong said.

"Indeed."

Kang Oh nodded his head.

'I guess I shouldn't have taken you for a normal monkey.'

He couldn't just take the gold from Wukong; he was much too powerful for that. 

"Get lost."

He had no business with them anymore, so he waved them off.

Kang Oh stood up.

"Farewell."

"Umph."

Wukong laid on his side and closed his eyes.

"Let's go."

"Alright."

In the end, Kang Oh went back the way he came empty-handed.

After that, Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro stopped at the entrance.

"What are we going to do now? Do you have a good way of  preventing people from coming here?" Sephiro asked.

He'd accepted the quest, so he must have some way of dealing with this.

"Should the three of us go around and protect this place?" Eder asked.

"We're not going to do anything," Kang Oh said absentmindedly.

"Huh?"

"What?"

"We're not doing anything," Kang Oh repeated.

"Why's that?" Eder asked.

"But what if someone finds this place..."

Sephiro furrowed his brow.

"Trying to hide something poorly can have the opposite effect."

In Kang Oh's opinion, the Stone Monkey Hideout was hidden well enough on its own.

Not only was it hidden within the Agrashi tree, but it was obscured by thick mist. Plus, players were drawn to the old ruins, not the tree.

Trying to hide it ran the risk of drawing attention to it instead.

"That makes sense."

Eder nodded his head.

"But what if someone manages to find it?"

Sephiro was still of the opinion that they had to do something to conceal this location. However, Kang Oh's next response managed to convince him.

"It doesn't really matter if we fail. If we do, we can just call some people over and kill Wukong before anyone else can!

"Ah!"

No matter what happened, Kang Oh wouldn't lose anything! He wouldn't let that happen.

Ever!

* * *

There were several cities on the continent.

While there were large cities like Altein, which was known by all, there were also small cities that no one knew about.

Snowprim was one such city; it was a small city that was unknown to most.

Honestly, it was so small that calling it a city was almost embarrassing. Nonetheless, it had an intercity transfer gate.

There was nothing there that could mark it as a popular tourist attraction, and the fact that it snowed for more than half a year was its only noteworthy trait.

Of course, this wasn't a trait that only belonged to Snowprim. Most of the cities that bordered the northern region, which was called the land of ice and illusions, shared this trait.

For some reason, there were several people coming through the transfer gate today. One of them was Kang Oh.

"Mm. As I thought, it's cold because it borders the north."

If this were real, then it wouldn't be cold, it'd be freezing. But because he was in-game, it was limited to just being cold.

Kang Oh, who'd just exited the transfer gate, took a look around.

"It's nice."

The city was covered in snow, so he was greeted by a snow-white landscape.

For a moment, Kang Oh vacantly took in the sight. Then, he snapped out of it and sent Soo Ah a message.

- I've arrived at Snowprim! I'm in front of the gate.

- I'll come out and meet you.

A short while later...

A western beauty with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a well-proportioned figure approached him.

This was Soo Ah's in-game character, Asu.

She was wearing fur clothes like she was from Russia.

"Oppa."

She beamed.

"It's been a while since we've met in-game."

Kang Oh responded with a smile of his own.

"There are people waiting for us, so let's hurry. I'll take you there."

Asu nonchalantly locked arms with him.

"Y-Yeah."

Today was the Witch's Forest Guild's regular get-together. Partners like Kang Oh were allowed to participate as well.

"But are you really ok with bringing me to a place with so many people?" Kang Oh said carefully.

Soo Ah was a female idol. She had to be really careful not to cause a scandal.

"It should be. You're not the only one I've come with before."

Asu had a mischievous look about her.

"What?"

His eyes seemed to give off sparks. 'Then some other ass... guy has come with her before!?'

"Hoo, hoo. I'm just kidding," Soo Ah laughed.

"Really?"

"Really. But I have to apologize to you on that front."

"Why's that?"

"I was going to introduce you as a good friend."

Asu truly looked apologetic. However, she wasn't a 'normal' person, so there was no helping it.

"Well, that's the truth. I'm a really, really good friend."

Kang Oh grinned.

"Thank you," Asu softly muttered.

"Then, shall we go?"

"Sure."

They began walking through the snow, leaving behind footsteps side by side.

"Isn't the Witch's Forest a friendly guild that only includes women?" Kang Oh asked.

"Yes. But other men come as partners too, so you won't have to worry about being the only guy there."

"Well, I would've been ok with that..." Kang Oh muttered.

"What did you say?"

Asu's eyebrows rose angrily.

"Hoo, hoo. I'm just joking around."

"I'm a really jealous person. So if you look at other women, then I won't let you off the hook!"

"Ah, is that so?"

She meant to threaten him, but it just sounded cute to him.

"I'm serious!"

"Yeah, yeah."

The two teased each other, and soon arrived at their destination.

"Ta-da. This is the Witch's Forest Guild's headquarters."

In the suburbs, where snowy fields stretched for miles on end, there was a path that led to a forest filled with pine trees. It was there that a giant, 3-story villa was located.

This was the Witch's Forest Guild's headquarters.

"Hoo, I'm... kind of nervous."

Kang Oh caught his breath.

"They're all good people, so don't worry."

Asu beamed.

Everyone's attention was drawn to the two once they opened the door and went inside.

However, their curiosity and gazes didn't linger for long. They seemingly lost interest rather quickly and went back to what they were doing.

But there was one woman that strode towards the two.

"Oh my, you look exactly like you do in real life, Mr. Really Good Friend."

The woman beamed.

Kang Oh was pretty sharp, so he figured out who she was in a flash.

"Chef Lee Soo Min?"

"Hoo, hoo. Hello again."

She was Chef Lee Soo Min, someone he'd met at Yurim on his first date with Soo Ah.

"It's nice to see you."

"It's nice to see you too. I heard some juicy details about you after you left."

Soo Min wrapped her arm around Asu's neck.

"Hehe."

It seemed like she'd figured out that they were dating.

"Now then, come this way. I'll introduce you to the others."

"Unni, he's just a 'good friend' right now," Asu said.

She was basically saying, 'Don't call him my boyfriend or lover.'.

"I'm not stupid, you know."

"I was just making sure."

After that, Kang Oh, accompanied by Asu and Soo Min, met with the members of the Witch's Forest.

As Asu had said, they all seemed like good people. Though it was kind of stupid to say that when they'd only met once. 

He was dragged around the guild, and was forced to greet people he'd never met before and strike a conversation with them; turns out, it was a lot more tiring than he'd thought it would be. 

Kang Oh, who wanted to avoid meeting anyone else, spoke to Asu instead. 

"Show me around the guild headquarters."

"Sure."

Asu began showing him around the guild, but there was one place that particularly drew Kang Oh's interest.

"This is the gallery."

"The gallery?"

"When we find something rare, we put it up for display here."

"Oh. Do you mind if I take a look?"

"Go ahead."

Display stands lined the room, and various items were placed on top of them. 

Most of them were bags, gems, accessories, or clothes. Things like that. The guild was clearly a woman-only guild. 

"Oh, this is Ms. Ludre's newest design. When did this come in?"

Asu was drawn to the clothes that hung from the display stand, forcing Kang Oh to look around by himself.

He suddenly stopped.

'Oh, this is...'

Kang Oh widened his eyes and carefully examined the thick tome on the stand.

The book's name was...


[Illusion More Real Than Reality Itself Grimoire 2]


The Illusion Master, Aerd!

His brand of arcane magic, 'Imaginary Projection' was split into three books!

The reason he could tell just by looking at the cover was because he possessed the first volume.

He'd obtained the first volume in the Grancia Forest, a place where no animals lived in. He went there with the intent on finding a monkey that appeared and then disappeared like a mirage, and had gotten this book in the process.

'Why is this here?'

Kang Oh was dumbfounded.

In what world would this book be here, on the display stand of such a small, friendly guild?

Then, Asu came over.

"What are you looking at so thoroughly?"

"This. It's an arcane grimoire."

'Seriously, it's an arcane grimoire for god's sake!'

"Oh, that's something the guildmaster brought."

Based on what she said, the grimoire had been here for quite some time.

"The guildmaster brought this?"

"Yes."

"What kind of person is she to have..."

"She's on the upper floor. Would you like to meet her?"

"Yeah. I'd like to meet her."

"Let's go."

* * *

The guildmaster's room was on the 3rd floor.

Knock, knock.

"Unni, it's me, Asu."

"Come in."

Asu opened the door, and Kang Oh followed her inside. He was greeted by the sight of a woman.

She wore round glasses and had red hair, but for some reason, she seemed familiar to him.

'I feel like I've seen her somewhere before.'

"Oh, who is this?" the red haired woman saw Kang Oh and asked.

"He's my partner. You said you wanted to meet him."

"My name is Helena."

She sported a soft smile.

'Helena!'

As soon as he heard her name, he realized why she seemed so familiar. After all, she was an incredibly famous person.

"Numbers?"

"Yes."

Blood Witch, Helena!

The Witch of Annihilation!

Rank 4!

She was the most powerful mage in the game!

She didn't make TV appearances, and she wasn't seen by the public much. Thus, people didn't know much about her. 

To think she was the guildmaster of a friendship guild!

'Now I understand why they have the arcane grimoire.'

Helena was powerful enough to procure an arcane grimoire.

"It's nice to meet you. My name is Kang Oh."

The entire world loved Arth. This was the moment where he'd met someone who was the greatest in their field.

"The one who went on TV with you?" Helena looked at Asu and asked.

"Yes, the very same."

"It's nice to meet you. Please keep treating Asu well."

"Of course."

"Alright then."

Helena's face seemingly said, 'If there's nothing else, then please leave.'.

"One second. Would you please take a look at this?"

Kang Oh removed the first volume of Aerd's grimoire from his inventory.

"This is..."

Asu looked surprised. 

"This is?"

Helena's eyes sparkled.

"Now do we have something to talk about?"

Kang Oh grinned.

"I guess we do."

Helena smiled as well. 

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