Chapter 168. Monstrous Human

Kang Oh, Helena, and Asu each sat on a sofa.

"Where did you find the grimoire?" Helena asked.

"I found it in the Grancia Forest, a place that's supposedly not inhabited by animals..."

Kang Oh detailedly explained how he'd come into possession of the arcane grimoire. 

"How about you, Ms. Helena?"

Give and take. Now it was Helena's turn.

"I found it in the north. There was an ice castle there that would appear and then disappear just as quickly like a mirage."

"Hoh."

An ice castle that disappeared like a mirage...

"Was the ice castle an illusion created by the Illusion Master, Aerd?"

"Yes."

"To think you've explored the north. As expected of you, Ms. Helena."

The north was called the land of ice and illusions, and was considered an extremely high difficulty zone.

"How shall we proceed? You and I possess the first two volumes," Helena said.

"What if I were to ask you to give me the arcane grimoire?" Kang Oh asked.

"What if I were to ask you the same thing? Would you give me the grimoire?"

"No."

"The same goes for me."

That was obvious.

It was a Master Mage's arcane grimoire. The value of such a thing was tremendous!

'If you gather all of them, then you can sell it for however much you want.'

That's what Grano had told him. The Tower would be prepared to buy it at whatever price.

"Do you plan on selling it?"

"No."

Helena had absolutely no intention of selling the grimoire.

After all, she was a mage! If she gathered all of the grimoires and became skilled enough, then she'd be able to learn Aerd's magic.

"What about you?"

"I could sell it, but..."

He didn't want to sell it right now. After all, the completed grimoire would be worth so much more.

"Hmm. Then we have nothing else to talk about."

"True. But I have a suggestion."

"What kind of suggestion?"

"The one who finds the last grimoire gets them all. How does that sound?"

After speaking with her, Kang Oh had realized that there was almost no chance that she'd hand over the grimoire. 

However, the grimoire wouldn't be valued properly unless all three of them were collected. Thus, he'd come up with this in an attempt to procure all three.

"Sounds good," Helena immediately agreed.

It didn't matter whether she found the last grimoire or not if Kang Oh wasn't willing to part with his.

She was in an awkward situation. Helena couldn't just steal the grimoire from him, as he was close to Asu. So she was thankful that Kang Oh had come out with this kind of offer.

"We don't need to write a contract, do we?" Kang Oh asked.

"Asu will be our witness, right?"

"Sure, I'll do it."

Asu, who'd been quietly listening in, nodded her head.

"Then I'll leave my grimoire with her."

Kang Oh passed the grimoire to Asu.

"Keep it with you. Give it to Ms. Helena if she finds the last remaining grimoire."

"Ok."

Asu placed the grimoire into her inventory.

"I'll keep mine in the guild's gallery," Helena said.

"Understood."

Kang Oh nodded his head.

With this, the race to find the last remaining grimoire had begun. Whoever found the last grimoire would own the entire set.

One was the Witch of Annihilation, Blood Witch Helena!

The other possessed the unbelievable Hyper Intuition ability, the Dungeon Hunter Kang Oh!

Who would be the final victor?

* * *

Kang Oh, who'd spent some much appreciated time with Asu and had unexpectedly met with one of the Numbers, had returned to the Great Forest.

After all, there were still several dungeons left to explore. 

He needed to find the final arcane grimoire, but he didn't have any leads, so he'd hold off on it for now.

Anyhow, Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro began with the dungeons around their home base, the Nuwak Village.

"Today was amazing," Sephiro said.

They'd explored the Spider Canyon, where several Monster Spiders, or Spiness, lived.

With his Hyper Intuition, Kang Oh had found a hidden dungeon, and after defeating the boss, had taken all of the treasure that it'd accrued.

"It's all because of you, Mr. Kang Oh," Eder flattered.

Since he was rubbing his hands together, he must be trying to get a higher wage. 

Kang Oh paid Sephiro his 20%, gave Eder 30 gold, and kept the rest for himself.

"Good work."

"You too."

"I have some business in Altein, so you can all go home."

Kang Oh was about to use a return scroll and head to Altein, but Eder stopped him. 

"Mr. Kang Oh."

"What?"

"If you're heading for Altein, then please summon me after you get there. I'd like to rest at my house. It's been a while after all."

They'd been staying in the Nuwak Village inn for quite some time.

"I got it."

"Hehe, thank you very much."

Kang Oh ripped the return scroll. Then, he reappeared in front of Altein's intercity transfer gate and summoned Eder.

"I'll be going now."

"Yeah."

After Eder left, Kang Oh headed to the Currency Exchange Counter.

"Welcome," the owner greeted..

Kang Oh glanced at the easily seen sign.


Market Price of Gold: 1 gold = 8,000 won ($8 USD)

Does not take silver.

Commission Fee: 3%


"Tch," Kang Oh clicked his tongue.

'Last time, it was 8,500 won, but now it's gone down to 8,000.'

As he anticipated, the market price of gold had dropped. Originally, 1 gold had been equal to 10,000 won, but it seemed like the market price would continue to go down from now on.

Most players expected gold to depreciate in value even further.

Thus, several people exchanged their gold, and less people bought gold. When the price of gold dropped even further, people would begin to buy gold again.

'They've even increased the commission fee from 2% to 3%.'

Though the commission fee had increased, he needed to sell as much gold as he could right now. After all, the value of gold would continue to drop from now on.

"How can I help you?" the owner asked.

"I'd like to exchange my gold for cash."

Aside from his emergency fund, Kang Oh exchanged all of the gold he'd gathered thus far.

"Please come again."

"Goodbye."

After ensuring that the money had been deposited into his account, he quickly left the Currency Exchange Counter.

But then, Ubist, which was strapped to his back, began to shake. 

'Why's it acting like this?'

He drew his demon sword and saw a middle-aged man.

The man's slicked back hair was black with flecks of gray. His eyes were striking and he had a sharp jawline; his lips, however, made him seem stubborn. Finally, he had a sturdy body.

Kang Oh knew who he was right away. He'd seen this man's life story after passing Ubist's trial. 

"Valan?"

He was the Guardian of the Continent, Valan, and the original owner of Demon Sword Ubist.

"Are you my successor, the one Burkan told me about?"

"Probably?"

He didn't want to become his successor, but that didn't change the facts.

Valan looked Kang Oh over.

"You're way too weak."

He looked disappointed.

"Well, I guess... Follow me."

"I'm kind of busy right now..." Kang Oh said.

He had a hunch that this would be a pain in the ass.

"Do I need to drag you?"

Valan scowled.

"You take priority, Master Valan."

Kang Oh quickly approached Valan.

"Stop screwing around. I really hate that."

Valan strode forward.

"Phew," Kang Oh sighed and followed him.

The feeling that he'd be involved in something annoying didn't leave him.

* * *

Valan brought Kang Oh to the Holiseum's underground arena. Burkan was already waiting for them there.

"Mm, is that you, Little Brother?" Burkan greeted Kang Oh, his face sporting a healthy sheen.

It seems like he'd been having a lot of fun lately.

"You said you'd be back in a bit. You went to get him? How did you know where he was?" Burkan said familiarly.

"I could sense the demon sword."

"You can actually sense that?"

Burkan looked amazed.

"Yeah."

"You really are amazing."

"I'm not amazing. You just lack talent."

There probably wasn't anyone that could say the Invincible Gladiator, Burkan, 'lacked talent' besides his teacher, Valan.

"But you don't see me going around and getting beat up," Burkan shamelessly retorted, as if Valan scolded him all the time.

"If you train your senses, then you'll be able to do the same thing someday."

But he was still his teacher, so he gave him some advice.

"Yes, Master."

As the student, Burkan bowed his head.

"Excuse me... Why did you bring me here?" Kang Oh raised his hand and asked. 

'Why did you bring me here when you're getting along so well!?'

"By the way, why did you make such a weakling my successor?" Valan asked, completely disregarding Kang Oh.

"He's not as weak as you think, Master."

"Really?"

Only then did Valan begin to show some interest in Kang Oh.

"Let's spar," Valan said.

"I'd rather not," Kang Oh flat out refused. 

'Why would I?'

Valan suddenly drew the sword at his waist and swung it.

Swish.

Kang Oh felt a chill. He'd instinctively dodged Valan's strike.

"Mm."

His expression seemed to say, 'You have to be at least that strong.'.

Kang Oh quickly drew Ubist and looked Valan over.

'As expected of a Swordmaster.'

Though Valan appeared completely relaxed, Hyper Intuition couldn't spot any weaknesses.

'The sword he's using... doesn't seem to be a demon sword. It actually just looks like a normal sword.'

Valan's sword wasn't just normal, it was weak too. For some reason, Kang Oh felt as though the name would be 'Common Steel Sword'.

A master calligrapher didn't need a fine brush. Even though Kang Oh had a better weapon than him, the difference between the two was insurmountable.

'I have to strike first.'

When fighting a stronger opponent, you had to either defend yourself perfectly and then aim for the opponent's weak points, or use everything you got at the beginning and finish things quickly.

Kang Oh was better at offense than defense.

Kuheong!

He used Baramut's Roar. Baramut's soul now dwelled within him.

"Shut up."

Valan slightly furrowed his brow. However, he just stared at Kang Oh without interfering.

Kang Oh retrieved a red helmet from his inventory. It was an A-rank item, and was a part of the Cursed Blood Knight set he'd gotten back from Eder.

Gluttony!

Ubist's darkness consumed the helmet, and Kang Oh's body emanated jet black energy.

All of his abilities had been tripled!

However, the item's level requirements were low, so Gluttony would only last for 5 minutes!

'I have to beat him within 5 minutes.'

Kang Oh dashed towards Valan head-on.

"Haahp!"

Kang Oh swung Ubist.

His strength was amplified by Baramut's Roar and Gluttony, and he focused as much as he could so that his attack was successful. He put all of his strength into his first attack!

Kang Oh's strike was so clean that no noise came out as he cleaved through the ground.

Then, Valan swung his own blade. There was no form or skill to it; it seemed like he'd just nonchalantly swung his sword.

Nevertheless, he managed to deflect Kang Oh's attack so easily. 

'Damn it.'

Kang Oh got back into position, and barraged Valan with attacks like a ferocious beast.

However, none of it worked.

Valan nonchalantly swung his sword as if he were taking a stroll, yet he easily blocked Kang Oh's powerful strikes. 

"Die!"

Even Tempest Tiger, which Kang Oh had used in an act of desperation, had been sliced in half.

'To think he could even cut an aura in half.'

This monstrous human!

This was the first time he'd encountered an insurmountable obstacle in Arth.

But he couldn't give up. He drew all four daggers and threw them, and even tried blowing sand into Valan's eyes.

Of course, those pathetic tricks wouldn't work against someone like him.

'Tch."

Fortunately, Valan hadn't attacked him yet. If he wanted this to end, then this fight would've been over ages ago.

'I don't have a lot of options left...'

'I'll do all I can until the very end!'

Switch.

Kang Oh swapped Ubist with Blood, which emanated red light.

"Haahp!"

Then, he attacked Valan once more.  

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