Kang charged with Demon Sword Blood.
Valan didn't look interested before, but now he did.
Burkan, who was watching from the side, saw Blood and looked surprised.
'I need to hit him at least once!'
Kang Oh gritted his teeth.
Unlike Ubist, Blood was a one-handed sword, which allowed him to attack differently.
So, for a moment, he thought that if he did everything right, then... he might get a hit in.
But nothing changed. None of his attacks hit. Penetrating Valan's defenses was impossible.
Kang Oh stopped attacking.
"Mm, already done?"
Kang Oh merely looked back at him frigidly.
"Are you waiting for me to attack?"
'Block his attack with Hyper Intuition, and then counterattack right after!'
That was Kang Oh's plan.
"Sure, why not."
Valan approached him step by step. Then, he softly swung his sword.
Though he'd swung so nonchalantly, Kang Oh was just barely able to dodge the blow, even with Hyper Intuition activating.
He quickly retreated. Kang Oh wasn't confident in his ability to dodge for a second time.
"Mm? Are you really done?"
"...Please give me a second. I need to collect myself," Kang Oh said curtly.
"You have a silver tongue, I'll give you that, but your skills are..."
Valan wasn't even trying to provoke him; his thoughts were genuine, but that only served to enrage Kang Oh.
'What is this?'
Yes, he was a Master, but there shouldn't be such a huge disparity between them. He even used Baramut's Roar and Gluttony to empower himself.
"Want me to attack? Or will you? Or should we just stop?"
'Now that's it come to this...'
Kang Oh took out Demon Sword Ubist from his inventory. He hadn't swapped between Blood and Ubist, but dual wielded them.
"Have you ever used two swords before?"
"I'm not trying to dual wield them!"
There was a reason he held both of them simultaneously.
It was to... use Devil Trigger with both swords simultaneously.
'Go for broke!'
He didn't think he could win with just one sword's Devil Trigger. 'So I'll use transform using both swords instead!'
Ubist and Blood released darkness and blood red energy, which entwined together and engulfed Kang Oh.
The power of darkness flowed through his entire body and swelled as if it'd explode.
Valan's expression changed.
By the time he narrowed his eyes, his sword had already been swung.
Divide the Sea!
This was a swordsman's ultimate technique, capable of slicing through a tsunami, and even the sea itself.
The line that divided the world into two cleaved through Kang Oh, who was engulfed in a mix of red and black.
Kang Oh briefly sported a vacant expression.
He hadn't become a demon and Devil Trigger had been deactivated.
"You're too green to be using two demon swords simultaneously. So let's end this. Put away your sword," Valan said.
Just now, Kang Oh had been in critical condition. If Valan hadn't saved him, then he might've become a monster under the demons' control.
'He swings his sword out of the blue and tells me to spar, and then he just ends it whenever he likes!'
But he couldn't do anything about it. He'd completely lost. Kang Oh placed both of the demon swords into his inventory.
"How is he?" Burkan, who'd been silently watching, asked.
"He's weak, but... It feels like he's trained his senses extensively."
Valan stroked his chin.
"He'll become stronger from now on."
"Mm. Then let's hold off on it then."
"Hold off on what?" Kang Oh asked.
"I'm holding off on acknowledging you as my successor!" Valan declared.
'Thanks, I appreciate it. I really don't want to become the Guardian of the Continent either.'
"Well, I'm a nice guy, so I'll give you a chance."
"I'm ok," Kang Oh refused honestly.
"We'll start off slow. There are religious fanatics that worship the Evil God, Jaila, in the Batiyu Ruins. I'm not sure which of his disciples is there, but kill him and come back. I'll give you plenty of time: 1 month."
"Why would I do that!?" Kang Oh suddenly yelled.
Unfortunately, a quest popped up regardless of his feelings.
[Trial to Become Valan's Successor 1]
The first test to succeed Valan and become the Guardian of the Continent, one who protects it from the shadows.
Drive out the religious zealots at the Batiyu Ruins and kill the Evil God's disciple.
Remaining Time: 30 days.
Difficulty: Extremely difficult.
Minimum Requirements: Guardian of the Continent's successor.
Reward: Trial to Become Valan's Successor 2.
[You are qualified to be Valan's successor, so the quest has automatically been accepted.]
"N-No, you can't!"
'Why are you accepting the quest for me!?'
"Oh, by the way. Make sure you kill them without anyone else's help. Do it all on your own," Valan said.
[A condition has been added: 'Complete the quest alone'.]
"Do whatever you want. I'm not doing it."
'So sue me!'
"Mm. I guess I'll take away the demon sword if you fail."
Valan smiled like a demon.
[A condition has been added: Upon failure, 'Demon Sword Ubist will be returned to Valan'.]
"What did you do with the adamantium that I stuck the sword into?" Valan asked Burkan.
"I let him have it. That was supposed to go to your successor, after all."
"Ah, then I'll take that too if you fail," Valan said, maintaining his demonic smile.
[A condition has been added: Upon failure, 'The Adamantium Gemstone will be returned to Valan'.]
Kang Oh instantly did a complete 180.
He couldn't afford to lose Ubist or the adamantium.
Kang Oh saluted and yelled, "I'll do it! I'll do my best!"
"Mm. Good luck."
Valan approached Kang Oh and patted his shoulder.
"Well, I'm finished here. It's time for me to leave. Ah, when you're finished with your mission, make sure you report it to Burkan."
"Where are you going?" Burkan asked.
"To the east for now."
"Um, excuse me."
Kang Oh raised his hand.
"The Lupenia Queen, Roane, wanted to see you again, Master Valan."
Though it'd been so long ago, Kang Oh hadn't forgotten her request.
"Lupenia? Ah, the aquatic tribe that has maintained the Calamity of the Sea, Gurekturon's seal for so long."
"Hmm. I do have to see how Gurekturon's corpse is doing. I got it."
Valan nodded his head.
"My final destination has been decided. Now I'm really going."
Valan left as quickly as he'd arrived.
Once Burkan and Kang Oh were alone, Kang Oh began to lament on his misfortune.
"Haa, how could I have gotten involved with someone like him!? I'm completely not cut out for this!"
'To think I'd be the one forced into a sweatshop! It's me we're talking about!'
If only Eder and Sephiro could see him now. They'd be thrilled; it'd be like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
"Cheer up, Little Brother," Burkan patted his back and comforted him.
"Hoo, it feels like a typhoon has just passed by us."
Everything had happened so suddenly. Meeting Valan, fighting him, etc.
"I told you, didn't I? He's a lot different from other people."
"You did. You also told me that I'd get caught up in a lot of annoying situations."
"Well, you'll gradually get used to it."
"I'd rather not have to get used to it."
"Or you could become stronger than Master Valan."
"How strong is Master Valan anyway? Are you and other Masters as monstrous as him?" Kang Oh asked curiously.
If that's the case, then the players weren't the protagonists in this game, the Masters were.
"Master Valan is a special case. He's surpassed the rank of Master."
"He's surpassed the rank of Master?"
"You'll gradually understand later."
Based on what he was saying, it seemed like Master wasn't the highest rank.
"So you're saying Master Valan is different."
"Yeah. That's why you don't see me, a Master, disrespecting him," Burkan said sorrowfully.
Their brotherly love burned due to their similar experiences with Valan.
"Can't you just tell Master Valan that I completed the quest?" Kang Oh asked, taking complete advantage of the mood.
"Mm. I can't," Burkan said while smiling.
As expected, it wouldn't work.
"Well, there's a time limit on this quest, so I'll be going now," Kang Oh said.
"Mm. Good luck."
Once he'd left, Burkan clicked his tongue.
"Tch, tch. Looks like my little brother will have nothing but tough times ahead."
Like anyone who's involved with Master Valan, the road ahead wouldn't be easy for Kang Oh.
* * *
"Haa. I'll have to focus on this quest for now."
Kang Oh sifted through the details of the [Trial to Become Valan's Successor 1] quest and sighed.
If he didn't complete the quest within 30 days or failed, then he'd lose Demon Sword Ubist and the adamantium gemstone.
Thus, he'd completely ignore everything else for the time being and focus entirely on this quest.
'The Batiyu Ruins...'
Kang Oh knew about this dungeon.
Back when he'd been deciding on which dungeon was most likely to contain a hidden dungeon, one of his choices had been the Batiyu Ruins.
'Now that I think about it, Tino gave me some information on this dungeon too.'
But he couldn't remember what Tino had told him. He hadn't memorized it, believing that it wouldn't make him any money.
Ultimately, Kang Oh headed for the Jurento Bar to meet Tino once more.
Like always, Tino was laying on the table. As soon as he shook Tino's shoulder, he wriggled around and raised his head.
"Mm, it's been a long time," Tino said.
"I think so."
"What do you want: a drink, a hangover cure, or a snack?"
"Can I order all three?"
"Then I won't pay you for the information."
"Get me a drink," Tino rubbed his flushed nose and said.
He'd ordered some cheap liquor, yet he'd been charged up the ass. What a shitty owner.
"What did you come for today?"
"Tell me everything you know or heard regarding the Batiyu Ruins."
"The Batiyu Ruins, huh..."
Tino gulped down the liquor.
"It's said that on the night of a full moon, a secret society comes to the ruins and conducts some strange ritual."
'Right. This is what he told me last time.'
"But haven't I told you this before?"
Tino also felt a sense of déjà vu and tilted his head.
"Yes, this is the second time I've heard this."
"Mm, is that so? I'm at the end of line. My brain doesn't work like it used to."
"Then stop drinking so much," Kang Oh said.
"I'd rather not. Liquor is my other half," Tino flatly denied.
"Anyway, do you have anything else you can tell me?"
"I've heard rumors that this secret society is evil. They perform a strange ritual that uses human sacrifice, which is completely illegal as per continental law," Tino said.
'It's probably not just a rumor.'
The secret society was filled with Evil God Worshippers, and it seemed almost obvious that they'd be involved in human sacrifice.
"Do you have anyone you can introduce me to?"
Tino shook his head.
Kang Oh paid him 10 gold for the information and then left the bar. Then, he thought over the matter.
'Something's strange...' Kang Oh said.
On the night of a full moon, a secret society comes to the ruins and conducts some strange ritual.
Kang Oh had researched the Batiyu Ruins in an effort to find another hidden dungeon.
At the time, he hadn't heard anything about a periodic event or situation that involved the full moon.
'There's no way that the players deliberately avoided hunting there on the night of the full moon.'
In the end, there were two possible answers.
They began their ritual after he'd procured his information on the Batiyu Ruins, or there was a separate reason as to why the ritual wasn't known to the public.
"Whatever the case, I have to gather some more information."
Kang Oh touched his communication earring.
'I should ask Eder to find some information on it from the library.'
Eder was the best when it came to jobs like this.Previous Chapter Next Chapter