Chapter 172. Hidden Sanctum

Kang Oh came to the Batiyu Ruins again. Perhaps it was because it'd been some time since he'd killed the Evil God Worshipper, but the atmosphere or appearance of the Batiyu Ruins hadn't changed much.

The Evil God Worshippers, which were disguised as Medicine Hunters, didn't show any signs of hostility or suspicion.

'But I still can't afford to be careless.'

Whatever the case, the Evil God Worshippers knew that someone was looking into them. Though they looked inconspicuous on the outside, they may still be on guard.

Kang Oh acted like the other players. He pretended like he was looking for monsters, and even went as far as to kill the Bulldogs as well.

While doing so, he stealthily made his way to the goat pattern.

'There's no one here, right?'

Kang Oh took a quick look around and then removed the bronze mirror from his inventory.

At that moment...

The bronze mirror radiated red light, and the goat pattern's eyes began to shine.

'As I thought!'

The bronze mirror was indeed a key.

Kang Oh's body began to fade. He was being transported somewhere else, as if he'd used a return scroll or an intercity transfer gate.


[You have entered Batiyu's Hidden Sanctum.]


Soon enough, Kang Oh was transported to a completely different location. 

'A hidden sanctum?'

He was inside a building.

Lamps shaped like lightning bolts hung from the ceiling, emitting iridescent light.

Murals were drawn on the walls too. They probably depicted the myth of Batiyu.

The murals were fading and the walls were cracked, so the place must not have been properly maintained for some time. Parts of the wall had even collapsed, leaving a hole in the wall.

Kang Oh carefully made his way through the passageway.

Based on everything he'd gathered thus far, Batiyu's followers had been killed by a horde of monsters; after that, Jaila's followers took over the Batiyu Temple to find Jaila's lost sacred treasure.

In other words, he was in the middle of the tiger's den. He had to keep his eyes peeled.

He encountered a forked road.

Kang Oh intuitively picked the right road. A short while later, he sensed a presence coming towards him.

He quickly looked for a place to hide. Then, he turned a corner and hid himself.

"It won't be long before the sacred treasure returns to us," a man wearing bronze robes said.

Based on what he was saying, he had to be one of the Evil God Worshippers.

"We've had it hard because of those damn Batiyu bastards," another man wearing the same garb said.

"When's the next ritual?"

One of them pulled out a bronze mirror from their robes.

"The red moon's almost full, so it won't be long."

"Hoo, hoo. I wish that day would come sooner. I love the sound that a virgin makes when they're being sacrificed," the Evil God Worshipper smiled wickedly.

"Hehe, Lord Jaila is so pleased when they're crying out for mercy, begging us to let them live."

There were several reasons that Jaila was called an evil god, but one of them was his creed: to spread pain and suffering.

Anyway, the two continued to speak with those disgusting mouths of theirs.

While having no idea that someone was listening in on their conversation.

"So you can tell when the ritual is based on the red moon?"

Kang Oh removed the bronze mirror from his inventory. Those bastards had definitely said that you could tell when the ritual was by looking at the mirror.

'So it has another use besides entering this location.'

Kang Oh looked down at the bronze mirror.

Red energy radiated from it. 

When he'd first acquired it, the mirror had definitely shown a crescent moon, but now, it looked like a half moon.

Which meant that the red energy would eventually become a full moon!

Of course, he hadn't known what the changes to the moon had meant thus far.

But by eavesdropping on the Evil God Worshippers' conversation, he'd been able to figure out what it meant.

'It tells you when the full moon rises.'

There was a rumor that a strange ritual was performed at the Batiyu Ruins on the night of the full moon.

It wasn't actually referring to a true full moon, but when the red light on the bronze mirror became a full moon.

'And when this 'full moon' rises, they'll begin the ceremony!'

Right now, it was a half moon, but it would gradually become a full moon as time passed. That would be his chance to kill all of the Evil God's followers!

For the time being, however, he needed to thoroughly explore the sanctum, and figure out how many Evil God Worshippers there were.

Kang Oh began moving stealthily once more.

* * *

The hidden sanctum was divided into several floors, and there were several rooms here too. The sanctum itself was designed quite complicatedly. 

Because of that, exploring the hidden sanctum was quite difficult, but there were also several places where he could avoid and hide from the Evil God Worshippers.

"We have to hurry our preparations for the ritual. For our god."

"Offer up a virgin's blood, flesh, and heart to our god!"

"Jaila!"

Once the Evil God Worshippers passed by, Kang Oh slightly opened the door and assessed the situation outside. He sensed a presence and hid inside the room once more.

"Crazy bastards," Kang Oh clicked his tongue.

'I've noticed that all of them wear bronze robes.'

It must be because bronze represents Jaila.

'I need to buy one of those.'

In order to infiltrate an enemy's base, you at least needed to have the right clothes first!

Kang Oh exited the room and headed for where the Evil God Worshippers had just appeared.

How much time had passed?

Kang Oh peeked his head out from the end of the passageway and looked around.

'This place is...'

It was a large room. At the center of the room lay a high altar, and ten Evil God Worshippers stood nearby, solemnly guarding it.

There was a shut coffin on top of the altar.

'Is the sacred treasure sealed inside of there?'

If not, then there was no way that they'd be protecting it like this. Thus, this must be where they were going to hold the ceremony.

After exploring the hidden sanctum, he'd come to the conclusion that this was the only place that they could hold a ritual.

But as they always say, misbehavior will eventually catch up to you.

"Who's there!?"

One of the Evil God Worshippers saw Kang Oh peeking his head in.

'Damn it.'

Kang Oh quickly pulled his head out, but it was already too late.

"There's someone suspicious over there!"

"Catch him!"

Those guarding the altar came rushing at Kang Oh.

Kang Oh immediately pulled out a return scroll from his inventory and ripped it.

Spurt!

Silver powder glimmered around him.

'Please, please...'

If a player is attacked while using a return scroll, then the effects are nullified. Thus, if one of the Evil God Worshippers' attacks came at him, then he wouldn't be teleported and he'd be forced to fight them.

However, that's not what Kang Oh wanted right now.

Kang Oh's goal was Jaila's disciple, not his followers. He had no intention of getting involved with them before dealing with the disciple.

'It's ready!'

Fortunately, the return was successful, and he disappeared without a trace.

The Evil God Worshippers had arrived in only a few seconds.

"What? He's not here?"

"Did he get away already?"

"Damn it. Who the hell was he!?"

"Check all of the rooms! He might be hiding!"

"Got it!"

* * *

Any further investigation was impossible.

The only thing he could do was go in and kill them now.

When the bronze mirror's red light became a full moon... That would be D-Day.

'Of course, I have to thoroughly prepare before then.'

Kang Oh began preparing for his fight against Jaila's disciple.

First, he went to the Holiseum.

"Yo, Darion," Kang Oh waved at the handsome man.

"Welcome."

Unlike last time, Darion didn't immediately run away and politely bowed his head instead. He must've realized that running away was meaningless.

"You're not running this time?" Kang Oh grinned and said.

"Ahem. I had some urgent business to deal with last time," Darion gave a flimsy excuse.

"Whatever. Is Burkan here?"

"Yes. Would you like me to take you to him?"

"Isn't that obvious?"

Darion pouted slightly. He was definitely thinking something along the lines of 'What am I, your slave? You asshole.'.

"You want to get hit?" Kang Oh furrowed his brow.

"Huh? Why?"

"You just inwardly cursed at me."

"I didn't!"

Darion was shocked. After all, Kang Oh had hit the mark.

Kang Oh stared at Darion.

"Ahem. I'll take you to Master Burkan right away."

Darion went on without making eye contact with Kang Oh.

"Punk."

He didn't live up to his looks and was always asking for punishment.

Kang Oh followed him.

"He's in here."

Darion pointed at the door and left before Kang Oh could even do anything.

"Tch," Kang Oh clicked his tongue, knocked, and entered the room.

"Oh, Little Brother. Did you already complete the quest?" Burkan asked.

"No, not yet. I had a favor to ask you regarding that," Kang Oh said affably.

His voice automatically became polite whenever he had a favor to ask!

"What is it?"

"Please kill me," Kang Oh said seriously.

"What?"

Burkan sported an expression that seemed to say, 'What the hell are you talking about?'.

"I have to undergo Ubist's trial again. If by any chance I lose and Ubist takes control of me, please kill me," Kang Oh said.

He'd enjoyed the fruits of Devil Trigger for some time, which had resulted in his assimilation rate surpassing 92%. In other words, he could only use Devil Trigger for another 8 minutes.

However, 8 minutes was much too short when he had to fight against Jaila's disciple. Thus, he'd come with the intention of overcoming the trial beforehand and extending Devil Trigger's use.

"You want to take the Trial of the Demon Sword again?" Burkan tilted his head. 

'Why?' his actions seemed to say.

"There's a Demonic Swordsman skill called Devil Trigger. Using it eventually forces you to take the Trial of the Demon Sword again."

"Really?"

Burkan looked like he understood.

"You'll do it for me, right?"

"Of course. It'd be a pain in the ass if you got controlled by Ubist in some random place."

"Right now."

"Sure."

Burkan and Kang Oh came to the underground arena.

"Are you confident?" Burkan asked.

He was essentially saying, 'Do you think you have a chance at overcoming Ubist's trial again?'.

"He's gotten just as strong as I have, so... It won't be easy, but I have to give it a go."

"Yeah. That's what Master Valan said. That Ubist was both the darkness and a shadow."

Ubist was a shadow that reflected its user! That's why Ubist shared its level with its wielder.

"Then, shall we begin?"

Kang Oh used Devil Trigger whilst holding Ubist.

Darkness engulfed him and soon enough, he had transformed into the Jet Black Demon.

"If I wait 8 minutes like this, then I'll enter the Trial of the Demon Sword automatically," Kang Oh said.

"8 minutes, huh... Then why don't we spar while we're waiting? But we won't use any skills. We'll just go at it with pure swordsmanship," Burkan tapped the gladius at his waist and said.

"Shall we?"

Sparring with a Gladiator Master!

Moreover, sparring with him will raise his concentration to the utmost, which may help him in his trial!

"C'mon!"

Burkan drew his gladius. Then, his gladiator helmet began to shine.

"I'm going!"

Kang Oh charged at Burkan, his jet black tail fluttering through the air.

Clang!

Gladius and demon sword clashed!

Burkan's gladius was by no means normal.

Like his helmet, Rakan's Pride, his gladius was a peerless blade created by a Blacksmith Master.

It was obviously SS-rank!

The sword was by no means inferior to his demon sword.

Clang, clang, clang!

Demon sword and gladius continued to clash.

However, Shadow Ubist began to attack Burkan as well. It wasn't something that Kang Oh could control after all.

"Ah, 2 versus 1. That's dirty."

Befitting his name as the Invincible Gladiator, Burkan easily deflected both Kang Oh and Shadow Ubist's attacks.

"It's not something I can control."

"Hoh, is that so?" Burkan grinned. 

Burkan was completely relaxed; this was way too easy for him.

'As expected of a Gladiator Master.'

Kang Oh was doing his very best. Moreover, he was currently using Devil Trigger as well. He wasn't weak by any stretch of the imagination.

However, there was definitely a power disparity between him and Burkan. Like how his power couldn't match up to Valan's.

'If that's the case, then I have to learn as much as I can from him.'

Kang Oh began copying the way Burkan moved his body, how he swung his sword, where he looked, how he breathed, etc.

He entered a trance, but soon...


[Demon Sword Ubist's assimilation rate has reached 100%.]

[Demon Sword Ubist's trial will now begin.]


A jet black claw burst out of the demon sword and engulfed Kang Oh. At the same time, his surroundings changed to a deep darkness.

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