Chapter 180. Mysterious Grove

Some people could become a star in the blink of an eye.

Kang Oh was one such person.

Even though they couldn't see his face, players would identify him via his weapon or gear and try talking to him. 

One guy asked for an autograph, another asked him to join his guild. There was even a girl who asked him for a spar. What's worse, a little kid came up to him begging for money. 

"Man, those crazy bastards." Kang Oh dashed into an empty alleyway, and placed his armor and demon sword into his inventory.

He put on some beginner clothes and left the alleyway. Fortunately, no one recognized him, as he'd never disclosed his identity.

'I should stay out of the limelight for a while.'

Public interest in him would cool rather quickly. So long as he doesn't add more fuel to the fire, that is.

He wasn't interested in becoming famous. There were some benefits to being famous, but there were downsides too. On the other hand, there were no downsides to being not well-known; at least Kang Oh thought so anyway. 

'Anyway, let's go make some money.' Kang Oh fiddled with his communicating earring.

Beep. Beep.

His earring rang, and a short while later, he heard a familiar voice from the other side.

"Mr. Kang Oh!" Eder's voice sounded extremely bright.

"Did you rest well?"

"Yes, I got some good rest."

In order to deal with the Evil God Worshippers, Kang Oh had spent a ton of money. It made his stomach hurt to think that while he was going through all that, Eder had been resting!

'I'm going to make you work like a dog!' Kang Oh vowed. However, he didn't make his intentions known.

"We're going back to the Great Forest."

"Did you kill the Evil God's disciple?"

"Yeah. It's all been resolved."

"Good work."

"Whatever. I'll summon you once I get to the Great Forest, so get ready."

"Ok."

Then, Kang Oh sent Sephiro a message.

- Please come to the Great Forest.

Idle chatter was unnecessary.

- Understood.

* * *

As said, getting famous wasn't necessarily a good thing.

Mad Dog, Kraal.

He was a part of the Empire Guild's Sweepers, which executed anyone who proved to be an obstacle to the guild's goals.

Kraal had also heard the rumors around Oga.

'He can fly?'

He'd been looking for the people who killed Clovis and then vanished. 

Kraal believed this group had avoided the Empire Guild's notice by flying into the tower, and had investigated based on that assumption.

But investigating players that had obtained a flight magic scroll from the Tower proved to be a fruitless endeavor; all of them were in the clear.

Thus, he assumed it was the work of a Monster Trainer, who used a flying monster to get them to the top of the tower. But then, he'd come to learn about Oga.

To start, Kraal watched Warriors of the Great Forest from start to finish. 

'Oga's flight ability is quite amazing.'

Based on what he saw, Oga was skilled enough to fly into Kainshell's tower. However, he couldn't yet tell whether he was the perpetrator or not.

Kraal looked into Oga's past too. 

He watched The Named: Oga, where Oga and two others worked together to defeat the Immortal King, Arumode, and the Lightning Hunter, Caraco.

'It's them!' his intuition screamed at him.

Oga, the Wind Archer, Sephiro, and some unknown skeleton were the ones responsible!

"I've finally got you, you rats!" Kraal clenched his fist.

He was called the Mad Dog because once he caught scent of you, he wouldn't let you go. His fangs were now aimed at Kang Oh and his party.

'I have to find out where they are first.' 

Kraal left behind a red titled post on the Empire Guild's message board. Only the Sweepers were allowed to use the color red.


[Blacklist: Oga, Sephiro, and 1 unknown.]

I'm looking for Oga and the Wind Archer, Sephiro. One of them cannot be identified, so if you find out who he is, please send me the details. 

Anyway, whoever sees Oga and Sephiro, as well as the unknown that travels with them, please write their last location and the time they were seen in the post.


Next, Kraal opened a message window and messaged his immediate subordinate.

- I need you to do something. 

- What do you need? 

- Go to the Great Forest and find Oga and Sephiro.

Since he'd participated in an expedition with the Great Forest's tribes, Oga was definitely in the Great Forest.

- Should I bring everyone?

Kraal had 100 subordinates under his wing.

- Yeah, everyone.

- Understood. If I find them, should I capture them?

- No. They're extremely powerful. Just find out where they are. We're going to set a trap and lure them in.

- Understood.

 * * *

Kang Oh, Sephiro, and Eder, completely unaware that the Empire Guild's Sweepers were gunning for them, gathered at the only inn within Nuwak Village.

They sat at a table and spread the map across the table; the map showed where all of the Great Forest's dungeons were. 

"It seems like we've explored all of the dungeons around Nuwak Village," Sephiro examined the map and said.

"Yes. So let's start going through the other dungeons," Kang Oh said.

"Sounds good," Eder said energetically. Perhaps it was because he'd gotten proper rest.

Then, the bushy bearded innkeeper brought them some simple food. What is the saying, everything's better on a full stomach?

"It's been a while since I last saw you," the innkeeper said, acting as though he knew them.

"Yes. I had urgent business elsewhere, so I had to leave for a while," Kang Oh said.

"Are you going to explore the other dungeons now?"

"We've finished exploring all of the dungeons nearby, so we plan on heading to some of the dungeons a bit farther away."

"Ooh, you've gone to the Mysterious Grove too? That place is quite hard to find," the innkeeper said.

"The Mysterious Grove?" Kang Oh tilted his head. Shula hadn't marked that location on the map.

"You haven't heard of it? The dungeon's over here." The innkeeper pointed at a section of the map. Once he removed his finger, the Revlin Valley appeared on the map.

"Where exactly is the dungeon located?"

"There's a small waterfall in the valley; the passageway behind it that leads to the Mysterious Grove," the innkeeper said.

"Hmm, it seems like Chieftain Shula didn't know about it," Eder said.

"How did you know about it?" Kang Oh asked.

"In the past, I came across it while hunting."

"The Revlin Valley is pretty close, so why don't we go there today?" Sephiro asked.

"Alright, let's do it."

"Go after you've finished your food. You need to eat to do your best."

"Thank you for the food."

* * *


[You have entered the dungeon, Revlin Valley's Mysterious Grove.]


The innkeeper had stated that the Mysterious Grove was located behind Revlin Valley's waterfall; there was absolutely no falsity in his statement.

'But... Something's strange.' Kang Oh narrowed his eyes and carefully looked around.

Crystals hung from the ceiling that radiated bright light. The smooth floor went on and on, and they were surrounded by walls made of rock.

The name 'grove' was truly fitting, as there were rows of apple, pear, persimmon, and tangerine trees, as well as fruit trees that only existed in Arth. It was as if someone had intentionally planted them here!

'It looks like someone's taking care of them.'

That's the feeling it gave him.

'Well, when we look into it, we're bound to find something eventually.' Kang Oh took the lead and walked forward.

"May I pick some of the fruit and eat it?" Upon seeing so much ripe fruit, Eder smacked his lips.

"Do what you want."

"Hehe." Eder picked a ripe apple and took a huge bite; juice poured right out of the fruit.

"Wow, it's sweet!" Eder exclaimed.

"Hmm. From what I can see, it looks like we're underground. But how could someone cultivate a grove here?" Sephiro asked.

"I think the crystals provide sunlight for the plants." Kang Oh pointed at the giant crystals on the ceiling.

If he was wrong, then that meant that someone grew these trees without any sunlight. That wouldn't make any sense.

"It truly is a 'Mysterious' Grove," Sephiro said.

Kang Oh agreed with him. 

Then...

"The ground!" Eder yelled.

Kang Oh and Sephiro responded quickly. 

Spurt!

The floor cracked open and several giant insects flooded out. They were ants.

Of course, they weren't the same ants that he was used to; he couldn't just squash them with a single finger.

Each ant was about 50 centimeters long.

In any case, the frontmost ant's antenna shook. Then, the ants unfurled their clear wings and soared into the air!

Bzzzzz!

They violently flapped their wings, the sound of which reverberated throughout the grove. The army of black ants then flew directly at Kang Oh.

In an instant, ants and humans were forced to do battle.

Kang Oh raised Demon Sword Blood and cleaved through any approaching ant.

Sephiro shot arrows while running backwards.

Swoosh!

The Hellfire Mace's flames flew through the air.

The ants avoided the flames and moved as a single unit.

'They're not coming at us randomly!'

Some of them were shaking their antennas, so they must be the ones commanding the rest of them.

"Focus on the ants shaking their antennas!"

"Yes sir," Eder said.

"I'll do my own thing!" Sephiro shot arrows at the nearby ants.

Sometime later...

'They're not even level 200.'

Their teamwork was stupendous, but they weren't very strong.

Kang Oh, who'd easily killed the last remaining ant, took another look around.

His surroundings were filled with ant carcasses. 

"Pick up the junk items."

"Alright." Eder picked up all of the junk items and gave them to Kang Oh.

"Let's go," Kang Oh said.

His party began to explore the Mysterious Grove once more.

After that, Kang Oh's party encountered various giant insects. Giant wasps, giant caterpillars, giant moths, giant mantises, giant beetles, etc.

"It's a giant insect paradise."

All the enemies that they encountered were insects!

However, none of them were particularly strong.

"It's not a good hunting ground," Sephiro said.

They killed several monsters already, but they hadn't gotten much experience. No good materials or gear had shown up either.

"This seems like the lowest level dungeon we've come across thus far," Kang Oh said.

"Do you think there's a boss here?" Eder asked.

"It'd be nice if there was one."

His last hope was the boss monster!

That...

"Or a hidden dungeon!"

* * *

It's said that if you wish for something hard enough, then it may come true!

"Stop!" Kang Oh suddenly stopped and raised his hand.

"What's the matter?"

"My Hyper Intuition has picked up on something." Kang Oh stared fixedly at the wall. 'There's something here!', his Hyper Intuition seemed to whisper.

He felt the wall all over with his palm.

'As I thought!'

From the outside view, it looked like every part of the wall was the same. However, he could tell when he actually put his hand on it. Starting at one point, the feel of the wall felt completely different.

'Is it...?'

Kang Oh suddenly thought of something. When he first discovered a hidden dungeon, a place that felt like a part of the wall was actually a disguised spider that was blocking passage to the hidden dungeon.

Would this 'wall' be the same?

"Huahp!" Kang Oh swung Blood at the wall.

Bam!

It felt like he'd hit something incredibly hard! However, nothing had changed.

'Hmm. Was I wrong?'

He kept at it a few more times. However, there wasn't any reaction from the wall.

'No?' Kang Oh tilted his head.

"Why do you keep hitting the wall?" Eder asked.

"In the past, I encountered something similar. I thought it was part of the wall, but it was actually a disguised spider blocking the passageway. I hit it a few times thinking that it was the same."

"Oh, is that so?" 

'Then let me try too!' Eder whacked the wall with his Hellfire Mace. Roar! The head of his mace blazed with flame.

Right then...!

Snap, snap!

When the flames made contact, the wall momentarily bobbed up and down and emitted a strange sound. 

"W-What was that?" Eder looked shocked.

Whereas Kang Oh felt like he'd found the answer.

'It's fire!'

Physical attacks wouldn't wake it up, but fire would!

"Get ready for battle!" Kang Oh yelled.

Soon, something big jumped off the wall.

It was...

A giant black scorpion.


[You have discovered the Hard as a Rock King Scorpion, Mecalpion.]

[It is a named monster.]

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