Burkan strode forward. Then, something quite interesting happened.
[You have been overwhelmed by Burkan's fighting spirit.]
[You have lost the will to fight.]
"W-What is this?"
"My body won't move!"
Burkan's fighting spirit completely froze more than half of the assassins! As expected of a Gladiator Master; the Invincible Gladiator, Burkan!
'It doesn't matter how many there are; you can't beat a lion or tiger with numbers.'
Still, Burkan's fighting spirit hadn't neutralized all of the Empire Guild's members.
[You are daunted by the enemy's tremendous fighting spirit.]
[All abilities decrease by 30%.]
A select few, which included the Brown Bear Squad's elites, Kraal, Korba, and a handful of Kraal's most talented assassins, didn't lose their will to fight. Their stats were reduced significantly, that's all.
It wasn't Burkan's fighting spirit, but a cry from one of their own that completely destroyed their will to fight.
"That's the Gladiator Master, Burkan!" a guild member yelled.
He'd once attempted the Fight Against 100 Men, so he remembered Burkan's face and gear.
"The Invincible Gladiator!"
Even the Brown Bear Squad's elites were taken aback. Kang Oh couldn't blame them. It was as if a dragon had suddenly appeared while the orcs were fighting amongst themselves.
"Things are progressing strangely," Korba said.
"Mm. The fact that he's releasing this much fighting spirit confirms that he's actually Burkan... He's not someone we can beat," Kraal replied.
"Let's run away."
Korba and Kraal secretly pulled out return scrolls.
"All forces, listen up. Run..." Kraal began.
However, Burkan wouldn't let him finish.
"You're not going anywhere." Burkan suddenly appeared beside them, and overwhelmed Kraal and Korba instantly.
[You have been overwhelmed.]
[You cannot move.]
The Invincible Gladiator.
There was a reason he was called that.
As soon as Kraal started yelling, Burkan had realized that he was trying to run away. Thus, he'd subdued him before he could give the order.
"Don't move a muscle! I'll kill anyone who moves!" Burkan said murderously.
No one dared to defy him. The Empire Guild was frozen stiff in fear.
"Mm, everyone stay like that. If you don't want to die, that is," Burkan said, and then walked over to Kang Oh. "Is that enough?"
Kang Oh had stubbornly asked Burkan for his help.
Burkan obviously rejected his plea for help. He said something along the lines of 'Clean your own mess.'.
The only reason he decided to help was because he would be forced to become the next Guardian of the Continent if Kang Oh quit.
"This is the last time! I'm not going to help you next time, even if you threaten to quit being the Guardian of the Continent!"
Burkan drove the nail in the coffin.
"Oh, c'mon. We're brothers. How can you be so cold-hearted?"
"Hmph, we're only brothers when you need me for something."
"Anyhow, I won't forget what you've done for me today."
"Don't bring such troublesome things to my doorstep!"
"I'll try my best."
Well, he couldn't guarantee that. He couldn't be the only one having a rough time, now could he?
"Anyway, how are you going to deal with them?" Burkan took a look around and said.
"Most of them are criminals. We can give them to the Security Bureau and get a reward."
"A reward?" He suddenly looked interested.
"Yes. They'll be worth quite a lot."
After all, all of them, aside from the Brown Bear Squad, bore the Red Eye, the mark of a criminal.
"How much is my share?"
"Don't you have a lot of money already?"
He's a Gladiator Master after all.
"The more money, the better."
"You're not wrong."
"So how much?"
"How about half?"
"Only half? I caught all of them by myself."
"I'm the one who made all of this possible. Plus, I have some freeloaders here too." Kang Oh pointed at Eder and Sephiro, causing them to smile awkwardly.
"I'll ask some of the other gladiators to come over here and move them. How does 60% sound?"
After that, the 100 Fighters appeared in the middle of the Great Forest. In the past, they had helped Kang Oh fight off Modune and his Insect Mages in the Bariton Desert.
"We just need to take them to the Security Bureau?" Dion asked. He was the commander of the 100 Fighters, known for his incredible skill with dual gladiuses.
"Yeah. Take 20% of the reward for yourselves and give the rest to me," Burkan said, and then glanced at Kang Oh. "I'll give you your share later."
"Understood." Kang Oh nodded his head.
"Several of them aren't criminals," Dion said. He pointed at the members of the Brown Bear Squad.
"Get your money's worth out of them and then let them go. That all goes to the 100 Fighters too."
"Understood." Dion smiled. He would suck them dry, or at least, that's what his expression was saying. "We'll take them away now."
"Alright." Burkan nodded his head.
"Wait a second!" Kang Oh grabbed onto Dion.
"What is it?"
"I have something to say." Kang Oh approached Kraal, who was completely bound by rope. "You must be the one directly below Ridgeley."
"Make sure you let your superiors know. Mess with me, and you know what'll happen."
Why had Kang Oh badgered Burkan to come, and fought so hard against Ridgeley?
It was to make a display out of them.
He was also warning them. Kang Oh didn't care who they were, but if they messed with him or his party, then they'd be sure to regret it.
"Have fun in jail." Kang Oh tapped his cheek and turned around.
But he suddenly stopped. He turned back around and approached Korba.
"It was you, wasn't it?"
"You're the one who said that I killed Ridgeley with some cowardly move."
"Let me hit you a few times!"
Whack, whack, whack, whack...!
Refreshing 'whacks' resounded through the forest for some time.
* * *
The Empire Guild's vice-captain, Jegal, was biting his nails.
"You failed?" Jegal said angrily.
The revived Ridgeley, as well as the released members of the Brown Bear Squad (the Empire Guild had paid their ransom), were standing in front of him.
"I don't have an excuse." Ridgeley bowed deeply.
"Where is Kraal?"
"He's locked up in the Security Bureau. He and his Assassination Squad," one of the Brown Bear Squad members said.
"Tch. How in the world did you mess things up so badly?" Jegal asked.
"I lost to Oga. After that..."
"We attacked Oga's party to get back at him. But that's when the Invincible Gladiator, Burkan, showed up," a squad member continued.
"Burkan? Are we talking about the same Burkan here? The one from the Holiseum?"
"Yes. The very same."
"Why was Burkan there?"
"He and Oga seemed close."
Only then did Jegal's face soften.
"That Oga... he has quite the connections."
Now that he'd heard their story, he realized that there was no way that they could succeed. After all, they hadn't fully grasped their enemy.
"If you give me another opportunity, then I'll mobilize the entire Brown Bear Squad and tear them to bits," Ridgeley said murderously.
"You can't! Let's leave them alone for now," Jegal said.
"We can kill Oga whenever we want, but if he's truly close to Burkan, then we can't act hastily."
Burkan. Not only was he a Gladiator Master, but he was a superstar that was beloved by all the citizens of Altein. He also had countless gladiators at his beck and call too.
In other words, he was a man with proper strength within Arth.
'There's no need to mess with a lion just to catch a scurrying rat.'
That was the conclusion Jegal had come to.
"Then are we just going to let him go?"
Ridgeley's face was red with anger. He still couldn't accept the fact that Kang Oh had defeated him.
Thus, he wanted to find Oga immediately and rip him to shreds.
"What's our guild's motto?" Jegal asked.
"Pay back twice what's owed."
"Exactly. We'll definitely pay him back later, but now's not the time."
"T-That's..." Ridgeley bit his lip.
Jegal patted his shoulder. "Time is on our side. Eventually, our strongest members will surpass Burkan, and our flag will cover the entire continent."
True to their name, they would one day form an empire that controlled the entire Arth continent!
Jegal's eyes blazed with greed.
* * *
"Anyone?" Eder asked.
After their confrontation with the Empire Guild, no one followed them anymore.
"Did that show of force work?'
"It definitely worked for the time being," Kang Oh said.
"They won't give up that easily. That's how all the large guilds are. That especially holds true for the Empire Guild; they're the worst," Sephiro said.
Sephiro had seen the tyranny of countless large guilds, so he knew how they operated.
Large guilds are quick to forget when they hurt others, but when the positions are reversed, they would hold a grudge.
Moreover, the Empire Guild's motto was to pay back twice what was owed!
"We'll be fine for now. When this is brought up again one day, it'll be a major pain in the ass, but there's no helping it," Kang Oh said.
He too knew the thought process of large guilds. Thus, he knew that the Empire Guild would attack him again someday.
"It'll happen in the future, so let's think about it then," Eder smiled and said.
"He's right. So let's put all our efforts into finding a soul dungeon," Kang Oh said.
"Yes, what a splendid idea!" Eder immediately replied.
"Haa, sure whatever." Sephiro sighed, but ultimately nodded his head.
Kang Oh's party focused on exploring the Great Forest's dungeons once more.
In order to find a hidden dungeon, as well as a soul dungeon!
* * *
The Great Forest covered most of the southern part of the Arth continent. But then that begs the question: what lay at the very edge of the southern region?
The answer? A cliff, the shore, and the southern sea!
This is where Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro found themselves.
They crossed the sandy beach and entered an area that was filled with perforated rocks.
Eventually, Kang Oh stopped and pointed somewhere.
"It's that cave."
The waves crashed into the rocks, creating white foam. In between that sight was a cave halfway buried under seawater.
That was the dungeon that Kang Oh's party had decided to investigate today.
They sank halfway into the water and entered the cave. As expected, there was a stone gate waiting for them at the end of the cave.
"Are you all ready?" Kang Oh asked.
Kang Oh forcefully pushed open the door.
The door screeched. It seemed as though it hadn't been opened for quite some time.
The darkness within seemed to gesture for them to come in.
'Wouldn't it be so nice if this was a soul dungeon...'
Kang Oh's party pushed through the darkness and advanced forward.
[You have entered the dungeon, Teyno's Cave.]Previous Chapter Next Chapter