The Holiseum's underground arena...
Burkan and Valan were already there waiting for him.
"I brought him," Dion said, standing respectfully.
"Mm, good job. Go on."
"Yes sir." Dion and Darion, who stuck to Dion like glue, left.
"Good of you to come," Burkan said.
"Yes," Kang Oh said. 'Though I really didn't want to come.' Kang Oh held his tongue.
"I heard you killed those fanatics. I also heard that you left the Evil God's sacred treasure with the Rakan Church."
"So I came to give you your second trial, but... You haven't changed much since our last spar."
"What do you mean?"
"You're weak. You haven't developed at all."
"I've gotten stronger though," Kang Oh said clearly.
"You've gotten stronger? It's like you went from being an ant to a horned ant."
It doesn't matter whether you're an ant or a horned ant; I could squash you with one push of my finger. That's all you are, an ant!
"Anyhow, you're a complete disappointment. So I'll give you one last chance. Of course, if you don't accept or you fail, then I'll be taking the demon sword and adamantium with me."
Guardian of the Continent. He really didn't want to do it, but he didn't have any other choice. Yeah, losing the adamantium would hurt, but he couldn't afford to lose the demon sword. Phew!
"What is it?"
"It's simple. In half a year, we'll spar again. Become as strong as you possibly can by then."
Then, a quest popped up.
[Trial to Become Valan's Successor 2]
The second test to see whether you are worthy of succeeding Valan as the Guardian of the Continent, one who protects the land from the shadows.
In half a year, you will spar with Valan again. At that time, show Valan your power and potential!
Remaining Time: 180 days.
Minimum Requirements: Guardian of the Continent's Successor.
Reward: Trial to Become Valan's Successor 3.
Failure: Both Demon Sword Ubist and the adamantium gemstone will be returned to Valan.
"How strong do I have to get?"
"Until I'm satisfied." Valan's expression seemed to say, 'Easy, right?'.
"So how much is that?"
"I said until I'm satisfied." Valan scowled.
Kang Oh did the same. "Seriously, just tell me how much...!"
"Around a Swordmaster's level?" He said Swordmaster so nonchalantly, like he was referring to the neighbor's dog.
'You crazy bastard! You want me to become a Master?'
Forget becoming a master, raising his swordsmanship to high rank in half a year would be hard enough. But what did he say? A master?
Kang Oh was pissed.
"Have you gone senile?"
"Want to die?" Valan's body released killing intent. His eyes were like that of a dragon's.
'Damn it.' Kang Oh realized that he was screwed. He'd messed with the one person he shouldn't have messed with.
But there was always a way out of a situation. That 'way out' was obviously Burkan.
"Now, now. Please calm down. Honestly, becoming a master is impossible within half a year. And you shouldn't have said that. Apologize." Burkan stepped in between them, and acted as a mediator.
Fortunately, Kang Oh decided to apologize right away. However, Valan spoke before he even got the chance.
"Hmph. Whatever. I'll see you in half a year. If I'm not satisfied with you then, I'll kill you," he said, and then turned around and left.
'He might not be able to hear me from here.' Kang Oh thought. "Hey, you crazy... Mhmm!" Kang Oh was about to curse him out, but Burkan quickly covered his mouth.
"You can't. Master Valan will definitely hear you."
Kang Oh nodded his head. Then, Burkan let him go.
"How strong do I have to become to get acknowledged by that old man... Ahem, Master Valan?"
He didn't want to give up on Ubist or the adamantium. Plus, his pride was on the line now.
Whenever he met with Valan, his self-confidence would take a hit. Valan would either ignore him or demean him by telling him that he was weak, even though he was called the Human Dragon back in the day!
'I need to become so strong that I completely shock the old man.' Kang Oh clenched his fist.
"Why don't you try getting Demonic Swordsmanship up to high rank? When you reach High Rank Demonic Swordsmanship, then I can teach you my secret technique," Burkan said.
Gladiator Master, Burkan's secret technique! If he learned that, then he'd definitely become a lot stronger.
"You'll also have to increase your level, stats, and skill proficiency as much as you can. So I have some advice..."
"What is it?"
"I know a place where you can quickly get stronger."
"Where is it?" Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.
* * *
The western part of Arth.
A place with vast grasslands, snow-covered fields, dense coniferous forests, etc.
Non-human, hostile species lived there such as orcs or trolls.
In order to enter the western part of Arth, one needed to travel along the 'Monster Road'. He was currently on the Monster Road, riding on horseback. Alone.
As he passed through the Monster Road, he recalled what Burkan had told him. 'When I was young, I polished my skills there. After all, the west is a place of constant conflict and battle.'
Conflict and battle... So many non-human species lived there, and these species would invariably war against each other. As a result, battle was a way of life in the west.
Burkan believed that if one were to continuously fight there and survive, then they'd become much stronger.
It did make a lot of sense.
Kang Oh followed Burkan's advice and came to the Monster Road.
He planned on staying here for half a year, and strive to become as strong as he could.
He'd told Eder and Sephiro about what had happened, and said that he'd be operating alone for half a year.
"Hmm. I've been falling behind lately. I guess it's time for me to level up too." Sephiro was clearly overjoyed that he'd be able to escape Kang Oh's grasp for a while.
"Indeed." Whereas Eder looked extremely disappointed. As expected of Eder. He really was the best.
"Either follow Mr. Sephiro or help Mr. Man Bok with his work. Make sure you rest along the way, and read the books that you've always wanted to read," Kang Oh said.
He was basically telling him to have a good time while he was gone.
"Understood." Eder nodded his head.
"Take care." Kang Oh said his goodbyes, and then met up with Man Bok.
He explained his situation to Man Bok, and asked him to take care of the fish business, as well as the Moss Cave.
"Don't worry about me." Man Bok beamed.
His horse's 'neigh' brought him back to the present day.
The road was divided into two paths.
"Let's go to the left." Kang Oh lightly kicked the horse's sides and swung the reins.
Kang Oh arrived in an area too small to be called a city, yet inhabited with too many people, or non-human species, to be called a village.
This was the neutral zone, Kasten!
It was a huge marketplace for mercenaries.
* * *
Wherever there was battle, there were mercenaries.
The west was a place of never-ending battle. This obviously made the west a place where mercenaries flourished.
Kasten was a place that these mercenaries used as their home base.
Of course, this was the west, which was known as a non-human's paradise. Thus, an absolute majority of the mercenaries were non-human.
There were very few humans or players here.
After all, most of the non-human species here were hostile towards humans. Thus, they would attack any human on sight.
Fortunately, attacking anyone in Kasten was strictly prohibited.
It was the only place in all the west where Kang Oh could walk around safely.
'Let's go, shall we?' Kang Oh walked over to the Kasten Mercenary Association.
The Kasten Mercenary Association only existed in the west, and in order to be a mercenary here, one was required to join the organization.
Kang Oh opened the door and went inside. There were countless non-humans inside.
There were long-eared elves, pig-like orcs, anthromorphs (human-like, but with a beast's ears, nose, and tail), as well as other non-human species with varying special characteristics and traits.
Kang Oh ignored the non-humans and walked over to an anthromorph who appeared to be a worker here.
The anthromorph looked like he came straight out of Star Wars; he looked like Chewbacca. He was a half-bear, and his body was covered in brown fur.
"I came to become a mercenary."
"If you want to become a mercenary, then take off your helmet and show me your face," Chewbacca, no, the anthromorph said.
Kang Oh removed his Baramut helmet.
Then, the other non-humans looked at him with curiosity and hostility. Their species all differed, but they were all thinking the same thing.
'It's a human!'
"You're the second human that came here to become a mercenary," the bearman said.
"Another person came before me?"
"That's right. They came four days ago."
"Mm, anyway, I want to become a mercenary," Kang Oh said.
"Follow the path west of here. There's a monster called a Blade Beast that inhabits the first mountain you see. Kill one and bring back its fang. That's the test to become a mercenary. Tell me your name after you've brought back the fang."
In other words, 'If you can't bring the fang, then you're not worth knowing'.
"Understood." Kang Oh put his helmet back on and left the Mercenary Association.
"It's a human... Should we kill him?" a bulldog-faced anthromorph whispered.
"Let's do it." The other anthromorph (dog ears, nose, and tail) nodded his head. He looked like a Shih Tzu.
The two anthromorphs left the association and secretly followed Kang Oh.
* * *
'Hmm, what is this?'
Kang Oh knew that someone was following him. But the problem was that there was really no reason to be following him.
He'd only just arrived in the west, so why would someone be following him now?
'I guess I'll figure it out once I leave.'
Kasten was constructed over a vast grassland area. So when he left, he'd know who was following him. There wasn't anywhere to hide after all.
As the Mercenary Association worker had told him, he went through the western road.
A short while later...
'Is it them?'
There were two people following him. They weren't watching him; they were clearly following him. They hadn't even tried to hide it.
Kang Oh stopped, and the two anthromorphs approached him.
"You have business with me?" Kang Oh asked.
"Of course." The bulldog-faced anthromorph grinned. It was quite unpleasant.
"What is it? Do you know who I am?"
"I do, Human!"
"So?" Kang Oh asked. 'What do you want?' Kang Oh's expression soured. Of course, it wasn't visible due to his helmet.
"There's a saying in our tribe. 'The only good human is a dead human!' Right?" he said to the Shih Tzu.
"Yep, yep." The Shih Tzu nodded unhesitatingly.
"Haa." Kang Oh couldn't believe this. He'd heard that the west really hated humans, but he didn't expect people to come out and attack him. "You don't have anything against me, but you want to kill me just because I'm human?"
"Got it in one." The bulldog kept up that disgusting smile of his; it really made Kang Oh want to punch his face in.
"Hehe." The Shih Tzu sported a nasty smile as well.
Kang Oh exploded with rage.
He'd been insulted and demeaned by Valan, which had really wounded his pride. Kang Oh was really pissed off right now.
'But now you bastards are looking down on me too!?'
"Hey, you pieces of shit! You think that you can talk to me like that just because Valan did!?" Kang Oh roared.Previous Chapter Next Chapter