Chapter 22. Maumbharat Palace

"What's the big idea?" Jae Woo questioned, after finishing the shoot. 

There was definitely a clause written into the contract stating that his face wouldn't be shown.

In other words, GBS had clearly violated the terms of the contract.

"I'm sorry."

Park Jin Cheol looked embarrassed. He'd only just been notified of Jae Woo's punishment.

"What happened?"

"Ms. Seol Hee suggested the punishment. The writers weren't privy to the details of the contract, so they approved of the punishment and wrote it in. It's all my fault."

'Kang Seol Hee!'

She'd asked him to show his face during the opening shot, and had ultimately made a huge mess of things!

"You cannot show my face," Jae Woo firmly said.

"I understand. We'll edit in a different punishment..."

"No, it's fine. That's not necessary."

'I can't just let her get one over me.'

She's the one who had initiated the fight. Jae Woo had no reason to avoid it.

"Then?"

"There'll be no problem if I succeed. In exchange..."

Jae Woo made one request.

If he succeeded in the viewers' quest, he would give Kang Seol Hee a punishment of his choice; he wanted Jin Cheol to get everything ready.

"I understand."

Jin Cheol couldn't refuse Jae Woo's request. Whatever the circumstances, GBS staff were the ones in the wrong.

Jae Woo grinned.

He would proudly complete the viewers' quest and would pay Kang Seol Hee back tenfold.

* * * 

Three people walked along a giant road, which was connected to Altein's south gate.

The three consisted of a helmet-wearing man, an armored woman, and another woman garbed in robes.

The man rode a horse by himself, and the two women were riding a horse together.

They were Kang Oh, Soo Ah's character—Asu, and GBS's youngest writer.

"Ms. Asu, what's your job and level?" Kang Oh asked.

"I'm a level 22 Apprentice Knight," Asu replied.

Her in-game character was quite different from real life.

She was a western beauty; a well-proportioned, voluptuous woman with blond hair and blue eyes. 

In real life, Soo Ah looked like a cute, younger sister type, but her in-game character, Asu, seemed to exemplify a female knight.

"I'll definitely become a Dragon Knight someday," she boldly expressed her aspirations.

Dragon Knights were glorious knights that established a contract with Arth's most powerful creatures, Dragons.

If she became a Dragon Knight, then she'd be much stronger than even the undefeated, legendary gladiator, Burkan.

'If she can become one, that is.'

She dreamed big, but it was unlikely that she would succeed. No, it was pretty much impossible.

"I'm a level 76 Astrologist," the writer suddenly said.

He stared at her as if to say 'I didn't ask you'.

Though the helmet hid his face, his eyes and lips were still visible.

"I thought you'd be curious," the youngest writer raised her glasses and said.

"What combat skills have you learned?" Kang Oh asked Asu.

"I learned Knight's Vow, Heavy Blow, and..."

Befitting a beginner, she possessed only the most basic of basic skills.

"What support skills are you planning on learning later on?" Kang Oh asked.

"I planned on learning all 15 skills from the beginner guidebook."

"I learned more than 20 skills," the writer added.

"I see. Then may I recommend a support skill? I recommend..."

Kang Oh continued to converse with Asu, perhaps because it was a chance to speak with an idol.

The atmosphere was nice, as Asu listened to whatever Kang Oh said, so they were able to continue conversing.

As they walked, they continued to talk about all sorts of things, and eventually arrived at Miruma, which was famous for being a millionaire's vacation spot.

Miruma.

It was a beautiful vacation spot that was built along the Mirupati River.

A glimmering, haughty wave of silver! The magnificent palace was built along the river.

In Arth, the price of land here was the most expensive, and if compared to Seoul, it was like a premium spot looking over the Han River!

This was the Maumbharat Palace, known as the Ghost Possessed Palace.

"We're here."

Kang Oh disembarked from his horse.

The Maumbharat Palace wasn't beside the river but looked down at it from uphill.

"Gulp."

Asu gulped as she looked up at the palace. Her eyes shook, substituting for her body.

Seeing that, Kang Oh grinned.

'She's already this scared from the outside... She might faint when she gets inside.'

The Maumbharat Palace was a luxurious palace with a blue ceiling and white walls.

From the outside, it didn't look like a ghost house or even a deserted house.

But there were no traces of any people. He couldn't see any maids or gardeners within the yard.

"Here, this is the contract."

The youngest writer passed Kang Oh a piece of paper.

It was the Goddess of Contracts, Sabra's Contract.

According to the contract, a character's items, skills, and abilities are fixed at level 30.

Until the quest ends!

He'd already been notified about this, so Kang Oh didn't complain and just accepted the contract terms.

Level 30 - 50 monsters appeared within the Maumbharat Palace.

It would be much too easy for a level 62 like him, even when weighed down by a level 22 Asu.

However, an easy dungeon conquest wouldn't interest the viewers!

Thus, GBS had, through special means, lowered Kang Oh's level to 30.

In the end, his actual level may be 62, but due to the contract, a level 30 Kang Oh and a level 22 Asu were forced to conquer the Maumbharat Palace with its level 30 - 50 monsters.

The other couples' situations were similar.

The idea behind the program was for the limited Dungeon Conquering Men to attempt to conquer the dungeon while cooperating with a Dungeon Girl.

'This is nothing compared to the Fight Against 100 Men.'

Of course, it wasn't very difficult for Kang Oh, as he had cleared the Fight Against 100 Men.

Swish.

Kang Oh signed the contract.

The letters glowed, and the singular contract became two.

Contract established!

"Ms. Asu," Kang Oh called.

"Yes? Yes!"

Asu was startled, as she had been worrying about the palace.

"Shall we go?"

Kang Oh nudged her back.

"Eh? But I'm not ready yet..."

Asu tried planting her feet, but it didn't work.

"I'll be here, getting some footage I need. Please don't forget to turn on recording mode. If you forget, we'll have to do a retake!"

And so, Kang Oh turned on recording mode.

"The shoot! Let's get going quickly," Kang Oh urged, wanting to finish this up as quickly as possible and punish Kang Seol Hee.

"W-Wait a minute..." she said pitifully.

Before she finished, the two disappeared into the palace.


[An intersection point of space-time. Entering the Maumbharat Palace.]


An intersection point of space-time.

It was a point where the flow of space and time didn't apply.

If ten people went in, then ten dungeons would be created here. In laymen's terms, it was an instance dungeon.

In other words, in the intersection point of space-time, or the Maumbharat Palace, Kang Oh and Asu could enjoy the dungeon as much as they wanted.

Of course, Asu couldn't do that.

"Ugh."

Asu tightly clasped her hands together.

The interior was pitch-black because of the thick curtains covering the windows, the air smelt stale, the furniture was old and broken, and dust had accumulated.

It was a ghostly atmosphere as if something would pop out at any time.

"Hiik!"

Asu stepped on something squishy and grabbed onto Kang Oh's arm.

She had stepped on a puppet whose seams had broken.

The puppet was black and possessed long hair, emanating an ominous aura.

"O-Oppa." 

She didn't notice, but she'd just called him 'oppa'. And she stuck even closer to Kang Oh.

'Oppa, huh...'

He looked at her clinging to him and thought back to his own little sisters when they were young.

He remembered when they used to follow him!

Kang Oh smiled contentedly.

"Ms. Asu. Please calm down," Kang Oh said as softly as possible.

"Yes, I'll try."

Contrary to her statement, she continued to shake. Then, Kang Oh softly hugged her.

"Eeh?"

Asu blushed because of his sudden action.

'I have no ulterior motives. None at all.'

When lightning struck, it was better to hug the frightened children, rather than continuously telling them that it will be alright.

You can trust him; he had two younger sisters!

"Are you alright now?"

"Yes," Asu bowed her head, as if embarrassed, and replied. 

"Just keep looking at my back. Then it won't be scary. Do you understand?"

"I understand."

"Good."

Kang Oh grabbed his sword and stood in front of her. He straightened his back so that his shoulders looked as wide as possible.

"I'm going."

Once they passed the front entrance, they were situated in the central hall. There were doors leading to the east and the west, as well as stairs that led to the 2nd floor.

And...

Portraits that were blinking at them!

This meant that the Maumbharat was alive through ancient language.

The Maumbharat Palace was a place where ghosts inhabited objects and annoyed the users. 

Plus, it was dark and the atmosphere was chilly.

There was a reason that Asu was scared. It felt like they were in a horror movie set.

But even so...

'It's a monster.'

If it was a monster, then it was just food for Kang Oh.

* * *  

A monster came out of a portrait. 

It didn't look normal.

Its eyes were wide open and were bloodshot as if it had applied ghost makeup, and its tongue was stretched out lengthily. Quite the mysterious face!

Its sharp, long fingernails scratched at Kang Oh's face.

"It's dangerous!" Asu, who'd been following him, yelled.

Of course, it wasn't as dangerous as she'd suggested.

Kang Oh easily dodged it and swung his sword.

Slash!

He carved a white line within the darkness.

Swish.

Kang Oh slashed the middle of the portrait, and cut it four more times in succession. 

Pabababak!

He had aimed for the opponent's weak points with his Hyper Intuition.

Portraits were no match for him, even if he were lowered to level 30.


[You have defeated a Ghost-Possessed Portrait.]


While he was facing the portrait, Kang Oh had picked up and thrown rocks or small objects at the nearby furniture.

Since he didn't have Eder or Darion with him, he needed to taunt the enemies himself.

A candlestick on the wall erupted in flame and the floor carpet stood up.

"I'll help too."

Asu overcame her fear and swung her sword, perhaps because she was beside a reliable partner.

However, her level was low and she was unskilled in wielding a sword, so she wasn't much help.

If that's the case, he just needed to help her improve.

"It's harder to swing your sword if you grip too hard. Please grip it softly," Kang Oh said, after cutting a candlestick's candle to pieces.

"Ah."

"Keep looking at where you're going to strike till the very end. If you don't, then you'll hit the wrong spot."

"Ok!"

Kang Oh kindly explained. At the same time, he defeated all the enemies that came for him.

"Take it slow. It's a game, so have some fun too."

It was like riding a comfortable, luxurious foreign imported car!

Kang Oh's skill as a 'bus driver' was great indeed.

Kkang!

The sound of iron meeting iron rang out. It was the sound of the demon sword hitting thick armor.

'Let's see...'

The information on the monsters he knew in advance, weak points found through Hyper Intuition, and experience from killing countless monsters!

So even if he faced a monster that he'd never fought before, he could tell how to defeat it.

"Against monsters with thick armor, you can aim at the uncovered joints in between the sections; you can take it down easily by doing so," Kang Oh explained to Asu.

"Like right here!"

Kang Oh thrust his sword at the monster's shoulder joint.

It was the basics to aim for the chinks in the armor of heavily armored foes like the Ghost-Possessed Armor. 

Kwak!

Once the demon sword severed its shoulder joint, the armor's arm guard dangled from the arm and clattered to the floor.

"Ah!"

Asu was watching diligently, as if unwilling to miss a single second of it.

'Cute.'

She wasn't a popular idol for no reason. She instinctively emanated a sort of charm that drew people in.

'She's one hundred times, no, one thousand times prettier than Kang Seol Hee.'

Kang Oh smiled and continued explaining, "Now all we need to do is cut off the joints that attach the body to the arm, legs, and head."

Kang Oh deflected the armor's ornamental sword and precisely severed the armor's joints.

It became scrap metal in the blink of an eye.


[You have defeated Ghost-Possessed Armor.]


"Now, would you like to try yourself?" Kang Oh asked.

Perfect timing; another Ghost-Possessed Armor was coming towards them.

"Ok!"

Asu approached the armor and swung her sword as she'd been instructed. However, severing the joints wasn't as easy as it looked.

And the armor counterattacked.

"I'll ward off the armor's attacks, so you just concentrate on hitting its joints, Ms. Asu."

Kang Oh stood behind Asu and continuously deflected the armor's attacks.

The ornamental sword was continuously warded off as if it had struck a wall.

Asu felt as though she were in an amusement park. It felt as though she were aiming and then shooting at a moving target!

Kang!

Asu's sword struck the armor's left leg joint. However, she lacked the appropriate force to sever the joint.

"Calmly. Try it one more time."

She heard a reliable voice say from behind her.

"Ok!"

The now confident Asu continuously succeeded in hitting the armor's joints. The armor's leg guard fell to the floor.

The ghost stood precariously with one armored leg!

Striking the other joint was easier.

Ultimately, the Ghost-Possessed Armor was turned to scrap metal and became an ashen color.

"Ah, I beat it!"

Asu looked up at Kang Oh with a joyous expression. This was the first time she'd ever beaten a monster so many levels higher than her.

Kang Oh grinned.

"It's easy, isn't it?"

It was just as he said.

The Maumbharat Palace was no match for him.

And...

Neither was Kang Seol Hee!

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Boko's Thoughts

I really don't like using Korean terms in my translations, but I couldn't figure out how to change 'Oppa' here that was contextually correct.