The expedition force safely returned to the hideout. Of course, not all of them had returned. Twelve Dwarven Warriors had lost their lives.
It pained them to lose eight of their brothers to Magnium's explosion. Although they were saddened by the loss of their brothers, they held a party to celebrate their success.
The dwarves lit Phamas Cigars, drank Phamas Beer, and partied rowdily. Kang Oh and Eder were treated like VIPs.
"Kuu, thank you for allowing us to drink Phamas Beer again, Lord Orgon," Randelhoff said, downing a huge glass of beer.
The Blacksmith God, Orgon, was worshipped by the dwarves and those who handled metal.
Randelhoff bowed at Kang Oh and Eder. "I'd like to thank you again. You're the reason we came out of this alive."
"It was nothing," Eder replied modestly.
"If you're that thankful, then please fulfill my request," Kang Oh said. This was his chance.
"Yes. Please make me a sword."
"Mm." Randelhoff was lost in thought.
The Black Hammer Dwarves had sworn an oath; they would never again build weapons/armor for an outsider. Thus, they should rightfully reject Kang Oh's request. However, Kang Oh was their savior. If that's the case, then it was only right that they return the favor.
"Chieftain, let's just make it for him," one dwarf suddenly stood up and said. It was Bedrock, one of the dwarves that Kang Oh had saved.
"We swore an oath. The Black Hammer Dwarves cannot work for an outsider!" Book, whose left eye was covered with an eye patch, said solemnly. "However, Mr. Kang Oh and Mr. Eder aren't outsiders. They're one of 'us'." Book grinned.
"Ooh, as expected of you, Book. You're quite clever."
"Indeed. Mr. Kang Oh isn't an outsider, so let's make one for him!" the dwarves enthusiastically exclaimed.
"So they say. I'll let our blacksmiths know; they'll make you your sword." Randelhoff smiled.
"Thank you. But I'd like to provide the metal."
"I have some adamantium that's long since been exposed to the power of darkness. I heard that only the Black Hammer Dwarves could handle metal tainted by darkness," Kang Oh said.
"Did you say adamantium?"
"Mm." Randelhoff's face stiffened. Something was off.
"What's wrong?" Kang Oh asked.
"Unfortunately, none of our blacksmiths are skilled enough to handle it."
'Oh, c'mon. Things were going so well. Now you spring this on me!?'
"Many of our brothers died when we escaped Inarius's lair. Our tribe's greatest blacksmith, Lord Swallow, died as well." With a face filled with regret, he continued, "It might be different if he was still alive, but none of our blacksmiths can handle adamantium."
"No." Kang Oh furrowed his brow.
"Can we use any other metal to make the sword?" Randelhoff asked.
"No. It has to be adamantium."
If he wanted to complete Valan's quest, then he needed to make the sword out of adamantium.
"Mm." Randelhoff looked like he was at a loss.
"Is there any other way?" Kang Oh asked.
"Well... I'm not sure it'll work, but it's worth a shot."
"What is it?"
"Do you remember what I told you about the Fire's Heart?"
Fire's Heart was the name of the SS-rank sword that Magnium had dropped.
"By studying this, one of you may become a Master one day," Kang Oh said.
"Indeed. It'll help us make a new Master Blacksmith."
"If we want to continue this discussion, then we'll have to divide the loot first."
At this point in time, the Fire's Heart didn't belong to anyone yet. The same went for the other items.
"Let's divide it up now. After all, you only need to worry about our share."
"Indeed. What do you want?"
"The Fire's Heart and the Fire Bomb Belt. Eder probably wants the Door Opening Crystal the most. Right?" Kang Oh glanced at Eder.
"Yes." Eder nodded his head.
"Hmm. You don't need the lava crystals or the equipment that the Lava Spirits dropped?"
"Considering how instrumental you two were... You can take the Fire's Heart, the Fire Bomb Belt, and the crystal," Randelhoff said.
"Thank you." Kang Oh beamed. 'Yeah!'
"Now then, let's return to our previous discussion. I'd like to make you an offer."
"Lend us the Fire's Heart free of charge. We'll return it to you when one of us has become a Master Blacksmith or is capable of handling adamantium."
"Mm." Kang Oh thought over the matter.
If he accepted Randelhoff's proposal, then he'd lose the Fire's Heart for an indeterminate amount of time. After all, he didn't know how long it'd take for one of them to become a Master Blacksmith!
But he had to face the facts; he needed one of the Black Hammer Dwarves to forge him a sword using the adamantium.
"Understood." Kang Oh had no choice but to accept his offer.
"You made the right call." Randelhoff extended his hand.
"I'm counting on you." Kang Oh shook his hand.
Once the party was over, Kang Oh and Eder returned to their room.
"Things ended well for us," Eder said.
"Yeah." Kang Oh nodded his head.
"So..." Eder pulled out a fist-sized purple crystal from his robes. The crystal glowed brilliantly. "When are we going to the next area?"
"Soon," Kang Oh replied curtly.
* * *
Kang Oh and Eder returned to Altein. They needed to prepare themselves before heading to the next floor.
Kang Oh opened a message window. Since the Black Hammer Dwarves decided to remain in the volcanic region, Kang Oh desperately needed some more manpower.
- Mr. Sephiro.
- How did your hidden class quest go? Did you class change?
With the excuse that he had a hidden class quest, Sephiro, or Worker #2, had escaped his grasp for some time.
- I'm not done yet.
- Are you lying?
- Of course not. Why would I lie?
- Hmm. Then we won't be able to hunt together.
- How unfortunate. We were going to hunt in Despia.
- Despia? The Land that Borders Hell? No one has ever been there before.
- It's quite nice. I found an SS-rank sword there. Plus, I can monopolize all of the hunting grounds and dungeons. Not only that, but monsters give me a ton of experience and proficiency! Alright then, see you later.
- Hey, wait!
He could tell how anxious Sephiro was. Kang Oh just left the message window open, and didn't reply back for some time.
- Excuse me!
- Look here!
Then, Kang Oh sent him a message back.
- Well, I think I'll be done with my quest soon, so I should be able to come along. Hehe.
'As I thought, he was lying to me this entire time. I caught you red-handed!' Kang Oh smiled.
- Will you class change soon?
- Yes, I think so.
He'd probably finished the quest a long time ago, so he had already class changed.
'I wonder what class it is.' If they hunted together, then he'd learn what it was eventually.
- We haven't decided when we'd leave yet. Please finish your quest before then.
"You liar," Kang Oh muttered.
"What did Mr. Sephiro say?"
"I got him," Kang Oh said.
"You got him?" Eder tilted his head. 'What is he talking about?'
"Yeah. I'm not letting him escape this time." Kang Oh smiled evilly.
He'd bring Sephiro to Despia and make him work like a dog. It was the price of lying to him for so long! Aah, poor Sephiro. His future was dark. Truly dark indeed.
'Next up is...' Kang Oh opened another message window.
- Mr. Bart.
If the Crazy Highschooler/Genius Gamer, Bart, and his party joined him, then they'd be a huge help.
- Are you busy?
- Yes. It's exam week.
- Then why are you online?
He didn't get a response back.
Kang Oh sent the Witch of Annihilation, Helena, a message too, but she responded with a curt… 'No thank you!'.
In the end, only the three of them would be going to Despia.
Two days later…
Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro gathered in front of Altein's intercity transfer gate.
"Hehe, it's been a while," Sephiro said shyly.
"Yes it has. Have you been well?" Kang Oh greeted him with a smile, concealing his true feelings.
'Welcome, Worker #2!'
"Brother!" Eder, who concealed his face with a smile mask, opened his arms wide.
Sephiro and Eder forcefully hugged each other.
"For single guys, you sure are having a good time." Kang Oh clicked his tongue.
"You don't have a girlfriend either!" Sephiro shouted. 'You're one to talk!'
"Hoo, hoo, hoo." Kang Oh laughed and stared at Eder. Eder patted Sephiro's shoulder as if comforting him.
"No way..." Sephiro looked at him in disbelief.
"It may be hard for you to believe, but it's true. I saw Mr. Kang Oh's girlfriend with my own two eyes," Eder said.
"Impossible! How can someone as crazy as him have a girlfriend!?" Sephiro shook his head.
Kang Oh grinned. People who didn't have something always envied those that did.
"There's seriously no way!" Sephiro cried out.
"Shut up. Let's enter the gate now." Kang Oh kicked Sephiro's butt, pushing him into the intercity transfer gate.
"The Black Hammer Dwarves' hideout!" Eder said.
They instantly disappeared.
* * *
The Black Hammer Dwarves' hideout.
The dwarves saw Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro off.
"Take care," Randelhoff said.
"We'll be hearing about each other through Mr. Man Bok," Kang Oh said.
"Be careful." Randelhoff patted his shoulder.
"Yes." Kang Oh nodded his head and gave Eder the signal. Then, Eder pulled out the purple crystal from his robes and forcefully threw it.
The crystal radiated bright light as it flew through the air. All of a sudden, it shattered, resulting in something quite fascinating. The crystal fragments formed a giant oval border!
A portal formed within.
[The door to Despia's Saharamant Region has been opened.]
[The door will remain open for an hour.]
"Alright, let's go." Kang Oh glanced back at Eder and Sephiro, and went through the portal first.
"Phew." Sephiro anxiously walked through. What would be on the other side of the portal?
Eder's eyes were filled with yearning. He really hoped that the goddess's temple lay beyond there!
Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro passed through the portal.Previous Chapter Next Chapter