The dizzying feeling of falling from an extreme height without a parachute! That's exactly what Sephiro felt as he fell from the cliff.
"Uhaahk!" He couldn't help but scream.
Kang Oh quickly drew Demon Sword Blood, which hung at his waist, and forcefully stabbed it into the cliff.
Kang Oh tightly gripped Blood's hilt and extended his free hand.
A black chain quickly flew out and wrapped around Sephiro's waist. Then, Kang Oh pulled as hard as he could.
Sephiro hung from the chain.
"Haa, haa." Sephiro breathed roughly and looked shocked.
"Ugh, hurry up and grab onto the cliff!" Kang Oh shouted, scowling.
Blood, unable to sustain Kang Oh and Sephiro's combined weight, began to shake! Sephiro finally broke out of his stupor, swung over to the cliff, and grabbed on.
A fierce gale blew from above, intensifying Blood's rattling. But before his sword slipped out, Kang Oh quickly deactivated Darkness Chain and stuck to the cliff like a pancake.
The Draka set violently fluttered, as if someone was trying to drag him down. But that was all. The wind wasn't strong enough to force Kang Oh down.
The dizzying moment had passed.
"Thank you," Sephiro said. Once the wind had subsided, he'd climbed up beside Kang Oh.
"Please be careful," Kang Oh said.
"Let's climb!" Kang Oh looked up and extended his hand.
* * *
A stroke of good luck in the midst of misfortune. Perhaps that was the best way to put it, as they didn't encounter any flying monsters along the way.
'Then again, I don't think there are any monsters that could fly in this wind.'
But the fact that there weren't any flying monsters here wasn't really a cause for celebration. The further up they got, the more intense the wind became. The wind was so violent that it took everything they had just to hold on.
"Let's stop here and take a break," Kang Oh said.
"Y-Yes," Sephiro said weakly. He truly looked exhausted.
Unfortunately, the gale blew once more. Kang Oh endured, gluing himself to the cliff, and began thinking.
'Is there any other way? A way to climb up while ignoring the wind... Ah, there is a way!'
He thought of a good method, but there was one problem with it.
'If I use this method, then only I can climb up.' Kang Oh glanced at Sephiro.
Using this method would force Sephiro to climb down. Plus, Kang Oh and Eder would have to face whatever was waiting for them at the top without him.
'And he'll get to rest the entire time.' Kang Oh looked at Sephiro and scowled.
Sephiro would be able to rest, while he'd go through hell. Just thinking about it made his stomach hurt.
The gale blew once more. Kang Oh and Sephiro's bodies shook, regardless of their intentions.
At some point, the wind calmed like a gentle sheep. How contemptible!
"Mr. Sephiro!" Kang Oh called.
"Can you think of a way that'll let both us get to the top without having to deal with the wind?"
Perhaps the Giant Hunter class had some sort of skill that'd be helpful here.
"If I did, then I'd have used it a long time ago!" Sephiro yelled.
'That's true. Well, I guess it can't be helped.'
Kang Oh clicked his tongue and said, "Please go back down, Mr. Sephiro."
"I have a way of getting to the top without having to deal with the wind. But you don't, so go back down!"
"Ahem, then you could've just climbed up by yourself..." Sephiro complained.
"I know a way to get you down real fast. How about it?" Kang Oh said murderously. He was essentially saying, 'Want me to drop you?'.
"Ahem. No, I'll be fine. I'll go down myself." Sephiro carefully began climbing down.
Kang Oh placed Blood in his inventory and switched to Ubist.
Kang Oh transformed into the Jet-Black Demon and looked up.
He was sucked into the darkness.
A short while later...
Kang Oh reappeared at a higher location! He'd teleported as far as he could.
After that, Kang Oh continued to rapidly ascend the cliff. Whenever Abyss Transfer was off cooldown, he'd use it and then reappear much higher up the cliff.
'Nice. We can just keep doing this.'
Everything was going as planned.
At some point, the wind changed.
The wind sounded sharp, as if it were cutting something! His back felt cold, a warning from his Hyper Intuition.
It felt like someone had just scratched his back with their sharp nails.
[You have taken damage from the blade wind.]
[The Draka set has reduced wind damage by 30%.]
"Damn it!" Kang Oh said.
'I didn't think of this.'
He assumed the wind would keep getting stronger, but he hadn't expected it to actually attack him!
Kang Oh hung off the cliff with one hand and swung Ubist with the other, curious whether the wind was magical or not. If it was, Ubist would be able to absorb it!
However, it didn't work.
Like a pack of wolves aiming for their prey, the wind came rushing at Kang Oh unhindered by his sword.
Kang Oh quickly used Abyss Shield. A black barrier surrounded him.
Swish, swish, slash!
The blade wind began raking the Abyss Shield.
'4, 3, 2... Now!'
Kang Oh used Abyss Transfer the second it was off cooldown. He disappeared into the shadows and reappeared higher up the cliff.
Without even giving him the time to catch his breath, the blade wind came flying at him once more. Kang Oh then pulled off a health potion from his Fire Bomb Belt and downed it in a single go.
He received alternating system messages; one stating that he'd taken damage from the blade wind, and another stating that his HP had been restored.
Kang Oh raised his head. 'I'm close.' It wasn't much farther until he reached the top. 'I only need to go a little bit more!'
He did his best to ignore the system message, which reminded him that his HP had dropped, and waited for Abyss Transfer to go off cooldown.
* * *
Kang Oh stood. He wasn't hanging off the cliff wall, but actually standing on his own two feet!
He'd finally reached the top!
[You have passed Ratia's Trial.]
[Warning: You only have 5% of your HP left.]
Fortunately, the wind no longer attacked him once he reached the top.
Kang Oh pulled out a health potion and drank it down. Then, he pulled out some medicinal herbs and bandages from his inventory and used First Aid. First Aid was one of the few support skills he'd learned.
"Hoo." Kang Oh sighed in relief after slightly recovering his HP. "I almost died."
If Abyss Transfer's cooldown had been even a little bit longer, then the blade wind would've killed him. He was lucky that the blade wind didn't keep attacking him once he got to the top because that would've killed him too.
Anyhow, Kang Oh hadn't died and had safely reached the top of the cliff.
'Let's see here...' Kang Oh took a look around.
Kang Oh saw a black ceiling, just like in any other area in Despia. He must've climbed a really high cliff; he felt like he could transform into the Red Demon, fly up, and touch the ceiling.
He didn't even see the shadow of a monster. Instead, he saw some thicket and a wooden house. Smoke was rising from the chimney.
'A wooden house, huh.'
Considering how there was smoke coming from it, there must be someone living inside. Obviously, that person must be related to this dungeon, Ratia's Trial. If not, then it could be Ratia herself!
'Whatever the case, I have to meet them.'
But he had to do something first.
"Summon Eder," Kang Oh said. Then, a Lich appeared before him.
He wasn't surprised by the sudden summon. It was only natural. Eder had been waiting for Kang Oh, after all.
"Hoh, this is the top?" Eder said.
"Yeah. Let's go over there." Kang Oh pointed at the wooden house and began walking towards it.
"What about Mr. Sephiro?"
"Did you not see him? I had a way of climbing it myself, so I told him to go back down halfway."
"I see." Eder nodded his head and followed Kang Oh.
Kang Oh knocked on the door. "Excuse me, is there anyone here?"
"Please come in," a woman replied from inside.
Kang Oh and Eder carefully opened the door and went inside. A beautiful priestess stood across from a wooden table. However, her eyes were closed shut.
"Please sit down." She pointed at the chairs without opening her eyes.
Kang Oh and Eder stared at each other.
'It doesn't look like a trap, does it?'
'No, I don't think it is.'
They didn't sense any hostility from her.
Kang Oh and Eder sat down.
"The Fierce Wind, Suhorn, informed me that you'd passed my trial," she said.
"Your trial? Then you must be..." Kang Oh looked her over from top to bottom.
"I am a servant of the Goddess of Death, Lady Deborah. My name is Ratia."
"The Goddess of Death!" Eder slapped the table with both hands. He'd finally met someone related to the Goddess of Death! "E-Excuse me, I have to meet Lady Deborah no matter what. And I have to ask for her forgiveness," Eder said desperately.
"The Supreme One has punished you, I see," Ratia said calmly.
"Yes, that's right."
"If you wish to see her, then you must head to the great temple."
"How do I get there?" Eder asked anxiously.
"Saharamant is a place that tests if you are worthy of entering the goddess's land. If you pass through all of the dungeons here, then you will step foot into the area where the Supreme One's temple resides," Ratia said.
"Then the Goddess of Death's temple is located in the next area?" Kang Oh asked.
"That's right," Ratia said calmly.
"Oooh!" Eder looked moved. His face seemed to say, 'We're finally there!'.
"Hey, it's too early to be celebrating. There are still two doors that we haven't opened yet," Kang Oh said. Don't count your chickens before they hatch!
"That's true. It is indeed too early to be celebrating." Eder did his best to calm himself down.
"I need the item that'll allow me to open the next door," Kang Oh said.
"You've passed my trial, so you can take this with you." Ratia pulled out a vial, which contained purple liquid, from a pocket that hung from her sleeve.
Kang Oh quickly took the vial. The vial was called 'Perfume Made by Ratia'.
"Thank you. But may I ask you a question?"
"You said that this place was a testing ground to see whether an individual was worthy of entering the goddess's land, right?"
"Could you please tell us about the 4th and 5th dungeons?"
He could talk to Ratia. Moreover, she was a native here! Thus, he should obtain as much information as he could!
"The fourth dungeon will test your patience. And the final dungeon will require you to use everything that you have."
"Patience, and everything you got," Kang Oh muttered.
"If we enter her land, will we be able to find the goddess's temple immediately?" Eder asked.
"You'll have to go to find out."
"W-Will I... be forgiven?"
"That'll be answered when you reach the temple," Ratia said, giving a similar answer both times.
"Is there anything you can tell us? Like 'be careful of this' or 'there's a hidden passageway here'?" Kang Oh asked.
"There's a door in the forest nearby. In order to leave this place, you will need to go through that door."
Their short meeting with Ratia had come to end.Previous Chapter Next Chapter