Kang Oh's party entered Saharamant's final dungeon.
[Entering the dungeon, Snowy Fields of Travium.]
They passed through a tunnel, and were greeted by the sight of snowy fields. Snow fell from the sky, and the ground was completely white, like a piece of blank paper.
Their breath was completely frozen. Plus... It was really cold!
[The cold has slowed your movement.]
[The cold gradually reduces your HP.]
"Ugh." Sephiro shook, his arms completely wrapped around Waryong. The baby wyvern nestled its head against his chest, unable to bear the frigid temperature.
Comparatively, Eder was fine, as he was undead, but his movement speed was also slowed.
"Can we go back?" Sephiro said. 'It's so cold!'
Waryong suddenly raised its head and squealed. 'Let's go back!'
"No," Kang Oh said decisively.
Their HP gradually went down, but it wouldn't kill them right away. They could put up with it for now.
"Woo!" Sephiro hissed.
Kang Oh remained steadfast, undeterred by the cold.
"Let's go!" Kang Oh made his way through the snowy plains.
"Phew." Sephiro sighed.
Eder patted his back and said, "Let's go."
Kang Oh's party left footprints in the white, snow-covered ground.
Thud! Thud! Thud!
The ground shook. Something was approaching them.
"Hide," Kang Oh said.
"Hide where?" Sephiro asked.
There was nowhere to hide. It was just snow everywhere.
"Just lay down."
Kang Oh laid down first. Eder and Sephiro followed suit.
The shaking only intensified, and the unending rain of snow made it difficult to make out what it was. Nonetheless, they could see a giant shadow.
It was extraordinarily large. Sephiro covered Waryong's mouth in case it made a sound.
The giant creature kept approaching them.
It finally revealed itself.
The large creature's face resembled a bear, but it didn't look like your ordinary polar bear. It was a bipedal beast, walking on two legs like a human. Plus, its torso was covered by a blue and white breastplate, and held a giant glacial axe in its hand.
[You have discovered the Ruler of the Snowy Fields, Travium.]
'It's a raid boss.' Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.
Its sheer power, presence, and size made that all too clear to him.
'Let's just leave it alone.' Kang Oh flattened his body even more and held his breath.
He didn't want to fight it right away. They didn't have enough manpower and they weren't ready for it either. Moreover, the environment wasn't good for them. Even now, the cold was slowly decreasing their HP.
Fortunately, Travium didn't notice Kang Oh's party and just passed by them.
"Hoo, it left." Sephiro let out the breath he'd been holding.
"What did you think?" Kang Oh asked.
"It's a raid boss. It's over level 400, and it'd be impossible for the three of us to beat it," Sephiro said firmly.
Kang Oh nodded his head. He agreed with him; there was absolutely no way that they could beat it.
If that's the case, then...
"Let's build a raid team."
* * *
Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro returned to Altein.
"Mr. Sephiro, Eder."
"I'd like you two to find out as much as you can on Travium from the Altein Central Library," Kang Oh said.
"Understood." Eder nodded his head.
"Then what about the raid team?" Sephiro asked.
"I'll try to find some people."
"If you need my help, just ask. I know some people too," Sephiro said.
Eder and Sephiro headed for the Altein Central Library.
Kang Oh went in the opposite direction. He headed for the Holiseum, a white building that greatly resembles its real world counterpart.
"Brother," Kang Oh opened the door and said.
"Oh, you came?" Burkan replied.
"How have you been?"
Kang Oh examined his face. His skin was shining.
"Things must be going well with Ms. Dora, I see," Kang Oh said. 'There's not a wrinkle on you!'
"Hehe." Burkan laughed. That answered his question.
"Are you getting married?"
"Congratulate me at the wedding ceremony."
"You haven't forgotten my role in this entire thing, have you?" Kang Oh grinned.
The law of equivalent exchange. He'd given him something, so now he wanted something in return.
"What do you want?" Burkan asked.
"There's a raid boss I need to hunt, so..."
"No thanks. Sounds like a pain in the ass," Burkan said decisively.
"I just need you to swing your sword a few times. Is that so hard?" Kang Oh glared at him. 'Have you forgotten what I did for you!?'
"Yeah. No thanks," Burkan said firmly.
"Tch, then... please lend me the 100 Fighters."
The 100 Fighters was an elite fighting force made up of the Holiseum's best gladiators. Then there was their commander, Dion, who was on a completely different level!
What if Dion and the 100 Fighters were to help him hunt Travium?
'They won't be as effective as Burkan, but they'll be really helpful.'
They'd be even more helpful than the Witch's Forest, which helped him hunt Lich Eclipse.
"The 100 Fighters are resting right now. Go and ask Dion," Burkan said.
"Where is he?"
"Darion!" Burkan yelled.
The door opened and in came the handsome Darion.
"Take my little brother to Dion."
"Please follow me," Darion said politely.
"I'll see you later."
"Yeah, go on."
Kang Oh said his farewells and followed Darion.
"Been good?" Kang Oh asked while looking him over.
"Yes," Darion said curtly.
"What level are you?"
"...A little over 200," Darion said slowly, avoiding Kang Oh's gaze.
'Man, take a look at this guy.' Kang Oh's eyes narrowed.
Darion was acting suspicious and his stated level was way too low.
"Pardon me?" Darion's eyes shook.
"Don't lie to me."
"I'm not lying to you." Darion was still playing innocent.
"Then why don't we make a bet."
"Yeah. If you're really in your early 200's, then I'll start calling you 'Brother'. But if you're past 250, then..."
"T-Then?" Darion's voice shook.
"Then you'll sign a 3 silver mercenary contract with me. For a month!"
When Kang Oh first started playing, he 'employed' Darion for a measly 3 silver. Ever since then, Darion felt sick whenever he saw Kang Oh's face.
"No thank you. Why would I make that kind of bet?"
"Then why are you lying to me?"
"I'm not lying to you." Even now, Darion feigned innocence.
"Then why can't you accept the bet?"
"Should we go back and ask Burkan?"
"Tell the truth. What level are you?" Kang Oh glared at him.
"Hoh, that's pretty high." Kang Oh grinned.
"Hehe, Mr. Kang Oh. Please just let this go..." Darion said, sporting a servile expression.
"Sure, why not."
"Thank y..." Kang Oh interrupted him mid-sentence.
"In exchange, help me kill a raid boss."
"Is that a no?"
"I asked you a question." Kang Oh stared at him murderously, his voice as cold as ice.
"I'll do it."
Ultimately, Darion had no other choice but to accept.
"I'm not paying you. I'm not sharing the loot with you either."
In other words, he'd be working for free.
"Ok," Darion said weakly.
Kang Oh was satisfied with the outcome.
'I got someone to help out for free!'
While Darion looked on in despair.
'Aah, I got caught by the devil again!'
Why else would he have lied about his level? So that he wouldn't be worked to the bone by this demon. If he'd told the truth, then Kang Oh would've done whatever he could to make use of him.
However, telling a lie hadn't improved his situation; he'd just stalled the inevitable. Ultimately, he'd be worked to the bone again!
It was truly horrific.
"Now then, hurry up and take me to Mr. Dion."
* * *
Clang, clang, clang, bam, smack!
Dion and the 100 Fighters were training intensely within the underground gladiatorial arena. Dion freely swung his swords around, engaging five gladiators at once.
"I'll get going now." Darion left.
"Yeah, go ahead. Don't forget your promise with me."
"Yes," Darion replied weakly, and trudged away with drooping shoulders.
Kang Oh watched Dion and the 100 Fighters' training session.
Each and every one of them was a skilled gladiator. Especially Dion, who stood head and shoulders above the rest.
"Take a break," Dion yelled.
Only then did the gladiators lower their weapons, divide up into groups of two or three, and talk amongst themselves.
Dion approached Kang Oh. "It's been a while."
"Yes. Have you been well?"
"Mm. You're undergoing one of Lord Valan's tests to become his successor?"
"Do your best."
"So what have you come for today?"
"I'd like to hire you and the 100 Fighters."
"I'd like you and the 100 Fighters to help me hunt a raid boss called Travium. Travium is..." Kang Oh explained its physical features, its qualities, and what he assumed its level was.
"Travium, huh... How many do you need?"
"I need 20 of your elite troops. Of course, I need you too, Mr. Dion."
"What's our share?"
"You can take half."
"That's not enough. You'll need to pay us too."
"Since you're offering us half the loot, I guess it'd come out to around 5,000 gold."
"Heok!" Kang Oh gaped. '5,000 gold!? Are you serious!?'
"We're pros, and we're strong. So it makes sense that our services would cost that much."
"Ahem. Since I'm Master Valan's successor, can't you just help me out for free?"
Kang Oh decided to milk Valan's name for all it's worth.
"You're not his successor yet."
But it didn't work at all.
"But I'm almost there. So please lower your price."
"I won't lower my price until the day I'm defeated!" Dion said firmly.
"Then let's fight. If I win or it ends in a draw, then you'll help me out for free."
"Hoh." Dion's eyes gleamed. "If I win, then I'm doubling my price. And you'll pay me 10,000 gold on the spot! If not, then you'll have to give up your life in exchange," he threatened.
"Mm." Kang Oh bit his lip.
'If I lose... I lose 10,000 gold.'
But if he were to win or tie? Then he'd save 5,000 gold.
"I'm fine either way."
"No, I'll do it!"
"Is that so?" Dion grinned.
"But I'd like to add a condition."
"What is it?"
"If I manage to hold out for 10 minutes, then that counts as my win."
"Why would I agree to that?"
"Whatever then." Kang Oh shrugged his shoulders.
"Fine. Let's go."
Dion drew a gladius and pointed it at Kang Oh. His eyes shone with confidence; he was sure he'd win within 10 minutes.
"Ooh, the Commander's having a match."
"C'mon, let's go."
The 100 Fighters' gladiators surrounded Kang Oh and Dion.
"Who are you going to bet on?"
"I'm obviously betting on the Commander."
"I'm betting on the other guy. He should be able to last 10 minutes."
"Are you kidding me? How's he supposed to last 10 minutes against the Commander? I'm betting on the Commander!"
Where there's a match, there's betting. The gladiators began putting their money on Kang Oh or Dion. Obviously, most people betted on Dion.
Those who voted for Kang Oh didn't believe he'd win. They believed that 'he'd do whatever he could to last 10 minutes'.
That's how the match between Kang Oh and Dion began.Previous Chapter Next Chapter