When he'd first climbed the Agrashi tree and saw the village, Kang Oh's thought process had been…
Head to the village, get in their good graces, obtain information on this place and the Temple of Death, and acquire a safe base of operations.
But it seemed like the village was completely closed to outsiders.
"What do we do now?" Eder asked.
"What do you mean? We'll just have to go through hell," Kang Oh said.
Now, they would be forced to explore the jungle and its various dangers blind. Until they discovered another village or the temple, that is.
"Is that really the best idea?" Eder said disappointedly. It would clearly be a dangerous road ahead.
"Then do you have a better idea?"
"We'll have to find someplace to use as our hideout; something like a cave. We probably won't be able to find another village or the temple anytime soon," Sephiro said.
"Alright, let's do that."
After they'd agreed on their immediate goals, Kang Oh's party began to move through the jungle. Their backs slowly got farther and farther away from the village.
* * *
The deepest region of Despia, or the Goddess of Death's Land, was not only filled with monsters, but also various other dangers as well.
Ants that left nothing behind wherever they went, the Calamity Ants! Once you got caught in it, there was no way you'd get out; the Silent Swamp! The Illusion Mushrooms' Maze! An area filled with man-eating plants! And so much more...
But any man who lived here had to fear one thing above all.
They wore a necklace of human skulls and went around killing humans, despite being human themselves!
There were rumors that if you were caught by them, you'd never return and you'd be subjected to pain worse than death. Thus, the people living here feared encountering the Kalma the most.
Kang Oh's party came face-to-face with them.
"Hehe, there's plenty of prey today," a man said.
His face was completely covered in red paint and he wore a skull necklace around his neck. He was known as Aguta, or the Red Devil.
"Indeed." A man who appeared to be his subordinate licked his lips.
Twenty of the Kalma had appeared!
Five well-built men had already been captured. They were gagged, and were bound in tough rope.
"Who are you?" Kang Oh asked.
"You don't know who we are?" Aguta looked at him in disbelief. It was like he was saying, 'How could you not know who we are? We make all those who live in the Goddess of Death's Land quiver in fear!'
"You don't seem like the good guys," Kang Oh said.
"Hehe, you hit the nail on the head. We're the evil bastards who are here to catch you!" Agunta laughed.
"Then I guess I should punish you." Kang Oh drew Blood.
He knew that they wouldn't let them pass without a fight. Thus, they had no choice but to go through them.
Sephiro raised the Lasselpino Bow, while the flames within Eder's eye sockets blazed with even greater intensity.
"Get them!" Aguta ordered, and ten of the Kalma rushed at them.
Their skull necklaces noisily rattled against each other.
Some of them threw a net at Kang Oh's party, while others threw chains at them. They weren't trying to kill them; they were trying to capture them alive.
Kang Oh and Sephiro immediately dodged.
Eder merely summoned a Bone Wall. Then, he slammed the blunt end of Eclipse's Scythe onto the ground.
AoE Curse: Age!
A purple ring spread outward. As it was a curse cast by a level 400 Lich, all of their enemies' abilities had fallen.
"Deal with the mage first," Aguta yelled.
Heeding his order, the Kalma began focusing entirely on Eder. Eder responded with various bone spells, and Kang Oh helped out too.
A golden tiger erupted from Blood, sweeping through the Kalma attacking Eder.
The whirlwind raged. However, someone cleaved right through it. A bloody Kalma came out of the whirlwind, wielding a sickle.
"Kihihi." He laughed bizarrely and rushed at Kang Oh. The other Kalmas joined in as well.
Kang Oh had to fight several of them at once.
Each Kalma was quite powerful. Moreover, their team work was extraordinary, perhaps because they'd spent so much time together. Kang Oh couldn't easily defeat them.
Sephiro was the same. He ran across the battlefield, shooting arrows in the process, and even drew his axes and swung them. However, he wasn't having much success against the Kalma.
"Projectiles," Aguta yelled.
The remaining 10 Kalmas, who weren't engaging them, threw sharp, poison needles at them.
"Eder!" Kang Oh called.
It was obvious what he wanted!
Eder created a Bone Wall, blocking the poison needles.
"Hehe, how defiant." Agunta laughed. He motioned with his hand, and five other Kalmas entered the fray.
They leapt over the Bone Wall, and attempted to throw their poison needles again.
'Now!' Eder clenched his fist.
Boom, boom, boom!
The long Bone Wall exploded with a 'boom' and bone fragments flew everywhere!
Those caught up in the explosion rolled onto the floor. Plus, Sephiro had shot his arrow at just the right time, following up Eder's Bone Bomb.
Earth Shaking Arrow!
Right after the Bone Bomb came a shockwave that swept through five of the Kalmas.
"Hmm, you're quite short-tempered, huh." Aguta was still looking down on Kang Oh's party.
Two of the Kalmas fighting Kang Oh had fallen.
In no time at all, Kang Oh had transformed into the Red Demon. The Bone Bomb had distracted them, giving Kang Oh the opportunity to use Devil Trigger.
With both Fresh Blood Wave and Blood Spear, he was able to overwhelm them instantaneously.
"Die." Kang Oh stomped on a fallen Kalma and stabbed him several times in the chest.
Stab! Stab! Stab!
His fourth blow was accompanied by a Darkness Strike. A bat-shaped, blood red wave devoured the Kalma.
[You have defeated Kalma Rangky.]
"You son of a bitch!"
The other Kalmas rushed at Kang Oh.
'They're like moths to a flame.' Kang Oh grinned.
The blood red blast exploded outward, and the Kalmas fell to the floor!
Kang Oh immediately swung his blade.
The electric blast devoured a Kalma, who'd already been damaged by Tempest Tiger.
[You have defeated Kalma Rangbo.]
"This won't do. Everyone, attack!" Aguta quickly yelled.
All of the Kalma rushed into battle.
"You bastard!" Aguta rushed straight at Kang Oh. He wielded a steel club, which resembled a Dokkaebi's magic club.
His mace emitted a crushing, heavy 'whoosh'. If he got hit by that, then his bones would break right then and there.
Kang Oh dodged the club and backed off.
"Tasha!" Kang Oh said. His bat wings flapped forcefully, and he rose into the air.
Kang Oh flew in an arc like a rainbow, and landed onto the floor once more. Right where the five prisoners were located! He had been waiting for an opportunity to free them.
"If I free you, can you fight?" Kang Oh asked.
The men fiercely nodded their heads.
"No!" Aguta said angrily, but Kang Oh had no reason to stop.
Kang Oh immediately swung Blood and sliced through the rope that bound them. Then, he dropped five mass-produced swords from his inventory.
"Please fight with these."
Once their hands were free, they removed their gags and picked up the swords. Kang Oh turned around and pointed his index finger at Aguta.
He was clearly telling him to attack!
Aguta's eyes were filled with killing intent.
"Don't try capturing them anymore. Kill them all!" Aguta roared.
Then, the atmosphere around the Kalma changed. They began emitting killing intent, and threw away their nets and chains. They then drew sickles, swords, axes, and clubs.
"Kuhahk!" Aguta screamed like a beast and rushed at Kang Oh.
* * *
His snow-white blade, which radiated a peculiar red light, passed through Aguta's neck.
Red shards of light flew through the air and were absorbed into his blade.
"Damn it... all," Aguta said roughly, and then... Thud. He dropped his mace.
Kang Oh lightly pushed Aguta's body. His body fell backwards without any resistance whatsoever.
[You have defeated the Red Devil, Aguta.]
"Aguta's dead!" Kang Oh yelled.
"Ooh!" The five men cheered.
"I'll be finished soon!" Sephiro yelled.
The battle wasn't over yet. After all, there were a few Kalma left that were stubbornly holding on. However, the battle had already been decided.
A short while later...
The last Kalma was killed.
"Thank you again," the oldest man of the five said, acting as their representative.
"It was nothing." Kang Oh smiled.
"I'm a warrior from Morona Village. My name is Deul. Could you tell us your name?"
"My name is Kang Oh. This is Sephiro and that's Eder."
"Kang Oh, Sephiro, and Eder, huh... I won't forget you."
"What are you going to do now?" Kang Oh asked.
"We'll return to our village."
Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.
"Would you be ok if we tagged along?"
"Of course." Deul accepted without hesitation. It was only natural. Kang Oh's party had saved them, after all.
Thus, Kang Oh's party followed Deul and headed for Morona Village.
"This is Morona Village?" Kang Oh asked.
"That's right." Deul nodded his head.
"That's quite..." Kang Oh scratched his cheek.
The village was surrounded by a wooden fence. It was the same village that'd refused their entry just a little while ago.
"What's the matter?"
"Haa, it's nothing." Kang Oh shrugged shoulders.
'Deul's with us this time, so they wouldn't shoot us, would they?'
They say that you shouldn't assume; fortunately, they were let off the hook this time.
"Arfan, it's Deul. I've returned." Deul raised his voice.
The middle-aged woman, who'd told them to get lost, was overjoyed by Deul's safe return home. She immediately opened the tightly shut door for him.
"I'm glad you're safe." The middle-aged woman, Arfan, embraced him. The two looked really close.
"It's because of them that I was able to get away from the Kalma." Deul pointed at Kang Oh's party.
"Ooh, thank you so much!" Arfan clasped Kang Oh's hands and shook them. "Huh? But would you happen to be..."
"Yes. We came here before and were welcomed by arrows." Kang Oh smiled awkwardly.
'You never know what'll happen, right?'
"Mm, sorry about that. The village doesn't accept outsiders and I'd heard that Deul had been captured by the Kalma, so I've been on edge."
"Anyhow, you saved Deul and our warriors, so you're no longer outsiders to us. Welcome to Morona Village."
The village that they'd once been chased out of had welcomed them with open arms.Previous Chapter Next Chapter