Morona Village had one simple, distinct feature; all of its houses were 2 stories high! There wasn't anything special about the villagers' clothing or their appearance.
"My companions and I are looking for the goddess's temple," Kang Oh said once he entered the village.
"Mm, I see."
"Do you know where it is?"
"Yes. The temple resides at the top of Mt. Latnia."
"Where is Mt. Latnia?" Eder asked.
Deul turned his body and pointed somewhere. "It's that mountain over there."
Kang Oh and Sephiro had seen that mountain when they'd climbed up the Agrashi tree.
'The top of that mountain, huh...' Kang Oh estimated the distance between the village and the mountain. 'It's far.'
They couldn't get there in a day or two.
"Let me take you to the Village Chief first," Deul said.
"Alright." Kang Oh nodded his head.
A short while later...
"I am the Chieftain of Morona Village, Haum."
The chieftain wasn't that old. In fact, she was a middle-aged woman, about the same age as Deul.
"My name is Kang Oh." Kang Oh briefly introduced himself, followed by Eder and Sephiro.
"Thank you for saving our warriors from the Kalmas' grasp. You're our savior."
"It was the least I could do."
"We'll set up a place for you, so stay as long as you wish. If you want anything else, just ask."
"These people are looking for the goddess's temple. I think it'd be best if we took them there ourselves," Deul said.
"If you'd be willing to do that for us, then I couldn't ask for anything more," Kang Oh said immediately.
"Mm, then who'll guide them?"
"I'll do it," Deul said.
"Are you sure? You just came back after being captured by the Kalma..."
"I'm fine. I need to return the favor."
"Alright. Is there anything else we can do to help you?" Haum asked.
"Yes. We have a few questions regarding the Goddess's Land."
As they always say, information was power. Kang Oh wanted to gather as much information as possible from the natives here.
"Ask Deul about that. He should know more about this place than I." Haum smiled.
"Ah, is that so?" Kang Oh stared at Deul. Not only would he be their guide, but he'd also be their source of information.
Neither Sephiro nor Eder wanted anything from the chief.
"Then take care."
Once they left the chieftain's house, Deul said, "I have a spare room in my house, so please stay there."
There was no reason to refuse.
"Please follow me."
Like all of the other houses in Morona Village, Deul's house was 2 stories high.
"You can use the entire second floor as you please."
"Is there anyone else here?" Sephiro asked.
"No. I live alone."
"Wait, why..." Sephiro looked regretful.
'You're a bachelor at this age?'
"I like living alone," Deul said, looking rather nonchalant about it.
"May we talk? When and how are we going to Mt. Latnia? Also, I'd like to ask you about the Goddess's Land too," Kang Oh said.
Kang Oh's party sat around a table, and Deul served them tea.
"How long will it take to get to the top of Mt. Latnia?" Eder asked.
"If we use the tunnel, then it'll only take a day," Deul immediately replied.
"Really? It'll only take a day to get there?" Eder beamed.
"It doesn't look like we'd be able to get there in a day..." Kang Oh muttered.
"It's a magic tunnel. Using it will allow you to quickly travel to various places here."
"Ah, is that so?" Kang Oh said.
'Sounds like the freeway.'
"When are you going to Mt. Latnia?" Deul asked.
"As soon as possible!" Eder immediately said.
"It's late, so how about tomorrow?"
"That's alright with me," Eder said.
Kang Oh and Sephiro nodded their heads.
"How vast is this place? No, I'd actually like to know more about the lay of the land," Kang Oh said.
"Even I don't know how large this place is. And regarding the geographical features... Mt. Latnia is located in the center, the jungle is to the south, and grasslands are to the east. Access to the northern and western areas is strictly forbidden, so I'm not sure what's there."
"Access to the north and west is strictly forbidden?"
"If you want to enter either area, then you need to cross the River of Despair. However, the Primordial Goddess told us not to cross it."
"Do you serve Lady Deborah?"
"Most people here serve the goddess, yes. Aside from the insolent Kalma."
"The Kalma? Those gangsters back there?" Sephiro asked.
"The Kalma are human hunters. They capture humans and drag them to the forbidden areas, the north and the west."
"The Goddess of Death just lets them do that?"
Eder couldn't understand why she would. He, who'd bragged that he could conquer death itself, had been punished by the goddess, so why did she leave the Kalma alone?
"I'm not entirely sure. She must have something else in mind for them," Deul said calmly. His trust in her was ironclad.
Kang Oh changed the subject. "I assume that there are dungeons here?"
"Yes. The tunnel that we're going through tomorrow is a dungeon filled with monsters."
"Is there any way that I could get a map? Even better if it marks where the dungeons are."
Once he was finished transporting Eder's body to the goddess's temple, Kang Oh planned on exploring this place even further.
'I have to go through the dungeons too.'
To a Dungeon Hunter like him, the Goddess's Land was like a treasure trove. After all, there were dungeons here that no other player had ever gone through before.
"We don't have any maps. However, you should be able to procure one from Latnia, the only city that exists here."
"Hoh, there's a city here too?"
"A long time ago, the Primordial Goddess's followers moved here en masse. At first, they lived below Mt. Latnia. That was the beginning of the city you see today. Over time, people spread out across the Goddess's Land, and created several villages."
"I see." Kang Oh nodded his head.
Although slight, he was gathering some information on the Goddess's Land.
"Is there anything else you're curious about?"
"I'd like to know more about you, Mr. Deul. We fought together, so I know you're strong..." Kang Oh said.
Since they'd be working together for the foreseeable future, he wanted to know more about him.
"I am of the Warrior class. I can wield all sorts of weapons, but I'm most confident in my swordsmanship. I am level 339. As you know, I was born in Morona Village and live alone."
'A level 339 Warrior.'
Not only could he guide them, but he'd be really helpful in a fight too.
"I see... Then what about..."
After that, Kang Oh asked him all sorts of questions, and Deul answered them all earnestly, without a sign of irritation.
* * *
The next day.
Kang Oh's party, Deul included, left Morona Village. They wanted to ride their Yumas, which they'd relied upon in the Great Forest, but Deul stopped them.
"We have to move covertly. If we want to remain undiscovered by the dangerous monsters and Kalma, that is."
Ultimately, Kang Oh's party trekked through the forest on foot. Though they weren't riding on their mounts, they weren't able to avoid all of the monsters. Kang Oh's party was forced to do battle a few times.
After that, they arrived at the entrance of the tunnel.
"This is it."
It was a cave. However, there was a bluish light seeping out from within.
Upon entry, a system message popped up.
[You have entered the spatiotemporal intersection point, Shortcut Tunnel.]
If ten parties entered a spatiotemporal intersection point, then they'd enter ten different instances of the same dungeon. In other words, outsiders couldn't interrupt them once they entered the dungeon.
Tunnel was truly an apt title; the large, half-moon shaped passageway, went on and on.
"Getting to the end of the Shortcut Tunnel takes about six hours. However, there are small passageways like that one all over." Deul pointed at a passageway inside, which went through the tunnel's wall. Blue light streamed out of the passageway. "Those passageways are connected to the dungeons here."
"In other words, if we head through the right passageway, then we can arrive at the top of Mt. Latnia in a day." Kang Oh immediately understood what he was saying.
"That's amazing." Kang Oh admired the technology.
'I should take a closer look at this tunnel.'
Kang Oh would probably use the Shortcut Tunnel many times in the future. After all, he planned on going all across the Goddess's Land.
Something creeped over. It was a Poisonous Centipede.
The Poisonous Centipede was about 3 meters long, and was level 300. Its poison was lethal, but it would still be no match for Kang Oh's party.
Kang Oh's party killed it instantly, and made their way forward.
Kang Oh's party exited the cave, which radiated blue light, and found themselves near Mt. Latnia.
"Ooh, it's the mountain. We're really at the mountain!" Eder looked at Mt. Latnia and smiled excitedly.
It seemed like Waryong liked the fresh air after being cooped up in a cave for so long, as it popped out of Sephiro's chest and began squealing in delight.
"Now, we just need to pass through Latnia City and go up the mountain. It should take about half a day," Deul said.
"Let's go," Eder urged.
* * *
Kang Oh's party entered Latnia City.
"It's amazing." Sephiro was in awe.
Kang Oh completely agreed with him.
Every one of the buildings looked different. However, their base color was white, making them look unique.
"There's a black ring on every single one of the houses. Is that the goddess's symbol?" Eder asked.
"Yes. The houses were painted white so that her symbol could look more pronounced," Deul said.
"Considering how many of them have Lady Deborah's symbol... It makes it feel like we're close to the temple," Eder said, his voice shaking. It was like he was at the finish line of a marathon.
"It truly is a city established by the goddess's followers," Kang Oh said.
"You could get lost, so please follow me."
Kang Oh's party went along the main street.
The atmosphere here was quite strange. Befitting a religious town, it was quite solemn. There were no street stalls, or any business for that matter being conducted on the street.
The bright, beautiful peal of a bell resounded throughout the city. They began to see people praying all across the city.
To them, the goddess was the reason for their existence.Previous Chapter Next Chapter