Eder remained completely silent. If he was in a human body, he would probably be crying right now. Kang Oh patted his back, while Sephiro looked at him supportingly.
Only Deul, who wasn't aware of his circumstances, looked confused. However, he wasn't foolish enough to intrude on this moment.
"Hoo, hoo." Eder took a deep breath. His body didn't require oxygen; it was just a way to calm himself down.
"You ok now?" Kang Oh asked.
"Yes. I'm ready," Eder said stiffly, and slowly lifted his head.
A large structure came into view. It was a marble pyramid.
This was the Great Temple of Death!
* * *
The Temple of Death wasn't a place that just anyone could enter. They tried to climb the stairs, but a paladin stopped them.
"Only those permitted may pass," the paladin said. His voice was polite, yet firm.
"I must see the goddess," Eder said earnestly.
The paladin pointed at the round marble altar. "Pay tribute and pray earnestly. If the goddess responds to your prayer, then you may enter the temple."
"Thank you." Eder approached the altar.
Kang Oh, Sephiro, and Deul quietly watched the situation unfold.
Eder pulled off his rings. They were Lich Eclipse's Sun and Moon Rings! Equipping them both would increase one's magic damage and reduce the MP consumption of spells; they were treasures among treasures!
Eder placed both rings atop the altar, knelt down, and clasped his hands in prayer.
'Lady Deborah, Lady Deborah!'
At first, nothing happened. But at some point, a circular black ring appeared above Eder's head. The rings had disappeared as well! Deborah had responded to his prayer.
Eder slowly stood up.
"Go on up." The paladin moved out of the way.
Eder suddenly pointed at Kang Oh. "The Supreme One asked me to bring him with me."
"Me?" Kang Oh looked bewildered.
"Go on up," the paladin said.
"Brother, what about me?" Sephiro stared at Eder, eyes filled with anticipation. When else would he get the chance to enter the Great Temple of Death!
Eder shook his head. "She only asked for Mr. Kang Oh."
"Tch." Sephiro pouted.
"Let's go, Mr. Kang Oh," Eder said.
"Uh, alright." Kang Oh followed him up the stairs.
Once they reached the top, they were greeted by a priestess garbed in white robes.
"I've been waiting for you. Please follow me."
The priestess guided Kang Oh and Eder into the temple. Eventually, they were brought before a giant marble statue of Deborah sitting upon a throne.
"Please kneel and wait," she whispered, and then left.
Eder sank to his knees without complaint. However, Kang Oh really wasn't feeling it. He stood tall.
'Why do I have to kneel? She's just a goddess made by game developers!'
"Please kneel, unless you want to be punished like me."
Kang Oh immediately kneeled. He'd put so much effort into his character, so he couldn't afford to lose it by doing something stupid.
Wind blew from someplace else. The torches, which illuminated the room, flickered in the wind.
"Please bow your head," Eder said, and placed his head onto the floor.
Kang Oh wanted to say, 'Why do I have to do this!?', but he complied, afraid of Deborah's divine wrath.
"Raise your heads." A bright voice could be heard everywhere.
Kang Oh and Eder slowly raised their heads.
'Hoh.' Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.
A purple veil concealed the goddess statue's form. He could see Deborah's silhouette from behind the veil.
'She's inhabiting the statue.'
"Eder," the goddess called.
"Yes, Supreme One."
"The Healer who Conquered Death Itself, Eder. That's what you were once called," she said mockingly.
Eder bowed his head once more.
"And in your arrogance, you claimed to have conquered death," she said icily, as if her voice itself could bring about a harsh winter. "Thus, I showed you what death was truly like. I challenged you to overcome my curse. But you survived, not by curing yourself of my curse, but by moving your soul to an unsightly corpse."
"I was arrogant and foolish. Please grant me your forgiveness."
Eder briefly raised his head and then slammed it into the ground.
"What is death?" Deborah suddenly asked.
"I'm not sure," Eder said honestly.
For so long, he'd studied death as a means of avoiding it. However, he hadn't come any closer to understanding what death was. Obviously, overcoming something without any knowledge of what it is was impossible.
"How foolish. But there was no arrogance in your answer, so I am feeling slightly merciful."
Eder didn't act rashly. He remained quiet, and waited for Deborah to continue.
'What the hell is this?'
At this point, he didn't care what happened; he just wanted them to hurry up and get to the point.
"I'll give you a chance."
"I'll do whatever you ask of me."
"It's not something you can do alone."
"Who do I have to do it with?"
"The one beside you."
"He'll do it," Eder immediately said.
Kang Oh quickly said, "Wait! Ah, forgive me, Supreme One. Hey, Eder. Why are you deciding for me?" Kang Oh stared at him.
"10,000 gold," Eder whispered, his head still bowed. He knew how Kang Oh worked.
10,000 gold! However, Kang Oh shook his head.
'No. This is clearly a task that's not profitable and will be a pain in the ass to deal with, so... I can't let him get to me!'
"20,000 gold," Eder whispered again.
Kang Oh's eyes shook, but he shook his head once more.
'Don't let him get to you! Don't listen to him!'
"30,000 gold. It's my entire fortune."
Kang Oh grinned. He was almost convinced.
He bowed before Deborah and said, "Supreme One, what sort of task did you have in mind for someone as lowly as me?" In other words, 'What do you want me to do?'.
"It would be faster to show you." Deborah softly waved her hand.
Then, Kang Oh and Eder were shown events of the past.
In the beginning...
There existed four gods: Creation, Destruction, Life, and Death.
The God of Creation, Maya, created the sea, the sky, and the continent, as well as countless living beings.
The God of Life and the Goddess of Death kept things moving, maintaining balance.
However, the God of Destruction entered a long slumber, waiting for the time when his presence was required.
Much time passed.
At some point...
The God of Creation, Maya, slowly began to change. He began to obsess over and excessively love his creations.
His obsession was mostly focused on the Mayanes, which caused him to do something that was strictly forbidden. He shared his power with them! As a result, the Mayanes Tribe became immortal and began creating other species, even though they weren't gods themselves.
The bigger problem was that the Mayanes became increasingly arrogant as time went on! It wasn't enough that they ruled over other life forms, but they also challenged the other three Primordial Gods!
The era of the gods had ended; it was now the era of the Mayanes!
For their arrogance, they were strictly punished. The slumbering God of Destruction awoke, and completely annihilated the Mayanes Tribe! Thus, the matter seemed to have been completely settled.
However, the God of Creation performed another act of lunacy. He sacrificed himself to resurrect the dead Mayanes.
The God of Destruction attempted to destroy them once more, but found that he couldn't. Through Maya's sacrifice, the Mayanes had gained the God of Creation's divinity, keeping them completely immune to a god's power.
Ultimately, the Primordial Gods, with the help of the dragons (the 2nd most powerful species in the world), were able to seal the Mayanes all over the world.
That was where the recording ended.
"Mayanes," Kang Oh muttered.
This was the first time he'd heard of them. He hadn't known that the God of Creation had sacrificed himself either.
"After we sealed the Mayanes, we erased all records of their existence. Only the dragons remember that they existed."
"Then what is it you wish for me and Eder to do?" Kang Oh cautiously asked.
'Why are you showing us such a lengthy video? It puts a lot of pressure on me.'
"There are eight revived Mayanes in total. And two of them are sealed here, within my domain."
"You're not asking us to destroy them, are you?"
Kang Oh was speechless. 'How do you expect me to do something that the God of Destruction couldn't?'
"Your jet-black sword should be able to kill the Mayanes."
"Demon Sword Ubist?"
"Indeed. The demonic beast that resides within your blade comes from the 'Demon World'; it's a being that came to this world from another. Thus, it should be able to kill the Mayanes."
Kang Oh tilted his head. 'Demon Sword Ubist isn't some legendary hero's sword, so how?'
"The Mayanes cannot be killed by this world's rules. However, the demonic beast plays by a different set of rules. It should easily be able to destroy this world's rules."
Kang Oh was locked in thought. 'Which means it's not an impossible quest...'
However, Kang Oh wasn't feeling it. He had a strong feeling that he'd have to bend over backwards to complete this quest, but would get nothing in return.
'Like one of Valan's quests.'
Of course, he was tempted by Eder's offer of 30,000 gold. However, 30,000 gold wasn't enough to quench his appetite.
"I understand that this may sound rude to you, but I don't work for free," Kang Oh carefully said.
"I hold great power. I can instantly raise one of your skills or spells to master-rank."
"I can also grant you the most powerful weapon in the world. Of course, that weapon wouldn't work on the Mayanes. Also..."
Kang Oh pricked his ears and waited for her to continue.
"I can remove your limitations; the limitations of a human."
"What do you mean?"
"A human's maximum level is 500. Their proficiency also ends at master-rank. I can remove these limitations."
"So I'll be able to pass level 500 and reach level 600, or even 700..."
"You can become a Grandmaster."
At this moment, Kang Oh had learned an extraordinary secret. Becoming a Master wasn't the end, but only the beginning; there was one rank higher, Grandmaster!
"When you complete my task, I will give you what you want," Deborah said with her brilliant voice.
'Ooh, I have to do this!'
If Deborah didn't want to give him this quest, then he'd have to beg her to give it to him. After all, the reward was tremendous!
Kang Oh bowed his head and yelled, "Leave it to me! I will do whatever it is that you require!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter