There was a lone, white hill in the center of the decaying forest. It was completely bare, without a single blade of grass or a tree on top of it. Tunnels had been dug underneath it too.
The interior was so complex that even the Kalma here would occasionally get lost. That's why it was called the Ant Tunnel.
"Shall I get ready?" Eder asked.
"Mm." Kang Oh nodded his head. Eder then pulled out a Kalma's clothes and skull necklace.
Kang Oh, Sephiro, and Eder changed immediately, disguising themselves as Kalma.
Their skull necklaces 'rattled' as they rubbed against each other.
That wasn't all to their disguise. Kang Oh and Sephiro painted their faces with black and blue paint, while Eder covered his face with a wolf's head.
They even imitated their wicked smiles and laughter.
"Good. Then as planned, Mr. Sephiro and I will infiltrate the base. You stay here and keep a lookout," Kang Oh said to Eder.
Kang Oh could summon Eder whenever he needed him, so Eder was tasked with keeping an eye on the outside.
"Tell us if there's something going on too." Kang Oh shook his communication earring with his finger.
Kang Oh and Sephiro popped out of the thicket and headed towards the Ant Tunnel. There were a few Kalma outside, but they didn't suspect Kang Oh or Sephiro at all.
A short while later...
Kang Oh and Sephiro entered the tunnel and completely vanished.
* * *
As planned, the two had managed to infiltrate the tunnel. However, this is where things got hard.
They had no info to fall back on! Even so, Kang Oh and Sephiro had to find and kill Malak, regardless of how complicated the base was!
But it's not like they had some amazing idea that'd take them straight to Malak.
In the end, their only option was to keep moving. But they also needed to remain in character so that their covers weren't blown!
Kang Oh and Sephiro made their way through the tunnel.
Forked roads? That's cute. The path would often split into three, and there were other paths on the ceiling, the floor, and the walls that led someplace else. Thus, they wandered around for quite some time.
"Someone's coming," Sephiro whispered.
"Act natural," Kang Oh whispered back.
A short while later...
Two Kalmas appeared, their skulls rattling in the process.
"I heard that Aguta was killed," a Kalma covered in bearskin said.
"Good. I hated how he went around acting so high and mighty all the time. Kuku," the other Kalma replied, his face resembling a rat.
"True. I'm glad he's dead. That means one of the Team Leader positions is vacant."
"Keep dreaming. That's my spot."
"Heh. Yeah, right."
"You son of a bitch!"
The two Kalmas ignored them as they passed by.
"Hoo." Once they were completely gone, Sephiro sighed in a relief.
They had no reason to stop here. Kang Oh and Sephiro kept going.
Much time had passed. However, they had nothing to show for it.
"We keep going around in circles." Kang Oh scowled.
He was familiar with the tunnel by now. It was only natural. After all, he'd gone through it several times already.
"Indeed. Have we gotten caught in a trap?" Sephiro furrowed his brow.
"Mm. Let's change our approach."
Mindlessly walking through the tunnels wasn't going to work.
"We have to follow a Kalma."
"Won't we be discovered?"
"We follow them from afar. And if we're discovered... We can think about it then."
"I don't think there's any other option." Sephiro agreed.
The two actively searched for a Kalma. It didn't take long for Sephiro to sense one.
The Kalma was alone. He was holding a money pouch in one hand, and a compass in the other.
"Let's follow him."
Kang Oh and Sephiro began following him, staying a fair distance away from him as they did so.
The Kalma moved without stopping, but made sure to check his compass a few times along the way. He went through the right passageway, then the one on the ground, the right again, and then the one on the left wall...
"That compass," Sephiro whispered. "It must tell them where to go."
"Right? It's something we definitely need." Kang Oh nodded his head.
However, they couldn't kill him right away. This wasn't a good place to hide the body. And if they just left the body here, then the other Kalma could discover it and cause a huge ruckus.
At some point...
They heard a crowd.
"There are several people gathered over there," Sephiro whispered.
"Malak might be there."
Thus, they couldn't afford to just pass it by.
The Kalma's money pouch clinked as he made his way through the loud passageway. Kang and Sephiro followed him inside.
"I'll bet 200!"
"Hey, roll the dice!"
"Give me my card!"
It was a casino. Countless Kalma were gambling inside.
"Mm." Sephiro went pop-eyed. He hadn't imagined it to be a casino.
Kang Oh poked his side, seemingly telling him to 'get a grip'.
"Look for black skulls," Kang Oh said.
According to Cyndia, Malak wore a black skull necklace that was larger than any of the other's skull necklaces.
"But don't make it obvious that you're looking for someone."
The two began to look around the casino. However, they didn't find any Kalma wearing a black skull necklace.
"Should we wait until he shows up?"
"We can't do that. We have to leave here soon," Kang Oh said.
"It looks weird to come to a casino and not gamble."
Kang Oh had noticed that some of the Kalma were staring at him.
"Mr. Sephiro, please lose a couple rounds of whatever game you want. You can't win or cause a commotion. I'll try to get us a compass."
"Ok." Sephiro looked around, and then joined a dice game.
Kang Oh quickly scanned the room.
'That guy's a good target.' Kang Oh approached a Kalma, who was completely plastered and leaning against the wall.
"You lost all your money?" Kang Oh asked.
"Huh? Who're you?"
He was completely wasted; his face was flushed and he looked at Kang Oh with unfocused eyes.
"I'm not anyone important. What is important is that I have money." Kang Oh pulled out a fistful of gold coins from his breast pocket.
"Hehe, give me that!"
He sure lived up to his name as a scoundrel; he attempted to steal the gold from Kang Oh. Of course, there was no way it'd work.
"I lost that thing that leads me through the tunnels. If you want this gold, then you'll have to give me that in exchange."
"That thing that leads you through the tunnels? Aah, you're talking about a Chaser."
'A Chaser... As expected, it has a unique name.'
"Yeah, a Chaser."
"Hehe, I don't have it. I sold it at the pawnshop a long time ago. Hurry up and give me the money!" the Kalma said, his eyes still completely unfocused.
"How do you use a Chaser?"
"Haa? How do you use a Chaser? Are you an idiot? You just put it in your hand and choose your target, and it'll lead you in the right direction!"
"Ah, that's right."
Now that he'd gotten the information he wanted, Kang Oh threw him a few gold coins and headed for the pawnshop at the center of the casino.
"What do you want to sell?" a pudgy, intimidating man wearing Kalma clothes asked.
"I'm not here to sell anything. I came here to buy a Chaser," Kang Oh said impolitely.
As he went through the casino, he noticed that everyone here spoke familiarly with each other. Thus, being respectful here would actually look suspicious.
"Why, you don't have one?" Kang Oh said aggressively.
'I'm a scoundrel right now!'
"No, I have one."
"Then give it here."
"You rude bastard. It's 100 gold." The man pulled out a compass.
"What? 100 gold? Why the hell is it so expensive!?" Kang Oh said in a fit of rage. There's no way a true Kalma would accept that. Plus...
'It really is way too expensive!'
"Damn it. I was going to buy it and use the rest of my money to have some fun." Kang Oh maintained his poor attitude and pulled out 100 gold.
The pawnshop man quickly took the gold.
"Ugh." Kang Oh accepted the Chaser, which looked just like a compass, with a dissatisfied expression.
"I haven't seen your face before. You look like a newbie, so you must've lost your Chaser somewhere. Seriously, the new ones have a screw loose somewhere," the pawnshop man said spitefully.
"Mind your own business."
Following his perfect imitation of a Kalma, Kang Oh returned to Sephiro. Then, Sephiro signaled that he was out.
"Ugh, I'm already broke." Sephiro dusted off his hands and left the game.
"Did you get it?" Sephiro asked.
"Yes." Kang Oh nodded his head.
"Good work. Let's leave now."
Kang Oh and Sephiro then left the casino.
There was a Kalma that found them suspicious. Rondal, a man who wore demon-faced earrings, stood up and followed them.
* * *
A compass with a special ability. If you speak the name of your target, then the compass will take you to them. However, the Chaser can only be used within the ashen wasteland.
Kang Oh placed the compass on his palm. "Malak."
The compass's needle spun several times, and then pointed in a single direction.
Kang Oh and Sephiro looked at each other. They stiffly nodded their heads.
The Kalma's Leader, Malak. Kang Oh and Sephiro followed the compass in order to take him out.
However, sometime later, Kang Oh felt like something was off. His back felt strange; it was like someone was watching him! Hyper Intuition had activated.
'Someone's following us.' Kang Oh opened his message window and sent Sephiro a message.
- Someone's following us. Don't show any signs that we know he's there.
Sephiro read the message and briefly flinched, but soon began walking like nothing had happened. He then typed his own message back.
- What do we do?
- We act like Kalma and try to fool him. Back me up.
"Kiki, did you hear?" Kang Oh said.
"If it's not important, then just shut up," Sephiro replied.
Kang Oh planned on replaying the conversation he'd heard. Sephiro immediately knew what he was doing.
"Aguta's dead? Good. Kuku."
"True. That means one of the Team Leader positions is vacant," Kang Oh said.
"It has nothing to do with you. That's my spot," Sephiro said wickedly.
"You son of a bitch, that spot's mine!"
"Kuku, you should face reality."
"Why don't you!?"
'I guess they are one of us,' Rondal thought after listening in on their conversation. He was about to head back to the casino, but something felt off. 'Yeah. I can make sure if I ask what team they're on.'
Rondal showed himself and said, "Hey, you two!"
Kang Oh and Sephiro glanced at each other.
"What?" Kang Oh turned around and yelled.
"What team are you on!?"
They weren't part of a team, so they couldn't say anything.
"Hey, what team..."
Kang Oh rushed at him.Previous Chapter Next Chapter