Chapter 28. Jungle Exploration

It had large feet and sharp claws, all of them gleaming like sharpened daggers. 

It swung its feet, a deadly weapon in their own right, fast as lighting.

Its target: Kang Oh!

If he was hit by that, then his body would be torn to shreds.

However, Kang Oh wasn't just anybody.

"Not a chance!"

He'd felt that same cold sensation in his chest!

Hyper Intuition had warned him, so he was able to respond accordingly.

Kang Oh swung his sword upwards.

Its front leg swiped from right to left, while Kang Oh's sword etched a line from bottom-up!

The two attacks were fated to meet.

Kang!

Blade and claws met and sparked. The force was so powerful that Kang Oh was pushed back.

Despite that, Kang Oh remained undeterred and readied his next attack.

Kureureung.

Then, the beast let out a deep roar and returned to the forest that it had come from.

"Hoo."

Kang Oh caught his breath as he watched it return to the forest.

It was only then that the once stupefied Eder regained his bearings.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah."

"If my eyes don't deceive me, then that was... a tiger, right?"

He’d hit the nail on the head. A tiger had ambushed Kang Oh. Of course, it wasn't any normal tiger.

"It's this jungle's master, Baramut. It's quite the smart one."

Given that is was three times the size of a normal tiger, its physical abilities had also become outrageous.

Not only did it have tremendous strength, but it was exceedingly quick and agile for its size. 

Despite all this, it had used its roar to disorient them and then went with an ambush.

It had chosen to do all that to them, even though they had just stepped foot into the jungle!

He didn't know how it knew they were coming, but it had chosen to attack them when one couldn't help but be careless.

Kang Oh was sure that this tiger was quite intelligent, and a stupendous hunter.

Furthermore, it had retreated once it realized that its ambush had failed, which meant it decision-making was first-class as well.

By combining all these factors together, he was sure that this was the strongest monster he'd fought in Arth thus far.

"It's quite the strong prey."

Kang Oh grinned.

It would be a tough foe.

But if he were to defeat such a powerful foe, he should receive a reward incomparable to Alishi's.

High risk, high reward!

"It seems incredibly strong.... How did it feel to you, after facing it yourself?"

Eder recalled Baramut's roar and despite being a ghost, he felt a chill.

"It's strong."

"Then how will you fight it?" Eder asked.

"If you want to beat a tiger, then you have to go into its den. First let's find the tiger's den," Kang Oh said as he stared off into the jungle.

"Explore the jungle... Argh, I suppose we have to peek our heads into the tiger's mouth."

The jungle was Baramut's domain.

They say that even mutts eat half of what's on their front yard, but a tiger on its hunting ground would be magnitudes more dangerous.

"So keep your guard up. If there's a repeat of last time, then you'll just become prey," Kang Oh said.

"If I get bit, I'll escape with my ghost form."

That was something Eder could trust. He was a ghost and his enemy was a tiger. In terms of affinity alone, he held the advantage.

"It isn't just any tiger; it's a boss monster. It'll definitely have some sort of special skill. If you let your guard down, you'll die," Kang Oh warned.

True, a ghost was impervious to physical attacks.

However, magic definitely worked on them, and they could be damaged by skills as well.

Thus, Eder couldn't afford to be reckless.

"I understand."

"When we enter the jungle, it can attack us at anytime, anywhere, so keep that in mind."

Considering the fact that Baramut had ambushed them at the entrance of the jungle, it stood to reason that it roamed around its domain however it pleased. 

Therefore, if they wandered through the jungle, it wasn’t without reason to assume that the tiger could attack them at any time and place it chose. 

Well, it wasn't all bad.

'Danger can be an opportunity too!'

When Baramut attacks, it's also a chance for them to get in an attack of their own.

"Are you ready?"

"Yes."

Kang Oh and Eder entered the jungle. It was time to start hunting the tiger in earnest.

* * *

"Can you make bone blades?" Kang Oh asked.

Kang Oh nodded his head at Eder.

Bone Blades was an incredibly basic level of bone magic, so it was obvious Eder could create them.

"Give me one."

"Why?"

"I want to cut through the brush."

The demon sword was a greatsword. It wasn't exactly the best tool to cut through the brush.

Eder brought his hands together and cast the spell with a dreary voice.

Swang!

He formed bones in his hands, and then instantly created a bone blade with a gentle curve.  

"Here you go."

Eder passed him the blade.

Kang Oh swung the bone blade a few times. It was light, but also tough enough.

"This'll work."

Kang Oh cut through the brush as the two of them continued on.

Of course, Kang Oh had tied his demon sword onto his back, so that he could access it at any time.

Tak! Tak! Tak!

Kang Oh forcefully swung the bone blade downwards, as if he were wielding a club instead. And by doing so, he was able to get through the tough brush.

But suddenly, giant wasps popped out of the ground.

Buzz.

Five wasps instantly surrounded Kang Oh and Eder.

One of the wasps, which was the size of his forearm, readied its sharp stinger, and flew towards Kang Oh.

And Kang Oh swung the bone blade at the wasp.

Swish.

Hyper Intuition had directed him towards its weak spot: those noisy, vibrating wings!

The bone blade struck true, hitting the wasp's wing. It was a critical hit, so red shards poured out of the wound.

However, he had struck with the bone blade, so he wasn't able to inflict much damage.

Buzzzz!

The wasp staggered momentarily, but then 'buzzed' even more violently and flew towards him once more.

Kang Oh dropped the bone blade and drew his demon sword.

'I hope it doesn't get caught.'

There was a chance that if he swung his sword too wide, then it could get caught in the trees or the thick brush.

So Kang Oh thrust straight forward.

The wasp flew straight at him!

While he lunged straight forward with his demon sword!

It was obvious that his demon sword would win out.

Pook!

The tip of his sword had pierced through the wasp.

Kang Oh pushed the wriggling bee to the ground.

Kwang!

Kwakwakwa!

The wasp was flung to the ground. At the same time, a barrage of earth shards struck the wasp.

And thus, the short-lived wasp met its end to Kang Oh.

Right after, two more wasps flew together towards Kang Oh.

Eder was already facing two wasps.

He was wielding a bone shield to protect himself against their stingers.

And had begun creating small bone shards.

2, 4, 6, 8...

The amount of bone shards gradually increased.

Once he had surpassed 20, he shot them all at once.

Pabababak!

The two hovering wasps were caught completely by surprise by the attack.

The bone shards not only shredded their bodies, but cut through the wings as well.

Their descent to the ground was accompanied by the presence of red shards.

Eder cast another spell, and he stretched out his hands towards the fallen wasps and gripped.

Bone Bind!

Bones sprouted around the crawling wasps, and pushed them back down.

That was the end for them.

Meanwhile, Kang Oh was finishing up with the other two wasps.

Kang Oh swung his sword and the wasps began to descend.

Kwak! Kwak!

He finished up by completely stamping on the fallen wasps.

"You're finished as well," Eder said.

Eder dispelled his bone shield and approached Kang Oh.

But then...!

"Above us!" Kang Oh urgently yelled, and rushed towards Eder.

"Ugh."

Upon Kang Oh's call, Eder looked up, astonished.

Baramut was descending from the tree above him. 

Right above his head!

Baramut's mouth was wide open.

Its teeth, which were attached to its bright pink gums, were certainly an effective deboning tool.

'Damn it! Eder will die at this rate!'

He was too late; Baramut was much too fast and he was too far away from Eder to reach him in time.

But he had to try something; as a last-ditch effort, Kang Oh threw the demon sword at Baramut.

Boong!

The massive sword pierced through the air and flew dangerously towards the tiger.

Baramut widened its eyes, as if it hadn't expected Kang Oh to throw his sword.

Its gaze alternated between the demon sword and Eder, and ultimately turned its body midair.

The demon sword came very close to hitting Baramut.

Instead of attacking Eder, it had decided to respond to the demon sword instead; by doing so, it was able to use its front legs to deflect the sword.

Kang!

The sword bounced off, and Baramut's trajectory changed.

Eder used that chance to duck.

Baramut's front legs passed where Eder's skull had once been, and Eder managed to stay safe by a hair's breadth. 

"Protect yourself!" Kang Oh yelled.

Eder crossed his arms in an X.

Bone Wall!

A wall of bone rose around him.

Keuhong!

Baramut landed on the ground, roared, and swiped at the bone wall.

The wall crumpled, but its strike wasn't strong enough to cause Eder to take any damage from it.

Kureureu.

Baramut growled deeply, and retreated back into the brush.

"Haa. Haa."

Eder gave a sigh of relief.

"Hey! Are you alright?"

Kang Oh looked him over.

"Yes, I'm fine," Eder said weakly.

"I told you not to let your guard down. You were about to die!" Kang Oh scowled and said. 

Now that he thought about it, it truly was a dizzying moment. If he had responded even a second slower, then Eder would be in pieces right now.

"I told you that I could escape by returning to my ghost form..." 

Eder made an excuse.

"And what if it didn't work?" Kang Oh questioned.

"..."

He had no excuse.

"I'm telling you this one more time. Do not let your guard down!" Kang Oh said strongly.

"I understand."

Eder stiffly nodded his head.

"And... thank you for saving me."

"Hoo, let's do a good job."

"Yes, sir!"

"Let's go."

"Yes, sir!"

Kang Oh and Eder began their trek through the jungle once more.

A short while later, a purple rattlesnake charged at Kang Oh.

It was more than 2 meters long, and a noisy sound resounded from its rattle.

"It was the same for Baramut and the wasps, but everything here is huge."

Kang Oh swung his demon sword and pushed the rattlesnake away.

"That's true!" Eder replied immediately, and prepared his bone magic.

Kya!

Having failed to bite Kang Oh, the rattlesnake spewed its venom, the sticky fluid coming for Kang Oh.

"I'll block it," Eder said and cast a spell.

A bone shield appeared before Kang Oh, protecting him from the venom.

Chiik!

It was highly toxic, which was evidenced by it burning through the bone shield.

Kang Oh kicked the melting bone shield away.

The flying shield struck the rattlesnake, and it wobbled from the impact.

Kang Oh dashed towards the snake and cut its head.

Swish.

Red shards poured out of its head, but it hadn't died yet.

The rattlesnake opened its mouth wide and counterattacked.

However, Eder had cast his Bone Bind spell.

Bones sprouted around the sides of its mouth and tightened around it. It tried to open its mouth somehow, but nothing worked.

Kang Oh thrust his sword several times at the muzzled rattlesnake.

Pook, pook, pook!

"The end."

And finally, Kang Oh raised his sword and pressed down hard.

Darkness Strike!

A black wave came out of the demon sword.

Kwajik!

The demon sword pierced through its body. At the same time, the jet-black wave dealt a serious blow.


[You have defeated a Purple Rattlesnake.]

[Stats have been stolen through Darkness Strike.]

[Physical +1]


He hadn't even asked him to do so, but Eder collected the junk items and presented them to him.

"Good work."

"It's nothing."

"Let's go!"

Tak! Tak!

Kang Oh continued to cut through the brush with the bone blade and press forward.

How much time had passed?

"There!"

Eder pointed somewhere.

And Baramut was there. However...! It wasn't alone. 

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