Chapter 362. Vertical Cave

Kang Oh had been so busy dealing with the Mayanes that he hadn't had time for his main job as a Dungeon Hunter! There were still so many dungeons yet to be explored in the Goddess's Land and the Volcanic Region. 

'I have to get there before anyone else does!'

Kang Oh and Sephiro arrived at the eastern grasslands located in the Goddess's Land. Eder had some personal matters to deal with, so he wasn't able to join them. 

They traversed the grasslands on horseback. 

"Where are we going?" Sephiro asked.

"We're going all the way to the edge."

"The edge?"

"Yes. Apparently, there's a giant cave there that leads to a dungeon even more dangerous than the Saul Graveyard."

"Mm, will we really be ok without Mr. Eder?"

"That's precisely why we're going. We have a continue button if we die. He doesn't."

Of course, he had no intention of dying. He was confident that he wouldn't die, wherever he went.

"Ah."

"But you never know. Please keep a close eye on Waryong, so that it doesn't get hurt."

"Of course."

The grasslands were vast, so it took them 2 hours on horseback to reach their destination. The Goddess's Land was an underworld, so it was surrounded by walls and assumed a dome shape. 

Once they reached the very end, their progress was halted by a giant wall. Kang Oh saw a cave, but it was quite different than what he'd expected. 

"Can you really call this a cave?" Sephiro asked.

"It's more like a dark lake than a cave."

That's right. It wasn't a normal, horizontal cave, but a vertical one. Plus, it was large enough to be compared to a lake! 

Moreover, it was completely dark, so they couldn't tell how deep it was.

"That looks like the way down. Let's be careful." Kang Oh pointed at a dark, steep path.

Flash!

Sephiro activated a Magic Lamp, which he'd bought from the Tower.

"Go!" Sephiro stood in front, while Kang Oh and Waryong followed from behind. 

* * *

They hadn't gone down the steep path for long when all of a sudden… Several red eyes glowed from within the darkness. They also heard unusual flapping sounds.

Flap! Flap!

Sephiro pointed his Magic Lamp towards the glowing eyes.

The light revealed a cliff with 3 meter large bats hanging on either side. There were at least several hundreds of them. 

"Emperor Bats. They're blood-sucking bats that are the largest and most powerful of their species," Sephiro whispered, and weakened the Magic Lamp's intensity so that he didn't disturb them.

"What level are they?" Kang Oh asked.

"It depends on the size. They're between level 300 and 400. But with that many of them there, we should just quietly pass..."

Heedless of his warning, Kang Oh threw a Fire Bomb at the cliff. It all happened so suddenly that Sephiro wasn't able to stop him. 

Roar!

The fire spread, and the Emperor Bats simultaneously flew away. They then began to hover above Kang Oh and Sephiro's heads.

"Ah, why did you do that!?" Sephiro said hatefully.

"You don't think we can beat them?"

"Look at how many of them there are. For just the two of us, it's..."

"Too easy?" Kang Oh grinned.

"Too hard, you idiot!" Sephiro said. 

Biii! Biii!

The Emperor Bats shrieked sharply, and flew towards them! Their shrieks were akin to an improperly blown whistle.

Sephiro set the Magic Lamp's light to maximum, quickly threw it away, and pulled out an arrow. He notched three arrows simultaneously and let them fly.

Whizz! Whizz! Whizz!

The arrows struck three of them, causing them to stagger in the air, but there were so many of them that it didn't even make a dent.

"Waryong!"

Gyaa!

The red wyvern, Waryong, unleashed mighty flames towards the sky. The bats that'd been aiming for Sephiro flew away, evading the flames.

In that time, Sephiro shot another three arrows. He barely even aimed, focusing entirely on speed over precision. There were so many bats in the air that just firing an arrow in their general vicinity would hit one of them.

With Blood in hand, Kang Oh transformed into the Red Demon. 

Fresh Blood Wave!

Bii! Bii! Bii!

Those unaffected by the Fresh Blood Wave swarmed him all at once.

Red Butterfly's Dance!

Kang Oh walked through the viciously attacking bats, and swung his sword with both speed and precision. In an instant, he'd maxed out his stacks! He had accumulated 15 stars in no time at all. 

"Tasha!" Kang Oh said. 

"What?"

"Take me to the most heavily populated area."

"It'll be dangerous."

"Don't worry. I'm a bomb."

The Emperor Bats had to be worried about their safety, not him.

"Got it."

Kang Oh's wings forcefully flapped, raising him into the air. He was like a flare being shot in the darkness.

There were bats in front of him. No, it would be more correct to say that they were everywhere. His ears stung from their noisy shrieks.

"Shut up!" Before they could bite him, Kang Oh exploded with scarlet energy.

Blood Bomb!

Boom!

Dozens of Emperor Bats were caught in the explosion and fell to the floor. However, there were still so many bats left.

Kang Oh elegantly swung his sword wherever Tasha flew him to. He didn't forget to throw some Blood Spears too.

His Red Demon form only allowed him to fly for 2 minutes! Despite that, more than twenty Emperor Bats had taken significant damage and were shaking by the time he landed.

Kang Oh threw Fire Bombs everywhere too. 

Roar!

They unleashed fire more potent than Waryong's, frightening the bats and forcing them to fly into the air.

'Just as planned.'

He'd used a Fire Bomb to round up the Emperor Bats. It seemed like he was haphazardly throwing them, but he was actually gathering them up in one single spot!

'You gotta bunch them up!'

Crackle!

A powerful electric blast shot out of Demon Sword Blood.

Lightning Breath!

The red lightning blast sliced through the black cloud of bats.

Crackle! Crackle!

There were sparks everywhere, and several Emperor Bats fell into the unknown abyss below. However, that wasn't the end of it; Sephiro followed it up with a Buster Shot. 

Whizz, whizz, whizz!

Arrows rained down on the bats, and the bats dropped like flies. Kang Oh and Sephiro had completely slaughtered them! 

Though it seemed like they'd killed a ton, there were still several of them left.

"See? There are too many of them!" Sephiro said weakly.

"Attack!" Kang Oh yelled. The more monsters, the better.

The two had differing opinions on the matter. Nonetheless, they both crazily fought against the bats.

In the end, they managed to kill all of them. 


[You have killed more than 400 Emperor Bats at once.]

[Fame has increased slightly.]


Indeed, the two had managed to kill more than 400 Emperor Bats. 

"Hoo." Kang Oh examined the system messages that he'd been too busy to look at.


[You have leveled up.]


Killing more than 400 Emperor Bats has to be worth a level up! 

'Now I'm level 390.'

Level 390.

He wasn't far from level 400. Through First Hunter and the goddess's quest, Kang Oh had faced off against powerful monsters, allowing him to level up quickly.

Moreover, Kang Oh wasn't the only one close to his goal. 


[Demon Sword Blood has leveled up.]

[Demon Sword Blood is level 29.]


He'd deliberately used Blood instead of Ubist, even though Ubist's abilities were far superior. However, he was rewarded for his efforts.

'I wonder what its next ability will be.'

He was excited to see what Blood's new ability would be when it hit level 30.

'Well, I can be excited later. First comes hunting!'

"Let's move."

"Yes."

Kang Oh and Sephiro went deeper into the abyss.

* * *

The vertical cave was extremely deep. In building terms, it was as if it had 20 underground floors. It wasn't a cave that could be fully explored in a single day.

Kang Oh, Sephiro, and Eder, who joined in later, took three days to fully explore the cave.

There were dangers incomparable to the Emperor Bats that lived near the entrance. They encountered four-armed mutant ogres, Minotaurs, and various other monsters.

They also encountered a group of Devil Dogs, which spewed sulfur and hydrochloric acid, giant monster bugs that seemed like a fusion between cockroaches and grasshoppers, centipedes with blades for legs, etc. 

The centipedes were especially tough, as they were all named monsters and were almost level 600. They were definitely the strongest monsters here.

However, they weren't impossible to defeat, so Kang Oh's party managed to reach the end of the cave.

"It's a door," Eder said. The Magic Lamp's light shined on the door. 

"This must be the dungeon that's at the end of the cave. It's supposedly more dangerous than the Saul Graveyard, which is teeming with powerful undead," Kang Oh said, his eyes gleaming. The more dangerous the dungeon, the better. After all, a higher difficulty meant better rewards.

"I'm opening it!" Kang Oh forcefully opened the door.

Screech.

The door 'screeched', as if it hadn't been opened in a long time, and the inside smelled like old dust.


[You are the first to discover ???.]


"Question marks?" Kang Oh saw the system message and tilted his head. This was the first time the game hadn't told him the dungeon's name. Thus, it felt like this place was more special, and more dangerous than any normal dungeon.

Kang Oh's heart pounded with excitement as he walked forward.


[Entering ???.]


All they saw was darkness. However, yellow eyes glowed from within.


[You have seen an extremely potent Petrifying Gaze.]

[The petrification is quickly spreading, starting from your fingertips and toes.]

[Take action before you are fully petrified!]


'Why did it have to be a Petrifying Gaze!?' 

"Doctor Eder!" Kang Oh yelled. 

"I'll give us some light first. Light Sphere!" A sphere of light surged from his skull staff.

Sephiro raised his Magic Lamp into the air. They could clearly see their enemy now. 

It was...

'A Basilisk!'

It was a powerful monster that appeared in countless fantasy games!

At times, it was depicted as a lizard, and it was sometimes depicted as a snake too. One similarity, however, was that their eyes were usually dangerous. They would either kill you or turn you to stone.

These Basilisks were capable of turning them to stone. They were also more like snakes than lizards, as they possessed no legs, and their tongues darted in and out. They were so large that a fully grown anaconda looked small in comparison. 

It was both hideous and intimidating enough to be a Basilisk. Honestly, it could be called a boss too. Based on the records, it was at least level 600!

"Medicine!" Kang Oh saw his hand turn to stone and yelled.

"Eat this." Eder quickly pulled out medicine balls for all of them. Once they took the drug, the petrification process stopped, but it didn't cure their already existing symptoms.

"It'll take a few minutes before it completely deals with the petrification," Eder said.

"Will that guy leave us alone for that long?" Sephiro asked.

"No way!"

It was exactly as Kang Oh said.

Hiss, hiss!

It made an unpleasant noise as it approached. 

Kang Oh, Sephiro, Eder, and Waryong couldn't move properly, as their fingertips and toes were turned to stone.

"Stay alive until the drug works its magic," Kang Oh yelled.

"Don't look at its eyes. If you do, then you'll get petrified again," Eder yelled urgently.

"Ok..." Kang Oh was interrupted before he could finish. The Basilisk tried to gobble him up in a single bite.

Kang Oh threw himself out of the way.

Bam!

The Basilisk's mouth left a crater in the ground, as if a bomb had just gone off.

Hiss, hiss!

It aimed for Kang Oh again, its tongue darting in and out. The Basilisk moved with both speed and precision!

However, Kang Oh didn't just sit there. He pointed Blood at its open mouth.

Lightning Breath!

Crackle!

The electric blast went down the Basilisk's throat, which caused it to tingle. However, it only lasted a short time. Shortly after, it darted its tongue in and out like nothing had happened!

'Looks like its elemental resistance is really high.'

This was the first monster he'd seen that could get back on its feet so quickly after a Lightning Breath. However, there was an even bigger problem.

Hiss, hiss!

It wasn't just one Basilisk. There were six eyes that glowed in the darkness!

Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro had to fight three Basilisks, despite not being able to move properly. 

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Boko's Thoughts

Merry Christmas! I wish you all a wonderful holiday season! Please take care of yourselves, and I hope you all enjoy a moment of respite.