A Kaitan was a monster that wore a black helmet. An upright horn protruded from the helmet, much like a unicorn's horn. This is what Hoffman needed to create Kang Oh's new demon sword.
It was around level 450.
Kang Oh arrived at Vatican Canyon, where the monster was located.
In this area, players would have to face several high level monsters simultaneously. Thus, rankers would hunt in parties here.
However, Kang Oh entered the canyon by himself. True to Hoffman's request, Kang Oh obtained the demon sword's materials by himself and in person.
Then, a female player spoke to him. Four of her teammates stood beside her.
Kang Oh blankly stared at her.
"Did you come alone?"
Kang Oh nodded his head.
"Do you know what this place is!? The Vatican Canyon is a high level hunting ground. It's dangerous even if you go in with a group, so why are you going in alone! Turn around this instant and come back with a party."
Kang Oh's Hyper Intuition would warn him if someone was being malicious. However, he didn't sense anything from her.
'She's just being nosy.'
He didn't need to tolerate her meddling.
"I can take care of myself," Kang Oh said, and then entered the canyon.
He could hear her yell at him from behind, but he had no reason to stop and listen.
"It'll be dangerous..." the female player said, furrowing her brow.
"It's his decision whether he lives or dies. You tried your best," her companion said.
"Yeah." The female player nodded her head.
A man rushed over to her group. He was holding a sword and a shield.
"Ah, sorry. I'm a little late."
"Let's get going!"
The female player and her companions entered Vatican Canyon.
A short while later, they came to an area often infested with monsters. But when they got there, they widened their eyes and gaped.
Kaitans were giant monsters that wore horned helmets, while Grugrus possessed mouths that opened up like a blossoming flower! Then there were Lighthighs, which emitted blue lightning, and Death Tongues, which lashed out with their poison covered tongues!
A pile of monster corpses soared into the sky, consisting of the Vatican Canyon's high leveled monsters.
There was a single man standing atop the pile!
In one hand was a jet-black greatsword, and in the other, a snow-white blade. Darkness rose from the greatsword that rested on his shoulder, while the snow-white blade radiated scarlet light like the glow of the setting sun.
"That sword... I've seen it before." One of their party members pointed at the greatsword.
"That's right! That's Kang Oh's sword!"
"Predator Kang Oh!"
The female player, who'd told Kang Oh off, flushed. She actually warned Predator Kang Oh, one of the Numbers, to stay clear of the Vatican Canyon.
The girl instinctively covered her face. It felt like Kang Oh was looking down at her from above.
However, Kang Oh wasn't paying her or her companions any mind. He didn't even spare them a glance.
Kang Oh had gathered enough Kaitan's Horns, so he didn't need to be here anymore. He ripped a return scroll, and disappeared along with the silver powder.
"Ah, he left."
"This is my first time seeing one of the Numbers in person."
"Hoo, he killed all of these by himself? He's amazing."
"I wish I could've seen him in action."
"Yeah. This is all your fault for coming late."
The tardy man clasped his hands together. "I'm so sorry!"
* * *
A giant, hideous moth fell from the sky. Its wings were a beautiful array of various colors.
A leather shoe, which was covered in a red pattern, stomped on the monster moth.
[You have defeated an Amtari Swamp's Draxek.]
It was Kang Oh, wearing the armor that the Wyvern King, Draka, had dropped.
Kang Oh bent down, picking up the orange powder that it'd left behind, and placing it in a bottle.
[You have collected Draxek Powder.]
[You have collected all of the required materials for the quest, Sincerity Dedicated to Orgon. Return to Hoffman and give him the materials.]
"Phew, I'm finally done," Kang Oh said lightheartedly.
He was surrounded by Draxek corpses. It looked like he had killed more than a hundred of them.
Kang Oh placed the bottle filled with powder into his inventory, and left the Amtari Swamp. The Amtari Swamp was known for its disgusting odor, so he didn't want to stay a second longer.
He immediately traveled to the Black Hammer Dwarves' Hideout. From there, he went straight to the smithy, a place that was roaring hot, and where the clang of hammers pounding on metal could be heard.
"You came?" Hoffman stared at Kang Oh. His stubborn face sported a hard-hearted expression.
"I brought what you asked for." Kang Oh took out the Death Eagle's Eggs, the Draxek Powder, Kaitan's Horns, and Kalvaidum's Heart.
"Did you get them yourself?"
"Good work. Orgon will definitely recognize your efforts."
"I really hope so. Anyhow, are you going to start forging the demon sword now?"
Hoffman nodded his head. "I'll forge you a sword great enough to slay a dragon. That I promise you!" Hoffman said strongly.
"I'll kill Inarius with that sword."
'Sometime in the future! Just not now!'
"You must!" Hoffman's eyes flared with rage. 'Inarius! You took my wife and child! They were everything to me!'
Even eating Inarius's beating heart wouldn't be enough to soothe his rage.
"How long will it take?" Kang Oh asked.
"I don't know. I'll tell you when it's done through Mr. Man Bok."
"It won't take more than a month, will it?"
"I don't know."
It didn't seem like pestering him would make the process go any faster.
"I'm counting on you."
'Please make a sword that's just as good as the ones I own!'
"Please leave. And if possible, please don't come looking for me. I'm going to focus entirely on the demon sword."
Hoffman took a portion of the materials Kang Oh brought, and disappeared into the smithy.
'A new demon sword, huh...'
He wondered what it'd be like. Kang Oh was so excited to see what the result would be.
'Finish it quick!' Kang Oh clasped his hands together, and prayed before the smithy.
* * *
The Ecle Palace. Supposedly, the soul dungeon gave its owner a mysterious scroll, which increased the rank of a skill or spell.
Countless players and intermediate guilds had entered its hidden dungeon, 'The Steel Princess's Underground Labyrinth'. They were all determined to find the dungeon's final guardian/manager.
But it wasn't called an 'underground labyrinth' for nothing. The hidden dungeon was filled with countless traps, powerful monsters, and giant, complex roads.
Moreover, there was something even scarier than the labyrinth itself. People!
If a guild crossed paths with another guild or player, then they would immediately fight, no questions asked.
This was due to guilds and players that indiscriminately killed others in order to get a leg up on their competition. At first, some players avoided battle. But now, they attacked first, as they didn't want to be on the receiving end of things.
"You crazy bastards!"
Ultimately, more players were killed by other players than the labyrinth's traps and monsters.
The five intermediate guilds (Atrocity, Iron Mace, Lapis, etc.) that had first entered weren't much different. They were gradually worn down by the monsters, the traps, and the other guilds.
In spite of that, they didn't give up. They made their way through, overcoming any danger that came their way, and searched for the master of the labyrinth.
It's said that faith can move mountains. The Lapis Guild had finally found the dungeon's guardian deep within the labyrinth.
[You have discovered the Steel Princess, Amanda.]
Amanda was about 3 meters tall, and wore a helmet adorned with wings. She also wore red and silver armor, which was shaped like a skirt.
"I want to become the dungeon's master," the Lapis Guildmaster yelled.
"Then defeat me!"
Nine swords floated around her like satellites orbiting a planet.
"Attack!" Lapis's Guildmaster yelled, and his guild members rushed at Amanda.
Amanda's nine swords flew everywhere, and began slicing through Lapis's guild members.
"Get into formation! Don't panic!" The Lapis Guildmaster raised his voice, and cast a spell.
A sharp cone of ice shot out of his staff. At the same time, Lapis's guild members shot arrows and other spells at Amanda.
Amanda softly leapt into the air! Then, two swords appeared in her hands.
She landed right in the middle of their ranks, and spun.
Ecle Style Spinning Slash!
Her blades unleashed a shining red aura that rippled outwards.
Those close to her exploded with huge shards of light, and fell to the ground.
"Damn it. Heal them!"
"Tanks, what are you doing!?"
The Lapis guild members yelled.
However, screams wouldn't solve their problems. Amanda threw her two swords into the air.
Her nine blades rained down from above, quickly flying at them like wasps.
Stab! Stab! Stab! Bam! Whack!
Amanda's nine blades glowed with silver light, and took three of the guild members' lives.
Lapis bit his lip. It didn't look like there was any way they could beat Amanda.
Normally, the Lapis Guild wouldn't lose so easily. However, their journey here had been too perilous. Some of their guild members had died at the hands of other players, and their absence was keenly felt.
"We're retreating." Lapis had no choice but to order their retreat.
"Where do you think you're going!?"
People had appeared through their only retreat route. The man at the forefront wore a wolf's head on his head. This was Atrocity, the Atrocity Guild's guildmaster.
"We're retreating, so just let us pass. You really want to fight us before fighting the guardian?"
Lapis was being completely reasonable.
"Haha, we'll kill you and the guardian." Atrocity's eyes were red. It was the clear mark of a criminal.
"Even if you manage to kill us all, we'll come back and take revenge. Just let us pass," Lapis said coldly.
"Got it. We'll kill you and take all the items that you have." Atrocity's eyes gleamed.
"You crazy bastard."
"Hahaha." Atrocity laughed wickedly.
"Brothers, kill as many of those bastards as you can!"
The remaining Lapis guild members ignored Amanda, and charged at the Atrocity Guild.
"Block the passageway. Don't let a single one of them through," Atrocity said.
The Atrocity Guild rushed out of the tunnel and got into formation.
"Go for broke! Get through them!"
The surviving members of the Lapis Guild threw themselves at the Atrocity Guild.
"Die, you bastards!"
"You dirty bastards!"
"Injured animals get hunted."
The battle between the two guilds was absolutely one-sided.
There was no way the Lapis Guild could hope to match up to the Atrocity Guild. The Lapis Guild was already on the brink from trekking through the labyrinth and fighting Amanda. On the other hand, the Atrocity Guild was in relatively good shape.
Moreover, the Atrocity Guild had already assumed formation, and the Lapis Guild was charging into them. Not to mention the fact that Amanda had followed them, and was mercilessly cutting them down from behind.
"I'll at least take you with me!" Lapis gritted his teeth, and unleashed spell after spell at Atrocity.
However, Atrocity's mages blocked his spells with their own. Atrocity bounced forward like a spring and pierced Lapis's heart with his scimitar.
"Haha, smell you later!" Atrocity laughed.
"You bast..." Lapis died before he could complete his sentence.
Atrocity had twisted his scimitar around, causing Lapis's face to turn gray.
The fate of his guild members didn't differ from his own. They were all killed.
After killing Lapis, Atrocity quickly yelled, "Let's take care of that guardian now! You and you, pick up the items they left behind."
Now it was the Atrocity Guild's turn to fight Amanda.
A smooth, silver blade pierced through Atrocity's heart.
"Why... is it so strong!?" That was the last thing he said.
"You're not qualified," Amanda said, and slowly disappeared somewhere within the labyrinth.
Behind her lay the corpses of the Lapis and Atrocity Guilds.Previous Chapter Next Chapter