The Shadow World was connected to various places across the continent. It was even connected to the Great Forest's central region, which was widely considered one of Arth's most dangerous zones.
Agrashi trees were said to grow indefinitely. It would take more than ten people to surround one, and it was from the giant hole in this tree that Red Moon's Four Heavenly Kings and their subordinates appeared.
The Poison Scorpion and her brigade specialized in handling poison, while the Killing Ghost and his brigade specialized in the physical act of killing. Tiger Taboo's brigade, Tiger King, consisted of bandits that he'd recruited. Lastly, Shion's Madman Squad, which he'd inherited from Clown, specialized in setting up traps.
Scapi checked the Altago Ring.
Its eye was pointed in a certain direction. That could only mean one thing: it was leading her towards her target!
"Come this way," Scapi yelled, pointing in the direction of the eye's gaze.
Their troops moved through the forest.
However, the Four Heavenly Kings had overlooked something. This was the Great Forest's central region, one of Arth's most dangerous locations!
"Guahk!" A cry suddenly rang out.
A leech arrow had struck a Madman Squad member's neck.
The leech burrowed into the squad member's neck, causing them to fall to the floor and writhe in pain.
Whizz! Whizz! Whizz! Whizz!
Several leech arrows came flying at them.
"Kill the archers."
"Get a move on!"
After killing the Calabros, Red Moon got back on track.
However, the Calabros were just the beginning.
Next, they encountered a Maucrocker, a monster crocodile that was almost 5 meters in size! It was a hunter with perfect camouflage.
Red Moon's troops walked over the Maucrockers, which were disguised as the dirt floor.
The result was gruesome.
The Maucrockers undid their camouflage, and began eating the criminals four or five at a time.
"Don't panic. Attack!"
"You idiots. What the hell are you doing!?"
The Four Heavenly Kings avoided the Maucrockers' teeth, and leapt into the air.
Brutal Blade swung his katana.
His last katana had been taken by Kang Oh, so he'd bought a new one. This katana, however, was slightly better than the one he'd used previously.
"Huahp!" Taboo's weapon of a choice was a giant mace. He slammed his mace into a Maucrocker's head.
Meanwhile, Shion transformed a nearby Agrashi tree into a plant monster and controlled it. The plant monster's roots pierced through the ground, and wrapped around the Maucrockers.
Scapi unleashed a lethal poison cloud.
In spite of the Four Heavenly Kings' best efforts, countless members of their respective squads were ripped apart or crushed by the Maucrockers.
By the time they finished off the last Maucrocker, 50 people had already died.
Although the Tiger King Squad had incurred the most casualties, Taboo cursed up a storm and went crazy. Incurring the most casualties gave him the feeling that his subordinates were the weakest of the bunch.
"Hoo, we underestimated the Great Forest's central region." Brutal Blade sighed.
"No, we didn't take it into account at all. We were only focused on Kang Oh," Scapi said.
"Should we go back and prepare some more?" Brutal Blade asked.
"That's not an option!" Shion yelled. He thirsted for vengeance.
"Shion, calm down and think about this calmly..."
Scapi interrupted him. "We can't go back. We already told Red that we'd kill Kang Oh. If we return with our tails between our legs, then..."
"Mm." Taboo bit his lip. The scariest person in the world was also someone they couldn't figure out at all.
They didn't know what he'd do. That was Red's personality.
"Hoo, we don't have a choice." Brutal Blade sighed once more.
"We may not have a choice in the matter, but we do have a way out."
"Which is?" Taboo asked.
Scapi stared at him as if he were hopeless. 'You can't even figure that out?'
"You not interested in seeing anymore? I can help you with that." Taboo curved his index and middle fingers, pointed them at Scapi's eyes, and snarled.
"Do us all a favor and put someone else's brain in your head. Anyhow, everything is resolved if we kill Kang Oh, you idiot!"
"What are you doing!? We have to catch him ASAP." Taboo rested his mace on his shoulder and strode forward.
At that moment...
Bzzzz! Bzzz! Bzzz!
A swarm of wasps attacked them. They were one of the scariest monsters here, Killer Wasps!
Killer Wasps were strictly carnivores, and loved soft, delicate human flesh the most!
"Deal with them!"
The sound of the wasps' wings, as well as people's screams, curses, and cries of pain continuously rang out.
* * *
The Four Heavenly Kings' troops weren't in good shape. They had lost almost half of them too.
It was only natural.
They had been fighting the swarm of wasps when 100 Calabros showed up and shot leech arrows at them.
A short while later, they encountered five Giant Krugers too, which began devouring Red Moon's troops; these were the upgraded version of Krugers, the Tyrants of the Great Forest.
That wasn't all. They encountered all sorts of monsters that resided within the central region. It was as if it were a party!
This was a disaster brought upon by the Four Heavenly Kings' incompetence.
Why didn't the large guilds explore the Great Forest's central region?
It was because the central region had a special feature; the more people you brought along with you, the more monsters you would encounter.
Thus, exploring the central region was only possible with a small handful of elites.
However, that didn't negate the danger to the elites either. After all, the central region was brimming with dangerous monsters.
Moreover, the area was huge, so it could take that small handful of elites several months to fully explore the central region.
Of course, the members of that small group had to at least be middle rankers.
If you didn't have a clear cut goal or accurate information like Sephiro, then you wouldn't be able to enter the central region.
That was the Great Forest's central region in a nutshell.
However, Red Moon's executives had foolishly brought a ton of troops with them. It was as if they had deliberately opened the gates of hell.
Shion was the dumbest of the lot. He should've known how dangerous the central region was, as he was once the leader of the Hercules Guild.
However, he was so caught up in revenge that he had forgotten to warn them. If he had, they wouldn't have gone on this expedition in the first place.
Anyhow, the Four Heavenly Kings and their subordinates were able to repel the Killer Wasps, the Calabros, the Giant Krugers, and the other beasts that came their way.
How, you might ask?
They had used their trump cards, the ones they'd prepared to use against Kang Oh.
Shion and the Madman Squad had prepared an autonomous metal puppet.
Of course, it was no ordinary puppet. It was an assassination puppet, which contained a total of eighteen traps within it!
It was one of Clown's inventions, but Shion had inherited and completed it.
This assassination puppet was extremely proficient in the art of killing. It was only natural. It was basically a walking trap!
The Madman Squad could also make use of this puppet to set up traps anywhere, regardless of the terrain.
Thus far, Shion had been able to create 30 assassination puppets in total!
However, he had lost 18 of them in battle. Five of them were damaged too. Ultimately, he only had seven left that were in working condition.
Brutal Blade's Killing Ghost Squad had prepared a formation called Killing Ghost Hell. If caught in this surround, then he was sure that even Kang Oh wouldn't be able to escape.
However, he needed a certain number of troops in order to use this formation, but so many of them had been killed. Thus, he wouldn't be able to execute a proper Killing Ghost Hell anymore.
They could probably manage one, but it'd be filled with holes; the complete opposite of what he'd intended.
Taboo and the Tiger King Squad had brought some mana bombs, which had been created by Magic Engineers.
They originally belonged to the Tower, but Taboo and his subordinates had stolen them.
Apparently, the Tower's Battle Mages were searching high and low for them!
As weapons created by the Tower, they possessed extreme destructive power.
However, they didn't have that many in the first place. Plus, this battle had forced them to use most of what they had in stock.
The assassination puppets, the Killing Ghost Hell, and the mana bombs were nigh unusable! Fortunately, Scapi hadn't used her trump card yet.
They were all formidable trump cards.
However, they had been forced to use them against the Great Forest's monsters, so the Four Heavenly Kings sported unpleasant expressions.
"What do we do now?" Even Taboo, the most stubborn of the lot, had lost hope.
"We have to retreat," Brutal Blade said angrily. Kang Oh wasn't the issue here. At this rate, Red would kill them and their troops before they even reached Kang Oh.
'To think that the central region was this dangerous.'
Just hearing the words 'Great Forest' sent a shiver down his spine.
"We don't have a second chance! So we have to find Kang Oh and kill him no matter what!" Shion yelled.
After all, if they went back now, they'd be punished by Red. Or perhaps they'd get exiled.
If that's the case, then they had to at least get a look at Kang Oh's face before leaving.
'Who knows? We might be able to kill him. No, I'll kill him no matter what!'
Shion, who was obsessed with revenge, was incapable of making a rational decision.
"Retreat. We have no chance," Scapi said weakly. 'To think we'd be put in this state before we even found Kang Oh!'
"Scapi, we still have your trump card left. We can use that to kill him!" Shion desperately yelled.
"It might work if Kang Oh were to show up right this instant. However, do you really think we'll be able to find him? What if a pack of monsters shows up along the way?" Scapi stared at Shion and yelled bitingly.
"We'll see. We might find him faster than you think," Shion said unreasonably.
At that moment...
A man popped out of the brush.
It was Kang Oh!
* * *
Waryong was the one who'd discovered the presence of the Four Heavenly Kings and their troops.
After all, it was a wyvern. Wyverns had a keen sense of smell, and were capable of smelling prey from dozens of kilometers away!
Waryong was no different.
It smelled a familiar, unpleasant smell through the wind.
This was the smell of the Killing Ghost Squad, which had almost managed to kill it and Sephiro in the past.
'They're here!' Waryong immediately came over, and gave Sephiro a signal.
Their communication wasn't perfect, but Sephiro was capable of feeling Waryong's emotions. Waryong sent feelings of anger, fear, and vengeance to him. Plus, Waryong was capable of sending him fragmented images.
'This is the Killing Ghost Squad. If that's the case, then... Is it Red Moon?'
"Mr. Kang Oh," Sephiro said.
"Please stop for a minute."
"Alright, sure." Kang Oh, who saw how serious he looked, pulled on the Yuma's reins. His Yuma wailed and then stopped. "What's the matter?"
"Red Moon is here."
"Red Moon? How do you know that?"
"Waryong told me. As you know, wyverns possess a keen sense of smell. Waryong must've memorized the scent of the Killing Ghost Squad."
"I'm not sure whether it's just the Killing Ghost Squad, or all of them like last time. What do you want to do?" Sephiro asked.
"Hmm. Red Moon wouldn't have come here to hunt," Kang Oh said.
"They specialize in hunting people, not monsters. As you can see, there are no people here."
"Besides us, you mean," Kang Oh said.
"Yes. So it's safe to say that they're aiming for us."
"Then we have to find them first. Can Waryong follow their scent?"
Waryong sniffed the air like a dog, and then turned its head in a certain direction.
"Let's approach them quietly."
Kang Oh and Sephiro disembarked from their Yumas, and began walking on foot.
How much time had passed?
Kang Oh and Sephiro heard screams, cries, and curses.
They slowly approached the source of the noise, and came to a battle between Red Moon and the Great Forest's monsters.
"Tch, those idiots! They actually brought a huge number of troops into the Great Forest's central region. They must be crazy." Sephiro clicked his tongue.
"You're right about that." Kang Oh nodded his head. 'They say there's no medicine that can cure stupid!'
"What will we do now?"
"What else? We wait. Until the food's ready." Kang Oh grinned.
They would wait until Red Moon was tired, exhausted, and riddled with wounds!
Then, they would swoop in and finish them off. What appetizing prey!
'Killing Ghost, Brutal Blade, Poison Scorpion, Scapi, Tiger Taboo, and is that Shion? I'll take you all to the bureau and cash in on your bounty.'
Red Moon managed to kill all of the monsters. However, they were riddled with wounds.
It appeared like they were contemplating retreat.
'Aah, we can't have that, now can we?' Kang Oh suddenly stood up and pushed through the brush.
"Mr. Kang Oh!" Sephiro said.
"I'm counting on you to cover my back!" Kang Oh waved.
A short while later...
Kang Oh smiled at the Four Heavenly Kings and said, "Hi."
'I'm here to collect your bounties!'Previous Chapter Next Chapter