The Great Temple of Rakan.
Mahakan, Nazaran, Saru, Valan, and Burkan sat around a table that lay atop the marble floor.
"Lord Mahakan. How has the tracking gone?" Valan asked.
Due to his arrogant personality, there were very few people that Valan respected. However, one of them was Mahakan.
"We've lost contact with Krasler," Mahakan said.
Krasler was a renowned hunter, and was called the Tracking Master. He had been commissioned to help them find the Evil God Worshippers' headquarters.
However, they had lost contact with Krasler and those that had accompanied him.
"When did we lose contact?" Valan asked, furrowing his brow.
"After he sent word that he'd followed them to the Daltrak Region," Mahakan said.
The Daltrak Region was in between the central, western, and northern parts of Arth.
"Daltrak, huh..." Valan stroked his chin.
There was a vast coniferous forest, which only grew in cold environments, in the Daltrak Region.
The area had plenty of wood for furniture and wooden buildings, so plenty of logging businesses operated there.
There was a medium-sized city there, and more than twenty small cities. It was nothing compared to the central region's large cities, but plenty of people lived there.
"Do you think they're hidden somewhere in Daltrak?" Burkan asked.
"Daltrak is a big place. There are plenty of dense forests and quarries there too. It'd be a good place for a hideout," Valan said.
"It sounds like a place worthy of investigation," Burkan replied.
"Do you want to go?"
"Hoo. I probably should. If the Evil God Worshippers really are there, then you'll need a certain level of skill to come back alive." Burkan sighed.
Burkan didn't want to leave Altein. He still needed to marry his girlfriend, and start a family with her.
Honestly, he didn't want to do something so dangerous. However, there was no one else that could assume the responsibility.
Valan couldn't afford to go. He couldn't leave the Great Temple of Rakan due to the looming threat of Grandmaster Sraka.
What would happen if Valan wasn't here, and the Evil God Worshippers and Sraka attacked? Who would stop him?
It was more important to safeguard the sacred treasure than to find the Evil God Worshippers' hideout.
"You could bring Kang Oh along," Valan said.
Burkan shook his head. Kang Oh was at a delicate stage right now. After all, becoming a Master was no easy feat.
"I'll bring Dion and the 100 Fighters."
After they'd repelled the monster army in the Phamas Mountains, the 100 Fighters had been roaming the continent, doing jobs here and there.
"Hmm, they're certainly trustworthy. But be sure to disguise yourself and hide your true identity. Divide up into groups of three or four, and move with caution."
"Remember, be careful. The Evil God Worshippers aren't to be underestimated," Valan said, overly concerned about Burkan's welfare.
"Yes." Burkan nodded his head.
Then, Saru raised his hand. "Lord Burkan."
"What is it?"
"I'd like to come with you," Saru said strongly.
"No," Burkan said flat out.
"I know my skills are lacking. However, I'd like to do what I can to bring peace to the continent and its people." Saru stared at Burkan with his bright eyes.
"I'll go too." Nazaran butted in. His reason for volunteering was different from Saru's.
He wanted to prove himself, and this was an opportunity for him to do just that.
"Neither of you can go. It's not because of your skill, but because you're the future of the Rakan Church," Burkan said firmly.
One of the two would succeed Mahakan and become the leader of the Rakan Church. There's no way he could bring them to a place that may be incredibly dangerous.
This was his belief as one of Rakan's followers.
"You're not good enough yet," Mahakan said.
"But Master!" Saru's body twitched. 'I know I'm not good enough but still...!'
"Enough. Saru, this isn't something you can handle," Mahakan said firmly.
"Nazaran, you can't go either."
"As you wish." Nazaran bowed his head. Since his half-brother had accepted their Master's command, Saru had no choice but to bow his head too.
"I'm counting on you," Mahakan said.
"Leave it to me." Burkan grinned and raised his fist. "Saru, Nazaran. Trust in me and sit tight. I promise to bring you along when it's time to strike," Burkan said.
Thus, it was decided that Burkan and the 100 Fighters would search for the Evil God Worshippers' hideout.
Mahakan turned the topic of conversation.
"Starting tomorrow, the other churches' paladins and priests will be staying here. I told them about the Evil God Worshippers, and they all agreed to aid us without question."
Now, the Rakan Church need not deal with the Evil God Worshippers alone. Their guests would call reinforcements if they needed it.
"The Evil God Worshippers are the enemies of all who live," Valan said.
They believed that the Evil God, Jaila, was the one true god. According to them, the other gods were false gods.
In the past, they'd gone so far as to wage war with all of the other religions.
"I keep tabs on the sacred treasure three times a day. Even if someone infiltrates the temple, they won't be able to get past me."
"That's reassuring to hear, Lord Mahakan." Burkan gave him a thumbs up.
After that, they chatted about simpler matters and then ended the conference.
Valan and Burkan left first, and Mahakan let his disciples go.
Once he left, Nazaran heard Mahakan's voice whisper in his ear.
"You really are my successor, Saru."
Nazaran turned around. He saw Mahakan sitting in his chair, his eyes closed, and quietly offering a prayer to Rakan.
'Did I hear wrong, Master?' Nazaran gave Mahakan a piercing gaze.
"What's wrong, Brother?" Saru tilted his head and stared at Nazaran.
He looked at Saru and boiled with rage. However, he tried his best to hide it.
"Are you really ok, Brother?" Saru said concernedly, as he saw how stiff Nazaran's face looked.
"I said it's nothing." Nazaran's voice sounded slightly annoyed.
He then passed right by Saru.
Nazaran kept hearing 'You really are my successor, Saru.' over and over again.
He shook his head. "No, there's no way Master actually said that. No way."
However, there was a small part of him that thought, 'But what if it's true? What if he truly believes that Saru is his successor?'.
He couldn't get that thought out of his head, and his jealousy and anger towards Saru wouldn't go away.
It was like the small embers of a cigarette stub that eventually caused a giant forest fire.
* * *
This was the Shadow World, a place devoid of all color besides black and white.
Scapi trembled as she kowtowed before Red.
Shion stood beside her while clenching his teeth.
"You came back empty-handed," Red said, sitting on a black and white skeleton throne.
This time, however, he wasn't wearing a smile mask; he was wearing a mask with an angry expression painted onto it, and his voice was as cold as the winter wind.
"Please! Just give me another chance!" Scapi yelled desperately, and slammed her head onto the ground.
Shion merely scowled at her actions, but he didn't do or say anything in particular.
"Do you have anything to say?" Red asked.
"I only failed because the others were idiots. It's not my fault. And as I said when I first joined, I'm not one of your subordinates. I'm just temporarily working with you," Shion held his head up high and said.
Red stretched out his hand towards him.
All of a sudden, shadowy lines popped out of the ground and wrapped around Shion's body.
Red had the power to freely control the shadows as he pleased. Shadows had no substance, so giving them force was a piece of cake.
Moreover, his power was amplified in the Shadow World.
"Ugh! What the hell are you doing!?" Shion yelled.
"I'm teaching you who the master is, and who the dog that's about to be punished is," Red said coldly.
"You crazy bastard."
Shion's body glowed with light. However, everything was expressed in shades of black and white here, like a manga.
Shion, who'd used his magic to free himself from the shadows, bombarded Red with spells.
Mother Nature's Fury!
Crow Bringing Misfortune!
A colorless, lightning-like energy shot out of his staff, and a monster crow popped out of his offhand.
Red softly flicked a finger.
Shadow beasts endlessly appeared within the room.
A shadow beast appeared in front of Red, shielding him from Shion's blast, and then returned to its original state.
Shion realized that he was at a disadvantage, so he quickly pulled out a return scroll and ripped it.
[You cannot return from here.]
He'd tested it just a little while ago and it worked, so what gives?
"This place is like my stomach. I can just prevent you from returning."
Shion gritted his teeth. "Damn it."
"Eat him." Red pointed a finger at Shion.
"I won't go down without a fight! I'm Setinel's Sage, Shion!"
Shion used everything in his arsenal. However, he wasn't even able to touch Red.
'Red is invincible in the Shadow World. Even Dukeram can't win against him in this world.'
He remembered hearing that from one of the Four Heavenly Kings.
'Was it Taboo or Brutal Blade?'
It didn't matter who said it. All that matters was that it was true.
The Worst Criminal, Red!
The Ruler of the Shadow World!
Shion's body was completely devoured by the shadows. He was definitely dead, as he'd dropped an item on the way out.
"How do you want to die?" Red asked. Scapi was dead silent, and was still kneeling before him.
"Please just give me another chance!"
Red slowly pointed his finger at her.
The remaining shadow beasts snarled and licked their lips.
"Eat her!" he ordered.
The shadow beasts rushed at her.
"I'm still useful. I have the Altago's Ring and Kang Oh's equipment. I can keep tracking his location! So please forgive me!" Scapi yelled desperately.
Honestly, death wasn't the issue here; getting exiled from the Shadow World was.
"Let her live," Red said, and the shadow beasts dispersed. "Fine. I'll give you one last chance." Red's voice returned to normal. Scapi felt relieved at that.
"I'll do whatever you ask of me," she quickly said.
"Kang Oh. Bring him here, right in front of me."
"Taboo, Brutal Blade, and Shion have been exiled from the Shadow World. Now you're Red Moon's #2."
Scapi quickly walked backwards and left.
"Kang Oh, Kang Oh, Kang Oh." Red tapped his throne, and kept humming Kang Oh's name.
* * *
Jae Woo called GBS Producer, Park Jin Cheol.
He heard Jin Cheol's familiar voice on the other end.
"It's me. Jae Woo."
"Oh, Mr. Jae Woo! How have you been?"
"I've been busy. Anyhow, I've emailed you a clip. Please watch it, and message me back if you have any interest in buying it."
The one-sided exchange must've made him uncomfortable.
"I'm really busy, so I don't have time to meet with you, Mr. Jin Cheol. Please watch it and name your price. Just a heads up, I've emailed the footage to TGN's Hye Rim too."
"What kind of clip is it?"
"A clip of me annihilating Red Moon. Please watch it for the details."
"Red Moon? Understood!"
It was widespread news that Kang Oh had not only caught Clown, but Taboo and Brutal Blade as well. After all, countless people in Altein had seen him and Sephiro drag Brutal Blade, Taboo, and Yaksha's bodies to the Security Bureau.
Jae Woo's footage probably showed the fight that happened before that.
"I'm busy, so I'll be hanging up now."
Jae Woo hung up, and called Hye Rim next. However, she didn't pick up.
He sent her a message, relaying the same information that he'd told Jin Cheol, and then laid into his capsule and logged into Arth.
"You're here." Sephiro was already waiting for him.
It was time to hunt the Tuslam, an ancient tribe renowned for their combat prowess!Previous Chapter Next Chapter