In the early days of Arth, many players came to the underground arena, seeking to complete a unique quest with no level restriction.
To put it into perspective, it was like people that were going home from work, riding the subway no.9 on a rainy evening.
In other words, it was packed!
However, there weren't that many people here.
'It's only natural. There's no way to beat it.'
The Fight Against 100 Men was far too difficult, so no one had ever cleared it.
Even the rankers that occasionally appeared on TV had all failed too.
Even the rankers (top 10000 players), who occasionally appeared on TV, had all failed.
"If you manage to clear this quest, then I’ll give you whatever you want!" Sephiro had yelled after failing the quest.
He was a famous ranker, nicknamed the Wind Archer.
"I'll ask you one last time. Challenger, will you attempt the Fight Against 100 Men? You only have one shot," Burkan said.
The Fight Against 100 Men!
The quest with a 0% chance of success.
The challenger's skills and items were sealed, and their stats were fixed at 10 a piece.
Not only that, but the player was blinded.
It was a cruel quest that imposed harsh limitations on the player, while forcing them to simultaneously fight 100 gladiators!
Plus, it was a single, blind challenger versus 100 sighted gladiators.
Finally, a player could only attempt the Fight Against 100 Men once.
With such high difficulty, the Fight Against 100 Men was nigh-impossible to clear.
To make matters worse, Kang Oh was only level 1. Attempting it was obviously unthinkable.
However, Kang Oh didn't think he was being foolish.
'Now's when I have the best chance!'
He'd learned that the gladiators' strength depends on the player's level.
This was solid information, as this came from a player who'd deleted their character and had re-attempted the Fight Against 100 Men.
If he fought now, while he's still level 1, then the gladiators would be at their weakest.
He'd also learned that when they were at their weakest, the gladiators would go down in a single hit.
Thus, this was the best time for Kang Oh, who possessed Hyper Intuition, to complete this quest.
"Yes, I will!" Kang Oh shouted.
"Alright. Place your hand on the snake's head. When you do, then the contract will be complete and the doors will open. The challenge will then begin."
Kang Oh stepped in front of the iron gate.
There was an amphisbaena, or a two-headed snake, carved on top of it.
'The carving almost looks real.'
The amphisbaena was the symbol of the Goddess of Contracts. She was the goddess that the game's merchants believed in.
It was said that the amphisbaena would bite the contractee, and if they broke the contract, the two-headed snake's venom would kill them.
Thus, getting bitten by the snake meant one was willing to lay down their life to fulfill their end of the contract.
'It won't really bite me, will it?'
Kang Oh carefully placed his hand on the snake's head.
[Beginning the Fight Against 100 Men.]
The heavy iron gate screeched as it scraped against the ground.
Burkan pushed Kang Oh's back.
[Please select the item that you will use in the Fight Against 100 Men.]
There was a chest containing a variety of weapons in front of him.
A double-edged sword, a spear, a single-edged sword, a dagger, etc.
Kang Oh had wielded a greatsword in Warlord.
However, he picked a one-handed steel sword instead.
'Let's show off the skills I've learned for half a year.'
The choice of weaponry didn't really matter, as the gladiators would go down in a single hit.
Meaning, he didn't need such a huge, heavy weapon like a greatsword.
After picking his weapon, Kang Oh turned on film mode.
In Arth, players were provided with an AI that would automatically film them.
As expected of the top virtual reality game!
However, no one had footage of the Fight Against 100 Men.
This was because upon failure, filming would be discontinued and any recorded content would be deleted.
'Who knows what'll happen if I complete it though.'
If he cleared the Fight Against 100 Men and the footage remained intact, then he'd definitely make some money off of it.
That's how notorious the Fight Against 100 Men was!
Kang Oh's attempt would now begin.
[As per the contract, your items, skills, and sight are sealed away. All stats are set to 10.]
[The Fight Against 100 Men will begin in 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.]
He was already level 1, so the stat change was meaningless.
He didn't have any items or skills either.
His sight went black as if he was wearing a blindfold.
'Think of it as training.'
He’d already trained blindfolded in the dojo. It was to prepare for this very moment!
If you've done something once, you can do it again. Though he couldn’t see what was in front of him, he felt calm.
Then, his shoulder felt cold.
'It does work!'
Hyper Intuition: all clear!
Kang Oh slightly pulled his shoulder back and, guided by his Hyper Intuition, thrust his sword.
A clean hit.
His hand was tingling with excitement.
[99 gladiators remaining.]
"C'mon!" Kang Oh yelled.
This was only the beginning.
* * *
'I've pretty much figured out the layout of this place.'
As he fought against the gladiators, Kang Oh approximated the layout of the area, despite being blinded.
The area was about the size of a high school's gym, and he was surrounded by walls. There were no obstacles, at least any that were out of the ordinary, and the ground was just dirt.
It was probably the original arena that gladiatorial matches were held in.
There were still several gladiators left.
Kang Oh sensed a gladiator approach him. Due to his Hyper Intuition, Kang Oh was able to simultaneously dodge and counterattack.
[51 gladiators remaining.]
[Remaining Stamina: 10]
[Due to the Indomitable stat, your abilities do not decrease.]
It wasn't like everything was all peachy just because he was level 1.
Every level up, Stamina increased by 1. Thus, Kang Oh's stamina was at its lowest.
'I should wait for them to come to me.'
The lower one's Stamina, the more their abilities drop. When one's Stamina reaches 0, they become paralyzed.
Kang Oh stayed in place, waiting for the gladiators to attack him.
If they didn't attack him, then he'd replenish his Stamina. If they did, he'd minimize his movements and counterattack.
He felt cold!
Kang Oh leaned to the side and counterattacked; guided by his Hyper Intuition, he thrust his sword to where he assumed their neck was.
[You have defeated 50 gladiators. The remaining gladiators will now attack more cautiously.]
The gladiators stopped attacking.
Kang Oh's gradually replenished his Stamina. However, decreasing their numbers had made the fight much harder than before. harder.
He felt like he’d heard the sound of a whistle, one that signaled the start of the second half.
* * *
Kang Oh's sword felled another one of the gladiators.
[10 gladiators remaining. The gladiators are enraged, and will come at you quicker and more fiercely than before.]
[Remaining HP: 20]
Before he knew it, 1 versus 100 had become 1 versus 10.
However, the lower their numbers became, the harder the fight got.
When there were 40 gladiators left, 2 of them would attack front and back.
When there were 20 gladiators left, 4 of them would attack him simultaneously.
Even with Hyper Intuition, he couldn't hope to dodge four simultaneous attacks coming from all directions.
Thus, Kang Oh's HP had fallen to 20. He'd fail the quest if he got hit just two more times.
But now the gladiators were enraged too!
Kang Oh didn't even have time to catch his breath.
The enraged gladiators attacked from every direction.
His entire body felt cold!
There was no way he could block their attacks, so he rolled onto the floor. However, his Stamina sharply diminished.
But he didn't just sit there and take it.
Kang Oh swung his low as if he were sweeping the ground.
His hand felt something. One of the gladiators had fallen onto the ground.
Kang Oh bent down, assuming a low posture, and swung his sword.
[9 gladiators remaining.]
No time to celebrate.
The enraged gladiators continued their assault.
They were probably stabbing at him while he rolled onto the floor.
Kang Oh would continue to roll on the floor for some time.
* * *
The Fight Against 100 Men.
It was like he was on a tightrope and was at risk of falling again and again.
Despite that, with his intense concentration, Hyper Intuition, as well as his experience training blindfolded in the dojo, Kang Oh was able to reach the final level of the quest.
He felt a tingling feeling in his sword hand.
[1 gladiator remaining.]
[The final gladiator, Darion, who has been watching this entire time, will now enter the fray.]
[He is the most skilled gladiator.]
"You have my respect," the final gladiator, Darion, said. "I'd like to fight you fair and square. Bring your HP and Stamina back to full. I won't attack before then."
Darion's kindness made Kang Oh's brain go into overdrive.
'I can use this...'
He thought of a great idea.
"Thank you for your kindness, oh great gladiator."
Kang Oh plopped onto the ground. Once he started resting, he began to replenish his Stamina rather quickly.
Of course, his HP was regenerating too.
Kang Oh, having replenished both his HP and Stamina, stood up.
"Could you please tell me your name?"
"My name is Darion. I am Gladiator Master, Burkan's final pupil," Darion said pridefully.
"I thought your name sounded familiar. You're the pupil that Master Burkan loves the most."
"My fame can't compare to my master's."
"That's not true. To think my final fight would be with you. It's truly an honor. I will fight you with pride," Kang Oh said 'honestly'.
"Mm, as expected of a challenger who beat the other 99 gladiators. I will also face you with honor and pride."
Darion grabbed his weapon.
"Then, I'm going."
Kang Oh rushed over. Both his and Darion's expressions were somber.
Their swords clashed against each other.
Then, Kang Oh threw something at Darion's face.
The dirt had gone right into Darion's eyes. When he heard Darion groan, Kang Oh smirked.
'Just as planned!'
Guided by his Hyper Intuition, Kang Oh then thrust his sword towards Darion's heart.
What a nice sound. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. It was probably a critical hit, with shards of red light scattered about.
"Y-You...!" Darion said indignantly, having fallen to the ground.
Though Darion begged to differ, Kang Oh had been honorable. The Fight Against 100 Men was, in essence, a dogfight. There were no rules to speak of, and there was no such thing as foul play.
All that mattered was winning!
However, Darion was too weak-hearted. To think he would seek an honorable, one-on-one fight in a dogfight.
Kang Oh had merely taken advantage of his weakness, his naivete.
[You have defeated the final gladiator, Darion.]
[You have conquered the Fight Against 100 Men. What a truly amazing feat! Please find Burkan to obtain your reward.]
Kang Oh had completed the quest; the quest that caused so many players to despair and that had a 0% success rate, until he came along that is!
* * *
Upon clearing the quest, his sight was returned to him.
As expected, the Fight Against 100 Men was held in a circular arena. He didn't see any of the gladiators he'd fought against.
"First things first..."
He checked his recording of the fight.
His fight, from start to finish, had been recorded.
Kang Oh shook with happiness. He could definitely make some money with this!
Plus, he still needed to receive his reward for this insanely difficult quest.
"I wonder what they'll give me. Hehe."
Once he reached the iron gate, the doors opened automatically.
Burkan was standing right there.
"Good work, Challenger," Burkan said.
[The Gladiator Master, Burkan, has acknowledged you as a great warrior.]
[Fame has increased.]
[Closeness to Burkan has increased significantly.]
[Once your closeness is maxed out, you may learn Burkan's secret technique.]
Kang Oh realized that this was his chance to increase his closeness to Burkan.
'It's certainly been a while, but let's try buttering him up.'
Like workers with their superiors, gamers flattered NPCs.
After all, NPCs gave players their quests and rewards.
Thus, not only was Kang Oh accustomed to flattering NPCs, but he was good at it too.
"This is all due to Lord Rakan's grace," Kang Oh said, looking as modest as he could.
Most gladiators worshipped the God of War and Victory, Rakan.
Kang Oh had brought up Rakan in order to get into Burkan's good graces.
The best way to get a parent to like you was complimenting their kids!
"Indeed, this is all due to Lord Rakan's grace. Follow me."
[Your closeness to Burkan has increased.]
'What a good start!'
Kang Oh followed him, and prepared to flatter Burkan even more.
"My name is Kang Oh."
"I know. I've always admired you. It's an honor to be walking beside you, Lord Burkan. May I call you brother?"
The flattery kept on coming.
[Closeness has increased significantly.]
"My younger sister's really pretty. She's considered the reincarnation of the Goddess of Beauty, Erina. Now that I think about it, you haven't gotten married yet, have you?"
[Closeness with Burkan has increased exponentially.]
"I came from Rain's Training Center. I went there because I heard you came from there too."
He'd only been there for a short time, short enough to drink a cup of coffee, but whatever. Connections!
"I got beat up by Master Rain. Did he hit you too?"
It was a lie. Was he even hit once?
"I was roughed up quite a bit too."
"He's such a ill-tempered and merciless old man. Isn't that right, Brother?"
Cussing out someone he hates in his stead!
"Did you know how old Master Rain is compared to his wife? They're actually 30 years apart. This is a crime. A serious one!"
Burkan was an old bachelor. Kang Oh kept on saying things that would piss off an old bachelor like him.
Ultimately, Burkan couldn't help but agree with him.
[Closeness has increased significantly.]
[Closeness has been maxed out.]
[You and Burkan are no longer strangers. You can now learn Burkan's secret technique.]
Close-knit brotherly ties formed through all manner of flattery and back talk!Previous Chapter Next Chapter