[You have encountered the mysterious Lava Tribe.]
[This is an extremely rare occurrence.]
[Luck stat has increased.]
Members of the Lava Tribe were actually quite small. They looked like they weren't even 1 meter tall.
Their arms and legs were made of tough rock, while their chests looked like soft clay. There was a hole at the top of their heads which contained lava. They also released black plumes of smoke like an actual volcano.
Their chest was embedded with long, diamond-like ore. Zigzag-shaped roots spread from the metal and covered their entire body.
It was as if their body was the ground, and the metal was a seed planted inside of it.
'Is it Alarcon?'
Alarcon was a mysterious metal left behind when they died!
"Thank you," it said, and deeply bowed its head. The lava within its head sloshed around, but it didn't spill out.
Then, Kang Oh thought of something ridiculous. 'I-Is the lava like hair to them? It sloshes around?'
"My name is Volick."
"My name is Kang Oh," Kang Oh said courteously. He wanted to leave the best possible impression.
First impressions were everything. They'll be working together from now on, so he should keep a close relationship with them. If he did, they'd be more likely to give him a good reward too!
"I see. So that is your name. Thank you again for helping me. I was almost killed by those dwarves."
Volick's eyes were made of two crystals, and its pupils, which consisted of two smaller crystals, were extremely clear.
"They're evil dwarves that are under the control of an evil dragon. That's why I helped you."
"Indeed. They're aiming for our treasure."
"Do you want my help?"
"Would you really help us?"
"Yes. I'll help you kill the exploration leader, and destroy their teleportation device."
"Aah, thank you so much!" Volick bowed its head once more.
The lava within its head sloshed around again. However, it didn't spill this time either.
'I-Is it really their hair?'
All of a sudden, a flame pillar surged from the hole in its head.
Things he couldn't have imagined happening were commonplace in this dungeon.
Rudy flew into the air. The baby Phoenix, which resembled a chick, opened its tiny beak and began eating the flames.
"R-Rudy!" Kang Oh quickly extended his hand and snatched Rudy away.
'We have no idea what these flames mean to them, so don't go eating them!'
"Are you alright?" Kang Oh carefully asked.
'I hope we didn't insult you. We didn't do any damage to your body, did we?'
Volick sported a strange expression.
"I'm so sorry. My child..." Kang Oh was about to bow his head, but...
"I-Isn't that a Phoenix?" Volick waved its arms, looking completely shocked.
"It is. Rudy is a baby Phoenix. How did you know?" Kang Oh asked.
"How could I not? It ate my flames. Only a Phoenix is capable of such." Volick's eyes gleamed.
"Um, excuse me, but may I ask why you suddenly released those flames?" Kang Oh asked.
"Ah, when we get excited, we release flames from our heads. I was so touched by your offer to help us that I couldn't help myself. I apologize."
"Ah, I see. That's alright. I'm not sure if Rudy offended you or not."
"Absolutely not. To think I'd be able to meet a Phoenix. It's an honor!"
Rudy popped out of Kang Oh's hand and straightened its head.
'Dad, I'm a big deal!', it seemed to say.
"Are you... the Phoenix's father?"
"Yes, I am."
'Yes, I'm Rudy's father!'
[Closeness with Volick has increased significantly.]
[Closeness with the Lava Tribe has increased significantly.]
"Do you know a lot about Rudy?" Kang Oh asked.
"The Phoenix was first born in Mt. Helvert. It's said that it has returned here several times. It is a miraculous and precious bird that was born from the Sacred Flame."
Rudy flapped its wings.
[You have acquired information on the Phoenix.]
[The Phoenix was born from the Sacred Flame, which resides within the Great Temple of Lava.]
He hadn't known about that before. So this was Rudy's hometown.
But how did the Lava Tribe, which only recently appeared, know about this?
As he roamed across the continent performing his duty as Guardian of the Continent, he had interacted with Maya's various creations, and in doing so, realized something.
The God of Creation hadn't created newborn infants. His creations were adults with basic knowledge, their own culture, language, history, etc.
Because of that, his creations adapted to their new lives relatively well, and there was less chaos than there could have been.
Perhaps that was the God of Creation being considerate to his new creations; he wanted to close the gap between them and his other creations, which were already thriving.
If not, then whatever.
"Mr. Kang Oh, let me take you to our village. Lady Eurasis can give you an in-depth explanation," Volick said.
"She's our leader. She also created the Lava Demon." Volick pointed at what Kang Oh had assumed was the true Lava Tribe.
That machine was a Lava Demon.
"She made that? She must be quite talented."
"She's probably the wisest person on Mt. Helvert."
His expression and tone made it clear how much he respected her.
"Mm, I'd really like to meet her."
'Then I'll ask if she can make me one too! It's a dream for all men to ride one of those!'
"Let's go." Volick rode the Lava Demon again, and walked through the passageway.
Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!
Kang Oh patted Rudy's head, and followed Volick.
A short while later...
There was a giant door in the middle of the passageway.
The door opened as soon as the Lava Demon's eye beams made contact with it.
There was a rectangular room inside with no floor to speak of. Chains were affixed to the ceiling, which went down the pit.
The Lava Demon pulled on the red chain.
Volick hoisted the pulley, and a short while later, a slab of rock rose from the pit.
'Is it a manual elevator?'
He was right. It was indeed an elevator that had to be manually operated.
Kang Oh and Volick walked onto the slab. Then, Volick manually lowered the elevator.
* * *
The Lava Tribe's village was located in the deepest section of the ruins.
Their buildings were designed like igloos made of rock, and were topped by various domes.
There were plenty of people here too, who stared at Kang Oh in wonder.
"It's a human!"
"Its skin is so soft."
"Its hair is black."
The Lava Tribe began to chatter about him.
"Please come this way."
Volick led Kang Oh to the largest house. It was Eurasis's residence.
"Please wait here for a moment."
Volick went inside, and announced Kang Oh's arrival.
"Elder, I have a guest here that wants to help us drive off the dwarves. He is also the father of the Phoenix."
"Please let him in," Eurasis said kindly.
Volick led Kang Oh inside.
"This is Lady Eurasis." Volick pointed at the figure sitting on the flat stone bed.
"Hello, my name is... Kang Oh."
Eurasis was not a part of the Lava Tribe. There was no way she could be. She was a snake made up entirely of flames.
Yeah, she felt like a spirit to him.
"My name is Eurasis. I was born from the Lava Tribe's flames."
He was right.
"It's a pleasure to meet you."
Rudy suddenly popped out.
Kang Oh immediately grabbed it. It was clear what the troublemaker was trying to do. Rudy couldn't help itself when there were such delicious looking flames in front of it.
"No," Kang Oh muttered.
Rudy turned its head. 'Dad, you meanie!'
"That is the Phoenix, I see. I can sense the warm and massive flames that exist within its small, weak body."
"Yes, it is." Kang Oh stroked Rudy's head.
Rudy was mad at him, so it tried to avoid his touch, but it was within Kang Oh's grasp.
"Please keep it safe. It is a precious being that spreads the Flame of Life throughout the world."
Rudy was family to him.
"You're as kind as you are powerful. Please lend us that strength." Eurasis bowed her head.
"Yes. I'll take care of the dwarf exploration leader and their transportation device no matter what!" Kang Oh beat his chest.
'Leave it to me!'
[Closeness with the Lava Tribe has increased significantly.]
[You are the Lava Tribe's precious guest.]
[The Lava Tribe will now treat you very favorably.]
[They still do not consider you a friend.]
"We'll support you with soldiers that are capable of wielding the Lava Demons."
"Thank you. By the way, is it possible for me to use one too?" Kang Oh asked.
"That would be difficult. The Lava Demons were created specifically for the Lava Tribe, after all."
"Volick, stay with Mr. Kang Oh and help him with whatever he needs," Eurasis said.
"Yes." Volick nodded its head. The lava within its head sloshed around! Kang Oh wasn't very surprised by it anymore.
"Alright then, I'll go deal with the dwarves and come right back." Kang Oh stood up.
He didn't ask what kind of reward they'd give him. His many years as a gamer told him that asking about his reward now would lower his closeness with them.
"May the Sacred Flame light your path."
It seemed like this was the Lava Tribe's way of saying goodbye.
"May the Sacred Flame light your path," Kang Oh softly repeated, and then left Eurasis's residence with Volick in tow.
* * *
Kang Oh gathered all sorts of information first. If you know your enemy and you know yourself, then you can win every battle.
"How many dwarves are there?"
"We haven't been able to figure that out. They keep coming, no matter how many we kill."
'It said they had a teleportation crystal, right?' Kang Oh recalled the quest's contents. The teleportation crystal must be at their main base.
"Where is the dwarves' main base?" Kang Oh asked.
Volick shook its head. "The dwarves have created several tunnels with little regard for the ruins, and have set up their main base in a hidden location. We do not know where their main base is."
"How large are the ruins?"
"There are around 30 floors underground. This is the 30th floor, and each floor is about the size of our village."
Kang Oh took a look around. 'This place is crazy big, isn't it!?'
"Is the elevator safe?"
Kang Oh had gotten here without any issue via the elevator. But if the dwarves were able to use this elevator, then they could go directly to the village.
"It's safe. It's made of a special rock, so the dwarves won't be able to damage it, and it's protected by Lady Eurasis's power, so only the Lava Tribe can operate it."
"I'd like to freely use the elevator."
"I'll go with you. In order to open the door and operate the elevator, you will need a Lava Demon."
"Please take care of me." Kang Oh grinned. Then, he continued, "We'll have to find the exploration leader and the transportation crystal."
"It won't be easy. Not only is this place incredibly vast, but the dwarves have created several tunnels that we have no knowledge of that lead to their base." Volick sported an angry expression.
"That's ok. I have a solution for that." Kang Oh grinned.Previous Chapter Next Chapter