Kang Oh came to the Holiseum.
Once he got there, he headed down to the underground arena and was greeted by a friendly face.
"Oh, who do we have here?"
Kang Oh raised his hand.
Once he recognized him, the handsome young gentleman's face crinkled.
Being 'like Darion' was still a popular buzzword on Arth's community site, Arthtory.
It was Darion, the progenitor of that very buzzword! He was right before his very eyes.
Kang Oh approached Darion and tapped his shoulder.
"Hey, you been doing well?"
"...It's been a long time," Darion removed Kang Oh's hand and said.
"It looks like you've gotten a lot stronger."
Kang Oh examined him from top-down. He definitely looked different.
It seemed like he had more muscle than before, and his equipment was better too.
"I wasn't lazing around," Darion said harshly.
"It's been a while, so why don't we duel for a wish?" Kang Oh teasingly said as he tapped Darion's chest with his fist.
Darion's complexion changed instantly.
He suddenly had flashbacks to his loss to Kang Oh, as well as his subsequent slave contract, all the abuse he had to endure, and how he'd been worked like a dog.
"I'm a bit busy right now."
He couldn't get caught in the palm of this demon again.
Darion quickly attempted to get away, but Kang Oh grabbed him.
"What is it?"
"I need a usable mercenary. Want to work for me again?"
Kang Oh smiled impishly.
"Hmm. Then I should just ask Burkan to let me borrow you..."
Before he could even finish, Darion grabbed Kang Oh's hands.
Kang Oh could hear his desperation.
"It's been a while since we've last met, so at least pretend like you're happy to see me. Stop being so harsh," Kang Oh said with a serious look.
Darion forced himself to smile.
"Do your best."
Kang Oh gripped Darion's shoulder with his hand.
"Yes, sir!" Darion replied.
"Good, so what's your level?" Kang Oh asked.
"I measured my level at the temple and it came out to level 95."
There were several different gods in Arth, each with temples dedicated to worshipping them.
One function of these temples was to measure an NPC's level.
In the past, Darion hadn't been very useful, but now, he looked even less useful than before.
It was obvious that he'd just slow him down.
"What do you mean 'only'? Master Burkan complimented my quick growth," Darion said.
"Well, whatever. Where is Burkan?" Kang Oh asked.
"Go straight down the passageway until you find a striped door. He'll be right through that door."
"Take me to him."
"I said take me to him."
"Me?" Darion retorted, as he couldn't flat out say no.
"If you don't want to then that's fine. I'll just ask Burkan to let me borrow you."
"Obviously... I will take you to him. Please follow me."
Darion's attitude changed instantly. He took point and began to move.
Kang Oh clasped his hands behind his back like an aristocrat and followed Darion with a swaggering gait.
* * *
Darion pointed at the door.
Kang Oh motioned for him to leave.
"Yes. Then please go on with your business."
Once he was finished, Darion quickly disappeared deep into the passageway.
Once he knocked, Kang Oh could hear Burkan's voice from across the door.
Kang Oh opened the door and went inside.
The inside of the room was simple. There was a table and a chair at the center of the room, and there were everyday tools on one side of the room as well.
"You came, Little Brother?"
Burkan sat in his chair and greeted Kang Oh.
"But you came alone," he looked behind Kang Oh and said.
Burkan had told him that if he wanted to mine the adamantium gemstone, then he needed to bring a master miner here.
"I didn't come here for the adamantium today."
"Then what have you come for?" Burkan asked.
He delineated where he'd been: the uninhabited island, meeting the aquatic tribe, Lupenia, as well as visiting their home base, the Lupen Crystal Palace.
Kang Oh also explained how Valan had defeated the Calamity of the Sea, Gurekturon.
Burkan listened to Kang Oh with a curious face.
"I'd like for you to relay the Lupenia Queen's message to Master Valan: she wishes to see him again," Kang Oh explained.
"I don't really have a way of contacting Master Valan either."
Burkan shrugged his shoulders.
"Please tell him if he happens to come see you," Kang Oh said.
"I guess I can do that much. Alright," Burkan agreed.
He'd fulfilled Roane's request, so he had no more business here.
"Be careful of the dark roads at night," Burkan waved and sent him off.
Kang Oh left the Holiseum.
Grano and Eder were both waiting for him.
"Have you fulfilled Queen Roane's wish?" Eder asked.
"Yeah. Now all we need to do is go to the Bariton Desert."
"Then, shall we go?" Grano asked.
Kang Oh threw a fist into the air.
They were finally heading towards the Bariton Desert.
* * *
Below the blazing sun lay an endless expanse of sand dunes.
Kang Oh, Eder, and Grano each rode atop a camel that walked softly across the dunes.
Because the Bariton Desert had no city to speak of, they couldn't use Altein's gate to transport themselves there.
Therefore, Kang Oh's party had transported themselves to the city closest to the Bariton Desert and rode camels through the desert.
However, there was a difference between a virtual reality desert and one in real life.
Firstly, monsters appeared in the desert.
Like right now!
Gray lizards popped out of the sand.
"They're Sand Alligators," the Bariton Desert native, Grano said.
Sand Alligators were native to the Bariton Desert. As their name might imply, they were exactly the same as real life alligators aside from their size; they were smaller than real alligators.
'I think Sand Alligators are about level 100.'
Kang Oh recollected his info on the Sand Alligators.
"Eder, take care of them."
It was only one level 100 monster. Kang Oh didn't need to intervene.
They were all in the same party, so he would receive experience regardless of whether he killed the monster or not.
Eder disembarked from his camel and attacked the alligator.
His mace, which released green smoke, struck the alligator's body.
Grano helped Eder. While still riding his camel, he cast a water spell.
His orb shone and shot a water bullet at the Sand Alligator.
The Sand Alligator wasn't able to defend itself for long against the combined attacks of Eder and Grano, and died soon after.
After that, Kang Oh's party faced a variety of monsters that were native to the Bariton Desert.
They faced a group of Black Scorpions, which were as large as a human forearm, as well as Desert Snakes, which were considered good for stamina. What's worse, they even faced walking cactus-shaped monsters as well.
Of all the threats, the monster that the party ended up killing the most of were Sandurions..
Sandurions, monsters which ate sand!
They were gray earwigs. However, they were larger than 1 meter, and looked far more ferocious than a normal earwig.
They not only fed off the sand, but they tended to be aggressive and attacked any living thing they saw, which made them very much like gangsters.
They were about level 100, but they were difficult to beat due to their tough shells and menacing pincers.
However, they weren't anything for Kang Oh's party to worry about.
Kang Oh, Eder, and Grano killed the Sandurions (which appeared in groups of 10) without reserve.
Kang Oh killed the Sandurions simply, yet efficiently by using his sword.
Eder would block their pincers with his shield, and after he'd inflicted curses upon them, would concentrate on one spot on their back with his mace.
Grano, who used his water magic without reserve, was incredibly powerful.
Waterball, Torrent, Water Whirlwind, etc.
With all these water spells unleashed upon them, the Sandurions had no choice but to keel over and die.
"Hmm. This is strange. Normally, it's difficult to even see Sandurions in the Bariton Dessert, yet we keep encountering them," Grano said.
"Well, it makes it easier to complete the quest, so there's that," Kang Oh said.
Kang Oh had received a quest from the Adventurer Guild to kill 200 Sandurions.
It was really easy for him since he didn't need to go looking for them; they would come to him themselves.
At this rate, he'd complete the quest in a flash.
"I should investigate later..." Grano muttered.
"Hoo, how much farther is the Hapdala Oasis?" Eder asked.
They planned on staying in the Bariton Desert for now.
They obviously needed a base of operations, so they had chosen Grano's hometown, the Hapdala Oasis.
"If we just pass that sand dune and then three more after that, then we should arrive."
Grano pointed towards a sand dune in front of them.
"We would've had it hard if not for you, Mr. Grano," Kang Oh said.
There were no signs or roads within a desert.
Therefore, Kang Oh marveled at Grano's ability to so easily lead them through the desert.
Grano merely smiled in return.
Their trip through the desert was a smooth one with the help of Grano, who was the greatest authority on the Bariton Desert.
* * *
Kang Oh's party arrived at the Hapdala Oasis.
The Hapdala Oasis was situated between the sand dunes like an island in the middle of the ocean.
"It's a lot bigger than I expected."
It was much bigger than he'd expected with far more yurts and people as well.
"The Hapdala Oasis was originally quite large and there are several people that pass through here as well."
It had been so long since Grano had returned home that he was practically glowing.
"Let's first find lodging."
Grano led Kang Oh's party towards a yurt.
"Please wait here for a second."
Grano asked Kang Oh and Eder to wait outside while he entered the yurt.
Grano beamed at the gray-haired old woman.
"Oh, Grano is that you?" Trisha greeted Grano.
"Yes. It's been a while. Have you been well?"
Grano and Trisha exchanged pleasant greetings, as well as shared news with each other.
"I came here with a group. May we use the empty yurt beside yours, Grandma?"
Grano went straight to the point.
"Use it as you please."
"Thank you very much. Then let me introduce you to my party."
Grano called for Kang Oh and Eder, who were waiting outside.
"My name is Kang Oh."
"I am Eder."
"I'm Trisha. Rest comfortably before you go."
Kang Oh and Eder greeted Trisha and then left her yurt.
Then, they entered the empty yurt beside hers.
It was constructed simply. There was a brazier in the middle and around it lay comfortable carpet, sitting cushions, and pillows.
Grano sat cross-legged on one of the cushions.
Kang Oh and Eder found their seats and sat down as well.
"It's empty, yet it's well maintained."
Kang Oh looked around. Overall, it was clean and snug.
"Her kids use it when they come to visit her. That's why she always keeps it clean."
"Then can we stay here from now on?"
Eder stroked his pillow as if this place was to his liking.
"Hoo, hoo. Once again, I think it's a good thing that we came with you, Mr. Grano," Kang Oh said.
"Exactly!" Eder agreed fiercely.
"It's nothing," Grano said.
"What is our plan from now on?" Kang Oh asked.
"This is the plan I've made. I'd like to test the rain-making device first. Then, we'll conquer the hidden dungeon and after that, we'll find the hidden oasis."
Grano explained the plan he'd constructed beforehand.
"You're starting with what you're sure about first."
Kang Oh could see through his intentions. He was starting with what he had absolute certainty in.
"I have no problems with your plan. Eder, you don't either, do you?"
"Good. Then, as planned, shall we go and test out the rain-making device?"
Grano's voice quivered and his face glowed.
Kang Oh's party left the yurt.Previous Chapter Next Chapter