Chapter 70. High Risk, High Reward

"A golem, huh..."

A golem's core served as both its power source and its weakness and was enclosed in rock, mud, bone, etc.

Kang Oh had already fought golems in Arth before.

"What a trip down memory lane, huh Eder?" Kang Oh said, glancing at Eder.

He'd first met Eder in a hidden dungeon and back then, Eder had assumed the form of a bone golem and fought against Kang Oh.

"Indeed."

Eder nodded his head.

Once he'd chosen to accompany Kang Oh, he wasn't able to use the Bone Golem form anymore.

Assuming that form required a large quantity of bones.

He couldn't just lug that many bones with him and they'd never hunted in an area where there were lots of bones either.

"Have you ever fought against a Stone Golem before?"

Kang Oh stared at Grano.

"Yes."

"How was it?" Kang Oh asked.

"They're tough. Tougher than you can even imagine. I was unable to pierce through its armor and gave up half-way."

Grano had fought against the Stone Golem before and had retreated due to exhaustion. No matter what he tried, he just couldn't pierce through the Stone Golem's body.  

That was just how tough and sturdy it was.

"How strong were its attacks?"

Kang Oh repeatedly asked questions to obtain the information he desired.

"It's strong, but it's also slow."

"Does it have any special abilities or skills?"

"It occasionally threw rocks at me. I'm not sure if it has any other abilities."

"Is there anything else you can warn us about, or is there anything else you need to tell us?" Kang Oh asked.

"No."

Grano shook his head.

"I understand. Eder," Kang Oh called.

"Yes?"

"The golem's weakness must be its core, right?"

Eder was well-versed in golems, since he'd been a golem himself in the past.

"Yes. The core is everything to a golem."

"Alright. Apparently, the golem's defense is no joke, so pull out all the stops."

Eder was a Curse Knight!

He could cast a curse that reduced an enemy's defense by half, Ruined Ramparts. Not only that, but he could also cast a myriad of other curses that would reduce an opponent's abilities as well.

Moreover, his Blood Knight set could reduce the golem's defenses as well.

Therefore, Kang Oh put all his hopes on Eder.

"I'll do my best," Eder replied, assuming the posture of an army private.

"Mr. Grano, if you ever see the golem's core during the fight, please attack it immediately."

"I understand."

"Let's adjust as we go."

Once Kang Oh was finished, his party went through the entrance: the hole that led to the hidden dungeon.

It was dark within the hole, so Grano entered first.

"Please follow me closely."

Grano pushed the luminescent stone forward, ducked his head, and entered.

Eder followed after him, and Kang Oh came in last.


[Entering the hidden dungeon, Wisdom's Testing Ground.]


At first, the Wisdom's Testing Ground was so small that they had to duck in order to get through.

However, the further they progressed, the wider the tunnel became.

Eventually, the ceiling got higher, allowing them to straighten their backs without issue, and the tunnel became wide enough that two people could walk through side-by-side.

Plus, there weren't any monsters.

"I see the end," Eder said.

They saw an exit illuminated with light.

However, there was a tombstone in front of the exit.

"There's something written here too."

Kang Oh pointed at the tombstone.

"It states, 'Courage completes wisdom.'," Grano deciphered.

"If I get to meet the God of Wisdom, Turu, then I'll grab him by the throat and say, 'If you have something to say, then say it.'," Kang Oh said.

"It must mean that we have to prove our courage by fighting the golem, since we've already proven our wisdom," Grano expressed his opinion.

"Yeah, but wouldn't it be so nice if he'd just written that instead?"

"People back then thought that something shined brighter when its meaning was hidden," Grano said.

"Really?" Kang Oh asked Eder.

"I have no idea."

"What do you mean? You're pretty old yourself."

Eder had been a ghost for so long that he was indeed quite old.

"Ahem. I'm not that old."

Eder vehemently disagreed, crossing his hands in an X.

"I'm pretty sure you are."

"I am not!"

Grano watched Kang Oh and Eder argue and smiled.

"Hoo, hoo. Please restrain yourselves. We need to focus on the task ahead," Grano said.

"Ok," Eder said as he glanced hatefully at Kang Oh.

"Let's go," Kang Oh yelled, avoiding Eder's prickly gaze.

Kang Oh's party headed to the brightly illuminated exit.

* * *

Kang Oh's favorite color was, unsurprisingly, gold. He saw a ball midair that radiated a gold light.

It was definitely the Stone Golem's core.

The core was quite large; it looked more than 2 meters in diameter.

Kuooh.

The core's light began to intensify, and then the core began to spin.

Rumble.

The rocks strewn on the floor rose and surrounded the core.

Then...

Kang Oh immediately rushed forward.

"Huh?"

"Mr. Kang Oh?"

Eder and Grano looked shocked.

By the time they realized what was going on, Kang Oh was already some distance away from them. 

As he dashed forward, Kang Oh got ready to throw his demon sword.

Aim.

He clenched his teeth and swung his arm as hard as he could.

Fire!

His jet-black sword left his hand.

Zoom.

His demon sword cleaved through the air and flew towards its target.

Its target? Obviously the golem's core.

The sword narrowly passed between the rocks.

Bam!

His sword had embedded itself into the floating, radiating core.

Red shards of light popped from the affected area. The golden light it exuded began to bob up and down.

Still, the core didn't fall to the floor; it remained in the air with Kang Oh's demon sword still embedded within.

However, the rate at which the rocks gathered around it had slowed.

'It's not enough damage.'

Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.

Throwing his demon sword wasn't enough to destroy the core.

With no other option, Kang Oh kicked off the floor.

He leaped into the air and landed on top of the rocks.

"Heup."

Kang Oh leaped once more. He leaped from one rock to another.

He jumped between rocks again and again until he was ready for his final jump.

"Haaht!"

Kang Oh forcefully kicked off the floor, leaping into the air.

He was heading for the core, which was still impaled by his sword.

Kang Oh extended his hand, closing in on the demon sword's handle.

However, gravity pulled him down and he began to fall.

'Just a little bit more!'

Grip.

Kang Oh was barely able to grab onto the handle.

"Haa, haa."

Kang Oh caught his breath.

He managed to stop his fall by grabbing onto the handle as if he were grabbing onto a tree branch.

However, there were rocks coming everywhere. At this rate, he'd be crushed before he could even fight the Stone Golem.

Kuheong!

Kang Oh used Baramut's Roar, saturating his entire body with the power of a tiger.

"Eat this!"

Kang Oh put pressure into his sword hand.

Golden light glimmered from his jet-black sword.

Tempest Tiger!

A tiger-shaped aura was released from the tip of his sword.

The aura immediately pounced on the core.

Its power was quite formidable when there was no distance between it and its enemy. The huge impact caused the core to tremble.

Red shards of light exploded from the core.

Ultimately...!

Crack. Crack!

Once it began to crack, it couldn't be stopped.

Boom!

The core exploded.

But there was a reason the core was emanating a golden light.

Gold spilled out of the core like how the basket breaks open on Sports Day. There was also a slate within the wave of gold as well. 


[You are the first to defeat the Guardian of Wisdom, Stone Soldier.]

[It is a boss monster that only drops one item.]

[It has dropped Turu's Slate.]


Although system messages popped up, Kang Oh didn't have the time to look them over closely.

Once the core exploded, his sword came out and he too was swept away.

He was descending really quickly right now.

Moreover!

The rocks that had gathered around the core fell as well.

At this rate, Kang Oh would either die from the fall or be crushed to death.

'I can't let that happen!'

Kang Oh grabbed his demon sword with both hands.

"Heup."

He stabbed his sword into one of the falling rocks.

The rock didn't stop and continued to fall to the ground.

Creak!

His sword formed a lengthy '1' onto the rock.

At some point, Kang Oh stopped falling and simply hung from his sword.

Kang Oh took a look around.

He saw the perfect rock to jump down to. Kang Oh tightly gripped the hilt of his sword with both hands and pulled it out.

Thump!

Kang Oh bounced off the rock.

Using that force, Kang Oh safely landed on a descending rock.

However, his head was soon overshadowed by something.

"Damn it," he looked up and cursed.

It only made sense. The largest boulder thus far was descending upon the rock he'd just landed on.

Kang Oh quickly looked around and tried to figure out a way to get out of this situation.

At that moment, Kang Oh saw a giant drop of water. It was large enough for him to enter.

"Mr. Kang Oh, please enter the water drop!"

He heard Grano yelling at him.

The shadow began to darken, so he knew he had no time to think about it.

Then...

Thump!

The large boulder had landed on the rock he'd just been on.

* * *

Pop.

The water drop burst and Kang Oh came out completely drenched.

"Hoo, that was a close one."

Grano sighed in relief.

Kang Oh was able to rush into the water drop before he was crushed to death.

After that, Grano had controlled the water drop, moving it outside of the falling rocks and rescuing him.

"Are you alright?" Grano asked.

"Yes, I'm fine," Kang Oh checked his body once over and replied.

"Why did you do that?" Eder asked.

He was the one who suggested that they fight together, yet he had rushed in by himself.

"Seriously, why did you do that?"

Grano had told them that the boss was a Stone Golem, but when they arrived, its core had been laid bare and was in the middle of transforming.

Kang Oh knew that it was his chance to strike. If a golem's core is cracked, then it cannot move anymore.

However, if he were to have delayed his attack, then he would've lost his opportunity, as the rocks would have completely enclosed the core.

Therefore, he hadn't had the time to either explain or convince them of his plan.

He'd made his decision and ran; time was of the essence, so he threw his sword.

The best scenario was the core breaking from his sword throw.

However, the core hadn't broken completely, so Kang Oh had no choice but to jump across the rocks.

Then he'd barely grabbed a hold of the hilt of his sword and completely destroyed the core.

Plus!

"You can see your enemy transforming right in front of you; you wouldn't just sit there and let it finish transforming would you?"

Whenever the protagonist in a comic book either transformed or combined, the villains would always just sit there and watch.

Even though that was their best chance to kill the protagonist.

Kang Oh was different from those idiots. If he had a golden opportunity to kill his opponent, then he'd take it no questions asked.

"But you should've at least told us first," Eder grumbled.

"If I did, then I would've lost my chance. I was barely able to destroy the core as it was," Kang Oh said.

"Whatever the case, Mr. Kang Oh is safe and the golem has been destroyed, so how about we move on?" Grano placed his hand on Eder's shoulder and said.

"Alright."

Eder nodded his head.

"Then shall we go take a look and see if anything was dropped?" Grano beamed and said.

Grano arbitrated over Kang Oh and Eder so that they didn't needlessly develop any resentment towards each other.

"I've hit the jackpot."

He recalled the wave of gold that had spilled out of the core and grinned. 

Him aiming for the core alone had clearly been dangerous.

But because Kang Oh had taken that risk and destroyed the core, he was able to take down the extremely tough Stone Golem with ease.

Moreover, the reward was sweet. He'd hit the jackpot.

'This is what high risk, high reward is all about!'

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