Chapter 71. There's Always Someone Better

It was chaos.

The rocks had smashed into one another and shattered into pieces once they reached the floor, scattering across the room.  

There were gold coins in between the boulders and the broken pieces of rock.

"Eder, pick up every single coin," Kang Oh said.

"I understand."

Eder began collecting all of the gold coins.

"Let's see here..."

Kang Oh walked over the broken rocks, looking for Turu's Slate.

The slate, like any other item that a boss dropped, glimmered, so it was relatively easy to find.

"This is it."

Kang Oh lifted the slate.


[Turu's Slate]

Turu is known as the God of Wisdom. It is said that he wielded the Hadurk Staff, which is a symbol of wisdom.

This is a relic that contains a small portion of Turu's wisdom.

+ Turu's Miracle: Mysterious events will occasionally occur for whomever carries this slate.

Rank: Unappraisable

Abilities: Mental +50, Wisdom +100

Minimum Requirements: None.


"Oh, a god's relic."

A god's relic was an item that would increase one's abilities and activate its ability when stored in one's inventory.

Because they were active even when stored within one's inventory, they tended to be expensive.

Grano approached Kang Oh.

"Is it a god's relic?"

"Yes. Would you like to take a look?"

"Of course."

Grano began examining Turu's Slate.

"This is...!"

He looked astonished.

"What's wrong?"

What the hell was going on!?

"There are letters inscribed onto the slate."

"Ok... is there a problem with that?"

It wasn't uncommon for people to inscribe letters onto rocks or walls.

"It says, 'There is truth in the unending mirage.'," Grano said.

''There is truth in the unending mirage.' That's definitely...'

"Doesn't that refer to the hidden oasis?" Kang Oh confirmed.

That's right. The inscription on Turu's Slate did indeed refer to the hidden oasis.

But why was this phrase engraved on Turu's Slate?

"Indeed. It seems as though there's some sort of connection between Turu and the hidden oasis..." Grano replied, but his mind seemed to wander, absorbed in something else.

"Hmm. May I keep this slate for the time being? You will, of course, remain the owner of this item," Grano said.

Kang Oh had defeated the golem by himself. Therefore, the slate belonged to Kang Oh.

However, Grano wanted to further examine Turu's Slate.

"Alright, that seems best," Kang Oh agreed.

Since Grano had acknowledged him as the slate's owner, there wasn't any problem with him lending it out for a short while.

"Thank you very much."

Grano took the slate, walked over to a boulder, and sat down.

He began to examine the slate, his eyes sharp.

Kang Oh looked away from Grano and saw Eder.

Eder was busy picking up the gold coins and placing them into a pouch that had hung from his belt. However, there was quite a bit of gold, so it seemed like it would take him some time before he could collect it all.

Ultimately, Kang Oh decided to help out.

Kang Oh and Eder picked up each and every gold coin like they were picking grain.

It took quite a long time before the two of them were done.

"There’s 617 gold."

Eder passed him the gold pouch, which was filled to the brim.

"Holy."

Kang Oh accepted the heavy pouch and grinned.

"I picked up 383, so it's exactly 1,000 gold total."

The Stone Golem had left behind a fortune of 1,000 gold.

"Haa, if only I could get 1,000 gold from you every single day... I guess that's not possible though."

Kang Oh looked regretfully at the broken rock and patted it gently.

The Stone Golem would respawn, but it wouldn't reward them with 1,000 gold again.

The boss had accumulated 1,000 gold within its core after quite some time.

If a boss monster wasn't killed, or the dungeon wasn't cleared out by a player, then the treasure would accumulate naturally.

'Well, I can't complain. After all, that's how I'm making my living.'

Kang Oh profited off this system; he would find hidden dungeons, kill their boss, and hopefully get a good haul. In other words, he was a dungeon hunter.

"Mr. Kang Oh," Eder called.

"Yeah?"

"Hehe, about my pay..."

Eder rubbed his hands together and smiled subserviently. It was obvious what he wanted. Kang Oh had no intention of obliging him.

"Here you go."

Kang Oh handed him exactly 3 gold.

"You made quite a bit of money today. Can't you give me a little bit more?"

"Don't wanna."

"Why!?"

"What exactly did you do? I did everything."

‘At least Mr. Grano gave me some info on the boss monster; he told me that it was a Stone Golem, but what did you do?’

"You didn't even let me have my chance!"

Eder had a bone to pick with him.

‘It wasn't like I wasn't trying to do anything. You just decided to do everything yourself.’

"There's a huge difference between wanting to work and actually working, so if you want a bonus, then do something that's worth it!"

Kang Oh was firm.

'Have to make sure he adopts some good habits.'

It was like a mother not caving to their child's demands to buy them a toy.

Eder's 3 gold wage was just his base pay.

So if he wanted a bonus, then he'd have to do something worth it!

Kang Oh clearly conveyed this idea to Eder.

"You're really too much."

Eder turned around in a huff.

Kang Oh said to Eder's back, "There'll be hell to pay if you steal any money or junk items. Don't forget that I could see right through you last time."

"Ahem."

Kang Oh was an immoral CEO, and once again, Eder, the subordinate, was one pitiable fellow.  

* * *

Kang Oh's party rode their camels out of the Turu Canyon.

They were greeted by endless sand dunes. The camels traversed the desert whilst yawning.

Psssss. 

The sand flew into the air, and a burrowing Sandurion peeked its head out.

Sandurions, basically earwigs the size of a human forearm.

But this Sandurion was a bit different from the others.

First, it kept a close eye on them from behind and second, its glossy eyes radiated a blue hue.

However, once Kang Oh's party had passed the sand dune, the blue hue within its eyes disappeared.

At that moment...

There was a giant tent set up far away from the Hapdala Oasis.

There were twenty men wearing similar clothes within the tent, with Modune at the center. 

His subordinate approached him.

"Lord Modune. They have left the Turu Canyon," the man said.

"Where does it look like they're headed?" Modune asked.

"Based on the direction they're going, it seems like they're returning to the Hapdala Oasis."

"Hmm. For now, continue to monitor them using the Sandurion."

"Understood."

Once the bearded man left, Modune's right-hand man came over. He had a bushy beard himself.

"Do you think they've found the hidden oasis? If they are, then we should mobilize the Red Sand Unit immediately..."

"No," Modune interrupted.

"Considering how much time Grano spent in Turu Canyon, it seems unlikely. They couldn't have found and explored the hidden oasis in that short time. So tell the Red Sand Unit to standby for now."

The Red Sand Unit was a mercenary group that operated in the deserts north of the Bariton Desert.

They only consisted of 100 members, but they had plenty of experience fighting in the desert.

"I understand."

His right-hand man bowed his head.

"There's no need to rush. Our twenty insect mages have placed Sandurions all across the desert, so Grano can't escape our grasp."

Insect mages could summon or rear insects, and use them to fight.

Modune was an insect mage himself, and there were twenty more insect mages under his command.

"But what if they use a return scroll or a teleportation spell once they discover the hidden oasis?" his right-hand asked.

"That's why Grano's party can't know that we're targeting them."

With his ability as an insect mage, Modune had cast an invisible net all across the Bariton Desert.

But if Grano were to become privy to his trap, then there was a chance that Grano could attempt to escape without looking for the hidden oasis.

If not, then they could find the hidden oasis and then immediately retreat.

Therefore, Modune was secretly watching Grano's party while waiting for his opportunity to strike.

"I'll keep that in mind."

His right-hand man bowed his head.

"Good. Make sure you supervise the boys properly. You can go."

Modune waved him off, motioning for him to leave.

"Yes, sir."

Once his subordinate had left, Modune started to stroke a creature at his side.

It was a spider the size of a human being.

The spider was similar to a tarantula, but it was red.

It seemed to like it, as the red spider rubbed its body against his hand.

"A good hunter knows how to wait until their prey has been ensnared. Just like a spider."

Modune smiled wickedly.

However!

A spider may be a hunter, but it was nothing more than prey to a bird.

* * *

Kang Oh and Eder were resting within their base in the Hapdala Oasis.

Then, Grano entered the yurt.

He suddenly cast a spell, covering Kang Oh's party in a blue screen. 

"What are you doing?" Kang Oh asked.

"I got some information on Modune from the magic tower. This spell will keep sound from escaping," Grano said.

Modune was targeting them, so there was a chance that they were bugged. Therefore, Grano had taken the appropriate measures just in case.

Grano took a seat and revealed what info he'd obtained from the magic tower.

"Modune is a mercenary mage in the eastern desert region. However, several years ago he was a member of the Arabas Kingdom."

The Arabas Kingdom was located in the eastern part of the Arth continent.

When the Altein Empire collapsed due to a people's revolution, the eastern half of the Arth continent revived the monarchy ruling system, creating three separate kingdoms.

The Arabas Kingdom was one of those three kingdoms.

"So you're saying that Modune is being supported by the Arabas Kingdom," Kang Oh said.

"Yes. But he hasn't received a large amount of support," Grano replied.

"Why is that?" Kang Oh asked.

"The Bariton Desert is a neutral region. If the Arabas Kingdom sends a large amount of troops here, then the Delas or Baiyan Kingdoms won't just stand idly by."

The Delas and Baiyan Kingdoms were, like the Arabas Kingdom, kingdoms located in the east.

Following the people's revolution, these kingdoms hadn't engaged in significant conflict.

However, if one of these three kingdoms did as they pleased or tried to increase their power, then the other two kingdoms wouldn't just stand by and watch.

"Then how many of his subordinates did Modune bring from Arabas?" Kang Oh asked.

"Less than 150," Grano replied.

"Is that information trustworthy?" Kang Oh asked.

It was important to know one's enemy, but it was more important for this information to be correct.

Incorrect information could cause disaster after all.

"You can't be self-sufficient in the desert. That's why people either buy or steal goods. However, they haven't stolen any goods. If they had, then rumors would have spread by now. This means that they've bought their goods. When I asked a merchant I know, he told me that a group had bought a large quantity of food and water recently," Grano said.

"Must be Modune's group," Kang Oh said.

"Probably, since the merchants told me that they hadn't seen them before. Only Modune and his subordinates could have bought all those goods, considering the fact that the merchants didn’t recognize them."

"So you're saying that the amount that they bought is only good for 150 people?"

Grano nodded his head.

"Hmm. What kind of guys are they..."

They knew how many of them there were. However, they couldn't begin to assume what their strength or level was.

"The desert is smaller than you think, so we'll find the information we seek soon enough," Grano said.

He was a native of the Bariton Desert. Therefore, he had quite the effective information network.

Grano's information network would surely draw in some more detailed information on Modune's group.

"I understand. Then... Shall we talk about the hidden oasis now?"

The hidden oasis, which was rumored to contain a vast amount of treasure.

Where exactly was it located?

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