Chapter 97. Maroon Hill (1)

There were various trees in Maroon Hill, but most of them were maple trees. 

The maple trees would always be in full bloom regardless of the season. 

"Haht!"

"Yahp!"

Kang Oh and Asu were fighting against Nuo Bandits below a maple tree.

Nuo Bandits possessed red manes and pig faces like any other Nuo, but they also carried a log over their shoulder as thick as a man's thigh.

"Be careful. They use a skill called Suppression," Kang Oh said, kicking away one of the Nuo Bandits.

"What does Suppression do?" she asked after dodging a log.

"Suppression increases the power and speed of a downward blow."

"Ok!" Asu replied strongly and swung her sword.

Whack!

She struck a log with her sword.

Then, the Nuo Bandit withdrew its log and swung downwards.

Suppression!

A black haze rose from the log.

"Careful. That's Suppression!"

Asu quickly turned her body to the side.

Whoosh.

Thump!

The thick log hit the floor, forming a crater the size of Asu's head.

"Take this!"

Asu thrust her sword.

Honorable Strike!

Swish, stab!

As a result, white feathers (a byproduct of the skill) and shards of light mixed together, and flew through the air. 

Kang Oh finished off his own Nuo Bandit and approached Asu's side.

Then, the two of them fought Asu's Nuo Bandit together.

Whenever Kang Oh aimed for the monster's upper body, Asu would aim for its lower body, and vice versa. 

They worked together well. 

A short while later, the Nuo Bandits fell one by one. 

"As expected, you gain levels quickly when there's such a huge level difference."

Asu smiled.

"You're on the fast side. But... the problem's proficiency. It goes up at a snail's pace," Kang Oh said.

Asu nodded her head.

"That's true. Although Knight's Vow was the first skill I learned, it'll still be a while before it reaches the intermediate level."

"Let's keep going."

"Ok!"

Kang Oh and Asu headed for the summit.

* * *

Nuo Hunters appeared next; they were Nuos that threw snares and walked around with hunting dogs.

A short while later...

Whack!

Kang Oh's sword felled a Nuo Hunter, while Asu had managed to kill its hunting dog.

After that, they killed a variety of different Nuos.

There were Nuo Lumberjacks, Nuo Mages, as well as Nuo Leaders! The lumberjacks carried around rusty axes, the mages could cast basic earth spells, and the leaders walked around with three of their minions.

They kept going on like that, and eventually their surroundings changed.

 Kang Oh and Asu came to a rocky area.

"Huh? That's..."

Asu pointed at a certain direction.

Grr...

Hyenas appeared atop various sizes of rocks.

The hyenas were adorned with a red, maple leaf-shaped pattern.

"They're called Red Hyenas. They're also called Maple Leaf Dogs. Although they're the same level as the Nuos (level 100), they're more violent and aggressive," Kang Oh explained to her.

Bark!

Five hyenas jumped off the rocks. They were headed straight for Kang Oh and Asu!

Kang Oh swung his sword diagonally. 

Whack!

One of the hyenas fell. However, there were still a lot of them left. 

Two of the hyenas tried biting Kang Oh’s neck and leg with their teeth. 

"Not happening!"

Kang Oh swung his sword in a wide arc, hitting the hyenas one by one.

Bam! Bam!

2 birds with 1 stone!

"Hahp!"

Asu fought desperately against two of the hyenas.

First, she increased her offense and defense with Knight's Vow, and then followed it up with a new skill.

Vital Thrust!

Vital Thrust temporarily marks an opponent's weakness. If struck, then the resulting attack will not only be a critical hit, but will inflict additional damage as well.  

Asu stabbed a vital, resulting in several orange shards falling from the hyena’s body. 

'Oh.'

He slightly admired the sight.

Vital Thrust was a difficult skill to use because it required the player to strike a vital that only appeared for a split second. 

But Asu was able to do it!

'She's got good senses.'

Kang Oh nodded his head and then re-focused on the battle.

One of the hyenas rushed over to him. 

Slash!

Upon slashing its stomach, a long wound appeared on top of it.

Kang Oh punched the wound with his offhand.

Whack!

Whimper!

The hyena fell, and red shards of light spilled out of its body. 

Kang Oh pushed into their ranks like an enraged beast and ferociously swung his sword.

Bam! Bam! Bam!

Whimper!

* * *

Kang Oh's assessment of the Red Hyenas was as follows:

'They're stronger than wolves, but weaker than tigers.'

That's exactly where they stood.

If his abilities weren't halved by the Sabra's Contract, then he would be able to kill them in four or five blows.

'It'd be even easier with Eder's Cursed Ground's Domain.'

However, he couldn't use his abilities at their fullest right now, and Eder wasn't present either.

Therefore, it took longer than he'd expected to pass through the rocky area, which was the hyenas' domain.

"Oh, it's a forest area again," she said, looking forward.

There were Red Hyena corpses strewn on the floor behind her.

"We're almost there," Kang Oh said.

They’d reach the summit if they just passed the forest area ahead. 

"I heard the view at the top is beautiful."

"Yeah. Look forward to it."

Kang Oh had never actually seen the rainbow sunset; allegedly, it could only be seen at the top of the hill. He’d only seen videos of it on Arthtory. 

Despite that, he knew how beautiful the view was. It should look even better in person. 

"Ok. Let's keep going!"

She pushed a fist forward and advanced. That’s what she tried to do at least… 

Kang Oh grabbed her arm.

"Wait a sec."

"What's wrong?"

"Don't you hear that?"

Kang Oh focused on his hearing. Asu put a hand to her ear and listened to her surroundings.

Swish. Swish. Swish.

It sounded as though something was sweeping through the leaves. 

"It sounds like something is getting swept."

It wasn't the sound of wind blowing on the leaves; it sounded much heavier than that.

"This... No way."

Kang Oh thought back to what he already knew regarding Maroon Hill. 

'Maroon Hill's boss roams around the area freely.'

"Let's head towards the source of the sound."

"Ok."

They were supposed to go straight, but they headed for the forest to the side instead.

Swish. Swish. Swish.

The sound only got clearer.

"What is that?"

There was a red 'something' between the grass and trees.

"That's Maroon Hill's boss monster!"

At that moment, he received a system message.


[You have discovered the Red Centipede, Tomone.]


The centipede was more than 5 meters long, and possessed a red body and long legs shaped like twigs. It had too many legs to even begin counting. 

It was Maroon Hill's final boss, the Red Centipede, Tomone!

"The best part of a dungeon is its boss."

Kang Oh grinned.

"Please tell me about the boss."

Asu looked quite assertive.

"Mm. It's not a tough boss. It spews poisonous venom from its mouth, and it has sharp, awl-like stingers at the ends of its legs," Kang Oh explained the boss's features step-by-step.

"Every single one of those legs has a stinger on it?"

"Yeah. Just focus on dealing damage while avoiding its venom and stingers."

"What about the second phase?" she asked doe-eyed.

"It'll bury into the ground, pop out from below you, and attack. When it surfaces, attack it with everything you got."

"It doesn't have a 3rd phase?"

"Nope. But when it drops below 10% HP, it'll go berserk."

"Anything else?"

"I've told you everything I know."

"Understood."

"I'll attack from the front, so you attack from the rear or the side."

"Ok!"

"Let's go."

Kang Oh and Asu both dashed towards Tomone.

He made the first move.

"Huahp!"

He swung his demon sword.

Swish.

His jet-black blade struck the centipede's red shell.

Bam!

His pre-emptive strike was a success, as evidenced by the explosion of red shards of light. 

Tomone counterattacked immediately.

Kyaahk!

It spewed out venom as thick and red as blood. It was aiming for Kang Oh, as he’d just attacked it!

"Eek."

Kang Oh quickly hid behind a tree.

Spurt! 

The red venom struck the tree he was hiding behind.

Hiss!

Black smoke rose from the trunk of the tree.

'It's quite potent.'

Kang Oh's eyes gleamed.

Kyaah!

Realizing its venom had failed, it tackled the tree with its body. It reminded him of a train with malfunctioning breaks.

Kang Oh left the safety of the tree and met Tomone face-to-face.

Kuang!

He used Baramut's Roar.

Arise, spirit of a tiger!

Then, he swung downwards, imbued with the power of a tiger.

Tempest Tiger!

The golden aura dashed between the maple trees.

Bang!

The Tempest Tiger struck Tomone head on.

It was like two trains that smashed into each other face-to-face. The collision resulted in a dust cloud and resulted in a loud ‘bang’. 

Whoosh.

Tempest Tiger was followed by wind, sweeping away the dust. 

But because Kang Oh's power was halved, the wind wasn't powerful enough to deal any real damage. 

Kang Oh assessed Tomone's condition.

It was staggering due to Tempest Tiger.

'This is my chance!'

Kang Oh dashed straight for it. 

"Huahp."

He leaped into the air and swung downwards.

Whoosh!

The air was cleaved in two! Not only that, but a jet-black wave followed the course of his blade. 

Darkness Strike!

Seemingly realizing the power of Kang Oh’s attack, Tomone raised his head and quickly moved its legs. 

Bang!

Kang Oh's sword barely missed and embedded itself into the ground. Dirt spread everywhere.

Kya!

Tomone spewed venom once more as if it were telling him not to approach.

Kang Oh rolled onto the floor. The venom passed right where his head had once been.

"Stop doing that!"

Kang Oh quickly stood up and swung diagonally.

Slash!

Tomone counterattacked with the sharp stingers on its legs.

Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!

Its stingers must've been made of metal, as it would emit a metallic ‘clang’ whenever they clashed.

"Haht!"

He swung forcefully, so much so that it felt like his muscles would burst. 

Whoosh!

The powerful blow pushed its legs away.

'An opening!'

His Hyper Intuition had identified a weakness. Kang Oh got into position and thrust at the vital.  

Stab!

Red shards of light flew into the air. 

Kyaa!

Tomone shrieked and wildly head-butted him.

Kang Oh hid behind a tree once more.

Thump!

Upon contact, the tree splintered like sorghum straws.

But because of the wood flying about, Tomone briefly lost sight of Kang Oh.

"Die!"

Kang Oh suddenly reappeared beside Tomone and swung upwards. 

Whack!

His attack resulted in a heavy ‘whack’ and made his hands tingle.

"Let's do this!"

Kang Oh repeatedly swung his sword and pressed his offensive.

Of course, Kang Oh wasn't just struggling alone while Asu did nothing.

She was fighting off the centipede's tail. 

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