With the sound of heavy breathing, the shoulders were moving up and down rapidly.
Including his forehead, his entire body was drenched in sweats. He had wounds here and there.
To say that he was a powerful Demi-god at level 930, he was in a seriously bad condition.
However, considering that he was standing at ‘Origin of Evil,’ the man should be applauded instead for maintaining this kind of condition.
There were two other Demi-gods who were standing pretty far from the center of the Origin of Evil. They were thinking the same thing.
Vulcan’s battle was intense like endless explosions of bomb storages buildings. The two Demi-gods were extremely impressed.
“He is really amazing.”
“I think such words are not enough to describe him. Now, he is practically the best in this region.”
“Hm. Only a hundred years ago, he was exhausted and faltering after slaying one demon. I remember those days well, yet… A Player really is amazing.”
“It is not that Players are amazing, but that Vulcan is amazing. Other Players are not even able to come up to the Act 2, right? Well, I heard that those other guys are human, not Demi-gods, but…”
“That’s true. I see I unintentionally spoke ill of Vulcan’s hard work. Haha.”
Armed with a sturdy shield and a long spear, Clutus laughed out loudly.
He was a powerful Demi-god who trained in the art of spear techniques that he learned from his father. He trained for almost a thousand years now. Even in Origin of Evil, a hunting ground that was known to be the most treacherous of all in Act 2, he was considered one of the three most powerful beings.
He had thick blood of a powerful god flowing in his veins. He learned his arts from a god directly. Also, he had been restless in his efforts to reach greater heights. It was obvious why he could rise to be one of the strongest in Act 2.
However, even someone like Clutus was not confident about fighting against Vulcan now.
Like Powell, the God of War, Vulcan was slaughtering demons with ferocity. Watching him gave Clutus the chills.
‘I wonder which god’s son he is… Which powerful gods had black hair like him… I can’t think of one.’
Clutus didn’t know that Vulcan became a Demi-god from being a human through the SYSTEM. So, it was only natural for him to have such a question.
About 20 years ago, Clutus was so curious that he came to ask Vulcan directly. He asked, ‘Who is the great one who gave you the blood of god?’ However, Vulcan just smiled once and continued hunting.
‘Was he born from an affair? There is no need to hide it.’
Well, it was not all that important.
With someone of Vulcan’s potential, it was a certainty that he would rise to the ranks of godhood in no time.
‘Who’s son is he?’ This question mattered only when someone was a Demi-god. After reaching the godhood, it was a useless matter.
Vulcan finished hunting. He was slowly walking toward Clutus. Clutus opened his arms and greeted Vulcan.
“Welcome, my friend! You stopped sooner than the usual. Why did you in such an early hour?”
“What the, what are you two doing here?”
“Watching you fight is far more fun than most entertainment. It is thrilling too.”
Horius, the other Demi-god who was standing next to Clutus, said in response. Vulcan peeked a smile and washed his entire body with water magic. Vulcan plummeted on the ground and said,
“It’s been long enough. I should leave this place now.”
“What? You are the training maniac and the king of battles. Why are you…”
Horius expressed his questions.
However, Clutus had a different reaction to Vulcan’s words.
Having heard Vulcan, Clutus had a look on his face. It looked like he was in agreement. Clutus smiled lightly and said,
“It looks like you are planning on going to that place as well. Actually, I was going to go there. It would be odd if someone of your caliber didn’t go there.”
“There? Where are you talking about… Ah, has it already been 100 years? Well, I still have a long way to go, so I was not thinking about it.”
Horius instantly put up disappointed look on his face.
This meant that Horius had to say goodbye to two friends he became very close to. That saddened him.
However, it could not be helped.
He could not follow Vulcan and Clutus because he was still lacking in strength to go with them. It was his fault.
With sincerely disappointed look, Horius looked at Vulcan and said,
“I think there’s about ten days left. Are you planning on going already?”
“That’s right. Now, even if I slay the demons here, my level is not going up very well. Also… There isn’t much that I could gain here. Instead of spending the time meaninglessly, I plan to go there sooner and watch at least.”
“In that case, I’ll go with you. Let me at least be chat buddies along the way.”
Clutus took a step forward and said that. Vulcan nodded.
“Well, if you would like.”
“Hey, can’t you be a bit more friendly? We had known each other for 100 years here.”
“During that 100 years, didn’t you ignore me for 20 years?”
“Um, that is…”
Clutus was at a loss for words. He turned his gaze away.
Vulcan saw that Clutus didn’t know what to do. Watching him, Vulcan laughed inside.
‘As I thought, Demi-gods are way more innocent than humans. They are not so thick skinned either.’
Watching Clutus panicking, Vulcan thought about when he first came to the Origin of Evil.
Compared to the other hunting grounds that Vulcan went to before, the difficulty in the Origin of Evil was significantly higher.
Even when Vulcan fought with all of his strength, it was difficult to beat the demons here. They were that powerful. Also, the gazes from others were patronizing him as a newbie.
It felt like how it was when he first arrived at Act 1. While feeling that way, Vulcan continued the hunt.
The two Demi-gods in front of Vulcan, Clutus in particular, were one of the Demi-gods who had been looking down at him.
Of course, Clutus was not rude to Vulcan like human thugs. However, Clutus sometimes boasted his power and God-legend rate spear techniques that he inherited from his father. In the process, he tossed comments that seemed to indicate that he was looking down on Vulcan.
Of course, such attitude did not last long.
Vulcan was provoked by such treatments, and he grew stronger at terrifying rate.
He diligently leveled up. He became fully aware of his development by thorough examination of his internals. He tried all sorts of things to catch the moment of Enlightenment which could come without any notice at any time.
Like that, Vulcan never wasted even a second. Watching his efforts, the strong warriors of the Origin of Evil, including Clutus, started to acknowledge him. About 50 years later, everyone looked at Vulcan with shocked eyes.
They could not help it.
His unbelievable growth rate could not be compared to anyone else. The growth rate was unique to Vulcan only.
Like that, 80 years passed. By then, Vulcan was strong enough to be counted amongst the top five strongest at the Origin of Evil. Now, nobody at the hunting ground objected to the claim that Vulcan was the strongest among all.
Finally, the strongest beings in Act 2 called Demi-gods and Dragonians acknowledged Vulcan.
‘I think I won’t be needing much help from the Blue Dragon either. Although I think the bastards gave up on me now.’
Clutus was still hesitating around. Vulcan left him be and opened the inventory to see the inside.
Again, the inventory was full of Vitality Marbles.
However, now Vulcan didn’t have much use for them.
Vulcan was strong enough to not need to borrow the power of Yur Dong-bin.
It was no longer a simple matter of pride.
Vulcan was powerful enough to handle any ambush with a smile, even if it was someone like Fowaru.
‘So… I am more than qualified to go to the Final Trial.’
Vulcan had a look that was full of confidence.
With that proud attitude, Vulcan looked at Clutus and said,
“So, are you going to head out now?”
“Um. Since the topic came up, shall we get going now? I am also sick of this place. I am sorry for Horius, but I’m also beyond this place now.”
“Haha, I’m just joking, my friend.”
Horius huffed and puffed in exaggerated ways and approached Clutus. Horius pretended to punch Clutus in the pit of the stomach, and Clutus rolled on the ground with while making a noise as if he was gasping for air.
Looking at them, Vulcan laughed. Using telekinesis magic, he had Clutus stand up and then used the Thunder God’s Might.
“Well then, good bye, Horius. Clutus, let’s go right away since we are talking about it.”
“Oh my… It is hard to meet another who is more impatient than I. All right. Let’s go now.”
Clutus dusted off his butt and looked at Horius. Clutus said,
“Your Big Bro will be heading out first. When I return as a god, then you need to speak to me in honorary language.”
“Maybe Vulcan can become a god, but it might be too early for you to try.”
“Hey, I already can’t even see Vulcan. Why don’t you go follow him already?”
“Ah. I’m really going now! So long!”
Leaving a huge crater behind, Clutus flew away like a cannonball.
Covering above his eyes with his hand, Horius watched Clutus leaving. Horius muttered by himself,
“If it is those two, I’m sure they can get past the place with ease.”
* * *
In Act 2, if anyone asked for the field where the strongest monsters appeared, people usually picked two places to mention.
There was the Origin of Evil where the ancient demons appeared. There was also the Holy Temple of Dragons, the place where beings who inherited a part of the ancient dragons resided.
Instead of just talking about the fields, if they were to also talk about dungeons, then there was one more place that people could mention. This place’s difficulty was more horrendous than these other places.
The place had an official name, ‘Light inside Darkness.’ However, it was a place that everyone had to get through in order to clear the Act 2. So, the place was often called the ‘Final Trial.’
The place was full of greatest calamities that may never occur again in the world. It was a horrible place. However, in midst of all these difficulties, there were all sorts of devices prepared inside to stimulate Enlightenment. So, it could be said that all top-notch warriors of Act 2 were eager to enter this place.
However, a place so dangerous and important could not be open to just anyone.
So, the entrance to the Final Trial was allowed only after passing a simple test given by Honus, the younger brother of the Act 2’s Supreme Manager Hokulrus. That test was not given all the time either. It happened only once every 100 years.
“I heard that after about 100 years, some who had been inside the Trial give up and come out. We will be filling those empty spots.”
Clutus told Vulcan about things that he learned from his father.
Vulcan heard about this from Filder, so he was aware of this. However, Vulcan wondered if anything had changed since, so he stayed quiet and listened.
However, it seemed no big change had occurred. So, Vulcan haphazardly listened to Clutus’s explanation. Meanwhile, Vulcan was deep in useless thoughts of his own.
‘… Filder said he endured 1500 years in this place. As for Beruneru… he said he came out after just 90 years.’
Although Vulcan was full of confidence, he could not help himself but to worry. After all, that tough old man ran off from the place before even filling 100 years.
Of course, Vulcan now possessed strengthened equipment, advantage of being a Demi-god and the Blue Dragon’s Breath. Vulcan could say that he was significantly more powerful than Beruneru. However, still, it could not be helped that a corner of his mind was bothered by this.
Vulcan took a deep breath. He then tossed a question to Clutus.
“What’s Honus’s test? I heard there isn’t supposed to be any test.”
“What? Are you talking about 1500 years ago? In the past, that was the case, but gradually over time, bunch of rascals who do not know their places came to cause ruckus and asked to be let in. So, God Hokulus asked God Honus to only allow those who are worthy to enter.”
“So, I’m asking you what that test is.”
“About that, instead of hearing an explanation, it would be better to experience it… Um.”
Clutus stopped talking and stopped walking.
He looked serious when he looked at Vulcan.
Also with a hardened look on his face, Vulcan looked at Clutus and nodded.
“This must be the test.”
“Yes. This incredible pressure… Hm. It looks like others are feeling it too.”
After hearing what Clutus said, Vulcan looked around.
There were numerous other beings who were headed to the Final Trial with the same goal as Vulcan and Clutus.
They all crumpled their faced in unison and hesitated about going any further.
In fact, some started to take steps back. Some ran off and never looked back, which was embarrassing.
“Haha. Look at that. How embarrassing. No matter how fearful one gets, to think he would run away like that while throwing away his pride... He appears to be still lacking the abilities.”
Clutus put up an exaggerated laughter and pointed at the one who was running away.
Only a moment ago, he looked petrified. Now, the expression on his face and his movements were a lot smoother.
However, from how Vulcan saw them, they were not signs of being relaxed and having the nerves to spare. It looked like Clutus was just bluffing.
It seemed Clutus realized Vulcan was on to him. Clutus did a few rounds of fake coughs and put on embarrassed look on his face.
“That’s right. It is bothering me a little too.”
“I think this one will be definitely tough to get through.”
Clutus nodded and agreed to Vulcan’s words.
Vulcan retracted his gaze from Clutus and directed it at where the deadly aura was coming from. It was toward where the Final Trial was.
The energy was terrifying. It felt like tens of thousands of blades were stabbing his skin.
‘It must be that only those who could continue and reach the place will earn the right. This is tough.’
It was going to take the kind of courage it would take a person to place his face directly toward a needle that was slowly coming at one’s eye. In fact, it was more like leaning in the face while at it.
Except those who had toughened their bodies to the point of being counted among the top in the Act 2, others would never be able to close the remaining one kilometer to the Final Trial and just turn back.
Of course, the test was not so tough that it would bend Vulcan’s will.
Step after another step, Vulcan walked forward as if there was no problem.
Clutus watched the man for a while. Clutus shouted,
“Hey! Don’t go by yourself! Let’s go together!”
With his face crumpled, Clutus quickly caught up to Vulcan by walking faster.
While watching the two, a few others sighed and turned around to head back. Others gritted their teeth and moved forward one step at a time.
However, they could not surpass Vulcan and Clutus.