Unlike the initial expectation that this was going to be a tough fight, the battle ended too quickly. It was anti-climatic.
Lee Jung-Yup and Jang Ho, the two of the warriors from the Order betrayed their own group. The battle ended not with a bang but with a whimper because the warriors from the Order panicked and were not able to show off their real skills.
Also, with the playing field evened by Lee Jung-Yup and Jang Ho’s betrayal, there was a slight difference in overall combat potentials between the two sides. With the overwhelming advantage in number now gone, the Order’s warriors no longer had any hope of survival.
“Lee Jung-Yup, you bastard!”
Lee Jung-Yup cut down the head of the last warrior who was defiant to the end. Lee Jung-Yup now looked at Vulcan.
Vulcan too faced Lee Jung-Yup with a hardened face. Vulcan was still not letting his guard down against Lee Jung-Yup.
“Just what are you scheming?”
“It would not feel right to explain it here. First, why don’t we go somewhere else?”
Lee Jung-Yup used his energy technique and erased all dead bodies and gave Jang Ho a signal with his gaze. Looking Lee Jung-Yup and Jang Ho starting to move immediately, Dokgo Hoo asked,
“What are you going to do?”
“… For now, let’s follow them.”
“I also would like to do that. This place is no longer safe.”
Dokgo Hoo put Jake on his shoulders as soon as Jake finished his words. Looking at Dokgo Hoo quickly following Lee Jung-Yup, Vulcan also activated his spirit form.
‘It doesn’t look like he is taking this easy. Well, actually, he takes everything very seriously all the time, doesn't he?’
After several hours of traveling, the group finally reached the destination.
It was an empty place with almost no monsters or people, but when Lee Jung-Yup pushed a boulder away, an underground pathway, where a person could barely go through, revealed itself.
“Let’s talk after we go in.”
As Vulcan watched Lee Jung-Yup and Jang Ho go right into the pathway, he cast a Hellfire. Using the light from the Hellfire, Vulcan thoroughly examined the pathway for dangers. Afterwards, still with his guard up, he carefully entered the pathway.
Once he entered inside, an empty space appeared. Besides a few unidentified bag sacks and boxes, there was nothing in the room.
Lee Jung-Yup started to talk.
“This place is not known to anyone, so we will be able to have a calm conversation here.”
“Calm? Cut the bullcrap and just start with the main point.”
Lee Jung-Yup shook his head as he watched Dokgo Hoo growl.
“I’m several hundred years older then you two, yet you guys are not showing any sign of respect.”
“Stop playing around with words. I have many questions, but I’ll ask this one first.”
Having heard Vulcan, Lee Jung-Yup nodded.
“Both the Denomination and the Order, did they decide to make enemies out of us?”
“That’s right. In exchange for a compensation, Bellon agreed to ignore the Order’s attempt at your life.”
“With what you have done, it would be the same as you and this… Jang Ho betraying the Order.”
“That’s also correct.”
“No matter how I think about it, I’m not getting this. There probably isn’t any benefit you could reap from siding with me and Dokgo Hoo.”
With his facial expression hardened, Vulcan asked seriously,
“So why? Do you have a reason to help us?”
Vulcan didn’t like Lee Jung-Yup. Of course, he didn’t trust him either.
Lee Jung-Yup was always acting and doing things as he pleased. Also, he was known to people for his whimsical character. Vulcan didn’t like any of that about Lee Jung-Yup. Also, the first impression that Lee Jung-Yup made during the fight against the Players Alliance wasn’t all that great to begin with.
So, in summary, Vulcan had a strong impression about Lee Jung-Yup as a bastard who could not be trusted.
Because of this, what Vulcan was going to do about Lee Jung-Yup depended on the trustworthiness of what he was about to say.
‘I also have to think about the possibility of a fight breaking out here.’
Lee Jung-Yup wiped off the usual mellow expression from his face and looked at Vulcan. With a serious face, Lee Jung-Yup said to Vulcan,
“I plan to kill the lord of the Order of Virtue.”
“And I think the most suitable card for that is you.”
As if Vulcan never thought he would be hearing something like that from Lee Jung-Yup, Vulcan’s face was getting saturated with a shock.
Jake was surprised just the same. However, he soon started to murmur as if it made sense to him,
“Is that so? In that case, that explains the reason why they are helping you guys.”
“That explains it?”
“Can you imagine how many grudges Ho-Gyeong must have bought over the past several hundred years? Even recently, occasionally, there were assassination attempts or challenges for a duel to the death. The problem was that they were like trying to shatter a boulder with eggs.”
“That guy is a senior officer in the Order. Someone like him doesn’t have a reason to betray the Order, don’t you think?”
“I don’t know about something like that.”
With his face completely crumpled, Vulcan tossed a question to Jake,
“Let’s just assume for now that he does want to kill the Order’s lord. Still, don’t you think this doesn’t make any sense? He has no reason to go so far as taking on such a risk just to help us.”
“It doesn’t make sense to you? Why not? If you think about it in the long term perspective, you and Dokgo Hoo are only warriors with the potential to rise above Ho-Gyeong.”
“You think that’s all it’s going to take? Even if I went past level 550, I can’t fight all of the Order.”
Lee Jung-Yup interjected,
“Do you remember what I said before? Murim is about the pride of being the strongest. If someone challenges for a duel to settle a grudge, Ho-Gyeong cannot bring his entire organization. If you shout out your challenge in front of everyone in the Plaza, he will have no choice but to accept it.”
After looking at Lee Jung-Yup who interjected, still not convinced, Vulcan objected,
“Since I’m the one getting help from you, I shouldn’t be the one to criticize, but your plan has too many holes all over. First of all, I find it laughable that you think I’ll most certainly want to kill the Order of Virtue’s lord.”
“Why is it laughable? You and the Order have gone to the point where co-existence is no longer possible. Even the Denomination ignored the Order’s attempt at your life. For you, in order to go past Act 1 safely, the only way is killing the Order of Virtue’s lord.”
“Fine. Let’s assume that’s the case, but your plan is still too weak. To start with, I find it strange that you are going about this by counting 100% on me and Dokgo Hoo. Also, it’s not like I’m stronger than Ho-Gyeong at the moment. What you are doing now is no different from someone betting all of your life savings to two lottery tickets and hoping for a big score.”
“If I were you, I would have either tried to side with Bellon and work hard to fight the Order, or, if even that’s too hard, I would have just waited until a more certain opportunity came.”
“If I did, you would have been dead by now.”
“What I’m saying is, I cannot trust you.”
“It doesn’t matter if you can or cannot trust me. I’m greatly satisfied with just the fact that you and Ho-Gyeong are enemies. Also, I was certain about you two for a long time.”
Lee Jung-Yup continued as he pointed at Vulcan and Dokgo Hoo,
“You two are not the type of people who would stay in Act 1. In 10 years, and especially you, Vulcan, in five years, you will grow stronger to the point that you will be able to squash Ho-Gyeong and Bellon. It’s something I cannot do.”
What Lee Jung-Yup just said was an utterance with his pride as a Murim warrior thrown away. Lee Jung-Yup continued as he faced Vulcan and Dokgo Hoo who stared at him with uncomfortable faces,
“You probably don’t know things very well because it has not even been a year since you came out of the training under Filder, but killing Ho-Gyeong by stirring up a war between the factions is simply impossible. Both Bellon and Ho-Gyeong are the type of people who have absolutely no intention of fighting. So, in the end, besides challenging him for a duel, there is no other answer.”
“For this reason, I trained with everything I had. I trained diligently to the point of almost never letting go of my sword, and I was able to get this far with luck.”
Having said this far, Lee Jung-Yup made a self-conscious smile.
“However, this is the end of my limit. Instead of standing around in front of a wall that I can’t break no matter how many times I beat on it, it occurred to me that it would be far better to invest on you two who are like lotteries with very high likelihood of big scores.”
“It seems like you have more faith in me than I do.”
“I have struggled to live in Act 1 for several hundred years. I can at least tell if someone is going to become just an ordinary resident of the Act 1 or talented enough to break the hardened balance of this place and even make it big in the Act 2.”
“I think it is a blessing that there are bad bloods between you two and the Order. All people that have grudges against Ho-Gyeong, including myself, are betting everything they have on you and Dokgo Hoo.”
Vulcan looked around.
There was Dokgo Hoo with a generally dissatisfied expression on his face that said he is not liking the situation, Jang Ho who just listened to Lee Jung-Yup’s words without any change in emotions, and finally Jake who looked like he was being empathetic toward Lee Jung-Yup’s words.
Noticing Vulcan’s gaze, Jake added,
“To some extent, I can understand what Lee Jung-Yup’s saying. It makes some sense to me.”
“It had been just over three years since you two came to Beloong City, so you guys probably don’t know very well. I can say without any reservation that it is impossible to strike down Bellon or Ho-Gyeong by a normal method. The only possibility is borrowing the abnormal talents of people like you guys, the graduates in training, which may or may not happen in a hundred years… However, up until now, such people have never been in bad terms with the factions.”
“Are you saying none of the graduates in training had any troubles?”
“At least they were nothing unbearable like smacking the back of Ho-Gwang.”
After a sigh, Vulcan brought his hand toward his forehead and fell in to a deep thought.
‘Ho-Gyeong, you son of bitch. Bellon, you dirty bastard.’
In his mind, Vulcan was ripping them apart into million pieces.
As for Dokgo Hoo, just thinking about such was not going to be the end. He endlessly poured out swears and curses that one could possibly load on the mouth. Even Jang Ho, who was keeping his undisturbed composure until now, was cringing his face from all the swearing.
Vulcan said to Lee Jung-Yup,
“… So, now that you helped us, you are not planning on making this as the last time, right?”
“Of course not. In this situation, I’m on the same boat as you guys. I promise to actively provide you with support.”
“I’ll ask for three things. First, provide me with a safe hunting ground so I can stay hidden from Ho-Gyeong and Bellon.”
“As for that, I already have prepared a place. I am confident that it is a perfect place for you, a Player.”
“Second, make the political environment into such that Ho-Gyeong cannot avoid the duel to the death.”
“You don’t know warriors from Murim do you? In this situation, if he was going to refuse the duel to the death, he would probably kill himself first.”
“Also, I'll need both of your martial arts sealed.”
Lee Jung-Yup and Jang-Ho’s faces hardened.
As for Vulcan, noticing their faces, Vulcan’s mood improved substantially.
Until now, Vulcan was not liking Lee Jung-Yup for always looking leisurely and being full of confidence. Getting to see him panic made Vulcan’s inside feel refreshed.
“It looks like you don’t trust me?”
“Of course I don’t. After everything that has happened, now I really can’t trust anyone in Beloong City. Anyway, if your plan is to rely entirely on me or Dokgo Hoo from now on, you probably won’t be needing your powers. Big brother, you can seal their martial arts by pressure point suppression technique, right?”
“Of course. I’m going to say no to being backstabbed by bastards I don’t even know.”
Looking at Dokgo Hoo, who looked like he could get up and seal their arts immediately, Lee Jung-Yup cringed. However, he regained composure and accepted Vulcan’s proposal.
“Fine. Do as you wish.”
“… I didn’t think you would accept it so willingly.”
“Think of it as an expression of our will and intent, that we are putting everything we have on you two. Once we provide you two with the training ground, it would be true that neither of us have any use for our martial arts. However…”
With strength in his eyes, Lee Jung-Yup added,
“This is a gamble where I’m also risking my own life. I hope you will do your absolute best in order to reach new heights so you would be certain to end Ho-Gyeong.”
“… I will.”
Looking at Lee Jung-Yup’s determined face, Vulcan answered.
The hunting round that Lee Jung-Yup spoke of was just below the basement. Once they cleaned up the bag sacks, there was a staircase leading below.
When they walked for about a minute, above an alter made of bones, there was a red portal wavering that looked similar to what Vulcan have seen before.
As if they were trying to insist that the place is not dangerous, Lee Jung-Yup and Jang-Ho, who had their martial arts sealed through the pressure point suppression, went in first. Following them, Vulcan and the rest entered the portal.
There was a message that came up.
[A Quest Generated!]
[Hidden Quest – Defeat Muruolla the Death Knight, the Boss Monster of the Cursed Underground Graveyard]
[Difficulty – C+ (Asgard Standard)]
[Reward – Select one from Skill or Item]
Single-handedly Defeat Muruolla the Death Knight, the ruler of the cursed underground graveyard hidden in the Beloong City’s north gate field.
*Level Limit for the Boss’s Room – 450Lv (490Lv Recommended)
*If you get swept in and overwhelmed by their highly skilled swordsmanship, you could end up only defending against their attacks until you lose your life.
Vulcan and Jake exchanged gazes.
It was a hidden quest!
Since there was a special place in the south gate field, it was not odd for there to be one in the north gate field as well, but they felt surreal now that they received the hidden quest in a situation they never anticipated.
“You guys are acting more surprised than I expected when you guys don’t even know what kind of place this is?”
Lee Jung-Yup, who didn’t know that Vulcan and Jake already received information through the quest notification, started to explain,
“Once you open that door made of bones and enter, monsters that Players would go crazy for will appear. Their abilities are perhaps around middle of the Zenith-Rate? There will be more of them as you go deeper into the place, so you will like it here. As for food… they are in the bag sacks and crates above, so don’t worry.”
“Ptt. I hate stupid monsters.”
“Do you want to have a duel instead? In that case, you will be able to have it if you release this pressure point suppression.”
Acting like he didn’t even hear what Lee Jung-Yup said, Dokgo Hoo turned his body away. Looking at Vulcan, Dokgo Hoo said,
“Little brother, for now, you take the inside for yourself. As for me, I’ll just train by meditation in the mean time.”
“Fine. It sure looks comfortable. Martial artists can train even if they just have a room.”
“What did you say you rascal? If I have a rotten luck, I’ll be training hard for nothing for 10 or 20 years! You are the bastard with a cheat-like ability called the SYSTEM, yet you dare to say such things?!”
“Ugh. At least you two have something to do. How did I get swept up in all this and end up trapped here…”
“… How about having a conversation with that man over there named Jang-Ho?”
After a bit of commotion subsided, Vulcan stood in front of the gate made of bones and took a deep breath.
‘It would be nice if there will be things I could gain from just like that time with the Cheetahmen’s hidden quest place.’
Simply leveling up was not the important part.
Vulcan had to reach new heights that will enable him to defeat Ho-Gyeong who was a powerful foe that could be considered more powerful than Sarantis.
The situation required Vulcan to break through a limit.
“Well, I always saw a way naturally as I did grunt works.”
In Rubel Continent, Filder’s training, and even in the Abandoned Dungeon, reaching new heights came naturally as he trained diligently.
Many have struggled and turned to despair after disproportionably small achievements from their hard work, but Vulcan have never experienced such.
‘If I really have talent… It wouldn’t stop here.’
Without hesitation, Vulcan promptly opened the gate.
Lighting the inside of the graveyard overflowing with ominous aura, Vulcan slowly walked toward the deeper side of the place.