The destructive sound was so loud that Vulcan was having a hard time believing that it resulted from a clash between his blade and Master Gang-shi’s hand.
What was even more incredible was that Master Gang-shi’s hand withstood Thunder God Blade. Neither poisonous or blood Gang-shis showed toughness that overcame the Thunder God Blade.
It was as if Master Gang-shi was trying to tell Vulcan that it was at a whole another caliber.
Through Vulcan’s hand, the lightning went around his entire body and then got dispersed to the ground. However, shock of this magnitude did not deal any damage to Master Gang-shi.
It quickly used the other hand and tried to stab Vulcan.
Pressured by the flow of the battle in Master Gang-shi’s favor, Vulcan retreated to a distance.
Vulcan thought it would chase right after him. However, Master Gang-shi quietly stayed where it was.
It raised its right hand edge and brought it to the front of its eyes.
It said as if it was surprised.
- You managed to scratch my body.
- For that, your reward will be death.
“Such a cliché line!”
Vulcan belittled Master Gang-shi for its line sounding like a typical villain.
In response to Vulcan’s words, Master Gang-shi approached Vulcan at an unbelievable speed.
It was comparable to land-fold technique that the Blue Dragon demonstrated on the west island. Vulcan panicked.
‘What a speed!’
It was the result of Master Gang-shi’s incredible physical specs and Thousand-miles technique it used to use in its days of living. The two resulted in a boost in the effectiveness of the technique, allowing the Master Gang-shi to charge in at a fearsome speed. However, Vulcan had no way of knowing this.
Master Gang-shi’s hand movements were pure speed and violence.
Its hand attacks were like performing swordsmanship moves with just the hand. It felt like Vulcan could almost mistake the nearby space was disappearing every time he dodged it. It was that violent.
Vulcan’s face looked pale. He couldn’t dare to fight it head on, and he was only busy taking back steps.
- Taste the Emperor Blade Art… of the Great Nam-gung warrior clan…
‘Damn it. That runt has the moment to spare for speeches while attacking.’
Using both magic and blade, Vulcan dulled Master Gang-shi’s attacks as much as possible. Using the lightning dragon step to the maximum, Vulcan dodged the dulled attacks.
Despite that, Vulcan barely dodged them by a hair.
For the first time in Vulcan’s life, he was facing an opponent that overwhelmed him in speed.
‘There were times where I was overwhelmed due to numbers, but… to think I’m getting overwhelmed on-sided like this on a one-to-one battle!’
It was hurting Vulcan’s pride.
His face completely crumpled as if he was being belittled by his sworn enemy. The sense of defeat was making Vulcan overcome with fury.
Vulcan wanted to shove the Thunder God Blade to the Master Gang-shi’s mask-like emotionless face.
However, the situation was gradually turning worse for Vulcan.
While fighting against the blood Gang-shis, Vulcan mastered variety of techniques and fine control of magic. He also mastered instant Thunder God Blade to minimize waste on mana.
Vulcan had utilized all of them, however, little by little, Vulcan was losing here and there.
Actually, the difference in their strengths was not so much that Vulcan should be losing so badly like this.
Quite literally, the difference was only paper thin.
However, unlike the usual, Vulcan was losing from the start, and that led to this situation.
‘It was getting tangled up from the start…’
The magic attacks that Vulcan prepared before the battle, which he prepared to make the fight easier, were wasted. Also, Vulcan became hesitant after seeing Master Gang-shi demonstrating speed that far exceeded his expectation. Finally, Master Gang-shi’s evil aura was filling the surrounding, and it was psychologically bringing down Vulcan.
To Vulcan, whose best abilities were his wild lightning and explosive flame powers, this fact was becoming a big huddle in the battle. After having exchanged about 300 blows against the Master Gang-shi, Vulcan finally realized his mistake.
Self-hatred rushed toward Vulcan. It was enough to make his body shake. However, the situation was no longer on his side. Like a sand castle that washed away little by little, Vulcan was crumbling slowly.
‘Kuuk… I can’t lose one-sidedly like this. Is there something I can do to turn the tide…’
Vulcan thought hard.
However, perhaps because he was too deep in his thoughts, Vulcan ended up with a long injury on his waist from Master Gang-shi’s attack.
Vulcan’s gaze met with Master Gang-shi’s eyes again. The one thing different about it this time was that the Master Gang-shi broke its emotionless face and was smiling lightly.
Its gaze was that of someone who was looking down at the opponent that was destined to lose.
At that moment, the hot-blooded side inside Vulcan, which was sitting deep inside Vulcan’s consciousness, woke up.
“This sonuva bitch!”
Although the Master Gang-shi was facing a fighting spirit that changed all of sudden, the look on its face seemed it still had a lot to spare.
Vulcan looked infuriated and had lost his mind.
It was something that the Master Gang-shi had seen many times in its past.
Countless warriors that it faced in its past life have done the same just before they lost their lives from being overwhelmed. They charged at it while ignoring everything.
However, fighting warriors who lost their calm was easier than handling a stupid boar.
After finishing them with greater ease than before, it used to clean the blood-soaked blade on their dead bodies.
Nam-gung Jae-hyuk, the Master Gang-shi, was thinking the same was happening at this moment. The smile on its face thickened.
Vulcan demonstrated destructive power and speed that was incomparable to before. Master Gang-shi had no choice but to erase the leisurely smile from the face.
Although Vulcan was injured, he was pouring out blade techniques and magic that were significantly more powerful and faster.
Master Gang-shi had panicked look on his face for the first time since the battle begun.
It seemed Vulcan was going to throw everything he had.
Usually, when an opponent acted carelessly like this, bad habits surfaced or the opponent used an inefficient move out of anger. Usually, those lead to making the fight easier.
However, Vulcan’s moves were not like that.
He was wild and quick like an injured monster. However, he did not lose precision.
Vulcan was sufficiently utilizing the explosiveness from his fury, and at the same time, Vulcan did not lose the things he have trained for and learned until now. With that, the one-sided battle found balance.
- Kuuuurrraaaa! Unforgivable! I’ll kill you!
- I’ll slaughter all children of gods!
Of course, that did not mean Vulcan was now completely overwhelming Master Gang-shi. It merely evened out the difference that was created from Vulcan shriveling during the start of the battle. They were still evenly matched.
Master Gang-shi was superior in close combat.
Vulcan was taking steps back, but that was all. When it came to swordsmanship, Vulcan was definitely lacking in comparison.
However, swordsmanship was not the only thing that Vulcan had. He was capable of firing several tens or hundreds of magic attacks like a storm. They were enough to limit Master Gang-shi’s movements.
The battle was tight. It seemed even a slight mistake would be enough to decide the battle.
However, both sides demonstrated peak concentrations. Neither side showed any gaps.
Like that, a thousand strikes… and going over a thousand and five hundred strikes… The drawn out battle continued.
It seemed the two monsters were going to keep this up even after three days and nights.
However, there was no such thing as an endless battle. In the end, the victor was decided.
- To think I would be defeated… Again, against the filthy kin of gods… this…
“Ugh… Ugh… I would love to hear… ugh… about your circumstances…. But… Kuuhuk… I’m busy, so… Phew…”
Vulcan was breathing hard.
His entire body was painted in blood from Master Gang-shi’s attacks.
Vulcan’s armors were also in pieces, so he was practically without any.
Only the Heavenly Lightning Blade, which had indestructible attribute, maintained its original form.
Still, Vulcan’s state was better than Master Gang-shi, who was collapsed on the floor with its hands destroyed.
Vulcan calmed his breathing for a while longer and said in a low voice,
“… Now, I’ll send you. Although you will be regenerated.”
Vulcan poured in all of his remaining strength in to the Thunder God Blade technique, and it struck down the neck of Nam-gung Jae-Hyuk, the Master Gang-shi, which was now disarmed.
[Your experience points went up.]
[You defeated a foe that is significantly more powerful than you!]
[You achieved an exploit!]
[Your exploit points went up.]
[Hidden Quest – Eradicate Master Gang-shi, the boss monster of the ancient Gang-shi factory. Cleared!]
[Please select your reward.]
Quite literally, Vulcan won by a hair difference.
Vulcan’s mana could have been depleted first or Master Gang-shi’s hands, which can be considered its blades, could have been destroyed first.
Fortunately, the goddess of victory raised Vulcan’s hand. However, if anything went wrong, the situation could have warranted Vulcan’s defeat.
‘If I was not used to instantly casting Thunder God Blade, I would have lost this battle no matter how many bottles of mana potions I chugged.’
Of course, if that happened, Vulcan would have retreated and used Kina Kina.
Vulcan felt proud to have defeated the Master Gang-shi without relying on it.
“Phew… Anyway, it is done. I cleared the first hidden quest in Act 2!”
Vulcan collapsed on the floor with all of his arms and legs stretched out.
With the tension now gone, the sense of exhaustion rushed at Vulcan. It was enough to make him unable to stand.
However, Vulcan couldn’t ignore the notification window that said he needed to choose a reward.
Vulcan’s eyes were closing on their own, but he forced them open and looked at the list.
Without hesitation, he picked a skill book.
[Legendary Skill – Gang-shi Armor (Master Rank)]
[Level Limit: 500Lv]
Pure strengthening technique that had the blood priest’s foul methods eliminated. You get to have the tough and sturdy body that is unique to Gang-shis. There could be side effects depending on the rank of the skill book.
Significantly boosts the body’s defense and magic resistance.
Poison rank – Stiff body, severe stench, hideous appearance
Blood rank – Severe stench, hideous appearance
Master rank – Smooth skin
*Has synergy effect if you have Iron-body technique.
It was an obvious choice.
Other rewards were so-so grand armors and weapons.
In comparison to Gang-shi Armor, they couldn’t even hold a candle.
Moreover, the description said there will be synergy effect for having Iron-body technique. Vulcan was too curious about it not to choose this.
‘Of course, I would have never chose it if it was Poison or Blood ranks.’
The Master rank had no negative side effects, so it was irrelevant.
As soon as he chose the reward, he obtained the skill. Vulcan realized that his body became substantially sturdier than before.
It felt like his muscles and bones were mixed with liquefied iron. They felt tough and hard.
Feeling the sturdiness, Vulcan smiled, but then he heard a notification.
[Your Iron-body technique’s mastery went up from A to S.]
‘So it was this. It is not bad.’
After achieving S rank on dodging and SS rank on lightning, Vulcan had not been getting hit as often, so the mastery rank for the Iron-body technique had not been rising easily since.
Now, its rank went up to S in an instant.
Vulcan was in desperate need for its rank to rise because monsters he was fighting nowadays were at higher levels and he was getting hit a lot unlike before.
Satisfied, Vulcan terminated the notification window and rolled on the floor.
Roll roll roll…
It was to go and get the item that was dropped from defeating Master Gang-shi. Vulcan was too lazy to walk over there.
Vulcan had been diligently training for years. This kind of laziness was hard to see from Vulcan under normal circumstances. However, he was extremely tired, so it could not be helped.
However, there was an item in plain sight for Vulcan to see that made even him at his current lazy state to get a grip in a flash.
Vulcan grabbed it and got up immediately.
It was a precious stone with red tint that was about the size of a fist.
It was the very thing that the few successful gamers praised as the greatest beauty in game and many unsuccessful gamers poured out insults to the management and accused them of tricking the probability over.
Vulcan’s voice echoed through the circular stone room.
His voice was filled with surprise and joy.
It was obvious. Vulcan had never seen Strengthening Stone until now.
[Expendable Item – Ancient Strengthening Stone (Legendary Rank)]
*Long ago, during the ancient times, the sect of blood priest created the stone after painstaking effort. It was created to make powerful murder machines. The stone contains incredible power. It could strengthen various things, but there is a chance of failure.
Things that can be strengthened – Weapons, armor, accessories, summon monsters (non-living type such as undead)
Effect of strengthening: The performance of the subject is increased significantly.
Probability of strengthening: 80% (The item will be destroyed when it fails)