[Hidden Quest – Defeat Barlock Belgeram, the boss monster of the Lava Demon Cave.]
[Difficulty – A (Asgard Standard)]
[Reward – Choose one from items or skill.]
Defeat Barlock Belgeram who sealed himself to atone for his sins.
*Hidden quest’s limit on number of people that can enter – One person
*Boss room level limit – 800Lv (Recommends 850Lv or above)
*Feel the power of Barlock, a powerful demon who uses flame whip. He demonstrates incredible strength in both physical power and magical abilities.
“All right. This dungeon is also limited to just one person.”
Vulcan moved to a stone room that had red light lingering.
Vulcan had been looking at the SYSTEM notification window. His face brightened.
The protective blessing was about to run out.
His days of peaceful and joyful level ups were about to end. He was going to have to be always weary of the surroundings as he hunt and conserve stamina and mana for emergencies at all times. Thinking about it was making his stomach ache. Now, those worries were completely gone.
This hunting ground was perfect. Nobody could enter here now.
It was the greatest gift for Vulcan.
‘Well, even if it was not limited to just one person, I think there probably is almost nobody who would come to find this place, but…’
The condition to finding it was convoluted as it was.
Vulcan thought he was extremely fortunate that he reached SS rank for the Fire Mastery before his protective blessing ran out.
If he didn’t make the progress until the blessing ran out, he would not have been able to come to this hunting ground.
‘Anyway, I succeeded. Now, I can put my mind at ease for next 10 to 15 years.’
Vulcan smiled confidently.
He found the hidden quest area. This didn’t mean he only earned 10 years of time.
Objectively speaking, Vulcan could handle about five Chimeras at his current strength.
‘By the time I leave this place?
Handling ten at once might be possible. No, it definitely is possible!
Once I get to that height, I don’t need to shake in fear all the time about ambush.
No matter how they ambush me, and no matter how many they bring, I can leisurely respond to the attack. I would at least have the time to use Kina Kina the beast bird.’
Having thought this far, his chest felt light. He leisurely looked around the area.
“Hm… This place is similar. No. Is it a little different?”
The stone room was about the same size as the Ancient Gang-shi Factory, the hidden quest area that Vulcan went to last time.
However, the new hidden quest area was far rougher around the edges.
Gang-shi Factory had slick and polished stone walls, and the place had all sorts of engravings. On the other hand, this new place looked like a natural cave was haphazardly excavated.
It was not as interesting to check out. Vulcan, with uninterested face, went straight to the entrance.
The stone door had an engraving that looked just like the demon engraving he saw at the crater outside earlier. Next to the stone door was a large headstone.
Vulcan slowly read the letters written on the headstone.
[You were born evil. However, you have realized the fault in your ways on your own. You are seeking atonement, and that is commendable. However, cleansing the demon’s energy inside you cannot be done in a short period of time. Spend 5000 years to reflect on your sins and atone for your past. I wish you will be reborn as a good being.]
‘It looks like someone who really existed in Act 2 is imprisoned here.’
Vulcan activated the Thunder God’s Might and kicked to open the door.
After that, with confident steps, he walked forward.
Soon, a monster with level even higher than the Master Gang-shi showed itself.
It had a violent looking face. Vulcan looked at the bastard and shouted with confidence,
“Bring it on, experience points.”
* * *
The monsters in the second hidden quest dungeon were definitely not easy to fight.
They had masculine bodies that were conditioned to the peak performances, and their bodies were wrapped in flames. Lava Demon Force… Their levels were around 800.
They were confident about their ridiculous physical specs. They charged at Vulcan like berserkers.
In a way, they were similar to the Poisonous Gang-shis from the Gang-shi Factory. However, these Lava Demons were far more difficult to deal with.
They had explosive speed that defied common sense. They poured out attacks endlessly.
Although they were acting without any thoughts or plans, they were using their sharp senses to aim for gaps in defenses.
The monsters at the Gang-shi Factory felt like they were top-notch martial warriors. In comparison, the Lava Demon Forces were like beasts that relied only on instincts.
No, they felt like they were like the demons that Vulcan saw at the lower dimension.
‘These guys are the real Demon Force. Even a Count among the ones I met in the lower dimension had only about level 400. Are these guys Dukes or something?’
Vulcan had no way of finding out, and it was not important.
The real important fact was that they were the most difficult monster to fight, more so than anything that Vulcan encountered until now.
Vulcan was most comfortable with fighting giant monsters.
Giant monsters were usually slow, and they had defensive abilities to make up for their slow speed.
However, no matter how strong their defenses were, there never was any monster that could withstand Vulcan’s Thunder God Blade technique.
So, against the Hell Fire Lizards, the kind that barely moved from where they stood during a combat, Vulcan could fight like a tiger with wings, demonstrating dauntlessness and sharpness throughout the battle.
‘On the other hand, with these guys… It’s difficult.’
It was difficult for Vulcan to fight against small monsters, especially the ones that were fast enough to handle Vulcan’s speed.
It was possible to kill them in one strike as long as they were hit by the Thunder God Blade.
However, it was incredibly difficult for Vulcan to get to that.
Vulcan felt that difficulty for the first time when he fought the Master Gang-shi.
That bastard was on par with Vulcan’s speed. Also, during the beginning of the battle, Master Gang-shi even overwhelmed Vulcan with his speed.
Even today, it sent down chills to Vulcan’s bones when he thought about that battle. There was no need to explain again how difficult it was for Vulcan to fight Master Gang-shi.
Now, although the Lava Demons’ combat style was different from Master Gang-shi, they were very fast, not far behind from Vulcan’s speed.
Vulcan had to exchange numerous blows with them before he could land a strike. In the process, Vulcan ended up wasting a lot of time, slowing down his level up speed.
“Ugh, this is tough.’
Vulcan defeated yet another Lava Demon and mumbled.
Of course, it was not like Lava Demons were strong enough to overwhelm Vulcan in a one-on-one battle.
That was because Vulcan became substantially stronger than before.
Even during the battle just now, Vulcan sent out continuous barrage of lightning magic to stun the Lava Demon. Vulcan concluded the battle while never losing his upper hand.
The experience points were higher than he expected, and good items came from slaying them as well.
In particular, there were a lot of Vitality Marbles. Saying that they were pouring out was not doing justice to just how much of them dropped from killing the Lava Demons.
Other than the fact that the monsters were a little tougher and took longer to kill, Vulcan had nothing else to feel dissatisfied about.
However, there was a reason why Vulcan was not relaxing his hardened face.
He was diligently leveling up at a safe hunting ground. However, Vulcan was feeling frustrated. It was purely due to his greed.
‘Phew… Am I being too greedy?’
It had been 15 years since Vulcan came to Act 2.
For the first 10 years, Vulcan really focused only on leveling up without thinking about anything else.
Forest area, Poisonous Crater Field, Gang-shi Factory, and the Lava Field that he was just before coming to this hidden quest area…
Vulcan had a goal. He had to get stronger as fast as possible before the protective blessing expired. With that focus, Vulcan burned with passion through those years. All of other distracting thoughts were burnt away in the process. Also, Vulcan was able to obtain rewards that were worthy of his efforts.
‘Fire Mastery SS rank… Iron Body S rank, Weapon Mastery S rank… Those are more than enough as the rewards and results for my efforts.’
However, those firework-like 10 years passed. Vulcan now had spent five years at a safe hunting ground called Lava Demon Cave.
Vulcan was feeling boredom. He had never felt this before. It was sickening.
None of his masteries improved.
They didn’t just not improve. They were not showing any signs of improving.
Back in his old days, training whole-heartedly for one year sometimes led to sudden enlightenment. Grinding for two years at a hunting ground sometimes led to discovering something.
Although the last Fire Mastery increase took seven years of dogged grinding, Vulcan was propelled by the hope that felt like he just needed to go a little further. Through those seven years, Vulcan didn’t even realize the passage of time.
Vulcan was deep into the joy and excitement of becoming stronger, and that made him give it everything he had and some more. Now, the situation he was in felt stagnant. It was gifting him with horrifying sense of frustration.
The only thing that made Vulcan feel better was the level up notification.
However, that was not enough to refresh his clogged up heart.
Vulcan sighed big.
Vulcan tapped at his head with his hand. He tried to calm his mind.
He was aware he was being greedy. He knew he should be feeling fortunate instead.
He was improving too fast in his past.
Other people spent a lot longer time in the state of stagnancy. They spent several times longer, sometimes several ten folds longer, like that.
While Vulcan was getting frustrated just from five years of time, others stood on roads with no path forward for a hundred years or longer, and they did so while being tormented by extreme anxieties, thinking that they might be at their limit or there is nothing else they could overcome from that point.
Compared to them, Vulcan was at least growing through continued level up. Vulcan’s situation was a hundred times better.
‘I know. I know, but… It cannot be helped that I feel so frustrated.’
Vulcan put away his Heavenly Lightning Blade to the sheath and returned to the dungeon’s entrance.
He was concerned something bad might happen if he continued hunting with his current mindset.
After five years since coming into the dungeon, Vulcan finally took a long break.
Vulcan’s body no longer needed sleep. However, he forced himself to go to sleep. He also suppressed his constant urge to use magic.
Vulcan thought he fell to a slump because he had been running while only looking at the front.
Vulcan intentionally spent two days without doing anything.
Having forced himself to spend the time away like that, he naturally ended up with a lot of distracting thoughts.
Worries he usually never even thought of and memories of the past were jumbled up in his head and floating around.
‘Will I be able to clear Act 2? Well, it will work out somehow, right?’
‘Now that I think about it, I improved ridiculously fast at Act 1.’
‘Those were the good old days. Rewards above efforts put in were overflowing during those days. Phew… What I’m getting right now is probably normal. I should realize this, yet…’
‘There were a lot of sons of bitches there, but there were also good people. Filder, Jake, Beruneru, Logweed, DokGo Hoo…’
Vulcan was lying on the ground. He suddenly raised up his upper body.
‘Now that I think about it, I can summon him!’
Vulcan’s face brightened. He brought out Kina Kina the beast bird.
He injected mana into Kina Kina. Before the bird could even chirp, he pushed in Vitality Marbles to it.
He pushed in some, and then he pushed more in.
Vulcan had plenty of the marbles. Spending enough to summon the lowest enlightened god was not going to put a dent on the overall amount he had.
Soon, Dokgo Hoo was summoned in semi-transparent state.
Vulcan was glad to see him. As he walked toward Dokgo Hoo, Vulcan, out of habit, checked Dokgo Hoo’s abilities.
[Lowest Ranked Battle God Dokgo Hoo]
His level was up 44 since last time.
He trained as an enlightened god for the past 15 years and achieved this.
Compared to other enlightened gods at his class, Dokgo Hoo’s development was on the faster side. However, Vulcan didn’t know this.
Vulcan merely felt sorry for Dokgo Hoo for developing even slower than himself.
- Huhu. It’s been a while. Little Brother. Did you call me because you need my strength?
“… I’m not interested in subjecting you to torture.”
- What? Did you just belittle me?
Dokgo Hoo was up in arms in anger. He roared and demanded Vulcan to bring a monster immediately. Vulcan couldn’t let that happen.
‘If Big Brother fought a 800 level monster, he will be killed at an instant!’
Vulcan desperately tried to calm down Dokgo hoo. After about ten minutes later, they were finally able to have conversation normally.
However, they had some ridiculous conversations.
Most of them were about monsters they slayed, saying how one was sliced to pieces, etc. Most of them were gruesome to hear.
Also, besides the gruesomeness of the stories, the topics of discussions were all there to there, so the interest for conversation subsided quickly.
However, it was obvious.
Vulcan had not been doing anything else but slaying monsters until now.
They quickly ran out of things to talk about. Vulcan, with awkward look on his face, looked at Dokgo Hoo.
- What is it? You don’t have anything else to say?
“That’s right. I don’t have anything else. What about you, Big Brother?”
- The training I do is even more repetitive and boring than yours. It won’t be any fun for you to hear. I’m doing the same thing I had been 15 years ago.
“Huh… I can see how you must be sick of it.”
The topic of conversation naturally moved on to training.
Because Vulcan ran out of things to talk about, he thought this was actually good. Vulcan described in verbose detail about the slump he was in.
‘Although he may not look the part, Big Brother Dokgo Hoo had trained for a very long time. He must have some advice for me about being in a stagnant situation!’
Vulcan had hope like that. So, Vulcan explained for a long time about his situation. However, he had no choice but to stop because Dokgo Hoo suddenly interrupted and yelled.
- I think I have never seen a worse son of a bitch than you. Are you throwing a tantrum because you had been standing still only for five years? You rascal! You sure have your stomach full, really full!