The place was full of flame and intense heat. It was the Lava Field.
There was hot lava flowing out as always from the volcano located at the center, making it difficult to breathe. The vicious and horrifying monsters, the kind that drank the lava as if it was water, roared violently as they lurked around the area.
Literally, the place was an extreme environment to be.
However, there were beings who were taking a leisurely walk around the field as if they were on a vacation.
“Huh… There are a lot more humans here than a hundred years ago. Did something happen…”
A young man with two small horns on his forehead muttered as if he was not expecting this.
The middle-aged man who was following the young man from behind replied respectfully.
He also had two horns. The horns were clearly letting it known to others that these two were not some ordinary human beings but instead the Dragonians.
“I think it must be because of what happened five years ago, Master.”
“Five years ago? Did something big happen?”
“I wouldn’t call it something big, but… There was a struggle between the humans.”
As if he was displeased, the young man crumpled his face.
He looked like he wished he didn’t hear it.
It was a prime example that showed just how ungenerous his opinion was toward the humans usually.
The young man said,
“Well, the humans fight amongst themselves all the time. What does that have to do with there being more humans here?”
“That is… There is a rumor going around about a hidden dungeon that was discovered while they were fighting amongst themselves. The rumor is that there is an incredible treasure there. There is also a story about a human who was only strong enough to hunt at the Lava Field. He went in there. When he came back, the story goes that he obliterated a part of the Bae Su Jin…”
“That means the hidden dungeon is in this place?”
“According to the people, that seems to be the case. If it is true, then it is an incredible opportunity. Greedy humans probably could not help themselves but to be drawn to it.”
Having heard his pupil’s words, the Master nodded.
He was not all that interested in organizations made by humans. However, when it came to Bae Su Jin, the young man had some bad blood with the organization, so he was somewhat aware of them.
‘The bastards who won’t hesitate to do the most disgusting and violent things…’
To start with, he didn’t harbor good opinion about humans. However, this was especially true when it came to Bae Su Jin.
Going beyond toying with people’s lives, Bae Su Jin had been trying to use other beings as well. They were irredeemable butt monkey bastards.
If Bae Su Jin ever laid a hand on the Dragonians, he would have gathered up everyone he knew and destroyed the Bae Su Jin. However, that had not happened yet.
He stopped walking and brushed his chin.
Although he didn’t have it now, it was a habit from the days when he did have the beard. This habit came out whenever a troubling thought occurred.
“He destroyed a part of Bae Su Jin by himself?”
“Yes. That’s what the story is. However… Well, humans always exaggerate, so I do not know if it is true.”
“If it is true, then this hidden dungeon must really be an incredible opportunity. It is worthy of having other beings also interested in the place.”
Because the young man once watched one of the bosses of Bae Su Jin fight, he knew how strong Bae Su Jin could become if they were determined.
Going past the morals of their methods, when their strength was considered alone, the bastards belonged on upper range of the warriors in Act 2.
The young man thought the mystery warrior deserved the title of the strongest human if he really was able to fight such disgusting bastards by himself.
It seemed he was intrigued. The young man tossed an additional question.
“So, where is that amazing one? What’s he up to now?”
“I don’t know. There are a lot of rumors claiming he went in hiding in fear of Bae Su Jin or that the last battle left him critically wounded. However, there weren’t any information out there that are trustworthy.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. This is as far as I know.”
The pupil, with curious look on his face, asked back,
“By any chance, are you interested in that human…?”
“No, I wouldn’t call it interest. I asked a little more just because Bae Su Jin was menti…”
The young man suddenly stopped talking.
As if he couldn’t understand something, he was staring at somewhere. Having noticed this, the pupil asked,
“Master, what is it?”
“Nothing. It’s just that some crazy bastard suddenly dove into the lava, so I was surprised.”
“Of the humans, who has naturally short life span, I’ve heard many of them commits suicide because they have grown tired of living so long.”
“I see. I’ve heard about that as well, but this is the first time for me to witness it.”
The young man shook his head left and right and added,
“As I thought, humans are full of bizarre bastards.”
* * *
“Why are my ears so itchy? Are Bae Su Jin bastards trash talking about me? If it is not them, perhaps it could be the Chimera Maker.”
Vulcan, the one called as the Bizarre One by the Dragonian Master, dug his ear with his pinky and blew the content away.
Vulcan yawn-stretched big time and looked at the inside of the Lave Demon Cave which had red light lingering around.
The place was familiar. Vulcan was used to this place. Actually, it was more correct to explain that Vulcan was sick of the place.
After completing 25 years of training, Vulcan said to himself that he would never return to this place.
‘To think that I actually came back to this place again like this…’
“I guess you never know what can happen next in a man’s life.”
Vulcan muttered, opened the door and entered the inside of the dungeon.
Afterwards, as if it was only right, the Lava Demons gave him one hell of a welcome.
Vulcan was sick of seeing the demons. Looking at them, Vulcan sighed big.
“Yea, I’m also glad to see you rascals.”
Vulcan used the Thunder God’s Might immediately and cast Destructive Core and Thunder God Blade. Vulcan started to cook the Lava Demons.
When Vulcan came to the Lava Demon Cave for the first time decades ago, fighting just one of the Lava Demon was very difficult and put Vulcan on the edge of anxiety. However, now, Vulcan had become so strong that he could handle them without focusing much.
‘I definitely had become stronger.’
It was not like Vulcan had a big Enlightenment. However, the growth that came through small steps with level ups and examining internals had led to this much overall growth.
On top of this, ever since he visited Earth, his Demi-god’s exploit rank had gone up by a rank. Moreover, he achieved astonishing upgrade on his equipment.
The armors Vulcan possessed now were so splendid that Vulcan thought no other items he could possibly come across in Act 2 in the future would tempt him.
With all of these combined, Vulcan effectively had obtained strength that could be declared as the greatest power among all humans in existence in all dimensions.
‘Still… It is still not enough. Not even close.’
While he was at Earth, Vulcan objectively compared the combat strength between himself and Bae Su Jin.
It was obvious, but Vulcan, who was alone, was far behind the combined power of Bae Su Jin.
Unless an amazing Enlightenment that leads to increase in rank for the Lightning or Fire masteries happened, it was almost impossible for Vulcan to destroy Bae Su Jin by his power alone.
He merely had a few items swapped, which was not enough to make up for the difference in strength between himself and Bae Su Jin.
‘Also, the Chimeras could show up and cause problem at any time. I need to keep this in mind.’
It’s been a long time since Vulcan ran into Chimeras, so it was to the point where Vulcan almost forgot about them. However, in fact, it was no exaggeration to say that this hardship started with the Chimeras.
Of course, the Chimeras were at 750 level at best. So, Vulcan thought there was no need to worry too much about them. However, Vulcan had to consider the rest of the Chimeras that he had not witnessed yet.
He could not ignore the possibility that there could be even stronger Chimeras or the Chimera Maker himself might show up.
Besides the Bae Su Jin, there were many of other nobodies and unknown garbage organizations who were targeting him.
To think negatively, Vulcan’s current situation was a dire one with no end of troubles at sight.
‘In this situation, finding a higher-level hunting ground and training there? In a place that’s open in all sides where anyone could approach me, at an ordinary field full of danger where I can’t even be protected by the Gods? No way.’
Therefore, Vulcan had no choice to make the decision.
Of all places, this was the only safe place with highest level monsters.
As long as he invested a long time, he could expect level ups, although at a slow pace. Moreover, this place was like a mine for obtaining huge quantities of Vitality Marbles.
At Lava Demon Cave, which was a one-person only hidden dungeon, Vulcan decided to try grinding for 100 years to for the Vitality Marbles.
One year ago, in Earth’s time, Vulcan witnessed the move by Yur Dong-bin during the battle against Hellmout. Vulcan still could not forget the eight swords that shined in blindingly bright blue.
The tremendous difference in power was not something that Vulcan could catch up to with items or boosts.
Fighting against foes that Vulcan was having great difficulties, Yur Dong-bin quickly neutralized them as if he was twisting the wrists of little children.
Watching Yur Dong-bin, Vulcan thought he won’t have to be on the run if he possessed such power. Afterwards, Vulcan came to the conclusion that, ‘then just collect enough Vitality Marbles so you can borrow his strength whenever you want as often as you want. After that, as soon as you leave this place… go destroy Bae Su Jin bastards with Yur Dong-bin’s power.’
This was Vulcan’s plan. Although very simple and crude, it was definitely an effective plan.
Obviously, to collect such amount of Vitality Marbles, Vulcan needed a long time.
It was going to be grueling and boring. It was as obvious as watching the fire spread.
However, Vulcan didn’t just have his own life at stake. The situation had his family and his world on the line.
Vulcan’s perseverance and sense of responsibility were not so weak that he couldn’t even handle such pain.
‘Even if I consider all potential dangers… Hundred years is probably enough.’
With that many Vitality Marbles, Vulcan could summon two of the Greatest Battle-god if that was possible. The capability would place Vulcan at a position where he could leisurely handle any attack from anyone in Act 2.
It was going to be like playing an RPG game with invincibility cheat key activated!
To bring about such a dream like condition, Vulcan had chosen to crawl back to this demon cave, which he was so sick and tired of.
‘Ugh… Even though that’s true… I still don’t like doing this.’
Regardless of how strong Vulcan’s determination was, it could not be helped that he was not feeling great about grinding for 100 years, which was a long time.
Vulcan was feeling extremely gloomy.
It was to the point where he wanted to go to a pub, grab a random person and complain about the predicament he is in for the whole day.
However, in the end, Vulcan had to do this.
With tired look on his face, Vulcan retrieved the items dropped from slaying the monsters earlier. With heavy steps, he walked to the inside of the dungeon.
While at it, he bit on a piece of bread he purchased at the Espo City. He opened the inventory and checked all items he was going to use through the grinding.
‘I have about 150 years’ worth of food… I was almost out of potions, but I cleaned the store of all potions from Mr. Fowaru’s General Store, so I won’t have to worry about running out.’
Before entering the Lava Demon Cave, instead of going through the street vendors and auction site, Vulcan handled the miscellaneous trades through the help of Fowaru. It was such a bother to turn the items into money and use the money to buy potions. Vulcan was also concerned about his whereabouts being made known to Bae Su Jin through such channels.
‘Of course. Now that I arrived here safely, it won’t matter if information got to them or not.’
“Ah, they are popping out already. Disgusting bastards.”
Vulcan saw two Lava Demons popping out. He calmly cast the Destructive Core.
Afterwards, he quickly launched it toward one demon’s head.
Now, even with two of them coming at Vulcan at once, Lava Demons were no match for Vulcan.
To him, the Lava Demons no longer invoked any sense of urgency.
They were just sources for producing items called Vitality Marbles.
Deafeningly loud noises exploded one after another in the Lava Cave.
Like that, the first day in Vulcan’s ‘100 Year Grinding Plan’ commenced.
* * *
Meanwhile, around the same time, at the Fowaru’s General Store…
Usually, the store was busy with customers. However, unlike the usual, the inside could not be quieter.
There was an obvious reason for this. The main product in his store was the potions that Fowaru created, which was extra effective.
Vulcan purchased all of them. Not just ones on the display, but even the ones in the backroom. There was no way for Fowaru to continue the business at the moment.
Fowaru placed a sign that stated he will be taking a break for a while, and the complaints from the customers exploded. However, it could not be helped.
‘Also… That’s not what I should be thinking about right now.’
Fowaru was sitting at the store’s second floor.
He gulped at looked at the four items on the table.
The dark red items exuding treacherous sensation felt like they were trying to tempt him.
There were four pairs of boots. They had exact same designs as if they were printed from a factory. Fowaru looked over the boots. There was greed in his eyes that could not be hidden.