Chapter 6: Killing in the Night
That place had just been an illusion, and Woohyuk had been aware of it from the very beginning.
‘It’s a technique used by high level Devils.’
Illusion spells that would show you repressed and unwanted memories of your past or future in order to crush your spirit. To break it, one would need an indomitable will.
Whether or not your Intelligence or Spirit stats were high didn’t matter. You could only overcome it with a strong belief in oneself.
As Woohyuk casually emerged from the illusory world, Adakar spoke to him.
[Excellent, one with a strong will. Although there technically are a few more tests, we can go ahead and skip them.]
Although it had only been a brief evaluation, Adakar was able to confidently judge his qualifications due to his vast experience of meeting many individuals over the years.
‘He is so similar to that guy.’
There had once been a man who had reigned over the entire Dragon species.
He had gathered all the tokens which had been hidden across God's historical site and as a result of it obtained the hidden class, Dragon lord.
Although he later died a pathetic death due to a betrayal, his inheritance remained.
‘Perhaps this human can reach his level.’
[I have a task for you, if you were to succeed, you could gain control over the entire Dragon race]
“What is it?”
[Collect the 9 Dragon tokens and release us from the restrictions imposed on us by the Gods]
Woohyuk took a moment to think things through, surprised by this unexpected turn of events.
‘Control over the Dragons.’
Woohyuk had certainly heard about the special class, Dragon Lord, but had never encountered anyone who had obtained it.
Ivanov had only managed to tame a Red dragon.
‘This is an incredible opportunity.’
If all the dragons became his subordinates, his accession to the Divine throne would be faster than anyone else.
Still, it could also prove problematic. He had no advance information as to where to find the nine tokens or how long that could even take.
That was a serious inconvenience for Woohyuk who was constantly in a race against time.
‘Well, let’s figure it out as we go along.’
The upside was simply too attractive to ignore, so he had to take up the challenge. It was this mindset that had allowed him to achieve all that he had.
A white text appeared in his mind upon his answer.
[Acquired title ‘Legendary Explorer’.]
[20% increase in Item drop rate from monsters.]
[20% increase in Perception and Speed within a Historical site]
It wasn’t a title which he thought could be acquired in this forest. Normally you could obtain ones like Goblin Slayer, Human Hunter or Novice Explorer.
[Also, take this.]
Adakar picked an egg from the nest behind him and offered it to Woohyuk.
It was the reward for passing the test.
“Are there more eggs?”
[The rest are for future adventurers. Although I am inclined to give them all to you, I am duty bound to follow the instructions of the Creator.]
Woohyuk became quite annoyed at the thought of it. In this way Ivanov could still make his way up here and obtain an egg.
‘Nothing I can do about it.’
It wasn’t like he could defeat the Gold dragon before him, nor was he willing to stay here and wait for Ivanov to make an appearance.
Woohyuk placed the dragon egg in his Sage’s Pouch, and turned around as he made his way out of the cave.
‘I will be going ahead first.’
He would tame his own dragon even before Ivanov did and destroy his territory
Although it hadn’t gone as expected as he wasn’t able to prevent Ivanov from obtaining his dragon, it had still been a fortunate encounter, and he felt he had profited instead.
* * *
A crescent moon hung in the night sky. The base camp was as silent as a dead rat
Besides the crackling of the fireplace in the center, there was no other movement.
‘Just as I expected.’
Jang Taeseok nodded to himself, as he examined the situation from behind a bush.
He had found this location earlier in the afternoon, when the monster attack was already underway.
‘There was this one guy who fought well.’
Still, except for him, the rest were nothing special. The assault of the large Red worms had caused most of them to become scared stiff, not even participating in the battle and only watching from the backline.
‘It’ll be a piece of cake to crush these weak players.’
Jang Taeseok had his own unique story as to how he became a wanderer.
On the very first night they had been transported here, there was a dispute in their camp, and it actually led to someone extinguishing their central campfire.
After that, it had been impossible to light it once more. All the supplies in the camp like tents and cooking utensils disappeared.
‘I will make this my new home.’
There was no rule against changing base camps. Eve had already mentioned that she was unwilling to interfere in matters between adventurers and that there wasn’t any penalty for murder.
So he came up with a plan. In the middle of the night he was to move in and wipe out the adventurers in this other camp.
‘Killing all the women would be a bit wasteful…’
Afterall there were several women that would prove useful as outlets for their sexual desires. He’d occupy it first and then deal with the specifics, Jang Taeseok thought to himself as he snapped back to reality and gestured to his group.
‘Get ready, we are going in.’
His subordinates nervously followed behind Jang Taeseok. After checking to make sure there wasn’t any scout, they broke into their first tent.
‘They must all be sleeping and haven't noticed anything.’
The campfire would ensure that there were no monster attacks during the night, so it was natural for the base camp to have let their guards down.
Jang Taeseok sported an evil grin as he looked into the tent, but his expression quickly fell.
‘What, where is everyone?’
There wasn’t a single soul in sight, almost like they had known in advance . The same held true as the examined the other tents.
‘Did they all leave the basecamp?’
The campfire was still lit so it didn’t make any sense for them to have left.
Something was wrong, as he felt an ominous feeling creep up. Just as he was about to give order to his group a scream rang out in the night.
Surprised, he ran forth to the source of the sound, only to find one of his subordinates with an arrow stuck in his neck.
Jang Taeseok swore without thinking.
‘They got us.’
No, they had known from the very beginning, but how could that be? It was the only thought running through Jang Taeseok’s head at the moment.
Another scream rang out, this one quite a bit closer.
Rather than running about in panic, he decided to observe his surroundings.
‘I can’t fall for their tricks.’
If he didn’t keep a cool head, the situation would just go from bad to worse. Jang Taeseok finally lifted his black machete and with a rather unwilling look, cried out.
“Gather around, we will retreat for now.”
Things weren’t going as planned so he decided to take his group and quickly escape from this base camp.
There were more screams that ensued as they made their way out to the forest, but he simply ran straight, without once looking back.
They panted, as some group members weren’t able to keep up with his speed. Jang Taeseok finally raised his hand, signalling them to stop.
Hearing the rustling of the leaves nearby, one of his subordinates who wielded a short bow, let loose and arrow in that direction.
Complete silence followed, only adding to the tension.
‘Did it get him?’
Although there hadn’t been any further movement, one couldn’t be sure unless they verified it in person.
An arrow appeared just as Jang Taeseok was about to make a move.
His subordinate which held the short bow spat out some blood, his stomach pierced by an arrow which came from behind.
‘It has to be.’
The only way one could move freely in such darkness was by wielding the black machete, and there would only be one such person per camp.
‘I have no choice but to go out.’
He had to go by himself and deal with this threat before the casualties got any worse. He already knew his opponent’s approximate position due to the arrow’s flight, so as long as he was careful about the ranged attacks, he had good odds of coming out on top.
The screaming came from his own group as he left them to hunt down this threat on his own.
Jang Taeseok frowned
‘He is picking us off one by one.’
He was determined to kill this guy, as he continued his search for Woohyuk. But ever since he had begun actively looking, a stillness pervaded the forest
‘Where are you?’
He had looked around so carefully but found nothing.
‘Still can’t find...what if...’
Jang Taeseok broke out in a cold sweat. No, it couldn’t be.
It was impossible for a single person to have taken care of his entire party.
As he was thinking about what he should do, a man’s voice rang out from behind him.
“And now you’re all alone, Jang Taeseok.”
He spun around with a heavy look, to see Woohyuk staring back at him holding a bloody machete.
“I regret not finishing you off that one time when we battled in the valley. That time you led a special strike force and had given me quite a hard time. You even went ahead and put a bounty on my head after surviving from that Devil world. ”
“In the end you were caught and cut up by one of my retainers, but I had always imagined how it would feel to kill you with my own hands.”
After finishing his sentence, he went ahead and sever both of Jang Taeseok’s arms. He fell to his knees and screamed out in agony.
Blood spurted out as an unbearable pain overcame him.
The machete moved so fast that he had never seen it coming.
‘Just too much of a difference in stats.’
An incredible gap had been created between them in a span of just two days.
He had also trained very hard, but it had all been for naught. Jang Taeseok looked up at him in complete despair, as the shadow of death loomed over him.
* * *
“I’m so glad that Chun Woohyuk is part of our camp.”
Ma Gwangpil said as he continued to pull out the feathers. Park Gunwoo nodded beside him.
“He’s quiet, but a good person. He even provides us with food.”
All the survivors were holding a birds wing, which they received from Woo Hyuk in exchange for helping pull out all the feathers.
“Why don’t you tell us something about yourself? You don’t talk much but everyone is curious about you, Chun Woohyuk.”
Woohyuk’s face turned furrowed in annoyance.
‘This guy again again....’
Still, looking at the faces of those around, he realised that he would still have to explain himself. At the very least he didn’t want some strange rumors to start spreading.
“Actually this is my second time here, that’s why I know more than you guys.”
“Could you share some important information with us? As you can see after tonight’s raid on the camp, everyone is on edge, and many haven’t yet adjusted to the strange forest.”
‘This sneaky guy.’
After carefully considering it. Woohyuk finally answered.
“If you follow me tomorrow, I’ll teach you guys a few things.”
“Where do you plan on going?”
“The Central lake.”
The expression on many survivors, including Ma Gwangpil’s immediately stiffened. The mere mention of the name brought up some bad memories.
“It’s too dangerous, please reconsider.”
“The choice is up to you.”
“Can you ensure our safety.”
“Everyone’s lives are their own.”
An awkward silence ensued as Woohyuk would only let out a bitter smile.
‘Was it too forceful?’
For those that were ignorant of the facts, it would sound like a sure death. Naturally he had a plan, but even he wasn’t sure if they would be able to handle it.
‘Maybe one or two of them will choose to follow.’
In the past there were still a few that had courage and would be useful. Although some things in the timeline had changed, it shouldn’t have affected their very nature. Woohyuk decided to wait a while longer.
“I will go.”
It was Lee Jaesung who stood up and broke the silence. He confidently met Woohyuk’s gaze, clearly having made up his mind.
“Is there anyone else?”
In response to his question, a few more volunteered for a total of ten. Among them there was even a highschooler and a nine year old girl.
‘That’s a bit surprising.’
They couldn’t have been very impactful in the past since he had no memory of them. Maybe they had previously died during this very raid or even stayed in hiding until the end.
‘I won’t stop them.’
They could actually turn out to be useful subordinates, that is unless they run away at the first sign of danger.
“Okay, I’ll lead this many people.”
It would instead be a burden if there were too many and tomorrow was going to be a bit unusual.
‘My stats are still way too low.’
Hunting as a group can work if there is a good leader.
It could help him avoid certain dangers but still challenge high level hunting areas.
‘They will actually be doing physical labor more than anything.’
Woohyuk began to roast his red feathered bird skewers over the fire, as Jaesung approached him and asked.
“Can you let me know what you have planned?”
“Don’t forget the Flute.”
“What? Are you....?”
Woohyuk nodded back to him, causing Lee’s expression to stiffen.
“It doesn’t sound like a good idea…”
“I’ll be the judge of that.”
He didn’t want to give an in-depth explanation since that would only bring up even more questions. Also any information wouldn’t be helpful for them at this point anyways..
“There is one thing I can tell you”
Woohyuk spoke to Lee Jaesung who looked disappointed.
“If you return tomorrow, you’ll be able to deal with your own problems.”
Their eyes met as Lee Jaesung responded.
“Then I’m looking forward to it.