Author: Lubai

The enemies of outer space were still unaware of Sooho’s existence, but if they eventually found out that the Shadow Monarch had a son, Sooho would become the only weakness that could change the tide of the war. Simply taking him hostage could weaken Sung Jinwoo’s military power. So, he needed to become stronger quickly.

 

“In the end, it’s all about leveling up,” Sooho nodded as he looked back at the Shadow Dungeon.

 

Although the daily quest was over, he felt it better to continue hunting goblins. Looking back, he realized he had hunted more than the predetermined amount for the hidden quest.

 

‘Perhaps this was the direction the system wanted.’

 

“Gray.”

 

“… Woof?” Gray raised his head at Sooho’s call.

 

“Esil.”

 

“Yeah?”

 

Sooho smiled at Gray and Esil, who looked at him, and said, “Now that you’ve eaten, it’s time to pay for your meal, right?”

 

“Growl.” Gray, who couldn’t even eat a whole pig, looked indignant. But he knew that hunting alone and eating would help him grow stronger.

 

***

 

[You have defeated Goblin Shaman.]

 

[You have defeated Goblin Archer.]

 

… …

 

[Level up!]

 

 

Sooho spent some time exploring the Shadow Dungeon with Esil and Gray, defeating goblins along the way.

 

Sniff, sniff?

 

Gray, though weak, had an excellent sense of smell like his hunter ancestors and quickly detected the scent of goblins hiding throughout the dungeon.

 

Swish, swish!

 

On the other hand, Esil was a master of spear fighting. No matter how weakened the demon noble was, the goblins were no match for her. 

 

In fact, as she put her hand in a goblin’s body and sucked its mana like a snack…

 

“Ew. It doesn’t taste good.”

 

…Wow, could she even taste it by eating with her hands? Did she brush her nails instead of her teeth?

 

‘In any case, demons are interesting.’

 

“…?”

 

Esil furrowed her brow and tilted her head as Sooho looked at her like an interesting animal.

 

And a little later.

 

“There don’t seem to be any more goblins around here. It looks like we killed them all?”

 

“I don’t see any either.”

 

Sooho finally stopped walking and lowered his sword.

 

Shring. Rakan’s Fang floated in the air through Ruler’s Authority.

 

Beru then flew like a sparrow and landed with a clank on its hilt.

 

[Little King, I have also gone around once, and it seems we have killed them all.]

 

“Good work.”

 

[Now, what do you plan to do?]

 

“We’ll just have to wait here until they ‘regen’ again.”

 

Sooho took his position in the open field where all directions were visible and established a base camp.

 

“We should keep scouting around here as the center, since we never know when and where they might come. Of course, not me, but you guys.”

 

“Us?”

 

Gray and Esil perked up their ears at those words.

 

“They’ll help too.”

 

[Krrhok, krrhok!]

 

[Krrhok!]

 

At Sooho’s words, the Shadow Goblins began to patrol around, wandering around like bandits raiding a village, even though they were on his side.

 

Sooho’s goal was to visually confirm the appearance of new goblins in the Shadow Dungeon. Considering the existence of daily quests, it was certain that they would return before the day was over.

 

“Okay. We received help, so we should pay them for their work.”

 

Slurp. Swallowing her saliva, Esil unconsciously thought about food. Thanks to Sooho, she had had a meal after a long time, but long-term starvation couldn’t be solved overnight.

 

‘Even if goblin meat doesn’t taste good, there’s a lot of it.’

 

She swallowed her saliva, hoping they would appear soon. Suddenly, she looked over and saw that Gray was making the same expression.

 

“Huh?”

 

“…”

 

Esil felt a complicated feeling of being reduced to the level of a puppy.

 

***

 

[Do you want to exit the Shadow Dungeon?]

 

Sooho left Esil and Gray in the Shadow Dungeon and went outside.

 

‘I only leveled up once even though we killed so many goblins. To become stronger, I need to enter a stronger dungeon.’

 

Sooho had many options.

 

One was to threaten Rakan’s Fang and extract the location of a new stronghold, but even Rakan’s Fang didn’t know everything. He would wait until it sensed the presence of a new sanctuary.

 

The second was to find a Stardust factory somewhere and hunt demons, but he didn’t have any clues to find it.

 

‘And the third option is…’

 

Magok.

 

‘I should go there first.’

 

Magok in Gangseo district. The area had been called Magok because it produced a lot of hemp. But a year ago, since the worst dungeon break in history occurred here, people started calling the area “Magok” (meaning “demon valley” or “demon realm”) in Korea.

 

[T/N: The ‘ma’ 麻 in the second sentence literally means ‘hemp’, while the ‘ma’ 魔 in the third sentence means ‘demon’.] 

 

Since then, Magok had been designated as one of the most dangerous field-type dungeons in Korea, and civilian traffic had stopped.

 

‘Gwanak Mountain Field and Seoul Station Field were both created just a year ago. And Magok Field was created just a year ago too.’

 

Was it truly a coincidence? Looking back at everything that had happened so far, he was sure that Magok was somehow related to it.

 

“Shall I go?”

 

***

 

Creak. The bus door opened, and Sooho walked out. He had arrived near Magok using public transportation.

 

Although the world had become like this, trains and buses were still running smoothly, making it an even more bizarre world.

 

Just a few steps away from a perfectly civilized city, a hellish world full of demons suddenly opened up. So even at this moment, Hunters were working hard to attack and purify those areas, but at the same time, new gates were opening somewhere else.

 

[This place…]

 

As they approached Magok, Beru’s gaze became more serious.

 

The Magok field spread out beyond them was a jungle full of blue mist and dense forest.

 

[It’s a place that clearly feels dangerous. Of course, it’s not at all dangerous to me. Ahem.]

 

Beru, who had been bragging seriously about himself, suddenly tilted his head and asked Sooho.

 

[Little King, why aren’t there any barbed wire fences here?]

 

As with the Gwanak Mountain and Seoul Station Fields, most dungeon-type fields were surrounded by long barbed wire fences to prevent monsters from coming out. 

 

But when they arrived at Magok, they couldn’t see any of those barbed wire fences.

 

“Magok is so wide that it’s not practical to fence it off, and barbed wire fences wouldn’t be effective here anyway.”

 

[Why is that?]

 

“Most of the magic beasts here are plant-type monsters, so they can’t come out anyway.”

 

Interestingly, plant-type magic beasts couldn’t take root on land without the blue mist.

 

From the perspective of Earthlings, it was really fortunate. If not for that, the dungeon’s plants would have already covered the Earth.

 

[Oh? This is a really interesting place.]

 

Beru looked at the scenery of Magok with an interested expression.

 

Although Sooho said that there were plant-type magic beasts, there were other creatures that Beru could sense.

 

[Little King, isn’t this field occupied by another guild?]

 

“As far as I know, no. I searched online and couldn’t find anything.”

 

The Magok Field was a hunting ground open to all Hunters because it was too much trouble to manage plant-type magic beasts at the guild level. In addition, the corpses of plant-type magic beasts didn’t fetch a lot of money when sold. Although they were still being studied, the area had not yet attracted the attention of Hunters.

 

“Besides, there are ghosts here.”

 

[Ghosts, you say?]

 

Beru looked even more interested. Sooho wasn’t talking about the ghosts from horror movies but ghost-type magic beasts. In addition to plant-type magic beasts, ghost-type beasts in this forest couldn’t be hunted for their corpses, no matter how hard one tried. It was no wonder that Hunters didn’t like this place. There was no money in it.

 

‘But I’m different. Experience points are more important to me than monster corpses’

 

Thud.

 

When Sooho had just set foot on Magok Field…

 

– A sanctuary!

 

“…!”

 

As soon as he stepped in, Rakan’s Fang, which had been quietly sitting in his inventory, urgently called out to Sooho.

 

Sooho immediately took out Rakan’s Fang and asked, “What? A sanctuary? All of a sudden?”

 

– Yes. This area is full of the energy of the sanctuary! It seems like this thick forest and blue mist have been preventing the energy from flowing out.

 

Upon hearing this, Beru looked at Sooho.

 

[You said there’s a relic around here similar to Rakan’s Fang?]

 

“Or maybe a boss monster like Broki.”

 

[Either way, isn’t it a gain?]

 

“Right. If it’s a relic, it’s an item, and if it’s a boss monster, it’s a shadow soldier with experience.”

 

Sooho looked around the thick jungle with a glimmer in his eyes.

 

A combination of jungle and ghosts, it was a place that Hunters found annoying and cumbersome.

 

But Sooho had a navigation system limited to the sanctuary.

 

Sooho held Rakan’s Fang forward.

 

“Do you know where it is?”

 

– This way.

 

Rakan’s Fang pointed to the center of the sanctuary as it moved its tip.

 

Sooho boldly jumped into the jungle with Rakan’s Fang leading the way.

 

***

 

Meanwhile, Sooho was not the only one exploring Magok Field.

 

“Vice Master, it’s already been two days.”

 

“How long are we going to stay here?”

 

“It’s not that it’s difficult, but we need to know the schedule and purpose to proceed…”

 

The Hunters of White Tiger Guild had been wandering around the jungle aimlessly for two days. The reason was the vice master of White Tiger Guild, Baek Miho, who was leading them.

 

But no one dared to express their dissatisfaction with Baek Miho openly. Especially since the current leader of the White Tiger Guild, Baek Yoonho, was away in another country, his daughter and vice master, Baek Miho, was practically the leader.

 

“Someone keeps calling me.”

 

Baek Miho had been hearing strange hallucinations lately.

 

 

– Prove your worth.

 

 

The voice started out of nowhere.

 

– Prove your worth.

 

 

At first, she dismissed it as a mere auditory hallucination. But the voice grew louder as time passed, eventually leading Baek Mi-ho to Magok.

 

‘What the hell is going on here? Why would I need to prove my worth?’

 

She felt frustrated. However, she knew for sure that something was there. Because as soon as she stepped into the jungle, the auditory hallucination stopped. 

 

At that moment.

 

Crack!

 

The Hunters who saw her face trembled in fear.

 

‘Eyes of the Beast…’

 

Her pupils were vertically split, like those of a beast, shining yellow. 

 

It was the effect of the beast transformation skill that made Baek Miho what she is today. Only a fraction of its power was revealed, yet the pressure was immense.

 

 

– Prove your worth.

 

“…It’s starting again.”

 

The voice echoed in Baek Miho’s mind once again.

 

But the content was slightly different from before.

 

 

– Prove your worth to be the king.

 

 

Baek Miho removed the hairband on her wrist and tied her hair that fluttered like a lion’s mane. Then, with Eyes of the Beast, she glared fiercely in the direction where the voice was coming from.

 

“Everyone, prepare for battle.”

 

[T/N: Baek Yoonho, Baek Miho’s father, also had Eyes of the Beast in the prequel.]

Author's Thoughts

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❄What we lack in speed, we make it up in quality.

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