Author: Lubai

– Prove your worth to be the king.

 

 

“…!”

 

stiff.

 

Suddenly, Sooho’s heightened senses detected something strange happening in the forest.

 

The forest was in turmoil.

 

He stopped walking and looked at Rakan’s Fang. “Did you say something just now?”

 

– It wasn’t me.

 

“But the voice was the same as yours?”

 

– It’s inevitable. The same being as me in this sanctuary spoke.

 

Sooho raised an eyebrow. “The same being as you?”

 

– Yes. Another ‘Fang’. You didn’t think that Rakan, the Beast Monarch, the King of Beasts, would have only one fang, right?

 

“Well, usually, they have four.”

 

– Two.

 

“…”

 

– Ahem. I meant to say that only two of Rakan’s fangs are made into relics.

 

When Sooho stared at it intensely, Rakan’s Fang quickly made an excuse.

 

– I don’t remember saying this, but to be precise, I am Rakan’s ‘milk teeth’.

 

Milk teeth refer to the teeth that fall out during the growth stage, also known as baby teeth.

 

– As Rakan grew up, the lower clans received his fallen teeth and turned them into relics. Since he had two teeth when I fell, there are two relics.

 

Once again, a voice dug into Sooho’s mind.

 

 

– Prove your worth to be the king!

 

 

Sooho asked again, “What is all this talk about proving myself worthy of becoming a king?”

 

– At that time, the lower clans made me in hopes of giving birth to a future Monarch. But now that Rakan is dead, it’s time to choose a new king. This is the so-called ‘King’s Trial’.

 

“I see.” Sooho asked with a bit of hope, “So you’re saying that if I pass the test, I can become the Beast Monarch too?”

 

– Of course, it’s possible if you want to become a beast.

 

“A beast?”

 

– We’re choosing the King of Beasts, so you must be prepared to become a beast, right?

 

“I don’t really like that idea.”

 

At Sooho’s disgusted expression, Rakan’s Fang chuckled and continued.

 

– So, in the first place, you’re not qualified. And that voice isn’t directed at you; it’s just a notice spread throughout the entire sanctuary.

 

[Little King.]

 

Just then, Beru, who was flying around scouting the area, returned to Sooho.

 

[Other Hunters are wandering around this field beside us. But each look…]

 

Plop! Plop! Plop!

 

While listening to Beru’s words, Sooho jumped high on a tree branch. Then he looked down in the direction of the noise coming from above. There, an interesting sight unfolded before his eyes.

 

‘The choosing of the King of Beasts.’

 

[… Everyone is using the beast transformation skill.]

 

That must have been what Rakan’s Fang was talking about.

 

Grrr-!

 

Growl!

 

Clank! Bang! Clank!

 

In the forest, Hunters who had transformed into beasts, either partially or entirely, were engaged in battle using their fighting skills. There were those with wings like eagles on their backs and others who had grown larger like bears.

 

There were various types of beasts fighting in the forest.

 

 

– Prove your worth to be the king!

 

 

And to prove their worth, they fought with the forest in a frenzy.

 

– It seems that the relic here has summoned all the beasts with the qualification to become the king.

 

At that moment.

 

Sssshk-!

 

Crack!

 

Suddenly, Sooho felt a sensation under his feet and turned his body to jump off the tree branch.

 

Chwaak!

 

Surprisingly, it was the tree itself that attacked Sooho.

 

‘Tree trunk?’

 

Even as he jumped to the ground, numerous tree trunks attacked him like whips.

 

‘Ruler’s Authority!’

 

Currently, the power of Ruler’s Authority was not enough to lift Sooho’s weight. However, he could momentarily step on air and perform a double jump.

 

Pop! Pop!

 

Sooho spun in the air like a circus performer, avoiding the vines, and landed safely on the ground.

 

Then, the battle began in earnest.

 

Crack! Snap! Thwack!

 

Plant-type magic beasts attacked Sooho from all directions, but he fought back with Rakan’s Fang and Vulcan’s Horn in both hands.

 

 

– Prove your worth to be the king!

 

 

Amidst the ongoing battle, the voice kept ringing in Sooho’s ears.

 

Sooho felt indignant.

 

“I’m not even worthy, so why am I being tested?”

 

– It’s a matter of timing. It just so happens that you came into the sanctuary at this time and got caught up in the King’s Trial. Or maybe it’s because I, the relic, entered this place where the trial has just begun.

 

“Then, the problem is with the relic from the beginning.” Sooho thought simplistically. “Since it’s a test, let’s start looking for the examiner and destroy it.”

 

[You look for and destroy things. Who dares to test you?]

 

Beru’s eyes narrowed wickedly.

 

– The direction is this way.

 

The direction Rakan’s Fang had been pointing since earlier was the location where the testing chamber was.

 

As he continued cutting down the plant-type magic beasts, Sooho ran toward the relic.

 

***

 

As the jungle grew denser, the blue mist became even thicker.

 

At first glance, it gave off a dreamy feeling, but it was soon the beginning of a nightmare.

 

Eeeeek-

 

 

“Ghosts are coming.”

 

The Hunters, who were being tested for their worth as kings, hurriedly watched their surroundings. The eerie sound of the wind sent shivers down their spines, coming from all directions.

 

In fact, plant-type magic beasts were not particularly strong when considered individually. However, the danger level changed when considering the entire forest.

 

Whether their rank was E or S, Hunters were ultimately humans made up of flesh and blood. A pointed tree trunk suddenly flying can snuff out life by piercing through the neck or heart, leaving one with a sense of futility.

 

This forest was full of chilling assassins on every side. And now, ghosts had been added to the mix.

 

“That’s why this field isn’t popular.”

 

“I told you. It’s dangerous and there’s nothing to gain.”

 

Until last year, a major city was located here. Many people resided here, and a significant business district was formed, boasting a huge floating population.

 

But a gate suddenly opened here one day, and a great disaster occurred. Many people died, and those who survived lost their homes.

 

And the ghosts of those who died then were still wandering this land.

 

 

Aaaaaaa-!

 

 

“Damn it! Banshee!”

 

“Everyone, cover your ears!”

 

The ghost-type magic beast, Banshee. Its lamentation disrupts one’s sense of direction. 

 

It was the worst for the Hunters already wandering around the jungle. Furthermore, the Hunters here were all in a state of heightened hearing due to using the beast transformation skill.

 

“Hoeek!”

 

People started vomiting.

 

 

– Prove your worth to be the king!

 

 

Even at this moment, the voice whipped them.

 

When the voice was temporarily embedded in their heads while they were visually and auditorily impaired, the Hunters finally realized the nature of this test.

 

‘I understand.’

 

Smell.

 

There was a scent somewhere that was calling for them. This magical scent could only be felt by maximizing their wildness.

 

“Yeah! It was a smell!”

 

The Hunters focused all their senses on their sense of smell.

 

But a tree trunk came in through the gap! Splat-!

 

“Kukh!”

 

While ripping off the weeds stuck to their thighs, their eyes were burning with wildness.

 

‘I must find it.’

 

‘I’ll find it and become the king!’

 

They were blindly taking the test as if possessed without even knowing what kind of king it was.

 

“… Something’s weird.”

 

Baek Miho, who was tracking the scent and fighting ghosts more than anyone else, suddenly stopped walking. The White Tiger guild Hunters who followed behind her looked at her with curious expressions.

 

“Vice Master, why did you suddenly stop?”

 

Baek Miho had an expression of dissatisfaction. Even in this chaotic situation, her Eyes of the Beast were focused on a much farther place.

 

She already knew that quite a few Hunters were wandering around this forest besides themselves. And they, too, were competing to move to the same place using the beast transformation skill, just like her.

 

The moment she stopped walking, her impatience grew, thinking that this was not the time for this.

 

And that part touched Baek Miho’s pride.

 

“I feel like I’m playing into someone else’s hands by doing this. I don’t like it.”

 

“I’m sorry? What do you mean?”

 

“From now on, the White Tiger Guild will withdraw from this unknown trial.”

 

“…!”

 

Baek Miho’s sudden declaration of surrender shocked the members of the White Tiger Guild.

 

Yesterday, when they entered this forest, they couldn’t understand what the vice master was doing there.

 

But the worry disappeared after the King’s Trial began. Even though they didn’t know what awaited them at the end of the test, the power of the word ‘king’ fueled their desire.

 

However, Baek Miho suddenly hit the brakes and stopped, saying, “It feels disgusting to be like a real beast, being fascinated by such unknown desires. We’re not like a dog in heat that’s swayed by pheromones.”

 

Baek Miho clicked her tongue and even released Eyes of the Beast.

 

“Then are we going back now?”

 

“No.”

 

It was a waste to wander around without a purpose and hang out with others, but she wanted to see who would be the final winner with her eyes.

 

“Let’s move to a high ground with a clear view.”

 

“Yes, understood.”

 

Baek Miho’s subordinates followed her without a word.

 

But then.

 

“Grrr?”

 

A group of werewolves appeared before the White Tiger Guild, rustling through the bushes.

 

“Mm?” Baek Miho’s eyes changed as she instantly recognized their identity.

 

The White Tiger Guild was the most famous in Korea with the beast transformation skill.

 

Therefore, they also had a separate list of Hunters with beast transformation skills from other guilds. The purpose of this was, of course, to propose recruitment someday.

 

So she was already familiar with the identity of the werewolves they met now.

 

“The remnants of the Hyena Guild.”

 

It was said that some guys hadn’t been caught by the police yet, and it seemed that they, too, were enticed by the King’s Trial in this forest.

 

But the problem was that their nature was evil, and they understood the King’s Trial better than anyone else as they had long served Broki.

 

‘There is only one king!’

 

Growl! When they accidentally encountered the White Tiger Guild, the werewolves bared their teeth without hesitation and ignited bloodlust.

 

And then they launched an attack without hesitation.

 

“Kill them!”

 

“Graah!”

 

The White Tiger Guild was the most promising candidate for the King’s Trial. If they were not killed now, they could’ve robbed the throne.

 

But their blatant bloodlust actually awakened the wildness that Baek Miho had barely suppressed.

 

“… Tsk.” Baek Miho clicked her tongue with a displeased expression.

 

‘Puppies who don’t even know their place.’

 

Snap. In that instant, the hair tie tied behind her broke.

 

Whoosh! Her hair fluttered like a lion’s mane, bleached white.

 

‘Beast transformation!’

 

Half-human, half-beast.

 

Baek Miho’s true power was revealed as her claws ripped through the werewolf’s heart at the front.

 

Then, at that moment…

 

– Prove your worth to be the king!

 

 

“… Ha?”

 

The voice seemed to rejoice at Baek Miho’s slaughter.

 

 

– Kill them over and over again!

 

– The one who survives until the end is powerful!

 

 

“So it’s like this?” Baek Miho realized what that voice truly wanted. “A battle royale.”

 

She disliked it very much.

 

The voice was seducing people to kill each other.

 

Moreover, thanks to the heightened senses of beast transformation skill, screams of people killing each other could be heard throughout the forest.

 

A battle royale was already taking place elsewhere.

 

“I dislike it very much.” Baek Miho gritted her teeth with a displeased expression even as she fought with the Hyena Guild members.

 

Then suddenly, she noticed a person walking in the distance with Eyes of the Beast. Seeing that peaceful figure walking slowly with two swords in his hands was too strange.

 

‘Why is that person alone?’

 

Had he killed all his comrades and survived alone? If so, he was truly the worst human being. Killing even his comrades because the power of the king blinded him!

 

… But.

 

Sniff, sniff.

 

‘I can’t smell blood.’

 

Had he not killed anyone? Then why was he alone?

 

Baek Miho kept glancing at him until she couldn’t see him anymore, even while fighting the Hyena Guild.

 

Author's Thoughts

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