Translated by: ShawnSuh
Edited by: SootyOwl
A set of heavy footsteps came from the distance. Soon, dozens of monsters without levels appeared out of the dark, their limbs hanging loosely. Although similar to Death Knights, there were noticeable differences in their appearance. Unlike their horse-riding counterpart, the monsters approaching Ho Sung were wearing gold armor and brandishing gold swords.
When the monsters came closer, their names became visible.
Unlike Min Sung, who was fascinated by the lack of level indication, Ho Sung and Bowl, led by their instincts, backed away from the monster and hid behind the champion, frightened by the golden aura emanating from the monsters' swords. The Hell Knights had a presence like no other monster they had faced up to that point in the labyrinth. Looking toward the pack, Min Sung smiled subtly and murmured, "So, there really are demons here."
Puzzled by the smile on the champion's face, Ho Sung asked, "... What do you mean?"
"I've seen those things before," Min Sung said, staring at the pack of Hell Knights coming toward him.
"They would always run away when I saw them, but seeing as though they're coming toward me, it seems like they might not be from Hell," the champion said, throwing Ho Sung into even further confusion. At that moment, after closing in on the champion, their suits of armor making metallic clicks as they walk, the pack of Hell Knights stood in a row and stopped in their tracks simultaneously. Although they limped lifelessly, the way in which they got in formation resembled a well-trained army. Soon, each of the Hell Knights started to glow gold. They were surrounding themselves in aura as if they were preparing for combat.
"Been a while," Min Sung said, smiling bitterly. With the Orichalcon Dagger in his hand, the champion walked toward them without hesitation. At which point, the Hell Knight at the front of the line charged at him, swinging its sword, creating streaks of aura that poured on the champion like rain.
Staring at a large hole in the wall of the labyrinth, Jan's eyes widened, and he said, "He broke through the walls?"
The walls within the labyrinth were nothing like those in the outside world. Enhanced with the power of enchanted stones, the walls were much sturdier than any ordinary wall. Needless to say, the sight of giant holes in the labyrinth walls was nothing short of mind boggling. The more Jan looked at it, the more he realized just how powerful his opponent might be.
Walking through the hole with a low chuckle, Jan wrapped the hefty chain around his arm even tighter than before, a big smile creeping on his face.
"The time draws near," he murmured, walking through the labyrinth unhurriedly.
The ground quaked, and the air shook as the rain of golden aura poured down on the champion. Parrying the attacks away with a single swing of his dagger, the champion fought his way through the pack of Hell Knights, killing them one by one unhurriedly. There was nothing precarious about the way in which the champion fought. In fact, there was grace in his style, as if he had no weakness, and to Ho Sung's eyes, the champion's power seemed almost inhuman.
'He has to be a god or a devil himself,' Ho Sung thought. Besides, the champion had said it himself that he had come across the Hell Knights in Hell. At that moment, Ho Sung coughed up blood. His body shook, his vision blurred, and his head spun. The shockwaves from the sheer impact of the two different types of aura colliding made standing still feel like torture. Similar to Ho Sung, Bowl shook in fear and awe of its master's power, completely taken aback. At that moment, Ho Sung picked Bowl up, backed away, and hid behind a wall.
"The moment one of those things get past Min Sung, we're screwed,' he thought, watching the battle between the champion and the Hell Knights from afar. The only way to survive was to put his faith in the champion and hope that it would all be over soon.
The aura flowing out of the champion's dagger pierced through a Hell Knight's heart.
With sounds akin to sheets of metal scraping against each other, the Hell Knights died off one by one. Then, while staring at the Hell Knights' corpses dropping items after exploding into pieces, the champion tilted his head slightly, feeling as though he was absorbing their filthy souls. Soon, the mystery of the unfamiliar sensation was uncovered by the mechanical voice of the labyrinth's system.
[First kill within proximity of your level!]
[Players can absorb the souls of the monsters they have slayed on Inferno and above.]
[Souls absorbed by players will be converted into energy.]
Hearing that, Min Sung nodded, happy with the fact that he could absorb the souls of his opponents for energy. Although Hell Knights were the lowest of the low in the Demonic Realm, the fact that the champion could now absorb their souls was extremely appealing. Turning back toward Ho Sung and Bowl, Min Sung said, "Pick 'em up." Despite the significant distance between, the champion's voice was clearly audible, and it resonated throughout the labyrinth.
Rushing toward the champion, Ho Sung picked up the loot in a hurry. Meanwhile, still shaking with fear, Bowl jumped into the champion's pocket.
"One more to go," Min Sung said, staring into the darkness ahead. His instincts and experience were telling him that the journey was nearing its end.
"... I sure hope so," Ho Sung said honestly as he picked up the last piece of loot. At that moment, a set of footsteps came from the labyrinth behind them. Startled, Ho Sung looked toward the darkness. However, he was caught off guard by the foe that came out of that darkness: a muscular man with a black chain wrapped around his arm.
Judging from the color of his eyes and hair, the man seemed to be a foreigner.
"... A hunter?" Ho Sung murmured, staring at Jan Bred, who glared at the champion with the eyes of a lion and a subtle smile on his face.
"At last. An offering."
There was a tremendous presence to the man's ominous voice, big enough to disrupt the aura flowing in the environment. While Ho Sung swallowed nervously at that intimidating sight, Bowl crawled back into the champion's pocket.
"Who are you?" Min Sung asked. To which, Jan looked down at his wristwatch and replied, "This watch is impressive. They weren't lying about the language translation feature. All right."
"I asked you a question."
At the champion's hostile tone, Jan looked up, smiled, and said, "I'm here to take your life as an offering, Min Sung Kang."
"That's right. I won't be stopped. Soon, the AH will also meet the same fate as the one you're about to meet," Jan said, looking as though in a trance.
Then, looking back at Ho Sung with a furrowed brow, Min Sung asked, "What is this AH?"
Having been staring at Jan with widened eyes, Ho Sung snapped out of it and replied in a hurry, "He must be talking about the Central Intelligence within the American Masters' Institute. That would make him a world-class hunter. I think you should keep your wits about you, sir."
"Yeah, right. You, come here," Min Sung said, signaling with his Orichalcon Dagger for Jan to come closer.
"A little too confident for an Asian hunter, don't you think?" Jan said.
"I get to be."
"Taking your life will bring me glory," Jan said. Then, while Min Sung scoffed condescendingly, the chain wrapped around Jan's arm started to buzz, and an aura like Ho Sung had never seen before surged around Jan like a storm. As the aura grew even stronger, Jan opened his mouth, "A Divine Dungeon Gate will open in Seoul as we speak, and powerful monsters will pour out of it. With your country's pathetic little military, it won't be long before Korea lies in ruins. You will die here, and Korea as you know will fade from the face of the Earth!"
Looking down, Min Sung breathed a small sigh and said, "Three quiet meals a day. Is that really too much to ask?"
With his aura flowing out of his dagger, Min Sung walked toward Jan.
"You dare challenge me? Some nameless hunter from Asia?"
"You talk too much," Min Sung said, staring at Jan with merciless eyes and tossing the dagger into the air. At that moment, the dagger hovered in midair, flew toward Jan, pierced through his protective shield and shoulder, and flew back into the champion's hand like a boomerang.
The hellfire that had once been in Jan's eyes started to fade, and the intimidating aura that had once surrounded him also started to weaken. Staggering, he fell to his knees, his face pale, his eyes sunken, and his skin turning black like a rotting corpse. The damage was beyond imagination. Soon, the hunter coughed out a pool of blood, which continued to drip from his mouth. Walking toward the vulnerable hunter, Min Sung stood in front of him and asked, "You mentioned a Divine Dungeon Gate. Does this have anything to do with the message about the Demonic Realm?"
"... This doesn't make sense. How could a nameless hunter like you from an insignificant country possess such power?" Jan asked, his life fading away from his face as he spoke.
"Answer the question. Does any of what you said have anything to do with the Demonic Realm?"
"Even if I am to die here, the divines will lift me up. Then, I will make it a priority of mine to slice your..."
Before he finished his sentence, the champion's Orichalcon Dagger pierced Jan's throat, killing the hunter instantly.
"We've wasted too much time. If what this guy said is true, then there are monsters spreading across the entire city. We gotta kill the boss as soon as we can and leave this place. Can you keep up?"
Struggling to appear confident and determined, Ho Sung nodded affirmatively and declared, "Yes, sir."
With that, the two set out on a journey through the desolate land in search of the labyrinth's boss.