It wasn’t too long until a familiar white background became visible once more to Sungchul.
“Ugh… such waste.”
Bertelgia was shaking from immense sense of lost opportunities but Sungchul thought differently.
‘There is nothing to be disappointed about. The large number of tokens were nothing but the bait.’
‘Bonus reward bags that needed to be protected’ were the traps.
It was an incredibly insidious trap that made the challenger of the trial lose sight of what’s important. Misdirected their attention to cause misunderstanding about what they were supposed to be doing, to trick them into committing an irreversible mistake and fail the trial entirely.
It was indeed a trial well suited for a dungeon whose divine purpose was to test the will.
If Sungchul had wanted to save even one of the bonus reward bags, he would have never been able to locate the real archer in the dark.
Words appeared before Sungchul’s unimpressed eyes.
‘Are we immediately skipping ahead?’
He hadn’t even been to the nineth trial yet. In fact, he wasn’t aware there even was a tenth trial until now, nor had he given his consent in starting it.
Whatever was happening now was happening independent of Sungchul’s will.
A man appeared from beyond the blank white space.
It was a tall well-built man with all black korean traditional gown, wearing a wooden mask.
One thing of note was that there was bright green rather holy light escaping from the cut-out slits for the eyes of the mask, with the arrow Sungchul had shot still lodged on its forehead.
The masked man pulled out the arrow as it began to speak directly at Sungchul.
[However, resolve is useless alone.]
[A strong resolve can only truly shine if backed by the strength to carry it through.]
[Or else, a resolve can at best become a hollow echo in the void, or at worst manifest into a calamity that engulfs everything into an inferno of self-wrought personal hell.]
[If you have no confidence, turn back now. You shall receive your due reward worthy of the resolve you have thus demonstrated. However, if you wish to obtain a reward truly worth coveting…]
Sungchul already began to grin by this point.
[Come forth. If you believe you have what it takes to move forward.]
The man in black was congratulating Sungchul for overcoming the hidden trial, but informed him that the true reward would require another, different demonstration.
A demonstration of his strength.
This meant that what was about to come would not be easy to overcome, and the prize likewise immeasurably precious.
What awaited him was probably a treasure the designer of the Dungeon valued most above all else.
In other words, it would lead to the path that would bring him closest to the full clear of the dungeon.
As if to respond to his thoughts, an info was revealed to him by the Transcendent Senses.
[Undefeated, Agent of God]
[One of the first Nine Immortals, True Apostle of God]
Sungchul’s eyes grew wide in surprise.
‘So, this must be the master of this Dungeon.’
Sungchul was overcome with something akin to certainty. Because of all the humans he had come across thus far, no one was all that powerful in comparison.
“Bertelgia, could I ask you to spectate from a distance for a bit?”
Sungchul asked with a soft tone of voice.
Bertelgia knew Sungchul better than anyone and was quickly out of his pocket and reassumed her original size and flapped her pages to fly before he was even done asking.
“Hmm. That guy’s that strong?”
Sungchul shook his head after hearing her question.”
“I cannot tell.”
“But I think I’m getting a feeling like I might be in for a worthy fight for once in a while.”
“I don’t really get it but, anyways! Good luck and don’t lose!”
Bertelgia moved herself far away.
Sungchul stepped forward without fear.
The wooden bow in his hands was replaced by Fal Garaz.
“I prefer this kind of trial more.”
Once Sungchul assumed a battle stance, the hooded man likewise lowered his stance to match.
It was a stance of a warrior, a very experienced one at that.
His legs seem to roll on the floor effortlessly, then the next, his body was flung forward like am arrow. And when they were about to make impact, the man swung his arm down from above, carrying the entirety of his momentum with it.
Sungchul felt a compulsion to take on the hit head on instead of dodging. So he raised his Fal Garaz above and blocked the man’s thunder-like attack.
The power of the strike was transferred to Sungchul’s god-like body through Fal Garaz.
It has been a while since he had last been impressed with the strength of someone who wasn’t a Lesser God.
Sungchul who had tried to block the man’s attack with one arm needed to use his left arm to brace the Fal Garaz.
The Fal Garaz stopped shaking and stabilized. Sungchul pushed forth with his strength to press against the man with his god-like strength.
The man in black was pushed up into the sky.
Sungchul dashed forth in pursuit towards the landing point of the man he had knocked up in the air.
Whoosh whoosh whoosh
The Fal Garaz in his hands started giving off rather threatening sounds as it rotated. It revealed just how much Sungchul was looking forward to this battle.
‘I cannot believe that there exists someone among humans who is able to stand toe to toe with me.’
The man’s movements were remarkable. He watched Sungchul dash forward like the wind towards his landing point without appearing all that fazed. In fact, he seemed to enjoy his time in the air like it was a brief break and did nothing for majority of the fall and it wasn’t until he was near the ground that he spun around in the air to take something out.
It was a blade.
The sword of a perilous length drew elegant curves in the air for a moment before it seemed to possess some sinister unapproachable energy as it made its way towards Sungchul.
A counter attack, an unspoken gesture telling him to back off.
But Sungchul did not step back. In fact, he took on the man’s counter attack head on.
Blue sparks flew between the sword and the hammer.
The hammer seemed to be pressed back at the initial clash, but it did not last long.
Sungchul successfully absorbed the man’s attack and forced the stalemate into a contest of raw strength.
A pleasant voice that oozed with experience could be heard from beyond the mask.
The one to step back was the masked man.
He dashed a bit of a distance away and a bit more before taking a stance after fluttering his korean gown.
The immensely long sword was held backwards, appearing like a single blade of orchid visible beyond his person.
“I have never lost in my long life.”
The masked man began.
“And about the reason why, one once told me it was because I have the will of the Tiger and the cunning of Fox in symbiotic harmony.”
“I, too, do not know the reason why I was chosen to become the examinator of this test of will. Across my entire life, I have done nothing but slain and murdered; a beautiful virtue like the patience that can be had from resolve is but like oil to water for me.”
The excessively long sword was rotated around, drawing a large circle before it took its place before the man.
“But I think I understand the reason now.”
Without further warning, the masked man was suddenly over flowing with explosive malice, an overpowering desire to fight and inflict violence. The deranged zeal he now possessed was enough to make even the all-powerful Sungchul feel threatened.
His Transcendental Senses were telling him, his experiences likewise agreed, that among everyone he had ever come across until this point, Lesser Gods be damned, this man before him was by far the most dangerous and powerful opponent he had ever come across.
‘It seems as though in the confines of this dungeon, no matter how high your stats reach, you won’t pass on so to speak.’
It does not make sense otherwise.
That overpowering feeling.
Not even the infernal Lesser Gods who were at the precipice towards the divine could give such a sense of peril.
Sungchul put his god-like strength into the hand holding Fal Garaz.
‘Let’s give it a go then.’
Fear and anticipation, entertainment and the chilling possibility of being cut apart, all doused Sungchul’s thirsting brain with inexplicable mix of feelings that resulted in something akin to euphoria.
It brought back his long-forgotten sensation like he’s truly alive. And such a pedestrian and normal feeling brought excitement to every inch of his body down to his toes.
He felt his body feel light.
A light breath escaped Sungchul’s lips.
And then something unbelievable took place.
In the midst of the standoff that seemed to be frozen in time, Sungchul was the first to make a move.
Outwardly, it was nothing more than a simple light step forward, but with it, it carried meaning that Sungchul was willing and able to break the uneasy peace.
The man seemed surprised by this for a moment before he fixed his grip on his sword and matched Sungchul’s step forward.
A storm began to brew around the vicinity of the man. The source of the winds seemed to be coming from the sword itself. Soon, it almost looked as though the man was multiplying within the storm.
With each step forward, the man would disappear or appear in duplicates, sometimes perhaps in the thousands.
The appearance of the man was rightfully described to be effervescent and ever-changing but what his appearance and presence was telling Sungchul was a simple message.
That he cannot block what is to come.
But even so, Sungchul did not stop.
He watched the man standing in the middle of the storm with calm and steady eyes as he walked into the storm with his own two legs.
He was taking on the risk that whatever was coming couldn’t be blocked or evaded.
‘We finally meet.’
The masked man had a premonition. Even before they clashed within the storm, just as Sungchul entered the arena of gust and wind without fear or hesitation.
‘A worthy foe to break the legend of my undefeated record.’
He utilized a powerful, thunderous strike followed by an inescapable chain of follow up attacks to bring down his enemies. Those defeated by the masked man had theorized a way to overcome the undefeated warrior; surviving the initial strike could enable cutting the chains of hellish follow-up attacks.
However, there was none who could successfully weather the initial strike. And no matter the courage, none could help but back away in the face of the storm of blades and would be pursued to their defeat in an endless chase.
Aside from the man standing before him, he who was destined to destroy the world.
Thousands of swings of the sword cut and stabbed at Sungchul, but with an iron will, Sungchul kept his eyes on his target and kept on moving forward until he finally took the upper hand.
“The victory is mine.”
Sungchul was cut and stabbed all over his entire body and was covered in blood, but his heavy hammer was pressed into the eye of the storm.
There was a sense of loss, futility, and an enslavement to the yoke of the wheels of fate as the master of the dungeon replied in a small voice.
“… It is my loss.”
The storm stopped raging. The man who had been standing in the eye of the storm was visibly smaller now.
Sungchul felt his hair whipping about.
A gentle sweet-smelling wind came wafting down from above. The soft breeze healed Sungchul’s wounds wherever it touched like magic.
Sungchul felt a bit of a sense of disappointment at the loss of the pain and scarring which were like medals earned in battle. He put away the Fal Garaz.
And soon, a giant text he had been expecting finally revealed itself before him.
[You have defeated the Dungeon Master of Aegehios and overcome all the trials the dungeon has to offer.]
[God’s Dungeon Aegehios would like to express its respect for you.]
[You who have overcome all trials are granted the following rewards.]
- Dungeon Tokens – 1342
- Elixir (Highest Grade)
- Soul Contract Spirit of Steel
- Resilience +135
The rewards seemed somewhat underwhelming to be called ‘amazing’.
Sungchul first turned his attention to his new Soul Contract.
Before the Soul Contract was equipped, it was possible to see its physical appearance, and this particular Soul Contract had the appearance of a small steel wagon wheel.
Sungchul immediately appraised the Soul Contract.
<Spirit of Steel>
Type: Soul Contract
Effect: Immunities from all tiers of Mental attacks, instant death prevention, Resist the Heavens
Notes: Symbol of Impossibility granted to those who overcome all that Aegehios has to offer. Only those who are closest to gods may possess this proof of steel.
“How is it? This is the greatest reward the dungeon Aegehios can bestow.”
The Dungeon master said from the other side.
It was Sungchul’s first time receiving a Mythic class Soul Contract.
‘It overlaps quite a bit with the Thunder Shield, but it seems to be an upgraded version of it with an added bonus of Instant Death prevention. And the final effect, that one seems a little questionable but I might as well try and equip it for now.’
Sungchul held the Spirit of Steel and stared at it with a piercing gaze.
The steel wagon wheel seemed to acknowledge it being called upon and spun on top of his hands for a moment before rising slightly up in the air. It then flew into Sungchul’s head.
It, of course, left no injuries.
[You have obtained the Soul Contract ‘Spirit of Steel’]
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