Sungjin continuously scanned his surroundings as he progressed through the Canyon. He was searching for a ‘hidden piece’ while keeping an eye out for the Assassin.
And once in awhile, he looked back to check on Serin who followed from behind. Her cheeks carried traces of tears, but she looked much calmer now.
Of course, because of her earlier ‘experience’, she kept her bow and arrow at the ready, but she was regaining her usual haughty demeanor. Sungjin stopped to speak to her.
“Excuse me, but…”
Serin bit her lip without replying. She was still extremely weary of Sungjin.
“Did you happen to see anything weird or out of place on your way here?”
Sungjin asked Serin carefully.
“Yes. Anything is fine… Did you see anything like that? Something that shouldn’t be there, something that seemed odd… Like a concealed location…”
Serin answered as if Sungjin’s question was puzzling.
“What do you mean by that? This whole place is filled with nothing but strange things.”
“Hairy monsters, fat pot bellied beasts, two-headed giants.”
“… I mean…”
She was technically correct, so Sungjin didn’t have much in the way of a reply. He decided to change his question instead.
“I don’t mean it in that way. I meant especially strange things. Abnormally powerful beast among beasts, weirder things among weird things. Something that stands out even in this place.”
Serin shook her head.
“I don’t know. I hate being around these monsters; I just wanted to get out of this place as soon as possible. So I focused on nothing but shooting arrows into their heads.”
Sungjin nodded. In truth, he didn’t expect much from her anyway; Even by chapter 10 most people were unaware that ‘hidden pieces’ existed at all.
‘Should I use the ‘Treasure Hunter’s’ active skill…?’
Serin then interrupted Sungjin’s thoughts and asked a question.
“Kei… That’s a fake name, right? What country are you really from?”
Sungjin shook his head.
“…It doesn’t matter. Think what you want.”
Sungjin answered half-heartedly. He didn’t want to get close to someone who was most likely going to die in the near future.
It always hurts less when a stranger dies compares to when a friend does. This was the reason why Sungjin called himself ‘K’.
“It has to be between China, Japan, and Korea.”
Sungjin didn’t plan on answering. Then,
“Between Kimchi Jjigae and Doenjang Jjigae, which is your favourite?”
Sungjin instinctively and unintentionally ‘thought’ of the answer. Serin’s sharp eyes did not miss his slight change in behaviour.
“You must be Korean.”
“If you were Chinese or Japanese, you probably would have first asked what those were.”
Sungjin thought of saying
‘…I’ve been to Korea before…’
And stopped himself.
‘She’s a smart one.’
Sungjin turned his head halfway and replied,
“I said this before, but what difference does nationality make here?”
But she replied
“It is only right that the one who is saved remembers the name and nationality of the one who saved her.”
Sungjin turned his head all the way back to look at her.
She finally replied
“I wanted to say thank you earlier.”
Now that he thought of it, it was the first time she had thanked him. A faint smile appeared on her face, as she slightly lowered her head towards him.
Sungjin was battle hardened and emotionally vacant, but even his long-cold heart was shaken by her beautiful smile.
“Ah well, got it.”
Sungjin intentionally looked away. He then called to the Operator.
[32 minutes 49 seconds]
‘…If I don’t find it within 20 minutes, I will use the Treasure Hunter Active skill.’
Sungjin resumed combing the Canyon.
A long time after, Serin stopped Sungjin.
Sungjin stopped on the spot. He turned and looked at her.
“What is it?
Serin pointed with her thumb somewhere.
“Isn’t that suspicious?”
Sungjin looked over in the general direction she was pointing towards. There was an ordinary Canyon wall.
“What’s strange about it?”
“Its appearance… Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?”
Sungjin shook his head. He was an orphan. Poor even among the poor. He had never been out of the country all his life; not even to China or Japan.
“I have. Twice. I lived in America as a child.”
Sungjin nodded. He recalled a news article from the past.
‘Beautiful Archer Serin Han. Born into money and privilege; Father was a major player in the American Finance Industry.’
“The Canyon walls are formed by compacting earth and sediments layer over layer over long periods of time. So typically, there are varieties of colors present on the Canyon wall. But over there…”
Sungjin looked over to the canyon wall again listening to her explanation. Now that she mentioned it, he too noticed the strangeness of that particular part of the wall.
To the left and the right of it, the walls were layered horizontally in a uniform pattern. Only this portion of the canyon wall was different.
At the center, the layers were narrow, and the colors shifted within the layer. The variance of the color within the layer became worse closer to the center.
The way the canyon face was shaped, it stuck out in some parts, and it was indented inward at others. This portion of the wall, however, the outs and ins were too straight, as if designed and cut with precision tools.
“Wait… this looks like…”
Sungjin had tried to touch the canyon wall. But cracks appeared on the wall, and a slick white surface became visible.
‘What is this, a slime?’
He thought for a moment. But in the middle of the white surface, a large black pupil rotated to look at him.
Sungjin cried out in shock. And at the same time, the earth shook tremendously. The Operator gave out an announcement.
[Warning! Hidden boss]
[King of Giants ‘Cyclops’ has appeared!]
“What does she mean, ‘Hidden Boss’?”
Serin asked from behind, but Sungjin didn’t answer. One side of the canyon wall rose up, and a hand emerged from within. Serin looked up at the gigantic hand and gasped.
The gargantuan hand grasped the top of the canyon wall.
The ground began to shake again. Along with the earth shattering rumble and quake, the ‘Hidden Boss’ began to show itself.
The boss’s stature made the Ogres, Ettins, and Trolls look like little children’s toys.
Just looking up at the boss, it was easily as tall as a ten storey building. Sungjin had seen many gigantic bosses in later chapters, but never one as tall as this.
The giant stood up by leaning on the canyon cliff wall and blinked its huge eye a few times. It looked down upon Sungjin and let out a mighty roar.
The earth itself trembled at its monstrous roar.
A familiar sound rang out from behind, and he saw an arrow zip through the air. Serin shot an arrow up towards the giant’s head. Of course, the target was the lone eye.
Taking out its eye would make the hunt comparatively easy. But once the arrow reached about its chest height,
The giant slapped the arrow out of the air. The height of the Giant was about 25~30 meters. No matter how large the Cyclop’s eyes were, it was a difficult height to reach with the arrow. Serin complained under her breath.
“Just what the heck is that thing…”
She looked discouraged. That was probably the normal reaction for this moment. Even though she had overcome large wolves, undead monsters, and other nightmarish creatures, she had never seen anything so seemingly unsurmountable.
Sungjin drew out his blade and shouted
“Stay back for a bit”
And charged at the giant.
‘Let’s test the waters.’
The Cyclops raised its foot when it noticed Sungjin run towards it. A huge shadow appeared on and around Sungjin.
Sungjin quickly moved out of the shadow of the colossus. Its speed was nothing extraordinary, but due to its enormous size and mass, improperly dodging would result in becoming an instant pancake.
The foot landed where Sungjin stood moments before. Turning around, Sungjin swung his katana at one of the toes in front of him.
Each time it cried out, the earth itself shook along with it.
‘Is it taking any damage?’
He asked himself. Another shadow appeared on top of Sungjin. He tumbled backwards.
A large fist punched the earth where he was moments before. Sungjin prepared to counter attack when the fist opened up, and the giant tried to catch and grab Sungjin.
Sungjin couldn’t avoid it. He quickly wrapped the Mantle around himself and shouted
Sael’s Breath shattered upon contact with the Giant’s hand. Having blocked the Giant’s attack with the Mantle, Sungjin spun around and swung his Katana towards the hand.
The middle finger was cut deep by the Katana. It evidently hurt a great deal. The Cyclops began stomping the ground chaotically in anger. Sungjin rapidly dodged the indiscriminate attack with great dexterity. Even while doing so, he thought to himself.
‘…It’s not a boss I can easily kill even with high stats. It’s going to take more than one or two shots.’
And that was the truth. No matter how powerful Sungjin and his Katana was, it was only as large as a needle in comparison to the massive giant. The only parts of its body Sungjin could destroy in one hit was fingers or toes.
‘Climb the thing and make a lethal strike.’
Sungjin made up his mind and began to put his plan into action. He approached the giant to lure an attack. It first raised its foot.
‘Feet are no good.’
Sungjin dodged the foot for now. And as a follow-up, a slightly smaller shadow appeared around Sungjin.
Without a doubt, this was the fist. Sungjin intentionally dodged it by a hair.
The fist landed on the ground close by. Instead of swinging his sword, he jumped up and held onto the hand.
And without realizing that Sungjin had hitched a ride on his wrist, the Giant raised his hands as normal.
Along the way up, The Giant turned his attention to his hand. The two stared at each other.
Sungjin felt threatened, and quickly stabbed ‘Moon Specter’ deep into the Giant’s hand.
The giant cried out in pain as if it was stung by a bee. It angrily waved its arms about, to throw Sungjin off of him. Sungjin was thrashed about violently.
It was a dangerous moment for him. If he let go of ‘Moon Specter’, then he would be flung off far into the distance like an ant. The Giant only increased the intensity of which it swung its arm.
‘If this keeps up…’
While Sungjin was flailing in the air, he heard someone calling for him.
Despite the shaking, he still looked towards the source of the voice. Serin had climbed to the top of the canyon cliff and was aiming towards the giant with her bow and arrow.
She let loose an arrow aimed at its eye.
“Rain of Arrows”
The arrows multiplied in the air and flew towards the Giant’s face. Every single one of them hit the mark; it was inevitable due to the large size of her target.
In just a moment, dozens of arrows embedded themselves deep into the Giant’s face.
The Cyclops screamed out in pain and instinctively used its hands to cover its face from the arrows. And with it, Sungjin was brought to his target.
Sungjin pulled out the ‘Moon Specter’ from the wrist of the Cyclops and held it in both hands. And once he grew close enough, he pushed himself off from the hand launching himself towards the head.
Sungjin yelled out loud as he sailed through the air, Katana pointed straight at the eye. And just like that, Sungjin impaled the ‘Moon Specter’ deep into the Cyclop’s eye.