Having arrived at the center of the swamp, Sungjin examined his surroundings while standing on top of the ice. Inside the murky water of the swamp, there was something shining with a green light.
‘There it is.’
Having confirmed this, Sungjin
Took a deep breath and dived into the swamp.
The swamp was just wide, and not very deep. Despite the depth being at a level where your feet would barely touch the ground even if you couldn’t swim very well, Sungjin had made a pathway into the center area of the swamp, simply because he didn’t enjoy the feeling of swimming in it.
The inside of the swamp was filled with unidentifiable fauna and flora. Sungjin wasn’t particularly fastidious, but even so, he didn’t feel particularly comfortable swimming in this swamp.
‘It feels like I’m going to catch some disease.’
Thought Sungjin, as he dove towards the bottom. He opened his eyes briefly and saw an object shining brightly with a green light in the middle of the swamp. After Sungjin picked it up, he quickly climbed to the surface of the water. The Operator’s voice could be heard saying,
[Congratulations! You have obtained the Hidden Piece]
[Shanok – Emerald Snake]
Once he heard this, Sungjin shouted,
“Rajenta! Could you please pull me out?”
Upon hearing his master’s words, Rajenta swallowed down the water snake that he had been holding in his beak, which he had hunted near the swamp while waiting, and flapped his wings. He flew to Sungjin and pulled him out of the swamp by carrying him into the air by the shoulder.
“Put me down somewhere close to there. Somewhere near it.”
Rajenta faithfully obeyed Sungjin’s command. Having returned to the shore, Sungjin shook his body much like a dog would shake its body when wet.
“Kuuh… The smell.”
However, the peculiar smell did not dissipate easily.
‘Nothing I can do about it.’
Sungjin was more concerned about the item he had brought over than the smell emanating from his body. A snake completely made of emerald. From it, some kind of magical light spilled forth. Sungjin examined the item.
Shanok – Emerald Snake
A gem hidden in the center of a swamp
The key to calling out an ancient existence.
After checking the item, Sungjin placed it in the cube and mounted Rajenta once more.
“Let’s go, back into the sky.”
Rajenta flapped his wings and carried Sungjin up into the air again.
‘Eh… Then the next place is…’
Sungjin looked for the place he had to go next from above. He spotted something white between the mostly green and brown colors of this place. A building covered with moss not far from the giant swamp.
That place was where the Hidden Boss was located. Rajenta flew like an arrow while he carried Sungjin to that place. After getting down, Sungjin gave one last order to the Summon.
“Rajenta, if you go to the place where the lizardmen were killed, Cain’s pack will be there. Go and search the swamp together for enemies that may have survived and kill them by yourselves. Understood?”
It went back after giving a short reply. If it’s Rajenta and Cain, the two should be able to clear up any remaining lizardmen or wyvern survivors.
‘Then should I head towards the Hidden Boss?’
Sungjin went inside the building. Unlike the other structures of the swamp, such as the lizardmen’s homes made of woven reed or the wyverns’ nests made of rotting logs, this building was made of white marble.
Even though it was mostly covered with green moss, it still gave off the feeling that in the past, it had been made with great care.
‘Is it some kind of temple…’
Though it’s his second time coming here, he couldn’t tell the purpose of this temple since there was no one and nothing inside. There was only a gigantic circular hole inside.
A hole like the one in which the Persian ambassador had fallen into, in the movie ‘300’. However, the diameter of this hole was far wider. Sungjin took a peek inside. Only deep darkness could be seen within.
‘It still looks creepy.’
Sungjin examined the area with that in mind. There was a small altar near the hole. There was a stone statue of only the body and tail of a snake at the center of the altar.
Sungjin took out the emerald snake statue that he had previously obtained and placed it on top of the stone statue. The snake’s head and body fit perfectly. The moment the head and the body met,
The statue suddenly shone and then changed into a living snake. Sungjin looked at the snake with narrowed eyes. This was his second time seeing this, but it was still interesting. The snake flicked its tongue several times,
Then turned its head and entered the gigantic hole. It was now time to face the boss. Sungjin spoke to Besgoro as he took out ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ from his vest.
“Mister Besgoro. Did you know that if you cut this guy once, another appears?”
‘Hrm? What does?’
At that time, a snake of enormous size came out from inside the hole. An enormous snake that was similar in size to a dragon’s head. However, that wasn’t all.
Another snake, and another snake, and another snake, and another snake appeared. A total of five. Though there are many monsters in the raids, there isn’t another one that looked this unpleasant. The Operator’s voice rang out.
[The Hidden Boss ‘Ancient Hydra’ has appeared.]
Even the veteran Besgoro who had experienced countless battles on land and sea let out a small groan. Upon hearing his voice, Sungjin instead asked Moon Specter.
“Start repeatedly counting to 10 after I cut the first one, okay?”
Moon Specter listened to Sungjin’s words even without any particular explanation. Sungjin followed this by throwing both the ‘Gourmet’s Monocle’ and the ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’.
The ‘Gourmet’s Monocle’ began to read the book.
[When he tried to cross the river, an officer of Cao Cao’s army in charge of protecting the river, Qin Qi, stopped them. “What is your name?” “Guan Yu”]
‘If it’s Guan Yu, then it’ll be a warrior type…’
The closest snake struck at Sungjin as he thought this.
Sungjin avoided this by rolling backwards, and said to Besgoro,
“Mister Besgoro, let’s finish this quickly. Frenzy”
Soon, Sungjin’s vision became slightly red. The ‘Gourmet’s Monocle’ finished reading the book at the same time.
[When he asked, “Do you have a travel permit?”, Guan Yu said, “I do not have such a thing.”]
[Seance of ‘Guan Yu’ activated!]
[Passive Skill – Enhance Attack(III), Swift(III) applied.]
[Active Skill ‘Strike of the Blue Dragon’ is available for use.]
Sungjin’s became much faster having received the power of the general. This time, two snakes simultaneously attacked Sungjin, but they only became offerings for ‘Frenzy’ instead.
Sungjin jumped high and avoided the charge of the snake that had attacked first. The second snake attacked right afterwards, but Sungjin stepped off the first head and once more jumped up.
He then turned once in the air and cut downwards with Moon Specter. The body of the second snake that charged at Sungjin was killed by its own momentum as it ran into Moon Specter.
The snake twisted its body and tried to return to the hole while Sungjin was still on top of it.
‘As if I’d let you!’
Sungjin lashed out Moon Specter by swinging it in half a circle and swinging Blood Vengeance at the same time as well. He drew a perfect circle, with Moon Specter and Blood Vengeance each cutting half of the head, slicing it off entirely. Moon Specter began to count 10 seconds.
Sungjin moved without taking a moment’s respite as he listened to her voice. He didn’t know how many snakes were inside that black hole, but if a snake died, then another snake would come out after about 10 seconds.
To kill the boss, all five snakes had to be killed at the same time. However, that is possible only when there are five hunters. For Sungjin who was running the raid alone, he had to kill at least two or three snakes within those 10 seconds in order to finish off this hydra.
Sungjin jumped onto the head of the snake that he had first avoided. He stabbed at the snake’s eyes with his two swords using the increased speed from frenzy and then tore up its head. Then, as a matter of course, it collapsed.
‘Good! Let’s tear all of these monsters to shreds!’
Sungjin charged at another snake while listening to Besgoro’s voice. However, a different snake spat poison at him from its mouth. Just like a dragon’s breath, a greenish liquid came pouring out.
Sungjin activated Sael’s mantle in emergency to avoid the poison.
He was safe due to the frozen mantle, but the moss that covered the ground near Sungjin turned black and died in an instant.
However, he couldn’t waste time because of this. Sungjin charged towards another snake’s head. It opened its gigantic mouth in an attempt to swallow him whole. He commanded Besgoro,
And at the same time as a giant mass of flame was forced into the snake’s mouth, Sungjin swung Blood Vengeance and made the creature close its mouth through force.
A huge explosion occurred from within the snake.
Now there were only two left. However, as this happened, another snake appeared from the black hole. Moon Specter began to count again.
Sungjin ran towards the remaining snakes. The durations of ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ and ‘Frenzy’ were not that long. He had to bring things to an end within these 10 seconds. Sungjin charged towards a snake’s head.
He stabbed Blood Vengeance into the tip of the snake’s nose, then stood on its handle and cut up the snake’s head with Moon Specter.
During this, a different snake once more attempted to spit out poison, but Sungjin was prepared for it. He quickly shouted,
Then continued to swing his sword. Meanwhile, the snake’s head portion of the ring ‘Chimerao’ that was on Sungjin’s finger began to emit a green light. The poison that was flying towards him almost reached the area where he was standing.
A few drops of poison did splatter on to Sungjin, but it was as if he was hit by a light rain and there was no effect. Sungjin jumped high and then cut the snake’s head that spat the poison in half.
Since its neck was naturally very thick, his slash went through about only halfway before stopping.
Moon Specter was counting when Besgoro spoke up.
‘There’s one and a half snakes left.’
Sungjin shot Blood Vengeance towards the dangling half of the snake’s head. He didn’t look, but the flying Blood Vengeance completely cut through the remainder of the head. Sungjin held up Moon Specter and ran towards the last snake alive.
There were 3 seconds left, but this was enough.
‘It was called ‘Strike of the Blue Dragon’, right? Should I try it out?’
Sungjin recalled the name of the Active Skill that he had heard previously, and shouted it while aiming at the snake.
“Strike of the Blue Dragon!”
After he shouted, the general that had been behind Sungjin quickly swung a gigantic scimitar and shot out a slightly bluish energy towards the snake. That energy easily cut through the head of the last remaining snake.
Upon seeing this, Sungjin thought,
‘It’s quite strong… If I knew it was like this, I would have used it earlier.’
Moon Specter was faithfully counting down even though the last snake was dead.
Soon, the Operator could be heard.
[Hidden Boss ‘Ancient Hydra’ cleared.]
Note on Romance of the Three Kingdoms:
Guan Yu was the most appropriate person in the Romance of the three kingdoms to call a Heroic warrior 영웅 호걸 (Yuusha Goketsu in Japanese). He was a complete man, With the strength of ten men (His weapon was extraordinarily heavy), a thorough understanding of strategy, godlike patience and tolerance (remember the story with the doctor operating on his arm?), unmatched ethics and morals, and unwavering loyalty.
He was such a man of inspiration that Cao Cao, a man who was obsessed with becoming the hero who will save all of China (Sort of a god complex) saw Guan Yu as his equal as a hero and respected him reverently. Cao Cao is famous for his great treatment of talented individuals, and none is more famous than Cao Cao’s respect for Guan Yu.
Some people, including myself, believe that Cao Cao respected Guan Yu more than even Guan Yu’s sworn brother Liu Bei. When Guan Yu was killed, Cao Cao had the person who brought Guan Yu’s head killed and wore white funeral garb for months in mourning. He lamented Guan Yu’s death for the rest of his life and declared “Liu Bei’s negligence has gotten the hero of the century killed.” Cao Cao was also the person who officially deified Guan Yu.
The quotation in the chapter is one such account of their interaction.
Liu Bei has betrayed Cao Cao and has escaped to form his own country. But during the great exodus, his slow moving horde of peasants was caught by Cao Cao’s forces. During the Chaos, Guan Yu stayed behind to protect Liu Bei’s many wives and family. Cao Cao accepted Guan Yu’s surrender in return for the safety of Liu Bei’s family’s protection.
Guan Yu, during the time when he had no news of his brother, worked for Cao Cao. Even killing a former ally of Liu Bei to show his loyalty to Cao Cao. Cao Cao showered Guan Yu with gifts and titles, all of which Guan Yu refused except a legendary horse.
So once Guan Yu heard of his brother’s whereabouts, he immediately left. Cao Cao correctly assumed that Guan Yu would not want to leave without farewell so he refused to be visited so Guan Yu waited, but after days, he finally wrote a letter and departed.
Cao Cao was devastated but sent a messenger ahead to allow Guan Yu and all of Liu Bei’s family safe passage.
The quote in MHK is at one of these gates where an officer tries to ask Guan Yu to stay.