"Wow." Choco looked up, marveling at the sky.
It was only natural. The sunset's red glow filled the sky. Gray didn't say anything, instead widening her eyes as she stared at the sky.
There was a reason it was renowned for being the most beautiful place in Arth!
"The view at the top's even better, right?" Asu glanced at Kang Oh.
"Yeah. You'll never forget the view."
The view at the top was different. It was filled with different shades of red and yellow, appearing like a rainbow sunset. Kang Oh was absolutely sure that the rainbow sunset was Maroon Hill's most beautiful sight.
"Let's go," Choco urged.
Kang Oh glanced at Eder and Sephiro. They then nodded their heads and entered the forest.
As they'd discussed prior, Eder and Sephiro would go in first, and kill any monsters that they might encounter.
"Where are Mr. Eder and Mr. Sephiro going?" Gray asked.
"They're killing the monsters. The view's amazing, but it'd be a pain if monsters kept showing up," Kang Oh said.
"Why's that? If they show up, we can just fight them." Choco clenched her fist.
'I think she said she was a Fighter.'
Choco's class was Fighter, which was said to have the highest physical feedback.
"It'll be hard for you. The monsters here are level 100, but you're only level 50."
"Why worry when one of the Numbers is here? Right?"
"That's true, but... We've come to have a picnic, so let's just enjoy ourselves without worrying about the monsters." Kang Oh smiled.
After that, Kang Oh's party, excluding Sephiro and Eder, traveled up to the top. On either side of the road, there were red leafed maple trees.
"The maple leaves are so red."
"It'd be amazing to wear that color lipstick."
Gray and Choco continued to chat.
Then, a refreshing breeze blew, sweeping the party's hair and clothes.
"Mm." Gray closed her eyes and swept her hair. 'It feels good,' she thought.
Choco did the same. 'The wind feels good!'
Kang Oh grabbed Asu's hand, and then she leaned against him.
They continued to enjoy their relaxing, happy time together.
* * *
Because of Sephiro and Eder's unseen efforts, Kang Oh, Asu, Gray, and Choco were able to reach the top of the hill without encountering any monsters.
Kang Oh's party stood atop the hill and enjoyed the rainbow sunset.
They were all marveling at the sight.
"It's as beautiful as always," Asu whispered to Kang Oh. The two were still holding hands.
"Yeah, you too." Kang Oh was staring at her from the side, and then thoughtlessly gave her a compliment.
Kang Oh was suddenly hit by a strong sense of embarrassment, so he quickly turned and scratched his head.
He could hear her laughing.
Choco came over and began sniffing. "I can smell it from here; you two sure are getting along," she said teasingly.
"No, we aren't."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
Asu and Kang Oh feigned innocence.
"Whatever. Let's lay out the mat and start eating."
'I'm not just going to stand by and watch you be all lovey-dovey!' is what Choco seemed to say.
"Alright." Kang Oh pulled out a giant mat from his inventory and laid it out. It was large enough for ten people to sit on.
The group sat down together, without dividing the men and women, and took out their lunch boxes.
They placed their lunch boxes in the middle, creating a small buffet. There was pork, beef, chicken, fish, clams, etc. The 'armed forces, army, navy, and air force' were all gathered together.
Various side dishes, salads, steaming soup, and Gimbap, which was a staple for picnics, accompanied them.
For dessert, they had various fruit, snacks, and ice cream!
"Thank you for the food!"
"Thank you for the meal."
They began eating thereafter.
Unexpectedly, Gray and Choco were the ones who ate the most. It was as if they were filming a Mukbang.
"Mm, delicious," Gray savored the beef steak and said.
"Virtual reality is amazing. How did they add taste to it?" Choco made a giant lettuce wrap and downed it in one go.
"I like how you don't get fat no matter how much you eat." Gray smiled.
Choco, who stuffed herself with lettuce wrap, nodded her head.
Only after listening to Gray and Choco's comments did Kang Oh realize why Asu eats so well.
They were female idols. One of the core tenants of being one was maintaining a strict diet. In other words, they couldn't really eat the foods that they wanted.
However, Arth had perfectly replicated the taste of food, so you wouldn't get fat no matter how much you ate. Her gluttonous nature would obviously come out!
"Eat as much as you want. You don't need to be worried about me," Kang Oh said to her.
Unlike Gray and Choco, she was only eating a little bit.
"He's right. Drop the act. I saw you eat ten cream puffs at once last time..." Choco said.
"What are you talking about!?" Asu said indignantly.
"I saw it with my own two eyes."
"She's wrong, Oppa. I'm not hiding anything. I'm not a picky eater, but I don't eat like a pig!"
"There's nothing wrong with eating a lot." Kang Oh grinned.
"Seriously, I don't eat that much!" Asu looked like she'd cry, and stared at Choco. 'I'll remember this!'
They had finished eating. Kang Oh's party drank tea while exchanging idle chatter.
It was around this time that Sephiro and Eder had begun to relax, as they began to initiate conversation. What's worse, Eder didn't hesitate to tell them his life story.
"Do your best, Mr. Eder."
"I'm sure you'll be able to regain your body someday."
Choco and Gray even comforted him.
"Yes, thank you very much. I'll do my best." Eder clenched his fist.
Kang Oh was satisfied, as it seemed like everyone was having fun.
* * *
The picnic had become a great memory. But now it was time to get back to work.
Kang Oh, Eder, and Sephiro returned to Saharamant, and cleared Mandra's Helix again. While fighting the Ghost-Possessed Armors, however, something unexpected happened. Fortunately, it was good news.
[Tempest Tiger 2]
Kunta's talent dwells within you. Defeat 200 enemies using Tempest Tiger, and you will gain a large amount of proficiency at once.
Monsters defeated using Tempest Tiger: 0/200.
Reward: Proficiency in Tempest Tiger +5%.
Kunta's Ring had activated.
'My proficiency in Tempest Tiger is at 94.5% right now. By the time I finish this spontaneous quest, Tempest Tiger will have reached high-rank! Nice timing!'
Kang Oh now had a short-term goal. He decided to complete the spontaneous quest while repeatedly clearing Mandra's Helix.
Time passed by.
Kang Oh's party repeatedly destroyed the Ghost-Possessed Armors and cleared the dungeon. The more times they cleared the dungeon, the more the Mandra Tree would grow.
Moreover, they continued to give it the fertilizer and growth enhancer, which only further accelerated its growth.
'Is this what it feels like to be a farmer?'
Seeing the Mandra Tree slowly grow filled him with pride. Not only that, but he was slowly completing Tempest Tiger's spontaneous quest.
Kang Oh didn't understand why Ratia said he'd need to be patient.
'This is fun.'
Seeing the Mandra Tree steadily grow, as well as Tempest Tiger's spontaneous quest slowly being completed, made repeatedly clearing the dungeon fun. Moreover, his level had quickly risen to 330.
On the other hand, Eder was quite bored. It was only natural, as he was going through the same dungeon day after day. However, he had a goal: to get to the Goddess of Death's temple ASAP. That goal kept him going.
However, Sephiro proved to be a problem. Around the time that they'd gone through it about 30 or so times... he began complaining.
It'd been a week since they'd started this.
"Ugh, I can't do this anymore."
"I can't go through this dungeon anymore."
"Why?" Kang Oh tilted his head.
"It's so boring!" Sephiro yelled.
He neither had Kang Oh's patience, nor a clear-cut goal like Eder. Obviously, he was fed up with clearing the same dungeon over and over, with no end in sight.
"We've only just passed our 30th time." Kang Oh couldn't understand him.
"Just? You should rephrase that. It's already our 30th time!"
"Please keep at it. We only have to go through it a few more times."
"No, I won't do it!" Sephiro threw a tantrum like a child.
Then, Eder intervened. "Mr. Kang Oh."
"We can clear the dungeon without him, right?"
"Yeah. But that'll lengthen the amount of time it takes to get through it." Kang Oh furrowed his brow.
"Mr. Sephiro needs to get his wyvern from the Tamer Guild, so why don't we give him a three day break?"
"Hmm." Kang Oh stroked his chin.
Sephiro stared at him desperately.
He'd have more use for Sephiro in the future. However, if he pushed him any further, then he'd probably run away and then cut off all contact with him.
"Ooh, thank you very much, Mr. Kang Oh. Thank you, Brother." Sephiro beamed.
"See you in three days." Kang Oh waved his hand.
"Yes!" Sephiro stood atop the transfer magic circle, and yelled, "Saglass!"
It was the name of a famous vacation spot.
* * *
Three days later...
Sephiro reappeared, his face dry and smooth. There was a small creature in his arms.
Eder and Kang Oh greeted him.
"This is my pet, Waryong." Sephiro lifted the baby wyvern with both hands.
Waryong opened its mouth wide.
"Hoh." Kang Oh carefully examined the baby wyvern, Waryong.
It looked just like a lizard. However, there were wings attached to its arms, proof that it was a wyvern, not a lizard. Also, its skin was red.
"There are wyverns with red skin?" Kang Oh asked.
"Rarely, a mutant Red Wyvern is born. That's what my Waryong is."
"What's the difference between it and a regular wyvern?"
"Hoo, hoo. Don't be shocked. Waryong, hoo!"
The wyvern opened its mouth, scowled, and spat out flames.
"It's a living lighter." Kang Oh saw the flames and laughed.
"That's because it's just a baby. Anyhow, Red Wyverns are wyverns with the fire element. Good boy." Sephiro opened his palm, revealing a grasshopper, and fed it to Waryong.
The wyvern ate it in a single bite. However, it hadn't been able to fit all of it, leaving the grasshopper's hind legs exposed.
"I guess it won't be of much help right now," Kang Oh said.
"No. He still needs daddy's help right now." Sephiro softly stroked Waryong's head.
"Are you ready to go through Mandra's Helix again?" Kang Oh asked.
While Sephiro was gone, Kang Oh and Eder had cleared the dungeon more than 10 times. Thus, they'd cleared the dungeon a total of 48 times now. Because of that, the Mandra tree had grown significantly, and was approaching 2 meters in height.
Since Mandra's trees only grew a little more than 2 meters, the Mandra tree was almost fully grown.
'We're almost there!'
They say that 'patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet'. It was almost time for that oh so sweet fruit to grow.
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