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Chapter 80

  A few of the Akum people nervously greeted San. The rest were inching closer to the water. San stood before the representatives. Biyeon was staring at the main Akum representative with her lips closed lightly. There was no hostility in her gaze, just curiosity.

  “My name is ‘Kui’. I have something to ask of the great travelers,” stated the main Akum representative.

  “Do you know us?” San tilted his head and asked.

  “I heard about you from Linuel. She has kept our people safe from contamination for a very long time.”

  “I see. You mentioned you had something to ask of us…?” Biyeon asked while looking around at the other Akums.

  “I would like you to promise that you’ll fulfill our request first. Then, we’ll help you cross the bridge. That bridge is similar to a buoy, so it’s very difficult for carriages to cross. Additionally, there are very dangerous fish and beasts living in the water. It will be very difficult to cross without our help.”

  “What if we refuse?” San asked. His voice was very dry.

  “Then we will destroy both bridges so that no one can pass. Afterward, we will take refuge in the water.” Kui replied in a calm tone. 

  Biyeon looked towards the bridge. There didn’t seem to be any alternative routes outside the bridge.

  “It doesn’t seem like we have many options. However, it’s impossible to make a promise without knowing the content of your request. Let me tell you our prerequisites. We will not sacrifice our lives or the lives of our crew and our cargo must be preserved intact. Also, whatever the request, it cannot take more than three days to complete. If any of these prerequisites are not met, then we’ll seek an alternative route.”

  “Our request is not that complicated. I don’t think there will be a problem. We’d like you to do something after you finish your travels. Of course, we will also compensate you for your work,” Cui replied calmly.

  “We value negotiation, but we hate blackmail. Above all, we choose. Promising without knowing the content of a request is as unpleasant as hearing a fool swear at you. If you want, you can break the bridge now. However, you will have to pay for making our travels deliberately uncomfortable,” Biyeon stated coldly. 

  Kui made a bewildered face.


  Biyeon interrupted Kui’s words.

  “Being one-sided, but having no choice is not a negotiation. What we want is a fair deal. If not, we will go about things in our way. Furthermore, I warn you, you and your colleagues will not be able to get into the water alive. Shall we check and see if my words are true? It seems that Linuel put you guys up to this?” Biyeon’s decisive decision and ultimatum rang in their ears.

  San’s eyes shined while he took a step forward with his hands behind his back.

  San and Biyeon lowered their posture, readying themselves for combat.

  Their aura started spreading out. The airflow and scent in the air changed. Kui scrunched his face. He spread his webbed hands wide open. He looked dismayed at the unfolding of events.

  “Ah! If you were offended, I’m sorry. Because of our habit of not believing in humans… please let me explain the requirements first.”

  “Fine. We will listen.”


  “What if there was a race like the Akum on Earth?”

  “Maybe their fate wouldn’t be the same?”

  “You think they were driven to extinction?” 


  San and Biyeon looked towards the Akum people.

  They were now crossing the bridge with the help of the Akum. The width of the stream was wider and deeper than expected.

  The party crossed the river and stayed two more days at the Akum’s land-dwelling village. It was a very spacious space that was elaborately constructed with stone and wood, but the overall atmosphere was cool. Overall, it was clean, but it was always somewhat moist, and there was a lingering fishy smell. The village served as a warehouse to store seafood and goods for trade.


  They heard the Akum people’s request in detail. They also discussed each other’s requirements… It seemed an acceptable deal was made. 

  Following San’s instructions, the crew followed the Akum and packed additional goods for trade.

  At Biyeon’s request, Sedum went out on preliminary reconnaissance with several crew members toward the next destination. Their recon would take about a day.

  San and Biyeon checked the items Kui wanted them to exchange and made a list of the items Kui wanted them to purchase at Porato City. When they finally left Akum’s village, their carriages were stuffed to the brim.


  The next day, the convoy left the Akum village.

  “Eliminate the contaminated Akum… the people here really do ask for crazy things. If we continue like this, we’ll probably make enemies out of everyone in this world,” San muttered and sighed.

  “Linuel seems to have used her head on this one. Battles in the water would have been difficult for a winged being like her. It seems she’s left her work for us to do.”

  “Well, at least we can do it fairly easily. Did you find out anything about the Akum?”

  “Only what I heard from Dite. Putting it all together…”

  The Akum were amphibious all-weather hunters. They had five layers of skin. With a large surface area, they had evolved skin-respiratory organs which could filter water and collect oxygen through highly efficient electrolysis. They evolved lungs, making it possible to live on land. Furthermore, their blood was efficiently able to carry about 80% of the atmospheric oxygen, allowing them to move about comfortably on land. They were an intelligent amphibious species.

  To hunt, they used hydrogen and oxygen along with electricity to send out electrical pulses, so their combat power was not negligible. In the water, their race was at the top of the food chain. However, because of their specialized hunting ability, they relied on the ability of individuals or small groups rather than large group actions. Their individual specialization wasn’t conducive to large-scale battle formations. Thus, the race was limited in its development as a whole.

  They made most of their hunting tools themselves, but complex items were secured by trade with humans. Therefore, the Akum were not hostile to humans. However, they didn’t trust them.

  Biyeon explained all this to San. He stared at the Akum. Now, the last carriage was crossing the bridge. Indeed, the Akums movements in and out of the water were quick and natural.

  “That’s pretty awesome…”

  “We’d be hard-pressed to contend against them in the water,” Biyeon said as she shook her head.

  “I hope it works as planned…” San muttered.

  “We always need insurance if we’re going to take risks…”

  The sun was heating up, making the stream look invitingly cool. It seemed like a fiercely hot summer was approaching. Just like this, their difficult journey was slowly concluding. They were now approaching their final destination.

  Infiltration – Chapter 15

  Porato City!

  The Poran kingdom ruled the northern part of the continent. Porato City was the second-largest metropolis in the kingdom. It was a planned city built 40 years ago, named after the Grand Duke Porato, a military genius and famous sergeant who maintained the kingdom through difficult times.

  Many waterways and land transportation systems were developed to connect with the city, and all the rare goods from the northern Orom Mountain Ranges were collected and distributed throughout the continent from this city. The system for trade was well established, and free commerce was guaranteed. Due to these various factors, there was frequent traffic to and from the city, and the demand for warriors to escort the travelers was also very high.

  Currently, the Dong-Myung Clan, among the Absolute Clans, was the largest supporter of the Poran Kingdom. The Dong-Myung Clan’s branch offices were the most visible in the city, followed by various large and middle-sized martial art clans.

  The warriors here competed freely against each other. Warriors belonging to clans gained fame through certified duels and awards. Duels between warriors were held regularly, and such duels provided an open market for the success and opportunities that the warriors dreamed of. However, their duels were very far from the normal battles fought on the battlefield. The duels were conducted in a much more elegant and sophisticated manner. Dueling warriors not only had to show their combat power but also their cultured personality and personal charm. The people who hired them were most likely the beautiful noble ladies…

  As they rolled into the city around late afternoon, dark clouds stretched over the skies, bringing heavy seasonal rain. The city’s mood seemed slightly darkened.

  Four carriages slowly went down the road towards Porato City. It was a very shabby and modest convoy relative to the others that frequented this city. At the front, a man who looked like a scholar was leading the procession, and a dazzling woman like a goddess followed closely behind in a light chiton gown. About 30 ordinary male and female warriors followed behind the vanguard, and at the end, two people followed in unusual attire.

  Thirty was not a small size for a transportation or merchant caravan. However, caravans of this size were very common in this megacity with a population of over 500,000 people. Usually, this size caravan wouldn’t be noticed by the people here. Of course, this would be the case if they were carrying normal wares. Unfortunately for San and Biyeon, their caravan was the center of attention.


  “Wow- This is bigger than I thought.”

  San stretched, raising his arms straight up and turning his head from side to side.

  In front of him, there were huge stone structures similar to the Arc de Triomphe. Colorful administrative and annex buildings followed. The roads were wide and clearly marked, and buildings that looked like luxury mansions were endlessly connected down the many roads.

  “I agree. In addition, I don’t know what to do with so much attention on us,” Biyeon said as she glanced at the crowd. The citizens’ eyes looked at the procession from every corner of the city. On the roadside, from the building, from their windows, and in the dark alleys…

  “What do you think about the security conditions?”

  “I think it should be fine. This seems to be a city where an order is upheld. However, it doesn’t seem like the rats gave up. If we don’t dispose of them quickly, the stress will be difficult to handle later on,” Biyeon looked around and said calmly. 

  She closely observed the city. It couldn’t be compared to the bustle of Seoul, Korea, but it was a city that was quite developed. It felt as though she was entering an ancient metropolis in Europe. The floor was paved with stone, and there was no muddy water pooling even though the rain was pouring down, so there must be an effective drainage system in place.

  All eyes were looking at them. It was such that it would make anyone’s skin crawl.

  People constantly passed by their caravan, people and things moved between buildings, items and people shuffled from one window to another… It was like a movie scene when a camera pans along as a procession moves forward.

  The atmosphere around the carriage was chaotic. The crew members realized that they were the center of attention. San and Biyeon had to change their minds about the speed of information dissemination and communication in this world. Despite taking a completely unexpected route, they were clearly tracked and expected. They were easily recognized even though they just entered the city.