Only Drako Yau remained on the spacious platform where gas bubbles kept erupting from the lava. Still, as if the environment wasn’t bothering him in the slightest, his gaze was fixed onto a section of the rocky cave wall.
He went closer and caressed the wall with his palm. Apart from the scorching heat, there was also this weird dent on the wall, which was what had caught his eye during the countdown.
He took out the fire crystal giant elder’s heirloom from his item bag. It was exactly the right size. As a game designer, he was particularly sharp when it came to these things. With just a glance, he could roughly guess that the two were probably related in some way.
It wasn’t something present in his version of the game. Was this something the company added in as well? Without much hesitation, he lightly pressed the heirloom into the dent.
With a ding sound, a torrent of blinding light flooded out from the plain-looking wall. The wall grumbled as it cracked, stones falling off its surface. Finally, the rocky wall opened sideways and revealed an entrance.
Drako Yau took a deep breath and recalled the old geezer’s words as he murmured, ‘It’s not a game… I’ll really die if I die here… I’ll really die…’
Still, he grabbed his spear and entered.
‘Kid, how did you even find this place.’ A voice rang out. At the same time, a system notification spoke into his head. ‘Triggered hidden quest: Fire Crystal Master.’
A shadow erupted from the lava and landed heavily on the ground, splashing lava everywhere and creating a screen of white smoke.
Rather than the fire crystal tribe, it looked more like a human fused with a fire crystal giant. Its appearance was mostly the same as humans, but its crimson rock-hard skin and the fiery crown clearly indicated its status—master of the fire crystal tribe.
The Fire Crystal Master sized up Drako Yau and said, ‘You dare to face me alone? You really do have the guts.’ Its voice was deep, sounding almost like thunder.
The monster, no, person in front of his eyes triggered all the alarms in his head. Without sparing any effort to talk, Drako Yau glared at the formidable enemy, sweat dripping from his palms that held the spear.
The Fire Crystal Master, acting very much like an actual person, curled his lips. ‘So this is the disciple of the Spear God? Looks like he’s an overrated brat.’
Just like his encounter with Sasaki Kojirou, they didn’t feel like NPCs at all, but instead actual persons with their own minds.
‘You know my master?’
Drako Yau wasn’t sure if the old geezer was actually the Spear God, but if it came to the spear…
The Fire Crystal Master snickered and replied, ‘You don’t even know how many grudges we hold against each other! Now that you’re unlucky enough to show up here, leave your life behind in place of your master!’
Immediately after finishing his words, he stomped the ground and charged at Drako Yau like a meteor.
Focusing his gaze, Drako Yau didn’t dare neglect the enemy and sidestepped using the Empyreal Dragon Step. He hadn’t really expected that the guy would just attack him out of the blue.
The crimson shadow whizzed past him and rammed straight into a wall, but the Fire Crystal Master’s sound was strangely approaching him. ‘Not just yet!’
The moment he crashed into the wall, he actually flipped and planted his legs onto the surface, propelling himself back at Drako Yau. He shot through the air like a bullet and dashed so quickly that Drako Yau’s mind was completely occupied with evasion by recalling the steps that the old geezer had taught him. There was no chance of retaliating at all.
Inside the room made of stone, a red comet was bouncing off the walls time and time again, leaving behind afterimages. A young man who held a spear stood in the centre, his legs quickly moving around swiftly in a set of abstruse footwork. He somehow managed to avoid the comet by millimetres every time it dashed past him.
Drako Yau’s eyes suddenly glowed as he noticed a chance to counterattack. His spear sprung out like a viper and landed flush on the Fire Crystal Master’s skin, yet it only created a crisp sound of metals colliding.
After warming up and getting used to the Empyreal Dragon Step that he had put aside for so many years, he could finally spot openings and even go on the counteroffensive.
The Fire Crystal Master stopped to look at his waist; a small crack was present on the fire crystal-esque skin.
‘Not bad! You actually managed to hurt me!’
Drako Yau didn’t go along with him and instead shot him with a question. ‘Do you know my master?’
‘Beat me and I’ll tell you!’ The Fire Crystal Master guffawed.
Drako Yau’s expression turned cold as he replied, ‘Well, pardon me then.’
The longer he fought, the more of his sealed memories emerged from the depths of his mind.
The old geezer swung the stick and struck the teen’s shin. ‘You got it wrong again! If the opponent’s fast enough, you’re dead already!’
The teen grunted and continued to practice the tormenting footwork. He had to use the specified footwork to go through the pile formation that the old geezer had set up. It was a terribly hard task.
‘Ugh!’ He let out a scream as the old geezer hit his shin again.
‘Wrong step!’ The old geezer scolded him again. Having no choice but to swallow it, the teen only murmured his discontent and continued.
After a long while, the exhausted teen slumped to the ground and gasped for air, sweat drenching his vest. The old geezer casually strolled over and tossed him an apple. The teen caught the fruit and immediately started munching on it.
Silence ensued as the pair of young and old men sat there. The old geezer was the one who finally broke the silence. ‘Where were we at last time?’
The teen’s eyes brightened as he excitedly sat up and replied, ‘The cave that spits flames and where the fire crystal tribe lives.’
The old geezer nodded with a smug look. ‘Ah, back in those days, the Fire Crystal Master was an arrogant one who didn’t know fear. He challenged me to a fight, and I easily beat him while dancing you know! I even made him kneel down and sing!’
The teen laughed and said, ‘Old geezer, you’re bluffing all the time!’
Drako Yau’s footwork was gradually flowing smoother. Awakened by the tingling sensation of death that the Fire Crystal Master radiated, his Empyreal Dragon Step was slowly recovering its former glory. It was no longer one-sided and he could finally strike back. The Fire Crystal Master was covered in cracks, but Drako Yau wasn’t unhurt either. One of his ribs had fractured.
The Fire Crystal Master stopped again and shot daggers at Drako Yau. ‘The more I look at you, the more I’m reminded of the old geezer back then! That annoying footwork, that annoying spearmanship!’
‘Hmph!’ Drako Yau didn’t utter a word and secretly cast Bandaging on himself, slightly soothing the pain beneath his armpits.
The Fire Crystal Master simply ignored his petty tricks and smashed himself in the chest with his fists.
A loud bang resounded throughout the room, almost scaring Drako Yau.
Is this guy nuts?
After punching himself, the crimson cracks on the Fire Crystal Master’s body shattered and fell to the ground, like he had just shed a heavy layer of armour. He was now a notch thinner, and his skin was almost sparkling.
‘Come, young man! Defeat me and become stronger!’
‘Why does everyone want me to become stronger! Why!’ Drako Yau howled. The series of incidents in the past few days had been pestering him a lot.
What did I do wrong! It’s like the heavens is toying with me! Why me!
‘Because you’ll die if you don’t!’ The Fire Crystal Master disappeared into thin air.
Drako Yau instinctively felt the change and immediately drew his foot back and turned his body, a red glow dashing past him right after.
So quick! He’s at least twice as fast now!
The walls prattled as the Fire Crystal Master bounced back and forth rapidly, almost sounding like a machine gun. Drako Yau went full throttle with his legs, but he was still getting grazed constantly.
Even the breeze that brushed past him drew cuts on his body. It was certain death if he was struck square at such speeds!