Hoyoung / Ho Young is an Anima Thief, the first ever playable class from its branch released in KMS. They use a newly introduced weapon: Ritual Fans (different from the ones used by Kanna) as their main weapons.
Master Tai Yu was one of the greatest sages from the realm of the sages, tasked by the elders to bring order to Grandis. During a time when Grandis was embroiled in chaos, he would spend his days upon the battlefield until one day when he discovered a Tiger Anima infant crying alone in a ruined village. Taking pity on the child, Tai Yu decided to raise the child and named him Hoyoung. However, when Hoyoung asked to learn magic, Tai Yu sensed the limitless energy within the boy. As Hoyoung was both wild and unpredictable, he decided to seal away Hoyoung's powers in order to keep him from harming himself.
On the moon of Cheong-woon, in the Hermitage at the foot of Mount Songyu, Hoyoung was reading a book about the legendary sage Tai Yu, who sealed away the Four Perils, powerful fiends who once threatened the peace of Grandis, unaware that Tai Yu was his own Master. He read that Tai Yu's origins were mysterious, with some saying that he was descended from the heavens, while others claimed that he was a monster himself due to his inhuman strength. It was said that he could blow away a whole legion of monsters with just one swing of his fan, and that he possessed many other powers, such as shapeshifting and creating clones of himself. But even in spite of his strength, Tai Yu was extremely humble and would only refer to himself as “a simple wanderer”. After Hoyoung finished reading the last volume of the series on Tai Yu, he wondered what to do next, as he had gotten bored of reading and sleeping all day. He also wondered where his Master had gone, as he should have returned long ago. His Master had been called away on urgent business and had left Hoyoung in charge of the Hermitage while he was gone, warning him to stay away from the other side of the mountain. Hoyoung decided to go to the training grounds and finish the training exercises he had been putting off. He collected Stiff Wooden Blocks from the Pine Nuts in the training grounds and carved the symbols for ‘Heaven', ‘Earth', and ‘Humanity', meant to represent the sky, land, and mankind. He recalled that the intent was to help him understand that he existed between the sky above and the land below. With this understanding, he attempted to cast magic, but failed once again. He lamented that he was still unable to use real magic, just as the ground suddenly began to shake as he heard a voice calling to him.
Hoyoung followed the voice, but was unable to find its source. Suddenly, he realized that he had gone to the other side of the mountain, where his Master had forbidden him to go. However, the voice called to him again and he followed it to a Stone of Sealing. The voice inside the stone asked Hoyoung to free him in exchange for a wish. Hoyoung asked for the ability to use magic in exchange for the voice's freedom. He found a warding talisman on the rock and realized that it would be simple to remove it, supposing that whoever had put it there must not have been too serious about keeping the voice trapped. However, Hoyoung knew that the monster trapped inside the stone must be dangerous and doubted that it could give him magic so easily, and so he decided to play a trick on it instead. Meanwhile, the monster planned to possess Hoyoung upon being freed, allowing Hoyoung to cast magic as its puppet. Hoyoung lifted the talisman just an inch to get the monster's hopes up and then let it fall back into place again, laughing at the monster's foolishness in thinking that he was a gullible kid. Suddenly, a gust of wind blew off the talisman that Hoyoung had accidentally loosened, causing the Stone of Sealing to shatter. From the stone emerged Taotie, one of the Four Perils. Hoyoung realized his mistake and formulated a plan to reseal Taotie. He laughed and told the monster that he couldn't possibly believe that it was Taotie, and asked him to prove that he was truly one of the Four Perils by challenging him to move the mountain, claiming that the real Taotie could easily accomplish such a feat. Taotie easily lifted the mountain, but Hoyoung continued to subject him to more tests. Eventually, Taotie tired himself out and Hoyoung took the chance to use one of the talismans he had stolen from his Master's desk to reseal him. However, Hoyoung accidentally sealed Taotie inside himself, but his weak magical mastery meant that he was unable to also seal the fiends Taotie had devoured, causing them to be unleashed upon Grandis.
Becoming an Investigator
Taotie, who had been reduced to a tiny creature, was furious that Hoyoung had released all the fiends he had devoured. He granted Hoyoung the power to use magic, explaining that it was to help him track down and catch all the creatures he had let loose. With his newfound ability to use magic, Hoyoung read through some of his Master's notes that contained basic spells. Armed with new skills, Hoyoung decided to head into town in order to find clues on the fiends. Based on the stories he had read about Tai Yu, he decided to head into the tavern in order to hear rumors about any of the released fiends. He overheard two patrons, Ironhide and Willow, talking about the resurgence in monster activity, and how the town's private investigators were looking for answers. Ironhide mentioned that the private investigators were expensive, but that their efficiency had made them local heroes. Suddenly, he began choking on a fish bone, and after clearing his throat with a drink, he decided to order more. Hoyoung noticed that the tavern seemed to be out of the particular drink that Ironhide had ordered and formulated a plan to impersonate a server. He obtained distilled spirits from Sikhye Crocks and brought them to the patrons so that they would continue their conversation.
Ironhide then mentioned that the head monk of the temple on the outskirts of town had recently passed away, and that he had been replaced by a younger monk who was simply known as the Handsome Monk because according to many women, and even a few men, he was easy on the eyes. Though he was both handsome and kind, there were rumors that he had sequestered himself in the temple, leading people to believe that he was praying for the safety of the town. Hoyoung wondered whether the Handsome Monk had been forced into seclusion because of the fiends he had accidentally let loose into Grandis and decided that his next course of action would be to become a private investigator. Taotie grew annoyed by Hoyoung's antics, claiming that he had yet to witness Hoyoung's actions matching his bravado. He explained that he had loosened the seal on Hoyoung's magic enough for the energy to trickle out, but added that he wouldn't tamper with it any further, telling Hoyoung that he would need to do it himself from now on.
Hoyoung then went to the Information Broker Bureau, where a woman named Kaling greeted them. Hoyoung saw that she had a blue left eye and a yellow right eye, with the right eye's sclera colored black. He greeted her by calling her a girl, which annoyed Kaling, who explained that she was simply short. After interviewing Hoyoung, Kaling concluded that he was a rookie and told him that she was only looking for qualified candidates. Hoyoung protested that he was capable of handling a case, to which Kaling replied that he could pay a fee of 100 million mesos in order to expedite his application. Hoyoung attempted to negotiate by asking her to assign him cases, with the commission being put towards the expedite fee, but Kaling denied him, explaining that it would be against the rules. Hoyoung then decided to trick her by telling her that he would need to turn her down and hoped that another legendary sage would help her. This intrigued Kaling, and Hoyoung followed up by taking out his Master's fan. Kaling immediately recognized the fan and agreed to hire Hoyoung. When asked why she had a sudden change of heart, Kaling explained that no ordinary sage could have gotten their hands on such a fan. However, she told him that she would still charge him the expedite fee and told him that he could pay it down on his own time.
Working with Farasi
For his first mission, Kaling assigned him to help another private investigator named Farasi. Farasi immediately recognized him as a fellow Anima and told him that since he had been living in the mountains, he likely didn't know where the Anima stood in the world at large. She explained that the Anima usually lived in seclusion and hid their animal features when venturing abroad, adding that she herself was an Anima from the sea, and that she had carefully styled her hair to cover her Anima ears, though she admitted that she couldn't hide her blue hair or skin. She told him that hiding his ears and tail may save him avoidable trouble, though she added that she couldn't force him to listen. With his new magic, Hoyoung made up a spell that would allow him to make his Anima features disappear and reappear at will. Farasi then tasked him with investigating the town, as she was busy and Hoyoung needed to get familiar with the area. She told him that there had been an increase in reports of jars being shattered and told Hoyoung to look into it, and though she wondered why it even warranted an investigation, she directed him to defeat the Broken Sikhye Crocks for clues. Hoyoung found broken jar pieces on the monsters and brought them to Farasi. He told her that he had already examined them and found animal feces on the pieces, and that judging by the breakage of the jars, the culprit was fairly large, but the feces were abnormally small in proportion. Farasi decided that they could rule out monster involvement, jotting it down in the case files, and decided to move on to the next one.
For his next assignment, Farasi gave him a case from a local farmer named Mr. Mark, who had reported that his fully-grown gourds were disappearing, with some even rolling away on their own. After investigating, Hoyoung returned with some of the gourds. He pointed out teeth marks that likely came from an animal and explained that the gnaw patterns showed large incisors, likely belonging to rats. He theorized that the gourds moving around on their own were likely rats who had chewed their way inside. Farasi wondered if the rats had also been the ones who had broken the jars. Hoyoung believed that it warranted further investigation, to which Farasi told him that she had run across something similar in one of her previous cases, though she couldn't remember what it was. She then decided to take him out for lunch, though Hoyoung protested that she shouldn't be hungry when he had been the one doing all the work.
The Missing Trainees
Over the next several months, Hoyoung continued to work with Farasi on small-time cases. During one of their lunches, Farasi asked him why he had decided to become an investigator. Hoyoung told her that he had always aspired to become like the sages in his stories who traveled the world and helped people. Farasi replied that she had once felt the same way. Hoyoung asked her what had changed, but Farasi replied that she would tell him some other time. She then told him that she had good news for him and explained that he had been given a new case, one which was actually serious and necessitated detective work. Hoyoung went to see Kaling, who told him that the case involved a theft and a mysterious disappearance, as shiny objects had lately begun to disappear from the temple near the town. A few days ago, some of the temple's trainees had gone missing as well, and Kaling explained that the client who had filed both requests suspected that the incidents were connected. Hoyoung asked Kaling if she thought that the cases were indeed connected, but Kaling told him that he would see when he met the client himself. She told him that the client was a trainee who lived at the temple, and that he would be waiting at the temple entrance for him.
Hoyoung met the trainee at the temple and noticed that he was wearing a fancy necklace. Initially, he hadn't thought that monks wore such extravagant jewelry, but seeing it helped him understand the link between the thefts and abductions. The trainee noticed that Hoyoung was eyeing his jewelry and showed its glistening surface, explaining that it was meant to reflect one's face, which was the mirror of the soul. He told Hoyoung that the pendants meant a great deal to the monks, and that he couldn't imagine that anyone would have allowed theirs to be stolen, including the trainees who had been abducted. Hoyoung marveled at the responsibility they carried, with Taotie pointing out that it must be a foreign word to Hoyoung. The trainee then began telling him the details of the case, explaining that a monster would appear when the temple was quiet, usually stealing something shiny before disappearing again. Those who had disappeared along with the monster were fellow trainees who had been standing watch at the time of the incidents. Hoyoung asked if there were any clues to help identify the monster, but the trainee explained that the only witnesses had been the abducted.
Undeterred, Hoyoung began his investigation at the site where the abductions had taken place. As they walked there, the trainee mentioned that soon after the abductions had started happening, the temple began having rat problems. Hoyoung then fought the Sewer Rats and discovered a black feather, a ring-handled wooden board, and a crumpled note that the rats were carrying, which he brought back to the trainee. Hoyoung noted that based on the size of the feather, the monster had to be gigantic, possibly even large enough to carry off a trainee. He then showed the wooden board to the trainee, who recognized that it matched the color and pattern of the door at the rear of the temple grounds. There, they found a large footprint, which Hoyoung noted to be bird-like. The trainee realized that the rear gate led to the highest mountain in the area, meaning that the bird monster must have taken the missing trainees there. Hoyoung then opened the crumpled note, which said: “it was an animal… A beast! Flee while you can!” Hoyoung believed that the trainee who had written the note had known what was coming, and that they had tried to warn everyone else.
Just then, Taotie told him that he recognized the monster they were facing and explained that the monster was a giant magpie, which was obsessed with hoarding all that glittered and shined. However, Taotie added that the magpie was afraid of bells, having once flown face-first into a large bell. Hoyoung realized that it explained why the magpie only came to the temple grounds when it was quiet. He then told the trainee what he had learned and asked him to show them the shrine's largest bell, which helped Hoyoung formulate his plan to deal with the magpie. He and Taotie climbed to the top of the mountain, where they encountered the magpie sitting in a nest full of shiny objects, along with one of the trainees. As the magpie flew to attack, Hoyoung unleashed a gust of wind from his fan that caused the shrine bell to ring. This weakened the magpie, causing it to return to its spirit form. As the spirit rushed away, Hoyoung chased after it and accidentally fell off the mountain. As he plummeted to the ground, he tried to summon his Master's Nimbus Cloud. Focusing on the heaven, earth, and humanity trigram, Hoyoung successfully summoned the Nimbus Cloud, allowing them to chase after the spirit through the air. Taotie successfully consumed the spirit and regained a portion of his power.
The Faceless Monster
Over the next few months, Hoyoung continued to take on advanced cases involving the escaped fiends. As he grew more famous, Taotie also grew stronger by consuming their spirits. Hoyoung quickly became the talk of the town, with the Handsome Monk even coming out of seclusion after the recovery of the missing trainees. Taotie told Hoyoung that all but one of the fiends in the area had been hunted down. However, the last fiend had an elusive presence that allowed it to hide from Taotie, a fact which frustrated him, as he had thought that he had recovered enough of his power to sense any monsters in the area. Meanwhile, Hoyoung went to meet Farasi for lunch as usual. Farasi told Hoyoung that she was planning to retire after her current job, as she wanted to think about her future plans. Hoyoung agreed with her, claiming that he also didn't plan on staying an investigator forever. After lunch, Hoyoung left for his new case, promising Farasi that they would have a proper goodbye later. He reported to Kaling, who told him that a Faceless Monster had appeared in town and instructed him to speak to Ironhide in the village. Ironhide told Hoyoung that the Faceless Monster had first appeared several months ago, back when people only caught glimpses of it wandering as though it were lost. Recently, however, it had started stealing from the town, which had caused the townspeople to grow concerned. Ironhide was worried that since the monster had stolen from his neighbor the day before, it would likely target his house next. Hoyoung decided to set a trap for the monster by collecting Gourd Vines from the Chunky Striped Gourd monsters. After having his magic clones set the trap, Hoyoung waited for the monster on the roof of Ironhide's house.
Soon after, the Faceless Monster, which was really just a normal man without his face, got caught in Hoyoung's trap. Though the monster managed to escape, it dropped some of the stolen items it was carrying. Hoyoung was surprised that the monster had seen through his trap, as he hadn't been able to sense a strong spiritual aura from it. Just then, Taotie emerged and told Hoyoung that he could sense something. Hoyoung asked if Taotie recognized the Faceless Monster as one of the fiends he had consumed, but Taotie explained that it wasn't the monster he was sensing, but something in the bag that it had dropped. Hoyoung opened the bag and found stolen mojo dolls. Hoyoung recognized the dolls as the same ones that the Handsome Monk was making and having the trainees hand out to protect people from misfortune. Taotie suddenly realized that the dolls were hanging from every house, which was why he was sensing the energy no matter where they went in town. Hoyoung asked if he knew where the monster was hiding, but Taotie told him that they would likely learn everything they needed once they found the one who had made the dolls.
The King of Rats
Meanwhile, Farasi was finishing her last mission by investigating the temple. Suddenly, a trainee emerged and told her that the Handsome Monk would be delighted to have her for dinner. Back in town, Hoyoung began to grow suspicious about the Handsome Monk and decided to go to the temple. As they flew there on the Nimbus Cloud, Hoyoung wondered whether he would be allowed to see the Handsome Monk since he was an outsider. Furthermore, he suspected that the trainees would pose a problem if they were in on the conspiracy. Just then, he spotted one of the trainees getting down on all fours and eating off the ground while squeaking like a rat. Hoyoung infiltrated the temple, where he discovered rats all around the area. He asked Taotie whether the last fiend was a rat, but Taotie explained that he wouldn't eat a rodent monster, as such lowly cuisine was beneath him. Hoyoung then found a locked door, which he believed to be suspicious. Suddenly, he saw a rat scurrying across with a key, getting lost amidst many other rats with keys. Unable to keep track of which rat had the right key, Hoyoung defeated them all and took all the keys they were carrying, trying each one until he found the right key.
Inside, he found the trainees tied up and asked them what had happened. One of the trainees, the same one whom Hoyoung had encountered on his first mission, explained that the rats had captured them. He told Hoyoung that the trainees whom they had rescued from the magpie monster were rats who had shapeshifted themselves to look like the monks, and that the rats had locked them up in the storage room. He then explained that even though he had managed to evade the magpie, the rats had eventually gotten him too. Each of the trainees told him that when they had regained consciousness, they had found themselves tied up in the storage room. Furthermore, they had realized that their faces had been stolen as well. However, the trainee added that it was more than just their faces - the mirrors of their souls - that had been stolen. He explained that the spiritual powers they had honed through their training had also been stolen, preventing them from being able to fight back or escape. Hoyoung wondered why the Handsome Monk hadn't done anything, as he was meant to be upstanding and powerful. The trainee then revealed that the Handsome Monk was the one controlling the rats, and so Hoyoung decided that he would make his way into the inner sanctum and confront the Handsome Monk.
As Hoyoung made his way deeper into the sanctum, he found another locked door blocking the way. Just like before, he hunted down the rats and collected their keys in order to find the right one. Arriving at the sanctum entrance, he found two rat trainees guarding the way. Hoyoung used his powers to shapeshift into a trainee in order to get past them. The trainees told him that he was late to the service that the Handsome Monk regularly conducted. Suddenly, one of them realized that if he were truly a rat, he would have known about the service. Hoyoung managed to talk his way out of it, tricking the rats into letting him enter. Upon arriving, however, Hoyoung was dumbfounded to see that the service was nothing more than a disco club. Hoyoung then saw the Handsome Monk, whom Taotie explained was a Monster Rat who had stolen the face of the real Handsome Monk. However, unlike the regular rats, the Monster Rat had the ability to use magic. Taotie suspected that he had been siphoning chi from those who had hung his dolls on their houses.
Just then, the Monster Rat addressed his subjects and congratulated them on completing the first stage in their plan, which was to spread the life-siphoning dolls throughout the town. With that achieved, he told them that it was time to move to the main phase of their mission. In three days, when the full moon would rise, the cursed power woven into the dolls would ensorcel the residents and turn them into his puppets. However, he explained that his ambitions surpassed Cheong-woon Valley, vowing that they would surge forth and cross over to the continents beyond the sea, allowing them to take over the world. As the rats cheered for their master, the Monster Rat told them that he had brought a special guest and presented a captured Farasi. Hoyoung then revealed himself to the rats and ordered the Monster Rat to transform back into a spirit for Taotie to consume. The Monster Rat was confused, but decided to eliminate Hoyoung, as he had seen too much. As Hoyoung rushed to attack, the Monster Rat trapped Hoyoung inside a purple ball of magic and bounced him around the room. Realizing that he was no match for the Monster Rat, Hoyoung used the Ultimate Sage Skill: Thirty-Sixth Stratagem, which was to simply run away.
The Handsome Monk
Back in town, Taotie grew annoyed and asked what Hoyoung's plan was to deal with the Monster Rat. Hoyoung reassured him that he was formulating a plan, though he was really just planning to leave town in order to save himself. He rationalized that if the rats' goal was to slowly leech the villagers' life force, nothing bad would happen to them or Farasi right away, and that the other private investigators could deal with it instead. He told himself that he had never signed up to put his life on the line for the town when he had started, though his heart still felt heavy with guilt nevertheless. He went to order lunch, but found that he had no appetite. He then asked Taotie if he would be alright with hunting down the other fiends in the countryside and then coming back to Cheong-woon Valley later. Taotie told him that he didn't mind in which order he devoured the fiends, so long as he got them all, but he was surprised that Hoyoung cared about what he thought. Hoyoung then told Taotie to forget about it and then thought to himself that he knew that monster-hunting would eventually bring him face-to-face with genuine danger, though he wasn't sure of what to do. Taotie wondered whether Hoyoung was afraid of his foe, or whether it was fear of his own weakness. Hoyoung then told Taotie that it was time to execute his plan.
As he headed to the Information Broker Bureau in order to give an update on the Handsome Monk case, he encountered a group of thugs beating up a poor beggar. As he approached them to put a stop to it, Taotie grew annoyed at Hoyoung getting sidetracked. Hoyoung himself wondered why he always felt the need to leap into such situations, even when they didn't concern him. Nevertheless, he defeated the thugs and forced them to retreat. As the beggar had fallen into a stupor, Hoyoung went to get mineral water from the Jar of Stagnant Water monsters. As he gave the water to the beggar, he was shocked to see that it was actually the Faceless Monster, who thanked Hoyoung and called him a great sage.
The Faceless Monster began to explain what had happened to him. His troubles had begun months ago, several days before a day of ill omen when the earth had pitched and heaved, and the waters had surged. Against his master's instructions, he had thrown his nail clippings out, as he had seen no harm in it. He explained that their town had a legend that the king of rats lurked in the shadows, waiting to eat nail clippings. Once it had done so, the one who threw them out would lose their face and the Monster Rat would walk amongst the people, wearing the stolen face as his own. He revealed that he was the true Handsome Monk, but as he had lost his face and his powers, he had become a wanderer in a beggar's guise. Before this, however, he had hidden himself in the temple storeroom for several days after having lost his face, which was when he had recalled his master's wisdom on the Monster Rat: should one make it regurgitate the nail clippings it had eaten, one could reclaim their face. The Handsome Monk explained that he had confronted the Monster Rat, though it had become too strong for him to fight against. Realizing that it was because of the mojo dolls, the Handsome Monk had tried to get rid of them, which was when the townspeople had reported him to the Bureau as a thief.
Just then, Taotie spoke to Hoyoung and explained that the Monster Rat posed little significance. Under ordinary circumstances, even if the Handsome Monk had lost most of his powers, he still would have been able to handle it on his own. The fact that he had lost meant that the Monster Rat was getting help from someone or something else. Hoyoung asked if one of the fiends who had escaped from Taotie was fueling the Monster Rat with power. Taotie told Hoyoung about the Flea Monster, which could split into multiples of itself, draining other creatures' life force and sharing the energy with its host. The Handsome Monk then asked if Hoyoung would help him defeat the Monster Rat, but Hoyoung told him that he still hadn't decided whether he was willing to put his life on the line. He then decided to play a game with the Handsome Monk in order to let fate decide his course of action. Hoyoung picked up a stone and shifted it around between his hands, telling the Handsome Monk to pick which hand held the stone. The Handsome Monk picked the left hand, which held nothing. Seeing the Handsome Monk's disappointment, Hoyoung told him that they would play another round. After twenty nine rounds, the Handsome Monk finally won. Hoyoung realized that he had let the Handsome Monk win because if he were to have simply left without looking back, his conscience would have been heavy forever.
Defeating the Monster Rat
After formulating their plan, Hoyoung and the Handsome Monk went their separate ways in order to take position. At the temple entrance, Hoyoung and Taotie found a thick purple miasma hanging in the air. Hoyoung forced his way into the temple and defeated the rats that attacked him. Inside the sanctum, he confronted the Monster Rat, who explained that once the full moon had fully risen, Hoyoung and everyone else in the town would fall under the thrall of the rats. Hoyoung and the Monster Rat then engaged in battle. As the Monster Rat gained the upper hand, Hoyoung begged for mercy. The Monster Rat laughed and said that it was too late for mercy, but as it launched its attack, Hoyoung revealed himself to be a clone, with his real self attacking from behind. He swiftly hit the Monster Rat's back, forcing it to regurgitate the Handsome Monk's nail clippings, which caused the Monster Rat to transform back into its true form.
Meanwhile in town, the investigators of the Bureau were fighting off the villagers who had transformed into rats, with the thick purple miasma covering the entirety of the town. Suddenly, the Handsome Monk appeared, and with his face and powers restored, he cast a spell to turn the rats back into people. On top of the Bureau roof, Kaling surveyed the battle and spoke to herself that it had been a bold move on Hoyoung's part to hire every private investigator in the Bureau, though she hoped that he wouldn't complain about the bill. In the temple, the Monster Rat lamented that its handsome form had been taken away. Without its stolen powers, Hoyoung easily managed to defeat it. The Monster Rat claimed that it would one day succeed in conquering the world, but Hoyoung replied that even if it were to conquer the town, the moon, or even the whole Grandis system, none of it would bring it peace. As the Monster Rat rushed to attack, Hoyoung's counterattack successfully pried the Flea Monster off the Monster Rat, transforming it back into a regular sewer rat. The Flea Monster then turned into a spirit, which Taotie immediately consumed.
Second Job Advancement
A few days later, the town gradually fell back into quiet peace. Hoyoung, disguised as a trainee, was disappointed to overhear that the villagers believed that the Handsome Monk had solved everything himself. Taotie asked Hoyoung why he didn't simply publish his own account of what had really happened. Hoyoung told him that it ultimately didn't matter, as even Tai Yu would occasionally work behind the scenes. He laughed to himself, wondering if he had finally earned the chance to use Tai Yu's catchphrase of “I am but a simple wanderer”. He then told Taotie that he had been eavesdropping at the tavern in order to pick up more leads, but it seemed as though there were no more fiends in town. He realized that he would likely need to venture outside Cheong-woon Valley in order to find the other fiends, but he decided that he would first start learning new spells. Taotie pointed out that he would need to return to the Hermitage unless he planned on creating new spells himself. However, Hoyoung showed him a spellbook which he had stolen from his Master, which he then read through in order to learn more advanced spells.
Leaving Cheong-woon Valley
Armed with new powers, Hoyoung decided to make a final round around town in order to pick up leads before heading out, which would give him a chance to say goodbye. He first went to the Information Broker Bureau in order to see Farasi, to whom he apologized for leaving her behind the first time he had encountered the Monster Rat. Farasi accepted his apology, explaining that it had been a clever plan to pretend to flee and return when the Monster Rat least expected it. Hoyoung admitted that he had fled for real, surprising Farasi, who realized that Hoyoung really had planned on leaving her behind. However, she quickly forgave him and explained that she had been rescued by the other investigators, whom she heard had all been hired by Hoyoung, and so she told him that, even if it was indirectly, it was thanks to him that she had been saved. Hoyoung then told her about his encounter with the real Handsome Monk and their plan to defeat the Monster Rat. He also told her that he was planning to leave town and then asked Farasi what her plan was once she stopped being an investigator. She told him that she was planning to go back to the sea, just as she had told him before, though she admitted that her dreams had fallen by the wayside long ago. At Hoyoung's sad face, she told him that just because a dream had fallen by the wayside didn't mean that one couldn't find it again. She explained that she was returning to the sea in order to pick up her old dreams, or to perhaps even find a new one. Hoyoung told her that he would miss their lunches together, but Farasi pointed out that he was leaving as well. Hoyoung realized that they were both packing up and moving on with their lives, but he hoped that they would meet again one day. He told her that even if they didn't run into each other, they could leave letters with the tavern keeper in order to tell each other how they were doing.
After saying their goodbyes, Hoyoung went to see Kaling, though he was less than enthusiastic about the debt he still owed her. Kaling calculated Hoyoung's final bill to be a figure that nearly bowled him over. He realized that it was almost as much as he had to his name, but he knew that there was no way that he could talk his way out of it. After paying her with nearly everything he had, Kaling confirmed that his account was clear. She then amusedly revealed that the private investigators would have taken action on their own, even if he hadn't hired them. At Hoyoung's surprised face, Kaling laughed and explained that it was part of the private investigators' code to defend the town in times of crisis. Hoyoung put up his bravado act and told her that it was a preventative measure to ensure that all his bases were covered. He then gave her the rest of his money and asked to buy whatever information about the outside world that he could with the amount he had. Kaling pulled out several scrolls and presented them to Hoyoung.
The first scroll was a guide to Grandis, which explained the three major races of Grandis, the Flora, the Anima, and the Nova, with the Flora being the most populous race. It also detailed the three Transcendents, Gerand Darmoor, Chronica, and Aeona. Finally, it detailed Chronica's whereabouts to be in the Chronica Sanctuary, where Darmoor had imprisoned them and stolen their power, and offered no information on Aeona's status or whereabouts. The information in the scroll was gathered by Young Swordsman K.
The second scroll detailed the history of the Flora, namely the Flora Civil War and the awakening of Gerand Darmoor as the Transcendent of Life. It also mentioned that around that time, the Anima had disappeared without a trace, with only the Nova in Pantheon fighting back against Darmoor's forces. The information in the scroll was gathered by Curious Girl AB.
The third scroll was information about the Interdimensional Portal, namely its creation, the fact that several existed in Grandis, with the most well-known being in Pantheon's Great Temple, which connected to Maple World. The information in the scroll was gathered by Anonymous Young Man A. Hoyoung wondered whether his Master had gone to Maple World.
The fourth and final scroll detailed Maple World, namely that one could get to Pantheon from Savage Terminal in order to access the Interdimensional Portal, and mentioned the rumors that the Black Mage might soon escape from his seal. The information in the scroll was gathered by Brawler C.
Based on the scrolls, Hoyoung realized that he needed to first make it to Savage Terminal in order to reach the Interdimensional Portal. Kaling told him that Maple World was far away, but wished him luck on his journey, promising that she would see him again. As Hoyoung left to see the Handsome Monk, Kaling thought to herself that once she had her eye on something, she never let it out of her sight, no matter where it went.
At the Temple Entrance, Hoyoung greeted the Handsome Monk, jokingly asking if he was really a rat. The Handsome Monk stammered that he was exercising great caution in disposing of his nail clippings, but Hoyoung laughed and told him that he had only been teasing. He then explained that he wanted to say goodbye, and to thank him for all his help. The Handsome Monk replied that it was he who was in Hoyoung's debt and prayed for his well-being on his path. Hoyoung confessed that when his heart was wavering, meeting him had helped him realize that he already knew what he wanted to do, deep down. He added that if he hadn't met him on the road, he might not have had the courage to follow through on it. The Handsome Monk explained that it was in Hoyoung's nature, as he had the spirit of a hero. After saying their farewells, he returned to the town. Taotie was annoyed that it had taken Hoyoung so long to finish his business, but Hoyoung then explained that they were heading to Maple World. When Taotie asked why Hoyoung thought the escaped fiends would be there, Hoyoung jokingly replied that it was Taotie's job to find them.
Hoyoung then found Sosori, who was capable of crossing great distances in the blink of an eye. With Sosori's help, they crossed over to Savage Terminal, from which they took a portal to Pantheon. At the Great Temple, Hoyoung encountered Fenelle, who recognized Hoyoung as an Anima. She told him that they had seen an increase in the number of heroes who come to the Interdimensional Portal for training, but that Hoyoung was the first Anima who had ever visited them. Hoyoung explained that even if another Anima had come through, they likely would have hidden their animal features, and so Fenelle might not have recognized an Anima if she saw one. He then asked her what he had to do in order to cross over to Maple World, to which Fenelle told him that she wanted to look into his soul in order to see if he aligned with good or evil. She sensed that Hoyoung didn't differentiate between good and evil in the methods he used to accomplish his goals, though his will itself cherished that which was good. She then explained that Athena Pierce was the de-facto representative of Maple World's Explorers and offered to let her know of his arrival in advance. After she contacted Athena Pierce, Fenelle activated the portal and allowed Hoyoung to pass through.
Hoyoung and Taotie were surprised by how quiet and peaceful Maple World seemed in comparison to Grandis. Hoyoung told Taotie to remain on the lookout for any of the fiends who had escaped. Meanwhile, he went to Henesys in order to meet Athena Pierce. At the Bowman Instructional School, Athena greeted Hoyoung and explained that starting out on his adventuring career required building relationships. She then suggested that Hoyoung help out some of the locals. Hoyoung noted that it seemed peaceful in Henesys, and that he was surprised that people needed help there. Athena explained that even though Henesys was a quiet town, Maple World itself was a vast place, and that there was more trouble lurking out there beneath its idyllic exterior than Hoyoung would first suspect. She then gave Hoyoung several case files and told him that he could choose any of them to help out with.
The Ant Monster
Soon after, Taotie sensed a fiend at the Ellinel Fairy Academy. After forcing the fiend out of the Mole King, Taotie swallowed it. He explained that it was an Ant Monster, which used to dig tunnels deep in the earth and stir up trouble. He noted that it was interesting that it would possess a mole monster. Hoyoung asked if it meant that Taotie always ate troublemaker spirits, but Taotie explained that sometimes he devoured gentle spirits, or even spirits that Hoyoung might consider cute.
The Swamp Region Fiend
Soon after, Taotie sensed another fiend in the Swamp Region and directed Hoyoung there. Hoyoung was surprised to find a portal, which Taotie explained had been created by the fiend distorting the surrounding space, as it had gained much more of its old strength. Inside the space, they found the Crocodile Bird monster. After Taotie swallowed it, Hoyoung asked how many fiends Taotie had consumed. Taotie told him that he had consumed well over a thousand, meaning that Hoyoung had much more work to look forward to.
Third Job Advancement
Some time later, Hoyoung felt that it was time to add new spells to his arsenal. Taotie suggested that he look at one of the spellbooks he had stolen from his Master's library. However, Hoyoung explained that the spellbook he had used last time was the last volume he had brought with him, meaning that he would need to use the Nimbus Cloud in order to return to the Hermitage. They returned to Cheong-woon, where Hoyoung spent hours circling Mount Songyu. He wondered whether the Hermitage had sunk into the ground, or if his Master had returned and erased the old path. Hoyoung then had the idea of entering the Hermitage in his dreams and reading the spellbook he needed. He then fell asleep, with all his memories of life at the Hermitage swirling in his head. As he dreamed, he felt the scenery of the Hermitage unfold around him. He felt that it was too vivid to be a dream, as though he really was at the Hermitage. After finding the spellbook, he read through it and awoke, recollecting all of the spells he had read. Taotie then gave him a rare compliment for his unorthodox methodology.
The Talisman Monster
Taotie found traces of another fiend in the Ant Tunnel Square in Sleepywood. They found the Talisman Monster possessing a Zombie Mushroom and Taotie explained that the fiend only appeared in dark places. Hoyoung then had the idea of lighting the cave in order to weaken it. After lighting candles around the area, Hoyoung was able to defeat the fiend, allowing Taotie to consume its spirit.
Joining the Alliance
As Hoyoung grew stronger, Athena Pierce reached out to him and invited him to join the Maple Alliance. Hoyoung traveled to Ereve in order to meet with Neinheart and Cygnus. Hoyoung felt as though Neinheart was gauging his skills and attempted to prove himself by stealing Neinheart's pocket watch and appearing behind him. Neinheart laughed, but warned that he would be less than amused if he did something like that to the Empress. With that, Cygnus formally welcomed him to the Alliance.
The Sand Monster
Hoyoung then continued to travel Maple World until Taotie sensed another monster in Ariant. At the town, they chased rumors until they learned that a dried-up cactus had drained an entire oasis. In the desert, they encountered a warp in space created by the Sand Monster, which Taotie believed had possessed the cactus. After Hoyoung defeated it, Taotie emerged to consume the Sand Monster's spirit.
Fourth Job Advancement
Hoyoung continued his training and felt that it was time for him to learn more of his Master's spells. Just like before, he fell asleep and arrived at the Hermitage in his dreams. However, he was unable to find the next volume of spell books until the spirit of his Master appeared within his dream. Hoyoung explained everything that had happened with Taotie to his Master, but to his surprise, his Master wasn't mad, as he explained that Hoyoung was already paying for the trouble he had created. Hoyoung asked why he had blocked him from entering the Hermitage, but his Master explained that the Hermitage dwelled in the realm of the sages, where only those granted permission could gain entry. He told Hoyoung that his role as a Master had been ordained by the elders from the realm of the sages, and that he had been entrusted with making right what had gone awry in the outside world. He explained that, many years ago, when Grandis had been embroiled in chaos, he would spend his days upon the fields of battle, until one day when he encountered an infant Hoyoung abandoned in a ruined town. Taking pity on the child, he raised Hoyoung as his own, but when Hoyoung had asked to learn magic, he sensed the limitless energy within the boy. As Hoyoung was both wild and unpredictable, he decided to seal away Hoyoung's powers in order to keep him from harming himself. Hoyoung asked why his Master hadn't just told him, to which he explained that Hoyoung would have grown negligent in his training if he had believed success to be impossible simply because it didn't come easily. To apologize for hiding the truth, he transferred the knowledge of his last spells to Hoyoung and told him that, from that point on, Hoyoung would need to create his own spells.
The Wolf Monster
With his new powers, Hoyoung and Taotie traveled around Maple World and Grandis in order to catch the other fiends. In El Nath, Hoyoung captured a Wolf Monster, who hid inside a powerful Yeti, as it was afraid of conflict. After catching it, Hoyoung and Taotie had a snowball fight, which ended in a draw when neither refused to yield.
The Book Monster
Next, they captured a Book Monster, which possessed a King Sage Cat. Taotie explained that the Book Monster was poor at making friends, and in order to avoid loneliness, it forced others to stay by having them solve challenging riddles. After answering countless riddles, Hoyoung convinced the Book Monster to emerge from within the King Sage Cat, after which Taotie immediately consumed it.
The Lizard Monster
In Wyvern Canyon, Hoyoung heard rumors that Leviathan, the master of the canyon, had disappeared. Believing it to be the work of a fiend, Hoyoung and Taotie tracked it to the Warped Path it had created. Taotie explained that it was a Lizard Monster, which could blend in with its surroundings. Hoyoung formulated a plan to feign ignorance when he entered the Warped Path in order to get the Lizard Monster to drop its guard when it deactivated its camouflage to attack them. Sure enough, Hoyoung was able to force it to release Leviathan, allowing Taotie to consume it.
The Magnet Monster
Some time later, Hoyoung heard stories about aliens in Omega Sector and convinced Taotie to visit under the pretense of hunting for fiends. Hoyoung was thrilled to find proof of aliens after being beamed up to their mothership, where they found the Magnet Monster possessing Chief Gray. He was surprised to know that the Magnet Monster made its hosts even weaker, as opposed to the other fiends. Even after consuming it, Taotie noted that Chief Gray's body aches likely wouldn't go away, as they came from old age. Hoyoung then asked how much body pain Taotie had because of his age, much to Taotie's annoyance.
The Frog Monster
Soon after, Taotie sensed another fiend in Savage Terminal and teleported Hoyoung to the Scrapyard, where they found the Frog Monster bathed in toxic waste. Taotie explained that the Frog Monster sought the most disgusting place it could find, which allowed it to become the very essence of filth over time. Having grown up near vegetation and clean water, Hoyoung nearly passed out from the stench and quickly defeated it before it became too much for him to bear.
The Cocoon Monster
Some time later, Taotie teleported Hoyoung to Vulpes, where they encountered a Cocoon Monster. Taotie explained that it was in the process of maturing into an adult insect fiend. The Cocoon Monster noticed Taotie and told him that it almost hadn't recognized him because of how small he had become, much to Hoyoung's amusement and Taotie's irritation. Taotie then asked where its brothers were, explaining to Hoyoung that it had two brothers that were seldom seen apart. The Cocoon Monster explained that it had lost them when they fell in Fox Valley, and that their timidity prevented them from searching for each other. Taotie told Hoyoung that, because of their bond, he needed all three spirits to be present before he would consume them. Hoyoung then found its brothers, reuniting the siblings. As they talked amongst each other, Hoyoung recalled how he used to ramble to his Master as a child, who would always listen when Hoyoung wanted to talk. Satisfied at being together again, the three Cocoon Monsters willingly allowed themselves to be consumed by Taotie once again. Taotie then told Hoyoung that there was just one more fiend left to find.
Hoyoung traveled to the Temple of Time, where the final fiend awaited them. After Taotie consumed it, his full power and original form returned. As Hoyoung cautiously asked what came next, the ground began rumbling and Taotie told Hoyoung that they weren't alone. Hoyoung asked if it was another fiend, which Taotie confirmed, though he admitted that it wasn't one that he had consumed, and that it felt strangely familiar. Unexpectedly, Kaling appeared before them and told them that she was a collector of monsters, and that she had her sights set on a particular monster in the possession of someone else. Hoyoung realized that she was referring to him and told her that Taotie had already swallowed the monster she wanted. Kaling then grew irritated and told him that it was Taotie himself who she was after, claiming that he deserved someone who wouldn't hesitate to unleash his destructive powers. However, Hoyoung refused to hand Taotie over, claiming that, despite Taotie's destructive powers, he was Hoyoung's friend, which surprised Taotie. Frustrated, Kaling used a mysterious power to create a demonic hand that engulfed Hoyoung and began draining his life force. Taotie asked Hoyoung why he didn't just let her take him, to which Hoyoung said that he couldn't afford to let Kaling seize control over his destructive power. He asked Taotie to help him, but Taotie explained that he was still bound inside Hoyoung, and so he couldn't use his powers against her. However, he recognized that Kaling was using another one of the Four Perils against them and told Hoyoung that he could cancel out its power, though he couldn't guarantee that Hoyoung would survive the process. Hoyoung told him to do it and Taotie used his powers to free them from Kaling's grasp. However, Kaling recognized that Hoyoung was barely able to stand after Taotie had used his powers, and so she decided to press her advantage and moved to attack.
Heliseum Reclamation HQ
Hoyoung received a letter from Fenelle asking for his aid in retaking Heliseum. He traveled to Pantheon and introduced himself to Beldar, who was surprised to see an Anima not in hiding. He told Hoyoung to meet Tiron, who told him about the surprise attack from the Specters.
Before the battle, Hoyoung returned to Cheong-woon, feeling nostalgic for the town where he had first made a name for himself. There, he ordered a large bowl of rice soup before he committed himself to defending Maple World. He asked the tavern keeper if she had seen Farasi, or if she had received any notes from her, though the tavern keeper told him that she hadn't. Hoyoung was dejected that their paths wouldn't cross that day, as it was difficult for him to visit frequently. Just then, Farasi arrived and greeted him. As they ate lunch together, they caught up and Hoyoung found out that Farasi had been traveling the seas, looking for a new dream to spark her passion. After explaining that he was about to protect Maple World, Farasi warned him to be careful, though she laughed at Hoyoung's bravado. As he set off, he recalled how it was because of Farasi that he had learned the joys of helping others and hoped to eat lunch with her at the tavern again one day.
Labyrinth of Suffering
A scene in the final act of Labyrinth of Suffering involves the Adversary (your character) falling into despair in a void of darkness within their mind. The Adversary, whose morale and strength are almost completely diminished, talks to a voice that provides the motivation for them to continue. The voice, whose identity depends on the Adversary's job, manifests as Tai Yu for Hoyoung.
In the final act of Limina, the Adversary (your character) dies after defeating the Black Mage. The Adversary wakes up in the Erda Flow, serving as the afterlife, where the White Mage thanks you for putting an end to the battle. After the conversation, he gives you a unique title based on your class; the title he gives to Hoyoung is "Conqueror of Destiny".
In Cheong-woon Valley, two children were talking about a mysterious sage claiming to be the disciple of Master Tai Yu who traveled across Maple World and Grandis and helped those in need. Though he had vanished after helping defeat the Black Mage, rumors continued to circulate that the sage still roamed from town to town. On the roof of the tavern, Hoyoung listened to the children excitedly spreading his story and wished that they would go somewhere else, as they were making it difficult for all his potential customers to find him. Taotie then mocked Hoyoung for taking on petty cases and odd jobs, even after his reputation as a legendary sage had inflated. Hoyoung laughed and reminded Taotie of the large serpent
which had almost killed them in their last ‘petty' job. Taotie seethed that if he had been able to use his full powers, the monster would have been a mere snack. He asked Hoyoung if he remembered Lord Choi's offer, which would have given them a grand house with a host of servants and decadent food. Hoyoung conceded that the spread was nice, but told Taotie that he really only needed basic spicy soup. He also added that he didn't see the need to get involved if evil spirits plagued those like Lord Choi, who milked the people of the province dry.
Just then, two patrons in the tavern began talking about rumors that a new Transcendent was preparing for war in Grandis, as well as a warrior in Pantheon with dragon horns and a tail who was gathering forces to stand against them, though they wondered if even a Nova Guardian had the power to take on a Transcendent. Overhearing their conversation, Hoyoung realized that there was someone else with animal ears and a tail making a name for themselves and supposed that they would easily become friends. Taotie clarified that the warrior sounded more like a Nova rather than an Anima. Hoyoung decided that he would help the Nova Guardian as a friend, against Taotie's protests that they hadn't even met yet for him to call them a friend. Hoyoung then jumped off the roof and told the two children telling his story that he would be out traveling for a while, asking them to protect the town with the magic he had taught them. The children protested that he hadn't even taught them real magic and demanded that he teach them more than just tricks when he returned. Taotie asked Hoyoung why he insisted on concealing his true identity, as he would have a whole throng of followers if he revealed that he was the legendary sage. Hoyoung replied that in his travels, he had learned that there was no need to chase after the world. Rather, he would be there to take action when the world needed him instead. He added that stories were best when they stayed as stories that could inspire and encourage. Before he left, the children asked for his name, to which he told them that he was but a simple wanderer, echoing his master's words before him.
- 호영 (虎影, Hoyeong) means 虎 (tiger) + 影 (shadow or figure), so it means tiger shadow or tiger figure.
- Hoyoung is based of White Tiger (白虎), one of the Four Symbols in the Chinese constellations, and is known as Bái Hǔ in Chinese, びゃっこ (Byakko) in Japanese, and 백호 (Baekho) in Korean.
- Hoyoung is a commonly used male name in Korea.
- Some of Hoyoung's stories are based off Korean folk tales.
- Hoyoung really likes Gukbap (국밥). Gukbap is a Korean food which is hot soup with rice.
- Hoyoung's leitmotif/theme BGM is RidingOnTheClouds.
- Comments of MapleStory Reddit, and confirmed by the Community Manager, and announcement on his Twitter page
- Confirmed by the Community Manager, and announcement on her Twitter page
- Announcement on his Twitter page
- Also provides the voice(s) of Senya.
- Announcement on Doh-hyeong Nam's Twitter page
- Announcement on Maple Party 2019
- Announcement on JMS Twitter page
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