The Frosimar Chronicles.

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It was a strange book.
It used chronicles in the title despite being about a hero’s life.

The Frosimar Chronicles detailed various events of the world that took place even before the hero was born.

This was why Zion had been able to utilise it.
However, such chronicles did not contain every detail.
Like what had just happened.

Did my intervention change the story?

After thinking this for a while, Zion shook his head.
He hadn’t influenced the Black Forest yet.
Rather, it was right to say that the seal was originally broken.

Well, it doesn’t matter.

With that thought, Zion moved slowly.

The recently departed red-eyed woman had warned him that he would die if he came to the forest.
Zion, however, had no intention of listening to such a woman.

The woman must also know that Zion would never listen to her.
She had most likely spoken simply on a whim.

“Come out.”

Zion had been walking for a while.
He opened his mouth slightly while looking toward the tree in the garden.

As if by appointment, Narie, a special informant from Moonlit Snow, popped out from behind a tree and asked in an incredulous tone.

She did not get close to the security around the lord’s castle.
She even deceived the senses of the Chilgeol.

How did this man catch her at every turn?

“Well, how do you know that?”

“Did you bring it?”

Zion immediately asked her with no intention of answering such questions.

Nari removed something from a small pocket on her sleeve and handed it over to Zion.

“This is the first-class ceremonial stone  you ordered.
You must recite the ceremonial spell perfectly.
If you do so and there is no seal, you can transfer anything into the stone by touching it.

It’s a very difficult item to get in a short period of time, so there will be an additional fee.
Why did you demand that I bring it?”

“Submission.”

“What? What does he mean by “Submission”…?

Her eyes tinged with her unique curiosity she asked Zion again.
She didn’t get an answer.

“Argh… What should I report…”

A sigh flowed from Nari’s mouth as she watched Zion’s back as he departed.

* * *

Preparations for the subjugation of the Black Forest were carried out quickly.

Not only had they been approved by the Lord of Ruin, but no one in the city would dare to stop Rain Dranir.
In addition, most of the subjugation squad members had been close to Rain Dranir.
The squad itself was small in the first place, so there was not much to prepare.

Finally, the day of the purification ceremony arrived, marking the end of the Depurant event.
Zion stood with the rest of the subjugation squad in front of the secret path leading to the Black Forest from the lord’s castle.

It’s really black.

This was Zion’s first impression of the Black Forest after passing the secret path.

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From the soil on the ground to the trees and grass growing on it.
Even the pebbles lying on the ground.
Everything was black.

It was as if the forest sucked up any light that touched it.

So, in a way, the black forest itself looked like a huge hole.
The forest repulsed anyone who simply looked at it. Not to mention, the enormous amount of resentment emanating from the forest made the skin crawl.

“…How did no one know of this?”

In front of Zion, the Lightning Sword Hart muttered with slightly fed-up eyes.

“At this rate, I think we could subdue the Empire before the city.”

“Heh, so you’re going back?”

“Huh, It’s you who’s going back.
You cowardly bastard.”

Zion glanced at the others as they exchanged jabs, perhaps trying to relieve tension.
Since the last meeting, they have ignored him.
No one had complained about Zion.
Even though Rain didn’t give a proper reason.
It demonstrated how much they trusted her.

Kayla, the only late arrival, was still looking at Zion with suspicion.
Even now, as soon as their eyes met, she would spread two fingers and point  from her own eyes to Zion.
Zion just smiled at her and turned his head.

“We’ll be moving in soon.”

A low voice flowed from Rain’s mouth as her sunken eyes gazed toward the Black Forest.

The evil resentment is stronger than before.

Despite not knowing what was going on inside, they couldn’t wait any longer.

“Are we going to break through in a straight line as planned?”

“Yes, but before that…”

Rain, who grinned at Rian’s question, lifted her spear.

“Since we’re here, we have to send a greeting.”

Pajijijijijik!

At those words, a tremendous thunderclap erupted around her.
As a result, the surroundings turned blue from the crackling lightning.
Rain stretched one foot forward, bent her knees, and pulled her hand holding the spear all the way to the back as if she was pulling a bowstring.

In such a perfect spear-throwing position, all the lightning present began to gather at the tip of her spear.

Deudeudeudeu!

The shrieking atmosphere was unable to withstand the force of the terrifying lightning that coalesced at a single point.
Everyone watching the scene suddenly covered their eyes with their hands.
Rain shot her spear.
A streak of lightning burst from her hand through the black forest.

There was a brief silence.

Jjojojojojojojojok!

A chain of explosions followed the lightning bolt.
The forest began to split in two.
It was as if a dragon had breathed its fire.
One would expect nothing less of the future dragon warrior.

“Kuhu! You really greet them properly.”

Asastonishment and admiration flowed from Ragno’s mouth, the Crimson Defender looked on from the rear.

“I’m going in.”

Pajik!

Along with the lightning, Rain bolted toward the open black forest.

“You’re leading again.”

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Tadadat!

The subjugation team quickly followed her.

The speed was so fast that it was difficult for ordinary people to follow with their eyes.
But none of them complained.
If they were unable to keep up at this level, they would not have been able to join the squad in the first place.

How much of the forest did they have to run through? The road that had been seared through the abyss was nearing its end.

Crack!

The forest ahead roared with a strange sound.
Two strange creatures that could only be compared to bizarre wolves appeared.

Monstrum.

Monsters of the Black Forest, each one with abilities that far transcended those of common monsters.

Kiaaak!

These monstrums rushed at lightning speed, reaching Rain in an instant.

They reared their heads to bite Rain’s whole body.

“Like I said, don’t get ahead of yourself.”

Bang!

Ragno popped out from behind her with a harsh voice and flicked off all the monstrums.
His full-body tattoo glowed red.

“The front is my place.”

It was a figure worthy of the title Crimson Defender.
The monstrums who had just appeared fell to the ground.

Seugagagagak!

Silver flashes surged through the air.

The flash cut the monstrums to pieces.

Hart, holding a crescent-shaped double sword, stood where the bodies of the carved monstrums had fallen.
Despite this skirmish, they maintained their speed moving forward.
This appeared to be only the beginning.

Keureuk keureureureuk!

Dozens of monstrums erupted from the forest on both sides at the same time along with a series of sounds.
A full-fledged battle had begun.

Hwaaaaak!

Like a pyrokinesis wizard, Kayla moved her hands in deliberate and practised motions.
Blazing blue flames spread through the air, striking every monstrum in the vicinity.

Kiaaaak!

The monstrums continued to move despite being hit head-on by flames that could melt even iron.
It was as if they were blessed by the Black Forest.

“Kayla-nim, behind me.”

As expected, a middle-aged knight standing next to Kayla swung the halberd heavily. 

Crack!

The monstrums that took a hit from the halberd were literally crushed.
Meanwhile, Rian cut off the monstrums rushing from the other side.
Next to him was Rain and the scarred elf mercenary using a strange style of swordsmanship.

Was it really true that they had been close friends since childhood? The attacks of the subjugation squad, especially the Chilgeol, were perfectly coordinated.
Their communication was flawless despite having said nothing.

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When?

The subjugation team tore the monstrums apart and moved forward.
Zion scanned the forest from the rear, waiting for something.
This ‘Black Forest’ was very strange.
The whole forest was constantly fluctuating and moving as if it were an organism.
As evidence of that, the path that Rain Dranil had opened up earlier was so buried that no trace was found.

This constant state of mutation caused Zion to wait.

Then–

Kireureuk!

One large monstrum, resembling a bat launched toward Zion from the trees, where even the light did not penetrate.

The monstrum jumped at a speed incomparably faster than any other monstrum that had appeared.
The speed was so fast that even the scarred elf nearby could not react properly.

Zion stealthily walked one step sideways avoiding the attack as if he knew what was coming.
Zion grabbed the void behind the monstrum with his hand.

At that moment–

The monstrum fell to the ground like a broken doll.
Its movement completely stopped.
WIth Astral Darkness hovering in his hand, Zion did not even need to examine the body of such a monstrum.

All monstrums existing in this forest were connected to the ‘evil’ at the centre.
Therefore, severing this connection using Astral Darkness easily dealt with these lower level monstrums.

It would be hard to get into the centre of the forest.

Then–

“What are you… How did you do that?”

Kayla asked staring at Zion.
She had witnessed the scene.
It proved that Zion was doing his part, but her doubts deepened.
Zion’s method of attack had not been normal.

“…How did you do that?”

Zion had ignored her question, so Kayla opened her mouth once more when – 

Keuaaaa!

A huge monstrum popped out from the front.
Its loud roar filled the entire forest.

Its pitch black body walked upright on two legs.

Saw-edged teeth lined its pointed snout.

Was it because they were approaching the heart of the forest?

Horrifying evil resentment flowed from the entire body of the monstrum.
It was different in rank from any other monstrum they had faced thusfar.

“Maintain formation.”

Just as Rain quietly gave instructions with her sunken eyes – 

Kwadeudeudeuk!

The forest and the ground began to shake.

No, it was not  simply shaking; the forest itself was changing.
Black trees grew from the bare ground.
The ground moved.
The space divided, split, and reversed.

Has it started?

Zion’s eyes moved upward at those words.

“FuX, don’t get caught up.
Stick together!”

If they were caught up, they obviously would be scattered and defeated individually.
Ragno shouted curses.

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This forest, however, should not be left to its own devices.

Keuwaaaak!

A monstrum appeared in front of the subjugation squad in an instant.
Moving at a frightening speed that did not match its gigantic size, the monstrum swung its front feet.

The blow was supernatural, so the distance between those who dodged it naturally widened.

Kkudeudeudeuk!

As if waiting for this, trees and distorted space stretched between the open intervals.
The majority of the subjugation squad avoided the distortions with superhuman movements and re-established their formation…

“This sh…!”

Some couldn’t.

People caught up in the twisted space  disappeared through the trees.

Among them, Zion was included.

* * *

How much time had passed?

Zion finally looked at the forest where the warp in space had stopped.

I don’t feel anything, so I think it’s far away.

Since he knew it was coming, he could have avoided the twist a little.
Zion chose not to do so.
He was planning to be separated from the company.

Now he had to head for the ‘sealed paper’ he had set as a target.
Before that, he had one thing to deal with.

“Damn it.”

A little swearing came from the side.

Then came the Lightning Sword Hart’s figure, his eyes dark with frustration.

Hart had probably been caught in the same twist.

“Of all things…”

Hart looked at Zion with disgruntled eyes.
Not knowing what to say, he moved to find others.

“I’m in trouble.”

“Why? Because you can’t kill Rain Dranir?”

Zion, quietly replied to Hart’s murmur.

!

Hart’s movement halted.

“What do you mean?”

Hart asked, slowly turning his head toward Zion with an icy cold glare. 

“You know better than me, right?” 

Zion smiled as he met Hart’s eyes.

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