Chapter 247 – Consciousness (3)
Translated by : betterdays
Proofread and Edited by : lovely hogu
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Even though Kang Seok had said so, he seemed to have a regretful expression on his face about not having his duel.
Although Lee Sungmin did not completely understand Kang Seok’s personal desires fully, Kang Seok truly did come to meet Lee Sungmin with pure interest in him as a warrior, and not as one of the Six Divinities from Beyond the Heavens.
Regardless of the situation with Beyond the Heavens or Musin’s orders, he only came because of the fact that Lee Sungmin had killed Guan Zun, who was an accomplished master in the Transcendent Realm and happened to use a spear like him.
Going against Musin’s orders was a terribly dangerous matter. Even though Musin allowed him to do whatever he wanted, Musin had subtly implied that he would rather have the Ghost Spear dead. And as strong as Kang Seok was, and even with his title as the ‘Spear King’, Musin was someone he would most definitely die to in a fight 8 times out of 10.
As soon as Lee Sungmin ignored Kang Seok and tried to head to the forest, Kang Seok eventually bit his lower lip for a moment and blocked Lee Sungmin reflexively.
“Didn’t you say it yourself that we should fight at a later date?”
When Kang Seok stood in the way of Lee Sungmin, Lee Sungmin felt hurried and anxious since he was losing time by the second with the subjugation force moving ahead.
There was no time to be wasted right now, and every second counted as he was slowly losing the presence of the subjugation force.
If a dangerous situation occurred in that forest while he was stuck here, Lee Sungmin knew he would surely regret it for the rest of his life.
“I know I said that, but…….”
It was not a situation where either of them would be able to fight to their fullest capabilities. Kang Seok also knew that the chances of another Transcendent warrior who was as skilled and powerful as Lee Sungmin may never come along for another thousand years. And by then, Kang Seok would be dead. He truly regretted not being able to indulge in a duel with him and his emotions were lingering, since he never knew if there would be a chance to find someone like Lee Sungmin again if he were to disappear.
With all this in mind, he also understood Lee Sungmin’s situation to a certain extent.
He knew that if he was distracted with something important to him while straining to fight, he would inevitably lose a lot of focus as well.
After a brief moment of thought, Kang Seok sighed and moved his body to the side.
“…… Go. Next time, when we can find time to duel… I’ll try to find you.”
Instead of using words, Lee Sungmin nodded as a response. Although this was their first time meeting, Lee Sungmin thought that the Spear King, Kang Seok, was truly different from any of the other Six Divinities he had met up till now.
To be honest, he was a quite likable. Lee Sungmin was actually gaining curiosity as well about Kang Seok as a warrior and fellow spearmaster.
However, this was not the time for such thoughts. Refocusing his attention, Lee Sungmin jerked his head in the direction where the subjugation force had traveled and opened a slipstream through the space with the Dark Storm Arts and vanished with a trial of black lightning.
He headed for the forest at breakneck speed. Although there was quite a substantial area that the forest covered, it was not a too wide a distance for Lee Sungmin to traverse through.
Upon arriving at the place within the forest in an instant, Lee Sungmin stopped running and faced the dead forest.
An indescribable sense of ominous negative energy was writhing around from within in the depths of it. The cold northern wind howled as the trees shook.
Lee Sungmin slowly advanced into the forest after gathering his resolve.
‘My senses are being interfered with.’
The first thing Lee Sungmin noticed was his senses turning haywire. An ominous and intangible energy was surrounding the space and interfering with his senses.
As soon as he took a breath in, he felt his body quiver. The forest was dark, gloomy and dreadful.
It was definitely the time of day when the sun rose, and there was no sign of sunlight anywhere to be seen.
It was difficult to make out his surroundings due to the lack of light and his senses going fuzzy. Lee Sungmin’s eyes could easily penetrate the darkness, but his eyes could not fully penetrate it with their regular efficiency as a human being who transcended his humanity.
He couldn’t make out the sounds well either. The wind that was clearly blowing throughout the forest earlier, could not be heard at all.
There was a sense of pure dread that could be detected, throughout the entirety of the forest.
‘It’s probably some type of magic.’
Kim Jonghyun was still in the forest. He didn’t run away, and instead, he was waiting for the subjugation force. What was he aiming for? What did it mean when Geniella told him that Kim Jonghyun was trying to summon something that was not human?
Lee Sungmin didn’t let his worries manifest over his priorities though. Meeting Scarlett came first. But…… it was strange. It hadn’t been that long since the subjugation force had entered the forest.
It was filled with hundreds of troops. Even if there was a slight time difference between their entry times, it was incomprehensible that he could not even know of their whereabouts or trace their auras of internal energy.
[This old man knows a bit of everything, but I do not know much about magic.]
‘I miss Rubia.’
Lee Sungmin looked around thinking about her. He couldn’t feel any presences within the forest.
Was it really so easy to block the senses of a Transcendent Realm Martial Artist? It was ridiculous how Lee Sungmin could not even sense the other’s internal energy.
Even if Kim Jonghyun was an outstanding Dark Wizard…… No. In this case, it was not Kim Jonghyun’s magic skills, but most likely the Grimore’s magic that was of such high caliber.
Lee Sungmin lowered his posture and looked at the floor. If his senses were blocked, he had no choice but to grasp the situation through some other sort of method. There was a little bit of snow on the frozen ground. What Lee Sungmin was paying attention to were the footprints on the snow.
‘I know I just made these footprints… what is this?’
The number of his footsteps that he could count were less than he thought. The number of footsteps on the ground didn’t amount to much and was only leaving traces of his own. He couldn’t find a single footstep from the five hundred or so troops that had just entered.
Lee Sungmin continued to look around. There were no other footprints. The subjugation force definitely entered the forest in this direction. But where the hell did they go?
[Either reality or be it some kind of trick on the eyes……there is no such thing that I know of that can cause this level of phenomenon. It has already gone past the realm of what humans can do.]
Heoju warned with a serious tone of voice for the first time in a while. It was clear he felt tensed up either from the sudden appearance of Kang Seok, the Forest, or even both.
‘I don’t know why there’s a book of arcane dark magic that originates from Demons from the alternate dimensions in this world…… huhu…’
Kim Jonghyun smiled brightly. There were three thousand souls collected inside the Grimoire at that point. These three thousand souls were dedicated to the magical traps laid out through the Grimoire’s spells in order to deal with the subjugation force.
The slaughter he carried out on the seven villages was intended to gather the hearts required for the preparation of the ritual, but it was also to supply the amount of souls needed to unfold the defensive trap magic spells from the Grimoire. Those souls would be used as the fuel for the magical spells within the Grimoire, and would inevitably suffer a poor fate even after their deaths.
Kim Jonghyun was not concerned at all, however. He had set the spells up so intricately with the Grimoire’s knowledge to turn this barren forest into something like a dungeon.
Dungeons were created randomly throughout Eria and nobody understood the logic and laws behind them. They were places that defied all common sense and Kim Jonghyun had perfectly replicated something of a similar effect in this forest thanks to the Grimoire.
The 500 men and women who entered the forest were scattered randomly upon entry due to the magic he had cast. As soon as they entered the dungeon, they were scattered in random places throughout the forest due to one of the enchantment spells that warped space in an extraordinary method not known to any martial artist, wizard, sorcerer, shaman, or priest.
Kim Jonghyun looked around. Dozens of balls made from a murky substance were around his figure, and inside them were images of the members of the subjugation force wandering inside the forest. But…. Kim Jonghyun paid very special attention to one of the balls in particular.
“As expected. You’re here, too.”
Kim Jonghyun smiled at the image of Lee Sungmin through the dark ball.
Was it fate for them to meet once again like this? Or was Kim Jonghyun caught up in Lee Sungmin’s intricate and strong flow of destiny?… Or did Kim Jonghyun create an entirely new destiny? It was unknown and there were no answers for the questions he had.
As long as Kim Jonghyun was a mortal, he would never be able to see his own flow of fate.
‘You came here to save Scarlett, the Red Tower Master didn’t you?’
Kim Jonghyun shifted his gaze and watched another image displayed on one of the balls.
Scarlett could be seen moving with the low rank mercenaries.
* * *
Scarlett felt it instinctively. This forest was dangerous. She didn’t know what Kim Jonghyun had been up to, but this forest was filled with dark and murderous auras.
She didn’t want to be there. She wanted to run away. Scarlett thought so from the bottom of her heart.
Although she was a bold and strong-willed individual, the dread contained within this forest urged her to turn and run away at any moment.
She would have done it if she could. Even if she had to kill the damn Green Tower Master, she wouldn’t have regretted it if she had known just how dangerous this forest would be.
If only that creepy and old Green Tower Master was next to her at this very moment, she would have killed him without hesitation to unbind herself from the oath.
However, she didn’t have a clue as to where he was at this moment. It was entirely possible that he had even died already.
But Scarlett had no way of knowing if the Green Tower Master died or not. If the Tower Master of the Green Tower had died, there would be no problem with fleeing from this forest. But if the owner of the Green Tower had survived, and she ran, she would die immediately after having her mana excruciatingly drained from her body in reverse flow.
‘I’m freaking out here.’
Scarlett grated her teeth. She was in a troublesome situation. If she ran away, she would die, but if she stayed, she would probably also die.
The only thing that would have been any relief to her right now, would be if there were any actually useful people around her. However, that was not the case.
“I’m not fucking lucky at all.”
Scarlett uttered in an irritated voice without hiding it. It was because none of the people around her would even know she said it.
Scarlett glared at the back of the heads of Doberman and the Mad Dog mercenaries who were walking in front of her. As soon as she entered the forest, Doberman had found their group and started grouping together with them. However, she knew the rumors about Doberman and the Mad Dog mercenaries.
It was incredibly difficult for even her to see. She could barely see anything in the darkness of the forest.
The only thing that seemed somewhat clear, were the figures of the mercenaries around her.
If anything, it just made her entire body tremble with goosebumps that she could only make out their bodies, and not see a single any other thing in the distance.
“What do you know about me, huh?!”
Scarlett shouted in frustration, cursing the mercenaries in a high-pitched and loud voice, but Doberman and the mercenaries, who were not that far away, did not even look back or react.
Eventually, Scarlett sighed and examined the magic spells she had prepared with her.
In this situation. When a real emergency would inevitably come, she would only be able to trust in her own power. She couldn’t rely on others, and even if she wanted to, she would never trust the Mad Dog mercenaries.
Scarlett’s magic was different from that of other wizards. She mixed magic based on the balance of yin and yang energies, and the red magic that had given her the title of the Tower Master of the Red Tower.
Scarlet continued to reinforce her skills as a Red Wizard which focused on spells of mass destruction and firepower, which were effective as a combatant wizard, but she couldn’t but feel like it would not be enough to survive here.
‘Lee Sungmin… He must have entered the forest. Unless…. No… did he abandon me? No. He promised. Yeah, he’s a good friend.’
Then Scarlett had an idea.
‘Should I cut the bracelet? Would it work here?’
Scarlett pondered about it.
She couldn’t see properly, she couldn’t hear properly either. With such a dangerous environment, it would be disastrous for a raid without the basic 5 senses.
Even though she was nervous and had prepared well, The monsters that inhibited this forest would be fast and could easily kill without these restrictions.
As she was thinking that… it happened.
One of the Mad Dog mercenaries, who was guarding the left side, could not respond in time. A beast suddenly ripped through the defenses and bit through the mercenary’s stomach.
The B-Class mercenary, whose sides were bitten, screamed loudly, but he was the only one who could hear his own scream in the forest where everyone’s hearing was blocked.
With the splashing blood and floundering gestures, Doberman, who was walking in the front, turned away with a jerk as he noticed the distress.
Scarlett, who was walking behind him, clearly saw what the beast looked like.
The beast pounded the mercenary into the ground, shaking its jaw and bit into the head of the mercenary who was on the floor bleeding. The beast bit into the head, squashing it like a balloon of blood and brain matter.
The mercenary could no longer scream and died. When the severed body lay squirming and spasming on the ground as the head was squashed, Doberman immediately turned around and took action as he sprinted at the beast.
Scarlett immediately prepared her magic spells.
But it wasn’t only one.
None of them could hear it, but screams were erupting within the forest not too far away from them.
The cries of the beasts were approaching in the dark followed by ghastly screams and pleas for help.
Chapter 247 – Fin
T/N: I decided to increase the chaps per week if we can hit the next patron goal since I realize we’ve been met with a halt. So in that sense, I can totally up the incentives since I’m falling in love with this series again lol.
Also, one thing I find particularly loveable about it ~ just my opinion ~ is that the author hints like these blatant foreshadows…. or at least would be blatant foreshadows if it were another novel. What I like about it, is that he delays things really well and even completely flips the table in terms of expectations on the foreshadows. Really not something you see these days with cultivation novels.
Much love – B
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