However, nobody else realized that the wind was caused by the trees.
The area was too chaotic already for something so trivial to be noticed.
“T, those people are!”
“It is an emergency situation! The Queen of the Jungle has launched a raid!”
Voices shot out along with the sound of the alarm.
The Empire’s forces near the four gates were the most chaotic.
“…T, that person is the Roan Kingdom’s sword master!”
“It is the necromancer! The necromancer has appeared!”
“Dark Elves! They are the Roan Kingdom’s forces that appeared during the battle at the Caro Kingdom!”
The strong individuals from the Jungle and the Roan Kingdom had suddenly appeared and started to ruthlessly attack the golems.
“What the hell?!”
The palace at the center of Section 7 of the Jungle that was similar to the heart of the Jungle.
An alchemist who had been sitting on Litana’s throne quickly headed toward a window in order to see what was going on outside. He could see darkness cutting through Section 7 that was shining brightly under the Empire’s influences.
None of them seemed to have any light about them.
“H, how did they get here……!”
Black aura cut through the sky.
The necromancer’s black mana rushed toward a golem like spider webs.
The Dark Elves and their Elementals were using black mana in order to eat up the Empire’s lights.
“They just made the declaration moments ago……!”
The Roan Kingdom had just declared with the other kingdoms that they would resist black magic, which was really just a way of declaring war against the Empire.
‘But the Roan Kingdom and the Jungle have already allied with each other?’
The alchemist who was responsible for this Jungle invasion got the chills.
‘Just how far does the Roan Kingdom’s reach go?
How long have they been allied that they could respond this quickly?’
The alchemist recalled crown prince Alberu’s stern but confident gaze that he had seen through the screen.
It was not the gaze of someone who thought that he was going to lose.
The alchemist took an orb out of in his chest pocket after hearing the sound of an alarm.
It was a grey orb.
Black mana started to come out of the tip of the alchemist’s finger.
He was a black mage as well.
The black mana lit up the grey orb and delivered the message.
– Destroy the Jungle. Use the airship to withdraw once you do that.
It was the voice of Adin, the next-generation sun of the Empire. He sounded weak and tired but also focused and cold.
The nervousness disappeared from the alchemist’s eyes.
‘This is actually better.’
He started to speak.
“We can currently see the Roan Kingdom’s forces.”
– The Roan Kingdom?
“Yes, your highness. The sword master and necromancer-”
– The commander should be there as well.
The alchemist looked toward the person who showed himself at the center of Section 7 after hearing Adin’s comment.
Cale Henituse. He could clearly see Cale’s red hair.
“Yes, your majesty, he is here as well.”
– I see.
Adin sternly gave the order.
– Follow the original plan.
The alchemist nodded his head and responded back.
“Yes, your highness. We will proceed as planned.”
They would pour dead mana into Section 7 and turn it into a land of death.
A variable named Cale had appeared in that plan.
Of course, the Dark Elves and necromancers had appeared as well, however, there were not enough of them to instantly block the dead mana bombs. It would be difficult to purify all of that dead mana as well.
It would take them some time.
‘And it would be even better if Commander Cale used that power I heard about.’
He had heard that Cale Henituse used a fiery thunderbolt in order to purify the golems, black despair, and dead mana. Section 7 would be destroyed just as the Empire wanted if he used that thunderbolt in the Jungle.
That would be enough.
That was why he headed out of the throne room and gave an order to his subordinates.
His subordinates quickly started to move.
He then added on.
“Gather at the airship as planned!”
The alchemist quickly started to head toward the airship located at the center of Section 7 as he continued to speak.
“Detonate the bombs starting from the edges of Section 7!”
The edges of Section 7.
Those were the residential areas for the citizens of the Jungle.
They were also located close to the four gates into Section 7.
The beautiful orbs installed on top of the bombs started to shine even brighter than before.
The alchemist started to sneer while looking at them.
It was at that moment.
He heard an explosion that was much stronger than before.
“I, it is coming from the North!”
The alchemist turned toward the North after hearing his subordinate’s voice.
It was breaking.
The golem that was close to 20 meters in height was slowly kneeling onto the ground.
He could see a sword that had gone through the golem’s heart.
Choi Han, the Roan Kingdom’s sword master.
His sword had cut through the golem’s right chest where the core was located.
Terrible shrieks could be heard.
That sound made even the alchemist’s body shake for a moment. Although he had participated in the experiments as well, that black despair really was dirty and terrible.
However, the shrieks soon ended.
“… Dark Elves.”
The alchemist, no, the black mage, bit down on his lips.
Two Dark Elves pushed Choi Han to the side as they activated their mana and called their Elementals to help them.
The two Dark Elves put their hands inside the hole left behind by Choi Han’s attack. They then let out groans and bit down on their lips.
They could hear it.
The terrible shrieks were slowly disappearing for the others, but the Dark Elves were able to hear a different kind of screeching in their minds.
It was the cries of the people who had turned into dead mana and the black despair.
They felt as if their hands were burning.
Their hands looked fine on the outside, however, their insides were churning.
The two Dark Elves both recalled what Tasha had said to them.
‘Endure it even if it is painful. I’m sure that you have seen the people who died while passing through the desert in the Land of Death! It is the cries of people who died an even more painful death than those who were running to live a better life.’
‘So endure it.’
The Dark Elves bit down on their lips and continued to endure the pain.
They had no other choice.
“Huff, huff. Huff.”
They could see Choi Han pointing his sword at the Empire’s troops around them even as his body was shaking.
Choi Han’s entire body was shaking.
He was biting down on his lips quite hard.
‘You plan on participating in this operation?’
Cale had asked this question once Alberu had left and only the two of them were there. Choi Han had seriously answered Cale’s nonchalant question.
‘Yes, Cale-nim, I will participate. I am the best at locating the golems’ cores and I can destroy them.’
He had added on after that.
‘I will not act like an idiot again to cause trouble for the others. Please trust me and leave it to me.’
Choi Han had faced shock and fear the first time he fought against the golems and the black despair. He would have probably caused trouble for his allies and done something terrible if Raon and Clopeh had not been there.
That was why he was participating this time as well.
It was something that he would have to face eventually even if he ran away from it now.
He had to end up facing the same enemies again in the Forest of Darkness even if he originally ran away from them in fear. He had faced failure many times each time, however, he had defeated all of them in the end.
Choi Han clenched the hilt of his sword.
There were still voices speaking to him in his mind right now.
‘You’ll get stronger if you eat that despair.’
Choi Han bit down on his lips even harder.
It was the moment blood started to flow from his lips.
– Choi Han! Are you okay? The human said to go check on your condition!
Raon’s voice could be heard in Choi Han’s mind.
Choi Han also recalled the last thing Cale had said to him when he said that he was going to participate in this operation.
‘You’ve paid plenty for your meals already. So take care of your body first. Don’t act like an idiot.’
The person who always acted like an idiot and never took care of his body was telling him not to do that.
‘Oh, one more thing. People can’t be perfectly strong. So just remember one thing.’
Choi Han slowly stopped biting down on his lips.
‘Being alive is the best. Preferably it is living peacefully and happily. Got it?’
He wiped the blood on his lips with the back of his hand.
Bleeding helped him come back to his senses a bit. Choi Han started to smile.
He heard his allies speaking to him at that moment. Both of the Dark Elves reported in one after another.
“The core and the black despair have both been purified!”
“I just need to absorb the dead mana now!”
– Choi Han! You seem okay! I knew you could do it! Still, be careful! I’m heading back to the human!
Raon’s happy voice made Choi Han have to hold back his laughter as he nodded his head.
His hands were still shaking and there was something still trying to seduce him, but he was okay.
He kept hearing his friends’ voices and saw them moving about every time he felt his mind letting its guard down, and this night air was cooling him down as well.
“…I need to move as well.”
Choi Han quickly started to move again.
The restrictions placed by the lure of the black despair didn’t seem too bad right now.
The first golem fell to the ground behind Choi Han as he started to move.
The two Dark Elves jumped past the golem in order to follow behind Choi Han, with one of the Dark Elves having a much stronger presence of black mana around him as they moved.
That made the alchemist in charge bite down on his lips as he turned toward his subordinate who immediately reported in.
“Sir, the preparations are complete!”
That made the alchemist quickly turn to look at the edge of Section 7.
The soldiers who were stationed at the edge of Section 7 were running toward the airship.
What the alchemist didn’t know was that there was someone else who was as aware of this fact as much as himself.
It was Cale.
He could see the soldiers running away from the edge of Section 7 as he stood there looking at the Empire’s knights and soldiers who were looking at him but unable to attack.
The explosions will happen soon.’
The glutton chimed in once Cale realized this fact.
– I can’t purify the black despair.
She could eat dead mana, but could not purify the black despair that was with it.
Cale recalled what the fiery thunderbolt had told him last time.
He had said that the only ones who could purify the black despair were necromancers, Dark Elves, and himself.
Of course, even priests could take care of the dead mana.
Loud noises could be heard coming from the orbs located on top of the bombs.
The noises coming from these orbs were changing, starting from the bombs at the edges of Section 7.
The orbs were becoming louder and brighter.
All of these changes were starting from the edges of Section 7.
Cale looked toward the residences that were still quiet.
He was certain that everyone had woken up already.
He knew that the people of the Jungle were currently laying low in their homes without even being able to turn on some lights.
He understood what they must be going through right now.
Cale had done the same thing when he was Kim Rok Soo, running away from monsters and crawling into the debris of a destroyed building and remaining as quiet as possible.
He had not even been able to sleep as he was scared of the strong monsters outside.
That was why he understood what they must be going through right now.
He closed his eyes even though the enemies were in front of him.
– Human, I am here!
It was because he had Raon.
Cale heard the voice of the glutton again.
– That was why I could only eat it and die after being dyed black. Although I can’t purify it, I couldn’t watch the ground turn black and do nothing about it.
Cale recalled what the glutton had said the first time he met her.
‘I don’t think I can give up on this taste even if I get fat! It’s so unfair that I had to die while eating dirt!’
He had originally thought that she had just starved to death.
But now he understood what she meant by having to eat dirt.
What would she have died eating in the land of boulders that did not have trees?
Why had the ground turned black?
Cale slowly started to get angry.
‘Why did they all live such sad lives?’
The glutton, the cheapskate, they all had sad lives.
He thought about the single black tree on top of the desolate area in the slums. Although nothing was there, that ground had not been a land of death poisoned by dead mana.
– All I could do was be a shield.
The glutton priestess had to lay low inside that black tree for over 10,000 years.
– I can’t do anything on my own.
The glutton priestess was different than the Scary Giant Cobblestone. The Super Rock was able to attack. However, the glutton had no way to attack. The only powers that she had was the power to defend and protect.
This was the reason she always needed allies.
She needed allies in order to grow, just like how a tree cannot grow on its own.
The power to protect something.
This power was only able to get stronger when it had someone to protect.
The Indestructible Shield.
She was able to finally find a new ally after over 10,000 years.
After waiting for such a long time, she finally found a new person to protect.
Very quiet noises could be heard through the explosions.
The people of the Jungle who were hiding away and looking at that state of things outside flinched and opened their eyes wide.
Things were falling.
Cale heard the glutton’s voice.
– The trees said that they will help.
Branches from small trees were starting to fall from the trees one by one.
Branches from large trees were starting to fall as well.
All of the trees throughout Section 7 were lending parts of their bodies to help. That was only visible to the people of the Jungle who were quietly hiding in their homes.
The branches stabbed into the ground.
It was at that moment.
At the center of Section 7.
The alchemist who had boarded the airship at some point shouted to one of his subordinates who was holding a red orb.
“Detonate them starting from the edges now!”
“Yes sir! Three!”
It was as the subordinate holding the red orb started to count.
It was as the few remaining soldiers by the edges of Section 7 started to run.
It was as the beautifully shining orbs slowly lost their lights.
It was as a small click could be heard from the bombs installed on the large cylindrical tanks.
Cale felt an odd sensation at that moment.
He could feel everything.
It was as if his senses could reach all four corners of Section 7. That was why he was able to say something the glutton told him to say as if it was the obvious thing to say.
The ground started to shake.
Something happened to the branches that all of the trees in Section 7 dropped for him.
The branches that had stabbed into the ground started to grow.
They became alive at Cale’s orders and started to move.
“W, what the…!”
“What the…? What is going on with the trees?”
Large vines appeared between the Empire’s soldiers.
They started to move faster and faster as they grew larger and larger.
The leaves were starting to shake.
The trees were crying.
No, the trees were shouting.
Cale could hear them.
‘Protect them because I have given you a part of my body.’
Cale’s two hands responded to the trees that were asking him to protect them.
He looked toward the large vines
It was the moment the subordinate alchemist shouted that number.
The red orb in his hand exploded.
People could see what happened at that moment.
The large vines divided up and wrapped around the dead mana bombs.
It was as if they were shields.
It was as if they were prisons.
The vines completely caged in the dead mana bombs.
It was the moment that could be seen.
The orbs lost all light and the sound stopped.
The dead mana bombs located at the edges of Section 7 started to detonate one by one.
Baaaaaang! Baaaaang! Baaaaaang!
Black liquids shot up to the sky.
However, they could not reach the sky.
The vines were slowly turning black.
The tens, no, hundreds of vines that were destroyed by the explosion but grew back were shooting up toward the dead mana.
All of the Empire’s forces looked toward a single person.
The vines were growing around that person.
Cale looked toward the Empire’s forces and started to speak while laughing.
Eat and eat some more.
The vines that had turned black were eating up the dead mana bombs as if they had become snakes.
The vines became as dark as the night the more they ate.
The world became darker and darker as the trees continued to cry.
This was just the beginning of hell for the Empire’s forces.