Moving his gaze away from the map, Joshua shook his head.
In any case, the current Dragon's Calamity only threatened the distant South. Although he was reminded of the past, the warrior was a count of a territory in the North now. This war had nothing to do with him for the time being.
Currently, for Joshua, the most important thing was to prepare for the Empire's celebration that would begin in early April. That would not be just a simple banquet though. Joshua could tell after seeing the implications made by the examiner. This celebration that would gather all noblemen and champions across the Empire Kingdom definitely had a deeper meaning.
However, before proceeding, he needed to deal with all the affairs in the territory first.
Looking down at the outside of the city from a tall place, he could see the black and green plains, the land where the ice and snow melted, and the green grasses were endlessly extending towards the surroundings. There were silhouettes of farmers cultivating crops on the field not far away. Meanwhile, at the end of the field within the range of his vision, the warrior also saw some fully-equipped hunters riding on the back of their horses as they made their way through the road that led straight to the Dark Forest in the distance.
"Ready to depart."
Standing on the top floor of the liege's residence, Joshua looked into the distance for a brief moment. Right after that, he asked Ying who was standing right beside him to activate the teleportation circle. Along with the vigorous fluctuation of a magic energy wave, a magic crystal placed on the power supply slot turned dim. Meanwhile, the warrior, Ying, and Ling who were standing right beside him vanished into the blue light that was brought out by the teleportation circle along with a buzz.
The destination of this teleportation was Dark Forest Fortress. Meanwhile, Joshua's purpose was to go and explore the mysterious area in the Great Ajax Volcano.
No.03 told him not long ago that the expedition party led by the Holy Knight Roland had discovered that mysterious area in the deep part of the Great Ajax Volcano. The density of the magic energy there was extremely high. Meanwhile, there were signs and traces that suggested elemental distortion. Ordinary warriors could not even walk deeper into the area. They were already corroded by the elemental energy, causing their muscles to show signs of first-degree melting.
With his current strength, Roland could go deeper to investigate. However, his exploration experience was still too immature though. It was not worth it to entrust him with such tasks. Furthermore, it was very easy for him to get lost. God knows if he could still make it out after walking into the complex tunnels of the volcano.
In fact, 03 was not the only one who was very concerned about this. Even Moreila and Vale Dani who were far away from the place had specifically asked if the news was true. Even the other two counts from the remaining two territories out of the four in the North, the Wilson family and the Tepes family of the North were showing much more interest in it.
Because that was the Great Ajax Volcano, the source of life in the entire NorthNaturally, also the source of destruction.
The heat from the earth's lava, along with the volcanic ash which was rich in nutrients, had given birth to the Dark Forest. The Dark Forest had been known as the largest mountain area in the North. This forest once covered all of the regions where the humans currently carry out their activities. The entire area was as large as the size of a small country. And because of that, some of the Dark Forests were emptied. Then the people of the North built their homes on those emptied regions and also enjoyed the benefits of this fertile land. They have never worried about food supply ever since.
However, that was under the circumstance that the Great Ajax Volcano did not erupt.
According to the investigative party's report, the amount of magic energy contained in the mysterious area was tremendous and dense. Even though it was still not enough to cause the volcano to erupt, it was already enough to cause a destruction as great as the destruction that was caused by the Ancient Dragon [Blazing Black Dragon Alatreon] in approximately 400 years ago.
"Argh! My liege!"
By the end of the teleportation, Joshua and the two Divine Armaments felt a little dizzy. Then they got used to it and shook their heads as they regained their conscious. Meanwhile, the guards discovered that the person that walked out of the teleportation circle was, in fact, their own count. Hence, they immediately saluted in a hurry.
In the meantime, the group of three, Zorgen, Chiri and Feng received news about the arrival of Joshua and the others. So they also swiftly arrived at the teleportation circle that was located in the middle of the tower. Meanwhile, the Warrior who was communicating with the three of them surprisingly discovered that, among the three of them, Zorgen seemed to have acquired a breakthrough after he recovered from his heavy wounds. Currently, he seemed to show signs in advancing into Gold-Tier. Meanwhile, the other two also had obvious improvements in their strengths.
"Not bad at all. You guys are improving fast." For the improvement of his people, Joshua was not stingy with his praises.
In fact, this was also natural. It should be noted that since the last Dark Tide, the Dark Forest Fortress had been recuperating. Until recently, because Joshua had been constantly sending new batches of parties over to replenish his forces with new blood. That would only be deemed as completely recovered back to its full statebut in fact, compared to before this, the strength of Dark Forest Fortress had become significantly stronger, especially with a large number of soldiers that came back alive from the battlefield of annihilating the orcs. All of them had already advanced normally once. Many of them had even become new Silver tier.
Meanwhile, not to mention that these Silver-Tier knights who had powerful strength would only gain much more for surviving.
With everyone escorting him, Joshua roughly patrolled the entire Dark Forest Fortress. He inspected the city walls, the tower, and the warehouse. After determining that everything was in order, he smiled and encouraged his warriors with inspirational words. After that, he brought Ying and Ling along and left Dark Forest Fortress. Then they headed straight towards the heart of the Dark Forest where the volcano was located at.
"Isn't master is walking a little too fast?"
Following Joshua from behind, Ying who seemed to be running with small steps glanced at her younger brother on her side as if she was communicating with her brother with merely her eyes, "He did not even dine in. He just left straight away."
"There was nothing else left there. Are you saying that Master should inspect every single thing over there? Master don't really have time for that. Master's main goal isn't there, to begin with."
Ling shrugged his shoulders instead and slightly narrowed his eyes. He actually understood Joshua's thoughts. "Master can get to the real business straight away after handling the matters along the way as soon as possible."
In fact, the distance from the Dark Forest Fortress to the Great Ajax Volcano was not that far away. Before evening, just as Joshua's weapons were quietly chatting behind him, they had already arrived at their destination.
Located in the core area of the mountains, the active volcano, the Great Ajax Volcano was very spectacular and beautiful. The giant and powerful mountain was like an imposing giant standing on top of the world. Heavy smoke kept erupting into the sky. In the endless dark clouds of smokes, there was a red glow visible to the naked eye, flashing right at the top of the mountain.
On the hills around the volcano, there was a simple camp surrounded by wooden walls. That was where Roland and his expedition party were stationed at.
Naturally, Joshua would not hesitate at all. He straight away went into the campsite and saw the holy knight who was getting ready to go for another round of exploration with the other members of the expedition party at the entrance of the campsite.
Everyone was stunned for a brief moment when they saw Joshua again. They did not seem to think that Joshua would actually come here. Meanwhile, Roland was also shocked like the others. He had heard footsteps from the outside, and he thought it was the other members of his exploration party who came by. When other members of the expedition party beckoned to their count, Roland seemed to be very happy as he greeted Joshua, "It's been a while since we met, my friend."
"It's been a while. Are you feeling alright staying with the expedition party?"
The warrior also greeted the holy knight. Joshua could see that, after the last few months of polishing at lower ground, Roland's temperament had once again improved. and it seemed that he also explored his personal fighting techniques. However, Joshua did not come to spar with him. After greeting each other, Joshua straight away asked about the specific situation of the mysterious area of the volcano.
"The situation is like this..."
Roland revealed everything he knew. He reported everything in detailwhatever he saw or smelled.
It turned out that they had discovered the mysterious area by accident.
At that time, Roland's exploratory party were looking for open-pit veins around the volcano. These type of veins were extremely difficult to mine. Even if it only produced iron, it could still be regarded as a trade without losses. What's more was that most of them contained valuable materials. For instance, secret silver, flame-crystal steel and those sort of valuable raw materials.
Just as the few of them passed through the forest and passed through a hill, an archer with sharp eyes noticed that there was a layer of dark red rock on the ground at the foot of the distant volcanic mountain. It looked scattered all around that place, however, there was a strange sense of overbearing pressure.
The whole party, including Roland, felt that the rock was extraordinary. Well, it was definitely not something simple as it could actually pressurize a warrior that had experienced more than a hundred battles. Hence they decided to take some samples of it. In the meantime, they also wanted to take a look at the scale of red rocks that was stored at the place.
However, upon arriving at the foot of the mountain, they followed the traces of the red rock on the surface. After that, they quickly discovered a huge tunnel leading to the depths of the volcano.
No one could resist the curiosity to explore. After letting Roland activate his lighting spell, the expedition party sent half of their members to go along the tunnel as they push deeper into the area. The tunnel was extremely dry and filled with the smell of sulfur. Unexpectedly, there was no gas and the surrounding rock walls were also very smooth. An experienced old explorer believed that this was not a naturally occurring cave, and everyone accepted his suspicion.
Not knowing how long it took, the expedition party came to a huge cavern inside the volcano. It was filled with lava. Exceptionally rich elemental forces were sensed in the surroundings, however, it felt chaotic though.
As for the next thing that would happen, Joshua already knew about half of it. Because the elemental energy was too dense here, ordinary people would be very easily burned by the radioactive energy. The radiation might even kill. Hence, the members of the expedition party quickly got out of the place and went back to the main city along with the reports.
"Red, rocky material?"
Upon muttering to himself, Joshua's mind was not placed on the strange and mysterious area of this place. Instead, he recalled the red rock that he saw at the bottom of the lake by Mount Nissia. Then he nodded his head and said, "Show me those samples you took earlier on."
The archer who was standing at the side heard Joshua. Then he immediately offered the samples that were hung on his waist.
"The scent it's familiar! As expected, this red rock"
Joshua opened the common specimen bag and saw the red rock in it. He dipped his finger in the powder and licked it. Then he closed his eyes for a moment as he tried to recall back on his past memories. He was sure that the scent belonged to the Ancient Dragons.
Upon having that thought, he could not help but have an excited look on his face. "The trace of that red That must be traces of blood left behind by the Ancient Dragon that was heavily wounded! Meanwhile, this strange and smooth tunnel should be the tunnel it walked through!"