Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Legendary-class magical beasts were storied to dwell in the Central Dark Forest of Mycroft.
Across centuries, such tales would always be told by adventurers who ventured deep into the heart of the Dark Forest. They would boast of their experiences vividly in taverns, describing the majestic power of such Legendary creatures that whimsically turned weather with utmost certainty.
But none would believe their stories. They would simply smile disapprovingly regardless of how staunchly the storytellers would defend themselves—after all, would they be alive if they truly encountered a Legendary beast? Everyone knew the terror of Legendary strength: it was nigh indefensible, the might of calamities, never to be escaped once met.
And yet, when they rephrased things and asked ‘Do Legendary beasts truly exist?’, everyone would nod affirmatively: they certainly existed. In the history of edge of the Dark Forest where there had been dozens of grand-scale battles and geographical shift, it was proof that they had clashed against civilization. Though the last Legendary beast invasion had been three hundred years ago, no one ever forgot their might.
Still, from the perspective of those champions who were experienced with Legendary beast and had encountered them, those adventurers telling tales of Legendary beasts were not lying—those creatures were simply no brutish monsters that drown themselves in senseless slaughter, but much wiser and cunning, even more human than humans.
And now, such an existence had appeared before Joshua.
As the dimensions drummed with ripples, a platinum-hued tree vine blossoming with pink and wine-red flowers crept out of rifts, with green-golden pollen wafting away, finally forming a vague human figure in the air. However, as the spatial rift widened without stopping, it solidified, gaining a beautiful yet harrowing form.
The main form of the human figure was a coil of those platinum vines, forming the tall frame of a lady, her form voluptuous and graceful. Vine leaves were her hair, and the visage which formed at her head was considered the standard facial features of a Northern Lady. One would pick up an otherworldly beauty from a single glance, although if they kept their eyes upon it, they would soon notice that both her appearance and her form were made up countless squirming pollen and creepers, moving incessantly as if they were microorganisms combining to assume a larger form.
“Greetings, Legendary human of the North.”
The vine human spoke the Mycroft common tongue fluently and courteously, bowing at Joshua—a gesture the warrior returned. “I’m the Platinum Vine Mother,” she then introduced herself, “or the Platinum Queen as I’m known amongst the adventurers, one of the guardians of the Dark Forest Inner.”
She spoke with simplicity and forthrightness, cutting straight into the heart of the matter. “According to our agreement, your purge of the Dark Forest ends here. The presence of Chaos is heavy in the Dark Forest Inner, and it would be suitable for human living for decades even with purification.”
“Then control your Children and those enchanted creatures. I would show no mercy should they create any disturbance.”
Joshua replied mildly and without elaboration, “We will spare your dwelling place, just as you would obey the agreement and oversee this ‘Garden’ for us—while I did not destroy your descendants’ habitat, they are not having a great time at the moment.”
“That is for sure, but they would not complain.”
Having ascertained that the Legend who had effortlessly destroyed everything before him was not continuing his acts of devastation, the Platinum Vine Mother withdrew her human form along with tentacles from the other side of the spatial rift, even as she continued in her incorporeal voice. “After Ouroboros’s failed challenge upon the authority of humans, we no longer attacked humans. It is clear now that it was the correct choice.”
With that, the Platinum Vine Mother appeared to not desire further conversation, thereby closing the spatial rift.
Joshua, too, ceased his overturning of the Dark Forest and turned toward the earth that he had passed. All was in complete disorder as far his eye could see: rivers were severed, hills crumbling, just as jungles and hills were turned into mudlands. Endless blood and turbid mana of Chaos flowed across the ground, and at the edge of his sight was an inferno that spread boundlessly—it was Black’s spreading draconic flame. It incinerated all that was corrupt, disintegrating the Dark Forest of old and removing it from the world.
There were eleven species of Legendary beast descendants at the Central Dark Forest, with three of them dwelling nearby the Northern Empire: The Titan Dragonfly, the Boros Python, and the Platinum Tendrils. The Titan Dragonfly was a colossal magical insect which inherited the Mountain Titans power and could control the Four Great Elements, with the largest of them reaching forty meters in length and wingspans of fifty meters. They were the ultimate hunters of the skies, just as the Boros Pythons mastered abilities of basic Substance Transition and Condensation, capable of laying waste to any defensive fortification.
Against those descendants of Legendary beasts which had extreme depth and would be far superior to Supreme-tier beasts after ascending, the Empire’s implemented measures were to kill everything other than ‘initial specimens’, avoiding any festering threats. That was precisely what the warrior did: when Joshua was turning the Dark Forest upside down, he certainly paid special attention to the habitat of those two species, having simply wiped out every other beast after subjugating two pairs as specimens.
The Platinum Tendrils, however, were different. The Legendary creature that was their precursor, the magical plant ‘Platinum Vine Mother’ remained alive, and was said never to have harm humans while stretching its tendrils to Void beyond the world, directly absorbing energy radiations from the Multiverse. Every Legendary champion held certain respect toward her.
According to the agreement between both sides, humans would not act against the Platinum Vine Mother and another living Legendary beast, ‘Colorado the Skybinding Dragon’. They would allocate a dwelling place for them as well, and in exchange, they would obey the rule of humankind, restraining the remaining magical creatures in the Dark Forest and prevent any uproar that would hinder the humans’ development that would follow.
Being superior beings that possess intelligence which surpassed most humans, both the Platinum Vine Mother and Colorado the Skybinding Dragon naturally knew the reason the humans spared them: they never attacked civilization in the three hundred years, and most importantly, their ability. If the Platinum Vine Mother attacked and left no quarter, she could directly tear the dimensions apart and assault all primary settlements in various nations, just as the Skybinding Dragon could draw energies from vacuum particles, heating and accelerating all molecules within a great area to the very limit.
As long as there was no possibility of a swift kill, none would desire taking any risk—what was more, the two Legendary beasts had taken the initiative and convey goodwill, which meant that they naturally would not have to drive each other into fatal encounters… If the Legendary creatures wished to survive, why would they go through the trouble and oppose humans?
After all, superior beings of their class were certainly of unlimited lifespan. The Platinum Vine Mother had even walked amongst humans in its pollen form, assuredly learning the speed of humans’ present-day development, and that their target was not this world alone but the profound multiverse. Moreover, in a covert and brief discussion with Nostradamus and Israel, the Vine Mother had even raised the possibility of her dispatching her progeny to aid the Imperial External Exploration Department, with the condition that the Empire tries to spread her pollen and seed in return—a much more efficient measure than having its true form wafting in the Void, and spend who knows how long and what impossible luck to reach inhabitable worlds.
Joshua had no disagreement with the agreements on both sides, since he could just move without hesitation if those beasts dared to show a sliver of malevolence. While that would definitely lead to severe casualties, but the beast would suffer greater consequences if their agreement was half complete and they attacked, catching the humans off their guard. Now, however, with multiple Legends present, even the Legendary beasts’ resistance would not lead to any logical worst-case scenario.
Be that as it may, Joshua would never doubt those intelligent could coexist alongside humans since there were other Legendary beasts existing beyond the Central Dark Forest alongside humans over centuries, even leaving many mixed-blood progenies. At the thought, the warrior turned to look toward the southern reaches of the world, where the Trade Federation was.
The very existence of the Trade Federation was a miracle in Mycroft. It’s founder ‘Critias’ had discovered an ancient ruin in the Central Dark Forest, thereby obtaining massive wealth and various unique blueprints of magical items. At the time, the world was at war, and none paid attention to Critias’s gains as he led his own band anonymously to the Far Southern Kingdom, attaining the knighthood and headed to a wild jungle where the Trade Federation eventually established their base: a natural deep-water port, encircled by mountains, easy to defend and difficult to be conquered.
Then, as most would imagine, it was a laudable Legendary story of pioneering: Critias would use his capital obtained from adventuring as well as various mysterious tools from the previous era, successfully establishing his base in the Dark Forest, developing the initial form of the Trade Federation before finally attaining autonomy after long struggles against the Kingdom’s politics and military…That was definitely what was written in the history books, although the truth had been twisted, misshapen since the very beginning.
When Critias arrived at the natural, undiscovered deep-water port he had his eyes on for a long time that was fated to be his future base, he and his band found in shock that it was actually the dwelling place of Legendary creature, and their every moved had already been discovered by the beast.
It was a mountainous Legendary Dragon Whale that resembled an island when seen from a distance, having sunbathed in the shallows for almost forty years. But on that day, just as she was prepared to return to her home—a gigantic underwater cavern below the port—out of boredom, she came across the little band who were busily observing the weather and geographic surroundings.
Their striving, passion, and laughter was filled with confidence and expectation toward the future.
Thus, the Dragon Whale Empress breathed a long, excited cry.
Meanwhile, Critias, who had climbed up a nearby peak to observe the surrounding topography heard that resounding cry as well. He quickly realized that they had entered the dwelling place of Legendary beasts, and while his thoughts were at once indescribable and in disarray, he quickly decided that his band would leave and avoid perishing there instantly.
However, could a bunch of ordinary folks who had best were Gold escape the grasp of a Legend? The Dragon Whale Empress easily captured all of them, and then…
Critias caught her eye.
When Joshua first discussed the tale with Nostradamus, he had believed that the elderly mage was joking after a fashion, imagining that it was like the other nonsensical rumors such as how the Pope had illegitimate children, illicit affair between the Nature’s Magister and the Elven Queen, the West Mountain’s Holy Swordsman did not use a sword, the Emperor was no dragon rider or that he himself was a cruel liege who enjoyed torturing demons to death and consume the raw flesh of beasts. Heaven knows which drunkard conjured those stories, but from the elderly mage’s expression then, the warrior could only believe that it was all true.
The Dragon Whale Empress had decided to assume human form after having enough of a dull life and began to experience living with adorable little people, attempting to establish a nation with them just as she unwittingly became the Critias’s wife, the reigning Empress of the trade federation unto this day. Regardless, it remained that the Trade Federation—the little country established from countless merchants, handicraftsmen and fishermen had survived to this day precisely because of her presence as support.
Even now, the Dragon Whale Queen was still staying at the underwater cavern beneath the Trade Federation, and would frequently assume human form, stepping foot upon the nation she and her partner created. Though Critias and his band had long passed on, the Queen had not forgotten them, which was why a lady with long, ocean-blue hair often appeared at the public cemetery of the Saint Louis Cathedral, up on one of the summits within the borders of the Trade Federation.
She liked to watch the seas from there, never once tiring of it even after centuries.
If they were willing, Legendary beasts could become part of society, a statement that holds ground since the Dragon Whale Empress took precedent. That was why the factions did not attempt to corner the Platinum Vine Mother and the Skybinding Dragon—Mycroft’s civilization would not reject additional races, as long as they were sincere to become a part of their collective.
At present, Black and Zero-One were hurrying in Joshua’s direction from the edge of his vision. The warrior hence turned and flew towards them, simply informing them about the following plans and the present borders of the Dark Forest
“Master, what about you?”
Having heard that her mission was over, the black dragon quickly turned into human form and breathed a long sigh. She had been exhausted from ignited the earth with her sunflare rays along the way, which was strenuous despite her Ancient Dragon Bloodline. It was thanks to no lack of combustible substance in the Dark Forest that the fires spread by itself, igniting vital areas so that she could be spared more effort—otherwise, Black would not be able to sweep everything clear even after taking months.
Then, she asked curiously, “Could it be that I don’t have training today?”
“Now that you mention it, I’ve almost forgotten your slacking off yesterday. Alright, return to the North, and get Zero-Three to supervise so that you finish the parts you left out yesterday. As for today’s training, let’s consider that you’ve done your part.”
Ignoring Black’s subsequent groaning, Joshua then continued calmly, “as for me, I’ll wait for the other Legends to complete their tasks before we all head to the center of the Dark Forest to recover the Evil God remains buried deep below.”
Zero-One was asking beside him worriedly. “Bzzt-bzzt, bzzt-bzzt-bzzt, bzzt-bzzt-bzzt.”
“It’s just a corpse of Chaos that is degrading over time, its other parts having turned into the continent after the creature itself was defeated by the Sage a thousand years ago. I’m not so weak that I would fear such a plaything.”
Patting Zero-One’s head over thin air, Joshua paid its worries no mind. “The Evil God of Fertility is dead—and that’s exactly why it is worth studying.”
If worlds of Order created Evil Gods are birthed after their destruction, what would Evil Gods of the Chaotic Void become after their death?
That was the true reason Joshua would accept the mission to purge the Dark Forest and recover the remains of the Evil God of Fertility. The warrior whose body now gestated the shape of a world certainly wished to learn how Chaos and Order cycled, what the death of Steel Strength would create, and what destroying its lifeless corpse would lead to.
Joshua turned, calling Black and Zero-One to retreat at once, before withdrawing most of his power and approached the central zone of the Dark Forest.