SPACE 3. Forest of Chaos
The roar shook the forest.
At the same time, a terrible head could be seen through the fog. The head that had thick canines was the strongest carnivorous dinosaur, the T-rex.
Light gushed out from Irina’s pair of swords.
The mouth of the T-rex tackling her instant became like tattered rags. However, there were both benefits and disadvantages to Irina’s speedy swords. The strength was insufficient to stop the heavy weight heading towards her. And the moment the T-rex was about to swallow her!
A ray of light flew out of the bushes towards the T-rex’s jaw. It rammed into the T-rex like a bulldozer and caused it to stumble around.
“Basak, attack the legs with Blast! Sonic Sword!”
The warrior and crystal golem that rushed towards the T-rex was Ark and Basak!
Ark’s sword and Basak’s Blast focused on one of the T-rex’s leg, causing it to wobble. Then Ark jumped up using its knees and poured a shower of attacks on the T-rex’s jaw and neck.
The different physiques didn’t matter. No, Ark actually used the differences in physiques. He agilely moved between the legs of the T-rex, attacking then joints and then jumped up to attack the weak points.
His movements were acquired from numerous battlefields! He didn’t feel a difference in power.
Kwang! Kwang! Kwang!
White flashes of light burst with every movement. The 10 metres T-rex was pushed back every time. The T-rex took such a beating that it literally bit his tongue and died.
“Phew, now it is cleaned up?”
Ark breathed out and shook his head.
They had just been attacked by a group of 4 T-rex. Ark had dealt with 2, Ferguson’s group handled 1 and Irina handled the remaining T-rex.
“Irina-nim, you aren’t hurt?”
“Yes, thanks to….”
“Don’t work too hard. Leave it to me if it is dangerous.”
“Then why is this expression….what are you worried about? If it is the time….”
“It’s nothing. Just a little tired.”
“It has been 5 hours….”
Ark scratched his head with an awkward expression.
He knew this forest wouldn’t be easy before he started. Apart from the T-rex attacking, the biggest problem was the disorientation.
He heard from Ferguson that there was definitely something strange with the forest. Even if they walked straight in one direction, they would end up returning to the same spot.
‘Well, I’m not surprised.’
A large number of high trees had grown. They could only see a few metres due to the thick fog. Normally a user would rely on the Nymphe in this situation but the GPS wasn’t working either. There were also the T-rex that came storming.
It was difficult to maintain a sense of direction in these conditions.
‘But that isn’t the problem. We can’t just simply wander like this. In addition, there is something in this forest. Yet I haven’t found it yet.’
He just couldn’t fathom what it was. However, he was Ark. He might have experience fighting in space but he was originally an earth user!
‘I entered this place because I can come up with a method.’
Ark was confident for this reason. And not long ago, he was able to get some useful information to help with the navigation. It was when he had crash landed on Ikyullos.
Ark had once again realized the importance of Steel Stomach.
‘Steel Stomach can make me full and give stat bonuses depending on the type of ingredient. Even 1 extra Strength or Agility can be a great help in a life or death situation.’
S-20 and Ikyullos….
In his pursuit of sizeable things, he had ignored his minor skills. Ark had climbed up from the bottom in New World.
‘I was never stronger than others!’
Ark grew stronger using different methods from the other users. He hadn’t hesitated to even raise his Stamina or Resilience by even 1 more. These small difference had accumulated and placed Ark in the position of a hero.
‘Now I need to return to the basics. Don’t take a break because there is always something to do. That’s what I need to do from now on.’
Ark was determined.
First he would focus on raising the skill level of Steel Stomach.
In fact, the universe was filled with a variety of plants, insects, animals and creepy crawlies that could be eaten to raise his skill proficiency. So he collected plants from the forest on a semi-regular basis.
Baum Mushrooms could be found in various parts of Istana. They were fresh mushrooms with a sharp point that always pointed towards the north. The indigenous people of Istana figured it out but the Baum Mushrooms had a defense. It could also be used as food but the deadly toxins made it risky for humans.
He found these mushrooms.
‘This will work well.’
The freshly grown mushrooms always pointed to the north. He even figured out a way around its defense. But this wasn’t a fundamental solution.
Ark’s purpose wasn’t to navigate through the forest but to find Rapid and the Silver Hand. He couldn’t meet Rapid and the Silver Hand if he couldn’t understand the structure of the forest.
‘Rapid doesn’t know the location of the Silver Star so I need to find a clue in this forest. That person should leave a sign somewhere in the forest. I have to find the secret of the forest first in order to find their traces.’
This was the reason why Ark had wandered the forest for 5 hours. Ark couldn’t help but look at Irina.
Irina belonged to the Galactic Federation so he couldn’t keep her here indefinitely. But aside from that problem, the exploration had been quite comfortable. It was thanks to Ferguson, A and B.
“Wah! Thanks for the good work!”
While Ark was having a conversation with Irina. Ferguson, A and B were busy attended to the T-rex’s bodies.
“Ark-nim is completely different from us. Smoothly taking care of the T-rex! This Ferguson really admires Ark-nim’s skills.”
“Give it to me. Distribution will occur after everything is over.”
Ferguson was rubbing his hands with a black substance from the T-rex. Ark had also found out another piece of information in the forest.
Normally 3~4 T-rex emerged from the forest. That number wasn’t a threat to Ark. There was just one problem. Once they processed a group of T-rex, another crowd of T-rex would come storming out.
But even Ark could fight so many T-rex without a break. There were quite a few incidents when he first walked into the forest. However, Ark soon figured out a way to stop the T-rex’s series of raids.
‘I thought the T-rex just kept on attacking in the forest but that isn’t the case. If he got away without a fight then he never encountered another group of T-rex. There weren’t a lot of the monsters. Therefore, there must be a reason why other T-rex started coming not long after a battle ended. That reason is probably the smell of blood….’
The T-rex was huge so it contained an enormous amount of blood. The forest would be covered in blood after a battle. Of course, the monster’s blood and body would disappear over time but the other T-rex would smell blood and charge over.
‘Then the solution is simple.’
After thinking about it, something flashed through Ark’s head. A bad stench covered the forest. Right now, the T-rex’s body was being covered with a black substance. The black substance’s identity was the T-rex’s poo!
‘This will hide the smell!’
Anyway, the result was very nice!
The dead bodies were covered with poo after the battle. Of course, Ark wasn’t going to touch poo in front of Irina. So the ones spreading poo on the bodies of the T-rex were Ferguson, A and B.
However, there was no opposition.
“No! As you know, we are people who volunteered to be Ark-nim’s subordinates because we admire him. And if we hadn’t met Ark-nim then the T-rex would’ve already turned us into poo. So it is natural to leave such chores to us. No, we are simple grateful to be able to follow Ark-nim. Please treat us as your servants.”
Ferguson was desperate. They didn’t want to be useless humans that would be sent to dig after returning to S-20!
“Hey, what are you doing? Don’t you see how tired Ark-nim and Irina-nim are after the fight? Go and give them a shoulder massage!”
However, it was a law that greed would cause disaster. Ark kicked A and B who were approaching Irina and shouted.
“Who are you trying to touch with your shit-stained hands? Ugh, the smell! Aren’t you going to go away?”
“Ah! I-I’m sorry!”
“If you don’t want to be useless then go scout. Shouldn’t you go find traces of Rapid and the Silver Star in the forest? Are you going to stay here?”
“No! We’re leaving! We’re going now!”
It wasn’t surprising that Ferguson, A and B also got the scouting position!
“And do you know? Search for any plants as well. Later I will examine the plants….”
“Don’t worry! We will search!”
“Yes, and your hands still have the remains of the T-rex’s poo. And watch your hands before harvesting the plants Don’t you know that I eat those plants? If there is even a little smell of poo….”
“We will scrub our hands with alcohol!”
Ferguson, A and B collected ingredients as well as poo! Aside from battling the T-rex, Ark and Irina had a pleasant time in the forest. Then Irina muttered as she looked at the running Ferguson, A and B.
“Is this too severe?”
“Not at all. When thinking about what they did to me….”
“Those people did something to Ark-nim?”
“No, it’s nothing. Irina-nim doesn’t need to worry about it. It is like they said. They find it rewarding working for me. We have to fight the T-rex so they should at least help out like this.”
Irina sighed and nodded. Ark was upset at Irina’s sigh.
‘Another sigh. She must be concerned about the time.’
Ever since coming into the forest. No, Irina had that expression since he first fought the T-rex. And she would occasionally sigh.
Ark thought the reason was due to the time. Irina belonged to the Galactic Federation so time was a burden.
‘But now it is too late to go back. I need to find the clue faster for Irina-nim….’
But Ark made a mistake. In fact, the reason for Irina’s sighs was different from Ark’s imagination.
Irina had been looking forward to accompanying Ark on this adventure. Irina was also a user. Although she was a civil servant of the Galactic Federation, she also felt enjoyment during battle and when achieving her goal in the adventure.
Irina followed Ark on this adventure to share the joy with him. But it turned out different from what she imagined. The battle was harder than he though and she couldn’t wander off in the forest. During the battle with the T-rex, Irina realized the difference between her skills and Ark’s.
‘I was confident in my skills….’
Once again, a job with the Galactic Federation had a high competitive rate and Irina was a captain. Her class didn’t have high attack power but she was confident that her skills were better than average.
But Ark jumped a few steps beyond her imagination. Irina felt despair but it wasn’t just the level difference. Before entering the forest, she heard that Ark was level 150. She is currently 130. 20 levels wasn’t a small difference but she felt like Ark’s combat capabilities were 2~3 times more!
‘I didn’t know Ark-nim was this strong.’
Of course, it was good to have a strong boyfriend like Ark. However, the difference between their skills was also a burden.
‘Ferguson is also a user with considerable influence. Ferguson, A and B can probably fight. But they didn’t help Ark in battle. In the end, I also wasn’t helpful. And I actually needed to receive Ark-nim’s help.’
Being protected by her boyfriend wasn’t bad. Still, Irina wanted to help rather than be protected. But in reality, she was just a burden. So a sigh was forced to emerge. And a sigh also emerged from Ark every time she did that.
‘I want to help Ark-nim more….’
‘I need to find the clues quickly for Irina-nim….’
While that was happening….
“Damn! He is really hateful!”
Ferguson kicked a stone with a furious expression.
“We’re we playing around? Huh? Playing? We fought with the T-rex! Why do we have to look for mushrooms and poo? Furthermore, what is that? Is he a horny dog? Wasn’t he stuck to a girl called Roco in New World and now he has a new girl? Geez, meanwhile a guy like me hasn’t had a lifelong love during my 20 years of living! In addition, touching him with my shit-stained hands? He is the reason why my hands are like this!”
Ferguson exploded with rage.
“I’ve been listening to Hyung-nim.”
A finally opened up with a gloomy expression.
“When we were in New World, we just to be dragged around by Ark to forage ingredients.”
“So what? Are you saying there is no need to get bad because we did it before?”
“No, it’s just…..”
A looked down at his hands stained with poo. And he looked at Ferguson with tearful eyes.
“Hyung-nim, why did we enter Galaxian?”
“It was for the sake of a better life. In order to escape from the grip of Ark’s hands. But what is this? We obtained food ingredients back in New World. And now poo…. It is worse than our day in New World.”
“Now I know. This is our destiny.”
Ferguson flinched at A’s words.
“Our fate became twisted the moment we encountered Ark in New World. And we can’t escape until his death. Huhuhu, this is our destiny.”
Ferguson shouted and slapped A on the cheek. A stumbled back and asked as he grabbed his cheek.
“Why did you hit me? Did I do something wrong? No!”
“Shut up! This is our destiny? Don’t make me laugh! I will carve out my own destiny! Have you forgotten? The reason we were brought to tears and abandoned our characters in New World? Does it make sense for that to be our fate?”
“But the result….”
A lifted his poo covered hands.
“Yes, for now. At the moment, we might be more miserable than our days in New World. But we should never give up. No matter how miserable we are, if we don’t give up then there is a bright future where we can escape from Ark!”
“W-will there really be such a day?”
Ferguson nodded and placed his hands on A’s shoulder.
Thanks to that, A’s shoulder was covered in poo but A didn’t mind because everywhere else was covered in poo as well. Anyway, A seemed to calm down as he nodded towards Ferguson.
“I’m sorry. I was insane for a while.”
“It is okay. Who wouldn’t understand you? However, just have a little more patience. And don’t think about it too much. Right now we have escaped from the hell of digging in that place. We will get an opportunity.”
“Can we really escape from that mine?”
Ferguson nodded with a resolute expression.
“What about gathering the poo?”
“But has that Ark bastard ever noticed or appreciated it?”
“Well, we need to gather the food ingredients and poo. But there is still plenty of time. It is an opportunity for Ark to recognize us. This is a chance to build up some favour with Ark.”
“We will dedicate our lives to helping Hyung-nim!”
Ferguson, A and B firmly grabbed each other’s shit-stained hands. And they moved around to find food ingredients and the T-rex’s poo. B suddenly sniffed and said in a low voice.
“H-Hyung-nim, over there. There is someone.”
“What? Who? Perhaps it is Rapid?”
“No, it is a woman.”
Ferguson turned and looked in the direction that B pointed. And just like B’s words, a woman could be seen a few dozen metres away sitting in front of a rock.
Ferguson knew that Rapid’s group didn’t have a woman. And he never heard of any females in the Silver Hand. The only woman that Ferguson knew about was Irina so why was one suddenly here?
Ferguson focused his eyes. Ferguson surprisingly recognized the face of the woman that B discovered.
“Isn’t that Kaya who participated in Ark’s investigation team? Why is she in a place like this?”
“Did she come to this dungeon alone?”
This dungeon wasn’t known to many users yet. What were the chances of accidentally meeting another user that they knew? However, Ferguson wasn’t interested in the probabilities.
“I don’t know but this situation is good. I don’t know why she is in this place but she might know something about the forest.”
“Hyung-nim, wait a minute.”
Then A caught Ferguson’s sleeve.
“Next to Kaya. The body of a T-rex.”
“The body of a T-rex? So?”
“Have you forgotten? If we neglect the T-rex’s body….”
Kung! Kung! Kwajijijik!
While A was talking with an uncertain expression. Suddenly the fog started swirling and there was a sudden roar. Ferguson, A and B knew what that meant. Not surprisingly, the huge figures of the T-rex started showing up in the swirling fog!
Kaya screamed and ran in Ferguson, A and B’s direction as the T-rex showed up. And 4 T-rex were chasing behind her.
“I hate this! Hate it! I want to get out of this forest!”
Kung! Kwajik! Kung! Kwajik! Kung! Kwajik!
Kaya’s screams and the deafening roars of the T-rex swept over Ferguson, A and B. But they couldn’t be seen at all. At this moment Ferguson, A and B…..
Pushu! Pushu! Pushu!
Air was rising from 3 bamboo tubes sticking out of the ground. After a while, the ground shook and three people emerged. Ferguson, A and B had automatically dug holes in the ground using shovels the moment there was a crisis.
“Heok! H-how surprising!”
“Damn! Twe! Twe! That dumb woman! Why did she enter the forest if she doesn’t know how to handle the corpse of the T-rex? We could’ve died for nothing!”
Ferguson spat on the ground while complaining. Ferguson, A and B forgot that they had wandered the forest for 4 days without knowing how to use the T-rex’s poo!
“But now what? That girl, she will die if this continues.”
“How would I know?”
“But that girl, she knows Ark. If she dies while we pretended not to see her then wouldn’t Ark get mad later?”
“Are you a fool? Kaya didn’t see us. How will Ark know if we shut our mouths and don’t tell him? Just forget it. We didn’t see anything. Got it?”
“Ah! That’s right!”
“The T-rex’s body is intact so more of them might come. We should go back to where Ark is.”
At that moment, B tilted his head and asked.
“But what was she looking at?”
“Huh? What does that mean?”
“When we found her. Kaya was sitting in front of the rock. She was resting while facing the rock so doesn’t it seem like she was looking at something?”
“That’s right There might be something there.”
Ferguson exited the bushes and headed to where Kaya had been sitting. And the moment he looked at the rocks!
Three days ago.
“….Now it makes sense.”
Rapid paused while turning around.
The corpses of 10 T-rex could be seen through the dense fog. Two days had passed since Rapid entered the forest while fighting the T-rex.
However, that time wasn’t pointless.
“It seems like the forest area is a distorted space itself.”
“A distorted space?”
Hegel, Milan, Asuran etc. all had ‘?’ over their heads.
“Yes, in other words it is a space enchantment. I don’t know it works but the power acts to distort the space so that we can’t escape the forest. It seems to be a ward that someone deliberately placed in order to prevent invaders.”
“So we can’t escape from this forest?”
Ellain asked the question.
“Only if we jump in blindly.”
“Even though the space distorts, it isn’t random. And the entire forest isn’t distorted. There are certain ‘intervals.’ I checked and each interval is 200~300 metres. Even if we had in a straight line, the direction will change once we pass through those places. That is the rule. The evidence is that we’ve returned to this place three times.”
“Evidence that we’ve returned?”
“Don’t you know? At first I thought it was a coincidence but then I deliberately went through it twice. As a result, we arrived at the same place. That direction that we head to after passing through an interval is always constant. If we enter from the south east then we will exit through the south east.”
“Will that help us now?”
“Of course. If we know the rules then we can head to the place that we want. We can even leave the forest.”
“We can finally escape from this infernal forest?”
The group’s expressions brightened at Rapid’s words.
“Wait a minute!”
Ellain moved forward and said.
“We came here to rescue the Silver Hand. Even if we can escape the forest, how will that help if we can’t find their whereabouts?”
“You don’t understand.”
Rapid laughed and shook his head.
“Why do you think there is a space enchantment here?”
“Someone wants to stop intruders. The Silver Hand should’ve figured out that much. And if they came to the same conclusion? If they understand the structure of this space? They would be able to escape the forest. But the Silver Hand is still missing. We couldn’t find them in the forest. Then where is the Silver Hand? The answer is simple. Didn’t I tell you? Someone spread wards here to deter invaders. In order words, there is a place that someone didn’t want to be accessible to invaders. There is a final destination to this dungeon. It is likely that the Silver Hand used the enchantment of the forest to find that route.”
“Of course we have to find the Silver Hand.”
‘I don’t want to see a teasing expression on Ark’s face!’
Rapid swallowed his saliva. Once again, Rapid only cared about this mission because his pride wouldn’t allow him to be lose to Ark. Then Rapid looked at the group and said.
“It will take some time to figure out the overall configuration of the enchantment. We need to hurry to determine the Silver Hand’s fate. From now on, we will be moving without a break. Hegel, calculate the angle of the direction change when going through a space enchantment.”
“I understand. Then…..”
Hegel studied Rapid’s face.
“How do we know Ark hyung-nim hasn’t come here in the meantime? Shouldn’t we leave some signs for Ark hyung-nim?”
“Ah! Yes. I hadn’t thought about that.”
Rapid stopped and replied. He thought for a moment before smiling and nodding.
“I’ll take care of it.”
Ark muttered with an angry expression.
There were a small distance away from the place where Ark and Irina went ‘Hah~. Hah~.’ At that moment, they heard the T-rex’s roar coming from the direction Ferguson, A and B headed in.
Of course, Ark naturally ran in that direction. Ark had to kill a T-rex every time Ferguson, A and B got in trouble. He was just thinking that when he heard Ferguson, A and B’s voices.
“Ark-nim, over here!”
“Ferguson, the T-rex?”
“They stopped chasing us!”
“What? Really? How?”
“That…no, look at this!”
Ferguson flinched before quickly pointing at a rock. Ark narrowed his eyes as he noticed something. There were small scratches on the thick rock at regular intervals. Someone had carved letters with a knife.
Is it you? It’s me.
I wrote this note in case you came here.
Unlike your expectations, I am still alive.
Well, it is true that I got lost. So I figured that I should put this information together for you since you were dragging your feet. Make sure to thank me when you see me. If you don’t want to then leave You will probably end up wandering around here until you die.
It wasn’t stated who wrote the note. But Ark immediately figured out who wrote it. This note was probably from when the team first arrived. And among those team members, the only one who would write like this was Rapid.
So Ark thought about it.
Once again, Ark was a reasonable person. He was ready to humble himself if there were benefits. However, it also depended on the person.
It didn’t matter if they were NPCs or other users but this was Rapid. The writing style definitely matched Rapid. He had the feeling that Rapid had left information behind.
Ark sighed as he glanced at Irina. Ark was still worried about taking too long. If he looked at Rapid’s information then he could save some time. What reason did he have to ignore Rapid’s information?
‘It can’t be helped. Everything is for Irina!’
In the end, Ark discarded his pride and read the rock.
Right, look on the right side of the rock you fool!
The words written on the right side. Rapid! Now he was really annoyed. But Ark had already thrown away his pride.
I wanted say this once.
The real information is written on the bottom of the rock.
Curses almost emerged from his mouth.
“How funny. Don’t you two seem close? This joke….”
Ark gave an awkward smile and nodded. A joke? Absolutely not. He wasn’t planning Rapid’s assassination. Ark would openly kill Rapid.
‘That bastard, I won’t leave him alone the next time we meet!’
It was the first thing he would do when he found Rapid. Fortunately, the information written on the bottom of the rock was correct.
According to what I found in this forest, the space distorts at intervals of 200 metres.
We walked forward without thinking. I checked while wandering the forest several times and discovered a turning point near the right rocks. After wandering for several hours, we ended up back here. So if you wander through the forest, you will eventually discover this rock.
I haven’t investigated everywhere but the ‘stupid Ark’ should move in the direction indicated on the right side of this rock. If you don’t move in another direction then you will escape the forest. Please note.
Then I’ll be going now.
“I’m glad. Now we don’t need to just wander around.”
Ark replied with an odd smile. Then Ferguson, A and B quickly came over and said.
“How about it? Didn’t I tell you? I just want to be helpful to Ark-nim! I am such a person! No, please keep in mind that I’m not hoping for any praise!”
Ferguson didn’t miss the chance to appeal to Ark.
But the atmosphere around Ark was different from his expectations.
“Did you read this before?”
Ark turned and asked.
“Huh? Ah, yes. That…..”
“Nevertheless, you made me read the writing in order to look like a fool in front of Irina?”
“Huh? “No…..that……you see……”
“I w.i.l.l r.e.m.e.m.b.e.r t.h.i.s!’
Ark said in a murderous voice.
Ferguson, A and B’s faces darkened.