Chapter 390 Magic Forest
The Black Forest.
It was a terrifying name on the Continent of Adepts, feared by many and dreaded by most.
To the ordinary man, the Black Forest was a name that represented death and chaos. If you flipped through the history pages of the Continent of Adepts, you would find countless bloody examples of why this was the case.
Year 13179 of the Era of Adepts. All one hundred and twenty-three individuals in a human village by the western border of the Zhentarim area vanished without a trace. Investigations conducted by adepts discovered the tracks of Mind Flayers.
Year 17281 of the Era of Adepts. A stampede of magical beasts ravaged a newly constructed human settlement in the Nalan region of the Northern Lands. In a matter of three days, the number of deaths reached twenty thousand, while the missing and the wounded were too many to count.
Year 22765 of the Era of Adepts. After the formation of the Seventeenth Construct Army, the Silver Union started to expand their territory into the depths of the Black Forest. The magical creatures initiated a horrifying backlash, and countless casualties ensued.
Just a single look through history told you that all of humanity had a naturally instinctive fear and respect for the Black Forest.
The forest was both a treasury full of resources and the source of chaos where monsters gathered.
Living next to these magical creatures was walking on a knife's edge. Every day and every night people worried about a sudden stampede or an unexpected attack by wandering monsters. Those who had never experienced it for themselves would never understand what it meant to lead such a life.
The people of Pinecone Town huddled within their walls. No one dared to take a step beyond the only thing that kept them safe. The townsmen even formed groups when they went to gather firewood during the day. Not a single one of them had stayed in Pinecone Town for more than five years.
The pioneers of Pinecone Town, those that had first arrived here, had all been devoured by the Black Forest, one after another.
The largest population among the outsiders gathered in Pinecone Town were the mercenaries and adventurers seeking a living. Of course, there were also the apprentice adepts that were here to search for materials.
These people accepted requests to earn gold coins and magical crystals, and they spent most of their time in the forest nearby. They either looked for unique magical plants, captured magical beasts with delicious meat, or investigated and explored certain areas. It didn't matter what they did. Everything they obtained by risking their lives and spilling their blood appeared in the labs of the adepts or on their dining tables eventually. All of it was in exchange for money.
The party set off early in the morning.
They cut through the thin mists of dawn, wrapped in thick cloaks and mantles, passing through the narrow gates of Pinecone Town and disappearing into the woods.
The initial stretch of the forest was like any other woods.
A big brown cliff towered in the middle of the sea of green trees. The cliff stood alone amid the trees like a proud king looking down upon his subjects. White clouds and mists wandered around the cliff.
The top of the cliff was flat and covered with black and brown moss.
A breeze blew across the forest and caused the trees to wave in the wind. Twitters and chirps rang out in the air as a flock of bluebirds chased each other through the woods and flew into the distance.
Green was all you could see when walking through a forest like this. Green flowers, green grass, green vines, and ancient tree trunks that had grayed from age.
Life! The place pulsated with life!
It wasn't too bright in this silent forest. Overgrown branches, vines, and roots were everywhere. It was almost impossible to make progress through a forest like this without the help of a guide that was familiar with the geography.
Love the Swordsman was now in charge of opening a path for the party. He carried a round shield on his back as he swung a sharp hatchet. He cut through all the obstructing vines and thorns and barely managed to create a path. It allowed a person to walk through if they positioned their body sideways. The party slowly moved forward.
The soft and delicate clothes that adepts liked to wear the most were unsuited for traveling through primeval forests such as this. The branches and thorns that crossed their way could easily tear their clothes. Thus, even adepts and apprentices had no choice but to wear a thick cloak over their robes to avoid tripping from their clothes catching on a stray branch.
These adepts that always hid in their tall towers and secret labs had none of their usual arrogance and mystery when they ventured into the woods. Even an ordinary slope was a huge obstacle in their path.
They had to have someone pulling with a rope from above, while another person pushed from below to get the weak and frail Gargamel up a small cliff of three meters.
On the other hand, Greem exhibited a sturdy body that was no weaker than Love. Not only was he able to walk through the uneven paths as if it was flat, but he was also able to maneuver his way through cliffs and rocks swiftly. He was almost as agile as Rhodes, the Third Class Rogue.
Gargamel couldn't help but be envious of Greem's muscular body. More than once, Greem caught Gargamel salivating while staring at him!
In truth, any newly advanced adept possessed a body with a strength that could rival a fighter, agility that could beat a rogue, and swift reactions like those of an archer. However, extended periods neglecting their bodies, along with the corrosion of harmful magical materials, caused their bodies to deteriorate from peak condition quickly. There were very few adepts who managed to stay fit.
That was why Gargamel wasn't surprised by Greem's extraordinary Physique. In fact, he revealed an expression of contemplation and reminiscence.
Once upon a time, he had also possessed an exceptional body like that!
Back then, he was able to push through the night, fighting and working tirelessly without stopping. Sadly, the passage of time and the corrosion of magical energies had turned all this into an immutable past. Now, he was only an old man that looked no better than a starving ghost!
That said, his powerful magical energy still made him a respectable adept feared by mere mortals. If he decided to go all out, slaughtering Pinecone Town would be no difficult task.
Unfortunately, his impressive powers didn't count for much in the Black Forest!
It wasn't difficult for adepts to summon flying servants and spare themselves from the arduous and tiring task of trekking through the woods, especially with all the tricks they had at their command.
However, it was best to keep such thoughts in their mind and never attempt to carry them out in practice. Otherwise, a gruesome death awaited them!
Flying over the Black Forest might seem like a good idea, but even determining your location was nearly impossible.
Those who had never taken to the skies would never understand the pain of being lost in the Black Forest.
When flying in the blue skies with an endless stretch of mountains and forest beneath, you might have been able to determine the direction, but you would never be able to find your destination. The Black Forest was easily hundreds of thousands of kilometers wide. Trying to calculate your position with something like a landmark was a mere joke when the only thing that existed was an endless sea of trees.
The high-magic environment of the Black Forest also caused most detection and divination spells to become ineffective. Even the Wand of Prophecy was a liability in this place. Most of the time, it would bring you straight into a monster's den instead of a place of safety.
Moreover, flying in the sky was great, but it also made you an easy target for some powerful magical creatures.
The creatures of the Black Forest were remarkably territorial. It was okay if you managed to sneak past the edges of their territory without them finding out. But if you were foolish enough to fly above their heads…
The only outcome would be them using your bones to decorate their dens!
This five-kilometer stretch of woods was only a small trial compared to what was about to come.
The green of the forest slowly turned darker and darker as they walked deeper into the Black Forest. Once they passed the five-kilometer mark, everything in front of their eyes appeared to be completely different. It was almost as if they had entered an entirely different world.
Looking above, they found the skies to have been obscured by the darkened canopy, like the night sky filled with specks of stars.
The black leaves layered upon each other and hid the sky from view. It managed to create a curtain of darkness deeper than night. The shining stars were spots of faint blue light that glowed everywhere in the forest like fireflies. These lights were what gave the 'night sky' its strange and beautiful appearance.
Apart from the beautiful 'night sky,' the atmosphere of the Black Forest also appeared to be exceptionally elegant.
The fragrance of flowers filled the forest. Young green grass that went all the way up to the ankle covered the ground. Stepping on the grass felt like stepping on the most delicate of velvet carpets. It was so soft that it made you want to lie down on the ground and roll around.
Every stretch of the Black Forest had a unique style and atmosphere.
If the Black Forest reaching towards the Northern Lands was filled with darkness, malevolence, and chaos, then this stretch of the Black Forest contained fantasy, elegance, and wonder.
It was almost as if Greem and his party had stumbled into a magic forest. An aura of magic saturated the area around them. The whole place was unbelievably beautiful.
For most of the people in the party, this was the first time they had seen something so fantastical and pretty. For a moment, all of them were stunned by the brilliance of it all. Even Love and the adventurers who spent their days in the Black Forest couldn't help but straighten their bodies, relax, and take in this wondrous scene before their eyes.
Greem silently looked at everything in front of his eyes. His elementium sight presented him with a completely different world from what the others saw.
Traces and strands of magical energies flowed through the dark forest.
It was nutrition that never ran out. A nutrient that continuously fed and nurtured the world before Greem's eyes.
In Greem's vision, every blade of grass, every flower petal, and every tiny creature in this magical place brimmed with magic. Elementium particles soaked their bodies.
In his sight, red represented fire, cyan was wind, brown was earth, green was wood, blue was water, and purple was soul and spirit. Layer after layer, patch after patch, pile after pile; the dense magical energies had practically submerged the entire forest in a sea of elementium.
In an environment like this, anything could happen. As long as it wasn't a rock, anything would be able to develop a consciousness of its own. Even intelligent lifeforms that could rival adepts weren't out of the question.
The Black Forest. In truth, it should have been known as the Magic Forest!