Chapter 4 Return and the Darkness Crawling in the Shadows





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Early morning, the sun has just risen and two guards, Allan and Burns, are standing in front of the village gate waiting for the fog to clear out. It was the usual time when the guards would wait to start their patrol near the forest to make sure that there is no dangerous wildlife or monsters nearby. While waiting, the two were talking to each other about what happened a few days ago.

 

「Hey Allan, do you think she would really return? To me it looks really bad though, not that I’m hoping for her to fail but after all she’s still just a kid. 」 Burns

「Burns, you… I do understand your view but everyone in the village is still praying for her to return safely, you know. Because her father ended up like that, she pretty much became something like an adopted child of the whole village. What you said just now would really sadden everyone. 」 Allan

「I know, it’s just a what if… even I am also praying for her safe return… hopefully the forest doesn’t really have any dangerous creatures within it, but where would all that miasma come from though. I mean I have lived all my life in this village and never did I encounter a spot or a monster with that much miasma to actually try and corrupt a human. 」 Burns

「Indeed, I have also been hunting that forest for a long time but never encountered anything that could do that. But I heard that there will be adventurers coming to the village the after tomorrow so the village chief will be asking them to investigate… I just hope that they could find her and help. 」 Allan

「Yeah, if it’s adventurers then they would definitely understand the situation more. I am quite proud of my strength but I would probably be only around Rank F if I was an adventurer… I did try to challenge one long ago who was Rank D and was easily floored. 」Burns

「You are just a reckless idiot… Well, all we could do for now is hope and… hey what’s that!!」 Allan

 

Before Allan could continue his words, he noticed a silhouette moving inside the fog. The silhouette was small around the height of a child, but still couldn’t be sure what it really was so they prepared their weapons. Slowly, the silhouette moved straight as if it was following the road. And then after a few while, it finally broke out of the fog.

 

It was definitely a child, a little girl looking down and watching the road probably doing so to traverse the fog. When she finally noticed that she was out of the fog, she looked straight finding two guards standing several meters away close to the entrance of the village with weapons on hand.

 

「I, I… I’m ba… *bugsh」 Luna

 

Finally clearing the tension in her body after seeing the guards that she once knew, it was as if a switch was turned off and her body fell after losing consciousness while feeling relieved.

 

「…」 Burns

「…Hey, hey burns!!! Run back to the village and call Nicole immediately!! Hey move!! 」 Allan

 

*Smack

 

「Ah… Ahhhh!! I’ll go call her immediately and the village chief too… 」 Burns

「Hurry, I’ll go check her out just to make sure. She returned… she did it… God has not forsaken our prayers… There’s also no miasma coming out of her body… Report that as well 」 Allan

 

Splitting up, the two immediately ran in opposite directions with Allan approaching Luna and Burns returning to the village.

 

After reaching Luna, Allan immediately examined the child if there were any wounds in her body or any miasma leaking out. After confirming that everything is fine and knowing that she was just sleeping probably from exhaustion, Allan sighed in relief. Her clothes were dirty but were not in tatters, and there were only little noticeable damages probably from twigs and branches that got caught on her clothes.

 

Looking at her again, Allan did see changes in her, like the silver her and whiter skin, but other than that she was still the Luna she once knew who played along with his children when they were free and he would spoil giving snacks patting her head as she shows a big smile.

 

「Thank god you survived that… Everyone will really be happy… however, about her father though… it seems like he was attacked by blade deer. Luckily enough we found the monster later that day and drove it off deeper into the woods. 」 Allan

 

Allan recollected about what happened the day when they found the dead corpse of Luna’s father. After finding the corpse, they immediately went to the forest and found the attacker with pieces of cloth still attached to its horns which definitely belonged to Luna’s father. Furious, the hunter immediately attacked the deer but was too fast for them to chase.

 

Giving up on the chase, the hunters returned to the village only to come back again after hearing new of the disappearance of Luna. Everyone including Nicole joined the hunters scanning the forest one more time. They did successfully find her crying for help, however her body was covered in miasma which was dangerous for normal humans to go near so they were not able to do anything but look at her in the distance.

 

Looking at the child’s eyes, they could feel determination within them and after a bit, she shouted that she would return and ran back deeper into the forest. The hunters cannot do anything about that so despite wanting to help, everyone sadly returned to the village only to hope and pray that a miracle would save her.

 

There are a lot of dangers in the forest like the blade deer, but they usually stay much deeper into the forest which was far beyond the marshlands where they found Luna. That place was relatively safe where children would even sometimes come out and play.

 

And finally she came back, changed but still the Luna they recognize. To Allan, even if her skin tone and hair color changed, he could still feel the same atmosphere that Luna gives off when she gets exhausted after playing with his kids and they would take afternoon naps. Her vulnerable atmosphere to everyone in the village just shows how much she trusts everyone and everyone would also care for her in return. And yet the closest family she had was the one that she doesn’t trust the most.

 

「Heeeeey!!! Alla!! I’ve brought them!! 」 Burns

 

Hearing Burns calling out to him, he also replied back.

 

「Over here!! 」 Allan

 

Everyone immediately close in on Allan while Nicole straight up dived towards Luna and hugged her sleeping body. Soon enough, tears fell down Nicole’s eyes as she felt the warmth Luna’s body.

 

「Luna! Luna… You, you did it… you finally came back… ugh… I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything for you at that time… I’m sorry… 」 Nicole

 

Allan couldn’t help but give out a wry smile to Nicole who didn’t even hesitate to hug Luna that she considers to be her own child. After all Nicole had become the mother figure of Luna since her mother passed away. Allan then stood up and checks the surroundings just to make sure that there were no dangerous elements that followed Luna.

 

Allan is Nicole’s husband and he also treats Luna like his own child after all, although he doesn’t really show it that much compared to his wife who was the best friend of Luna’s mother. Burns and the village chief Lucas also arrived and checked Luna with their own eyes. And then after confirming that everything was fine, Nicole carried Luna’s sleeping body and everyone returned to the village with tearful yet happy faces. Hearing the news that easily spread out of that small village, everyone greeted their return with happy expressions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

★★★★★

 

In a dim dark room, in what seems to be the basement of a building, suspicious cloaked people were having a meeting.

 

「Hey, were you able to properly put than in that place? 」 Cloaked Person 1

「Yes just as instructed, I also made sure that it was activated properly and also disposed of the helper. He turned into a skeleton in just 30 minutes after his body absorbed that Miasma so I am sure that it activated properly. 」 Cloaked Person 2

「Good, it’s nice that there is a definite result soon after it was activated. In just a few days, there should be enough miasma to corrupt the area and create monsters. 」 Cloaked  Person 1

「So, does this mean that the experiment was a success? 」 Cloaked Person 3

「No, not yet… although we managed to create that artificially, we still need to wait for a few days to confirm. I’ll also schedule for more to place in different places to make a proper report. 」 Cloaked Person 1

「Alright, I will be making the preparations then」Cloaked Person 2

「Do so, results are more than necessary after all」Cloaked Person 1

 

「Indeed, we can’t proceed with our plans if this doesn’t succeed. What about people around the area? 」Cloaked Person 3

「I checked to confirm that no villagers were approaching that place, and at the same time placed it in an optimal location that it could ravage the village when monsters would start to spawn. That is also in order to further the research. 」Cloaked Person 2

「Is that so, then I’ll be hearing some good results soon. 」Cloaked Person 3

「Yes, please look forward to that 」Cloaked Person 2

「With this, the rise of Noire Empire would soon be in fruition. I’ll also contact more willing followers when there are finally results that we could report. 」Cloaked Person 1

「Won’t the quick transformation of the corpse into a skeleton be enough? 」Cloaked Person 2

「No, we need more results than just that. Well that place is just a trial area, so even if it gets discovered and destroyed, it won’t mean much to our research. Though be sure to prepare the others on places where less people would actually access this time. 」Cloaked Person 1

「Understood 」Cloaked Person 2

 

After receiving instructions, one of the cloaked people disappeared.

 

「Are you really sure that you could leave it to that person? 」Cloaked Person 3

「Well, if he can’t do it then we can just replace him. 」Cloaked Person 1

「Indeed, for the Glory of the Noire Empire!! 」Cloaked Person 3

「Yes, for the Glory of the Noire Empire!! 」Cloaked Person 1

 

After confirming their goals, the two remaining cloaked people also disappeared leaving behind a dark empty room.



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