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Episode 79 – It’s Snowing…
It fell at the whim of the heavens, uninfluenced by the thoughts of any creature living on Earth.
Slender trees were dyed white as if their branches were covered with clouds.
The land became pure white, carpeted with snow.
The snow that fell this morning was extraordinarily white. With the faint darkness and the silence uniquely belonging to the dawn, it created a fantastic scene that made one forget the cold and feast one’s eyes onto the scene with rapt fascination.
“…Type-2. Is that thing here?”
“Ha, ha. I’ve been looking around since last night, but there are no traces of it…” Hannam replied, scratching his chilly nose and ears with annoyance.
“Crap!” The current Zancock had no time to enjoy the amazing scenery. ‘We must get the information to the kingdom as soon as possible, but it would be reckless for a human to try and force their way through this snow.’
However, as well as being stranded due to the accumulation of snow, there was one problem above all that could not be ignored.
‘The order to return… is supposed to be absolute. It is impossible to defy that order… What the hell’s happening? What happened to you?’
Despite repeatedly sending orders using the chain-shaped magical device on his wrist, the majestic beast did not appear.
The snow continued to fall, oblivious to Zancock’s displeasure.
In spite of the snow, the team members who had been ordered to gather as much food as possible from the villages were searching everywhere.
“…Please report back when everyone has returned. We’re going to the Cursed Wetlands again.” He gave instructions as he turned back to the building, entering through the door while Hanam’s gasp echoed.
He had finished investigating the strength of the Swamp Demon, but he could not return without Rahman’s secret weapon, Type-2.
Zancock’s heart was filled with frustration and impatience.
A group of men began to gather in a clearing.
Their hands were empty, and they all looked as if they had failed to find what they were looking for.
“There’s no such thing as a reserve stockpile in a remote village like this with so much snow…”
“They were all old people, so they didn’t need to eat much, right?”
The guilt that had been there in them until a few days ago had melted away or was buried in the snow, and such a conversation was going on quite casually.
“I can’t wait to get out of here…”
The team members’ eyes focused on a house at the edge of the village as if they were looking at something creepy.
Their expressions were those of disgust, as if they wanted to get away from there as soon as possible.
“Either that or there’s a separate stockpile hidden there. I’ll report back to the Second Lieutenant and–” Hanam suggested with a thoughtful look while exhaling a white breath.
One of the men listening noticed something strange.
In a world of silvery white, only one other color was present.
A blue… monster.
“You’re finally back…”
On the unnaturally open plain that was visible from the vacant lot, Type-2 floated in the air, spewing out wings of mist.
“What’s wrong?” A senior member of the team casually asked Hanam in an absent-minded voice.
“Ah, that…” Hanam, who was blushing due to the cold, quickly noticed a small…. yet incredibly large change.
“What’s wrong with that?”
His shaking fingertips indicated that Type-2 was fading away slowly, the process starting from the edges of its body.
“There’s no…. collar….”
It was no longer a puppet.
It was now the unleashed, unmistakable– fog monster.
“Run, run, run, run!”
“The building…. no! It’s coming in as fog! The forest! Run for the forest!”
The trained soldiers made a quick decision and started to retreat to the forest where there were trees to shield them.
“What’s all the fuss about?”
“Second Lieutenant! Type-2 has no collar! It’s no longer in our control!”
Hanam’s words repeated in his mind for a few seconds, his mind unable to process them.
When Zancock realized how abnormal the situation was, the blood drained from his head, and he felt as if he were being frozen from the top of his head.
“Wait, wait, wait!”
Zancock desperately chased after the backs of his men.
A blue mist coldly watched that scene from above…
“Let’s get a little further away! I don’t know how far it’ll chase us!”
He continued to run through the snow-covered forest.
There’s no way that fog monster thinks well of them.
Of course it wouldn’t. They had bound it with those chains since its birth and used it like a tool.
The entire squad followed Zancock, who had somehow taken the lead…
They were trapped in the snow, sometimes stumbling, sometimes crawling…
Even though his breathing was labored and he couldn’t lift his legs, he couldn’t stop moving.
They didn’t know when it would appear, or where it might be lurking.
It could be right behind him right now.
Maybe it might appear right in front of them.
With that kind of anxiety and impatience, the team moved forward.
And then, increasingly, they entered a labyrinth of trees with similar sceneries…
They met a boy.
He was standing alone in the snow-covered forest.
The troop stopped walking at the sight of the dark-haired boy.
He stood out in the world of silvery white.
The fact that he was an ordinary-looking boy in light clothing added to the strangeness.
Everyone had various theories about the situation in their minds, and while they were in a daze, one of the team members sneezed in the cold.
It sounded better than the quiet, snowy world.
“It’s cold.” The boy, reflected in the snowy landscape in front of him, opened his mouth. With his back turned.
“It’s snowing quite a lot… but…” He turned slowly.
Jet-black eyes that seemed empty enraptured Zancock and the others.
As if trapped in a deep darkness, anxiety, impatience, and fear begin to smolder deep within the hearts of the team members.
“There’s no smoke coming from any of the houses in the…. villages except the one you were in. Not even a hint of a fire. I wonder what happened.”
They didn’t know what the being in front of them was.
“It doesn’t really matter what happened. I just want to hear what you have to say about it.”
Perhaps it was instinct, or perhaps he just naturally understood the importance of this situation.
“You! Tell us who you are first!”
Not the boy in front of me.
The voice wasn’t from the boy in front of me. It was a woman’s harsh voice that was accompanied by strong killing intent from the side.
Hanam was further confused by the beautiful woman who he had seen before, causing a further delay in his comprehension of the situation.
“You are before the master. Kneel.”
With a snarl, a charming voice commanded from the side.
A cutlass gleamed inorganically as it was thrust.
“I’m telling you to kneel…”
Hannam’s feet were kicked forcefully by the brown beauty, forcing him to kneel.
Zancock froze at the unusual situation.
Even with the accelerating anxiety in the eyes of the men, Zancock did not give any commands.
“….Oh, thank you for your help. I appreciate you taking the time.” The demon king suddenly spoke towards the sky.
A shadow appeared in front of the astonished Zancock and his men.
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