Chapter 5: Hero’s Graveyard
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Silence… 

One from an extremely secluded village or an absolute idiot air-head might be ignorant of how exactly dangerous Hero’s Graveyard truly was. However, most inhabitants of kingdoms and empires -including Aero- know the terrifying reality of Hero’s Graveyard. 

It is one of the most dangerous areas in the known continent of Semperterra. It was one of the most dangerous areas that wasn’t a Dungeon.

Not much is actually known about the area. This was because practically no one had returned alive or sane after taking a venturing down Hero’s Graveyard. There was a saying that went around ‘I would rather venture around a B-Ranked Dungeon all my life then enter Hero’s Graveyard once.’ 

It was a saying because a B-Ranked Dungeon is something normal people can survive in if they are smart enough and have the wits, smarts, and experience, However, even with wits and smarts. One would have non-existent chances of survival in the Hero’s Graveyard. The people used it as a way to express willingness to do something difficult everyday then doing the impossible once. They had good reason to believe surviving in Hero’s Graveyard was impossible.

No matter how many of those that are considered strong and capable, promising and talented. They were all without exception killed in the end. The only difference was if they managed to make it outside or inside their death place. 

Many researchers and scientists from all countries worked to find out more about Hero’s Graveyard. Though it proved mostly fruitless.

However, it wasn’t as if no information was collected about the Hero's Graveyard.

There was the story of one of the extremely rare cases, where a survivor was able to escape death from within Hero’s Graveyard.

The scientific research team managed to learn from one of the soon to be dead survivors that the monsters inside Hero’s Graveyard were abnormally strong, some even being intelligent. Time seemed to be distorted inside of it, reality itself was even bent inside of it. 

The survivor’s team consisting of 50 people, found a lush forest full of trees and plant life. The team tried to return to the exit when they started suffering some casualties. They knew that it would only get worse the longer they stayed there.

However, when they went and retraced their footsteps, they found that they no longer had a choice… 

All they found was forest and more forest. The bodies started piling up. The situation worsened and the team was gradually being whittled down by the monsters. The monster attacks increased every minute they were in there. Monsters attacked almost constantly when they were down to half. Monsters that appeared were almost always either stronger, smarter, or both. However, the monsters were not the scariest part. It was the fact that this was only the entrance and beginning of Hero’s Graveyard.

This was all they were able to get, before the survivor went insane. They weren’t able to gain anything else afterward. It seemed the psychological damage was too great, or so they thought… 

Little did they know, the man had gone inside not due to psychological, but the sheer pain he felt while he was alive. The scientific researchers and scientists strapped the survivor on an operating table. They were all going to put him out of his misery.

They injected the survivor with a highly lethal poison. It was the last mercy they could give to the survivor, lest he start harming the people around him. When they did something strange happened.

The man didn’t die right away… 

He only screamed more intensely in agony… then stopped.

As if all the screams of agony were but a figment of imagination, the survivor stopped screaming. He started laughing slowly. 

Ha… Ha… Ha…

Then it slowly devolved into maniacal laughter of the insane.

Hahahahahaha!

Split!

The survivor suddenly split open revealing an insect flesh-colored creature within! The man’s blood splattered all over the white lab walls. The creature was wrinkly, it’s ‘head’ was like a deformed replication of the original survivor’s face. 

Razors and blood-red colored flesh tentacles sprouted all over the man’s body.

Eeeeeeeeeekkk!

The now newly birthed flesh monster started going on a rampage within the research facility. It killed all the guards that tried to subdue or kill it. It killed the scientists and researchers within as well. The flesh monster decapitated, stabbed, and strangled all its victims. It even eventually broke free from the research facility. Though it was shortly put to a stop after a powerful combination spell was used to dispatch the flesh monster by a famous Mercenary Team, Stung Bomb.

Though such a blunder couldn’t escape the eyes of the public. Soon rumors and stories came out. The truth was eventually told to everyone.

Just one monster had caused such a blunder! It had killed nearly 100 people during its rampage as well! All the people that were confronted with it inside the research facility had perished!

This was why people adamantly refuse to even step an inch into Hero’s Graveyard. Not only is it hellish inside, it was even a challenge to enter. 

Back when it was first discovered, Hero’s Graveyard was challenged by many people looking for easy riches. After all, there were rewards of discovering the unknown. The benefits include monetary compensation for intel and information, powerful and effective plants and medicinal herbs and plants, delicious and exotic fruits and foods, and the occasional rare treasures that can be found.

However, that time was different. None of the explorers and daring Mercenary or Adventurer teams came back alive. It attracted the attention of many strong and proud people and teams that wanted to prove their strength. They all died in the end. That was how Hero’s Graveyard gained its name… 

The Magic Dragon’s Eye had shown the Kingdom of Aero as they knew it. Is in peril of facing destruction… 

“Impossible! This must be a lie!”

“Yeah! Those fucking monsters hadn’t came out since it was discovered! This has to be a lie!”

Many of the noble dwarves had disregarded their regular manners and started cursing and riling up once more, adding on to the fact that dwarves were known to be somewhat hot-blooded; it only added oil to the fire.

After all, these dwarven nobles were essentially being told that their Kingdom, Aero, is facing the threat of destruction by monsters. These nobles wouldn’t have reacted so if they were told that they were at war with another major power, this is because they know that they will at worst be treated as prisoners of war. But there was a chance they could gain a higher rank as nobles if they decided to ‘switch’ sides.

However, monsters were different. Monsters don’t follow such nice etiquette, expecting a monster to be swayed to let you live is the embodiment of foolishness. Monsters only know how to kill and survive, it was almost impossible to change this fact without special circumstances.

“Everyone! SILENCE!”

Darfen finally having enough of this nonsense finally snapped. He yelled for all nobles to quit their antics and hurriedly looked back at the still pale and stiff servant.

“Did his Majesty come up with a countermeasure?”

The servant quickly went out of his stupor and answered.

“Yes, his Majesty had shared information from the Magic Dragon’s Eye and allied with the Alson Empire, the Slavo Empire, and finally the Mavon Kingdom. They are planning to make a joint army to find out the root cause of the monster’s from Hero’s Graveyard to leave to the outside world, and hopefully stop the cause.”

“How much so the other allied forces know?”

Darfen was worried about Aero’s Magic Dragon’s Eye being leaked. If the powers around Aero were to catch wind of this, it would be very bad. After all, it was not only a National Treasure, but also one that could see the future.

“His Majesty, told me that they had only known just enough for it to be non-consequential. He made up an excuse that a ‘Prophet’ had warned him about a calamity coming to them.”

In the continent of Semperterra, there were many future tellers like the Prophets, Fortune tellers, Oracles and Priests, and a couple others. However, most of them were inferior to the Magic Dragon’s Eye. They consumed far less resources, but most of them were inferior in every aspect when compared to the Magic Dragon’s Eye.

“Good, now then tell me, how will the army be assembled and joined together as well as the planned March date?”

“It will be assembled in our own respective kingdoms. Once ready we will start marching and meet with the other armies at the edge of Illusionary Forest. I would say that they will be prepared and set off in a month or two.”

“Mhm, I will be sure to send them off personally.”

“I am sure the men will be delighted to see you.”

The meeting had gone silent. There was nothing more to be informed about. Some of the nobles asked some questions, but they were all trivial ones and so the meeting soon came to an end. The looming shadow of chaos was approaching…

“Finally, complete.”

Seven said so in a somewhat exhausted manner. Seven had loaded the Centipede with all the sap inside of the small hill she hid in before. 

The Centipede was now both a combat asset as well as a luggage carrying mount. The Centipede was loaded up with leaf pouches all over its body, hanging on by using the plants as a makeshift rope. There were now 25 leaf pouches in total, carrying the sap, leafs, and some moss just in case.

Ka!

The Centipede was currently munching on a giant ladybug-like creature. This unfortunate creature was trying to dig into the tunnel. However, it made the poor choice of attacking Seven. It was swiftly penetrated through by a single bite from the Centipede.

“I think we can call this place a home I guess…”

Seven felt a need to make a base of operations. After all, she will most likely be here for a long time. So she needed some semblance of a place to call home.

She had made a leafy curtain as a type of door by sticking big leaves together and hanging them over the entrance, moved a couple rocks and stones to form a pitiful caveman-like home. There was practically nothing else to use to make anything else.

The room inside the hole was a little strange. It was probably a previous burrow of some other creature, since there was a nice spacious 6 meter diameter circle. The wrinkly sap producing tree roots had turned into a type of food source for Seven.

Also during the time they were traveling, Seven asked about the dagger that Rein wielded. However, the answer was very disappointing.

“Rein are you sure you can’t remember why your weapon glows? Or if there were enchantments or something?”

[ Apologies, I just can’t remember. ]

“Why do talk so formally you sound like a personal butler.”

Rein was for some reason talked very formally towards Seven.

Maybe it's a side effect or something… 

“Anyway, let’s explore for a bit. Not like we’ll get lost anyway.”

Seven dared to explore and venture out was because she had the Centipede at her disposal. She was planning to see if she could gain a mini-army of monsters so she could safely venture into the cavern without worry.

As soon as said so the space seemed to warp and churn. Seven started feeling slightly nauseous. The Centipede and Rein hurriedly got on guard.

“What happened?”

Seven blurted out in confusion.

[ We came back… ]

Rein replied solemnly.

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