SYS (Novel) Chapter 460

C460

They tied the boat to the rock and headed to the island.

"It seems like the guards were here not too long ago. Hmm... Judging by the tracks, smells like the bastards from the Special Force."

Lata said, looking at the nearby tracks.

"Special Force? Can you really tell just by looking at the tracks?"

"It's a kind of intuition and experience, my lord. I've often crossed paths with them due to the nature of my work. There's a subtle pattern that's hard to explain."

"If even my brother says so, then it must be the Special Force."

"Not a beast, but it seems to recognize every little detail. Isn't that right, kid?"

It was astonishing to see the Proch brothers so self-assured just by looking at the tracks.

That was a skill Jin lacked.

Although it would only be true once it was confirmed that the Special Force was really here.

Upon closer inspection, it was clear that the battles were not limited to just the central island.

Smoke and fire were rising from various large and small islands lined up in a row.

In other words, battles were erupting in different places on these islands.

The islands were so close to each other that swimming or jumping was enough to move from one to another.

Jin and his group decided to explore the situation by traversing the islands.

As they moved, screams could be heard from somewhere.

On a sunny day, amidst the pristine natural beauty of the islands and the warm breeze, the growing number of screams seemed out of place.

The group couldn't help but feel a strange sense of unease.

"Hey, kid."

"Yes?"

"Don't you think there's something odd about these screams?"

Jin nodded.

"These screams seem to come from ordinary people who haven't received proper training."

"I agree, my lord."

The screams were too intense to come from the island's inhabitants or ordinary people.

Because they carried the energy of Warriors of at least 6 stars or higher.

While it was true that well-trained and battle-hardened individuals could scream out of fear, it was unusual for them to do so with such terror.

The people who had arrived at Gaifa consisted of troops from the Four Great Factions.

They were well aware of possible frictions among the Four Great Factions, so their ranks were filled with elite personnel.

Even the minimum level of these troops could be considered elite.

However, it was bewildering that these elite individuals were screaming in terror.

Jin and the others reached a new island, which seemed to be a rugged hill.

Due to its relative height, upon reaching the top, they could see at a glance the island in front of them.

What they witnessed was a scene they had never imagined.

"Kuugh!"

"Aaahh!"

People ran chaotically and erratically, shouting like frightened beasts.

"What the hell is going on? What's the situation?"

"It's the Imperial Troops... Murakan-nim."

The frenzied individuals were members of the Elite Imperial Army.

Even worse, torn banners representing the Vermont Imperial Family were scattered on the ground.

The Imperial Family Army was running over them.

The question was, why had these troops of the Imperial Family been reduced to such a state?

There were no immediate answers.

However, it didn't take long to figure out the cause of their madness.

"My lord, it seems..."

"They're not fighting with someone else."

The troops of the Imperial Family were engaged in a battle among themselves.

Their combat skills and movements were so lacking that it was impossible to consider them elite.

It was clear that what had brought these troops to this point was a matter of great concern.

As if possessed by something, or as if they couldn't see anything beyond, they continued screaming and wielding their weapons without a moment's rest.

Thud!

Swoosh!

Ugh...!

The group watched from behind a rock how they behaved.

And Jin was lost in thought.

What the hell was happening on this archipelago?

"It doesn't seem like the result of hallucinogens since there's no lingering smell. Hallucinogens would have a strong smell if they were potent enough to make them this crazy."

"It's not a drug either."

Said the Proch brothers.

While they were discussing the smell, Jin inspected whether there were traces of mana on them.

It could be dark magic or psychic magic, something Jin was unfamiliar with. After all, there were Zipples here.

However, there were no traces of mana on the small island where the Imperial Family troops were causing chaos.

It wasn't a drug or a spell.

If not, what kind of trick could make the Imperial Family troops act like this?

Jin turned his gaze to other islands.

Loud noises, fires, and black smoke could be heard.

Lord Lata mentioned that the tracks were not from the imperial family's troops but from the Special Force.

The Special Force sensed that something was wrong with the imperial family's troops and began to move elsewhere.

Jin quickly theorizes.

Although they couldn't determine what was driving people insane, it didn't seem to affect individuals beyond a certain level.

"Let's move forward."

Verifying this hypothesis wasn't difficult.

They just needed to observe the other islands where battles were taking place.

On the next island they visited, they saw Zipple magicians fighting each other.

"Kaaah!"

Similar to the imperial family's troops, they were attacking each other in a state of madness, but the situation was even worse compared to the imperial family's troops.

"Ugh, it's quite unpleasant," Murakan said with a grimace.

Zipple magicians were fighting with staves and bare hands, not with magic.

While the imperial family's troops might have lost their minds, they retained enough combat prowess to kill each other in a single blow...

But magicians needed gruesome processes to kill each other without using magic.

"It's pretty safe to say this situation wasn't caused by Zipple. Let's move on to the next island. Kinzelo's people should be there."

Locating the island where Kinzelo was turned out to be particularly easy.

Because they heard sounds of beasts roaring from the island right in front of them.

It was the screams of Kinzelo's beastmen.

The island was filled with members of the Red Tiger Tribe, scratching and biting each other with bulging eyes.

Therefore, Kinzelo wasn't the perpetrator of this situation either.

"When was it, about fifteen hundred years ago? Or was it before that? It looked like this when Helluram spread that strange plague. Everyone went completely mad."

"Is there a chance the Witch was involved?"

As far as I can tell, no. Helluram's plague started with a curse, and if she were here, Lata would have been affected too. Only you and I could rid ourselves of Helluram's Curse if she were here, kid."

They explored a few more islands with signs of battles.

All seemed similar to the islands they had seen before.

The only difference was that various factions were fighting each other on some islands.

There were islands where Imperial Family Troops and Red Tiger Tribe Members were crazily fighting, and somewhere Red Tiger Tribe Members, Zipple, or all three were fighting together.

The crazed individuals showed a tendency to attack anything they could see.

Jin's hypothesis seemed correct.

Now he was almost certain.

"It seems to be at least a level 7-star. Most likely, this situation is the work of Amela."

Jin spoke, and the group's attention shifted to him.

"Kid, what are you talking about?"

"Whatever is driving people insane, the threshold is exactly the 7-star battle prowess. From 7 stars and above, you can resist or not be affected by this."

The imperial family's troops were a group of soldiers, not knights, and they selected only the best among soldiers.

Therefore, except for commanders, all were 6-star or below.

The magicians killing each other were the same.

They weren't the best magicians like White Night, Spectre Corps, or the first division of their respective magic towers, but magicians of six stars or less.

Red Tiger Tribe members were all 6 stars or less, and their commanders were nowhere in sight.

"In all the islands where the three factions were fighting, there were no corpses of commanders of 6 stars or more. This means that after the problem occurred, the commanders fled. The Special Force mentioned by Sir Lata also operated in the same way."

The reason Jin concluded that the minimum level is 7 stars is that all victims are 6 stars or less.

The main reason was this.

"And I don't see any Runcandel knights going mad."

Runcandel didn't send 6-star Guardian Knights on external missions.

That means all Guardian Knights who came here were composed of at least 7-star level.

As the three factions had established their presence nearby, Runcandel probably would have set up a camp nearby too.

However, the fact that not a single person could be seen meant they had all safely retreated.

"Murakan."

[Yes.]

"I think it's better to just fly."

The reason they had used an inconvenient boat to come here was that flying in someone else's airspace was a serious violation of etiquette.

Since the major factions had brought their forces here to showcase their dominance, it served the purpose of making them stand out.

Woo...

Murakan reverted to his original form and flapped his wings.

As they ascended into the sky, the group could now get a bird's eye view of the Gaifa Islands.

The largest island, right in the center of Gaifa, loomed before them.

The entire island was blackened, as if it had been engulfed by mold.

At first glance, it might have seemed similar to the force of shadows, but it felt much denser and heavier.

Anyone could sense that this ominous energy was the culprit behind driving people insane.

And individuals with the "judgment" of each faction had stationed themselves around the dark energy spreading in all directions.

They were working desperately to contain its spread.

Over time, the group could see how the form of the energy transformed, as if it were being molded like clay.

Woosh!

What is that thing over there?

A human?

The black energy covering the island had taken the shape of a human figure.

It was smaller than Zephyrin but much larger than a Murakan.

Oddly, the figure bore a striking resemblance to a human Jin deeply despised.

Bouvard...

Gaston?

As Jin recalled the name, the newly molded black figure opened its mouth.

[You've tested my patience.]

Right after, the black figure inhaled, as if preparing to exhale like a dragon.

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