2 Dreaded Swamps

"Next destination: Dreaded Swamps. Next destination: Dreaded Swamps."

The announcer's voice on the speaker could be perceived by many, if there are any passengers left on this train.

In this car alone, there was only myself.

Considering the silence and stillness was making me a bit nervous.

'it's all right to be scared. What's not all right is if you keep getting this in your head. Get yourself together, Gin.'

Appeasing myself with such thought, I affirmed my thinking that not some strange figurine Horror would pop right on my window or under my seat.

Nonetheless, my mind was envisioning it in that manner.


Burying my restlessness with a sigh, I patiently awaited the train to park at its designated station.

"Announcer: Passengers who had tickets on this region, please wait for a few seconds as we're going to stop the train. I repeat…"

After the announcer had reiterated, I rose from my seat and picked up my briefcase on the shelf above before proceeding to the nearest door.

Observing the lateral window, where the dark skies permeated the ground, the train stopped.

The door swung open, and as it did, my reluctant steps ventured outside. Glancing sideways, a few people exited the same train.

'Only a few though.'

/Dreaded Swamps/

Gazing upward at the billboard, a gentle sigh slipped from my lips.

'...here we go,'

Dreaded Swamps as one of the many swamps located in the southwestern part of the human continent, instills an image to people by just its name.

It's designated as an 'uncleared area,' and typically, military personnel frequent this area instead of civilians, for evident reasons.

I've done my research before coming here. From the academy to here, it's a substantial, extended week, affording me ample time to carry out my investigation, you see.

Dreaded Swamps comprises five sections, each classified based on its respective size. The first swamp is where I'll be heading to, the first area. Consequently, there's the second area, and the third until the fifth area.

Even in the first area, where the military of this region currently resides, Horrors lurk nearby, demanding full concentration unless you wish to face potential peril.

Regarding the additional information I've compiled, that can be set aside for now.

I would gain substantial knowledge from the military base upon my arrival regardless. Moreover, some of the gathered information might be inaccurate, so it's only right to have preliminary awareness rather than relying entirely on that research.


Silently navigating the now tranquil swamp, designated as a 'secure' route, I cast occasional glances as I sailed in my boat.


Twisted and convoluted, firm trees covered almost everything in the place.

The overcast skies, which hindered my ability to navigate the boat's course, would become even more challenging if not for the lamps and lanterns scattered across the water and the surrounding trees.

These improvised and fortified lights appeared to guide the way toward the first area, showcasing a resourceful and intelligent approach.

Soon, the end of the path was near.

There, I observed a few small boats neatly moored. Atop the docking area was a soldier securing the vicinity.

Once I stopped paddling, our eyes met!

The guard wore a stoic expression, his brows naturally knit, giving him an often angry appearance. He's also reserved, simply observing me with his penetrating gaze in silence.

"Erm, my name is Cadet Gin. I was enlisted to this place."


The guard quietly observed before exhaling through his nose. The spear in his grasp shifted, and he gestured in the direction where I was meant to continue.

"Thank you."

Holding the light briefcase in my hand, I strolled toward the base.

Upon reaching a crossroads, I discreetly glanced at the guard, and to my astonishment, he was looking right back at me with widened eyes!

'What the fuck!?'

This time, I felt a sense of unease and opted to quicken my pace twofold.

Moving at a brisk pace, I arrived at my destination in just a few minutes, only to encounter a lengthy queue ahead.

Joining the line, I gazed ahead at the base where a towering, lengthy steel gate presided over the exterior, besides its improvised barriers, and this lane appeared to be the sole entrance.

In this area, akin to myself, the majority attempting entry was clad in black and dark blue blazers, navy blue pants, and dark brown shoes—clearly identifiable as cadet uniforms.

I had no choice but to wait in peace.

For an hour, I endured standing in this queue, and my knees were beginning to ache. Nonetheless, I persevered, and at last, I reached the receptionist's desk.


Bringing my briefcase down to the table, I rummaged through my belongings inside and gave the papers to the receptionist lady.

She quickly reviews my information and conducts a brief check.

"Gin Vence, correct?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Any contracted Horror? Your papers show nothing of the sort but if you do, please tell me. We have to ensure the safety of everyone in here."

'Contracted Horror, huh…'

After a brief pause, I willingly shook my head, indicating that I didn't possess the information she was referring to, as I had none.

"I see..." Her voice lowered, and she continued, "Well, for my final question, have you eaten any of them yet?"

'Sigh, eaten huh?'

The 'them' she referred to was connected to the remains of the Horrors or maybe concocted my own formula and gained power from it.

Both questions she posed were centered around acquiring power.

With enough ingredients, one can concoct a formula of their desired powers that is correlated to the Horror they have 'raised' or 'killed'

Certainly, you could consume them in their raw state, but the toxins and contaminants within that Horror may likely impact the body, leading to a condition known as 'Horror Sickness,' which, in turn, could lead to death.

"No, I haven't eaten yet."

"I see…"

Well, that's the truth though. I didn't eat any carcasses or corpses from any Horror.

I don't really have the opportunity to do so, as I've heard it's preferable to encounter a Horror in these specific areas rather than purchasing one, considering they are exceedingly expensive.

"Well, that concludes it all." The receptionist lady emitted a subtle, peculiar smile, "Welcome to Dreaded Swamps, Cadet Gin Vence. Your room will be in the building 4, Floor 1, Room 13. As for these papers, we will photocopy them before giving them back to you. We will ensure that this will be brought back in one piece."

With everything said and done, I nodded.

"That wouldn't be a problem."

Jingling my keys into the doorknob of my room, I entered successfully and brought my belongings down.

My gaze swept around, summarizing the room in three words: cozy, expansive, and spacious.

…not much different from my cadet room in the academy. Not like they needed to be luxurious.


Surrendering myself to the fluffy, tender foam of my bed, I snuggled my face at its pillow while letting out a muffled sigh.

Turning to face the front, I gazed at the ceiling where a fan rotated quietly and decided to organize my thoughts.

'Having Horror powers is inevitable. For me to survive, I must acquire these kinds of strength. And for that to happen, I must find a suitable Horror for me to 'contract' or to use as a 'formula'. Either choice has its pros and cons. It can be detrimental or in fact, turned into a greatest asset.

'Will there be something suitable for me here or do I have to move to another region and find something suitable for my skills? I'm not very sure but I don't also have time to idle around either. I'm sure we will be sent to missions that require our strength and expertise in that said field…

'I could also acquire techniques if the opportunity arises.'

After sorting things out, I can't help but complain disgruntledly.

'Why can't I just live peacefully instead of doing these tedious tasks?

Enhancing strength, clearing territories, building a reputation—these aren't exactly my preferences, but I find myself entangled in them due to these so-called 'duties.'

Why can't I just lay around my bed all day long, with a warm chocolate mug on my table, surrounded by thousands of books that can keep me up all day? Adding the never-ending supply of food, I can live my life to the fullest.

I can also become an author... sigh, what a waste.

'Well, I can do that if I become a high-ranking official by producing great results, I guess. Wait, maybe I could do it.'

While reveling in that notion, I observed the reinforced light affixed to my room flickering until it ceased.


The room blackout, for some reason. The ceiling fan halted its rotation, and any electrical equipment became immobile and silent.

"Are you serious?"

Turning to the side of my bed to get up, I repeatedly clicked the switch for the lights, realizing it wasn't a malfunction of the fixtures but an issue with the entire building.

'Just great.'

Retrieving a dagger from my briefcase and concealing it beneath my sleeves, I ventured outside to assess the situation.

Deathly pale black.

From the appearance of things, it wasn't just the building I was in that faced issues, but the entire base seemed affected. The moon cast shadows and revealed the outlines of swamp trees, providing the sole source of illumination in the night sky.

Despite the darkness that had befallen the sky during the 'Cursed Era,' the sun and moon remained steadfast, casting their radiant glow upon the world.

The morning sky and the night sky seemed to affirm that, despite any changes on Earth, it would stay there to evoke a glimmer of hope akin to its radiance.

'How beautiful…'

I wonder what the world was before the Horrors came…

"Ahhh, I almost forgot what I'm here for."

Shaking off these peculiar thoughts, I proceeded to the room next door, just right beside mine, and knocked once.

"Hello, is somebody there?"

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