Chapter 104 - Spinoa (2)
Crockta’s eyes widened as he found the white branch-like pattern on the forehead. But it slowly disappeared. Crockta examined the face again but the white pattern didn’t appear anymore.
Tiyo and Anor didn’t show any signs of agitation. They didn’t seem to have seen the pattern. What was it?
“Please follow me.”
Crockta’s group followed the messenger. The guard who guided the party spoke from behind. “Leave your caruks to us.”
As Crockta’s group walked out of the guards’ office, a carriage could be seen. However, it was driven by caruks instead of horses. The messenger led them towards it. Crockta and his companions climbed on.
The caruks moved. The messenger was silent.
Crockta spoke first, "What did he call us for?”
The messenger sitting across from Crockta looked at him with an indifferent look as he answered, “Zelkian will explain directly.”
Crockta looked at his forehead but the white branch that he previously saw wasn’t there. The conversation didn’t continue so Crockta observed the landscape of Spinoa.
The streets of Spino were similar to those in Arnin, and didn’t show any signs of imminent war. Merchants were buying and selling goods while lovers tenderly walked down the road. Sometimes he saw children running around in groups.
But that thought changed as they headed deeper inside.
Lightly armed dark elves were experiencing tactical training.
At the training grounds, arrows were constantly flying towards targets while elsewhere, dark elves with shields and swords were practicing. Like gladiators in an area, those competing in a one-on-one match could be seen.
It was an army.
"They are better than any dark elves I’ve seen dot,” admired Tiyo.
As he said, their skills were above any other garrison they had ever seen. All of them were training seriously with determined faces. They were the faces of those who knew they might die soon and were committed to killing.
The messenger still didn’t say anything. Crockta looked at his face and their eyes suddenly met. He silently stared at Crockta, who didn’t avoid his gaze.
The messenger finally opened his mouth to ask, "Who is the strongest enemy that you have ever fought?”
Crockta carefully thought about the answer. He had suffered in many battles, but choosing one enemy out of them all as the strongest wasn’t easy. Gushantimur popped up but he wasn’t an enemy. If it was an enemy who he fought on the threshold of life and death...
The fight at that time had been terrible. He thought he would die several times. If the Demon’s Mouth hadn’t swallowed the unidentified remains, the behemoth would’ve regenerated infinitely and eventually kill him.
The messenger nodded as if he knew the beast.
"Have you see it?”
It was a monster below the border. The messenger didn’t answer the question but instead spoke about something else.
"In the future, the fight will be much stronger than that.”
"Please accept my prayers.”
Then he fell silent again.
There was only one enemy he had to fight in the future. The orc chieftain, Calmahart.
He was a hurdle that Crockta had to overcome. A monster with a huge body that seemed to be different from normal orcs. Every time he wielded an axe, the enemy was torn in two. When he roared, the nearby enemies would have their ears burst. He was known as a mutant orc that had never existed in history before.
But even so, for him to be stronger than the behemoth?
Crockta touched Ogre Slayer on his back.
Outside the carriage window, the figure of the world tree could be seen. The translucent leaves that occasionally fell down were solid but scattered a faint light.
Anor spoke in a dreamy tone, "Beautiful."
The caruks stopped and the group descended from the carriage. The roots of the world tree were exposed. There was an opening between the roots. It looked like an entrance.
The messenger pointed and said, "Over there."
It led inside the world tree. Crockta’s group followed. The interior was surprisingly bright. Crockta looked around. There was no specific light source, but the inside was bright like there were light bulbs.
Crockta placed his fingers on the wall. It was a rough bark texture. Then light leaked faintly from it.
The world tree itself emitted a dim light that illuminated the inside. It truly was a mysterious tree. As they entered a little inside, guards stopped them. The guards identified the messenger and stepped out of the way.
Their eyes moved over Crockta’s group. “Enter.”
The guards opened the door without any special procedures. Then the inside of the world tree was revealed.
“It is unbelievable.”
It was the appearance of a building they never imagined would be present inside the tree. There was a big lobby when they entered. In the center of the lobby was a beautifully decorated staircase that went up and corridors leading to the left and right. There were doors all over the place and passing dark elves bowed to them. It was inside the world tree so the walls were covered in the distinctive translucent green leaves.
"How did you do this?” Crockta asked.
This was impossible in the modern world where he lived.
"We didn’t do anything.” The messenger smiled. It was the first time seeing that expression on his face. "The world tree made this for us and we are just staying in it for a while.”
Based on the explanation, it wasn’t made artificially but the world tree had willingly done it for them.
Crockta felt his heart pounding. The world of Elder Lord was really mysterious.
"Zelkian is at the top. Let’s go.”
They climbed the spiral staircase made of wood. The landscape changed little by little every time they climbed a floor. After a long time, the stairs finally ended. There was no place to go up anymore but there was no floor to step on. The stairs literally ended in thin air. The interior of the world tree was empty, and there was a huge void above their head.
Tiyo looked down at the breathtaking view before tightly holding onto the stairs. He seemed to be afraid of heights.
“Wait a minute.”
Anor was confused by the words. They soon understood what the messenger meant.
A big branch was descending towards the end of the stairs.
It was large and flat enough for many people to stand on it. There were twigs and leaves hanging from it, and it shook like a living creature as it touched the end of the stairs. The messenger jumped on top of it then Crockta’s group boarded in turn.
The branch slowly started to rise.
"How wonderful...” Tiyo muttered blankly.
This was possible due to the abilities of the world tree. The branch rose for a while before stopping. The gazes of Crockta’s party turned to one side. There was a passage leading outside. The branch led them towards it. The group followed the messenger and went outside the world tree.
Then they became flustered.
“Oh my god.”
The sunset was right in front of them. Everything from the sunset to the rest of the world spread out before their eyes. The plains and mountains in the distance, the animals on the small hills, Spinoa and the elves. The landscape of the world looked like small toys. The blazing red sunset cast long shadows on the earth and all the beings of the world seemed to be gazing at the sunset with them.
It was a beautiful scenery that couldn’t be imagined. Crockta’s party forgot themselves for a while as they admired the scenery.
Then a voice was heard, “Welcome.”
Crockta’s group turned towards the voice. They were on a branch of the world tree so movement was inconvenient. Crockta lowered his center of gravity and looked around. Tiyo quietly grabbed Crockta’s clothing. It was clear that he was suffering from a fear of heights.
The owner of the voice couldn’t be seen.
At that moment. "This way!"
Crockta looked down. Then he became flustered again.
A dark elf. He was climbing up the world tree.
The small pickaxe in his hand pierced the surface of the world tree. He relied on it to climb up and patted the bark of the world tree. As his footing stabilized, he used the pickaxe and climbed up again.
The bark of the world tree was pierced.
He climbed up the world tree and reached the branch where they were located. He sat down and wiped the sweat from his brow.
The messenger just closed his eyes like this was a natural sight.
Once the sweat was wiped up, he stood up and proclaimed, “I am Zelkian! I am the leader who leads the dark elves and he who communicates with the world tree!”
Crockta’s party was speechless.
The leader of the dark elves, they expected him to be more like a dark elf than anyone else. They imagined a slim body with a calm attitude and wise eyes. But this man was very big. The burly Radet couldn’t even be compared to him.
It couldn’t be compared to Crockta but the muscles were more like a human than a dark elf. In addition, he was a dark elf whose hobby was climbing up the world tree!
"Climbing is truly the best exercise. It is a great thrill.” Zelkian shrugged like he misunderstood their expressions. "I am a true climber who will climb to the end of the world tree.”
"...Doesn’t that damage it?” Crockta asked.
"No, no. The world tree isn’t so stingy. As long as it is given water and sunshine, the wounds will recover...ouch!”
One of the branches of the world tree descended and hit his back.
It was a really bizarre sight. Zelkian was embarrassed about being hit and grumbled towards the world tree. Then another branch shook from behind him. He freaked out and ducked.
“S-Stop! You are really violent.”
The branch slid back at his shout and he turned around again. He didn’t say it but they seemed to hear a voice crying out ‘there is no need to shout!’
“At any rate, welcome. Crockta! I really wanted to see you!”
Zelkian approached and hugged Crockta. Crockta could smell the sweat on him but refrained from saying anything.
“Wow, look at these muscles. Muscles. Crazy. Hey Jenadu, come and touch. Hey, Jenadu.”
Zelkian turned around while still hugging Crockta. He called out the name of the apostle who led Crockta’s group.
"Does Crockta exercise a lot? How many kilograms? Do you eat chicken breast after exercising? Do you receive any separate buffs?”
“Is it in your genes? Oh, you won’t grow any bigger than this, right? The calves won’t grow anymore even if you exercise.”
Jenadu approached silently and pulled Zelkian. He was taken away. “Zelkian. Get to why you called them.”
“Ah. Yes.” Zelkian’s gaze became serious.
Now it seemed like the real conversation. Crockta’s group straightened their postures. They were enjoying a leisurely moment right now, but a great war was occurring in the north.
Zelkian hesitated and opened his mouth, "Don’t you think it is a foul to enhance your body with buffs?”
The branch of the world tree appeared again to hit his back.
"Ah, it was just a joke.”
He scratched his head.
Then he looked again at Crockta, Tiyo, and Anor and said, "Crockta. Tiyo. Anor. I heard so much about you. People who came from the continent, possibly the ones who opened up the border. Heroes. As far as I can see, you are against the Great Clan.”
Crockta nodded. Zelkian folded his arms.
"You are strong enough. But... you need to become stronger in order to fight against the Great Clan in the future.”
“Is he that strong?”
"You can’t win against the great chieftain with just strength.
The branches of the world tree moved next to Zelkian. Zelkian looked at it for a moment like he was sympathetic. It was a way of exchanging words without any sound.
Zelkian nodded. "Crockta. And to the other two as well, the world tree wants to say this.”
Zelkian’s expression was serious. He stopped before delivering the message to Crockta and winked at the world tree. The branches of the world tree waved. It seemed like a signal to continue.
“Hoo...okay. It can’t be helped this time. I understand. It is inevitable.”
He scratched his head with a bittersweet expression before pointing to the world tree.
"This guy told me to say this.”
Then he pointed towards Crockta and shouted, “You, become my apostle!”
Praise the Orc: Glossary Link.
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