Book 8, Chapter 78

The Broodmother’s Avatar

Standing under the Golden World Tree, Richard could sense its conscient dancing around him in delight. It was almost like a child excited to be around their parent, but that made sense. He was the one who had planted its seed with his own blood, so the tree had determined that he was the closest thing he had to kin.

However, the tree’s will had only just awoken, and it was like an infant that didn’t know much. There wasn’t much intelligence it could show, only a simple representation of its mood. On the other hand, its innate abilities were already beginning to show; the radiance from its crown could greatly boost the growth of any elves, and finding the lack of a sun in the Forest Plane, it had adjusted to form a day and night cycle of its own that mirrored Norland.

The tree had been given almost all of the water that the moonwell of the Evernight Elves could gather, the rest only reserved to treat injury or illness. This had greatly boosted its development, which in return allowed it to enhance their growth as well. The two sides were moving forward briskly, hand in hand.

The broodmother’s avatar was less than a hundred kilometres away from the Golden World Tree as well, a distance that wasn’t really all that much given that the mature tree’s canopy alone would stretch all the way. When Richard approached her lair, an almost-unfamiliar tender voice greeted him, “Welcome, Master.”

“Master? Your main body is already independent of me, you don’t need to call me that anymore.”

“The main body is separate from myself. You’re the one who brought me to this plane and gave me a chance to live; you will always be my master.”

A little surprised by this answer, Richard flew over to the avatar’s lair and looked down. All the trees within ten kilometres had been cut down, replaced by the familiar larval forest with a hundred towering worm nests in the distance. For a moment, it shocked him; even the main body didn’t have so many nests in the Land of Turmoil!

Of course, the main broodmother had her reasons as well. The worm nests and drones needed nutrition to maintain, and even with her forest she didn’t have enough output to sustain more than what was currently running. Here, the drones could just eat the trees all around, so there was no need to worry about food.

Richard flew around the broodmother’s lair once before slowly descending onto her. She was only level 8, but her 900-metre-long body was almost the same size as the original. She was currently in the middle of a meal, with countless workers flocking over to spit out pale yellow honey before flying away. There was a small lake of the thing that she was drinking out of.

A wave of the hand pulled a glob of the honey towards him, but Richard hesitated for a while before holding his nose and tasting it. He almost gagged from the sour taste, but he immediately felt a wave of pure energy with life force flowing through him. His blood flow immediately accelerated, to the point that he had to suppress arousal.

Landing on the clone’s head, Richard could tell the differences from the main body almost immediately. He jabbed down with a single finger that was covered in pale blue flames, the exoskeleton just melting away to the application of even a meagre force. This one’s shell was less than two metres thick, almost paper compared to the body.

His brow furrowed, “Far too weak. Even a saint can maim or kill you, forget a legend. The main body can withstand any legendary being’s attacks for a long time.”

The clone seemed entirely unbothered by the attack, replying calmly, “There’s no being in this plane that can threaten me, Master. Why should I waste my energy protecting myself? Every drop used on my shell is a drop I’m not using to strengthen my army. Our entire purpose is to create drones, and the cycle strengthens every day. A single drone not created a year ago would have an enormous impact today, and the process snowballs very quickly.”

Richard was a little surprised by the reply, but he didn’t entirely agree with her perspective either, “Even a tiny threat could destroy you now!”

“But this was the only way to grow so quickly.”

“Why? Why so many weak warriors, what’s the point?”

“Numbers can always make a considerable force.”

This sentence wasn’t illogical, but it did run contrary to Richard’s own reasoning. He had always had the main broodmother create smaller troops of elites, using his own formidable mind to control them all like his limbs. Of course, this was also because he had been hamstrung by his own limits in the past; a large army of weaker drones wouldn’t have worked nearly as well under his control.

The clone seemed to be aware of his thoughts, “Master, have you ever thought of how destroying a plane works?”

Destroying a plane? Richard had to pause for a moment as he pondered it in all seriousness, beginning to understand what she meant. Even a level 15 broodmother couldn’t create true legends, but as long as she had the food she could send out an infinite army of low-level troops. Low-level to her was still level 10, strong enough to be a knight in most planes known to Norland. An unending sea of such soldiers could definitely sweep through all of the empires currently occupying the world, and despite their damage potential the epics of the plane would eventually tire out and have to escape. On the other hand, even the most powerful elite drones would be nothing against a true epic being, and only special units reinforced with divinity could even come close to mattering in a fight against legends. Between barely impacting the higher end and absolutely crushing the common troops, the choice was obvious.

However, there were problems with such a line of thought as well. Richard wasn’t someone focused on pure destruction, but Nyris had clearly let the clone do whatever she wanted and she had chosen that path. Thinking over it for a while, he decided to take control of things himself, “Stop your combat drone production right now. Focus on 30,000 workers first, and how far is your analysis of the woodpecking crows?”

“175%/”

“Then start on a modified version of them after. Level 10 should do, but they should move around on land instead of in the sky. Call them tree eaters or something, you choose the design.”

“Hmm? What use would they be?”

“You talked about numbers, didn’t you? They’re going to destroy the world tree.”

……

Richard spent a little more time just conversing with the clone. He had noticed that she was basically independent of the main body long ago, but apart from a guess that it was related to the excessive life energy in the Forest Plane he didn’t know why nor care. He eventually returned to Emerald City and packed for travel, preparing to leave immediately.

Nyris had returned to his side along the way, watching him quietly until he was about to leave. She then walked over and said softly, “Be careful, and come back alive!”

Richard laughed at the strong concern, “I’m only toying with a tree of life, there’s nothing to be worried about. I’m a legendary mage now!”

“Sigh, I just have this bad feeling that something will go wrong,” she looked him straight in the eye.

“And? Things go wrong, that’s just how life works. I’ll take care of any problems.”

This time, she didn’t persist, just watching as he left.

……

The sea of trees was the same as Richard remembered, but he didn’t feel even a hint of the will of the forest until he was hundreds of kilometres away. The Golden World Tree still didn’t have a complete personality, but its sphere of influence was extremely wide nevertheless. By the time he felt any sort of force around him, his aura had already adapted until not even a tree of life would be able to tell the difference.

Ever since he planted the Golden World Tree in public, Richard was well aware that the trees of life all around would have migrated far away. Flying would be very obvious even with the disguised aura, so he could only run rapidly through the woods in search of prey. Covering a few hundred kilometres every day, he scoured through the jungle for any signs of elven life.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Choco

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA