The tree of life hesitated for a full two minutes, but then its aura suddenly changed and it bellowed, “No, I won’t submit to the demons! I won’t become a servant of a twisted mind; die, invader!”
Many of the tree’s leaves immediately wilted, a white beam shooting into the dark sky. An ancient conscient suddenly descended on the area, changing the tree’s voice to a low, echoing rumble, “You and your demon tree shall be destroyed, invader…”
Before the words were complete, Richard’s figure suddenly flashed crimson. The full set of Midren covered him, the silver armour radiating an aura that left every single elf trembling with fear. Even the ancient conscient was forced back as he blinked right in front of the tree’s roots, plunging Michael’s blade deep into the trunk. An enormous hole opened up on the other side as crimson flames burst out from within.
A single stab had created an enormous cavity in the tree’s trunk, but this was just the start. When Richard pulled the sword back, the flames within seemed to turn into sharp blades that cut through the insides. In the meanwhile, he unsheathed the Judge and plunged it deep within, the blow prompting mind-rending howls of pain as the tree of life and World Tree fragment were both consumed.
“Fuck trees,” he snorted with disdain, the divine sword cutting through what remained in one go. The World Tree’s plan to descend and harm his soul had been decimated instantly, with the backlash being so powerful that it wouldn’t recover for a long time.
Deep inside the forest, a huge tree that could hide the sun suddenly rumbled with pain. A section of the crown to the south-east wilted instantly, leaves falling like rain.
Watching the tree of life fall, Richard looked back at the dazed Jadeleaf warrior below, “So, are you going to surrender, or is it death?
What followed was a short yet intense fight. After the deaths of about a quarter thousand hunters, the rest of them surprisingly chose to give in. The one who’d laid down his arms first was actually the saint. He then asked to take another look at the branch, but when Richard offered it to him he recoiled in horror. Sensing that aura once more, all of the Jadeleaf warriors surrendered and gathered at one side.
This was well out of Richard’s expectations. He had actually planned to kill all of the Jadeleafs, only offering a token surrender for the other elves watching, but he hadn’t expected that the normally stubborn and unyielding forest elves would actually submit. From past experience, he had even been prepared to kill off the entire tribe if need be.
From the looks of it, the branch was the key to changing their minds. It was apparent from Lora’s case that even the childlike mind of the tree was starting to affect the forest and the elves around it. The war had turned from one between invader and local to one between two world trees.
The result was obvious. On one hand were natives limited to level 23, and on the other was a golden world tree led by a descendant of Silvermoon itself. The local tree’s only chance was an assassination attempt before the Golden World Tree became an adult, but that was basically impossible as well. Even outside of the 10,000 soldiers just sitting in Emerald City, an army of drones was protecting it at all times.
With the Jadeleaf warriors having surrendered, the local tribe didn’t persist for long. Many of them had already felt the summons of the Golden World Tree, though not as strongly as Lora and Windleaf. A portion of them were already beginning to be affected talentwise, which was why their children were such prodigies in the first place. With this tree of life being cut down, they would perish sooner or later anyway.
Thanks to the saint warrior, Richard soon had the exact location of the nearby trees of life and even the World Tree. There was only one of the former within 3,000 kilometres, while the latter was tens of thousands of kilometres away. While he could technically go there and then form a portal for his return, Richard didn’t want to spend weeks, maybe even months just walking.
Directing his new subjects to Emerald City, he had them break apart the tree of life and carry the materials back to base. In the meanwhile, the tree’s essence was extracted into a few drops of clear liquid that he bottled up. Leaving the elves to themselves, he then hurried towards the next tribe.
The Liferoot Tribe was slightly smaller than the Panther tribe, possessing only a single grand druid and little more than a hundred adult warriors. Richard didn’t even have to do anything himself, having his treants deal with the entire issue.
The World Tree was no longer stupid enough to occupy this tree, but it showed a ruthless side of itself that left Richard astonished. This tree of life was the same as the other, stubbornly refusing to switch sides, and it had actually allowed the World Tree to wipe its consciousness and thus kill it. Before he could even do anything, the tree was starting to sag.
Once the tree of life withered away, the resistance from the Liferoot Tribe died down as well. They stood there in a daze, completely unaware of their fate as their biggest support left them. All of the warriors were quickly ripped apart, and they couldn’t even get close to Richard who had two dozen treants protecting him. In the end, 300 survivors chose to submit.
The few hundred elves was a surprising harvest, all thanks to the branch from the Golden World Tree. Richard had actually brought the branch along to make movement easier. It could suppress the suppression from the will of the forest so he didn’t need to, and it also strengthened his nature spells as well.
After destroying the Liferoot Tribe, Richard gave up on his plans of getting other trees. The internals of the Liferoot tree had withered away, leaving it near useless to him. The elves alone wouldn’t be worth the effort, and it was almost guaranteed that they would have started migrating already anyway, a dead tree and some stragglers wouldn’t be worth the time and effort.
Now, there wasn’t much meaning in attacking the trees of life. All Richard could do was wait for the Golden World Tree to grow, extending its influencing and subduing the trees of life naturally. Considering these battles and the others he had fought before, he started feeling like the first tree that had succumbed to him was more and more of an oddball.
Leaving ten ancient treants to help the Liferoot Tribe transport the materials, Richard returned to Emerald City on his own. On his way, he contacted the broodmother and asked, “How far is your analysis of the forest elves?”
“180%, Master, I didn’t have too many samples.”
This wasn’t too bad; it meant she could currently create level 12 elves, but that was more than enough, “How about merging them with other races?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA