Book 4, Chapter 21

Retaliation

The forest elves couldn’t bear to continue watching as dozens of trees were felled. Ten or so sharp arrows were suddenly launched out from the woods, whistling through the air. Most were aimed at the woodcutters, but three long arrows with an obvious nature energy wound around them headed straight for Richard’s group.

Richard had been waiting for this moment for a while now. The moment the arrows were launched, he made no attempt to defend himself as he fixed his eyes on their source and waved his staff. A bolt of lightning descended from the skies in an instant, mercilessly striking down an archer hidden in the depths of the trees.

Agamemnon already had his ridiculously large hammer in hand. The rainbow lustre that lingered on both sides of the head suddenly expanded, unravelling like a ball of string into countless threads that drowned out the enchanted arrows. By the time the light retracted back towards the hammer, the long arrows had disappeared without a trace.

Richard did not stop moving, producing the Book of Holding and quickly flipping through it. Blue light flashed as a chilly wind began to flow within the depths of the forest, sealing a fleeing young elf in ice.

The girl next to the elf cried out mournfully, drawing her dagger and piercing it into the ice to try and save her companion. However, only a small indentation was made before she was unable to stab in further, and the frost instead began to spread along the blade to quickly cover her hand. By the looks of it, this girl would soon be sealed in the ice as well.

An older elf fiercely struck the bone blade in his hands into the ice. Fragments flew everywhere, but there was basically no effect as the magic frost continued to extend along the girl’s arm. A trace of despair appeared on the man’s face as he suddenly drew his knife and cut off her forearm! Not daring to linger around any further, he fled deep into the forest with the girl in tow.

Grade 7 spell, Permafrost. With the Forest Plane’s environment being conducive to lightning and cold magic, these ordinary elves could not withstand its might.

Not far away, a tall and formidable elven warrior saw all of this and surged with fury. He halted his footsteps and turned around, standing firmly on a branch and drawing a bow that was almost as tall as himself. Creaking sounds rang out as the arrow was nocked.

At the same moment, Nyris’ ears perked up a hundred metres away. He flicked his finger and a handleless blade that looked like a willow leaf jumped into his palm, grasped lightly between his thumb and index finger. Even as the elven archer’s bow buzzed in the aftermath of launching the arrow, the Prince didn’t so much as look as he tossed the blade towards him.

Fire and lightning twined around the edge of this throwing weapon as it seemed to break through the limits of time and space. Only a moment after it flew out of Nyris’ hand, it was already in front of the elf’s forehead.

A look of doubt appeared on the warrior’s face, as though he had seen something, but it disappeared in a flash. He hadn’t caught onto it at all, but a thin line of blood had already formed between his brows. The blade had dug through his brain and out the other side, not stopping at all as it disappeared into the depths of the forest. The elf swayed for a while before falling off the tree.

It was only then that Nyris stretched out an arm to emphasize his movements, plucking the arrow shot at his throat from mid-air. He fiddled around as he examined it, as casual as though he’d nipped a leaf from a tree.

“That looks cool, but I’d just use explosive arrows on you in the future,” Richard commented from the side.

Nyris’ expression immediately turned dark. Had this been an explosive arrow, such a playful method would leave him prone to attack. His equipment was far too good and although not obvious he had a lot of energy as well, but the face was one of the most difficult parts of the body to protect. He wouldn’t be injured, but it would be difficult to tell just how much of his hair and eyebrows would be retained. Many powerful humans had suffered greatly from exploding arrows during the war with elves on Norland.

“Isn’t it only Norland’s elves who can do something like that? These natives aren’t that smart!” Nyris shouted, unwilling to back down.

Richard smiled, “Not necessarily. If they’re put in a spot, there’s nothing they can’t do.”

……

Once a few of their kin were killed off by Richard and Nyris, the elves seemed too shocked to grow aggressive again. This provided a huge boost to the soldiers’ morale, allowing them to cut down the stonewood in masses. Richard could almost hear the mournful cries of the forest.

The felled stonewood was dragged back to the city— if left alone, it would be absorbed by other trees. It wasn’t a good construction material, but although it took a long time to ignite it could burn for a long time. It was a decent source of fuel.

However, far too many trees had been cut down. They couldn’t be transported out in time, so there was no choice but to leave them as they were. Working through the morning left most of the troops spent, but about ten thousand trees had been cut down to clear out a large space.

Richard, Nyris, and Agamemnon set out in turns over the next few days, taking charge of security for the woodcutters. If the forest elves dared to attack, their replies would cost the natives their lives.

Three days passed just like that. When it was Nyris’ turn, he actually went deep into the forest to pursue and attack the elves.

How had the chaos occurred? Even Nyris’ closest guards wouldn’t have a definitive answer when asked in the future, but one thing was certain. This was a trap set up by the elves to draw out whoever was in charge and kill them. The Fourth Prince charged in headfirst, joining a violent battle in the depths of the forest!

The elven warriors leapt out from the trees like spectres, deadly daggers in their hands. Numerous archers had appeared atop the branches, sending arrow after arrow in this direction. The very trees had been given life, pulling their roots out of the earth as they waved their enormous branches at Nyris.

However, a charming and dangerous smile arose on Nyris’ face. Whether it was a trap or a free meal would only be decided at the end of the battle. He suddenly gripped the shaft of his axe tightly, producing a clear, drawn-out whistle. The legendary weapon that was incredibly heavy seemed to be just a feather in his hands as he flew around the battlefield. He flitted past one of the treants, grazing it with his weapon, and the creature cried out pitifully as its solid trunk was split apart in an instant. The cut from the axe was so clean the surface was smooth as a mirror. 

With even a treant unable to block Nyris’ axe, the forest elves were even worse. Black streams of air coiled around the Prince’s body, cutting apart any incoming attacks alongside their attackers.

Elsewhere in the forest, a group of fully armed imperial soldiers were running at full speed in the direction of the whistle. They had long since been left behind by their master, only hoping they would be able to get there before the battle ended. However, when they eventually made it to the battlefield, the forest elves were in the midst of sounding the retreat. Their whistles were filled with pain, helplessness, and terror,

Nyris was panting roughly, leant against his giant axe. An unusual flush had risen on his face, sweat pouring out like a fountain. Eight arrows were stuck to his armour, mostly in the cracks drawn on by a master artist.

It was as though a storm had blown through the place. Weapons, bodies, and the remains of treants were strewn around everywhere, with easily more than a dozen treants and fifty natives dead.

Seeing that the Prince had no signs of injury, the captain of the soldiers couldn’t help but sigh in relief. He hadn’t been too worried anyway; having followed his master for a long time, he knew just how terrifying a defence the ragged armour could grant. The ordinary archers’ arrows couldn’t even get through the first layer of armour, with no need for dodging. As for the enchanted arrows of the more powerful elves, they would only be swallowed up by the storm brewed by the legendary axe.

The elves seemed to vanish after that battle, not daring to attack Richard’s troops again. Nyris had killed off most of the soldiers of a small tribe.

However, they soon had their revenge.

Early one morning, one of the sentinels on the walls suddenly screamed out in fear. The officer on duty immediately rushed to the walls and looked in the direction he was pointing, turning very grim. He promptly sent someone to inform the higher-ups.

Lina was the first one to rush over, having flown down straight from her tower. Richard and the others quickly made their way over as well, but all of them stood silent on the city walls.

A dozen large trees had been grown sometime in the night in the clearing, likely urged on by the elves using their druids. They normally moved thousands at a time, but now they had only sent a dozen.

These trees were special. Every trunk had a few human bodies hung on it, half the corpses integrated into the tree itself. Dozens of vines had pierced into their body, with numerous branches and young leaves growing out of the soldiers’ mouths and noses!

These soldiers had died long ago, but their bodies had completely transformed. Their expressions were twisted in the pain of their long deaths, their bodies already filled with flora. They had been eaten alive by these large trees!

Lina had covered her mouth the moment her gaze swept past these soldiers, her eyes growing wet.

“You know them?” Richard eventually asked from beside her.

She nodded, “Half of them by name. Some have already followed me across four planes, but now…” She couldn’t go on.

It was in extremely unfavourable situations that the most loyal and courageous soldiers were easily taken prisoners. It was because these brave souls were the ones who normally took on the most difficult missions.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA