Book 6, Chapter 91

The Evernight Tribe

“Outsider, what are you doing? Run!” the elf yelled loudly. Before Richard could even process why a local was asking him to run instead of attacking, she reached out to grab him and pull him along. He went on guard immediately at first, but seeing her empty hand he let her start leading him away.

The young woman was surprised that the outsider didn’t slow her down, but it didn’t take much time before the whistles were ringing all around them. She seemed to be looking for a way to escape, but unable to find one she started to reach for her longbow just in case.

“I know a hidden path, follow me!” Richard said suddenly, stunning the elven girl. The pursuers were all in the trees and were each qualified to be an elder in their respective tribes, so there was no path they didn’t know of.

Richard took the lead and changed directions abruptly, actually slowing down from the girl’s full dash. He wasn’t running very fast, but the path they took was rather windy. Sometimes they even ran head-on towards some hunters, but the alarmed elf somehow managed to remain quiet. Every time they started moving towards a hunter, the enemy would change direction for no reason and miss them.

The girl almost yelped, but even as she cupped her mouth she felt an enormous force tugging on her hand. She was lifted off the ground and found herself flying, only barely able to see the trees whiz by as Richard erupted with frightening speed. The hunters chasing them were left behind in an instant, and they zoomed deep into the woods.

“Ha… Ha… How’s that?” Richard asked her as they came to a stop, “Not bad, right?”

“You…” The elven girl stared wide-eyed at Richard, not knowing what to say. This outsider had just managed to escape a squad of top hunters from right under their noses!

Richard nodded slightly, “I’m Richard, nice to meet you.”

“Umm… My name is Melia… An ordinary elf…”

“Ordinary, huh? Those people looking for you definitely don’t seem that way.” Richard laughed at the girl’s blush, diverting the topic, “Why did you want to help me escape? I haven’t seen any elves of this forest even be neutral to an outsider before?”

Melia shook her head, “Not every outsider bears ill will, we should establish their intentions before fighting. Besides, you had the aura of the forest, you can’t be a bad guy.”

“Bad guy?” Richard almost burst into laughter at the innocence of that statement, “Well, why were they chasing you?”

“That… In many ways, we think differently from them. They want us to yield to their demands, and I think they’re hoping to use my capture to force my tribe to surrender.”

“Oh? In what ways?”

Melia hesitated for a moment, “Well… It’s what I just told you, our views on outsiders. We don’t want to fight any wars with the outsiders, and the elders say that if we stay hidden in our forests our plane will fall into enemy hands one day.”

“Your elders are smart,” Richard nodded. Being the leader of the aforementioned enemy, he was well aware of the nature of planar wars. With his foothold established, there would eventually come a day when he ruled all of the Forest Plane.

“But it’s not easy,” Melia sighed, “All the other tribes hate outsiders, and they don’t tolerate any of you. Even the World Tree wants to get rid of all of them.”

“Interesting how you call me an outsider, not an invader,” Richard commented. Waiting a moment without any answers, he continued on, “What do you plan to do next? I can help with your wounds for now.”

He placed his hands a centimetre above the girl’s head, causing the grass below her to sprout delicate white flowers. The power of moonforce mixed with life energy and flowed through Melia’s body, healing all of her wounds.

“Are you a druid?” the girl’s eyes shone, “This spell… It seems a little different from the ones our druids normally use.”

Richard laughed, “Of course it’s different, I’m an outsider.”

Melia flexed her lean muscles and stretched, smiling at the degree of healing, “This is amazing! Anyway, I need to get to the Greenleaf Tribe and ask for their support. Their tree of life is almost an adult, and some of their elders agree with us.”

“And what about the ones pursuing you?”

“Windscreech, Rainfall, and Waterdrop. They’re only a little weaker than the Greenleaf Tribe,” the girl looked unnerved.

“I see. Are there any others nearby that might help?” Unbeknownst to her, Richard was extracting as much information as he could.

“I don’t think so… There’s a total of nine tribes nearby, but most of them won’t stand with us.”

“Huh… Alright, how about I come with you to Greenleaf. If those hunters find you again, I can help run away.”

The offer was too good to turn down. With his healing ability and these so-called hidden paths, Richard was a perfect companion. After a few moments of consideration, Melia nodded, “Do you want to meet the elders? To show them that even an outsider can be a friend of the forest? I think you’d be good at it.”

Seeing the girl’s enthusiasm, Richard laughed, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why?”

“I’m sure a majority of them still hate outsiders anyway, and I’m not a very patient guy.”

“Really? But you’re such a good person!” Having said that, Melia’s expression turned sad, “But you’re right. Only two or three of the nine elders there will support us.”

…… 

The Greenleaf Tribe was nearly two thousand kilometres away, but Melia only considered that average. The two needed an entire week to cover the distance, but along the way Melia explained more of her circumstances. Because of its stance on outsiders, the Evernight Tribe was looked down upon and distrusted by the World Tree and the rest of the elven tribes. Without the acknowledgement of the forest, they were even treated like foreigners themselves on occasion.

Their only shelter came from the absolute strength of their grand elder, who managed to force three other tribes to take their trees of life five hundred kilometres away. In addition, their tribe was especially good at producing children of the forest despite the distrust of the World Tree, so the other tribes didn’t wage war on them. That being said, the children of the forest from the Evernight Tribe weren’t given nearly as much respect as those of the other tribes.

Unfortunately, an enormous crisis had erupted a few months ago. The grand elder had been seriously injured after a trip outside the plane, forcing their Tree of Life to expend nearly a hundred years of accumulated energy to save her life. On the verge of death, the weakened elder and her tribe became a great temptation for the other tribes of the forest. The most powerful of them all, the Duskword Tribe, even had the audacity to demand the tribes be merged.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Hazel

Edited By: Theo