The merger proposed by the Duskword Tribe wasn’t just a formality; it entailed a merger of bloodlines. Specifically, they wanted every child of the forest in the Evernight Tribe to marry into them and leave the children behind.
The moment Richard heard Melia mention this, he knew that the offer was made with an implied threat of extinction. The Evernight Tribe clearly had a special bloodline, but being a young tribe it didn’t have the foundation to last without the support of its grand elder. This generation of the Duskword Tribe had unexpectedly produced two children of the forest, and with the opportunity of the Evernight elder’s injury they allied with three other tribes to force the merger.
“So they expect you to…” Richard stopped in the middle of his thoughtless question. Her face immediately paled and she turned away, unwilling to speak. She didn’t even notice the implication of his half-sentence— that he knew she was a daughter of the forest.
The pair met with two sets of hunters along the way, but Richard managed to navigate both encirclements without shedding a drop of blood. They eventually came across the tall trees that signified Greenleaf territory, and the moment they stepped foot within he felt a surge of nature energy within that was filled with more vitality.
This changed aura was a mark of the Greenleaf Tribe. Those familiar with them would stop the moment they sensed this energy, awaiting the arrival of their scouts. Only enemies would remain oblivious and continue venturing deeper within.
It took a few minutes, but they eventually heard the rustling of leaves as a few hunters popped out of the canopy, the youngest of the lot jumping down and glaring at Richard before turning to Melia, “Honourable daughter of the forest, the elders have been awaiting your arrival. Who is this foreigner?”
“The Windscreech, Rainfall, and Waterdrop tribes ambushed me along the way. If not for Richard’s assistance, I might not have arrived at all.”
The youth’s expression mellowed slightly, “The grand elder asked you to meet him the moment you arrived. The foreigner has to follow us as well.”
There was no mention of why, but Richard could already sense the dozens of arrows aimed at him. These people feared his escape, and certainly had no plans to reward him for his assistance.
Even though she was a little slow, Melia sensed something was wrong as well. She frowned at the young hunter, “Richard is no ordinary outsider, he has the approval of the will of the forest!”
A few of the hunters immediately went wide-eyed, knowing that the approval of the will of the forest was the basic qualification to become a child of the forest. There were no more than five such people in the entire Greenleaf Tribe, and there were none amongst this group.
Melia’s words held some weight, but these elves were still suspicious. A few of the hunters activated their limited truesight, but all they could see was a dense power of nature almost dripping from Richard’s body. He even had the lofty aura of a tree of life that was not inferior to Melia herself, a standard even higher than their son of the forest.
Richard just smiled. The so-called children of the forest were merely gifted talents that could sense the will of the forest and use its energy; while his methods did not come from the approval of the will, his comprehension of the law of life allowed him to simulate this energy to an extent. When he mastered all 65,536 individuals sections of the system, he would be more powerful than a world tree. If he mastered all of the other laws of this plane, he would stand even above the will of the forest.
The hunters’ expressions immediately darkened. Melia thought this was because she had spoken sternly, but Richard recognised the bitter jealousy within their expressions. The power they yearned for had been granted to a foreigner. Of course, he couldn’t care less. He had planned to leave the interesting girl behind once she reached her destination, but if a local tribe wanted to reveal its tree of life to him, he wouldn’t complain.
As he looked around along the way, he suddenly came to a stop at the sight of a specific vine. His heart skipped a beat as he recognised just what it was— a premium material in the creation of magic scrolls whose price was determined by the gram. This spiky vine only grew in extremely specific environments, and back in Norland was only sold by a select few families. His mind already started to wander to ways of making money from it.
“Stop stalling, move!” one of the hunters growled as Richard stopped to study the spiky vine, using his longbow to poke Richard in the back.
The longbow struck its target, but the elf quickly realised that he could not draw it back. It had been caught in Richard’s hands, and no matter how hard he pulled it wouldn’t even budge. The hunter blanched and yelled out, “What are you trying to do?”
“What are you doing?” Richard countered, “Wanna die?”
The other hunters immediately raised their bows, nocking arrows and aiming at Richard. The leader cried out, “Foreigner, let go this instant!”
Richard smiled cheerlessly, a green glow radiating from his palms and quickly spreading through the weapon. New life suddenly grew out from the exquisite wood, sprouting two white flowers. The sight was rather beautiful, revealing power that even some of the elder druids could not wield, but it also ruined the bow completely.
Longbows were complicated weapons in this plane, taking more than ten years to craft from the selection of the materials to the actual work of the bowyer. Those of the Greenleaf Tribe were even better than normal, but they took thirty years to make. The tribe only produced a dozen or so every year.
The hunters were shocked at the sight, but they couldn’t bring themselves to shoot. Druids were greatly respected in their society, and that respect came from their sheer power and the ability to talk to the trees of life. Facing such a powerful druid, nobody wanted to make a move.
Richard scanned across their faces, “Treat this as a lesson for your disrespect. Next time, the bowman dies as well.”
“YOU DARE?!” the leader thundered, stomping his foot in rage.
“Try me,” Richard smiled.
Melia made her way between both parties, “Richard is my friend! Is this how the Greenleaf Tribe treats my friends?”
The leader’s expression changed several times, but eventually he just sighed and waved for the hunters to retract their bows, “Honourable daughter of the forest, we are forgiving his infraction at your request. However, there is a limit to the patience of the Greenleaf Tribe.”
Melia nodded, not saying a word. However, her heart was filled with both joy and worry— her status as a daughter of the forest had come in handy, but it was nowhere near as useful as she had expected.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo