Book 6, Chapter 97

Forced Choices

A group of elves were gathered outside the village, divided into two sides. On one end were the Evernight elves, beautiful and refined beyond compare, while on the other end were the shorter and more backwards locals. There were about a hundred people from the Duskword Tribe here, and someone whose outfit was different from the rest was pacing back and forth in front of the villagers.

The Evernight elves glared at the man in front of them, but none of them dared to speak up against his rude glances. He snickered and said loudly, “A merger is your only way out, the only way to keep your tree of life.”

“Is this even a merger?” a young Evernight elf shouted.

The Duskword elf walked over to the youth and stared him in the eyes, enunciating every word, “If I call it a merger, it is a merger.”

*THUD!* The youth spurted blood from his mouth as he was sent flying with a punch. The Evernight elves started frowning, but the man just sneered, “Ha, come on. Don’t you want to give up your tree of life?”

The anger of the Evernight elves was immediately suppressed. An older villager dressed in uniform and said to his people, “What are you doing? Did you forget the Elder’s order? Before her discussion with the Duskword Tribe is concluded, you are forbidden from provoking them!”

The same old man turned around, eyeing the struggling young soldier coldly, “I hereby dismiss you from your post as warrior. Our guests can punish you however they want.”

In elven tribes, warriors were the lowest rung of nobility. Less than half of the hunters in a tribe could be called warriors, and the title came with both glory and privilege. The young warrior struggled to look up, eyeing the old man with disbelief, but a foot ruthlessly shoved his head into the ground!

The villagers were completely enraged, many even drawing their swords, but the old man turned to them and screamed, “What are you trying to do? Return to your homes immediately, that’s an order!”

The voice rang out like thunder, forcing the Evernight elves to take a step back. Hierarchy was very rigid in their race.

The Duskword elf laughed, kicking the youth a few more times before one final stomp on the nose.

“Lotar!” a girl rushed out from the crowd, throwing herself on the former warrior’s body to protect him. The Duskword elf looked at her with interest and asked for her name, but she just glared at him and quietly lifted the youth off the ground. Smiling at her expression, he whispered something in her ear and pointed at the bleeding youth; the stubbornness in her eyes gradually disappeared, as did all the blood from her face. The elf laughed and returned to his own camp.

Seeing this scene from the distance, Richard turned to Melia, “So many talents in your tribe.”

Knowing that he was referring to the old man, Melia turned red with anger. However, she ended up just shaking her head helplessly, “Is there any way? Do we really have to go to war?”

“Maybe ask the world tree for help,” Richard suggested.

“It thinks we’re outsiders, they won’t give us a chance to reason at all! I already told you this, I’m not going to repeat myself a third time!” Melia stomped her foot, but then she quickly realised her outburst and sobbed lightly, “I’m sorry… I’m in a bad mood right now. Let’s go see the elder and tell her about the Greenleaf Tribe, I hope you can come with me as a witness.”

Already having his own ideas about the identity of the Evernight Tribe, Richard followed Melia up the tree of life. His eyes silently lit aglow as he analysed the tree, finding a difference from the rest in terms of the laws by which it functioned. The difference wasn’t great, but at the level of laws any small difference was significant.

The grand elder of the Evernight Tribe lived in a wooden house atop the tree of life, the entire building only a few hundred square metres in size. The living room was less than fifty square metres, not at all befitting of the identity of any elder, let alone the chief of the tribe. Even the smaller tribe he had taken over so long ago had residences for every one of its elders that were bigger than this.

Someone had smashed apart the sliding door that led to the main hall, and as the two entered they found a female elf sitting on a gorgeous high-backed chair. She was dressed in typical elven robes, but her hood was up and there was a metal mask on her face. Even her hands were wrapped up in woven silk gloves, leaving none of her skin exposed. There was almost no way to measure her age.

Affixed to the wall behind her was a spear rack with a four-metre-long spear upon it, the shaft a bluish green colour with golden patterns. The weapon was gorgeous beyond compare, the patterns alone taking up an entire third of its length. The tip had four edges, but instead of being straight they spiralled together to meet at a single point. It was definitely the craft of a master.

There were three local elves standing in the hall, two of whom came from the Duskword Tribe and the other from the Windscreech Tribe. The druid from the Duskword Tribe was clearly the leader, speaking to the Evernight elder, “… there are innumerable benefits to this merger. Delaying it any further will only be more unfavourable for your people. Two more tribes have chosen to support us and join the plan, why do you still insist? If you had agreed long ago, it would only be the Duskword and Windscreech tribes. You would still have been an elder afterwards—”

“Just call it breeding, why hide your intentions?”

The Duskword druid’s expression turned ugly, but he just snorted, “So what? This is a great opportunity for your kind to wash away your outsider blood! If you wish to reject our proposal, consider first whether you can reject the coalition of our six tribes!”

“Are you done?” the Grand Elder lifted her hand, “Get lost!”

The druid grew furious and turned to the hunter of the Windscreech Tribe, who immediately drew his shortsword and walked forward, “You don’t know how long you can live, but you dare tell us to get lost?!”

The man was a level 18 hunter himself, but despite his arrogant words his body was tensed up completely. The Evernight Elder was said to never have lost a battle since she arrived at the sea of trees. He wanted nothing more than to just leave, but with the Duskword druid forcing his hand that was not an option.

The hunter tentatively struck out, but before he could even react the Grand Elder had drawn the spear to her hands and knocked him out of the treehouse in the midst of a dazzling flash of light. His body flew past Richard and Melia before fluttering out of the canopy, dropping the hundreds of metres to the ground. Unable to mobilise his energy at all, he could only resign himself to his fate as a dull thud sounded a few moments later.

Richard broke out into cold sweat. The Grand Elder’s strike had been thunderous, and he himself would barely have dodged that with Mana Armament in full blow. If he were to take that strike head-on, at least a few of his organs would have been crushed to pulp.

Although the hunter was clearly dead, the druid actually chuckled and smiled at the Grand Elder, “So it is true that your injuries are too grave to suppress. Let’s see how this tribe resists our alliance without your protection.”

The two from the Duskword Tribe turned around, seeing Melia and Richard at the door. The druid naturally recognised Melia, but the sight of Richard almost left him shocked. His eyes narrowed as he sneered, “To think your lot is colluding with the invaders! Just you wait!”

Richard just stared at the druid calmly, “Wait for what, you old worm?”

The druid was furious. He was afraid of the Grand Elder’s power, but that did not mean he wouldn’t act in her presence. He reached out with an arm to try and stab into Richard’s chest, a thick green energy wrapping around it. Richard countered with a backhand of his own, the same green energy erupting from within. 

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo