How Many Is More?
The old Grand Elder frowned, “Twenty hunters, six druids, the last two sets even going out in groups...”
“From what I know, only their grand elder is capable of this. Could she already be able to leave the tree of life?” an imposing man mused.
A shrill voice rang out, “General Yair, you seem to look down on our Jadeleaf Tribe. At least seven or eight of our Children are capable of killing so many of your hunters.”
Yair immediately blanched. He was the general of the Duskword Tribe, and everyone sent out had been a capable subordinate of his. Such chiding was an insult, but it came from a youth who was dressed more lavishly than anyone else present. Outside of another person dressed in black robes, he was also the only one seated.
Seeing the general about to retort, the Grand Elder stepped in, “Yair, Mister Windleaf Arbik grew up under the World Tree and has seen more than either of us. We may be afraid of the Evernight Grand Elder, but the Jadeleaf Tribe is not. Return to your station and arrange for someone ”
“I… will.” The conflict was evident on Yair’s face, but he eventually just gritted his teeth and left the hall.
“What’s with him, Elder Greyfeather?” Arbik’s expression turned cold, “Does he think I do not have the right to speak here, or does he assume my archery and magic do not match up to my post? Call him back and have him clarify!”
The Grand Elder chuckled, “Yair has always been inexperienced, he has only been to the World Tree twice. You are a son of the forest that grew up under its great boughs, why stoop down to his level? He has always been hot-headed, forgetting his manners when his men suffer harm.”
“I think it’s time your tribe changes its general. This fellow isn’t suited to command at all.”
Many of the Duskword elves in the hall turned grim, but Greyfeather’s smile remained the same, “Once we have merged with the Evernight Tribe, I will convene a meeting to discuss his post.”
Arbik’s face finally relaxed as he leaned back into his chair. The Grand Elder’s attitude left him elated— he did not have such respect back home. Surveying the elves in the room, he smiled, “I am here to observe the battle. Those of you who do well will receive an opportunity to join the Jadeleaf Tribe. Fight hard!”
This time, not even Greyfeather could maintain his smile. Still, the man pretended that he hadn’t heard those words and turned to the black-robed man in the room, “What are your thoughts?”
This time, the Grand Elder’s attitude was not one of respect but rather fear. Even the arrogant Arbik was rather uncomfortable in the presence of this man who could not be touched by the light. The mysterious man who was completely concealed in his black robes shook his head, “This isn’t her.”
The voice was extremely hoarse, almost like the sound of a gale tearing into skin. The man’s body twitched unnaturally with every word, almost as though his joints were not in the right places.
The Grand Elder frowned at his words and asked carefully, “I cannot think of anyone else in the Evernight Tribe that is capable of eliminating so many of our hunters and druids without a sound.”
“That woman has been struck by my master’s curse, she can only hide under the tree of life. If she had left her little hole, I would have sensed it.”
Greyfeather could not relax at this news. While the Evernight Grand Elder making a move was frightening in itself, the fact that there was another terrifying powerhouse in that tribe was a huge threat. He immediately decided that they would stay for three more days before setting off, and they would only travel a hundred kilometres a day instead of two hundred to maintain the treants’ stamina.
Arbik had objections to this caution, but did not bring it up. The black-robed man had told them that there was no specific hurry; in fact, reaching late was even better. If Tzu was done in by the curse, all they had to do was take care of a broken tribe.
As night fell, many of the alliance’s warriors entered the land of dreams. The camp formed of treants went quiet, only disturbed by the occasional campfire that lit up the night. The guards were all stood in position without such luxury; their job required darkvision that surpassed even a normal drow.
The ordinary soldiers slept in peace, unable to even consider the idea of someone attacking a camp protected by hundreds of treants. However, the higher-ups like Greyfeather, Yair, and even Arbik slept uneasily, constantly waking up with the start.
Richard spent all this time stood on the crown of an ancient tree only a kilometre away, watching the slumbering treants with pure murder in his eyes. The sentinels of the Duskword Tribe could easily see his position, but their eyes constantly flitted past him without even considering his presence; to them, he was nothing more than an ordinary branch.
The uneasiness in his heart was already gone, replaced by a cold determination. His Archeron bloodline urged him on and on to just unleash hell on the camp, but he managed to suppress those desires. Spending the entire night coming to his decision, he left just before dawn.
Running across the forest at full speed, he headed straight for his portal back to Norland. No matter what Tzu had said, he owed it to his mother to at least try to save her. He did not possess the power to do so right now, but he was a grand runemaster and that meant a lot. While the Duskword army was a threat, it was still a distance away and his personal power wouldn’t change outcomes much anyway.
In only a single day he travelled the entire 2,000 kilometres, frightening the guards of Emerald City as he rushed over to the teleportation hall like the wind. Stopping for a minute to write a hasty letter to Nyris and Agamemnon, he quickly headed back to Norland.
Blackrose Castle was currently his base of operations, with over fifty rune knights stationed all-year-round. Picking up the one top-tier offering’s worth of goods that he had left after arming his soldiers and buying the divinity crystals for the broodmother, he sent Alice a letter to bring over all her rune knights in preparation to enter the Forest Plane immediately.
Another message to Blackgold asking whether he would be able to access Sharon’s personal treasure trove was met by the expected fervent refusal. Blackgold warned him against even trying, mentioning the dragon’s heart lying beneath Sharon’s beautiful face; in his words, touching her wealth was even worse than flipping her skirt over. She had a number of traps set up in the area that could even confuse legendary thieves, so he would only meet death. The reply had ended with the information that his original letter had been burnt, and a suggestion to do the same with the reply.
Giving up on the idea of arguing with the grey dwarf, Richard adjusted his communication circle and tried to contact Faust. A short while later, a kindly old face showed up in the middle of the array, shouting playfully, “You’ve interrupted my precious teatime! You better have a good reason, boy, or you’re in deep trouble!”
The moment the old man’s face appeared, Richard’s anxiety faded into peace, “Chairman Thor, are you interested in Mana Armaments?”
The old man’s fake fury immediately disappeared as he heard this question, replaced by a full smile. He rubbed his hands together in excitement, “How many is more?”
“How many top-tier offerings do you have?” Richard countered calmly, but that almost left the old man jumping with laughter. Would the Royal Mage Association ever lack offerings?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo