Once back in the Forest Plane, Richard sent orders for his followers to assemble his rune knights before rushing back to the Evernight Tribe alone.
Her body still covered completely, most people couldn’t see the difference in Tzu’s aura. She even seemed stronger than before, but Richard could immediately tell that this was a result of her using all of her strength to suppress the curse. She was losing even faster now, and it wouldn’t be long before Iskara pressed his advantage once and for all.
She seemed extremely carefree and happy in his presence, even recounting old times with Elena to him, but this attitude only caused Richard to feel worse. The more cheerful she was in her current position, the closer she was to death.
He walked around the tree of life for a long time in complete silence. The Evernight elves preferred to live in the houses around the tree instead of right on it, so most of the buildings here were shrines and other public gathering places.
The sound of sharp winds buffeted him the moment he turned a corner, immediately drawing his attention to a small warehouse in the distance where two people were arguing. Noticing that one of them was Melia, Richard grew intrigued and listened closer.
The male elf opposite Melia had set up a shield of nature energy around them, a little trick that disrupted the sound passing through it until it was indistinguishable, but this was an easy thing to circumvent. Sending a wisp of his own nature energy to reverse the process, Richard immediately heard their voices clearly.
“This is for the sake of the tribe!” the male seemed extremely agitated, “The Skylance is far too important, not just for the tribe but also for you… and me.”
“What does this have to do with us, Kael?” Melia’s voice was cold.
“You’re a daughter of the forest, and I’m only one step away from becoming a son. Don’t… Don’t you understand my feelings?” Kael’s voice trembled slightly.
“I have no interest in love right now,” Melia responded without any difference.
“… Alright, but you are the only one who can approach the Grand Elder and get the Skylance. Don’t you know its history?”
“What history?” Melia frowned.
Kael gritted his teeth, “Before we came to the sea of trees, our Evernight Tribe was part of a great elven empire on another plane! We are the descendants of the royalty of that ancient empire, high elves called silvermoon elves.”
“Silvermoon… elves?” Melia found this rather difficult to comprehend. Just like most others of her generation, she hadn’t been told of this history.
“Yes! That is why our warriors are stronger than those of the other tribes, that is why we have so many sons and daughters. We have the blood of high elves in us, and it’s far purer than even the Jadeleaf Tribe!” Kael’s eyes started glimmering brightly in his excitement. Elves by nature placed great emphasis on lineage, and there was nothing more gratifying than knowing one’s blood was pure and noble.
“We’re descended from high elves?” Melia’s breathing grew hurried.
“That isn’t everything! I found a box of old books in a corner of the library, and one of them recorded some snippets of history. We silvermoon elves were royalty even amongst the high elves!”
“Is that true?”
“Yes! And the Skylance is one of the seven divine weapons of the elven empire from back then! The Grand Elder has never used its full power in front of us!”
Melia was rendered silently by this revelation, not even reacting as Kael stepped forward and grabbed her shoulders, “Steal the Skylance and let’s run. We have the most powerful bloodline in the Evernight Tribe right now, we’ll definitely avenge everyone someday!”
“Just… Just the two of us? What about the Grand Elder? What about our brothers and sisters?”
“The Grand Elder can’t fight her curse even with the Skylance! We don’t have the strength to save the rest of the tribe either. If we bring them along, we’ll be captured with them and turned into breeding animals! Do you want that sort of fate? I don’t. Dying in battle is easy, surviving takes true courage! The Grand Elder is going to die anyway, she has no need for the Skylance anymore.”
Melia froze and thought it over for a moment before slowly struggling out of his grasp, “The Skylance is the Grand Elder’s treasure; it’s her right to do what she wants with it. If she wants the weapon to accompany her in eternal sleep, that’s her right. I won’t touch it.”
“You…” Kael was speechless.
“I’m going to stay and meet our fate with our siblings. Even if the Grand Elder isn’t around, the tribe might still survive. Richard agreed to help us.”
“Richard? That human? He’s an outsider! He’s… He’s just a filthy half-blood human! Don’t be fooled by him, humans are all liars and bandits!”
“And how many humans have you met in your life? He was my first one, and the Grand Elder acknowledges him as well. Once she’s no longer around… If we can’t protect the tree of life, I’m under orders to break out and go find him with the rest of the tribe.”
“That’s impossible, Richard is a human! Even the Grand Elder can’t help us, how can a human go up against the alliance?”
“Richard is amazing, he just might have a way. At the very least, I believe in him.”
Kael immediately went mute for a moment, eyeing Melia up and down, “You… did you fall in love with him?”
“How’s that possible?!” Melia’s voice immediately turned shrill, “Enough, I think we’re done for tonight!”
She waved an arm to break the shield, walking off in a rage. However, she only took a few steps before coming to a stop and turning back, “Your words make sense. I won’t tell anyone if you run away.”
Having said that, she hurried away. Kael stood in place for a minute, but he soon left as well. Stood in the shadows, Richard waited for them to move out of range before heading back to his own residence.
Richard had been assigned a beautiful little hut right under the tree, the decorations luxurious with even the candlestands made exquisitely. The candlestand was currently flickering with magical fire, warming the room and giving him enough light to comfortably read through a thick tome. This was all the information the Church of the Eternal Dragon had on the Annihilation Plane— while Iskara was a complete unknown, general information about his kind could still be useful. There had to be similarities with the twelve known devils that one could possibly exploit.
“Come in,” he said softly as a gentle knock sounded on the door, looking up to see Melia entering.
The girl fidgeted under his gaze, but after a moment’s hesitation she made up her mind and asked, “Is there any way to save the Grand Elder?”
He closed the book and smiled wistfully, “That’s the worst question to ask.”
“There’s no hope at all?”
“Everything in this world has a weakness, there’s no such thing as impossible. However, there are things that are impossible for certain people and things that are impossible at certain times. Saving Aunt Tzu… is currently impossible for me.”
Tears flooded Melia’s eyes, but she wiped them off and whispered, “If she leaves… What do we do?”
“Sigh. Do you want the truth?”
“Y-yes.” She forced herself to look him in the eye.
“The best idea I have is to get the tribe to migrate to my territory. I’ll find a way to bring the tree of life along, but even if that fails that’s still fine. I have a tree of life there of my own, the world tree won’t be able to threaten you.”
Remembering that she still didn’t know of his identity, Richard shook his head, “The portal to this plane— what the locals call the devil’s gate. The area surrounding it is under my control, and I’m still expanding. The closest elven tribe is now under my control, and their tree of life has submitted to me as well. If you insist on wanting one from Norland and we can’t get this one, I can still try to buy one on the market if I can.”
“You’re… You’re the leader of the invaders?! Then why didn’t the Grand Elder… Kill…”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA