A War Of Reality And Illusion
Richard was a little confused by Melia’s shock for a moment, but he quickly realised the issue. This far away from his base, none of the elves knew or even cared that the Schumpeters had been chased out and replaced. With the cruelty of the Schumpeter research laboratories and the general disposition of the family itself, it was obvious that the locals hated them with all their heart.
The focus of planar war was not massacre but conquest; the goal was to exploit the resources of the plane for profit, either monetary or otherwise. Even after surviving the threats of the new plane, one still needed a way to transfer these resources over back to Norland. In most cases, this required the subjugation of natives for the laborious tasks of collecting and transporting these resources.
This was especially true in a plane whose resources came in the form of plants and trees, but given their pride the local elves would never submit. Only able to expand slowly due to the will of the forest, the Schumpeters had resorted to breaking down the will of the locals by sheer terror. One of the methods used to accomplish this was four lighthouses at the corners of Emerald City, collectively called the Light of the Forest. These lighthouses had been fuelled by the bodies and souls of the elves, and connected as they were to nature these locals could feel the death throes of their brethren from afar.
However, this had only served a negative purpose. The locals were already beheading anyone they caught, but now they were skinning people alive and throwing mangled corpses at the foot of the city. The hostilities spiralled out of control for an entire century before Gaton conquered the place, destroying the cruel constructions.
“I’m not the same as the Schumpeters,” Richard smiled at Melia, “In fact, my father and I basically destroyed that family. The lighthouses were destroyed a long time ago.”
“But you’ve still killed many people, haven’t you?”
“Heh. And you haven’t?” Richard snorted, leaving her speechless. She had been the cause of quite a few deaths to those chasing them during their escape.
However, she shook her head and frowned, “That’s not the same. This is a war between—”
“It’s a war,” Richard interrupted, “The world tree here doesn’t welcome outsiders at all, in fact it hates them. I assume you understand that you’re not a local either? In the world tree’s eyes, you’re no different from me. The only reason you don’t get attacked every day is the fact that Aunt Tzu is absurdly powerful. Look what’s happening now, or do you think being bred as a sow is any better than death?”
Melia had no idea how she left. She hadn’t gotten the answers she wanted, and her heart was left completely numb. Just like many other evernight elves, she had always thought of herself as one of the locals and worshipped the world tree. Now, she realised she would never be accepted amongst their kind.
A gaze followed the young woman’s body under the shield of the night, focused on her until she disappeared into the crown of the tree of life. The gaze then landed on Richard’s own house and cast a poisonous glare before fading away.
Within the house, Richard looked outside the window while deep in thought. He’d felt the veiled threat in that distant glare, but most of the evernight elves still considered themselves as part of this plane and had no good impression of him. Even if they knew of their heritage, that likely would not change. Instead of looking down on him as an outsider, they would look down on him as a human instead. Tzu had told him of the state that Silvermoon had devolved to before she left, a bunch of squabbling lords who looked down on the far-superior human empires outside the forest and dividing even amongst themselves. Dealing with high elves was never a pleasant matter.
At this point, he thought nothing of the elves’ hostility towards him. Just like the opinions of a random commoner of his territory didn’t matter much, the opinion of any one of these elves was pointless as well. There were still people like Tzu and Melia who didn’t care about what race one came from, and his mother had been extremely gentle and friendly to every single person in Rooseland. They might be exceptions to the rule, but they were also the only ones that mattered.
Night quickly passed and the sun rose once more, but Richard didn’t leave the treehouse at all. The tree of life here was much more powerful than his own, and with its assistance he managed to pour all of his energy into researching the Annihilation Plane. Even when he grew tired, a few moments of absorbing the latent energy around him would perk him back up.
Another day quickly passed, the moonforce in the tribe reaching its densest point once more. The elves here used the well to judge the time, but Richard could directly tell that it was midnight from the ambient moonforce. While he was engrossed in meditation, specks of light suddenly floated in front of him and converged into the image of a cervitaur, a humanoid upper body with the lower body of a white deer. A female voice rang out, “Hello, Richard.”
Richard immediately opened his eyes and focused on the image, the surprise evident in his expression, “I thought you needed to reach adulthood to form an image of yourself.”
“I come from Silvermoon Palace, how could I be compared to those little trees here?” the Evernight tree of life seemed upset.
“Heh, those aren’t really little trees, but whatever. Why are you here?”
“Tzu is preparing for a final battle with Iskara.”
Richard immediately shot up, “What?!”
“It could very well be tonight.” The cervitaur waved a hand, showing him an image of Tzu in her room. She was sat in front of a table and writing something on a piece of paper, her hands trembling with every word. The scene was a little blurry, but he could clearly see that this was her will.
Dense grey fog was wrapped around Tzu’s body, occasionally shooting out to hit an invisible shield. The power of Iskara’s curse constantly tried to erode the translucent silvery-green barrier, but the tree of life was reinforcing this shield with her own energy.
“What will she do?” Richard asked.
“She will notify me when it is time, and I will transfer her entire room into the void outside the crystal sphere. In that way, he will not gain a foothold here.”
By this point, Tzu had finished writing and placed her letters in two separate envelopes. One was meant for Richard, and the other for Melia. Richard felt a heat in his own eyes and fought to suppress the emotion, “When she plans on leaving, send me to that room too,”
“What? That will not do!” the tree of life was startled.
“I can come back,” Richard said softly.
“That’s a demon god from the Annihilation Plane!” the tree didn’t believe him at all.
“You have no idea what that even means, do you? I can come back, so long as you give me clear coordinates.”
“The coordinates are no problem, but—”
Richard immediately cut her off, staring at the image. Tzu was already beginning to change into her armour. Shaking off her shroud to reveal her skeletal body, she took a deep breath and radiated pure energy from within. Her muscles squirmed visible as they began filling out, majestic strength returning her to peak form. Her body wasn’t slender and weak like ordinary elves, instead revealing perfect lines of explosive strength.
Silvermoon elves had long lifespans, and a genius like Tzu who had broken through to the legendary realm at a young age would easily live a thousand years. She was currently in the prime of her life, the point where she was the most stunning to behold. Stood in front of a mirror, she silently watched herself as if to carve this beauty into her heart. A short while later, she took out a chest and retrieved a suit of elven battle armour.
Richard frowned at the sight. The armour was superior-grade equipment, but that was nothing for a legendary being. From its enchantments to its materials to its style, there seemed to be nothing special about it at all. It was the armour of an ordinary high elf warrior.
He wasn’t wrong. The armour Tzu was holding really was ordinary, but it was the one she had worn when she travelled and trained with Elena.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Ying
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA