A War Of Reality And Illusion(2)
Perhaps out of Nostalgia, Tzu had preserved her old armour over all these years. It was treated just as preciously as the Skylance, if not even better. She quickly donned it all, wearing her ponytail the exact same way she used to all those years ago. Leaving the two remaining letters outside her main hall and closing the door, she gently caressed the Skylance and turned towards the branch of the tree of life that went through her room, “Let’s begin.”
“As you command,” the tree said softly, the power of spacetime seeping out from the walls. This energy completely isolated this place from the plane’s laws, and in a moment had teleported the entire room outside the protective crystal sphere of the Forest Plane.
Holding the Skylance in hand, she silently awaited her final moments. She could have held off this fight against Iskara, perhaps even for a few years, but the local armies were closing in on the Evernight Tribe and they could not move with her still present. She could still take out the incoming army, but many of her own kin would end up sacrificing their lives in the process.
Had Richard not appeared, she would have chosen to fight to the death. Her tribe’s fate had been tied to her own, so there was no point in telling them to escape. However, now there was hope. Richard had his own base camp here where the will of the forest could not suppress him; a foothold where her tribe could flourish.
Surely Elena’s son wouldn’t let her down… Tzu’s thoughts returned to the days when she had first begun her journey. All of her memories of that time were filled with bitter contempt.
“Hey!” a bright flash suddenly blinded her, snapping her out of her scrambled thoughts.
“R-Richard! Why are you here?!”
“Thought I’d take a stroll with my aunt,” Richard said softly. His tone suggested that it was only something to be expected.
“Don’t spout rubbish! Do you think you can actually involve yourself in this battle? If you died, how should I face Elena and that man in the afterlife?! What about my tribe?!”
Richard just smiled at her rage, “It’s too late for that now.”
Tzu was taken aback. Looking outside the window, the trees had been replaced by the endless void. They were already teleported away, about to face Iskara! Even if Richard wanted to go back, he would still have to survive Iskara’s attacks!
“You…” Tzu was so angry she couldn’t find words. She tried a deep breath, but it didn’t calm her down. Eventually, she just grunted, “Fine. Fine! I couldn’t help my sister, couldn’t help the love of her life, and now her son is going to die in front of my face. Just perfect! Alucia damn it, come follow me!”
“One sec,” Richard smiled, taking out a crystal bottle and swallowing the fiery liquid within before shattering it on the floor, “Okay, now I’m ready.”
Tzu looked at Richard with surprise, her temper slowly fading away as green light coagulated around her body to form a pair of wings that were ten metres long. Feeling the power building up within Richard’s soul, she shook her head and used the Skylance to tear the room apart.
This was the first time Richard had entered the void, and he could immediately tell why it was only the domain of legendary beings. Unlike the name would imply, there were beautiful lights everywhere that held an air of absolute majesty to them. However, the energy within those rays was so condensed it would mean a quick death.
“Welcome,” a booming voice suddenly rang out as the view changed once more. They had been transported into a desolate battlefield, the cold dark sky home to thousands of stars. The ground was ragged and hilly, with rifts and cliffs all over. A strong gale was blowing across the barren earth.
The world quickly changed once more, troops appearing on both ends of the earth. On one side were the human and elven warriors, and on the other countless creatures of different kinds. Richard quickly activated Insight and saw that these were all energy constructs, and from the connection he felt to some of the warriors and the larger number coming from Tzu, it seemed like the number of warriors one had was directly proportional to their might.
This fight would be decided by war!
Looking over, Richard found that Iskara’s troops numbered a hundred times his own. This was no trick, just a direct comparison of the strength of both parties. Even more frightening was the fact that Iskara was a being that reigned over multiple planes; the demon god certainly couldn’t have concentrated even a majority of his might here.
And yet, it was this display itself that shook Richard to the core. A whole other world! It was a whole other world! This world was both illusory and real at the same time. Richard could kill his enemies and would be hurt if he was attacked, but these enemies weren’t truly live creatures. The entire world was a crystallisation of Iskara’s laws.
He didn’t even know if this was a fair fight. Iskara clearly had to have expended energy to create this world, but the horde before him still looked impossible to defeat. It was only after seeing this that he understood why Tzu didn’t see any chance of victory despite her strength.
“War is the basis of legacy,” Iskara chuckled, “Let us use war to decide everything. I hope you’ll entertain me, worms!”
Richard felt like the words didn’t have a specific language to them. They were more ideas being transmitted by the power of laws, and his mind was interpreting these ideas by adding words to them later. However, while he felt this power, he could do nothing about it.
“First wave, begin!” Iskara’s voice rang out once more, and a small portion of the horde split off and started heading over. Despite being a tiny chunk, this army was still larger than the combined forces on his end.
The army at Tzu’s side suddenly flashed and changed, a few of the elven archers and druids disappearing to be replaced with deer-mounted warriors and pikemen. Immediately realising that one could change their troop composition, Richard quickly looked at his own 5,000-man army of shields, spears, archers, priests, and mages. His gaze landed on one specific light infantry soldier who was only level five, transforming the man’s leather armour into metal and bulking him up until he was level 10. The price to pay was two other soldiers beside him.
Three level 5 light infantrymen could be converted into a single level 10 elite. This seemed rather fair. Seeing that the first wave was still twenty minutes away at their steady pace, he shook his head and got to work. There were many weak-willed individuals that could be frightened away by such a force, and the potential psychological damage was certainly worth sending them slowly, but they would not affect him.
After a few simple experiments, the army changed gradually. Large sections of his army started disappearing entirely as those remaining behind were strengthened. The light infantry turned into level 12 heavy infantry with tower shields and spears, and their armour had been enchanted for lower weight. The warhorses of the infantry grew stronger, and all of the soldiers’ weapons were enchanted as well. The heavy infantry was upgraded into level 14 knights, their armour loaded with various useful spells. All the weaker priests and mages were replaced with more powerful ones, and druids, monks, and cursemasters started filling out their ranks. Several rare classes appeared, many in groups of three but some in pairs or even alone.
By the time the enemy was less than a kilometre away, Richard had already finished his adjustments. His troop had been completely transformed, dropping from five thousand men to twelve hundred but with the average level skyrocketing. The complicated set of more than seventy types of troops could only be controlled the traditional way— he had actually given up on them being able to receive mental commands to strengthen them further— but with the enemies clearly using the same methods he was certain he still had his edge in control.
For Iskara this was entertainment, the entire battlefield a chessboard. He and Tzu were just two pawns in this greater game. Even if the entire horde was wiped out, it would be but a small defeat that would be made up for in a short time. Even if that was a hundred years, to a veritable deity this was only a nap.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo