With the top brass nominally under control, Richard spent some time looking through the Evernight Tribe’s warehouse. Some of the elves still tried to get the jump on him or berated him in public, but a few quick lightning bolts wiped out all resistance.
The tribe had two fruits of life in total, each one granting fifteen years of extended lifespan instead of just ten. There were also more than a dozen kilograms of moonstone, a material used in crafting superior-grade elven weapons, and dozens of leaves of youth.
The ones he paid attention to the most were the hundred longbows and five branches present in the armoury. While the branches would have to go through fifty years of processing to reach full power, they could be crafted and placed in the hands of apprentice druids for the strengthening process in less than ten. The elven longbows were also half a fold larger and more powerful than standard human longbows, taking twenty years minimum to craft.
In total, the inventory of the Evernight Tribe was roughly worth three top-tier offerings. This was a significant amount, but Richard would not take it away. On the contrary, he was planning to pour in a lot of resources himself to support the development of this tribe.
That train of thought brought him to another problem, however: the tree of life was just too far away from Emerald City. With the powerful will of the forest barring the way, it was extremely difficult to move resources and troops between the two places at a large scale. Even if he wanted to open a kilometre-wide pathway just so a single file of soldiers could march through, he would still need a decade or more. The Evernight Tribe would have fallen to the Duskword alliance long before then.
In addition to that, Tzu had mentioned that the Duskword Tribe was backed by the Jadeleaf Tribe, the ones who occupied the world tree. He still hadn’t reached a level of power where such a fight would be plausible. Thus, he was faced with a choice: force the tree of life to migrate and sustain a heavy blow, or sacrifice a large number of his own forces and one or two of his followers to permanently defend this place until the channel could be opened up.
It wasn’t a tough choice at all. There was no strategic advantage to staying in this place at all, and the damage to the tree of life would easily be healed over time. Summoning the cervitaur form of the tree of life once more, he spoke directly to her, “Prepare to migrate.”
“Migration will leave me weak for thirty to forty years. Could you allow me to use the two fruits of life? Together, they will reduce this period of weakness to only three.”
“Three years? I’ll think about it,” Richard didn’t answer firmly in the affirmative. The thirty years of life was nothing to him, but that was still two top-tier offerings that could accomplish a great amount. He didn’t really care whether the tree of life was weakened for a long time.
“If I am weak, the fertility of the tribe will be greatly affected. In addition, I will not be able to defend the tribe very well; my domain of will is going to be minimal, and the treants will fall deep asleep.” Despite these many reasons, the tree of life still didn’t manage to convince Richard.
When the dull morning rays lit up the forest once more, the elves of the Evernight Tribe began a new day that was destined to be remembered in the hearts of many; Richard announced that they would leave the land they had lived on for more than a century to move to a city far away.
Whenever a tree of life grew upon a piece of earth for more than a decade, the surroundings would be inundated with the breath of life. Elves could just stand there and do nothing, but their power would still grow slowly; there was also a sense of comfort that they could not find anywhere else. All elves were attached to their trees of life and loved their homeland.
If he had a reasonable choice, Richard didn’t really want to move the tree of life either. However, he had far bigger aspirations and problems than the Forest Plane and couldn’t afford to station a large number of his rune knights here permanently. The knights themselves wouldn’t like the idea either. The elves didn’t react much to it; they knew that they couldn’t withstand the Duskword Tribe’s alliance as they were right now, so it only made sense to flee. However, they still doubted Richard’s power.
Or rather, they doubted Richard’s power until the rune knights finally appeared.
When the first of the rune knights appeared within the territory of the Evernight Tribe, the alert elven sentinel almost loosed an arrow from his hand. The strength and murderous aura of the knight was far too oppressive, almost frightening him into the attack. There was a strong aura of magic and bloodlust that felt like a natural nemesis.
Fortunately for him, the sentinel had been expecting a force from Richard. Looking at this leader, he started to grow more confident in their chances. However, the other rune knights then started following behind, each with an aura as powerful as the last! Even when just a dozen of them had appeared, the hunter felt all of his energy just withering away.
As the hundreds of rune knights made their way into the meadow, the entire Evernight Tribe fell into chaos. All of the elves walked out of their homes and gathered up to watch the army marching in, the fear evident on their faces. Every one of these mounted soldiers smelled of blood and steel, and together they were a torrent of power that could destroy everything!
When Richard aught a glimpse of his rune knights from what was once Tzu’s room, he frowned immediately. Waterflower was sitting right on the back of his unicorn, but he had sensed neither until only a few moments ago. Was his connection to his followers being suppressed by the will of the forest?
The rune knights all dismounted and camped at the edge of the meadow, while Alice was guided up the tree of life. Her short hair seemed to be throbbing like a red flame when she met him, “Your followers didn’t just ignore the call to arms, they haven’t joined me even now!”
“They didn’t meet you halfway?”
Richard could understand why Alice was enraged; any good general couldn’t tolerate their subordinates not listening to them. However, that wasn’t really a worry of his; saints in Norland had a lot of freedom on the battlefield, and with his support most of his followers were amazing even for saints. Waterflower and Tiramisu even had the potential to reach the legendary realm, and Mountainsea’s talent left no room for doubt. While he could command them because of their long-term relationships, the same wouldn’t hold true for most anyone else.
What he was worried about was the fact that his followers should have joined halfway. Delays were one thing, but none of his followers would completely ignore orders like that. With Waterflower having joined early on, the rest should have been able to use her location to track the rune knights and join up with them.
The only explanation was that the will of the forest had been suppressing their connection for quite some time. This change was enormous and most certainly draining, so there had to be a reason for it. He immediately stood up, “Cancel the break, everyone is to arm up and prepare for battle immediately! Give up on the camp outside and withdraw to the village, we’re going to use the buildings as fortifications!”
Alice was shocked, but she immediately flew away. After a moment, the rune knights who had started rest pulled their mounts back to the tree of life. The slower ones were even screamed at.
Melia walked up to the room, clearly having noticed all the turmoil, “Those knights outside are yours? We don’t have to migrate now, we can definitely block the attack of the alliance and protect the tree of life!”
Richard smiled reluctantly and shook his head, putting on the sword case Alice had handed him and patting Melia’s shoulders, “Let’s talk about it after we win this fight. Go call anyone who is able to fight, we’re going to need them.”
“The Duskwords are coming?” Melia was shocked. She had just inspected the surrounding lands, but there wasn’t any sign of the enemy.
“They shouldn’t be far away, maybe even less than an hour.” Richard hurried out to begin checking on his men.
“But I just pa—”
“AAAAH!” Melia’s voice was broken by a loud scream in the distance, the voice of one of the sentinels.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: OMA
Edited By: Theo