Melia didn’t spend a moment thinking as she heard the sentinel’s scream, drawing her bow as she jumped out the window and flashed towards the treetops on the edge of the meadow. A slew of arrows zipped past her figure, narrowly missing the target.
Deep in the woods, the Evernight hunters were risking everything to fight back. Some of them retreated to the protection of the tree of life, but one could see the eerie forest turning even gloomier as though night had fallen already. A chill crawled up their spines, leaving them feeling more lethargic and restricting their vision. The will of the forest was suppressing the range of their own tree of life, leaving them significantly weaker than normal.
The arrows continued to fly by, piercing the leather armour and sending explosive energy rippling through the internals of those unfortunate enough to get hit. The ones who retreated in time managed to remain within the range of the tree of life and survive, but those who did not quickly succumbed to the attacks.
A number of hunters from the alliance rushed towards the Evernight Tribe, cloaked in a green aura and moving with greater agility than normal. Even their arrows glowed green, heading straight for the target under the guidance of an unknown force. Further within, dozens of druids were buffing every hunter that rushed past them, and even deeper still hundreds were chanting spells to awaken the treants. Pained roars rang out as the trees uprooted themselves; they weren’t very useful in terms of offensive ability, but they would serve as effective shields.
Right in the middle of it all was a piece of land that had been cleared of trees and instead filled with vines in the shape of an altar. A dozen elves were stood atop it, each emitting a powerful aura. Amongst them was the grand elder of the Duskword Tribe, as well as Windleaf and the mysterious man in the black robes.
An image of the Evernight tree of life was projected atop the altar, with the Grand Elder chanting furiously as dark green light radiated from his body. However, he suddenly shook vigorously and spat out a blob of blood, causing the image to warp and fade.
“Grand Elder!” The startled druids of the Duskword Tribe immediately gathered around.
Slowly straightening his body and letting out a cloudy breath, the old man said slowly, “It seems like Greyfeather had died.”
“Died? How is that possible?” Knowing the connection between Greyfeather and the elder, many of the druids were alarmed.
“Now is not the time,” the Grand Elder turned to the black-robed man, “I need a replacement. If you could please help.”
The mysterious man stood up and walked stiffly to the altar, “This is the last time I will be helping you. Soul attachment requires tremendous energy and takes a great toll on my reserves, be careful with it! Now, bring me the replacement!”
One of the druids carefully opened a bag of seeds and dropped them on the ground, showing lifelike images of more than a dozen elves. These were some of the highest ranking elves of the Evernight Tribe, and if Richard were here he would be shocked to find that four of the six elves he had met in the treehouse had their images projected here. Greyfeather, his soul under control of the Duskword Tribe, had gathered these just in case.
The Grand Elder scanned through the images before pointing at one of the druids, “I know Oyet, he will be the one.”
“That’s boring!” the black-cloaked man interjected, pointing a finger upwards and having the images start spinning. He then focused on a single one, freezing it in place and enlarging it before croaking in laughter, “This is more appropriate!”
“What? Impossible!” the Grand Elder raged. The chosen image was that of a beautiful female hunter— Melia. “Attaching myself to a child of the forest would be a significant risk. Oyet is the better choice.”
The mysterious man was not moved, saying coldly, “That is my concern, not yours. If you are unwilling to do this, have others take your place. I’m sure there are many who will.”
“… Alright then, I’ll do it.”
“Haha, that’s more like it. Let’s begin, you will soon be Grand Elder Melia!”
Richard walked down the tree of life at an unhurried pace, trying his best to project confidence despite his own anxiousness. It worked to a certain extent— the panicking evernight elves started to calm down.
The few surviving hunters were carried in, the druids starting to treat their injuries. Most were barely alive with arrows sticking out everywhere, but they would survive. Of the twenty plus hunters keeping watch outside, only six had returned.
Seeing the elves looking at him and waiting for instructions, their gazes filled with fear and panic, Richard sighed. Despite it being mid-day, the sky up above was pitch-black; fires had to be lit in the meadow for any source of light. Anyone who stepped out of the range of the meadow was immediately suppressed by the will of the forest, reducing their abilities in combat greatly. The elves were right to panic; this meant that the entire forest was against them!
Richard knew he had to do something before the tribe fell to its enemies, so he ordered the rune knights to form into a tight octagon around the tree of life. Under the cover of the hunters who now wielded shields and spears, the druids were escorted to the edge of the meadow to awaken the trees and pull them inwards. The trees were lined up in a compact circle outside where the rune knights were holding, burying their roots into the earth. A few moments later, the wall of trees was being pruned of branches so it became an effective fortification.
The unicorn was resting under the tree of life, utterly exhausted from the long journey. The hunters were gathered for the defence, while the elderly and children were sent to hide in the safety of the tree of life. Alice was directing some of the rune knights to guard the treehouses that they would be placed in to protect from assassins, while Waterflower had vanished from view. Richard could tell that she was sitting right on the edge of the meadow, hidden away; if the enemies invaded, she could drop in behind their forces and start tearing into them.
Having flown up to check, Richard found a black orb a hundred metres in diameter hung above the tree of life. This seemed to be what was suppressing its powers.
The earth suddenly boomed as a wave of treants lumbered out of the forest, numbering in the thousands. These were weaker treants, sluggish and not particularly intelligent, but they possessed the brute force to take down the barrier of trees. This was the first wave of attacks by the Duskword Tribe who hoped to exhaust Richard’s energy reserves.
In only a few minutes, it looked like the entire forest was on the move.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Theo: Power's still causing problems, idk when it'll be fixed.
Translated By: Hazel
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA