Book 6, Chapter 123

Negotiations

When the saint hunter tried to take another step forward, his veins started popping as a near-unbearable pressure assaulted him. The entire rune knight army had focused their attention on him, forcing him to fall back.

The rune knights started emitting various colours of light as they silently assembled behind Alice, ready to deal a fatal blow at any moment. Each one was comparable to a saint on average, and there were many that could take the hunter on. Two of them could give him a good battle, three others had hopes of winning, and an entire five were so strong he would have to flee the moment a battle erupted.

While Richard’s rune knights disdained Alice’s generals, they still respected her capability as a commander. She was still a core member of the Archeron Family, while the evernight elves were merely the natives of a secondary plane. They would set aside all their differences to ensure that she could never be bullied, and with their numbers even three tribes would be crushed under their feet.

The saint hunter froze for a moment, but his face went beet red in the shame and he bellowed, “This is my tribe’s land! Get the hell out!”

As he howled, the hunter started radiating green light and braced himself, forming an enormous phantom that was several metres tall behind him. The figure drew its bow immediately, sending an illusory arrow headed straight for Alice. The rune knights immediately felt a chill down their spines, realising that this attack was equivalent to a Norland saint’s.

However, four barrier knights immediately placed themselves before Alice and activated their yellowish barriers. Each one could take on the full attack of a saint, and with two on each side the attack was dispersed instantly. Others were waiting right behind; Richard had a much larger proportion of barrier knights in his forces than he allowed for other armies.

The saint’s expression changed slightly, but he was still unresigned. A sharp screech rang out as the elven figure flickered and changed completely, now with delicate branches wound around the bow and golden inscriptions upon it as well. One could see similar inscriptions on the drawn arrow, while the phantom itself had worn imposing armour; this was an attack that could break through the barrier.

Alice’s eyes lit aflame as she raised her sword, the rune knights behind her drawing their javelins or swords. The moment her sword fell down, the full attack could easily decimate even a legendary being. Forget the saint, even the other elves behind him would be wiped out as well.

The two great druids and Melia had rushed over, but they couldn’t figure out a solution to the problem. None of the three had particularly quick minds, and a single mistake would cause both sides to attack.

It was at this moment that the little elven girl finally burst into tears. Alice immediately frowned before glaring at the hunter, “You live for now, but remember that staying here is only waiting for death. I won’t stop you from killing yourself, but if you try to bring others down you’ll wish you had just committed suicide. If you think you’re so capable, just stand your ground yourself and survive!”

She sheathed her sword and turned to leave, no longer glancing back at the elves. The army of rune knights followed her in single file, but it was only when the last of them had left that the hunter dispelled the giant phantom behind him. His face turned deathly pale as he spat out a mouthful of blood, aura weakening immensely. Calling upon this ability took a huge toll on him, and having to maintain it for more than a few moments only made it worse.

The two druids silently healed the hunter while the rest of the elves left. However, everyone looked grim. The rune knights all returned to their posts, but they kept a natural distance from the elves this time. The saint had cursed at them, and Archeron pride was just as great as that of the elves. A dozen of them had died to protect this tribe, and they certainly were not satisfied with how they were being treated in return.

……

Richard had no idea of this huge conflict back in the tribe. He had expected an icy relationship, but he had underestimated just how hard it was to deal with high elves. Even fallen so low, the evernight elves still had the pride running through their veins that made them think of themselves as greater than others. Even being protected by Richard, many of the more powerful amongst them thought of the rune knights as mere soldiers that were far below them in status. As such, the knights were treated the same way a commoner was treated in the tribe.

However, he had other worries right now. Quickly locating the target he was looking for, he masked himself in the aura of nature and crept up behind him. While his connection to his followers had been blocked, the will did not have the power to affect his own strength. The hunter was extremely still and wasn’t even breathing much as he watched his surroundings, but there was no response until a tap on the shoulder.

“You’re from Duskword Tribe, right?” The question shocked the experienced hunter out of his mind. The man jumped forward by instinct, but in his hasty reaction his forehead rammed into a thick branch. A series of snaps rang out as he fell down from the canopy, hitting the ground while holding his head.

As he struggled to get up, he found a pair of boots before his face. Richard crouched down and looked him in the eye, “Call your elders over, I have things to discuss with them.”

A moment later, the hunter fled like lightning. Even when he was kilometres away, he couldn’t understand just how Richard had gotten close to him.

……

Half a day later in an empty plot in the forest, Richard met two elders of the Duskword Tribe and a youth dressed in clothing that was obviously different. The youth was only a little weaker than the son of the forest Fenur, while the depth of his aura was far greater. Richard could tell in an instant that no ordinary tree of life could be powering him.

He nodded at the young elf first, “You’re from the tribe under the world tree?”

“Yes!” the youth answered haughtily, “I am Windleaf of the Jadeleaf Tribe.”

“I am the grand elder of the Duskword Tribe.”

“I am Elder Jade.”

Richard bowed slightly, “I am Richard, the current owner of the planar gate.”

Jade snorted, “You have guts to seek us out alone. Speak, what do you wish to discuss?”

Richard ignored her and looked at the grand elder, a man who felt rather strange. It was weird for someone to introduce themselves without a name in this situation, and there seemed to be something hidden under his exterior appearance. Frowning for a moment, he turned back to Jade and smiled, “If you’re talking about the 41 hunters and six druids around, they’re no threat to me. I’m here right now for the Evernight Tribe; the Grand Elder passed it to my hands upon her death, and I don’t wish for them to move. I believe we can end this war right now.”

“End the war? Just because you say so?” Jade snorted, but as she was about to continue the Grand Elder waved her down, “Since you wish for the war to end, you should have conditions?”

“Of course. I’ll recognise the Duskword Tribe and its allies, including the world tree and the Jadeleaf Tribe. That means I’ll focus my expansion opposite to your world tree, and further alliances will not be off the table.”

“That’s all?” Jade actually chuckled.

Richard frowned slightly, “That’s all.”

“But if we killed you right here, you won’t have the chance to say something so outrageous again.”

“Heh. Even if you somehow manage to kill me, that won’t close the gate. Let’s see how you like it when my people flood into this plane and destroy everything as vengeance.”

Jade didn’t believe him at all and wanted to mock him, but the Grand Elder stopped her once more, “If you are so confident in conquering the sea of trees, why sacrifice so much for a single tribe? Or are you here just to hoodwink us and get through your current predicament?”

Richard smiled, “I share a special relationship with the late grand elder of the Evernight Tribe. For the sake of her final wishes, I don’t mind giving up on some benefits. As for cheating you, I really have no need to do that. Even if I can’t hold on to the place, my army will uproot all your trees of life one day. The world tree won’t be an exception.”

Before the Grand Elder could respond, Windleaf lost his temper and screamed, “THE AUDACITY!”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Ying

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA