Book 6, Chapter 126

A Road Of Death

The abrupt change caused a huge stir, murderous intent simply enveloping the entire Evernight Tribe as the rune knights went into formation and drew their weapons in rage. Their horses neighed with absolute fury as eight hopped on and charged straight for the four elves who had blocked Richard’s attack.

The elves retreated in shock, but only after a few steps they backed into the remaining warriors of the tribe. If they went any further, the rune knights would trample over their kin to get to them. The four thus braced themselves, holding position to face their inevitable death. Sustaining the full brunt of the charge, they convulsed violently as they were beaten to the ground.

Just as the rune knights started to press the attack, Alice’s voice echoed through the meadow, “Don’t kill anyone yet!”

The second wave that was about to pounce immediately restrained their energy, but continued to charge nevertheless. The remaining elven warriors were injured to some degree as they were all surrounded, while Alice rushed over to Richard’s side, “What happened?”

Richard forced himself up, saying weakly, “I was the victim of a plot, no big deal… Hurry, we need to set off. There’s no time…”

Carefully shifting away the hand Richard was pressuring his wound with, she groaned softly and started trembling. Immediately placing her own hand down to stop the blood flow, she recoiled at the feeling of blood and flesh flowing below her.

It was only then that the elves realised Melia had tried to assassinate Richard, and despite their own injuries from the charge the druids struggled up and walked over. The rune knights continued to glare at them, but Alice waved the angry soldiers away and let the two come closer, “Can you help?”

“We can try.” There were currently no priests or clerics within Richard’s forces; the ones Noelene had promised him were disallowed from entering the Forest Plane for now. The healing ability of druids was sometimes comparable to clerics, but when the two cast their spells on Richard they barely managed to stem the bleeding. A dark grey mist constantly repelled their nature energy; something they knew was set up by Melia. Children of the forest were naturally proficient at repelling the energy they knew most.

Alice watched anxiously as the two great druids emptied all of their mana, the sheer number of healing spells starting to take effect. Richard struggled his way onto the unicorn, pointing in the direction of Emerald City. The very earth began to shake as the tree of life uprooted completely, taking a step forward.

……

The hunters were scattered around the perimeter while Richard’s rune knights guarded closer to the tree of life. The young and otherwise weak were in the middle, taking turns to rest on the tree itself when tired. Alice personally accompanied Richard who was in the treehouse at the crown, pouring drops of a dark green liquid down his throat.

The dark green liquid had been extracted from the heart of the tree of life that Richard had killed a few days ago, and it was extremely dense in life energy. A third of this essence was currently in Alice’s bowl, and as he absorbed the energy and meditated Richard could feel his organs started to heal. A little portion even went straight to his bloodstream and integrated into the elven bloodline.

The grey mist was still floating around within him, suppressing his recovery, but it was fading by the hour. Richard was using all he could to wear away at it without harming himself, but the process would take time.

When Richard finished absorbing most of the liquid and opened his eyes, Alice immediately asked, “How are you?”

He smiled painfully, “It’s going to take more time, at least a month or two. I need to make a trip back to Norland, I have healers at the ready there.”

“I didn’t expect her to be a traitor, the other elves might be up to no good as well. My people are watching over them; if they sense anything wrong, it’ll be death!”

Richard’s brow furrowed as he pondered for a moment, eventually shaking his head, “Something’s wrong, it looked like she wasn’t in control of herself. Even if she was, I know that girl; she didn’t have the ability to hit me this hard before. The power of her dagger was hers, but much more evolved; there was a hint of laws in there, almost like a legendary being.”

“Doesn’t matter, she tried to kill you. Don’t let her go next time,” Alice said gruffly.

Richard nodded, “I understand.”

Hearing this, she shook her head and sighed, “You don’t. The family’s hopes are on you; if you die, there’s nobody who can step up. Remember what happened when Gaton disappeared? The family almost broke apart even with you present; what happens if that’s you? Think of your responsibilities, this little tribe doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. Even if you feel something for the girl, make sure she can’t lift a finger against you before you do anything else.”

The topic made Richard smile awkwardly. He knew that it seemed like he was romantically interested in Melia to the outside world, but he didn’t really want to reveal Tzu’s full relationship with him either. Still, Alice’s words were not false; he had many responsibilities now, and his subordinates weren’t as united as before either. Years ago in Faelor, the goal was to live to see the next day; now, he had a legendary being’s strength with Disintegrator and many of his followers were closing in on the same. It was only expected that they would develop their own interests over time.

The two continued to just remain there in silence for a while longer, but they were interrupted by a bloodcurdling scream. Energy started rippling all around, and Alice’s ears shot up as she frowned, “They’ve caught up. I’ll take care of it, you get some rest.”

Richard grunted and closed his eyes, hearing her barking out a number of orders the moment she stepped out. Blood soaked the trees in only a few minutes, but the number of elves from the alliance seemed to be endless. Minutes of fighting turned into hours, but she was still commanding the battle tirelessly.

The tree of life was still moving forward, the earth shaking with every step. A black mist enveloped the area with numerous hunters prowling like wolves, but the rune knights constantly cut through them without any hesitation. The attacks were sometimes frenzy, sometimes slow; sometimes the focus was on arrow fire and other times on awakened trees or other druidic spells; whatever it was, Alice ensured the tree moved constantly. Every step was a step closer to Emerald City and further away from the influence of the world tree.

The tree of life left a wide gap in the woods as it passed, but that gap was littered with the corpses of elves of both sides. There were even the occasional rune knights corpses, but each one of those was surrounded by dozens of enemies at the lowest. With the intensity of the battle, Alice had no way to recover their bodies and could only let them rot into and join the earth.

Eventually, the tree couldn’t advance constantly any longer. The attacks were more powerful and more frequent, forcing it to stop until the situation calmed down. Every stop meant death was closing in; once the camp of treants caught up, death would be inevitable.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA