Book 6, Chapter 134

Ambush

This wasn’t the first time Nyris and Agamemnon had seen the astral chrysalis, and the same could be said about Noelene. However, all three were awed as ever by the creature’s ever-increasing size. The unexpected return of the followers greatly boosted Richard’s confidence in his upcoming plan as well.

Noelene, Waterflower, Tiramisu, Mountainsea, and Phaser accompanied him and forty rune knights atop the astral chrysalis. Alice was left to command the rest once more, and the chrysalis floated high into the sky before shooting into the distance.

The astral chrysalis couldn’t travel very fast with such a load, only fifty to sixty kilometres an hour, but with its belly full of the wax from the worker drones it could fly non-stop for a month. In only half a day it reached Richard’s intended destination; it would be two more before the main army changed direction from the laughably obvious ambush.

A large tree eventually appeared on the horizon, its crown more than a hundred metres up in the sky and much wider than any other foliage in sight. From hundreds of metres further above it was a breathtaking sight, but the elves below couldn’t say the same. Sharp whistles echoed through the forest as many hunters leapt up the tree to defend their land.

Richard’s gaze was dripping venom as he looked down at the scrambling elves below. This tree already approached adulthood, but there were few people left to guard it. The majority of the tribe’s army had been mobilised, leaving a skeletal force to take care of daily life. He looked back up to see a bevy of fierce followers, all eyeing the tree like it was prey. Headed by Rae the fresh saint, the rune knights behind him were thirsting for blood. This force was powerful enough to massacre a tribe even if all of its forces still remained.

When it was about a kilometre away from the tree of life, the astral chrysalis swooped down to just above the canopy of the remaining trees. Richard was the first to jump off, accompanied by his followers and the rune knights. The knights’ mounts jumped off in unison and hit the ground with one giant thud, but that didn’t even compare to the ogre’s. Surprisingly, Mountainsea’s impact was even heavier, catching him off guard and causing him to stumble.

Several young treants rushed out from all directions, and a few dozen elves followed right behind. Richard instinctively set his rune knights in formation before turning back to order his followers along, but his eyes widened as all he saw was a flurry of branches all around. Tiramisu, Phaser, and Waterflower had already massacred the young treants and were headed straight for the elves.

“You ba—”stards, leave some for me. The words never fully made their way out of his mouth. Before he even uttered them, he realised the few elves would be dead before he even finished. By the time he had his rune knights move forward towards the tree of life, his followers were already killing everything in sight. It almost felt like his only job had been testing the knights’ formation.

Normally, even with all the warriors off at war this tribe should have had a two thousand members at minimum. However, once all resistance was eliminated, Richard only rounded up nine hundred of them. Some interrogation revealed that the elder had taken away a thousand old or otherwise frail elves to an unknown place.

Were they the basis of the mutants? His heart stirred at the information. If his guess was right, that meant his enemies had a total of twenty thousand men instead of just ten as he’d first estimated. Thankfully, those mutants were just beasts who nobody needed to fear.

The rune knights did eventually find a use— they were put in charge of keeping the elves in check while Richard and his followers started to process the tree of life. The tree had frantically opened a telepathic connection with him, begging for forgiveness, but there was none to be found; every member of the alliance would be uprooted completely.

A few hours later, the astral chrysalis gobbled up the broken sections of the tree heart alongside its leaves of youth, fruit of life, a large number of branches, and even some roots. The warehouse of the tribe was also wiped clean, giving Richard another shipment of longbows, staffs of nature, and rare herbs.

Once everything was done in the Tempest Tribe, Richard had everyone board the astral chrysalis again and took off for the Rainmist Tribe a thousand kilometres away. It took twenty hours to get there, but this smaller tribe was in the same situation as the first. It took a few minutes for his followers to wipe out all opposition, once again barring him from showcasing any of his skills, but this time he anticipated it and didn’t even bother having his rune knights form up. They merely went forward to restrain the commoners while his party worked on the harvest.

This was the direction his army had originally been heading in. With enough time having passed, Alice would have started diverting it to another target. The treant camp would need to shift several hundred kilometres to pull off their ambush, and each of the treants would be weakened greatly for two days. This would put the elves in a bad spot.

……

There was currently no shortage of strong warriors within Richard’s army. Asiris had joined the fray himself, which meant that any scouts sent by the opposition were destined for death. The loss of dozens of skilled men had left the rest choosing to hide away, which delayed the news by a day. It was the head scout himself who had found out, and it left everyone fuming. The news had ushered in another deathly silence within the camp.

The black-robed man had immediately pointed at the scout and burnt him to ash with a black flame. This quelled some of the rage in his heart, but seeing the new trajectory of Richard’s troops on the map he could only frown. They would have to set off immediately to catch up in time, and even so the treants wouldn’t be working at full strength. However, they weren’t confident even if the camp was at maximum power; would they be able to accomplish anything while exhausted? The elders and the man were pondering this exact question, even if they knew there was no real choice. They wouldn’t dare admit that Richard’s first battle had scared them, but alongside his planting of the new world tree and his relentless advance, each one wanted nothing more than to turn tail and flee.

“Transform more elves!” Once the words left the black-robed man’s mouth, he noticed every one of the elven elders flinch. Even those of the Duskword Tribe protested, knowing that there weren’t many expendable members left. Every remaining elf was important, and losing them would slow development for decades if not more. Many tribes would even have to deal with the possibility of extinction.

It was at this time that a few messengers rushed into the meeting hall, their pained looks making everyone uncomfortable. When the news was read out, many of the elders flew into a rage.

Three different trees of life had been destroyed!

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: Styles

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA