Book 6, Chapter 139

Normal Advancement

The soldiers below hadn’t finished dealing with the fallen woodpecking crows yet, but most of them turned around to deal with the more-dangerous myrmekes. They were all elite warriors, but they still needed two or three attacks to get through the ants’ thick carapace. However, the ants were beasts while the soldiers were an organised army; they took up their shields and blocked the charge, raising spears to skewer the myrmekes that tried to jump above. Some soldiers drew guns and shot the creatures as well, with others following up to finish them off. The tide was quickly brought to a halt.

By this point, many of the bird-eating spiders had jumped down from the tree of life and rushed over to the myrmekes flooding out from the forest, the two sides clashing in a desperate fight. The spiders were twice as large as the myrmekes and close in number, while they could also take orders from Richard himself to coordinate attack and defence. Although he could only schedule simple things at this scale, they were much more efficient than the ants.

Within only a few minutes the casualties had skyrocketed. However, a dozen myrmekes had died for every single spider. Standing on the tree of life, Richard took a glance and guessed that there should be about 50,000 creatures. This was a respectable amount, the same as for any other tree of life, but that only served to confuse him further. This was his tree of life, the tree of life that had bowed to an enemy. It would be polite for there to be 200,000 myrmekes, but the numbers were actually normal.

He allowed himself to fall into thought. Having expected ten times the normal number, his army was overqualified to handle this. Most of his forces didn’t even need to lift a finger before the spiders brought down the myrmekes.

The earth shook once more, a ridge forming on the ground and spreading towards the tree of life. This was the last normal enemy during this advancement, the cave spider. These creatures had extraordinary noses, and the roots of the tree of life were like a beacon in the darkness. Hundreds of similar cracks popped up all around, moving as fast as a horse could gallop towards the tree, but when the foremost spider reached a hundred metres within the tree of life the soil next to it suddenly broke apart and a worker bee rushed out. Its mandibles pierced straight into the spider’s body.

The cave spider screamed, but before it could react to the first attack four more drones started to tear it apart. In the blink of an eye, it had been bitten to death. The spider had taken out two workers itself during this time, but that was a drop in the bucket. The massive worker drones continued to flood out from below, four or five of them dealing with every single spider. These drones were no match; a cave spider could cut one apart in a single bite, but they had the numbers advantage and used it well. Using one as a distraction, the rest could use their primary skill of eating to rip into the spider and kill it.

These drones were connected to the broodmother’s clone, so Richard had a grasp of the situation down below. There were 200 cave spiders, a rather normal number. The original plan had been to sacrifice all of the drones from the broodmother and have his saints deal with the rest, but less than five hundred workers had died while all of the cave spiders were wiped out. The tree of life didn’t even need to pull back its roots, a process that would have the same side-effects as migration.

The only anomaly was in the beast tamers, but even here there were only two tamers in total who came with about a hundred beasts each. The animals were surprisingly orderly as they rushed towards the soldiers, but the bird-eating spiders continued their momentum and just flooded over them as well. As for the two tamers themselves, Waterflower and Phaser took them both out in single blows.

At this point, the battle had come to an end. Richard was grumbling in annoyance from atop the tree of life, while many of the rest were confused. Senma and Asiris exchanged glances, while Nyris and Agamemnon exchanged hushed whispers. They were all wondering if it was done.

Richard had gone all out for this battle, not even hesitating to reveal the broodmother’s forces en masse. The idea of drones of such might and quantity would obviously tickle anyone’s imagination, but most of the spiders and workers actually came out of this alive. The soldiers under the tree of life had only stopped a charge and skewered some jumpers, while the saints, druids, and clerics didn’t even need to do anything. If it weren’t for the beast tamers, Waterflower and Phaser wouldn’t even have moved their muscles. Even with the tamers, it hadn’t even been worth warmup.

Richard didn’t think it would be so simple, so he waited quietly. Seeing him like this, the others believed there would be more enemies to come and waited alongside him.

An hour quickly passed before Nyris walked over to Richard’s side, looking into the distance alongside him, “Is it done?”

“It… should be?” Richard wasn’t very confident, but he couldn’t just keep everyone wound up either. He finally ordered his men to get disperse, scattering the bird-eating spiders out so they could give him time to reorganise in case there was an attack after all. He had the soldiers clean up the battlefield, digging a huge pit where all of the crows, myrmekes, and cave spiders were buried together. The worker drones quietly opened a passage underground to transport their bodies to the broodmother.

The powerhouses left to rest, while Richard leaned against the tree of life and just meditated. After a while, he connected to the tree of life. Even during its important advancement the tree didn’t mind sparing energy to sing praises, but he quickly stopped it and confirmed his conjecture. This was an absolutely normal amount of enemies, and at the standard growth rate an elven tribe would have to sacrifice many of its members to the point where it couldn’t recover for decades to a century. The Evernight Tribe would likely be alright within ten years. However, Richard’s army had decimated the entire Duskword alliance. There was no problem in dealing with something of this scale.

But how could it be normal? Did the world tree suddenly grow kind and start acting fair to one of its own? That was impossible. Had it not interfered with the process at all for some reason? Perhaps, the golden world tree was growing nearby.

However, the golden world tree was currently only grand in name. It was just a sapling growing a significant distance away, with only two leaves. No matter how much he thought about it, Richard couldn’t find a definitive answer.

……

A few days later, the tree of life finally reached the end of its advancement. Richard had eventually decided that the world tree couldn’t interfere with the process because of his own; the range of power was likely much larger than what was noted down in the records he had from the silvermoon elves.

The aura of the tree finally started to fade away, replaced by a thunderous booming from within. Anyone who was capable of comprehending laws had been placed directly on the tree itself, using its assistance to analyse the system of the Forest Plane. Opportunities to directly touch the laws of a plane like this were completely unattainable, and Richard couldn’t help but feel disappointed. If it weren’t for the situation in Faelor, Gangdor and Zendrall would be here as well.

Any specific plane’s laws were more useful to some and less useful to others, but there was no case where they were a detriment. Gangdor could have increased his own resilience, while Zendrall would be able to learn how to resist life energy if he was lucky. The necromancer would need special methods to be able to work here, but that was currently doable.

Even when the tree of life completed its advancement, Richard’s powerhouses were still immersed in their analysis. It took hours for the first of them to stir, after which they all rose up one after the other.

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo