TL: Okay, I probably need your eyes for any grammar errors… Just too busy.
Chapter 32 – Forbidden Garden
As the fog in the forest dissipated, the battle that took place in it ended. The young guards’ sudden attack did bring about an unexpected effect on the Madara’s vanguard, but the situation quickly became clear when Kabias gathered the high level undead.
The forest turned silent.
“Lord Kabias.” The pale undead acolyte brought his hand to his chest and bowed respectfully to the giant skeleton.
“I had thought that you maggots wouldn’t bother to greet me, Rothko.”
The skeleton general who wore a bronze armor sat on top of a pile of corpses. Its legs were crossed and the flames in his eyes burned intensely. It gripped its double-edged axe, while the other hand was placed on its knee, and looked down upon the weak acolyte, full of contempt.
The dark lords and the undead wizards hated each other. They had gathered together under the call from the Mercury Staff, but they did not choose to work together by choice. As for the blood lords, they had kept amongst themselves and rarely interfered with Madara’s politics. They had stayed in this fragmented for several centuries before emerging from their stable cocoon.
The prophecy from the witches, overlapped with the Goddess Helene’s own revelation. ‘The Darkness shall rise from the east’, regardless of the dark lords, undead wizards or the bloods, everyone believed that this era was indeed going to end, and the new era would be ushered in by Madara.
Rothko smiled. Kabias is a general under Tarkus, and he was merely a small leader of a company, and there was no argument in their ranks. To draw the ire of this skeleton was because their vanguard stole the thunder amongst all the other generals. Three hundred skeletons and twenty necromancers defeated the Bucce guards, completely defeated the Green village’s militia to allow Kabias unfettered access, then finally vanquishing Bucce guards. His results could even be described as glorious. (TL: What! I like Bretton =[… )
In Madara’s tradition, the undead’s vanguard are used as cannon fodder to sap the enemy’s strength, and under the worst circumstances they were used as a delaying tactic or buffer. It was typical to have one third of a squadron of Aouine’s guards to easily defeat such a vanguard comprising of skeletons and necromancers.
In Tarkus plans, Rothko was nothing more to a chess pawn used for disruption, while the real hammers to strike the nail in the Aouine’s coffins were Kabias and Wesker. It was unexpected of this undead acolyte named Rothko, and it surprised Tarkus. Just as he was surprised his right wing, Wesker who committed a huge error in the battlefield.The battlefield was always changing, and even outstanding commanders were unable to be ahead of every step, even if Tarkus was famed for being reliable.
Since the acolyte was from a lowly birthright and did not know his future, he naturally did not refute anything. On the contrary, Kabias’s words were like a type of glory to him. Kabias was biased against all the necromancers, but doing something like this raised his status.
He looked at the black warriors who lined up behind Kabias and felt a little envious. He might have gotten a fair amount of loot from the battles, but the majority of them had to be given to the superiors, and what remained behind was not enough to summon even one black warrior. He heard that there was a paladin’s tomb in the Green village, and certainly the best body to be converted, but the Green village was Kabias’s territory now. (TL: Change of title, Holy knight > Paladin.)
[Even though it’s a pity, but there would be plenty of chances in the future. This time all the leaders are aiming to get something good out of this war.]
He thought for a while before replying: “Lord Kabias, there are a few rats who escaped to the north. We had not seen the refugees since yesterday’s afternoon, and I suspect that the attack here was a diversion, and the remainder of their forces had moved towards the north and entered the River of Daggers.”
It was enough for him to stop there. Wesker was in charge of the northern area. If he wanted to capture live specimens or get a share of the loot, he had to get the skeleton’s approval. A small leader like himself could not shoulder this responsibility.
But Kabias was no fool either. It glanced at the little acolyte and realized the little worm’s scheme. It adjusted its lower jaw, creating a clacking sound.
“You want me to go against that bald headed Wesker? What do I get out of this, little maggot.”
“You would be able to increase your strength, isn’t this advantage good enough, my lord?”
“Hmph. They are merely a bunch of weak humans. I have no interest in creating weak skeletons.
“I heard that there is a veteran soldier amongst the guards who survived the November war. He is the leader of the guards.”
Kabias flaming eyes pulsed: “Looks like that fellow Wesker is lucky today.”
Rothko sighed. He knew that his persuasion had failed, so he raised his head to take his leave. Kabias and him were from different units and as a member of the undead wizard’s faction, his vanguard did not need to listen to Kabias. If it was not for this matter, he would not have sought out Kabias.
But at this moment, he suddenly felt a tremor in his heart and he looked to the south.
The giant skeleton also looked in the same direction, bypassing the forest and looked at the mountains covered in ominous shadows.
[[A terrifying mana response.]]
“The Zevail mountain pathway.” Kabias sniffed the air, as if it could sense the magic coming from the pine river. (TL: It’s one thing to pretend that Kabias can talk even though he’s a skeleton, it’s another to pretend he has lungs to suck the air in.)
Rothko did not answer, because he immediately felt an even more powerful mana ripple from that direction.
[What is that damned Golden Demonic Tree doing?]
Any wizard within dozens of miles would be able to feel that response. He was suddenly a little worried, and wondered if the magicians from the White-bearded Legion within Fortress Riedon discovered something.
“We had best send out some people in advance, Lord Kabias.”
“Hmph, I know what to do even without you telling me. We undead have a stronger reaction to magic. When you become a Lich, you are free to teach me.”
Rothko smiled again.
Brendel brought Freya and Romaine out from a crack from the wall. He gestured for them to stop, and he looked outside to take everything within the valley into his eyes. In the depressed grounds that were filled with gray boulders, a huge golden tree with healthy leaves stood quietly in the center of the valley.
[This is the Forbidden Garden.]
The Golden Demonic Tree had absorbed the nutrients from the land and the surrounding mana. The earth had became barren and lost the Earth Element. Brendel raised his head, the sky was gloomy and dark, as if black clouds were gathering above them. This was also due to the unnatural balance of the elements.
As the Earth Element has been completely stripped, other elements gathered here in huge amounts, causing the order of the elements to be chaotic. The law of the elements were set when Mother Marsha created the world, and governed by the Elven kings, but there could be various reasons for it to be unstable, like the Golden Demonic Tree which disrupted the law.
In the past, an elementalist’s strength would be sealed by 30%. It was the reason why no teams hardly accepted any elementalists. The elementalists even described this bit of history as ‘History of the three years with bloody tears’.
Romaine and Freya stared at the strange Golden Demonic Tree. They had only heard of a creature like this in bedtime stories, and even wondered if they were dreaming when they saw it in front of them.
Furthermore, the beauty of the Golden Demonic Tree contrasted deeply with the dystopic background.
“W-what is that?” Freya stammered.
“It’s so pretty. Brendel, is that the Golden Apple Tree in the mythical tales? The monsters are the guards of this tree right? I can’t believe there’s a living thing in this environment that is so beautiful!”
“That’s an oak tree, Romaine.” Freya sighed.
“I-I know that, so it’s an oak tree!” Romaine’s eyebrows darted up to her hair while she corrected herself quickly.
“Don’t get trapped by its beauty. This is probably the most dangerous creature—-, no, it should be monster.” Brendel’s eyes scanned the entire mountain, and quickly discovered another batch of Demonic Tree patrolling the area. These monsters wrapped with whips slowly moved towards the pathway filled with boulders,
[It matches my memories of the game.]
“Yes. The monsters that we met earlier are born from this tree.”
“How?” Freya’s eyes went wild with shock.
They were not as tense as before when they saw the patrolling Demonic Trees. The three of them had fought against the servants of the Golden Demonic Tree and Brendel took in another 65 XP, even managing to get a Tree Crystal from a Mature Demonic Tree.
This a crafting material in the game, but Brendel did not know how the production stats was calculated, and simply carried it along as it might benefit them later on.
He also realized that Freya and Romaine’s apparent growth. Especially the future Goddes of War. Her strength and agility had risen sharply from the battles, and she was almost at the level of a guard. The only thing that Brendel did not understand was how they received XP, and from the looks of it, their progress was much slower than him.
Freya as a pure militia should have increased her level repeatedly from killing a high level monster like the Demonic Tree, but he felt that he increased his Mercenary profession much faster. It was all very puzzling.
But he quickly put away these idle thoughts because he had more important things to do. If the Golden Demonic Tree discovered them first, then it would summon the Rotten Beasts from the outside to its aid, and leave them with little time.
He had estimated in the game before, the first batch of Rotten Beast would reach in fifteen minutes, and if they were still unable to finish off the Golden Demonic Tree, they had to consider running away.
But Brendel did not immediately seek to initiate a fight. He had another issue that needed an answer even before he thought of defeating the Demonic Tree patrol. He looked up at the steep slope.
“Wait for me here, don’t get discovered.” He turned back and replied.