Chapter 100 - Great Forest (2)
It was rare to find sunlight in the Great Forest due to the thickness of the trees. The flash of light in the middle of the night damaged the eyes of some of the running creatures, while even the creatures with bad eyesight frowned.
The ogre, the king of creatures in an ordinary forest or mountain, roared to express its discomfort.
Despite the number of kilometers still remaining between the creatures and the camp, the camp was still shaken by the roar. Along with the flash magic which Vince used before, the loud yelling of the ogre immediately awakened the party. As veterans, their reaction was fast and cold.
"What, a raid?"
"The sound on the far side..."
"The loudest one is an ogre."
There were no signs of drowsiness in their eyes, and each of them had a strong grip on their staffs. Someone was looking at the inventory, while another gazed into the distance to identify the enemy. Their magic power started fluctuating as they prepared for the battlefield.
The White Tower Master, wearing a white mask as always, left his tent and approached Theo who had given the warning.
"How interesting. That ward wouldn't be able to detect presences a few kilometers away."
It was as Orta said. The creatures Theo had discovered were almost twice as far away as the range of the alert magic Theo had laid around the camp. It was a distance which could be detected with large-scale detection magic, however, a lot of mana would be required for that, and no one in the camp had sensed it.
This meant that Theodore had become aware of the creatures approaching from a few kilometers away by using a secret means.
"Yes, it is difficult to explain, but..."
"There is no need to explain. As a result, we have time to prepare for their attack. Since you have proven yourself, you can play an active role." The White Tower Master stopped talking and stared at the Great Forest.
The trees were shaking from afar as shadows ran out. Although they couldn't be seen clearly, their momentum was fearsome. Their distance to the camp was around one kilometer.
"Count it down."
As Orta raised a hand, several magicians who prepared their magic looked at Theo. Theodore and Sylvia had no experience with war, so they were unaware that the destructive power of a magic corps was maximized when working in conjunction with each other. In order to construct the net properly, the timing of their shooting was the most important thing. Yet the White Tower Master had given the most important role to Theodore.
There was no room for explanations. Theo looked down at the girl in his arms. Her bud was still shining with a green light. Perhaps that bud was the source of her ability to show things. He had been swept away by the strange sensation a while ago, but it might be possible to control it if he prepared his mind firmly.
No, this was a moment when he needed complete control.
"Can you show it to me one more time?"
At his cautious request...
[Ye!] Mitra laughed and plastered herself to Theo's forehead.
'Ugh!' It was the same as before. All his senses wriggled the moment Mitra's bud came in contact with him. Theo's fingers seemed to become branches with leaves on them, and he could feel the ants coming and going between his toes which extended underground. It was the sensation that his body had turned into a tree!
Theo felt like he would drown and suffocate from the flood of sensory information. However, he managed to concentrate calmly.
'I have been training my mental power steadily.'
Theo had become repeatedly ill in order to deal with the tremendous national treasure, Umbra. Thanks to that, his firm mind searched the vegetation of this area for what he wanted. He saw the ground which was being trampled on, the branches which were passed, and then the ogre with two heads running in the lead...
As soon as Theo found them, he opened his mouth to speak, "10."
The creature was fairly fast. Rocks were kicked, and trees and bushes torn to pieces.
The twin-headed ogre... Their intelligence and physical abilities were usually double that of a normal ogre. As they grew older and gained more experience, they would grow more arms and eventually evolve into a monster which could fight a cyclops, a well-known senior monster. Furthermore, if the distinctive magic resistance of senior monsters were added, the twin-headed ogre would be a challenging opponent.
Now, their appearances began to be revealed. A massive creature popped out of the bushes with others following behind it like dogs.
The twin-headed ogre and ordinary ogres were at the front, followed by trolls carrying heavy clubs.
As Theo was ready before anyone else, a blue flash fired from Theo's fingertip. It was the unprecedented Magic Missile which could break aura and penetrate 6th Circle defense magic. Magic Bullet's light stretched out and pierced the head of the twin-headed ogre, as well as the ogres running behind it.
A huge nine ogres were thrown to the ground at the same time.
The road was blocked by the corpses of the ogres, so the creatures wondered for a moment about what to do. Prey which stopped in place were easy targets for magicians. The magic power of seven senior magicians gathered in one place as attack magic filled the air.
It was literally a great destruction!
Strong lightning bolts struck, and a storm of flames rose up. A thin stream of water cut through any object in its orbit, and steel rocks fell down. There was no room to show the creatures' regeneration power. This was a destructive power which didn't leave any traces of the bodies behind.
"...Amazing. I'll lend a hand." Edwin was impressed by the scene and raised his bow to join the attack. On Edwin's shoulders, a serpent-like elemental made of clouds wrapped around him, but only Theo knew of its existence.
"Aiolos, enter my arrow."
[Gururung...] The wind elemental, Aiolos, entered the arrow with an expression of annoyance. Its body resembled clouds but infused the arrow with tremendous power.
Edwin placed the arrow on the string and aimed at the creatures.
Piing! The sound was like that of an ordinary arrow, but the phenomenon which happened right after wasn't common.
The wind arrow, infused with the high ranked Aiolos, melted into the air. Then the wind became a whirlwind. The blades of wind cut away at anything it reached, and the power was comparable to 7th Circle wind magic.
Kukwakwakwa...! The blade storm swallowed up the creatures.
Then it became a blood wind! The blood storm rushed toward the Great Forest and turned hundreds of creatures hidden in the bushes into pieces of flesh. Blood was the only thing which could be seen in the places where the storm passed.
"It is a really terrifying power."
"This elf's elemental, it is an ancient elemental...!"
It was an attack which could truly be described as master level. Theodore was shocked as he stared at the spot where the storm passed. What if the opponents were humans instead of creatures? Over 1,000 people would die from that arrow. Even if he could only shoot 10 a day, it was an attack which could annihilate 10,000 people.
The two powers didn't use Elvenheim as a counterweight.
'If Elvenheim becomes Meltor's ally... we can truly win against the Andras Empire. If one or two more like Edwin assists...'
The chain of blood which had lasted hundreds of years might be broken.
An exhilarated thrill went down Theodore's spine as he realized again the meaning of this mission. Perhaps in his generation, Andras might disappear and Meltor would rise as the main power in the northern continent.
No, Theo might be able to achieve it with his own hands. Such expectations made him excited.
Edwin walked beside Theo and said, "It seems to be up to here for tonight, Benefactor."
After focusing on Mitra, Theo realized that the creatures had started to leave. Edwin's arrow had been shot out immediately after the magic attacks, causing the creatures to realize the power gap. While looking at the decimated boundary of the Great Forest, Theodore replied, "We haven't entered the Great Forest yet, but at this scale... I don't know how the elves live in there."
"It is thanks to the parent tree. No creatures can go near the world tree, so the forest is a good place for us to live and there is plenty of food. Hunting and gathering alone can provide plenty of food."
As a species closer to nature than civilization, the elves had no need for manors.
The natural border of the Red Plateau protected Elvenheim from invaders, and no slave trader was bold enough to enter the Great Forest to hunt elves. The world tree inside the Great Forest made this place a paradise of their own. Compared to such conditions, the threat of the creatures was nothing but a risk which could be solved.
The White Tower Master confirmed that the situation was clear and declared, "It was easier than I expected. I was prepared to fight all night, but the wild creatures are sensitive to the difference in power. It might've taken a little longer if Sir Edwin hadn't helped out."
"You don't have to give me face, Magician. You would've handled it even if I hadn't helped out."
"Hrmm, I don't particularly deny it."
Edwin's words seemed to be true as Orta's mouth curved in a smile under his mask. Orta was confident that he could use even more powerful magic than the storm arrow that Edwin showed.
After the short battle, Orta followed Theo around the campsite and muttered, "There is a problem. We can't sleep well in this situation."
"...It seems so."
The wind carried the scent of blood, and the cries of creatures could be heard from the decimated forest border.
There was still the lingering excitement from battle, so no one could calm down in a short period of time. The sudden assault interfered with their ability to get a good night's sleep. It was the problem of having a veteran's instincts.
In the end, the delegation, including Theodore, had to spend their first night on the Red Plateau awake.