Chapter 103 - Exotic Guests (1)
In the center of the elf kingdom, Elvenheim, there was a giant tree which reached up into the clouds. As the last remaining world tree in an era where the power of the myths was almost lost, Yggdrasil was the identity of the big tree.
300 years ago, the four high elves had gathered all their strength to make this world tree, which was still a 'premature baby.' Ordinary humans would stop breathing as soon as they got close and even senior magicians were barely capable of withstanding the mana pressure. Yet this was only around one-tenth of the original world trees in the primordial world.
Nevertheless, there was an area surrounded by a fog of mana which was difficult to access even for elves. It was a place where only the gardeners of the world tree, the high elves with Arv's blood, could access.
This was the most secret place in Elvenheim, located on top of the roots of the world tree. There weren't many elves who didn't know about it, but it was considered a taboo to even talk about it. It was a wooden building called 'Heart of the Forest.'
"They have already arrived? Ahh, I should've gone to meet them!" Alisa, the female high elf with bright blonde hair like the sun, cried out. Alisa's eyes were like the sea, and her unique playfulness stood out.
She had the appearance of being the youngest among the dark elves gathered here, but she was actually the oldest. Hers was the voice which had first disturbed Theodore.
"You can't. If we send you, their whole image of the elves and high elves will be crushed like dry leaves."
"Oh, that is an excessive compliment!"
"It isn't a compliment!" The elf with the angry voice knocked on the table. With dark skin and silver hair, the elf looked like a species which was already extinct in the continent, while the wide shoulders and angular body indicated he was male.
Alucard, the dark elf who looked up at the moon instead of the sun, snapped in a nervous tone, "You are unworthy to be the oldest one. Why do you act more like a child as the years pass?"
"Isn't a child's heart precious?"
"Fuck you!" In the end, a vulgar curse emerged from the high elf's mouth.
The bickering would've continued, but another high elf intervened.
She was an impressive female with brown hair and gentle eyes, like a herbivore. "Both of you calm down. Is this something worth arguing about? We should talk about the guests who have come a long way and the problems that have arisen recently."
"Sorry, sorry." Alisa's answer was still playful, but she finally shut her mouth. At the very least, she wouldn't interfere with the meeting.
Then with perfect timing, Ellenoa spoke with her eyes closed as half of her consciousness was still with her clone. "...I have arrived. I will guide them to their quarters and then send Edwin to his original location. I'm going to call a few people to act as guides. What do you think?"
"I also agree."
There was one voice missing, so they naturally looked in that direction.
With bushy hair and half opened eyes which displayed sleepiness, the high elf stared at them before muttering in a low voice like he was speaking to himself, "...Agr...ee."
It was a unanimous decision. Ellenoa started focusing on her clone in order to lead the delegation to their accommodations and summon a few elves. She was still inexperienced with Ratatoskr, so she couldn't manipulate the clone while paying attention to her body at the same time.
Then the rest of the high elves naturally moved onto the next agenda.
"The following is a suggestion from the dryads. These days, there are many creatures damaging the trees in the eastern part of the forest. They want to know if the numbers can be reduced. What do you think?"
"Hmm, the dryads. Aren't they protected due to a contract with the ents? Isn't that enough to protect them?"
Alucard was the first one to raise objections. Dryads were a type of fairy species which were parasites to trees. They had the ability to deceive and chase out those who damaged forests. So, they had a friendly relationship with the moving trees, the ents, to protect their physically vulnerable bodies.
The ents born in the Great Forest had a vitality that was many times stronger than those in other regions. So, even senior creatures avoided fighting with them.
However, Lumia's expression darkened and she shook her head. "The damage is still too great. Two ents in the eastern area have already been burned to death, so there may be a high ranking creature that uses fire."
"...I agree. That is enough to send one guardian."
"Edwin needs rest, so choose another!"
"...One... person... agree..."
If possible, they sought a unanimous decision, but if that wasn't possible, they decided using the majority vote.
Ellenoa didn't speak in this meeting, but all four high elves, including Lumia, agreed. They decided to dispatch one guardian to the eastern forest as a master would be able to crush even the most serious problems.
The next agenda concerned some species which were causing headaches.
"The chief of the Stone Lion Tribe, Orlando, has come. He says that a suspicious person recently appeared in his area. I couldn't find any signs of that, and it may be a prank by the fairies. So, he has come to make a request."
"The Stone Lion Tribe, what a stupid person."
In a rare moment, Alisa responded to the agenda in a chilly voice, "That idiot who would kill a person and then say that they fell? Just ignore it."
"Judging with personal feelings isn't a good habit," Alucard spoke with irritation, but he was also sick of dealing with the ignorant tribe chief. If Orlando wasn't representing the beasts of the Great Forest, he would've been expelled in disgrace sooner.
"...Put it on hold. I will send a few investigators, and if they can't find any traces, he will be sent back."
"Che, it can't be helped."
"Then I will send an investigation team."
The conclusion of the third agenda created a stiff atmosphere. The four high elves exhaled for a moment and waited for Ellenoa's next words. They couldn't help feeling curious about the guests who had just arrived.
At that moment, there was a bolt of lightning inside Alisa's head as she cried out, " -Ah!"
The other three people were surprised and wanted to ask her what happened.
"Wait! That reminds me, the chief of the Stone Lion Tribe is there!"
Unlike Lumia who was still confused, Alucard sucked in a breath.
The foolish beast chief who liked to talk with strength... Orlando of the Stone Lion Tribe was staying in the area given to the Meltor delegation. During the time of slave hunting, the beast clans were also sold at a high price by humans.
When he thought about Orlando's temperament, 'that' would certainly happen.
"Ah, no. Ellenoa, guide them to a different place right now..."
"-I'm sorry." At that moment, Ellenoa spoke with a blank expression, "They have already met."
* * *
The beast clans, also known as the werebeasts, were born with two advantages. They had the intelligence of humanoids and the violent nature of beasts. Their prosperity was based on their ability to hunt wild animals and creatures, as well as their intelligence to build a developed civilization. At least, they thought so.
However, their pride was shattered by human development. Magic and aura overwhelmed the beast clans, who had relied on their natural abilities for generations. They had been drunk on their own strength and ignored the development of civilization, which led them to eventually having to flee from the humans.
The werewolves, who had caused many villagers to tremble in fear, had been slain by the swords of knights, while the bears who had received tribute as master of the mountains had been turned into fire by the flames of magician.
The beast clans then realized they were no longer the strongest and had escaped to the ends of the continent. They hid in the Great Forest which was out of reach of the humans. It had already been more than a hundred years since they fled.
As new generations grew up, the fear in their blood thinned and turned into anger. Yes, just like right now.
"Hey, you bastards! Come out and explain!"
The shout was so loud that some elves covered their ears with a pained expression. It was from a man with an extraordinary body over which was two metres tall and had unusual traits. He stepped forward suddenly and shouted rudely at the party, "Why did you bring humans into this forest?! Did you forget how humans persecuted us? Or did you get deceived by their sly tongues?"
Ellenoa couldn't stand it anymore and raised her voice, [Step away right now, Chief Orlando. The people you are being rude to aren't 'humans' but guests of Elvenheim.]
"Don't command me!" The muscles under Orlando's scarred skin swelled menacingly. Orlando didn't practice aura, but he gave off an intimidating pressure as he bared his teeth at the party. Unfortunately, the people he was confronting were stronger than him.
The White Tower Master standing beside Theodore muttered quietly, "A beast clan, what a rare presence. What do you think is the best way to resolve this?"
"...It isn't a moderate atmosphere, is it?"
Orlando was bold. The man whose hair resembled a lion's mane wouldn't drop his head easily. The fact that he was yelling at a high elf in Elvenheim proved this. As Ellenoa's voice became increasingly colder, Orlando pointed with his sharp claws toward the nearest human, Theodore.
"You're treating humans better than the chief of the Stone Lion Tribe! Why did you give the VIP room to that guy? I won't leave this place unless he proves his credentials!"
[Chief Orlando, if you keep continuing like this...]
As Ellenoa raised an eyebrow, Theodore stepped forward with a sneer.
Theo wasn't afraid of the pressure coming from the two-meter-tall body. Compared to Veronica's pressure, this was just at the level of a breeze. It was almost embarrassing to compare it to the killing intent of one of the Imperial Seven Swords, Lloyd Pollan.
Theodore stared into the beast's eyes and opened his mouth to say, "Then what are your qualifications?"