Chapter 108 - Towards the Storm (2)
No, the ent leader wasn't the only one to fall to his knees. The other ents bent their branches and roots which looked like limbs and fell to the ground.
Theodore was confused by the unexpected behaviour as other ents started to fall in a similar fashion. Thump, thump, the sound occurred every time the giant tree hit the forest floor. It was so loud that the crowded area quickly became quiet.
The dryads, who had been threatening Theo with their mana, lost their fierce attitude and bowed politely in the same manner as how servants welcomed a king.
Theodore, standing in the center of all this, looked around with an embarrassed expression and noticed something.
'These guys... they aren't bowing to me?'
The direction was slightly different. Theo followed their gaze and discovered Mitra looking around with a bewildered expression. He didn't know why, but it seemed like the bud on her head was especially pointed today. Theodore realized the moment he saw it.
Simultaneously, the similarly enlightened Alucard cried out with delight, "Indeed, it is due to the bud of the world tree...!"
It wasn't a well-known fact to humans, but the bud of a world tree could no longer grow in this era. The density of mana was several times thinner than it had been during the Age of Mythology, and the purity of the Arv's blood was now much lighter. Additionally, there were numerous elements which interfered with the growth of a world tree.
Even if all the remaining high elves on the continent joined forces, they no longer had the ability to grow another Yggdrasil. So, they had never considered the existence of another world tree.
The forgotten Mother Earth, Mitra, was a type of vessel. This meant Mitra could grow a bud of the world tree, the ruler of all the trees on earth. So, it was natural that, as tree-derived species, the dryads and ents couldn't resist her presence. For them, Mitra was an existence they had to serve.
[Hoing? Hoeng?] ...Ironically, the involved party didn't understand at all.
Theo quickly weighed the situation and talked to Mitra in his head. Originally, the dryads and ents were inflexible species who required force to be moved, but the story was different now. It would be best if the situation could be solved without violence, and Theo had the means to make that possible.
[Ye?] The chubby Mitra turned around.
'Can you tell the ones lying down to go to the forest over there? If you say it, they will probably listen.'
[I noe!] She turned toward the trees lying down and shouted in an adorable manner, [Yew, up!]
Simultaneously, the ents raised their bodies. As the massive trees rose, the ground shook, and the scenery changed into a forest. The ents responded in low voices as they waited for Mitra's next instructions.
[As... you... command... ]
[...We... follow... king...]
Then Mitra pointed to the forest on the other side and shouted briefly, [Fere, go!]
It was truly a sight which seemed like a lie. The ents and dryads, who had repeatedly refused the high elves' request, started to move without any hesitation. They passed the pile of stones they had been throwing and moved in the direction of the dense forest. In their wake, the dryads and ents left stupefied expressions on the faces of Theo's party.
Theodore was oddly proud of Mitra, who looked delighted, for solving the problem.
* * *
After the two species retreated, the group was able to approach the burning horizon. The nearby trees had already become charred charcoal or turned to ash. If the party hadn't protected their bodies with heat-resistant magic, the heat would be enough to destroy their respiratory muscles instantly. Additionally, their visibility was distorted by a haze of heat, making it hard to see beyond dozens of meters.
Beyond that, a woman greeted them with great joy.
"Wow, we finally meet!" As the high elf, Alisa, spoke in a pleasant voice, her golden hair blew in the wind.
She looked at Theo in the forefront and cried out, "Hello! I want to say good evening, but isn't it too bright for that? Anyway, it is nice to see you! Are you the boy who has our Ellenoa twisted up? I did as you said. How about it, did I do well?"
"...Yes, very well."
It was a fairy difficult situation, but Alisa's chatterbox nature still remained. Theodore looked at the present situation while half listening to her words.
'Is it around 100 meters ahead? It is much wider than I thought.'
From the point where Alisa and the party were located, there was a vacuum which spread for around 100m. It was a space created by a woman floating in the air, the wind elemental ruler-Sylphid. There was no combustion allowed inside, but it was in vain.
This would buy as much time as possible to stop Laevateinn from changing into the third form. In this space, the fire couldn't spread and only the trees touching Laevateinn's body would burn. However, this vacuum could only buy time.
"Alisa, how much longer can you maintain it?"
"Um... 10 minutes? 15 minutes? Any more than that would be hard."
The high elves were assisted by the mana of the Great Forest, but that wasn't infinite. Alisa had already been using Sylphid's power for a few hours until the party arrived. She pretended to speak in a leisurely manner, but her forehead and neck were already wet with sweat. If she relaxed for even a moment, she would lose consciousness and fall. The power consumption of the vacuum was enormous.
From this moment on, it wasn't Alisa but Theodore's party who would fight. Along with the six magicians, there was a high elf and a guardian to defeat the legendary catastrophe. As the full weight of the burden fell on him, Theo forced himself to stand upright and cried out, "Then I will verify it for the last time."
In order to defeat Laevateinn, they needed precise tactics and cooperation. If even one person was out of sync, someone else would die to make up for that mistake.
Therefore, Theodore repeated the explanation he had spoken many times already. "Laevateinn can't be destroyed by normal attacks, but that doesn't mean it can't be damaged at all. The attacks may not be lethal, but it will consume the energy that Laevateinn has stored. Therefore, our primary goal is to reduce the stored energy as much as possible."
According to Gluttony, there was no way to completely destroy Laevateinn in this era. The archmages who could destroy the second form were only found in the history books. However, a method to suppress Laevateinn existed. While laughing slyly, Gluttony had taught him how to do it.
It was similar to pouring water into a broken jar.
"We will first start with Sylvia."
Sylvia, who was on the furthest end of the line, nodded and grabbed her white staff firmly.
Theodore's tactic was based on pouring sequential magic spells at the target as it wasn't meaningful to concentrate all attacks at once on an opponent who couldn't be killed.
"Continue in the pre-determined order of attack, but cover each other if someone misses the timing. If possible, use powerful destructive force to bother that guy. The ranged attacks will be handled by the two elves, so don't worry."
The two elves nodded in understanding. Alucard could summon the water elemental ruler, while Edwin's arrow could decimate 1,000 men. If possible, Theo wanted to save the water elemental ruler to play an active role against the third form, but it would be a mistake if they lost because power was conserved.
Therefore, the eight people refined their formation thoroughly. Some practiced moving around the circle at a moderate pace, while another waited and checked their potions. Most of the people here were veterans, and even the less experienced Sylvia still had enough experience.
Soon, the time they had been waiting for arrived.
Finally, Alisa reached her limit and released the wind elemental ruler, allowing a gigantic wave of heat to hit them.
A hot wind blew from the horizon, and the ground burned black. The flames burned the ground until there was nothing left, while a black smoke bubbled up and blocked their vision. No life could survive in the center of this heat.
"-Remnants!" The angry Edwin cried out as he fired his bow.
Piing! A storm of arrows crossed the horizon! Meanwhile, a whirlwind a few hundred meters wide tore at the smoke and revealed the epicenter of the disaster beyond it.
Kukukung...! The earth shook and dust rose. A senior monster wouldn't be able to endure this and would turn into scrap metal instantly.
Shock waves burst from the arrows, causing the party's robes to flap. The evidence of Edwin's destructive power was amazing. A master's attack, shot with the intention of killing something, was really huge.
However, there was no meaning to it.
Flames swirled from beyond the horizon. The force, which had been bound by the vacuum until now, burned the air and melted any remnants. It was unknown if Edwin's attack provoked it, but Laevateinn's movements turned toward the party.
"It's coming!" Someone shrieked.
Theo shouted reflexively, ignoring his aching head.
He believed in Sylvia and the other magicians, but it was rare to ever encounter this type of oppression. After having absorbed Alfred's experience and encountering Superbia, Theo wasn't overwhelmed by the pressure, but Laevateinn's presence surpassed human imagination.
Shortly after that, the giant moved at a terrifying pace, riding the aftermath of the explosion.
"Master of the cold, Ymir!"
The talent of the Blue Tower's top genius allowed her to use the prepared ice magic even when she was shocked. The vortex around Sylvia's body cooled the heat quickly and revealed its chilling teeth as a 100 meter tall monster. It was a swirl of frost which even monsters used to the cold of the north couldn't withstand.
'Minor Force, Blizzard.' As Sylvia was a 5th Circle magician, who was close to the 6th Circle, her original spell swallowed up the flame giant.
Starting with that blow, the curtain for the fight against the legend ranked grimoire, Laevateinn, was raised.