Chapter 832 Opening Move Part 2
The Healers, Leannan included, kept working on the infected treehouses.
Their role in Erlik\'s plan was still a mystery, hence they had no counter for it.
The sacks have been placed near all the plant equivalents of major arteries, so my hypothesis is that Erlik wanted to make sure that even if he was forced to release them during the day, the natural flow of lymph would quickly spread them throughout the treehouses.
Draugr tissues are paralyzed during the day, after all. Quylla said.
It was the same conclusion Solus had come to, but neither of them understood the point of such a move.
The sun had just completely set and the research teams were about to call it a day when suddenly, a small quake made the orderly placed crystal cases jingle against each other.
Are quakes frequent in Laruel She asked.
We don\'t have quakes. Leannan explained.
The power of the Sapling protects the city from them.
Between its control over the ground and its roots, the Sapling is able to disperse most of their energy.
Your Majesty, the usurper has just walked inside the Main Hall and demands you to surrender Laruel to him. Norlorm the Changeling said.
How nice of him. Leannan sneered, taking her communication amulet out of her dimensional item and calling to arms all the Sovereigns from the other plant cities.
How did he get there Undead were banned from using Warps, so the Titania was expecting that to make such a bold move, the enemy believed that his plan was already complete.
He walked. Norlorm repeated.
Erlik and his followers stormed the gates, killing a few guards and forcing the others to retreat.
\'Either he still can\'t use dimensional magic or he\'s just pretending not being able to keep the element of surprise.\' Leannan thought.
\'We\'ll see who\'s playing his cards closer to the chest.\'
Leannan Warped to the castle built inside the World Sapling itself.
It was a sequoia that had reached over 200 meters of height (657 feet) with a tree trunk larger than the whole village of Lutia.
Lith\'s group had never noticed it because the smaller trees that covered Laruel\'s sky with their foliage also blocked the view of the Sapling, making it look like a taller building in the distance.
The spaces needed for the daily activities of Leannan\'s court were negligible compared to the size of the tree.
The Titania chose the castle lobby as her arrival point, to check the damages and have enough space to organize her troops before the conflict began.
Now their roles were reversed.
Erlik probably wanted to finish things before dawn came, whereas Leannan had no rush.
She was confident of being able to take care of the Draugr by herself, but she was not conceited.
Just like her enemy had done until that day, she was going to stall for time before making her move.
The scene that appeared in front of the Sovereign and the mages from the three great Countries that had accompanied her was baffling.
Judging by the number of withered vines, saplings, and flowers, Leannan could tell that the number of casualties on her side was about a dozen.
They had all been plant folks, not Fae, so Erlik didn\'t face much resistance.
What troubled the Sovereign and her companions, was the sight of the double doors of the castle broken.
Even though they were 5 meters (16.4 feet) tall, weighing several hundred kilos each, they were almost torn off their hinges.
There was a hole where the lock was supposed to be, so big that the first thought everyone had was that a giant had punched the door open.
Who did this Leannan asked Norlorm.
A Grendel, Your Majesty.
A real Grendel, like those of the legends. The poor Changeling quaked in his boots at the memory, making his whole body squeak like an old chair.
His claws ripped our soldiers to shreds, whereas our weapons and spells were powerless against him.
It took him a single charge to blow the door down.
What about the traps I have laid
Only the Sapling managed to hurt him, but all it took the Grendel was to eat one of our guards whole to fully recover. Norlorm said.
Leannan nodded while evaluating the opponent\'s might.
The bad news is that the castle\'s automated defenses were supposed to kill even the strongest Fae in one blow.
They might take out even me, without giving me the time to regenerate if I didn\'t know exactly to look out for.
Her words were grim, but all of those presents were mages.
To them, knowledge was literal power and every bit of information they got would increase their odds of victory.
The good news is that the Sapling is still on our side and that the legends about Grendels being invulnerable are lies.
They can be killed, but I doubt he\'ll just roll over and die if we ask him to.
Look out for this guy. Leannan placed her hand on the nearest wall and the runes on her shoulders shone with a blue light.
The wood pavement of the castle came to life, sprouting several real-life wooden figures that replayed the recent events for them.
This is the Grendel in both his forms. The Sapling had recorded everything, even Gremlik\'s shapeshifting.
The creature in front of them had a round head, with feral eyes as big as a saucer.
It had bright red irises and vertical pupils that were filled with a mix of hate and spite.
Its body was entirely covered by a dirty brown thick fur, akin to that of a giant sewer rat.
Its maw was lipless and so large that it was the entire lower half of his head.
The mouth was filled with sharp, long fangs, each one about ten centimeters (4) long.
Gremlik\'s slender, almost feminine arms were now as long and thick as a tree, ending with razor-sharp claws.
To the humans, the contrast between Gremlik\'s handsome male Dryad form and the monstrous Grendel made him even more disgusting than his deformed associates.
For some reason, Quylla looked at Gremlik and then at Lith a few times, making a comparison between them.
\'Even when I saw Lith change, even if his hybrid form is nothing like his human appearance, I never felt revulsion while looking at him.
When Lith changes his appearance, he simply shows another side of himself, but he is always Lith.
\'This Grendel, instead, seems like two entirely different people forced to coexist in the same body.\' She thought and she wasn\'t wrong.
No matter what form they took, beasts, Guardians, plants, even Abominations were always themselves.
Undead, instead, with the sole exception of Liches, required their bodies to be possessed by the necromantic energies of their sire to continue existing once their life was ended.
The undead called it the Hunger, whereas the living just called it the curse of undeath.
Yet it was no curse, nor external force.
Undeath required a blood core, and a blood core was ultimately a faulty core.
It wasn\'t just the inability to produce light element that made it faulty, it was also the imbalance in their mana that such absence caused.
On Mogar, all living beings interacted with the world energy.
It was the way the planet interacted with its children, giving them the opportunity to protect themselves.
Just like the world energy, mana was made up of the six elements as well.
It was the reason why every living being had the potential for magic, why the elemental energy of the world answered the call whenever a mage cast a spell.
In Lith\'s and Faluel\'s case, it was part of the secret behind the former\'s number of eyes and the latter\'s number of heads.
Only those who mastered all the six elements were able to assemble and disassemble them into their own mana, hence capable of exerting Dominance even over spirit magic, the life essence of others.
It was the proof of becoming a lesser version of Mogar itself.
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