After distorting the laws of nature for thousands of years, the northern elves finally received retribution. The furious forces of nature sent forth heavy hailstorms to cleanse and purify this country of sinners. Blizzards akin to raging dragons ravaged the land as they pleased, and the last patches of green hope left from the previous guardian began to fade awayI seem to be getting too poetic, so let me just be direct.
After the now deceased Elf Guardian God's magic barrier, which had kept out the true forces of nature, vanished, the enormous difference between the climates clashed. The massive difference in temperature created a speedy yet unsteady weather front, generating hailstorms, tornados and other natural disasters. The Forest Guardian God's death also hastened the rate at which the plants would die, and tornados swept away much sand and dirt, causing massive erosion. All these natural calamities added up, making it almost impossible to steady the situation.
"If we leave them alone, the northern elves will probably become extinct. However, we're unwilling to save them for free."
This was the mutual realization that most northern human kingdoms came to. Their speed at "assisting" the elves was rather fastor perhaps I should call it their speed at looting.
Although the elves had long since taught the secrets of magic to the other species, as the species with the longest history of magic-usage, they still possessed a significant amount of esoteric magic secret spells, techniques, and curses. At the very least, the elves were still the best at runes, foreign languages of other planes, nature magic, and many other fields, which incited the jealousy of the various human kingdoms.
Even if some elven secrets were accidentally revealed on occasion, those lucky enough to learn them would likely hoard it for themselves. At any rate, the small northern kingdoms had no chance to benefit.
While the other three elven kingdomsapart from Tassel Kingdomsustained serious losses, at the very least their royalty was still intact. Even though their main armies were now almost completely nonexistent, they still had rear support and logistical squads; they still possessed the capabilities to reorganize and save themselves while retaining their guard against the humans.
The other elven kingdoms still existed, but they were too far away and there wasn't enough time to save them. Although the Elven Gods seemed to want to do something, they still didn't take action. If we forcefully tried to "save" them, however, it probably wouldn't be all too different from an invasion, which would be rather overboard. We also needed to take into consideration the possible chain reactions that could occur.
To be honest, it was the sudden appearance of a few dozen elven SemiGods that stopped the human kingdoms plans of annexing the elven territory. Those elven SemiGods were obviously the reinforcements from the other elven kingdoms, and the fact that they were all SemiGods was the best evidence that the Elven Gods were already beginning to interfere.
That's why our aid for the other three elven kingdoms could only be limited to sending them the resources of food and anti-winter supplies that they direly lacked in exchange for gold and elven magical items. Their true treasures of elven magical secrets would be impossible to obtain.
Tassel Kingdom, however, was different. The True God Lorci had used her divine power to cause all the elves of Tassel Kingdom to turn into fallen elves, transforming them into dark gray-skinned grayblood elves. It was doubtful that any other elves would accept them. After all, compared to the elves on the surface, the grayblood elves were much more similar to their Underground dark elf brethren in both physical appearance and characteristics.
This was a vicious move by Lorci; this basically cut off all hope of the Tassel elves of ever returning to the other elves. The Tassel elves that had no other possible route to take could only follow her. However, since Lorci suddenly ended up perishing, all the Tassel grayblood elves sank into despairthe other elven kingdoms hated them for their betrayal, while the humans hated them for being the perpetrators of the battle.
If the Tassel Kingdom royalty was still alive, then they'd still be of some use, but it was a pity that if they were still alive, they'd probably just be dragged out to be executed.
There was nothing more convincing than the accusation coming from a dead victim's soul. When banshee Suana returned, dark plots were revealed for all to see, and the previous King Atrion was now known by all as an ambitious warmonger. Since this battle was the direct cause of the Elven Forest Guardian God Clareladin's death and the rapid worsening of their environment, the renown of the royalty and nobility was rapidly hitting rock-bottom.
Add on the fact that they had lost so many in this war, and the Tassel government was completely incapable of organizing themselves to help save their own citizens from the harsh winter. The other elven kingdoms close by probably would have added fuel to the fire by raising armies for revenge if it weren't for the fact that they were also dealing with wintry natural disasters.
After the several requests for aid asking the other elven kingdoms for assistance had been rejected, Tassel could only ask their other neighbor, Sleuweir Kingdom, for help out of a lack of any other options to survive. Even if they were just recently in battle, and even if most of the warmongers were now dead, a deep blood grudge still existed between them. The Tassel elves hadn't held much hope in this request for assistance.
But Sleuweir actually agreed to their request. Queen Glina did take into consideration the feelings of her own citizens and didn't send out Sleuweir's own army as a disaster relief squad, but she made it convenient for the other humans to go over and "rescue" the elves.
Those other human countries' "disaster relief squads" that came without even needing to be invited began the work of saving the elves under the name of the Mist Alliance.
Although it couldn't be denied that they were indeed rather selfish and basically acted like robbers while simultaneously saving the elves, it was indisputable that they did managed to save many grayblood elves on the verge of death.
And among all the disaster relief squads, the one that stood out the most was from a rather faraway small countryEast Mist Communal Country.
Princess Knight Reyne, who had become famous through this battle, led the squad together with all the believers of the Church of Law. They were far different from the other "disaster relief squads" that were no different from bandits. They really were working their utmost to save the elves.
Everywhere they went, they would supply the elves with resources, search and find suffering elves, help construct temporary shelters for the elven refugees, and answer requests to perform emergency rescues. They had an incredibly good reputation.
"Repaying grievances with kindness? I definitely don't think you're such a nice person."
"Hmph, of course I'm not so foolish. I'm just not as stupidly shallow as the others. Do you really think they'll be able to reap huge benefits from the refugees, who are on guard against them and treating them like the thieves they are? My target was never that simple to begin with."
Soon, when the refugees began immigrating, my words were confirmed and my choice helped me reap benefits.
Through the continuous disasters, the Tassel royalty had lost all authority, and the neighboring elven countries were angrily preparing for revenge while the natural calamities turned this originally comfortable paradise into hell on earth. No matter if they wanted to admit it or not, Tassel Kingdom was basically falling apart, and now that the other elven kingdoms were shutting them out, several human countries attempted to open their gates to the grayblood elves now looking to immigrate.
But, over ninety percent of the grayblood elves who immigrated chose the East Mist Communal Country. Their huge wave of immigration would bring many changes, and at the very least, they would bring countless amounts of tomes and knowledge with them.
Yep, this was my target to begin with. Robbing them while they were down wasn't very meaningful. As long as I received most of their population, of course I would obtain everything in the end.
Their choice was made in part due to East Mist Communal Country's recent fame, but more because of the good reputation that East Mist enjoyed for all this while.
Not only did the East Mist Communal Country not get involved with the elven slave trade, but it was also a country that strictly prohibited slavery, whereas the other countries all tended to have elven slavery to some degree. In order to prevent themselves from suddenly becoming a random human's slave, and with the personal comparisons they could see for themselves from the other countries' behavior, most gray elves with at least a normal amount of intelligence ended up choosing the East Mist.
And with the natural calamities helping me, I also did my best to convince Suana. Rather than staying there in such difficult conditions next to elven neighbors who were filled with hatred for them, she might as well have her entire species immigrate. Otherwise, even if they survived this winter, what would they do about the next? The moment the Elven Gods had some free time, with how narrow-minded they were, they would probably immediately begin plotting revenge for Tassel's betrayal. The other three northern elven kingdoms would be more than happy to be the vanguard, and this wasn't even mentioning the fact that Glina would probably be unable to stop all the people in Sleuweir from looking for revenge.
For a country to reach this point meant the end for them.
"Immigrate. In the entire Northlands, it's likely that only the East Mist Communal Country, which barely suffered any losses in this battle, that would be able to truly accept your tribe. You've also seen the reputation they've built up over the years, and they're also worshiping the Law God in this countryevery species has equal rights as citizens. Even the
Suana didn't reply immediately, and nor did I pressure her into making a hurried decision. I knew that she would definitely end up agreeing in the end. With all the reports of calamities, as long as the Tassel grayblood elves didn't want to go extinct, the path I offered her was the best choice of all. She could only act exactly as I planned.
To be honest, I indeed had selfish aims as well, but she would still make the choice I wanted in the end because this was their only path of survival. Without a doubt, this was an entirely out-in-the-open plot for mutual benefits that I made clear to Suana from the start, and Suana's agreement was just a matter of time. Before she agreed, I would patiently help with the rescue efforts in order to show my sincerity.
In the rescue efforts, although the ferocious weather caused all small airships apart from the Borealis to be completely unusable, the Aurora Knights and elite warriors still gave the elves a deep impression, and many received a boost to their fame.
The "Angel Wing Aurora Knights," "Mountain-Sized Floating Rescue Airship," and "Handsome Dragonslaying Princess with Slightly Strange Sexual Preferences" all helped improve East Mist's reputation as well as give the gray elves hope and expectations towards East Mist. As long as Suana made the final decision and summoned her entire tribe to immigrate, the major transition would definitely be successful.
Of course, there were also some things that I didn't know whether to laugh or cry about...
"'Forever a Friend of the Centaur Tribe?' What's this?"
"Oh, that's Lord Beifeng's new title. Since large amounts of forests were destroyed, the Tassel Kingdom's centaurs in the forests lost their own homes, right? But those stubborn tribe leaders were unwilling to leave their homes even on the verge of death. Just as they were all seemingly about to die off, Lord Beifeng intervened!"
It might not be the tribe leaders' fault for being stubborn, as from what I knew, these centaurs of the forest and the Rainbow Deer Tribe all belonged personally to the now deceased Forest Guardian God. They might have signed some sort of contract that prevented them from leaving, but right now, my complete attention was drawn by something else.
"...When did Beifeng start becoming a lord in people's eyes?"
It was obvious, just from this servant's comments, that he was a supporter of Beifeng. Considering that this servant was a half-beastman from Shawen that might have already been poisoned by Beifeng, I turned to ask another human servant official.
"What did Beifeng do? Forget it if it's 18+ restricted content; that I don't want to know."
"I heard the forest centaurs were just waiting for death when Lord Beifeng and Casio went to them and challenged those stubborn tribe leaders according to their ancient traditions. With their excellent abilities, they succeeded in winning every single duel so far, and as long as they defeat some more of the eldest and most respected tribe leaders, they'll be able to take the centaurs out of the forest!"
"Oh, he really did do a good job."
I was rather astonished. To my knowledge, although that fellow seemed so respectable and honest, he would never do something that didn't have any benefits for him. I didn't expect him to work so hard at saving others.
Elisa, who was on a nearby reclining chair, suddenly slammed the thick recipe book she was reading shut as she adjusted her eyeglasses and corrected my misunderstanding.
"The centaurs' favorite sport is wrestling, and according to their ancient customs, they typically take off all their clothing and wrestle while naked in rivers or under waterfalls. And those centaur tribe leaders are mostly strong males..."
Alright, I was no longer able to give my opinion of this any longer. After some hesitation, I could only manage to eke out one sentence.
What else could I say? No matter what, saving the elves' allies would improve East Mist's reputation. As long as a certain individual's personal desires weren't unveiled, I had no need to stop him. Instead, I even had to support him.
"But keep a tight watch on that bastard, and don't allow him to do something ridiculous. It's already dangerous enough to leave Beifeng in a forest filled with animals. Also, those centaurs... ugh. I just recalled the way he looked at Casio in their first meeting. As I thought, I should have just killed him off at that time. If he creates some scandal this timenohe definitely already created some scandal; I should say if his scandal gets exposed..."
I started panicking as I thought about it, so I suddenly slapped the table and stood up.
"No! I need to hurry out there and stop him! I definitely can't allow him to ruin East Mist's reputation."
Yet just as I was angrily roaring, filled with the sense of justice, I was stopped.
"No rush; eat your lunch before you leave."
"Who knows what ridiculous news he'll be the center of next! It'll be too late by the time I finish my lunch!"
"Amelia worked so hard on cooking this lunch. You should at least eat a few bites."
Of course, it was too late already, but not in the forest of the centaurs. Based on my past few days' experience, after eating this meal I'd be back as a tourist in River Styx yet again. If I couldn't find an excuse to escape, then it'd be too late for me.
"No, I doubt I'll be able to go anywhere at all once I'm finished eating."
"Even if you don't eat, you're not allowed to go anywhere. I spent so much effort on teaching Amelia how to cook."
"I know you have no good intentions at all in teaching Amelia how to cook! Ever since you took that book titled 'Dark Life-Stealing Cooking Techniques, Complete Edition,' I already expected this would happen."
'Dark Life-Stealing Cooking Techniques, Complete Edition?' This is clearly 'England's Classic Recipes.' Although I don't know what country England is supposed to be, their cooking recipes are indeed unique and creative. Not to mention that they're easy to learn, and it's quite convenient for Amelia to learn from."
"Yeah, they really are quite simple. There are only two typeseither baking in an oven or boiling in a pot, and no spices of any kind are necessary. Just add whatever spices you like when eating; this is the true original flavor. This cooking method is outlandish enough already, and when you add Amelia's magical cauldron..."
"It's already finished. I spent lots of effort on today's main dish, please look forward to it." Behind me, I suddenly heard Amelia's voice.
When I turned around, I saw a huge fish head pointing towards the heavens, and its wide-open mouth still had saliva that wasn't cleaned off yet. The huge fish's eyes that were in a daze seemed to be complaining about its pitiful end.
"England's famous dish, Looking at the Stars."
A strong retching sensation immediately tossed and turned in my stomach. It would have been fine if it was just 'England's famous dish,' but Amelia added her own understanding to it.
"Isn't this a Deep Demon Fish? It's a mega-dangerous magical beast with high intelligence, and it's incredibly difficult to deal with. Isn't it a specialty from the Underground's dark river? How did you get it? Eh! It's actually still alive!"
"You actually dare kill me for a dish? I curse youI curse youI curse you and your children for ten thousand generations! Ahh!"
Amelia laughed, pleased with herself as she retracted her fist that had just knocked the fish unconscious.
"Didn't the recipe say the most important part was for the ingredients to retain the original flavor, and that the highest-level ingredients were the best? Deep Demon Fish will definitely have a good taste. And, it'll be the freshest when it's still alive. Yep, delicious!"
As she said so, Amelia even personally had a taste right then and there.
"Ah, it hurts, my gills are gone! Don't eat my eyes!"
As I witnessed and listened to the half-eaten dish's curses, this abnormal scene became even more frightening to the point that I didn't even know what to say anymore. I could only cautiously retreat, intending to find a path of escape.
But, behind me, some even more frightening words were spoken.
"Awesome, now we have ingredients for dinner as well."
"Teacher, what shall we cook for dinner? Although I feel more confident than before after finishing this dish, I still think that simple is better."
"Something simpler than English disheslet's make Japanese food, sashimi!"
"Something even easier than tossing it into a pot and boiling? Then will we be able to just eat it right away after cutting it up?"
"That's right, this dish called sashimi is like this..."
Alright, before the topic could frighten me any further, I had already escaped. At this moment, I already made a decision to just eat outside for an extended duration of time.
1. The undead, as named by Lilith and Roland in Chapter 198.
Update: This chapter has now been edited. --Pranav