In the time that the remaining warriors had arrived, Shiro had asked the warrior with a wind divinity to shred up some trees which he wasn't too bothered by since they were waiting around doing nothing for a few days.
Just to be safe, Shiro had asked the dryad for any trees that she could cut down. While she was a little sad that a few trees were going to die for this operation, it was ok since having the dread sapling survive was much worse than cutting down a few trees.
With the dryad's permission, Shiro had the warrior shred up enough trees so that they could completely surround the tree with wood dust.
Explaining the plan to the warriors along with a small demonstration, they were ok with opening the fight with the dust explosion so that they didn't harm their allies. After all, if they were to attempt this during the fight, it'll be akin to throwing a bomb into a crowd of allies.
Looking down from the top of the crater, Shiro watched as they set the boxes of wood dust around the tree.
Once all the boxes had been set up, the warriors started to back off while two stayed behind. One was a person with the divinity of wind while the other owned the divinity of fire granted by Apollo.
Waving his hand, a gust of wind appeared in the area as all of the sawdust was sent into the air. Controlling the current so that the dust revolved around the tree, the man glanced towards his partner and nodded his head.
With the signal, the second warrior summoned a Sigil into the air as the sun's heat seemed to intensify.
While this was happening, Lena glanced towards Shiro and Dimos.
"Do you think this'll work?" She asked curiously. She was positioned here as her divinity allowed her to fight at any range. As Shiro was within the perimeter of the dread saplings influence, one of the roots could appear here so she was here as a guard along with ranged support.
"There's a high chance that it won't and the most it'll do is reveal the dread sapling but who knows. Since they're igniting it with flames created from divinity, it means that the subsequent explosion should also be enchanted to some extent which should help." Shiro shrugged.
"Ha?" Seeing as though the one who suggested the operation wasn't confident about its power, Lena paused before accepting it. After all, they couldn't see the future so whether or not the dust explosion would work is still a mystery.
"Now now, don't be like that Shiro. Have some faith." Dimos chuckled.
"I suppose I should have SOME faith. However" Shiro stood up and summoned her bow.
"You probably shouldn't hope for the impossible such as killing the sapling in one go with some dust and fire."
Pulling back on her bow string, Shiro narrowed her eyes at the tree in the centre and waited patiently for the dust explosion to happen before attacking the tree.
Seeing this, Lena did the same and summoned a bow from her armoury.
After a short moment, the warrior with Apollo's divinity finished his preparation. If one was to look up into the sky, they would see a giant arrow made from fire in the distance. Should it come any closer, the heat would be rather unbearable.
Making sure that everyone was a good distance away, the warrior swiped his hands down.
Receiving the command, the arrow started to fall as the sky was slowly tainted with a red hue formed by the arrow increasing its speed.
Bracing herself for the impact, Shiro kept her eye on the tree.
The moment the arrow came into contact with the dust, sparks jumped from one particle to another as a giant column of fire shot up into the sky.
With the blazing column of fire in the centre of the crater, a shockwave of dust exploded outwards.
Despite having braced herself for the impact, Shiro was still knocked back a few feet.
Clicking her tongue, she quickly stabilised herself and walked to the edge of the crater.
Feeling the ground shake, she understood that the fight was about to begin and the sapling was far from happy.
Suddenly, tens of fissures started to appear around the town as black roots started to appear.
Seeing this, all of the warriors inside the crater brought out their weapons and charged towards the tree in the centre. As long as they kill the core, the roots will naturally disappear.
With a third of them focusing on the tree and the others blocking the roots, they were well organised in delegating the tasks to one another.
As for Shiro and Lena, they were rather relaxed while shooting some of the roots from a distance as none of the fissures had opened up near them. Without the threat of the roots, they didn't need to worry too much about defence.
However, Shiro couldn't help but feel as though something was wrong.
'My instincts are usually correct. Plus, it's taking them a while to kill this thing. With their efficiency, they should have killed it already.' Shiro thought with a frown.
Hearing her name being called, Shiro turned around and saw a panicked dryad.
"What happened?" Shiro asked with a frown.
"The dread sapling *pant* It's a fake! It's a decoy that the real one has made! The real one was hiding deep underground and used this as a proxy! After everyone attacked it, it appeared in the forest. I'm trying to keep it at bay but it's looking for the liquified essence right now!" the dryad explained as she was trying to catch her breath.
"Damn it! No wonder they're taking a while to kill that thing. Sir, get a few of the warriors to come into the forest so that they can provide backup. Lena, come with me and we'll keep the dread sapling at bay before it can find the source." Shiro commanded with a frown.
Since Lena understood what kind of danger the dread sapling could bring, having the real body escape would be a problem.
Nodding her head, she immediately dismissed her bow and summoned the sword.
As for Dimos, he had already started to run towards the warriors that were being preoccupied by the roots.
"Dryad, show us the way." Shiro said as the three of them dashed into the forest.
"I will. However, if you go close to it, it'll poison you." The dryad frowned.
"I've got a bow for a reason. Just tell me where it is and I'll try to provide some ranged support without getting poisoned. If you are really worried, make me the biggest tree you can so that I can hit the sapling from a high location." Shiro frowned while dashed past a few trees. Lena was next to her as she slowed down just a little so that she could hear more about what the dryad wanted to say.
"Alright. I can't get close to it either but I can fight it from afar using my own divinity. I'll lead your friend here to sapling while I make you a tree." The dryad nodded.
"Keep an eye out on the other warriors as well. They'll be coming for reinforcement so it'll be good if you can show them the way. It'll be tough for Lena to keep the sapling occupied all by herself." Shiro narrowed her eyes and jumped up onto a branch.
Using it as a vault, she jumped into the sky as the trees beneath her feet started to grow larger with each passing second. Acting as a staircase, Shiro estimated that the tree she was currently on was around 130 meters from ground level.
Narrowing her eyes, she could see slithers of black roots slithering through the forest as decay was spreading.
Remembering the location of the liquified essence, Shiro guessed that the sapling will find it soon if they don't keep it occupied.
"Dryad are you there?" Shiro asked while firing a few arrows at the roots that she could see, pinning them against the ground for a few moments.
"Move the liquified essence if you can. It's quite close to where the sapling is right now." Shiro said with a frown.
"I'll try." The dryad nodded before disappearing.
Looking down, Shiro could see Lena dashed with a sword in hand.
'She should be able to keep it busy for a little while if I provide some ranged support.' Shiro thought to herself and took a deep breath.
Pulling back on her bow, she fired a few more arrows.
Hopping over some fallen trees, Lena started to notice signs of decay and withering. Understanding that this meant the sapling as near, she increased her speed.
*CRACK! Hearing the ground crack beside her, she quickly pivoted on her foot and slashed with her sword, cutting the root in half before it could even approach her.
There were a few roots that tried to attack her from behind when she swung her sword but arrows pinned them against the ground before they could even lash out.
Glancing towards the tall tree in the distance, Lena waved her hand lightly as appreciation before dashing forwards once more.
Soon, she came face to face with the dread sapling.