Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
In the endless dense forests of the far south, there was a place praised by countless people. It neighbored Mount Bondar and was the source and edge of a thousand rivers, located in the continent and yet was as vast as oceans. Infinite plants and animals that should have been extinct lived there, as if it was ancient times.
The Lake of Eternity was its name—the Holy Land of Nature, the home of the elves. Around it was thousands of elven cities and villages, distributed across lakes and rivers like the roots of a tree, spreading to the distance.
The surface of the lake rippled like an azure gem, slapping onto the land by the lakes. The vast lake appeared endless in a single glance, its horizon indiscernible even when one looked afar. But in the center of the sea inside a continent was nine colossal trees that connected the clouds and the earth, its mountainous branches covering the skies while its branches concealed the sunlight, its roots forming nine gigantic wooden islands entrenched into the center of the Lake of Eternity.
Golden sunlight spilled out from the gaps between tree, branches, and leaves, veins of rays touching the surface of the lake and wooden islands, where many other smaller tress and islands were vaguely visible around the nine giant trees. While they were no match for the nine, they remained several times larger than ordinary trees.
At present, the surface of the lake stirred as elven boats sailed between shores and islands, while an elven lady strolled beside the inland sea, watching it all silently.
She was beautiful yet unique. Dressed in a dark-green gown that accentuated her form, her skirt dragged over the sands of the shore as she walked, but remained unsullied by the dirt. She did not have the femininity of typical elves given their slim build, and yet her every move appeared to have the air of accepting and carrying everything.
As she strolled, the shore of the Lake of Eternity changed variably. Plants broke out new sprouts, the sands turned into fungus, while all animals and birds in the coastal forests unwittingly both wanted and was reluctant to approach her at the same time, and merely stared.
Galanoud, the Nature’s Magister, was walking amidst the world, staring at the heart of the Lake of Eternity where those nine majestic Mother Lifetree stood. There was no hint of emotion in her azure pupils, preventing anyone from catching on what she was thinking.
It was after some time that she paused, and shook her head slightly.
The mysterious sigh quickly vanished with the lakeside wind, and Galanoud said nothing else. Then, she abruptly frowned and raised her right hand, pressing her index finger on her temple.
“Lex? What is it?” She asked softly.
“Magister, Count Radcliffe had just arrived here at Redwood City, but he said that he won’t wait for your return when he learned that you’re strolling by the Lake. He has gone there to look for you!”
A masculine voice spoke helplessly and worriedly through the spiritual link. “We can’t stop him…”
“Of course you can’t. It’s fine; it’s nothing. I knew he would do that.”
The Nature’s Magister nodded lightly, but looked up as if sensing something, and looked toward the nearby sky. There appeared to be nothing there, but in the air the birds that were flocking toward Nature’s scent was dispersing. On the ground, the beasts were beginning to panic as well, fearfully stamping as if they could not wait to escape.
Galanoud sighed at the sight. “And your warning’s too late,” she added mildly.
“He’s already here.”
At that, Galanoud severed the spiritual link, a mild and translucent halo hence surging out of her body and spreading across all directions. All panicking avian and beasts calmed a little the moment the halo touched them, and began to either retreat in an orderly manner or stay where it was, without creating any greater ruckus.
In the very next instant, a black silhouette appeared nearby out of thin air.
“It’s prompt, Lady Galanoud, but I’m really not one to wait,” Joshua said.
Controlling electromagnetism to fly and quickly locate the Nature’s Magister through the assemblage of extraordinary scent of Nature, the warrior slowly strode toward her and nodded as a greeting. “Your subordinates also appeared intent on a welcoming procession—I’m not a fan of those, which is why I simply walked away… I hope you wouldn’t mind.”
“The welcoming procession is unnecessary, but they do wish to show you a welcoming face. I hope you could understand their good will.” Galanoud replied, before sighing softly in wonder. “A brief moment apart, and to think that your ability had actually arrived at such a threshold… it’s hard to imagine that such substantial power belonged to a novice who rose to Legend just a few years ago.”
“Just a lucky coincidence.” Making a simple reply, Joshua studied the Nature’s Magister before his eyes as well. With his vision that could discern microscopic layers, it is difficult for even for Legends to not be seen through by his eyes.
However, what Joshua saw made him blank out momentarily, for he saw nothing other than a huge cluster of fibers and leaves. The beautiful elven lady before him—even the dark green gown that dragged along the ground was in fact formed from plant fiber and special leaves. Those were not elven legs beneath her gown, but countless squirming tree roots that resembled tentacles, digging into the earth, their origins unfathomable.
Just like a puppet especially assembled for interaction.
Just as Joshua blinked, the Nature’s Magister shook her head and cautioned him. “That gaze is very impolite—especially when directed to a female. Please be aware.”
“Apologies, a habit of mine, searching for the true form…”
Having got caught subconsciously ascertaining another’s true form for the chance a lethal blow, Joshua coughed softly and took a step back when he realized his rudeness. “To be frank,” he continued, “I don’t like running in circles, so I’ll just ask—there must be something important to discuss, since your Ladyship materialized your form and invited me here. Shall we begin?”
“I really can’t tell if you’re trying to shift the conversation or if that’s really how you behave.”
The Nature’s Magister laughed drily, unable to stop herself from shaking her head by Joshua’s incisive inquiry. “I planned to repay you for your grace in reuniting us with His Majesty, Father Nature, and with that wedding of your little friend, I invited you conveniently here to the Lake of Eternity… according to recent news, I have a gift that you might find suitable.”
“A little prompt, but perhaps you do enjoy such style.”
Galanoud spoke with a tone as if conversing normally, but her movement in the very next second was extraordinary—reaching out with her right hand, a cluster of pale green light began to gather in her hands. Joshua thought nothing of it at first since most gifts were a little significant with her present ability, but he soon frowned, noticing something unusual, and began to scrutinize her every move.
“That’s…” He muttered softly, a hint of astonishment in her voice.
The Magister, however, was unaffected by the warrior’s surprised voice, even as pale-green radiance streamed toward them from all directions like gathering fireflies. As Joshua looked on at the seemingly trivial lights, he sensed a presence that was familiar without equal.
It was the power of lifeforce, in its most primitive and fundamental form.
The Nature’s Magister grinned, watching her own right hand as her dark-green gown blossomed with flowers in a distinct order. As the light-yellow flowers opened their petals, Nature Power visible to the naked eye surged within.
And in the next instant, every ounce of that Nature Power was gathered into the Magister’s hand. Amidst emerald flashes, the warrior could seemingly see primeval live flourishing in the oceans, algae floating amidst the shallows. Then, when the oceans turned into land and land into mountains, those unassuming microscopic lifeforms rapidly changed with their new environments. Vertebrates walked over the shores, the ancestors of amphibians crawled out for the water for the first time, while spores of primitive plants spread over the land, propagating. They had gone through crumbling mountains that formed canyons, plains rising into highlands, while they finally formed blankets of dense forests that covered the world of infinite shifts.
Then, all illusion dispersed as the lights gathered in the Magister’s hand was compressed to its very limit. The light then vanished, and an unimportant four-leaf clover that was wrapped in a bubble of water appeared in Galanoud’s hand.
Even as he studied the ordinary and delicate four-leaf clover, Joshua could sense the profound lifeforce contained within: a vigor that could grow into a towering tree no matter where it was planted. The warrior looked up abruptly at the nine mountainous trees when the very thought struck, and blanked out again.
“The Mother Lifetree?”
“You created the sprout of a Mother Lifetree out of thin air?”
“Yes. Think of it as a gift since you aided us to retrieve the World Tree. As thanks, all elves believed that we must award out something precious—our gratitude could not be conveyed otherwise.”
“I had wanted to give this to you for quite some time, but you really do move around and there’s no telling when you are actually in Mycroft. A chance finally came by today.”
With a pushing motion of her right hand, the Nature’s Magister floated the four-leaf clover to Joshua. “Though most disagreed in the beginning,” she said simply, “they acceded in the end.”
“It’s awe-inspiring. You have definitely ventured further than I did in this respect.”
Joshua could not help praising her as he accepted the sprout and sensed the profound lifeforce within. “Please accept my graceful submission as one with inferior skill.”
“But I can’t create a steel statute that is over hundreds of meters tall. Everyone has their strengths, don’t they?”
Galanoud could not suppress a smile in response to such earnest praise, just as the lights of Nature Power danced a little uncontrollably in her eyes—it was clear that creating the sprout of a Mother Lifetree out of thin air was not easy for her. Still, after taking a moment to recover, the Magister started to tease Joshua. “Rumor had it that you’re replicating objects created by various factions, with Igor even suspecting if you had stolen something out of a collection in his bedroom. As for me, I thought that I could simply give you a sprout of a Mother Lifetree so that you could plant it when you want its Leaves.”
“I did say many times that the statue is an accident. I’m not that narcissistic.”
Joshua tutted, having not the time to explain the frivolous fact that he had been making statues of everyone inside the liege’s residence. Instead, he looked toward the four-leaf clover wrapped in a bubble, and pressed the Magister with interest. “I wouldn’t decline this gift—but are there any conditions for planting it?”
It was not as if there were no examples of people who wanted to steal the sprouts of elven Lifetree in history. A few occasions of carelessness on part of their race—which may have been deliberate—saw a few successful thefts. However, those who tried to grow it failed unexpectedly, and while those stolen sprouts did not die, it certainly would not grow no matter what method was used. Over a dozen years, it would only grow from four-leaf clover into a simple shrub, millennia away from growing into a tree that pillared the skies.
“It’s simple. The Mother Lifetree cannot be planted into soil; it must be soaked directly in water with lifeforce before its roots developed fully.”
Galanoud turned slightly toward the Lake of Eternity which was rippling in a crystalline glint, sighing softly. “It took us elves a thousand years to nurture the Lake of Eternity to such a state, and without it the Mother Lifetree would be a simple potted plant… Though in itself meaningless, the Mother Tree does hold the experience I have in creating life—which would be more helpful than a Mother Tree for you.”
“That’s a great gift. I like it. Thank you.”
Joshua nodded somberly in gratitude at the Nature’s Magister’s gesture, certainly aware that she respected his own strength, and it was not a hassle for him to plant the Mother Tree since he knew a place that indeed held water rich in lifeforce. The locale itself was vast, covered entirely in water and abundant in energies, although the only problem was that it was no within the world of Mycroft.
‘Looks like I have to make a trip to the Bloodmoon Abyss when I have the time,’ he thought. ‘Light’s true form probably wouldn’t mind having a tree as company.’
The Bloodmoon Abyss was a world that lay in waste but not without the chance of revitalization. All Xillians’ energy and lifeforce had assembled into the blood moon, and when it is revived as a sun, the revitalization of the world was but an extended process.
If a Mother Lifetree was added to the equation of the extended process, and if the tree itself could grow to a certain height where its colossal roots could anchor the shattered continents that floated in the air, the revival of the world would naturally be accelerated considerably.
Joshua looked up as he arranged an upcoming trip in his mind, and turned toward the Nature’s Magister who was watching him silently and nodded. “However,” he said, “You inviting me here definitely isn’t to just give me a tree, Magister.
“Now that we’ve got that out of the way, shall we talk business?”