One of the wood elves advanced right in front of us and halted at a distance of ten steps away from us.
It is a young man with sharp-cornered eyes reminiscent of a bird of prey, with a dark green bandana that covers his light blond hair.
He is dressed in green clothes that appear like it was spun together from the veins of a leaf taken from a large tree that stretched its leaves and branches in the forest, and his long and narrow fingers are clasping a well-handled short bow.
「Marl, get away from them and come over here」
「Gio, but these people helped Marl」
「I understand. As long as they do not make any move, we will not harm them. So, hurry up over here」
Marl was prompted by the Wood Elf Called Gio, then she turned towards us and bowed her head deeply, she kept looking back towards us as she flew in the direction of the Wood Elves.
A Wood Elf girl who was refraining herself behind Gio with a bright smile on her face called out to Marl as she passed beside Gio.
From the way she was worried from the bottom of her heart, they most likely have been in a close relationship from way back.
「Marl, despite all my warnings that you shouldn’t go out alone. The forest at the moment is very dangerous you know」
「I am very sorry, Fio. I just wanted to ascertain the situation outside. I wanted to find out how everyone in the forest is faring at the moment」
「Look Marl, I understand how you feel, painfully so. But, do not wander outside alone again. Because I was very worried that something might have happened to Marl」
The girl with somewhat similar facial features as Gio, complained with large drops of tears swelling at the edge of her eyes, Marl apologized repeatedly for making her precious friend worried about her.
Seeing the state of those two, I feel from the bottom of my heart, that it was really great that we helped Marl.
「You humans and the Lamia. First of all, let me thank you for saving our friend Marl. Thank you.
But this forest is the domain of those who live in the forest, including us Wood Elves. As long as humans do not invade the forest we will also stay out of human’s territories.
We had made such an agreement with the humans that ruled near here in the past. Why have you broken that promise, and set foot in the forest?」
First of all, I had a good impression about Gio, because of his integrity and willingness to show gratitude regarding Marl. There was no such thing like shooting us with a bow all of a sudden, and if I explained our circumstances properly, we will likely avoid any conflict.
I explained the same way I did with Marl that Beasts that supposedly inhabit Ente forest appeared frequently near the village, and we surmised that an anomaly may be occurring in the forest, and we came to investigate it.
Gio, who having heard our explanation had deep wrinkles on his forehead as if to say just as I thought.
Gio in his own way probably anticipated our reason for stepping into the forest like we did, so we hit it right on the mark.
Even from the Wood Elves who hid themselves in the surroundings, I could faintly feel the unrest disturbing their inner minds.
「If that is the reason, I cannot blame you for stepping into the forest. And if you indeed fought against the demon soldiers, then I cannot very well let you go back without telling you anything.
Right now in this Ente forest, we are currently in conflict with forces from the Demon realm. The ones who showed up near your village are most likely those that were caught up in the conflict and chased out of the forest」
「An army from the Demon realm, you say!?」
Christina was at a loss for words at the fact that Gio mentioned.
Almost all human beings, till the end of their lives will likely never have any contact with the existence of the Spirit World, even for Christina she couldn’t suppress her surprise.
For me it is among the two possibilities I had anticipated, and it seemed to have hit the mark on the more troublesome one, so I was feeling sour like I just swallowed a bitter bug in my mind.
In the past good gods from the Celestial world and evil gods from the Demon realm were able to come and go freely into the Human world.
However, after a fierce battle between the gods that broke out when I was still living as a dragon, a kind of multi-dimensional space-time barrier that extends between the Human world, the Celestial world, and the Demon realm that even gods and demons cannot easily pass through was completed.
My brethren, the Dragon tribe were also involved in the erection of the barrier between the worlds, but due to this place, I will leave it for the moment.
Even for a low-rank demon soldier like Zelt, if it appears in this world in a group of a hundred units then this is not a trifling matter.
Is the 「Gate」 that is constantly used to connect to the Demon realm opened within Ente forest?
If the Gate is left open for an extended period of time, all things on this side will be encroached by demonic energy, then demonic transition will progress and more and more high ranking demons and demonic beings will appear in our realm.
「So, since when did these inhabitants of the Demon realm start making their appearance? Did you report this situation to the kingdom? How are your people dealing with it?」
「Ch, Christina-san, don’t be in such haste, come on see, Gio-san is feeling troubled」
「Selina, but this is not an ordinary discus……. No, you are right. Please pardon me. I guess I lost my composure for a bit」
「No, I understand your uneasiness. But, this is our problem. Those that invade the forest, we the ones who live in the forest will definitely knock them down. It is not something you all should involve yourselves with. It would be better if you people leave as you are.
It won’t take long before the abnormality in the forest is settled, then the inhabitants of the forest will cease to appear in your territories too. I, Gio of the Wood Elves in Ente forest on the honor of my clan promise you this」
In Gio’s eyes there was no shred of falsehood in the statement he made, there was a gleam of resolution in it, but this is something that we too cannot just overlook.
「Gio, it is not that I doubt your words, but this time around, I cannot just obediently comply with your words.
If the denizens of the Demon realm who can be said to be enemies of all living things on earth are indeed here, we cannot just dejectedly return back to the village.
At the very least, I would like to confirm with my eyes the war potential and movements of these denizens of the Demon realm who appeared in the forest.
Of course, we will do our best to help out with anything we can. That is my thought but what about Christina and Selina?」
「I have no intention to return. I was just thinking that I would like to confirm the state of affairs with my eyes too」
「I will not return, if Dran-san and Christina-san are staying. And also earlier when I saw that demon soldier called Zelt, I felt a very unpleasant feeling.
That thing is an existence that cannot be allowed in this world. If Gio-san and his people alone can drive it away then it’s all good, but I think we too can assist in that effort.
No, or rather isn’t it more accurate to say that it is necessary that we assist Gio-san and his people?」
Gio, having seen all three of us reject the idea of leaving the forest, exhaled with a loud sigh and shakes his head left and right without force.
「I would like to thank you for your offer of assistance. But, those who defile the forest must be defeated by us who live in the forest. That is the rule of the forest. And this remains the same now and in the future and must not be changed」
「But, while we are talking like this, the forest, the inhabitants of the forest are being endangered by the denizens of the Demon realm right? Then I would like you to temporarily bend the rules and fight along with us.
Rules are established for the purpose of preserving life, if lives are being sacrificed in order to protect the rules, doesn’t that defeat the purpose and it means that you are getting your priorities backwards?
Whether the fight with the denizens of the Demon realm can be settled, if we can get sufficient information then we will do as you say and leave the forest. Would you think about it?」
「……….We are grateful for the offer. But……….」
Well then how do I go about this persuasion, as not only myself but also Christina-san and Selina were thinking about this, Marl who was on Fio’s shoulder rested her wings and timidly opens her mouth.
「Gio, Dran-san, what both of you are saying Marl does not think either of you is wrong. But, the sun will sink soon. If you continue this conversation like this, won’t it become night time?」
Just as Marl said the sun had already begun to fall, and slowly began to sink towards the west. It was already noon when we arrived at Ente forest.
Gio already inferred a different meaning from Marl’s point and his noble face turned stern, and his hesitation is reflected in the eyes that looked at us.
「Brother, there won’t be a conclusion even if you continue like this.
If we send these people out of the forest, it will be dangerous if night falls on their way, why not bring them back to the village for a bit and there we can tell them everything we know.
If we did that, these people too will agree to some degree, and may change their mind. And we too need to return back to the village before night falls………」
「Fio…….certainly, it is just as you and Marl say huh. It can’t be helped. You people, just for tonight you will pass the night in our village. As night approaches, the forest at the present is just way too dangerous.
Normally, we don’t allow outsiders into the village, but considering the current situation, it can’t be helped」
Gio did the opposite of what he said himself
「Understood. I thank you for your hospitality. Is it better if we leave our swords with you?」
「No, please keep it. I am sorry, but you’re going to have to protect yourselves okay. We too don’t have much leeway you see」
「All three of us, already intend to at least look after ourselves」
While heading to their hometown, Fio who took Marl, came close to us.
Because of Wood Elves longevity their real age is unknown, but if it is only looks Fio who is not that different from me has curiosity sparkling in her jade green eyes.
Aside from actual age, with respect to mental age, this Wood Elf girl may just be as she seems.
「Sorry about that, even though you took the effort to come into the forest, you ended up getting caught up in this」
「I am very sorry–」
Seeing Marl’s appearance looking so dejected on Fio’s right shoulder, and with a pleasant feeling, I replied saying please don’t worry about it.
With the surrounding Wood Elves not paying attention to our conversation, and Gio too not rebuking his sister, but paying attention to the surrounding signs and changes.
Without knowing when the demon soldiers will attack, Gio’s and the others actions were correct.
While listening to the speaking voice that erases the sound of the forest trees, we continued advancing through an even deeper green trackless path, and when the sun sank completely over the horizon, my keen senses caught a strange change.
Despite the fact that the flow of the wind did not change, the bustle of the trees has grown to an odd degree, and the screams of the Wind Spirits are transmitted into the wind stream, and from the ground I am stepping on the commotion of the Spirit of the Earth is being transmitted.
Gio, who had been listening to the voice that the forest had conveyed, appeared to unexpectedly halt his feet, and raised his voice in shock.
「What!? So they made the first move huh」
「Brother, if we don’t hurry back everyone in the village will!」
「Aaaaah, the forest, the wind, everyone will be killed!?」
「You people, sorry but we cannot afford to bring you to the vil…….」
「We are not going back whatsoever. After coming this far you don’t expect us to go back do you. Humanly speaking, and realistically speaking」
「I agree with Dran. We will also offer our assistance to the best of our abilities. Although I have already said that several times」
「I am also of the same thought with Dran-san and Christina-san!」
「There is a risk of danger to life. Everyone in the village will have expectations of you if they know that you can fight. And I will also most likely rely on you too. Regardless of you people being outsiders of the forest, you will be getting involved in the conflict inside the forest you know」
「You are really kind, Gio. We are saying that even with that it is fine」
Gio having heard our words made a bitterly mortified face, and then slightly lowered his head.
「Thank you. I am in your debt」
I replied thus to Gio who lowered his head.
「I do not think of it as a debt or favor. Now, let’s go」
We rush with intense concentration without slowing even one step to rest with speed that even leaves our shadows that are cast on the ground by moonlight behind.
We run in between trees, and sometimes we jump over, with hair trailing in the wind and as we run through what barged into our sight was the form of a grotesque army surrounding a barrier formed by big trees and thorns and ivy intertwining.
Right at this moment the denizens of the Demon realm are severely attacking in order to tear down the barrier that protects the Wood Elves’ village.
Looking closely, from the feet of the demon soldiers, the same thorns that were used to build the barrier restrain the demon soldiers that were striding and struggling on the ground, were entangled from their feet, and the legs stomachs and thighs were skewered by the roots of the trees that were extended like stakes.
These countless thorns and tree roots extending from underground are hindering them, the demon soldiers being kept at bay are unable to freely approach the barrier.
Well beyond my expectations, you could say the Wood Elves are putting up a good fight against the Demon soldiers.
However, it was only for a short time, until the huge cavalry raising clouds of dust from the rear arrived that this impression lasted.
The demon soldiers surrounded the forest in all directions, and we came rushing from the southwest side of the village.
Before our eyes at the north side of the village, I could sense four enormous powers different from that of the demon soldiers, and one of them was approaching the village barrier at a tremendous speed.
A gigantic shadow that knocks up a large amount of soil and sand with every kick it has the lower body of the four-legged beast Ganaf, and the arms are in the shape of a huge cavalry spear and a round shield.
However, in the middle area between the upper half and the lower half of its body, there is a head of a beast without eyes with fangs chattering and ringing, and the upper half is covered in heavy armor without gaps.
Blood-colored armor the same color as the lance and shield, are all transformations of its body as needed.
「Move, Move out of the way! Anyone who stands before this Georude, know that you will be crushed to smithereens!!」
A force field is formed through the crimson magic power that is being emitted from the whole body around the one who ostentatiously gave a self-introduction as Georude, and it converges on the cavalry spear that is protruded greatly like a single horn facing the front, dramatically increasing the destructive power of his charge.
Trampling down a number of Zelts and Zaltz, turning the archetype into a pile of scrap, and finally the pointed end of Georude’s cavalry spear pierced the protective barrier formed from several trees guarding the village.
At the moment of the crash, the red force field envelopes the cavalry spear and the magic power of the Spirits passing through the barrier of trees violently clashed, it generated a shockwave and spread to all four sides in the atmosphere, the demon soldiers that were in the vicinity were blown away like clouds of dust, and the Wood Elves standing on the barrier lost their balance and fell to their knees.
The barrier of the thick trees was pierced by Georude’s cavalry spear, and at the same time the screams of the trees that make up the barrier struck our whole body and soul.
Beyond our line of sight, Georude pulled out the cavalry spear that pierced the barrier all the way to the base, and was about to move back his four beast legs to make another charge again.
「Hmph, it could withstand the attacks of the likes of the demon soldiers, but could not withstand a single strike from my spear huh. How pleasant that scream from earlier was. See, it’s enough to make me want to give you my spear once again」
Even when exposed to the fierce attacks of the demon soldiers, the barrier of trees that was unscathed until now has a huge hole in it to the point of being tragic.
Not good, I was on the verge of striking a huge blow to that Georude fellow, and just as I was about to amass magic power from my dragonkin soul, a large number of thorns grew in unison from the ground which cracked every time Georude took a step, and it became entangled in Georude’s big stature.
「How impertinent, do you expect to bind this one* with this level of restriction!?」(TLN: Lit. Georude)
It was a black rose reminiscent of a deep and pitch-black darkness that absorbs both the incessant pour of sunlight and the cold moonlight altogether and never shines.
「Haaaaa, Youu Bastaaaard, you want to suck my blood and magic power to bloom huh. You abominable black rose!!」
Suddenly, I saw a new figure standing on the barrier in front of Georude.
The identity of the humanoid figure that looks graceful even from the distance, was sinfully exposed by the sorrowful moonlight, which was stripped of its night-gown. (TL: robbed the dead of the night off its shade).
It was a woman. However the beauty of, or you could say the finest quality of, is the least of adjectives with which you could start to qualify her. And also mysterious.
Her black pupils like a black ball staring at Georude caught in thorns wrapped in black roses, is glittering with intense light as if burning its focus, but it is a cold light like a snowstorm blowing fiercely on the ground in the polar north.
Her body as she stands gracefully on the barrier is a figure that can be said to be one of the ideal body of a woman with nice proportions, the breasts protruding abundantly and the buttocks that draws a round contour, and the wasp waist that greatly constricts them is not at all inferior to that of Christina.
I could see black hair mixed with thorns thinner than the one that is restraining Georude, and black roses with black petals were blooming in the place of the black hair waterfall.
I was immediately aware of the true identity of this beautiful woman who made big black roses bloom in the upper part of both ears that peek slightly from black hair.
「Roses, No not quite, the Spirit of Black Rose huh」
Marl, who should have been attacked by fear and pain from my murmur, replied with an encouraging voice.
「Yes. Even among the spirit of the roses in Ente’s forest, she is the strongest, Diadora!」
To make Marl utter such a thing, that Spirit of Black Rose must be really trusted.
The majesty of Diadora as the queen of the night sky, with her back against the moon she reigns over, cruelly looking down on the denizen of the Demon realm who was getting soaked from his own black blood in the lower half of his beast body, exhibits a majestic appearance of a monarch.
I was recollecting the feeling as when Selina was in front of me, in Diadora’s figure as she was looking down on Georude with an ice cold gaze.