Beneath the Tree’s Shade
13k 26 324
X
Reading Options
Font Size
A- 15px A+
Width
Reset
X
Table of Contents
Loading... please wait.

Year 201 Continued

We saw the path through the void sea lit up, and this time, I tried to see what was happening from this side of the world. I saw a massive tower emerge from the ground, right next to the huge hole that led to the world’s core. 

The tower was pitch black, mixed with little bits of other colors, and I felt huge amounts of strange magic being pulled through that pillar. It was absorbing something... from somewhere.

The smaller spires around the massive hole glowed, as if it stored the energy that was being pulled. 

I switched to my astral sight, and I saw a dark blob appear right above the demon’s world. There was a black pillar of energy that linked to that physical tower. I felt a huge, splitting headache and Patreeck immediately stepped in. 

As I concentrated on the sky above the demonic world, I saw it.

A huge black sun of void magic. It had many other little pillars that I couldn’t quite see, like... easily hundreds or maybe thousands. What was this? The demon’s power source for void magic? 

Or is it an actual demonic god?

That pitch black tower seemed to pull void mana from the black sun, and I felt the air tense with void energies. It was void mana, the very same void mana that Stella used. 

At the same time, my magical senses were attacked by a huge surge of power that came from the core itself. This part wasn’t void magic, but a different kind of energy. It was also familiar, like the one I saw from within that shard of Cometworld. 

It surged out, and then, alternatingly split to the smaller pillars around the hole. One pillar was void, another one was this core energy. 

Void mana from the black tower was then transferred to the pillars, again, in alternating patterns. The ring above the hole started to float into the sky, and expanded. 

Then, I watched as the spires formed pairs. One spire that contained the core energy, and another spire that contained the void mana from the black tower, mix together to form this weird mana.

The pairs glowed and then the floating ring in the sky spaced out. 

The pair of spires each shot a beam of energy to the ring in the sky, and I felt the world bend. From the center of the circle, a huge rift opened. The ground rumbled, as the demon king moved out of its cradle deep in the core of the world. 

It rumbled for a long time, the demon king didn’t move very quickly. At that very moment, I saw that tower of darkness glow again, and there were three astral paths in the skies above.

One that led to Treehome, where my main body was. Another one that led to that black sun, this path was filled with a constant flow of void mana, and this third one was another black object. It resembled-

I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. It looked like a constant moving blob. Maybe it looked like a lava lamp? I wasn’t sure what it was. 

At first, I didn’t know they opened a path to this blob. But there had to be a purpose, so I watched. No one opened a pathway to this faraway place, bending space and dimensions for no reason. There had to be a purpose.

The ground rumbled, and rumbled some more. 

Then, this formless blob that constantly moved separated a small, tiny droplet of pitch black darkness, and that darkness went through the pathway. It came out of a rift right above the ring, and I saw a black and dark red crystal descend and fall into the deep pool that led to the core. 

But this crystal had a familiar energy. It was a part of the demon king, I was sure of it.. 

The crystal descended into the pool, and the rumbling intensified. I felt the demon king’s body stop somewhere, and then, I tracked the two energies approaching each other. The crystal and the body, fusing somewhere along that massive hole. 

The pathway that led to that blob closed first, and now there were two left. One that led home, and one from that black sun. The black sun continued to pump void mana through the path, and I noticed that even though I could very visibly see this astral path, it had a far more robust structure.

I needed Stella to see this. Maybe she could learn how to reverse engineer this portal!

Just then, I felt the two separated energies of the demon king, the crystal and the demon king’s body from the core completed its fusion. It was noticeable, and familiar, as I felt the fabric of the world bend to the presence of this emerged being. 

The gestation period within the cradle of the world was over, and so, a demon king was born. 

The ground vibrated strongly, and I felt it rupture. Massive chasms emerged, as the demon king suddenly shot upward.

The ring in the sky burned, and through my astral sight, I saw the path to Treehome lit up. The demon king shot out of the boiling sludge and straight through the massive rift. The rift immediately started to shut down, but the chasms around the hole-to-the-core continued to widen. 

The pillars around the hole-to-the-core started to collapse and break, a few even exploded, from magic-overload. The draining sensation I felt a while back, vanished entirely. 

Instead, all I sensed was pure emptiness and nothingness. Even in my deeper roots and trees in the little subterranean tunnels, there was a real sense of emptiness. Like all life had been sucked out, all value drained. This absence of ‘magic’ and ‘life’  seemed to cause the dirt and the demonic spires to start collapsing, the earth itself breaking apart. 

That didn’t make any sense. The pillar of void energy was still there. 

Maybe what was holding this world together was.. Wait. It’s like Cometworld again. The core energy holds the place together and... 

Does that mean the Core generates some kind of ‘stability-mana’ that allows the rifts to travel such great distances? 

Was I looking at this wrong this entire time? That void mana may be the liquid or the juice of interplanar travel, but the core’s energy is what allows for stable travel?

It was something I had to test out, but we had a demon king to fight.

Back home, the path lit up, and Stella watched with great interest as the path opened, and the demon king descended on the Southern Continent. 

[Demon King Exikant has arrived]

This demon king wasn’t hiding at all. The rift opened, and the sky rained with demonic larva. On the parasite-world, the rifts opened and larva was dumped through them by the hundreds and thousands. 

Even if coffee afforded some protection, the larvae were now able to resist the coffee’s influence,  since these larvae were empowered by the Demon King’s presence. But, the demonic parasites also exhibited a strange behavioral weakness. They all wore their demonic presence publicly, no longer hiding it. 

I wonder whether this was a conscious decision by the demon king, or just something out of instinct, or just driven by their new state of power. Even the simple larva now could take a punch, and their bites now had power. In their transformed stages, they were at least three times stronger than before. 

Which was pretty weak, since I have all my anti-demon buffs, but it still caused them to attack. 

The rain of larva happened mostly in the southern continent, but it also happened in the lower parts of the central continent.

Thankfully, together with my artificial minds, we were able to spot where the rifts opened and target those areas specifically, blocking off entire areas with large domes of wood. This meant the raining larva slammed into my wooden barriers and then was quickly picked off by my spiders and beetles. The overwhelming presence of my giant attendant trees meant my anti-demon auras also significantly weakened the larva, such that their threat levels remained low.

The southern continent had it rough. The star mana emitters still worked well, but for those less protected areas, it was honestly really bad. Families would wake up to someone in their family transformed into a demon. 

It’s like a zombie apocalypse, with demons!

A few of the allied nations where I had discreetly placed giant attendant trees, protected by [camouflage], fared slightly better. The effects of my aura continued to suppress these parasites, which slowed their ability to spread throughout the population, and protection to be raised against them.

The priests and the healers were not entirely stagnant either, and they were able to invent an ability. The sheer existential threat of a demonic parasite seemed to strike fear in the priesthood unlike the other demons before them, and the priests, somehow, managed to invent an internal [holy fire]. Strange that my own priests attempted to create something similar but didn’t manage to achieve it. 

I suspect it was the lack of fear of these demons and a lack of conviction.

Apparently it was invented a year ago, but it just took a while for the skill to spread, due to how sensitive and important it was. Essentially, it allowed priests to protect themselves and those not-yet converted to a demon with a flame that protected their soul. 

My spies managed to bribe a priest who possessed the skill, to demonstrate the ability to us. It was not hard for me to understand, since it's essentially a derivative of a soul-ish ability. Matriarch Hoyia immediately learned it just by watching it. 

For priests, they are generally able to tap into this ‘pool’ of power that sits in the system. There were two types, a generic ‘priest’ pool, and a more specific ‘god’ pool. Each priest, depending on their levels, rank and relationship with their god or patron, withdrew from this heavenly pool into their own ‘local’ pool, within their body. 

What the priest did, was essentially draw on the generic pool, and just ‘ignited’ it around the soul as a ‘barrier’. So, instead of using the heavenly powers as ‘god-mana’, they pretty much burned it. 

It’s a waste of power, and in a way, the equivalent of burning money. But, it protected their souls from the consumption of the demons. The parasites are forced to attack them and are unable to consume them. The problem was, this meant the lower-level priests couldn’t use their other abilities, and did not offer any protection to the normal folk.

With this knowledge, I experimented on my [familiars] and was then able to create [soul-protection familiars]. These were able to go beyond my earlier familiars which only gave resistance and slowed down the demon’s infection, and, using the familiars’ connection to the system, battle it out against the demons. 

A few tests indicated it was successful, and I rolled it out to the Valthorns operating in the South. It meant they would have to lose their normal familiars and the generally more useful generic abilities.

The demon king immediately raised armies to war, along with champions, but my trees had spread really far into the demon lands, and I spotted them demon king.

In any case, I called up Edna.

She knew that the demon king arrived. She could feel it in the air, anyone with a domain could. “Yes, Aeon?”

“I found the demon kings.”

“Kings?” There were three of them, each slightly different from one another, but I saw a thick web of magic that tied the three demon kings together. They were one and the same, and yet separated into three bodies? How was that possible? He saw only one that left the parasite-world, did they separate once they landed? 

Still, the three demon kings each resembled humanoids, but each of them had large wings. It seemed to me like  poor design, I expected a parasitic demon king called the Infestor King to have far stronger powers, instead of typical demon knights. Or was that their trick? Take the form of humans and lull the heroes into thinking that these are just normal demon kings? 

In any case, I observed their powers, and was prepared to share my findings with the heroes. I liked Prabu and Colette enough that I feel they were worth saving, and the fact that Prabu could, at least, have a reasonable conversation with me was something. 

These demons did not destroy the trees I planted in the area, nor did these parasites, and that was another strange thing I observed.

The earlier demons were far more destructive of their general surroundings, and I wondered, just wondered, could we co-exist with these demon kings? If, say, I was able to construct a pool where these demon kings could remain sleeping.

But I didn’t know whether keeping a demon king would stop the other demonic worlds from noticing us. 

Did the demons identify our worlds by some form of scanning mechanism? That each demon king emitted a signal to the other worlds that said to the other demon worlds that this world was occupied? 

Actually, on that train of thought, could it be possible to mislead the demon worlds on this? Find a way to fake the demon’s signals, such that they believe this is a demon-controlled world? If I could do that, I could buy time, both for recovery-post-invasion, and to build strength. 

I didn’t learn anything from watching the three demon kings. They didn’t move much, and seemed to be waiting. I wondered whether this was normal for demon kings. 

That said, I wondered whether it was time for me to disrupt the rain of larva from the side of the demon world. If I could cut off reinforcements, I could make it a battle on two fronts against the demons. 

There were still many other demon spire spawning pools throughout their world that continued to pump out demonic larva. 

I haven’t tried anything drastic yet, as I was also trying to find where the ‘champions’ were made. My hope was to ‘capture’ one such spawning pool, and see whether it’s possible to make my own champion from scratch. My gut feeling is that it is possible to create the body of the champion, but I’ll still need titan souls to fuel them, but no harm trying.

Anyway, the Southern Continent’s war against the parasites had some good developments, again, by sheer necessity. The world’s citizens are more resilient and inventive than I gave them credit for, and at the same time, it also reminded me that just even with the best facilities, and all the money a continent can throw at a problem, sometimes, it is those who truly needed such things that found ways to invent something that worked.

The heroes made more star mana emitters, and that helped keep certain spaces safe. Add to that, the soul-protection developments made by the priests, and even stronger variants of anti-demon coffee-based cooking, condiments and sweets helped the Southern continent nations to endure the demonic wave, and slowly began their counter-attack.

The Valthorns also felt more confident to operate in the South, now that they were no longer afraid of the demonic parasites. New skills and spells, such as [Inner Fire], [Soul Sanctuary] and [Soul Guard], all invented by and stolen from the Southerners in the past one year, helped protect many from the demonic parasites. 

So, Edna finally moved to the front and joined the heroes in their push towards the demon kings. Roon and Johann joined her too, as they were both on the verge of their domains. Both, with my [Court of the Deitree] familiar, in case of any emergency-teleportation. I also deployed more Valthorns to support that final push, though most of them would sit out the battle. 

I pulled Lumoof back from the Threeworlds, and readied for another battle with the demon kings. Together, we made a push into the demon-occupied kingdoms. 

Where the demon kings awaited. 

Something shorter because i'm not really feeling it. Also, since it's already march, time to shill my patreon. There's 3 more chapters on patreon + some patreon-exclusive side stories. 

Also, I want to shill one of the stories I follow actively. VIRTUOUS SONS Virtuous Sons is my favourite cultivation-style story, which tells the story of both Griffon/Lio, and Solus (Sol), in their adventures through the Mediterranean, become more powerful, and a lot of awesome shenanigans. It's very well written, and the worldbuilding is freaking, fucking, absolutely amazing. I personally read it every time it gets updated, and I'm also a paying patron. So, please check it out, because It's really, really something amazing. 

READ VIRTUOUS SONS.

324