Treepercussions
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Year 201 (continued)

The parasite war finally ended, and almost everyone was glad. Our contribution to the final battle meant we had levels. Naturally, its the best part.

[You’ve gained 6 levels. You are now level 214]

[Multiple Skills upgraded. Root or vine based attacks now gain the ability to attack, touch and damage souls directly.]

[You’ve obtained the Level 210 Domain skill : Tree of Life’s Evolutionary Push]

[You are now able to inject a skill of your choice into a person, and this skill will be inherited by their offspring for two successive generations. Subsequent inheritance depends on luck and individual performance. The skills are collected through skill seeds, and/or harvested from the dead. You gain the ability to create a special Tree - Tree of Evolution. The Tree of Evolution is the site of your evolutionary experiments.]

That first ability to attack the soul directly seemed immediately less useful against the demons, maybe, except the demon king itself. No. Actually that made it super useful since, if the demons used the spiritual templates as their basis for multi-body forms and regeneration, I’ve now gained the ability to disrupt directly, so it could work together with the soul forge to deal more damage to the soul. 

I’d probably have to figure out how to abuse that ‘touch-the-soul’ part later on.

As for the second ability, it didn’t take long for me to  realise that it’s probably meant to stack over multiple generations. That meant if I could insert one skill into person A, another skill into person B, and another skill into the offspring of A and B, I could have three skills in the same person. The offspring of A and B’s offspring, meaning the third generation could inherit a total of six skills, plus one of its own. If the amount of skills I could inject was more than one, this could get out of hand really, really quickly.

This was pretty much genetically enhanced soldiers that we have already been indirectly meddling with, taken to the extreme. I would have to start injecting skills and matchmake-

I mentally slapped myself. 

I shouldn’t meddle in the love choices of my followers. I would let them choose it themselves, and must spread the skill to everyone in the Valthorns. I also wondered whether I could use this on domain holders, and I would try this out once I checked in with the rest.

“Master, I don’t think it’s that much of a problem.” Patreeck intervened. “I believe the treefolks would be more than happy to procreate with anyone of your choice since they don’t have rigid customs on marriage. Same with the lizardfolks...”

“Ah.” 

Genetically engineered supersoldier treefolks and lizardolks. 

“Let’s start this with them then, on a smaller scale.” There were also the Canari, which also didn’t really marry and seemed to rotate mates over decades. It’s weird, but I suppose that’s just their biology. 

“Got it.” Patreeck acknowledged. 

-

Both Roon and Johann got their domains too, and I felt their presence in the background. Theirs, due to their nature, were naturally more subdued and hidden, unlike Edna and Lumoof’s more easily detected powers.

They leveled to exactly Level 150.

Roon got the Domain of [Sniper], and the first ability, [Shot from the Stars] was a rather nifty ability that allowed Roon to effectively shoot a bullet or projectile of their choice into the sky, that can land anywhere in a continent-sized area as he so desires. Effectively, it’s like a portal with an arrow or a bullet. 

It does mean that Roon could effectively shoot anyone anywhere on the continent. It seems like a rather pointless ability, but surely there’s a way to abuse it. Maybe with a nuclear bomb, or together with Alka’s bombs. It seemed like there were no real limits, other than some distance-scaled mana cost per shot, so, maybe the trick was to repeatedly fire bombs over a distance, essentially a continent-wide fire support and a superweapon delivery method.

Johann got the Domain of [Ranger]. The first domain skill he got was really quite weird, I suppose. [Immortal Sentient Companions]. Essentially, Johann’s ranger-buddies like his hunting dog and his bird would not die even if their bodies were destroyed, and they gained the ability to level on their own, like a beastmaster with its tamed beasts. 

They both were immediately offered and accepted their membership to my pantheon.

“How do you feel?” I asked both, as they came to terms with their new power.

“Strange, but powerful.” I didn’t feel that different when I received my first domain, but then again, I wasn’t human. Or maybe it was the cloud of demonic mana that made it hard to feel like I was different. 

Lumoof did describe it as a sense like they were now connected to something else, and Edna said there was something in them, like a power source within them. For me, I wasn’t exactly sure what it felt like. 

I suppose each one had a different relationship with their domain. I also think it’s very possible to have the same domains, which made me wonder, “what happens when two folks with the same domain meet?” 

Perhaps the domain would just nullify each others’ power, and they would have to rely on non-domain powers? 

Lumoof and Edna were more than happy to have more join our ranks. “Well, now that Aeon’s pantheon protects you from permanent death, you two can join more of the otherworldly activities! Lumoof seemed particularly happy to have someone who could accompany him.”

Johann stared. “Really.”

“Yes! Come with me and let’s visit some sandpeople!” Lumoof laughed.

“Scorpions-people.” Johann rolled his eyes.

“It won’t be that bad.”

“I highly doubt it.” Johann said. “If the human-faction hated us...”

Edna patted the two on the shoulders. “Eh, eh, today’s a time for celebration. Here, a drink!” Edna gave both a mug of what was supposedly the best beer on the continent. It’s title is heavily disputed, of course. “Welcome. You’ve, finally, finally made it.”

Both Johann and Roon let out a long sigh of relief, like they’ve been holding this tension in for a long time. “I’m just relieved I’ve finally made it.” It was Roon who first answered. “We’ve been working at this for decades, and I am just, so, so fucking glad I’ve earned the right to stand at this level. I almost thought we were not good enough.” 

Indeed, both Johann and Roon have been in my service for more than half a century, their names were known to me personally about 50 years ago when they participated in the Alvin-kidnapping project. It’s been a long time for them. 

Lumoof tapped Roon on the shoulder. “Your efforts have not been in vain. The system rewards effort, constant, persistent effort.”

“I almost felt like we were never going to make it.” Johann said. “We were at the edge of it. Level 149 for so long. It’s like edging for so long and never actually getting there.” 

Edna chuckled at the sexual innuendo. “Well, you can go beat yourself out after this.But really, levels are really sparse once we cross that line. The things we must achieve to gain a level increases.” 

That’s because they don’t have hero fragments. These stupid hero fragments are clearly overpowered as hell. “So. We truly begin our duty to end this conflict of heroes and demons.” Roon said.

Lumoof smiled warmly. “This is just the beginning.”

Johann stared at his hands, they trembled. “We were so near to the demon kings, and even with my power now, I feel like... it’s still not enough.”

Edna answered. “Oh, trust me. It’s not enough at all. The domain merely gives us the right to join the battle as participants, but we are still lacking the heroes’ and their god-given powers. But it’s alright, that’s not how we really want to end this war.”

“Then?”

Lumoof tapped them on the shoulder. “This war rages on multiple worlds. Aeon doesn’t intend for this to be a direct conflict. Not if he can avoid it. Aeon’s intermediate goal is for us to gather more like us, across the many worlds.”

“Oh?”

“Come, let us retreat to Aeon’s main body in the valley.” Lumoof said. “Now that the two of you have the protection of your domains, there is a lot to share about the world, the gods outside, and the full extent of our plans.”

Roon and Johann looked at each other. They knew the powers of the domain at a general level, and Lumoof merely repeated it. They then walked to my main body in the valley, and Lumoof repeated my earlier discussions with them.

I informed them of divine related matters, such as the divine wooden stump that we retrieved, and the shard I took from the core of the Cometworld. About what I’ve seen on the Cometworld, and the Threeworlds.

I also gave them an audience to ask me anything. Anything at all, and I repeated my emphasis on ending this cycle. About why the world and the gods are just stuck with this makeshift solution of playing whack-a-mole with demon king. I’ve once theorised that the gods are just like me, still limited by space and time, but just significantly high up on the power level. Perhaps due to age, because they have been doing this for multiple millennia. Of course, as I shared this, it truly dawned on them that they were now on the path to divinity. 

I wondered how many humanoid gods there were out there, and I concluded probably a lot, since the gods so far seemed to prefer humans more than others. 

Johann was just quiet the whole time, as we shared almost all that we know of the demons, and the gods. Details that we may have mostly glossed over. 

Roon stared, nodded and just said at the end of it. “I need some time to soak all that in.”

They both needed time. They’ve known they were on the path to be gods, but they just didn’t expect how pervasive the influence of the gods are. That gods could be reading their minds and they didn’t know about it.

As a result of hitting level 150, both Roon and Johann’s Aeonic-variant classes vanished and were subsumed into the domain. The domain was both class, and a rank, and it overrode the classes. All their classes vanished. 

A few days later, once they felt better and more in control, they took a dip in the biolabs for further investigation. I did the same for Lumoof and Edna too, as they gained some levels from the incident. Edna only gained one level from the battle, partly because her contribution was really not much. 

Lumoof on the other hand gained a bit more. He gained 5 levels, and an additional domain ability. The additional domain ability was [Empowered Faithful], which ‘enchants’ 5 non-hero, non-domain individuals to gain exceptional temporary powers. He also gains the ability to see through his empowered faithfuls.

Both Roon and Johann’s souls were now similar to Lumoof and Edna. Their souls possessed a temple-like platform that supported their soul spring. There was also a large boulder-sized stone around their soul spring. 

-

The four heroes took a few days to recover from the battle, and then the mop up of the demon parasite started immediately. The temples took the chance to quickly proclaim their victory over the demons and started a big propaganda campaign on their exceptional contributions to the war effort.

The temples sacrificed a lot for this war. The parasites cost them a lot of manpower, and eroded a lot of trust in the institutions. Naturally they needed this ‘propaganda’ win to reinforce their own positions. 

Within the Central Continent, naturally we spoke of our achievements and contributions in the south at length. After all, it is our home base, and the people who live there should feel that we’ve done our part. 

As for the Southern Continent itself, I decided to let the temples have their win. They were already politically unstable and I felt that adding my propaganda to the South wouldn’t really help us anyway. I didn’t need their resources, and I didn’t want to trigger a continental war so soon after this one ended, by fueling the already brewing discontent.

Colette and Prabu, naturally, returned as soon as they were able. Snack-withdrawal was quite a thing. The two heroes requested an audience within days. 

“What can we do for you?” Edna asked. 

“We wanted to discuss Lumoof and Aeon’s abilities during the battle with the demon king.” 

“Oh?”

“We saw that Aeon used some kind of vaporisation ability on the 3rd demon king’s body. What was that?”

Edna shrugged. “Simple. Have you seen how a demon champion attempted to possess me?”

“No.”

“Oh. Then you wouldn’t know. A domain protects the soul from possession, and it also protected Lumoof from the demon king’s attempted possession.” Of course, that simplified it significantly, but these mages do not possess the ability to see soul-type magic, so that was sufficient.

“Is such a thing possible?” Colette looked at her partner. Prabu shrugged.

“I suppose?” 

The mages left it at that, but I could tell they were still thinking about it. It wasn’t something they accepted so easily, since the power to vaporise a demon king body in a single blast was really something else. 

At the same time, I told Patreeck and my artificial minds to figure out how to replicate that power. If I could do it again, it would be a trump card against the demon kings.

-

 

The destruction of the demon king caused the energies that maintained the path between the two worlds to collapse. As it collapsed, it seemed to generate a shockwave of energy through the dark forest. 

I didn’t see this from our world, but it was visible here, from the demon world. This shockwave traveled slowly, and it took months for the energy carried by the collapsing void path to hit the demon world like a really bad solar flare.

I watched as the skies itself turned dark abruptly and blue bolts of lightning descended from the skies. These lightning blasts vaporised most things that it touched, like spires or some of the rift gates.

I immediately attempted to protect the rift gates from these lightning, and spawned my trees around them to deflect the blue lightning. The lightning zapped my trees instead, and was powerful enough to cut one of my subsidiary trees in half. It even sent a bit of pain through the root network, and I realised these lightning storms were made from the same energies as that void-core mana mixture.

These lightning destroyed vast quantities of the demon’s structures, and also killed the demons easily. Each blast of lightning came with a shockwave. We then noticed that these lightning were concentrated around that deep hole that nurtured the demon king body, and that black tower filled with void mana received the brunt of it. The lightning smashed into the void tower and the other smaller towers.

I also immediately attempted to capture some of these towers by spreading my trees around them. 

Some demons noticed and started attacking my trees, and so, I spawned my beetles on the demon world and commanded them to defend my trees, and also some of them to attack. But I noticed the beetles performed badly on that world, even with the research I’ve done over the decades. 

No, more accurately, the demons were just stronger there. This was their world after all. So, I decided to send my artificial mind commanders to the battlefield. 

I teleported Horns, and a few other beetle-commanders to the swampy demonworld, and began an intense war of attrition to conquer some of the spires. The spires spawned demons to fight back, and here, the spires themselves contained demonic energies. 

Even with the vast destruction from the blowback lightning, the demon world still had defenders! 

Horns, and along with the other beetle-commanders, empowered the beetles and led them to war. I felt second-hand embarrassment watching him sometimes.

“Trees For the Tree God! New Soil For the New Worlds! Come my brothers, let us liberate this world for our lord protector Aeon!!”

“For the Deitree!”

The worst thing was the beetle-commanders all seemed to be carbon-copies of Horns, and mimicked his behavior in strange ways. Horns even stylised himself, first of Aeon’s Beetle Lords. I just prayed I didn’t get a nascent rebel on my hands. 

Their additional auras helped the beetles fight at a stronger footing, but I had to deploy [Giant Attendant Trees] when faced with the defensive demon champions. Here, they did not deploy parasites, instead, the demon champions were large four-legged walkers that resembled the demon walkers, but their bodies were made entirely out of the hardened crystalline spires. 

This was when I realised I made a mistake. I deployed my [tree of clones] too near to the rift where we first opened the gates, but not near what I wanted to capture. That meant, in the future, I needed to keep at least two or three seeds, so that I could deploy one closer to where the key demonic structures are, so that my [tree of clones] could directly exert my power. 

Instead, even though I’m in the demon world, after a certain distance, my power weakened and now I couldn’t fully exert my power. I needed my full strength to attempt a capture of these structures. 

I thought of using the seed I planned for the Threeworlds, or withdrawing that tree that still floated on the remnant Cometworld. 

Would it be worth it? 

The recent levels did not give me more seeds. 

As I needed more firepower on the demonworld, I also called Hytreerion, and teleported him to the demon world to help suppress the defending demonic champions. 

All because of my initial poor main-tree placement, and now, we have to wage a long battle, as the void-thunderstorm continues to batter the surface of the demonworld. I’ve even lost hundreds of beetles to the storm. 

I was able to capture multiple rift gates closer to my main body, but most of them suffered some damage from the void lightning blasts, and would need some repairs. The one nearest to me was the one I was able to wholly protect. 

Still, I also managed to capture some of the nearer spires by flooding them with my mana. Each spire took a lot of mana, since they were really dense with demonic mana and flushing all that demonic mana out took a long, long time. 

“Is it worth it to use my other seed here?” I asked Patreeck and my other artificial minds. I wanted the black tower and that structure that opened the rift, because they felt powerful. These things were used to store void mana, and also create those large rifts.

“What do we aim to achieve by capturing those structures?” 

But did I have a use for them, even if I did capture it? 

I suspect that a large ring-shaped structure may contain star-maps that would expand my knowledge of the astral realm, or the void tower would allow me to learn how to create such void mana. 

But was it worth it? I’ve used one seed on the demon world, one seed on the moon, one seed on the cometworld. I have one left, and I feel I should keep one as an option, should something like the cometworld appear once more. I could withdraw one of them, but that’s also a recharge-timer before I would get a usable seed. 

Or, deploy Lumoof to the demon world. 

I didn’t like that very much. I preferred Lumoof to be out mingling with these foreign civilisations, rather than toil on the demonworlds. 

I had to weigh the opportunity cost of not having a seed of aeon, should a rare opportunity appear, versus the capture of these structures.

“But these structures may not be unique.” Patreeck said. “If these structures, or similar structures on all demon-possessed worlds, we do not really need to capture them now. We merely need to collect sufficient seeds, and claim it later. As it is, we can learn from the structures that we have already captured.”

“That’s true.” 

For now, I focused on the assets and structures that I did control. We captured about six riftgates on the demonworld, and I needed to study them. 

 

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