Year 81 Month 10
Winter arrived early. Apparently something to do with moon-movements, according to Madeus, every 30-32 year or so the moons change position and somehow cause this world’s winter to last a month longer. Not sure how that actually works, and why, or whether its magic
And fun fact about the world, nobody can agree on how many moons there are. Some say three, some say four, some say ten. The night sky, even with magic, sometimes reveal odd ‘moons’, that only appear every now and then.
“Ellipticals moons.” Alexis said, she’s been sky-gazing almost every day. She’s even got a telescope recently. “I suspect some of them have century-long orbits.”
“That’s like... crazy.” Meela’s quite into the moon and star stuff too, but mostly for astrological sign stuff. Some of her guests enjoy that kind of service. “I thought even the biggest planets from our world orbits the sun in a few years, how can something orbit a small planet so slowly?”
“Or they could just be comets. Not strange for them to mistake comets for moons. Comets have crazy orbits.”
“Could just be magic.” Well, that’s my view. I mean, there’s really no reason why the astronomical rules that apply from one world, should carry over into another world. The forces acting on interstellar objects could be different, maybe, there's like a 5th magic force, or maybe dark matter in this world comprise of aether or star mana. You know, weird shit like that.
“True.” Alexis sighed. “TreeTree, how high can you grow?”
“Uh... why?” And that was a weird off tangent comment.
“I wonder whether it’s possible for you to grow until well... space. Like a space-elevator. Or maybe you could be like a super-tall viewing gallery and observation tower."
“That’s going to be absurdly high.” I said. “No way.” Well, the required height of a space-elevator is dependent on rotational spin and planetary gravity, no, unless I have some kind of magical item or object that create some kind of ‘levitation effect’ such that it functions as a counterweight... I doubt it. I recall Earth’s space elevator needed to be like... 35,000km high. How could a tree ever grow that tall? Unless there's some really wonky magic.
“I mean, maybe you could be like... magically super strong that you could support the weight. Maybe you could even reach like... uh... what’s the word for it. Geostationary orbit?” Alexis mused. "Or Low Planet Orbit?"
Meela shook her head. “I think you should just think about using magic. Magical rockets, Alexis. Magical rockets and levitation.”
But why would I even want to grow so tall that I reach space? Is there something to achieve there? Fruit-satellites? Or would star mana harvesting be far more efficient because of the altitude and exposure to direct star-light? Or more solar power?
Seriously, growing so tall just sounds like... Jack and the beanstalk? Unless.
“You know, maybe ancient space elevators are how stories of world trees come around. You know, Yggdrasil supposedly connected itself to 9 worlds, and if you imagined a modern, futuristic setting, a tree-shaped space elevator would be the ‘gate’ to those other worlds.” Alexis said.
“Oh wait. Do you want me to explain what all those words are?”
“Yeah.” And Alexis went on about space elevators, Yggdrasil, and stuff like that. I sort of recall the story.
It’s a fascinating thought, but I suppose there are magical... alternatives to a tree that grows into space. And why would I want to go to space?
A tree cannot into space. Or can it?
Anyway, enough about space, and winter, and moons. Demon battles intensified throughout the world, refugee movements increased, and news of death, destruction, glory, and victories flood the merchant channels. And that Gila country was crazy enough to actually use the blood sacrifice again
And I think Gila used three rounds of that blood sacrifice ritual. Because my sensors detected three surges of magic.
But it didn’t kill the walker, though it did somewhat disable it. News reports two of the hex-bombs hit the walker’s legs, and so the walker’s unable to move. Still, that didn’t bring an end to the intense fighting, as the walker did what it could, which was to spawn demonoids and flood the area with them.
So, it kinda sucks, because... the walker’s a walking demon-hive. It just vomits out demonoids when it doesn’t move.
And thanks to the merchants, there’s increasing awareness that the demonic ‘camps’ are all hives as well, constantly spawning demonoids, and taking them down would be key to reducing their threat.
“I think they are like ants, despite looking like.. Humans.” Meela suddenly said, giving a cleaning analogy. “How do you kill ants? Wipe out the nests, or the ants will just keep roaming the entire kitchen.”
Turns out, she’s not the only one with that idea. Jura’s been asked to support a 5,000 strong force meant to take down a demon fort found in the vicinity of a neighbouring kingdom. A ‘coalition’ force, a common thing during demonic wars. I recall that Lord Rajjiv Nung was also part of a coalition force.
“So... are you going?” Yvon asked.
Jura shrugged. “I’m not keen, and I told the merchants that my place is here. Joining coalition forces are for youngsters.”
“I’m starting to think you spend too much time with TreeTree, that you’re getting his stationary-habits.”
Jura didn’t mind the jab. “TreeTrees got a point. Staying home’s nice, and I’ve got better things to do. Like practice. Besides, they’ve got a general, don’t they? Or some of the human elites. They don’t need me.”
“They’ll be fine. I don’t quite trust this coalition force anyway.” Jura felt these coalitions generally had ulterior motives, like getting a good sense of what his strengths are, and so on. I think that’s his diplomatic-sense tingling.
“Heh.” Yvon’s not exactly trusting of them either. “Merchants probably just want to clear that base for a trade route. It is between this side of the city and the other, and they can’t be using their airships all the time.”
The coalition is partly funded by the merchants, and they will handle the logistics, supply and also provide reimbursement. Forces from various kingdoms would join, usually the lower ranked ones. Battles are a good chance to gain levels, and usually such coalition forces try not to take on challenging opponents, due to the political fallout from a failed coalition attack.
Throughout the world there are multiple such coalitions, many based on century-old treaties for mutual protection, or ancient commitments with temples and religions.
“But they will insist on someone, and the council will look to us to volunteer someone.” Madeus, who’s also in the meeting, responded. He’s not keen either, and like Jura, he’d prefer if he could just study and conduct magic research all day.
“I’ll ask one of the captains to volunteer, then. He’s about level 40s and should see more battle experience.”
“I’d send Lausanne if she’s a few years older.” Yvon shrugged.
“True, but she’s not. So she stays. We have enough demons roaming the countryside as it is.”
Well, Lausanne and the Valthorns are now attached to a mobile ‘cavalry’ unit. They ride beetles, in a way, as the proto-beetleknight squad, travel the countryside and hunt any demon packs that we spot. Helps that I can telepathically communicate with her over the distances, for coordination.
A feature of her special-familiar contract.
“Maybe Roma can join if he’s a bit older... depending on how long this demon king lasts...”
Yvon shook her head. “Roma doesn’t seem to have inherited our combat talents. He’s more... into books. Perhaps a mage.” Yvon’s son, Roma, is about 9 now, and he seems to prefer being at home with his books. Her mom struggled to get him to practice with her, and well, there’s a bit of resentment between the two. Maybe he needed a father figure. In fact, Roma’s relationship with Eriz is a whole load better, and Yvon frequently had to rely on Eriz to speak to Roma.
Jura nodded. It’s between her and her son, not for us to intervene.
“Ah never mind.” Yvon diverted the subject. “I hope the girls come back safely.”
Lausanne lead 4 of the girls, together with a group of 100 beetles. They’re headed for a 100 strong demonic raiding force. They should win relatively easily, and Horns is close behind with a force of another 100 beetles.
Even though New Freeka’s territory is small, my subsidiary tree network stretches far, thanks to my prior expansions, and with my newfound Aura-sharing skills, the subsidiary tree network functions like ‘defensive’ lines, a place where the intercepting troops can return, should the battle turns bad.
Gradually, I am extending this network of trees further, they are after all, a great early warning system. Trees have eyes, y’know.
Year 81 Month 11
Wars. Wars. Wars.
Battles and battles, seemingly endless ones. So much, that my soul realm is filled with the souls of the recently departed. My soul harvesters are busy, battlefield after battlefield they visit, and each trip, they bring back more souls.
Even as the cold began to sweep through the continent, the demons do not stop fighting. And so, the defenders are forced into battle even when they do not wish it.
“I feel a little bad, being safe and warm here.” One of the captains joked, the other one was out, as part of the merchant coalition force.
Madeus laughed, and then he sipped on his ginger tea. The group decided to have something a bit more cozy, so they brewed a few pots of fruit tea, ginger tea, garlic tea, and snacks. Mainly some fried potatoes, chips, fries. One of Meela’s kitchen projects was to recreate potato fries, because part of the global-domination plans involved being a chain-restaurant, like... McDonalds. So she had to have fries.
Wesley, and our priests sat around the meeting room too. “Don’t jinx us. Appreciate that we can still huddle around in such comfort, even when there’s a demon walker around.”
Meela’s happily playing the caterer. Apparently serving food contributes to her levels as a Hotel-Tree. Jura, Laufen and Lausanne also ate the snacks. “Yeah. Never know when the good times come to an end.”
There’s a nod of agreement throughout the room. I wonder whether they feel it. That the demon king is coming. I certainly think I can. The strange twitches to my star-mana leaves. The unusual fluctuations there...
“I’m just missing good chilli sauce to go with my fries. Or ketchup, for that matter.” Meela whined to both me and Alexis. “I need to get chillies and tomatoes.”
Meela clearly’s more focused on unlocking new recipes for her restaurant. I’m starting to think she’s playing hotel-tycoon or Overcooked, since the whole demon king thing is really just a ‘distraction’ for her.
“The council’s of the view that we should be building more walls, and have the sewer project modified.” One of the treasurers speak to the group. Even though it’s cozy, it’s still a Valtrian Order meeting.
“Four layers of walls is insufficient?”
“Well, they thought that some of the collateral damage could be minimised, and we do have the capacity to add walls. As for the sewer project, they’re now thinking of adding bunkers and hideouts to double it’s function as a safe zone from the demons. Should we oppose such a motion?”
Jura shook his head. “I think it’s fine. It’s aligned to what we wanted, and the city should be allowed to protect itself. But it should be funded by the Council, not from the Order.”
Most of the other meeting attendees nodded. Then went back to eating.
“Any other business?” Jura asked. Most of them had just completed regular updates and reports. Discussions on the demonic forces take up about half the time, due to the far reaching implications of the demons on trade, funding, military and infrastructure.
“The demon king, according to whispers among the temples, will arrive within the next 3 months.” A priest said.
In my mind, well, that’s what I think too. This meant the temples may have some kind of star-mana equipment.
“How reliable is this prediction?” Jura leaned forward. “And even if so, what can we do about it?”
One of the captains, “I believe the best thing to do, Counsel, is to just keep watch. You are right to say that we have no way to stop whatever the demon king does. Be on the lookout, and move out of it’s way.”
“Agreed.” Jura nodded. I think it’s probably the best decision as well. “I’m personally more interested in when the heroes will arrive, what powers do they have, and how can we spot them. So that we can stay out of their way."
"We... don't like heroes?" Meela asked, the crowd here doesn't know her true identity as a former reincarnated hero.
"If they are not humans, I will like them." A captain said. "Else these stupid heroes will buy into the propaganda the royals feed them and treat us non-humans as enemies, once the war is over."
Meela did not reply. I think she's trying to remember what the other kings and royalties have said to her in the past. She deftly served a plate of fried potatoes to one of the priests.
"Thankfully all the previous generation heroes died with the demon king." It was a priest that said it. "The post-war political jostling is usually... terrible. Heroes who see it as their duty from the gods to correct all that is wrong in this world."
Meela stopped. She sighed.
Yvon, who was invited for the food, nodded. "Indeed. We should do our best not to offend them, we stick out, with our presence as a non-human nation in this region. But let's hope the gods spread out the heroes a bit, and that some of them are non-humans. If that's the case, the heroes will balance each other out. Or maybe all of them die to the demon king."
Meela sagged a little.
"Never mind, never mind. Let's just wait and see what happens..." Jura munched on a piece of bread.
Year 81 Month 12
The Hutan druids responded that the meetup with the other tree spirits will be delayed because of the demons. Their efforts are dedicated to defending their areas against the demons.
Ah well, I didn't expect much from these druids anyway. I intended to reach out to these tree spirits without their intermediation anyway. I certainly would prefer to have discussions without the eavesdropping of others. Somehow, I have a gut feeling that there will be things only we, tree spirits, should know.
Or should I say root-feeling? What would be a plant equivalent of gut anyway.
After my recent level gains, and my recent subsidiary tree numbers, I might have just enough to extend one long chain to the Giant Lilypod City, but I would have to give up all the other subsidiary trees around, and that would leave.... The valley defenseless and without it’s early warning system.
I’ll wait for my next subsidiary tree upgrade then.
Or maybe... I can extend half way there and see whether I gain levels killing the demons I encounter along the way. But Giant Lilypod City is way down south of my continent. Hmmm, even past that Gila country where the leg-less demon walker is.
Sorry guys, not feeling too good. Work's been stressful, family's been stressful, and I'm not feeling great, so a short chapter.
I felt like a genius when I thought up Yggdrasil was some ancient Norse 'alien' space elevator. Kinda like stargate, y'know. Or that space-elves where their tree leaves are also spaceports.