∼ Day 65 ∼
Upon hearing my words, the uncertain demeanor of the woman before me took a sudden turn. Replacing the gaze of uncertainty and exhausted concession was a firm determination and a hint of what looked like teasing anger. She had utterly masked her previous insecurities, but I doubted they were completely gone underneath that visage of womanly charm.
Dropping the sobbing woman that had attacked me from the hold I had on her throat, I took in the sight of the beauty before me.
Lily was as beautiful as ever. She was a woman of devious proportion, from her sexy charms to the deadly cunning underneath the veil of seductiveness. She was outfitted in the same adventuring gear as I remembered from our previous encounter.
The daggers strapped to either hip and an elegant sword on her belt. Form-fitting leather encasing most of her upper body, but still allowing for maximum mobility and flexibility. Black boots made for traveling and matching leather stockings that hugged the flesh of her long and slender legs, the pale skin spilling over almost making me salivate.
Finishing off the look, and also complimenting her angular facial features, was her trademark ponytail of jet-black hair that ran down her back. She noticed my scanning gaze, and with mock anger, stormed over to me only to punch me in the shoulder, eliciting a yelp of pain from me.
"Ouch! What was that for?" - Me
I asked with an equally exaggerated hurtful expression. The punch didn't really hurt, only feeling like a small ache. She had superhuman attributes, but all were essentially put towards agility and dexterity, so it rather felt like the tantrum punch of one's little sister more than anything.
"That's for putting me in all this trouble!" - Lily
"My fault? Wasn't it you that let me go? If you really wanted to capture me or kill me, why didn't you just do so?" - Me
"Stupid, I can't simply bring a monster into a city." - Lily
"Besides, I had a... gut feeling that it would turn out rather interesting if I simply let you leave." - Lily
"Gut feeling? You let me go on a gut feeling?" - Me
I asked incredulously.
"Argh, just shut it... Let's go already, I seriously need to get out of these boots. They're killing me." - Lily
Looking incredulously at the woman who suddenly sauntered past me, moving towards the greenskins in the distance, I was stupefied for a whole second or two. Something I'm apparently very susceptible to whenever this woman was around.
"Uh, what are you doing? Your country is in the other direction..." - Me
I pointed out.
"I no longer have a place there. So, are you really going to let a vulnerable woman like me, be left alone to the devices of man? You monster!" - Lily
She said, the teasing glint in her eyes almost palpable.
Yeah sure... 'vulnerable'. It totally isn't like you could almost take on half that army by yourself, and still escape...
Before leaving, I turned to the corpse of the general and with the conjuring of Blood Shaping, I commanded his blood to my beckoning.
[You've consumed the blood of a Human!]
[72601 points of EXP has been acquired and stats have been added]
Throwing the woman at my feet a dismissive glance, I looked out to the horrified human soldiers out in the field.
"Leave my people alone, in turn, I will leave yours alone. It's that simple. Relay that message to whoever your higherups are." - Me
With that said, I spared them no more attention as I followed Lily's lead, heading home.
Walking through the glades with a precession of hundreds of greenskins, the atmosphere grew rather odd. They kept shooting odd glances towards the human, Lily, who was teasingly chatting with me. They didn't understand Mordrian so they didn't know what we were talking about, but they all had the same thing on their minds.
Why was the Master allowing a human to accompany him?
But Bob and Mia had completely different reactions to the situation. Bob didn't seem to care in the slightest, simply having the goofy but proud expression of walking side-by-side with his master. However, I wasn't sure what to make of Mia's reaction. She hadn't said anything since we started walking back, but her eyes were glued to the lithe and tall woman chatting with me.
She kept scanning her up and down, nodding at times like she was taking mental notes. I felt a bit odd about the whole situation. I wasn't sure if Mia felt challenged by Lily's presence, but she hadn't voiced her objections yet, so I could only ask her later.
Before we reached half-way through the glades, I told Bob, Mia, and Lily, to continue home as I had something I needed to take care of.
Conjuring my shadow wings, Lily let out an appreciative whistle.
"Real ominous. I like it." - Lily
Shaking my head at the seductive note in her voice, I simply took to the air.
It didn't take long before I reached my destination, a serene lake close to the center of the glade. Standing at the bank, I gazed across to the other side, my eyes firm.
"I'm here, I did as you requested." - Me
Suddenly, as if beckoned by my voice, shadows very much like those of my own started to coalesce from the treeline. They swirled up to form a ball of shadows in the center of the lake. Dissipating, the shadows revealed the hulking figure of a jet-black horse, its gaze directed towards my much smaller figure.
The Glade Guardian.
It stood on the water as if it was solid ground, not even causing a ripple to disturb the surface. My entire body tensed as I felt its world consuming aura for the second time since arriving in this world, no less dominating than it was when I was merely an overgrown mosquito. Even with all the power I've gained, we were still worlds apart.
Knowing this caused a chill to run down my spine.
With an elegant gait, it approached me, each of its steps somehow seeming like they contained some profound truth that I could not comprehend or grasp. It stopped only a few meters from the bank and I had to crane my neck because of its massive size. As I gazed up into its eyes of molten silver, I felt a resonance, but surprisingly not one of my own body - but one of the relic on my ear.
So my relic, the [Heirloom of Sanguinity] does actually have something to do with this strange monster of immense power...?
I wanted to speak, but I found myself unable to.
The huge creature only gazed at my figure before giving me what seemed like a nod of appreciation. Lifting one of its giant legs, it tapped the bank of where I stood. Streaming from its body, some shadows coalesced to reveal a strikingly similar box to the one I had originally found my relic in.
Done with its end of our agreement, the looming shadow horse was once again consumed by shadows, only to dissipate, the Glade Guardian utterly gone from sight. Regaining my ability to command my own body, I shook the small vestiges of fear in my body to shout out across the serene lake.
"Just what are you!? What do you have to do with Prometheans and Relics!?" - Me
However, there was no answer. I couldn't help but shaking my head disappointedly at the lack of disclosure from this mysterious being.
All of this started when I mobilized my forces against the humans. I had originally wanted to use the glades and the dense forest as the stage for the battle if one were to break out since my hobgoblins and orcs would have a much greater advantage against the humans' formations and battle tactics here.
But upon me and my army of greenskin's departure from the tribe to meet the enemy forces, I all of a sudden got a thought transmission, exactly like how the Glade Guardian communicated with me back when it cut me off from killing more rabbits in the glades.
I was told that it did not wish for either me or the humans to cause havoc in this domain and advised me to do it outside of the glades.
Not one to piss off a being capable of snuffing out my life with a stomp, I was already going to adhere to its request. But to my delight, it even proposed a reward if I managed to fend off the humans and make sure they wouldn't be back to disturb it for the foreseeable future. I had no idea what to expect as a reward from an all-powerful being, but I definitely didn't expect this.
[The blood of a Promethean Candidate has been detected]
[The Sanctioned Lord meets all requirements to unseal the relic]
[Do you wish your Heirloom of Sanguinity to consume this relic?]
Accepting the prompt, I popped open the box in my hands to reveal the same recognizable block of molten silver surrounded by black velvet cloth. Taking the silver block into my hands, I watched it liquify. Instead of forming another heirloom as it did when I found my first relic, it instead started crawling up my arm and towards my neck.
However, I wasn't worried at all. I let the relic do its work, crawling up to the [Heirloom of Sanguinity] on my ear. The instant it touched the silvery surface of intricate design, all of the molten silver liquid was sucked into the heirloom like it was a vacuum cleaner. Abruptly, I felt the connection between my heirloom and me strengthen, including the effect of increased mental control of magic.
But there was another distinct feeling that told me something... curious.
Through my heirloom, I knew instinctually that if I gave it another relic, it would cause a transformative change. Something that would substantially empower it.
I put the box into my [Ring of Holding] to sit next to my first relic box and the pile of miscellaneous items I looted from the encounter with the Azure Claw mercenary group and the Ebongrave caravan. Giving one last glance at the seemingly inconspicuous lake before I conjured my shadow wings and took flight.
Returning to the sides of Bob, Mia, and Lily, I was happy to see that nothing bad had occurred during my momentary absence.
But to my surprise, the atmosphere seemed to have changed in that small amount of time I was gone. Lily now seemed to beam with dangerous mischief, whereas Mia had adopted a thoughtful expression as she barely noticed where she was walking. Looking skeptically at the two women, I just sighed hopelessly.
I wouldn't even try to guess what had happened while I was gone.
Arriving back at the tribe, I called for everybody to assemble in the center grounds before they all returned to work on the tribe's development. By now it had already turned dusk, the moonlight and torches the only things lighting up the area. Standing upon a raised wooden platform, stood I with Mia, Bob, and Lily to my sides as we overlooked all the many faces, both green and red.
"I've gathered you all here today to announce what lays in store for the future of the tribe." - Me
They all listened vehemently to my words. Ever since they've recognized the power that my blood brings and seeing the display of the fight between the general and me, I've basically won over all of their greenskin hearts.
To be honest, they practically worshipped me as a diety, since not only do I grant them power beyond that of their peers, but I also wield strength beyond anything they've seen before.
If anything, that meant godhood in the eyes of wild greenskins. While it was rather uncomfortable to receive such treatment since I had only barely been a young man two months ago, I didn't reject it. I accepted what came with power. The treatment, the honor, the responsibility.
"During my time away, I've realized that these lands are too weak for the future of my people and me. They do not grant the power and opportunity that other lands promise. But also, we rest on the borders of a hostile human kingdom that I wish no involvement with, especially their petty politics." - Me
"That is why I will migrate our forces inward, to take control of newer lands within the depths of the wastelands." - Me
Hearing this, many of the greenskins were became unruly. They were torn between leaving their ancestral birth grounds while also being excited to gain new power and explore.
"But that doesn't mean I will abandon this place completely. The Blood Moon Tribe will remain to build and fortify itself here. For those who will stay behind, I will assign positions of power and authority. They will all still be under the rule and protection of me, the Sanguine Lord, however, it will be up to you to grow and prosper." - Me
This matter was something I had already discussed with Bob and Mia. Since this place was simply too low level and inconvenient, it would actually end up hampering the growth of not only myself but also my followers. I wished to explore, conquer, and grow. However, I couldn't do it from my safe little perch here.
So instead of completely uprooting the tribe, I decided to let it stay and grow on its own.
I believe it was damn time to see what this world truly had in store for me.