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102 A War That Was Bound to Be Los

    Somewhere in an unknown forest, there was a camp. This camp was occupied by two different types of people. The first type, was a group of normal looking martial and spiritual cultivators, while the second type, was composed of simply dressed humanoids with greenish skin and veins that bulged like some kind of tree roots.

    In the middle of this camp, was a very large, and well lit tent.

    Inside this tent, there was a circular table, around which multiple figures were sitting. While all of these figures were humanoid, only a third of them were actual humans.

    All of these individual had demotivated expressions on their faces.

    If Daniel was here, he would have recognized the majority of the human's party.

    They occupied a slash of the table, and from right to the left, they were Heimart, Edmund, Emelnie, Jerigh, and a beautiful looking woman with bright red hair, which Daniel would not be able to recognize.

    Next to the woman with bright red hair, sat Buriath, the earth elemental. The details of his body were extremely more defined now, and he was even wearing clothes. He was still completely made out of minerals, but he had decided to make his composition match the color of human's skin, hair and eye. His surface was smooth, and only after touching him would someone realize they weren't actually touching a person..

    Other than his control over the hundred percent comprehension of earth essence, his power had also drastically increased.

    When Daniel met him, he was at the level of a sixth rank cultivator, but now, he could fight on par with a late eight rank cultivator.

    The rest of the humanoid beings were divided into two different groups. There were a few that had some sort of gold shine on their skin, as if it was made of golden keratin.. Some others were bare chested, and had silver hair that grew in the majority of their body. The rest were humanoids with green skin, similar to those that were outside the tent.

    These first two types of humanoid were high ranking beasts, and had respectively evolved from first ranked golden ants, and first ranked Silver-Grey Cuon, a wolf-like type of beast.

    The third and last type of humanoid, were actually wood elemental that had taken a humanoid shape.

    "What do we do now?.." Asked one of the gold skin humanoid breasts.

    The leader of the wood elementals responded to his question with a depressed look. He then turned towards Edmund, which was considered by the other parties the leader of Daniel's group, due to his older appearance.

    Edmund looked back at the wooden elemental, and said "Our group is down to a fifth of our previous power.. The Tiyar empire is probably replacing their losses and preparing for another attack. I'm sorry Leffe.."

    The wood elementals, the high ranking golden ants, and the silver-grey cuons present within the tent, were the current leaders of the three major groups that inhabited an ancient forest called 'Garden of Past Times'.

    These three major groups, were the Wood Elementals, the Insecta, and the Hot-Blooded.

    Usually, these three races would peacefully coexist within the ancient forest, but lately, they had been disturbed by a group of explorers which belonged to the Tiyar empire.

    Seeing humans in the ancient forest wasn't out of the norm, and they would usually be left alone as long as they didn't cause destruction, or attacked highly intelligent beasts or elementals.

    Unfortunately, one day, a human party had discovered a low level wood elemental while wandering through the forest.

    This young elemental was naive and curious, and after a few nice words, he was duped by the humans into revealing where the larger group of wood elementals was currently living within the 'Garden of Past Times'.

    At first, the party of human explorers didn't show much interest towards the population of the wood elementals, but that was only until the young wood elemental had mentioned the presence of a large and ancient tree.

    According to the young elemental's words, this tree contained the remains of a deceased peak wood elemental. It didn't emanated much wood essence, but it's quality was beyond anything else. In fact, it was even capable of granting consciousness to the surrounding trees in a matter of one decade.

    It was only after hearing this, that the human party decided to follow the young elemental back home.

    Amongst this group of cultivators, there was an old alchemist which had reached the seventh stage of spiritual cultivation. His main matter of study, due to his occupation as an alchemist, was in fact wood essence.

    The moment the group reached the sacred tree, the old alchemist immediately realized that that tree, was nothing less than a perfect wood treasure.

    After interacting for a bit with the population of wood elementals, the human party went back to their empire in order to bring the news that a perfect essence treasure had been found.

    Smaller parties had been sent to negotiate with the wood elementals to purchase the treasure, but due to it being not only a sacred item, but also the very reason why wood elementals existed, none of the human's offers had even been considered.

    Out of options, the humans tried to play their last card.. Threatening. Unfortunately, that had only enraged the wood elementals, which had imprisoned the party of human cultivators, and demanded an apology from the empire in exchange for their release.

    They weren't willing to appear weak, but unfortunately, their demonstration of strength had a different effect. It had given a reason for the Tiyar empire to declare war on the wood elemental population.

    Fortunately, the wood elementals had allies. Specifically, the beasts which inhabited the forest.

    The forest was their home, and the wood elementals were its guardians. The various beast races had formed a pact long ago with the wood elementals. The kings of each species had vowed to aid each others in case their home, the 'Garden of Past Times' would ever be threatened.

    Their numbers were still not enough though, and after a few skirmishes, the army of beasts and elementals had ended up in the losing end.

    It was then that Daniel's group had arrived in the Tiyar empire. A two thousand members strong power under the form of a small golden ring wrapped around Roley's finger.

    Time had passed for most of Daniel's friends.. And Roley wasn't an exception.

    After two and a half year, thanks to his nearly tripled speed of comprehension, and a nine times faster speed in cultivation, he had reached the level of a peak seventh rank spiritual cultivator, and achieved the same level of comprehension of space which Daniel and Edmund currently had.

    He had been in charge of roaming kingdoms and empires in order to find ways they could help. That had become some sort of obsession to the members of the group.

    Differently from the original fourteen members which had experienced a slow and gradual increase in talent, the rest had entered the group later, and therefore felt their talent and speed in cultivation increased by a huge amount the very moment they had decided to follow what Heimart called "Daniel's Army"

    It was only after reaching the Tiyar empire, that he heard the news about the military campaign against the 'evil wood elemental race'.

    Unfortunately for the Tiyar empire, Daniel's group had already come into contact with elementals. And they were very aware that their nature was peaceful and solitary, detached from human's aggressive traits.

    Roley immediately reported the news to Edmund and Heimart, and in the end, they had decided to vote on whether to take part in this war or not.

    Even though most people in Daniel's group were good willed people, after feeling the changes brought by Daniel's system, they had become addicted to it.

    They didn't know how it worked, but the more they helped others, the more powerful they would become. And aside from that power, they had also gained the kind of pride that only a self righteous person would possess.

    Whether or not to join a battle was dictated by voting, and this voting, almost always ended up with the 'in favor' party winning by an extremely large margin. In fact, there were times where the only ones that had voted for 'against', where a part of Daniel's friends.

    After making the decision, they entered the ancient forest, and offered their support to the wood elementals and the beast clans.

    Thanks to the presence of Buriath and the rest of the earth elementals, their help was quickly accepted, and thanks to it, the defending faction had finally managed to gain the upper hand in the following skirmishes.

    Unfortunately, that was only before the empire had started to send cultivators in waves.

    They had increased their ranks thanks to mercenary groups, and had put half of the ancient forest to waste.

    Daniel's group had lost more than sixteen hundred people during the fights that took place in the past month. It was a total disaster.

    Back to the tent, Heimart was reluctantly keeping his words to himself. This time, he had been one of the few that had suggested not to meddle with this matter.

    He was sitting quietly and thinking about the right way of expressing his thoughts, which were to offer a similar deal the earth elementals had received three years ago by Daniel. Fortunately, he didn't need to say a word, as Buriath started to talk in his stead.

    He looked back at the leader of the wood elementals, and said "Leffe.. I understand your frustration.. I was in the same position as you are now.."

    Leffe looked back at him, and asked in confusion "You're a nomad.. How can you understand?.."

    "I wasn't at first.. I used to live into a beautiful forest of rocks.. My home. The place where I was born.. But my mistakes made me a target for ill-willed humans." For a moment, Buriath stopped to look at Heimart, and after receiving a brief nod, continued explaining. "It was thanks to the help of a kid, that I was able to create a safe haven for my people.. We were six once.. Now we are hundreds."

    "Is this kid amongst you?" Asked Leffe with a hopeful tone. He knew that Buriath had evolved thanks to the absorption of the purest form of earth essence, he, as an elemental, could feel it clearly.

    Buriath quietened for a moment, and before he could respond, Heimart interjected.

    "We got separated.. But he will be back." He said with a tone filled with confidence.

    Leffe looked at the face of those who had met this enigmatic kid personally.. And on them, he didn't saw the shred of a doubt regarding Heimart's words.

    He then looked back at the leaders of the other two parties, then muttered "I can't leave the forest.. I can't abandon the other species.."

    Edmund looked back at Leffe and said "You know my powers, Leffe.. You know that I can take you all out of here the moment you decide to leave.. Take everyone with you.. There is no time left to think about it.."

    Emelnie wanted to support her husband, so she said "We know how hard it is to leave a home.. But don't bet the lives of your people.. And theirs.. On the low chances you have of winning this war."

    Buriath interjected once more, and said "We are willing to welcome all the members of your family.. Along with all intelligent members of the beast clans. Plus.. That young man.. That little monster.. He will help you the way he helped us."

    Under the convincing arguments of Daniel's group, and the reports about the incoming armies of the Tiyar army that were reaching him through his deep connection with the forest, Leffe had been left with no choice.

    Suddenly, the ground right underneath Leffe's seat started to crack. From the middle of the crack, a tree root wiggled its way up to a meter in height. Wrapped by the end of this root, was a piece of fossil wood.

    This single piece of food seemed simple, but every spiritual cultivator within the tent could feel the depths of wood essence that it emanated.

    Leffe took this piece of fossil wood in his leafy-colored hands, and looked at it with affection.

    He then looked at the two beast faction's leaders, and only after the two nodded in consent, he turned to look back at Elmund and said "The Wood Elementals, the Insecta, and the Hot-Blooded tribes of Garden of Past Times, seek shelter from their allies.."
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