Lunus had wrapped up all the forest protectors that he had made. There were around 60 small-sized bodies of rabbits and squirrels, 30 medium-sized bodies of wolves and boars, and 10 bodies of the bull and its herd that he could turn them into forest protectors. Altogether, they made up a hundred man army with Lunus as the commander.
Right then, they were gathered in the forest a little bit away from the abandoned campfire to let the flies had their feast peacefully.
“It’s a shame that I can’t maintain your past selves like what my lord did to me; however, we can’t just selfishly ask my lord to help us bring your memories back right now since we had our duty to accomplish! We must protect this forest from those barbaric green warts. This is our duty as forest protectors!,” Lunus gave his speech via his [Mind link]
“““Oh!!!,””” the army of forest protectors cried out full of vigor.
Good grief, he thought, why did the beasts turn out to be reliable warriors like this? I really have no idea.
Lunus was disappointed that he couldn’t bring back their previous selves and memories. He thought that he could save them like what his lord did to him; however, things didn’t go well as he thought and he had lost his forest friends as the result.
However, there was no loss without a gain. The newly born forest protectors may lose their memories, but Lunus could tell with a single glance that he could see the presence of a strong warrior in their hollow eyes.
Even a small squirrel had given out a powerful fearless aura, one that even rivaled a strong predator. He was sure that if he threw it into a tiger cave, it would fight to its end without taking a single step back.
“Having reliable comrades are good and all, but I also have to prepare myself for the fight.”
In front of him was a pile of bones. There were several bodies that couldn’t be made into a forest protector since their skull were too damaged.
For a being like them, their skull is their weakness that contained their core and binded their soul with the new body.
As the result, it was impossible to transform the bodies that missed their head or having their skull cracked open. And if he urged to do so, the thing he created would become just a normal vine treant with low intelligence and movement capability. It would be hard for them to prepare for the upcoming fights with that.
Still, it didn’t mean that the remains of those who had lost their head would become useless.
Lunus had prepared to use whatever he could to accomplish his goal of eliminating the green warts. And the first thing he must do before leading these fearless warriors was strengthening his fighting abilities to become a worthy commander.
Even though these warriors had acknowledged him as their master, he couldn’t just accept that. As a former beast, the leader of a pact must be the strongest one. As such when he compared himself, a bodiless skull, to the bulls, he couldn’t help but felt down in his own inability.
Having that thought, he crept over the pile of bones as his vines slowly search through, selecting suitable ones for his purpose. Soon after, his shape slowly turned into a majestic deer like when he was still alive.
“Yes, it’s better to move with 4 legs like this.”
Even though he had learned how to use vines more efficiently, Lunus still felt more comfortable when he could move with his legs and feel the sturdy ground with his hooves.
It seemed there were deers mixed in among the headless preys. They weren’t his white stag herd, but the size and shape of their bones weren’t far off. As such, it was easy for him to take his original form with these bones.
After regaining his familiar shape, Lunus proudly walked toward his new comrades.
The male bull that was used as a shooting target now had regained his fascinating muscular body. His heavy hooves stepped out from the gathered army as the representative and he stopped in front of his new master. He stood firmly, boasting his elegant curved horns which can easily pierce through a metal plate with ease.
When Lunus approached him, he lowered his head as the sign of submission.
Lunus turned around, checking his new comrades.
“We move out immediately. Then we will track those barbarians until the edge of this forest!,” he issued his first order.
“Master, what we do with bones?,” the bull asked.
Lunus gave the pile of bones another glance. Surely, it was a waste to leave these bones alone just like this.”
“We will take them with us. Ask others to help.”
The bull stood up and helped relay the order.
“Good grief, this one is more reliable than expected. He must be another holy beast like us white stags,” Lunus murmured.
In this world, an uncivilized race is commonly classified into two types: beasts, and monsters.
A monster is a beast that is transformed by receiving a considerable amount of condensed mana. Its body crystallizes excessive mana into a hard object in its body called mana stone and its body changes physically into a stronger being.
Most monsters cannot keep their sanity as their mana were excessive for their original body to the point that their brain will be damaged by mana intoxication. However as the result of losing their sanity, their strength is also raised several folds including their magic capability.
Still, although a monster is generally stronger than a beast in several aspects, there is another way for a beast to become strong rivaling a monster. The beast born or passed through the said processes are generally called “holy beasts.”
A holy beast is a beast that is said to be a creation of a god. However, most of the holy beasts are born from the spirits’ power. One can also say that they are beasts loved by the spirits.
Holy beasts are more intelligent than a normal beast, but they are also as strong as or stronger than a monster. Most of them can use magic and can ask the spirits for help.
For Lunus, he could sometimes ask forest spirits for help and could originally use some basic forest magic like the simplified version of [Growth acceleration] and [Mind link]; however, he couldn’t use the later skill with plants like what he currently could.
“Then what about yours?,” Lunus asked the bulls’ leader.
“Me? I’m good with earth, master,” he replied.
“I see, then we must rely on you to track them.”
In contrary to Lunus’ abilities that were limited during nighttime, the bull’s earth-attribute abilities were more versatile in this case.
Earth-brown aura gathered around the bull as dirt and stones hovered around his body. His sensation was sharpened around his four feet as what they want to track was sensed through the ground.
“This way, master. Behind that mountain.”
He turned his meatless head toward the direction of a mountain shrouded in the darkness of the night. The deep blue hue of the sky above the mountain indicated the approaching rising sun.
“Then let us cross that mountain at once.”
Not so long after they crossed the mountain, the sun rose from the horizon. Its golden ray penetrated through the thick fog creating a golden milky scenery as the dew on the grassy floor sparkled like stars.
Today was the third day since he had left his lord behind, but Lunus didn’t stop his army from moving forward just to stop his lord from tracking him since it was pointless anyway.
There was nowhere for him to hide this huge army and there was no reason either since his enemies were just in front of his eyes.
“There are footprints on this soft soil. They must be around here just a moment ago.”
He had tracked the green warts’ trailed for a while. Now he was certain that they were just in his hoof’s reach.
“Master, opening ahead. Smell bad,” the bull leader told him.
“Yes, there should be an opening in front of us. And I can also sense this rotten smell,” Lunus affirmed.
It was a perfect place for the green warts’ firecamp. He was sure that they must be around there. If that was the case, it would be a perfect chance to perform a morning ambush.
“We will send a squirrel team to take a look at the enemy’s camp,” he decided and turned toward the squirrels, “Warriors, we must leave it to you guys.”
The forest protectors in squirrel form nodded and sprinted toward the direction of enemy’s camp. The green flames in their eyes shone brightly as well as their determination.
A moment later, they heard groaning sounds coming from up ahead. Looking at each other, they began to spread out using bushes and trees as their cover.
A squirrel sprinted over a tree. It hopped on a thick branch and lied in wait for the owner of the approaching footsteps.
“Gah ga ga ga ga!,”
The footsteps came closer and closer as the time between each step became shorter and shorter. A shadow sprinted across the fog toward the tree while groaning and holding its groin in pain.
It stopped just before the tree unknowing about the presence of the squirrel and unleashed its disgusting short sword from underneath its tattered loincloth. The nasty yellowish liquid came out from the sword tip and splattered around the tree trunk.
“Ga heh heh~”
Its awful smile and trippy eyes showed just how much pleasure it had felt while the liquid was slowly draining out from its round belly.
This shameless monster was covered in green hairless skin with wart-like lumps growing here and there. Its fangs were sharp and yellow, its ears were large and pointy, and its nose was big and crooked. It walked on two feet, but its back was bent and its height was only that of a small child.
The squirrel was certain. The monster in front of its eyes was a member of the group that they were tracking.
“The green wart!,” it screamed in its mind as it stared dagger at the goblin below.
Vines were unleashed from the squirrel’s back and coiled around the goblin’s neck, taking its worthless life before it could even return its disgusting short sword to its scabbard.
Skill encyclopedia: [Treant creation]
Type: branch skill
[Treant creation] is a skill derived from its core skill, [Authority of a forest god]. It is a rare skill that every forest god must have and is common among the forest gods; however, it is an extremely rare skill for other races.
[Treant creation] is a skill that allows its skill holder to instantly turn a normal tree into a monster called treant and make it strictly obedient to the skill holder.
Treant is a plant-type monster that resembles a tree that can move around. Treants are different to each other based on the type of the plant that is used as its base.
A big tree that is turned into a treant can’t move so much since its hard body is difficult to bend and fold, but its hardness is proven to be a big problem for its opponents if they have only physical power as their only choice.
A vine can also be turned into a treant. Its flexibility is proven to be troublesome for adventurers as it is literally a snake in disguise even though its vitality is tremendously less than a tree treant.
A moonlight vine treant, however, is different from a normal vine treant since its base plant is filled with biotic steel tissue inside as its fibers. These fibers are hard and flexible, making it difficult for a normal knife to cut through.