Mercia's thoughts wavered thinking back to the dark room, after her defeat being thrown out towards a swarm of goblins. They all grabbed at her and then fought over who got to keep her and Emily, A dark skinned goblin was the one that captured her. She was brought back to their nest and into the dark room filled with filth she was raped by that dark goblin, If not for the comforting sense the world tree gave her and boosted her spirit she would be crying a lot worse. But she steeled herself, the worst feeling was that Emily was left behind, and....
She thought back to when she was saved and brought home.
After waking up from stasis that she did not think she would wake up from. She saw Penelope kneeling down over her, casting a few spells on her.
"[Clean], [Mana Transfer], [Mana Transfer]" (Penelope)
Penelope.. Her younger sister that had died 5 years ago. Was sitting next to her bed, her body still that of a young girl but now covered in bark like armor, the bark was slowly fading away along with the vines there were covering her skin, being replaced by gentle looking leaves and thinner vines.
How she ended up like this began those 5 years ago, she was living out on the edge of the forest, being trained in the elven city of Gerrensita as a priestess. It was then that the world trees protection suddenly shrank back several thousands of meters. All the outer areas of their domain was suddenly wide open - No longer did the tree protect all the inhabitants within from being detected.
Any unwelcome being that entered into the denser aura of the world tree, would find itself hopelessly lost - and inside the range of the magicians of the capital that could utilize all their powers with in its entire domain. The forest of the elves covered a vast area. And suddenly they lost huge areas of land, with villages and cities on the outer edge exposed to the world.
Someone was waiting for the protection to shrink back like it had. Just outside of the forest in hiding were several demonic wizards, they instantly sensed where the cities and villages were located and rushed into the vicinity and placed down portals leading back to their main camps. The elven forest was assaulted on many locations all at once.
It was a hopeless cause of course to assault the forest and win - the elves were extremely powerful and had both strong warriors and even stronger magic users. But the surprise assault gave enough time for the invaders to kill and destroy, before enough elven reinforcements could appear through their own portals from the central cities around the world tree to drive the invaders back. The invaders threw them selves in suicide attacks to kill as many elves as possible.
The academy was assaulted and almost all the students were killed, including Penelope. But she was part of the royal family, she was brought home to the world tree and entombed within the tree itself performing a ritual to create a [Leaf of the tree]. This was custom that when a royal would fall - their body would be turned to the tree and become a new living being and servant and guardian of the tree.
She knew it was no longer Penelope, her innocent personality and kindness was not there. Instead her small body was a powerful tool of the world tree, used to carry out the will of the elven nation and join the ranks of all the other Leafs.
"I will get a cancellation sphere to treat your status", Penelope stated out and left Mercia lying on the bed still paralysed and mana locked.
But she had given her some mana and her mind felt a lot clearer now. The goblin child was not in her grasp, she knew during her stasis that their contact was suddenly broken.
Thinking back to her time in the cave. After having given birth to the goblin which took all her strength away. After she had thrown the goblin away, the strange goblin had come closer with gentle looking eyes, as if trying to calm her. She was unable to keep herself proper focused.
All she thought why was this goblin so odd. Progenitor. It was called the goblin progenitor, she threw it away as she felt it trying to touch her hoping it would have been killed. But it survived and then completely shocking her it seemed to become sad, and she noticed something about it.
Its eyes was purple.
The trait of the elven noble line, she had never heard of goblins with any other color than red and yellow eyes, even the worst of the goblins sometimes had completely black eyes.
But this one, a goblin spawned from her had her families trademark eyes. She was unable to keep up by then but the goblin came over and carefully tried to comfort her.. Why would it do that after she tried to kill it. She could not understand, but someone wanted to give her comfort and she accepted it gladly, finally having proper release from all the horrors she had experience in this cave and not a single kindness shown, but suddenly this tiny creature with her families eyes was trying to comfort her.
It put her hands on hers and she closed her hand on it. The goblin would then lie down on her hand and she would cry for a while from the sudden kindness shown when she noticed something. She could feel a elven soul within this goblin. Once more she could feel her soul having a connection to the mana of the world. Taking that away from her was just another horror she had to endure.
Elves were intensely magical creatures and without mana they would become listless and lose vigor fast. But now she could feel mana trickle back into her soul. Something all elven magic users had learned was to tap into other elves mana and share it - it was not the same as a spell that was specifically designed to transfer mana in effectiveness, but now she saw hope for herself and Emily.
She slowly managed to scoop the goblin child up in her arms and hold it on her chest. It had fallen asleep, completely feeling safe with her. She needed to make sure that their connection would not break, and also... make sure goblin would be taken with her back home. At first she wanted to do it because of the potential danger a special goblin would represent.
But then she recalled how the goblin reacted to her, her logical thinking wavered from this and instead of calling her own mother for assistance to come get her. She decided on something else, to call on Penelope... Penelope would follow her commands cleanly and not react in a unknown way.. She also felt ashamed from her situation and she could not bring it on herself to doom this goblin that had treated her kindly.
While she was taking in mana from the child,amazed by how much mana it had access to, as she needed a specific amount to make sure she could kickstart the spells and draw out the casting over several hours. Something suddenly stirred on her chest and she was suddenly having to deal with the goblin breastfeeding of her. This cause her face to redden up intensely, yelping out in the shock.
Looking down at the face of the goblin that in his sleep was calmly suckling, he looked content and calm, a normal looking face instead of a hideous goblin monster. She resigned her self to it, feeling a odd warm sensation within her knowing she was feeding her child. Another tear ran down her cheek as she smiled weakly at the situation.
She prepared herself to go into trance, the first spell she began casting was stasis, followed by regeneration since her body was in a bad state - stasis would fuel regeneration and keep her stamina up for the long period of constant concentration she needed to maintain the spell casting.
But during the very last moments of the spell to call Penelope - contact was broken, she did not have a physical sense while in stasis, all she knew was suddenly the mana stopped coming and the link she had with the goblin in her arms was gone. She dreaded what could have happened - she was unable to do anything she needed almost no mana and she was unable to do anything but keep the spell from deteriorating.
Then she began to feel the stasis spell being assaulted - its power draining fast. She sighed in her trance. She was doomed.. The goblins must have returned and now they were gonna kill her had taken the child.. Her kind child that worried about her.. That needed her..
Just as she felt the stasis was gonna break. Suddenly she felt it. The connection was back, the goblin had somehow managed to touch her - it was saving her, she could feel the intent from the goblin as mana rushed in actively from the other side giving her more than enough to finish the spell.
She cast the spell - and then waited, hoping that Penelope would take the goblin along with her and the other women.
But she woke up to a sad reality, only she was saved and now she was lying in her bed, tears ran down her face as tried to come to terms with failing at saving Emily and the other poor women, but also mostly that the child goblin that had helped her once more, was hopelessly lost far away.
Penelope came back and held a small red orb over her that glowed briefly before turning into mist. Mercia could once more move and mana was coming back to her on its own.
".. What happened Penelope.." Mercia asked, wiping her face and regaining her calm.
"On teleportation to your location, 14 goblins were in close proximity to my entry point. Before I could destroy all of them they managed to cry out for reinforcements. Attempts to block them from breaching in and from being able to teleport all of your requested targets out, they would have overrun my location and been able to kill her royal highness despite my attempts to protect her. Saving the royal princess was of higher priority and all other orders given were ignored."
Penelope stated out her actions coldly and without a change of her neutral face whilst sitting next to Mercia's bed looking at her.
"..Did you see the goblin i mentioned in my spell to you?.." (Mercia)
"No goblin spawn was detected on your person. 5 goblin spawns were detected in closed baskets in the nearby area - but the time needed to search them would endanger the princess" (Penelope)
".... The high mage has requested a report on my location and activity due to my leaving my post.. I will.." Penelope stated as if suddenly she had received a message, she began to rise from the seat next to the bed.
Mercia quickly grabbed Penelope's hand and looked at her with a desperate look.
"..please Penelope.. do not mention the goblin child i asked you to secure to my mother or anyone else" Mercia begged out quickly, a tear running down her face.
Penelope paused, looking at Mercia tilting her head a little, staring at her for a while quizzically. She lifted up a hand to Mercia's face and removed the tears gently.
"As you say your highness." (Penelope)