Soon they had touched down on the shore within the gates and were greeted with the sight of the first key tower… except it was nothing like a tower.
Standing in the distance about a kilometer from the pier was a massive tree hundreds of meters in diameter and height. But, if that wasn't shocking enough, the tree itself looked little like what a tree would. It was an amalgamation of thick vines that weaved up and down to form its trunk before rising into the air to bloom into a canopy of intricate patterns that seemed to hold no life at all.
However, it was still a beautiful sight. The vines making up the body of the tree held myriads of oval shaped spaces between them that were filled with transparent crystals that acted as windows into the hollow trunk of the tree. To an observer, if they had to describe the key tower two words, they'd land on 'World Tree' without hesitation.
That aside, between the pier and the key tower was a ridiculous amount of moving parts.
Hundreds of thousands of tents, makeshift buildings, and what seemed like millions upon millions of warriors buzzed about in an oddly orderly fashion.
Ri suddenly nudged Dyon, "You haven't stopped smiling in a long while, learn to read the room. Did I promise myself to a psychopath?" She said teasingly.
Dyon looked around, seemingly just realizing the gloomy expressions on everyone's faces. The only person who seemed completely unaffected was Arios who was smiling right along with him.
Dyon grinned at Arios, "This is a great feeling, isn't it?"
Arios' eyes shone, "The very best."
"You know the Sicarius family is most likely here, right? You'll meet your brothers soon. Maybe even Ava is here knowing her personality."
Arios paused. It had just dawned on him that Dyon was right. He had been so focused on executing the plans Dyon had laid out, that he completely forgot.
Akash was stunned, "The Sicarius family?" Her look sharpened as she looked over Arios once again. It wasn't that she hadn't noticed the blood thirsty aura dripping from him, it was just that she didn't know how someone who seemed to be Dyon's subordinate could have such a deep background.
To the outside world, the Sicarius family was a small backwater family near Focus Academy. But, God Clan level existences knew fully well how important they were to the underground of the martial world. They weren't only the leaders of the only assassin guild on Earth, they also happened to be the only personal guards of the Royal God Clan themselves.
Akash turned her gaze toward Dyon, 'It seems I've underestimated you again…'
Sighing, Akash stopped trying to put a gauge on Dyon, "Dyon. Ri. Gael. Bele. Zaltarish. Aeson. You six will come with me. The rest of you can start setting up camp. Be ready to move at any time."
Gloomy expressions appeared on the faces of many when Akash mentioned setting up camp. It seemed that they didn't like the footwork. But, Dyon caught a whiff of something else, 'Seems the elves haven't been treated well recently…'
But, he said nothing for now. If it was as simple as bad land, there was little his array alchemy and celestial will couldn't fix.
So, Dyon ignored it, looking around to confirm some things. For one, it was clear that the space nearer the gate was much more stable than it was as you reached the middle. The fact there didn't seem to be any counter measures against the unpredictability of the gates here attested to that.
The weather was stable, the temperature amiable, and the sky stuck in a perpetual sunlight. In other areas, day and night might flip on a whim, spring might become summer in an instant, and even the ground you stood on my not be sturdy for long.
'I may have to use my crystal will constantly to amplify my senses when the time comes. I can't afford any mistakes.'
However, just as Dyon was getting lost in his thoughts on their walk to the key tower, he suddenly felt a small and delicate hand slip into his, "Half the load." Ri said softly.
Dyon was stunned for a bit before smiling, "Half the load."
Within the key tower, a heated debate was taking place and it seemed like very few had the right to speak.
The room itself was near the very top of the key tower, sitting in the center of the canopy of vines out in the open air. And, there was of course a collection of people Dyon would recognize.
"Listen. Dealing with the Scaled Elephants of the Phantus God Clan is not going to be easy. How did they even get this close without us realizing?!" Ace Cavositas raged. Although he wasn't a head, he was noted campaign leader of a God Clan, he had every right to speak.
"Stop asking stupid questions Ace, that's hardly relevant right now. What's important is that we find a way to send them back, or better yet, eliminate them here," Elof retorted. Ace may be his friend, but scouting was the responsibility of the Saeclum clan, a branch under his family. Blaming scouting was by proxy blaming the Ragnor family, something Elof wouldn't stand for.
"You of the Ragnor clan sure like dodging blame, never taking responsibility for anything." Caedlum's elder brother, Sloane Pakal, spoke out with disdain.
"It would be best if you stop pouting and pretending as though you're above everything. I've never seen such a pathetic first son. Not having the talent to even surpass your younger brother and you think you have the right to talk down to mine?" Vidar Ragnor wasn't in the mood for dealing with cheap shots from the Pakal God Clan.
The Scaled Elephant of the Phantus God Clan were no joke. They were among the main reason why Earth hadn't conquered any new key towers in decades.
But, because they were so hard to maneuver due to their sheer size, this also handicapped them from attacking on this side of the gate… until now that is. No one had any idea how the enemy universe had managed to pull off this move, and to make it worse, their scouts hadn't even picked it up! Now they had to deal with heavy units that didn't even share the faults of heavy units? This was ridiculous!
Earth didn't have a heavy emphasis on beast taming and breeding at all. You might see the odd clan like the Grimbold family and their white tigers, but that was all. How were they supposed to defend against thirty-meter-tall monstrosities?
Sloane chuckled at Vidar's word, "I think you should probably take some notes from me." He said rubbing Caedlum's hair lovingly, "At least I have an understanding when a family member is more talented and smarter than I am." Sloane sent a not so subtle glance toward Thor who was observing in his usual quiet manner.
Vidar's jaw clenched at these words. Who wouldn't be able to tell what Sloane's words meant?
Thor was a member of a branch family but had been welcomed with open arms as a dual first in line genius along with him. His faith seed was the higher ranked and the one that provided the most talent. If it wasn't for him not understanding he had a faith seed due to being born in a branch family, no one doubted he'd have surpassed Vidar by now.