TL: I’ll probably post another 3 chapters in 24 hours, thanks for the sponsored chapters. Also, I wasn’t thrilled to translate chapters 187-189 because of the amount of word padding and content repeat in them.
Chapter 183 – The Druid’s choice
A hush descended over the hall.
“An Archmage from Galbu?” The Great Druid Elder asked.
“No, this time, I represent Aouine,” Tulman said.
“What do you mean?” The Great Druid Elder frowned.
“Establishing Order takes a long struggle and repeated failures before succeeding. If the Blackthorn Council exists, then I’m certain that it’s just a matter of time to rebuild the Green Tower even if it’s destroyed. A Mana Wave is something that’s temporary and will ultimately end.”
“…… Does this mean you’re going to help us? To aid us in dealing with the Wolves of Calamity?”
Tulman shook his head and continued his explanation:
“As I said before, I am here to represent Aouine. The southern region requires a stable defense line, and if the Loop of Trade Winds’s Druids perish, the Dark Forest’s corruption will spread to my homeland. Aouine cannot afford to lose the cities south of Ampere Seale. However, my abilities are limited. I am only capable of bringing the Blackthorn Council’s members to safety, and I am unable to save the Green Tower’s citizens. I have drawn a Magic Formation to teleport your chosen Druids; it is in the inn’s room where I resided for the past few weeks.”
He paused for a moment, sighed, and continued speaking:
“It is rude of me not to seek the owner’s permission to draw a Magic Formation, and I apologize for that, but right now I have to ask, does my proposal interest you?”
The Druids glanced at each other without uttering a word. Leaving would mean giving up on the lives within the Green Tower. Even though it was a matter of time to rebuild the city, it was a natural structure that took more than a hundred years to grow and build. How would they face their ancestors in the afterworld if they fled?
It would be better to die in a battle than to live with the shame.
And yet….. Tulman was right.
The Green Tower could be rebuilt and they were not giving up permanently. His proposal still made a few druids sway in their decisions.
“How many would you be able to bring out, respected guest?” The Great Druid Elder asked with a composed mind.
“A hundred, no more than that.”
A few gasps could be heard. Many Druids were in awe of the Archmage’s powers to bring out that many people to safety, but at the same time, they sobered up and realized that only a hundred would survive, and the rest of them could only wait for their deaths. If everyone went and fought to their deaths, then there was nothing to think about, but to choose who would live and die…..
It was a cruel thing to do.
Everyone deserved a chance to live, but who had the qualification to select them?
Tulman did not press for an answer and waited patiently.
Finally, one of the older Druids spoke: “We should let the younger Druids leave. They will become our future hope.”
The Druids had sent away many children and elderly away before the war started, but many talented youths stayed behind to ensure they had the manpower to do battle. If these elites were also sent away, then the defenses of the Green Tower would be a wall with leaking holes.
But Tulman did not seem satisfied with that answer and he spoke again:
“I do not suggest your chosen Druids to consist of merely the young. They would need an experienced leader as a guide. It is easy for them to make mistakes, and it would be best to at least have one or two Druid Elders to join them. This way, the Green Tower can be rebuilt to be more resilient than before.”
A clamor started in the hall, but the Great Druid Elder raised his voice: “I remind everyone, that we still have a promise with that young lord—”
The Druids were surprised. They thought the Great Druid Elder would be the most likely person who would consider accepting Tulman’s proposal, and it was only Andellu who looked at the old hunched Druid with admiration, even feeling proud to hear the latter’s declaration.
The Great Druid Elder was someone who embodied the beliefs of the Ancestral Druids, people who could be traced back to the Golden Lineage.
A true Druid would never forget their oaths. When the majority of the Golden Lineage disappeared and the Silver Lineage waned, the successors of the four Holy Saints fell to corruption and greed, leading to the current era of wars and suffering. But the Druids still remained behind and continued to stand at the forefront to maintain Order. As long as their connection with Goddess Marsha still existed, they would continue to keep their promise.
“I too, object to it.” A high-pitch crystal-clear voice could be heard.
Everyone else was drawn to it, and they found a tiny face that showed a taut expression of anger. The little girl balled her fists and yelled, surprising the people around her:
“We made a promise with brother Brendel, and so we must keep it! If we abandon this promise today, then we will also abandon the promise that we are striving to protect!”
Everyone was astonished at her unyielding attitude, and Tulman even clapped lightly with a beaming smile:
“But this goes against your suggestion,” Andellu stated puzzledly, as he looked at Tulman’s enthusiastic expression.
“Yes, it does,” Tulman laughed, “but it doesn’t hinder me from admiring someone’s else firm stand. Different viewpoints exist all the time, and one who firmly believes in theirs deserve my respect. But time is limited, and thus I have to ask one more time, what is your decision?”
“I’ll stay here,” Sifrid declared instantly, her expression so resolute that she did not seem like a child.
“Indeed, it is an admirable stance, but young lady, it is also required of you to be prudent in a big event like this in order to match the position that you have within the Druids. Perhaps you could listen to the others’ opinions first.”
“You are aware of my position?”
“I have heard of the rumors.”
“But I am only speaking for myself,” Sifrid spoke with a frown.
“Unfortunately, because of your position within the Druids, you will decide the fate of many people. Do you understand what that means?”
“The way you’re speaking is too crafty!”
The Great Druid Elder interjected: “Respected guest, please let us return to the topic. Sifrid is still young, and her innocence and kindness are not something bad to have.”
Tulman nodded: “Then, would you give me an answer?”
The old Druid bent his body slightly, appearing to hesitate a little. Sifrid was standing close to him, biting her lips, and stared at Tulman like he was a despicable foe. She did not know what Brendel needed from the Druids, but she sensed that it would be a bad outcome if the Druids left now.
Many younger Druids also kept their silence cautiously, looking at the older Druids for their decisions, but the latter were also struggling to make a decision. Not escaping would mean that they had given up to make a possibility for the future, and yet the other decision was to give up on the promise made with the human to save the Green Tower.
[It is important to keep our promises, but this promise is likely to destroy our oath to protect the Order. Is this not folly?]
[Mother Marsha, please show us a sign—]
[That young lord is risking his life to help us, abandoning him would make us no better than the other selfish humans out there.]
But a streak of light bright enough to make everyone cover their eyes suddenly shot out from the hall’s center. A shaking voice described the event:
“The Runestones are moving!”
A Magic Formation was operating before their eyes. Green light spilled forth as intricate patterns formed on the ground, and the high-ranking Druids started running towards them and channeled their Mana.
“In the name of Delasityle, obey our summons, Violent Winds of the Firmament!”
“This is—” Tulman muttered to himself at this astonishing spectacle.
The huge Magic Formation was running at full force, and a pillar of green light shot upwards and punctured a hole in the clouds.
Coordinates of a particular place were being reflected in the light, and a fuzzy image of a few people appeared before everyone. Tulman could not help but raise his eyebrows as he recognized Brendel, then his mouth fell slightly opened when he discovered William standing next to the youth.
“I must thank Mother Marsha. It seems like she has not forgotten a small existence like me; the Magic Formation works,” Brendel said.
His voice sounded like he was in a faraway place and his words were a little garbled. The contents of his sentences made the Druids displeased. It was as though he did not believe in Mother Marsha. However, their irritation disappeared with his following words:
“I bring you good news, Elders, I have found the entrance to Valhalla. I humbly request for Sifrid to be sent over to my coordinates. Victory is before us, and we need only to take one more step.”
Many could not help but cheer with relief. Tulman frowned at his proclamation and wanted to question the youth, but William winked at the old scholar, and the old scholar smiled faintly and decided to keep his silence, at least for the moment.
The only other person who kept his composure was the Great Druid Elder, and he asked with after taking in a deep breath:
“How much longer do you need to reach Valhalla and light the Fire Seed?”
“Unfortunately, I’m not sure. Because no one has tried it before, I’m afraid it’s not going to be a simple thing. In fact, I have not opened the gate to Valhalla.”
Brendel had already told them about this possibility with the Druids even before the Calamity of Wolves started. However, they still showed complicated expressions upon hearing his confirmation.
“…… You only have four hours, young man,” Tulman broke the silence as he glanced at the Druids, “can you ensure that you are able to save this city from the Calamity of Wolves within this time period?”
“Of course brother Brendel would be capable of doing it!”
Sifrid walked out and exclaimed. She could not hold it in when Tulman questioned the youth in front of everyone.
But Tulman ignored the little girl and continued to peer at Brendel. The youth appeared surprised when he discovered Tulman amongst the Druids, and he blurted out:
“Archmage Tulman? Why—” Brendel suddenly shut his mouth.
Tulman smiled in response, looking as though he had caught a child doing something naughty: “It seems like you indeed knew who I was from the very beginning. I’ll put aside your little trick on me from our encounter for now, but I would certainly like an answer to my current question.”
Brendel raised an eyebrow. He was certain that Tulman was not really going to pick a fight with him over his deception, but why was the scholar trying to hinder him?