The battle was slowly being extinguished.
The once peaceful Rut'theran village had become a horrifying place of death.
Not a single living being larger than five centimeters could be found in the entire village or an area of several kilometers around it. In particular, where the battle had been the most intense, it wasn't just the animals that had gone missing. Even the plants had been devoured. The scars of battle left behind were a horrifying sight to behold.
No one knew when it had appeared, but an eagle had been circling in the blue skies above.
It circled the area around Rut'theran many times before finally diving down, unable to suppress the feeling of frustration in its heart.
The male eagle beat its powerful wings and quickly weaved between the trees, occasionally pulling up or diving down to avoid the ancient branches and dense vines coming at its face. Finally, the light appeared before its eyes, and it passed through the dense forest that led to the quiet valley where Rut'theran resided.
The first sight that entered the eagle's eyes came as such a tremendous shock that it almost ran into one of the withered ancient trees. The eagle quickly flew in a circle and landed steadily upon the ground. It then returned to its human form amidst a series of strange contortions and transformations.
Sov was a First Grade Druid from Skywater City.
His daily mission was to patrol the one dozen elven villages around Irontree Forest. Rut'theran Village was undoubtedly one of those villages.
Rut'theran Village might have a small population, but due to the neighboring Irontree forest, the Ironwood produced here was also a relatively important strategic resource of the elven kingdom. Ironwood was one of the main ingredients in crafting high-quality elven longbows. Its value was immense to the elven kingdom and its many archers!
Sov would come here on patrol every four or five days, also taking the opportunity to visit some old friends for tea. Moreover, he had a crush on the archery instructor of Rut'theran– Faelin. He was in the midst of a mad pursuit, which prompted him to come here even more frequently.
Yet today, when he arrived, all he saw was the sight of a ravaged land after a great battle.
Almost all greenery within the valley had vanished.
The ground seemed to have been utterly punished as well. Cracks and upturned dirt were everywhere.
The towering ancient trees had all withered and died. Their roots were exposed, and not one bit of life force or energy could be sensed in them.
An unusually tall tree had collapsed at the center of the village. Its broken body seemed to have been devoured by some sort of creature. The soft insides of the tree had been completely emptied, turning the tree into an empty husk.
Azali; it was Azali, one of the two tiny treants of Rut'theran!
Sov's heart trembled upon seeing the terrible state of Azali's death.
If even Azali could die in combat, then the other elves would probably have an even lower chance of surviving!
Sov, who knew the surroundings of Irontree Forest like the back of his hand, immediately identified that this wasn't an attack by some sort of ferocious magical beast. Instead, it was an attack by an outside force. Combined with the recent news from the elven military, Sov was confident that the culprits of this disaster were those savage and evil otherworldly witches.
Under ordinary circumstances, Sov should immediately retreat from this village and return to Skywater City to report the situation. It was to have the elven commander assign more reinforcements, including more powerful Druid Masters, to investigate and track the location of the enemy.
However, with Faelin's whereabouts in mind, Sov hesitated. In the end, he gritted his teeth and walked onto this terrifying battlefield.
The enemy might have left quite a while ago!
The signs of an intense battle could be seen everywhere upon the ground and on the trees, but it was hard to see any survivors at all. Not even a slightly larger animal could be found. That caused his Animal Speech class ability to be useless.
Though he could communicate with the remaining grass and trees, these plants only had simple minds. Apart from the two simple words of "enemy…bug," they could not provide any finer details.
Sov also picked up plenty of crushed black insect shells on the ground.
He carefully kept these few 'clues' that the enemy had left behind and prepared to submit them to the higher-ups.
Suddenly, movement came from the tree hall platform, high up in the trees.
It couldn't help but make Sov nervous.
He gripped the oaken staff in his hands tightly and cast a layer of Barkskin upon himself. It was only now that he mustered the courage to rush onto the platform.
However, the sight on the platform caused his eyes to go wide open!
This place seemed to have been the main battlefield of the battle. Blood and slash marks littered the wooden platform. In the corner of the platform, close to the tree hall, a female elf with one arm had had her clothes removed and had been pinned to the tree trunk with an arrow through her chest.
She was youthful, and her skin was white and smooth, but her head hung limply downward, and her scattered hair had covered her face. The blood that flowed from her naked body pooled beneath her feet, forming a crimson puddle. Too much time had passed, and the blood had dried into a dark red blood stain, making a shocking sight for all who saw it.
Apart from her, no other elven corpses could be seen on the platform.
It was Faelin!
Sov almost instantly identified this female elf!
He rushed over agitatedly, but before he could even touch Faelin's corpse, two malicious gusts of winds came from above and beside him. Four or five black silhouettes lunged out from their hiding spots, striking right at the distraught young druid.
Sov relied on the Nature Protection covering him as well as his oaken staff to defend the strikes quickly. Finally, he managed to struggle out of the magical mantises' ambush.
He rushed to the edge of the platform and pressed his oaken staff against the ground while simultaneously tossing out a handful of strange plant seeds. As a beam of magic green light flashed by, the plant seeds scattered through the air and instantly swelled into fearsome thorned vines, binding all four pursuing magical mantises to the spot without exception.
Of course, such a Thorn Binding could not trap the magical mantises for long.
The magical mantises waved their scythe-like limbs and almost instantly cut the thorned vines into shreds.
Sov relied on the short amount of time he had bought with the thorned vines to transform quickly. He intended to turn into an eagle and take to the skies once again.
Just as his transformation was about to complete, a pungent gale came from behind him. An extremely sharp mantis limb pierced his right chest and pinned him to the platform.
Then a powerful strike hit his head, and Soc fainted without another word.
A broad, spacious tree hall platform was filled with all sorts of strange forms.
Mary, who hadn't shown herself in quite a while, stood at the front of the formation in her crimson armor. Standing in a row behind her were the three Blood Knights with Soros in the lead. Old Fox Vanlier looked just like the middle-aged noble he had always been and waited by Mary's side with a big smile on his face.
Nearly thirteen to fourteen elves were standing even further behind them. There were both males and females amongst these elves, and all of them handsome and charming. However, at this moment, their eyes were blood-red and filled with malice. Two sharp bloodsucking fangs protruded from their upper lips, giving them a wild look.
This batch of forest elves that Mary had converted into blood slaves had been hand-picked. The weakest of them was First Grade, and two were Second Grades.
Having undergone vampiric reconstruction, these elves' nature power within their bodies had now all been converted into blood energy. They were no longer the former forest elves. Instead, they had become a strange species never before seen in Faen– Blood Elves.
The direct consequence of such a bloodline reconstruction didn't cause the blade dancers and elven archers to weaken. In fact, because of their new regeneration and bloodsucking abilities, their might in battle had increased exponentially.
It was the casters, druids, or elven mages who lost all of their nature magic upon reconstruction into blood elves. They were only left with a pathetic Blood Bullet spell.
It seemed Mary would have to give these fellows a bit more time to discover new blood magic if she wanted to have more spellcasters among her subordinates.
Fortunately, Mary had converted herself into a pure-blood vampire when advancing to Second Grade in the World of Adepts. The bloodline shackles upon her had been largely removed. At least, she wouldn't have to worry about this problem before she advanced to Third Grade!
The most significant benefit she obtained from converting into a pure-blood vampire was her soul origin being able to tolerate two times as many bloodline descendants as before. The number of blood slaves she could create were as many as thirty, and the number of lower vampire spawn she could have was two hundred.
If she let go of some of her authority and allowed her blood slaves to create vampire spawn of their own, then she could be the Blood Queen at the top of the pyramid, directly and indirectly controlling one to two thousand blood creatures.
A single pure-blood vampire could control a terrifying bloodsucking army, while a family of vampires could even manage a medium-sized human kingdom.
However, such behavior rarely occurred in the World of Adepts. The main reason for that was the difficulty of finding so many high-quality, intelligent species. Even if the vampires lowered their expectations and found ways to Embrace those frail humans, the massive army that they would be able to raise would not endure a single, large offensive magic spell from the enemy.
Moreover, the Embrace consumed the origin blood of the vampire!
Wasting precious origin blood on some inferior lifeforms would not only fail to help the vampire rise to power, but it would also even indirectly drag down the accumulation of their power.
That was why one could lower expectations when creating vampire spawn meant for cannon fodder, but when choosing blood slaves to build bloodline connections with, one had to be extremely careful. The Embrace should not be used so casually.