Year 75 month 2
Yvon agrees to the truce, with a few modifications.
Her death comes after two years of peace.
She did not see herself as being that valuable, that her life mattered more than the security and safety of the non-humans she swore an oath to protect.
In fact, she felt it is a fitting way to die, a martyr's sacrifice, a trade of her life for 2 years of truce.
The second modification they proposed, is to have the gold payment reduced, paid quarterly, and the first payment commencing after a year of peace.
The Salah Kingdom accepts the modified terms.
One, is that they still manage to get rid of all the non-humans under this truce plan, and giving this space for Yvon to integrate the non-humans is ideal.
In fact, it is probably their main goal, to create a human-only environment.
There is racial tension, and getting rid of these "troublesome" elements is worth it for Salah, from a unity perspective.
If they want to create a united kingdom, this may be one way to do so.
The loyalties of these non-humans are always suspect, even though there is no evidence showing nonhumans as more disloyal than humans.
Money is hardly an issue for a wealthy nation like Salah, and perhaps there are factions within Salah who sees additional benefits of getting rid of the non humans.
Salah no longer has to maintain multiple prisons, detention camps, armies and soldiers to patrol their lands.
In fact, to be able to reduce their logistics load and manpowrr needs is probably what they want, so they can direct this resources to their currently ongoing conflict with the Nung and Takde.
Its a concession they agree to make, to deal with what they see as a "larger" enemy.
As for Yvon, the very fact that they still get to kill her, even if after 2 years, without having to resort to a war, is a net save for their military.
They get to focus on other fronts, and gives them just cause.
In fact, the fact that she agrees either way, is as good as an admission of guilt.
So, even if this New Freeka decides to wage war someday, Salah is the one that is right, the neighbouring kingdoms less likely to come to Salah’s aid, and they will be able to use overwhelming force, and even underhanded methods, without losing support of the humans
Thinking it through, Yvon may have signed herself and New Freeka for a tough truce deal.
But, this is a positive outcome for her, as she gets peace, and she can better ensure the safety of the nonhumans.
Anyway, it is a decision Yvon makes for New Freeka, and it is probably a good decision.
For me, I am initially a little peeved, but then as I ponder the issue, perhaps this will allow me the better investigate the culprits of Freeka's destruction, and focus my vengeance.
After all, if they have less reason to suspect and enter into battle with us, I can keep my abilities hidden, unknown, and I can use that as a surprise attack.
If they realise someone is constantly using roots to attack, they may well chop all trees down as a defensive measure.
Also, the traders also bring news of the demon king’s corpse.
The location has been discovered, but approaching the daemolite has proven to be exceptionally challenging, as the location’s gravitational field has been disrupted, and so the entire area is floating in the sky.
Add to that, the place is crawling with fire elementals.
But most importantly, the traders brought something I have been trying to find for a long time.
A register of recorded spirits and magical places in the region.
And a rudimentary map where the nearest magical leyline is located.
I want one.
The nearest one is actually near the ruins of Moton, so Horns investigates, as Jura refuses to leave the valley.
The beetlesquad took about three days to get there, and to discover that it is actually… a small dungeon.
Conventional thinking, I’ll need to break the dungeon core to get to the leyline.
But I wonder whether it's possible to hijack the leyline without having to mount an assault on the dungeon… In either case, having confirmed the location, I start spawning [subsidiary trees], in a line.
This process took 60 [subsidiary trees], as the gap between each tree is about one and a half kilometer, and now I have a string of subsidiary trees that form a link all the way up to the dungeon.
Somehow, this reminds me of those strategy games where I sent a scout in a straight line, cutting through the fog of war...
The dungeon is pouring out a tonne of monsters, mostly low level ghouls, zombies and skeletons.
The beetles and Horns have to constantly fend off the group of marauding skeletons and zombies, but with a subsidiary tree nearby they are able to regenerate and hold back the horde.
This is where I discover I have...
My warbeetles are big, the size of rhinos, but the dungeon entrance is big enough of for only three of them side by side.
And having so little space also means the beetles lose a few of their combat advantages, ie their charge attacks.
They do have very strong armor, but if there are stronger monsters in the dungeon, these beetles are… kinda sitting ducks.
“Sire, suggest we stay put and control the area for now.” Horns telepathically communicates.
As an artificial soul linked to me, he can transmit his message to me directly, though he lacks any mouth that is capable of speech.
So, even though he understands language… he can only speak to me..
and the other artificial souls.
“We can set up defensive positions” Trevor asks, also interested in this new expansion.
“It’s a dungeon…” Meela pokes her head in, seeing what I see.
It seems she is able to share my vision… not sure how she is able to do that.
Outside, in the open, the beetles can crush and ram the undead easily, and render them… useless.
But as an experiment, I sent a few beetles into the dungeon anyway, and as expected they die once they are trapped.
Dungeons with their narrow passages are not the best places for oversized beetles.
So… I need a different strategy.
[Achieved long distance connected roots.
Unlocked new skill : Far-reaching roots]
[Subsidiary tree has leveled up! Limit expanded to 400]
Year 75 Month 3
The truce between Salah and New Freeka signed.
More than 3,000 new refugees came this month, and New Freeka soars to 7,000 in population.
Massive construction happening, but thankfully its spring, so a huge surge in new tree growth by myself and Trevor, and also the dedicated timber farms (which produce no energy, as all of its energy is used to create more wood mass) means ample supply of wood.
The new people are a mix of elves, centaurs, dwarves, and some humans, as there are some families where the humans intermarried with non-humans.
Mostly humanoids, as they are the most “acceptable” to the humans, but still not enough.
Yvon and her team are busy, and they build additional town expansion right next to the valley.
The forest, is off limits to the new comers, as there are monsters appearing.
Insect types, but they generally hunt are animals.
It's also to prevent the newbies from… offending the rules that has been set up, but of course, there are those that try anyway, so… that's when the warbeetles scare the ** out of them.
Anyway, back to the undead dungeon.
Stalemate still ongoing.
I can’t get into the dungeon, but they can’t get out either.
Using additional [subsidiary trees], I created a defensive line outside the dungeon, and any of the undead that appear is instantly killed by Horns and team.
Horns hit his level limit of 20, and I am sad.
His combat and support skills are quite interesting, but nothing useful in tiny..
“How do I upgrade their level limits”
“For who Different unit types have different..
things.” Wisp bobs around.
“Let's say Trevor Trevor also has hit his limit.”
“A forest mind would require a “brain”.”
[Unlocked special tree type.
Requires special minerals to grow.
Special minerals required are 10 x Blood Crystals, and 50 x fresh animal heads]
I got a task for you.” I tell the elves.
“As you wish.” Jura found some of his skills upgraded recently, and strangely, it makes his behavior..
a little weird.
“How about me Can I help too” Lausanne asks, she follows Jura everywhere these days, he is her combat mentor after all.
“Uh… depends whether you’ll be in danger.”
It later emerges that the blood crystals can be bought, and isn’t exactly overly expensive.
But Jura will have to raise some money for it, so we need to either earn it or get it via other means.
The olives sold is a good sum of money but insufficient to afford blood crystals.
“Is there any loot from the dungeon you found”
“Things that are dropped by the monsters or creatures.”
“I… I don’t know.
I can’t actually see it that well.
Trevor, Horns, is there” My vision is mostly on things, living, things, or creatures and items made of mana.
Inanimate, manaless objects appear as outlines, and… frankly there’s so many of these objects I can’t tell if they are any different.
There’s some of the items dropped by the zombies and skeletons.
We didn’t pick them up, as… we don’t have hands.
But they look like ordinary items, sire.” Horns! Tell me next time!
Well, I later sent Emile and Belle, with a protective group of beetles to pick up the loot.
It turns out zombies, skeletons do drop some low quality loot, but, loot is still loot, and they can be sold for cash.
And then I realised I asked the wrong question of the Wisp.
how do I upgrade Horns” I mean, if I do want to do more things around the valley and the region, Horns is the best candidate…
The wisp pauses….
I don’t know actually.”
Stumped, I think this is a deliberate challenge.
The system wants me to figure it out myself, so, when Horns returns to the valley, he goes into the [biolab].
Under the microscope, the warbeetle knight’s body is unlike any other.
The body is dry, flaky, and there is a tiny spring of mana in the middle, which I think is from artificial soul.
Unlike normal souls who pour out clear mana, the mana from this spring is light blue, as if somebody mixed a flour and blue colouring into it.
The body, the vessel of said blue mana is dry, and… cold
[Body - mana type compatibility is low.
Body absorption ratio is low]
Ah, the biolab has tooltips and indicators.
I focus on the spring, and another set of tootips emerge.
[Mana generation ratio hampered by low synchronisation with external environment]
looks like a lot of work needed.
I don’t recall seeing so many tooltips, or is it because of the upgrades Or soul forge I think I could use a lab assistant, so i wonder whether I could fuse the biolab and an artificial soul
Maybe I should do that next…
Anyway, back to the body, I recall there is a freshness, a softness when I look at Meela’s body.
It seemed like the mana pours out of the spring, and the body laps it up.
Even all the other bodies I have seen, the body laps up and absorbs all the mana it produces.
Is this because I forced this creation That the body does not absorb this foreign soul suddenly thrust into it
Ah… if that's the case, do I need to introduce a phase of introducing the artificial soul’s mana to the vessel before performing the merge
[Soul forge annex added : Mana soaking facility, and compatibility tester.]
Additional lab tools obtained]
Sounds like the answer is yes.
Still, I have a problem now.
Horns, the body and mana has low compatibility, so how do I fix it after the fact Is there some kind of medicine I can make Or maybe I need to find some way to modify the body so that it absorbs and becomes more compatible with the artificial soul it houses
At the way things are going, I will find out.
I want artificial souls, and assistants.
And that leyline.
“Trevor, how many trees are we growing this month”
“On track for almost 2,000, sire.” At the current normal tree count stands at about 13,850, at the end of the month.
If 10,000 can support 3 artificial souls, would 20,000 support 6
“Sire… we require some precious gems.
Like emerald or topaz or diamonds.”
“The rootnet will hit max load at 20,000, and needs to be upgraded.
There is an energy transmission capacity, and these precious gems can be used to upgrade the roots.”
Like power cables
I have so many competing priorities! Can I mine these minerals somewhere
“Are there any mines Or locations where this is available”
“The map says there are some abandoned mines nearer to the demon rift.
No data available on the resources available or whether anyone lives there.”
“How much of these gems do you need”
“10kg worth, in any mixture, sire.
It is sufficient to upgrade the main 8-directional roots that form the backbone of the root net.
We are already consuming copper to upgrade the existing root networks.”
“Fine… lets send Horns and the beetles there.”
“But how about the dungeon”
Can I get the refugees to do it
“Hey, I am still trying to get money for the blood crystals, so… I am busy.” Jura shakes his head, and he’s not keen on the dungeon, or the mines, either.
He’s just planning to sell all the loot.
Laufen, Belle and Emile are not fighters, so they are out too.
“But try to buy them, like blood crystals”
“If we produce more olive oils, maybe we can buy them”
“I think it won’t make a dent.
Such gems are expensive, no”
As they discuss, “Hey, Trevor, what’s considered a precious gem”
“Emeralds, diamonds, topaz, rubies, pearls, aquamarine, garnet, almost anything crystalline.”
“Ah.” I wonder how Trevor knows such things, sometimes.
“I leech off your knowledge, sire.
When we are created, we take a snapshot of what the [soul forge] thinks is relevant to our roles, and periodically we get additional knowledge from you, and the Wisp.”
“Wait, are you saying the soul forge is… sentient”
The wisp suddenly pops up.
The soul forge, has a certain categorisation of information that it needs for the each kind of role, ie, combat, support, administrative, magical, social.
Your memories and knowledge is also classified into such categories, and the forge will match those roles to the knowledge.”
“How about you” I mean, the wisp knows ** I don’t, so it must come from somewhere.
“I have inherited knowledge, granted to all wisps of soul trees.
From the nameless mother herself.”
The nameless mother.
I wonder whether I can meet her.
Maybe I should dig really deep, maybe she’s hiding deep underground in the heart of the planet.
Year 75 Month 4
Yvon and the leaders of New Freeka came to beg for aid.
Their population now boomed to 10,000, and they have a problem feeding and housing, even with the massive building they are doing.
There seems to be some observers from Salah, to ensure the truce terms are complied with.
Well, their problem is multifold really.
Housing, food, how to make money for their truce obligations, and how to control such a large, restless and unhappy population.
As they live on the periphery of the forest, building, farming on the lands that is not yet forested, I leave it to them.
As long as they do not encroach on the forest, I can allow space for Yvon’s group.
“I offer my soul.” Yvon kneels, begs, really.
“Anything, tree spirit.
At this point, you are the only one that can offer us hope.”
“No.” I mean, one soul, to aid so many refugees What does she take me for, a charity
Then, her entire council of fifteen men kneels.
“We offer our souls as well.
We have fought long and hard together, for the dream of Prince Galan and Lady Yvon’s non-human state.
Here we have a great chance to achieve it, and with the powers of a great tree spirit, we can achieve it.”
“16 of your souls, for more than 10,000 refugees”
“Is that a good trade” I ask the wisp.
The sixteen kneels.
“Everything we have to offer, and our remaining lives.
Please, to house, to feed, to protect a fledging city, a great tree spirit can do more than we can.”
Uh… well, that is cause your levels are low If one is high level enough one would get tremendously OP abilities, do they not
Not good enough.”
They look at each other, and decide to go back to New Freeka.
New Freeka, at 10,000 sprawls the entire southern valley, essentially blocking off access to the forests which I live in.
Ah, no matter.
As the [Ginseng] grows, it seems, stranger, more powerful monsters spawn in the forests.
Things harder for the Beetles to defeat, on some days, larger groups of monsters.
[Ginseng has reach stage 1 maturity.
You may direct its next stage of growth.]
Stage 2 growth choices are :
Mana growth and mana pool size (Your mana will reduce by 1% for the entirety of the stage 2 growth period)physical stat growth (Tree growth reduced by 5% during the entire growth period)Grant unique skills (Stronger monsters will appear during the entire stage 2 period)(Environmental choice) Grants title [Survivor of the valley].
Title provides high-tier natural regeneration, and increased defense.
[There are twenty stages to the ginseng.
Each successive stage increases monster spawn, and stronger monster types, who will try to consume or destroy the ginseng tree.]
Is this a [protect the tree] minigame
I picked [unique skills], because why the ** not.
Year 75 Month 4 Week 3
The stalemate continues.
There is a dungeon I want to invade, and yet I suck.
And repeatedly attempting to charge into the dungeon seems to have created stronger zombies and undead, so if I want to get to it, I better attack with a strong force able to wipe it in one go.
Meanwhile, [Far-reaching roots] increase the distance between the [subsidiary trees] further, essentially doubling it.
I am now trying to explore alternative means of locating the stuff that I need to..
Back at the ginseng tree, a couple of strong monsters appeared this month, they killed a few beetles before they are defeated, so I increase the beetle defending it to 50 beetles.
The treefolk and centaur are relatively content, being like suburbs to the booming New Freeka.
Yvon and group returns again for another round of begging, and once more, I turn them away.
And yet, in New Freeka, it seems quite a few people, elves or humans or dwarves, pray to my [subsidiary tree].
And talk about their issues.
Some of these refugees has taken on the role of a “priest”, limiting and controlling the sessions each one has to talk to that subsidiary tree.
Even though I do not respond.
Strange, but I suppose faith is needed even when one’s a refugee.
Some of these humans and dwarves have a culture of praying to the deity that controls the land they live in, even though they may not be a devout believer.
Its an animistic kind of approach, to worship the land, but it is charming.
[Special tree unlocked : Tree of Prayers]
[Tree of Prayers has a calming, relaxing effect on its surroundings.
Has the ability to passively soothe and comfort.
Comes with a naturally calming background music of rustling leaves and wind]
This is like that time when Brislach and Wahlen play hide and seek.
Year 75 Month 5
A massive tiger attacked my [ginseng tree].
It killed 30 beetles, and managed to pull the ginseng tree out of the ground.
Then Trevor alerted me to the sudden attack.
And I killed it with multiple root strikes.
[Ginseng tree has been killed]
Well the ginseng tree is still lying on the ground, but its dead.
This, fragile little thing.
Well, I later had Laufen brew it into a soup, using tiger meat and ginseng.
Kind of like traditional asian herbal soups.
And had all Jura, Laufen, Emile and Belle eat and drink the soup.
Tastes like roots.
They reported feeling strange, but nothing else.
Maybe not so quickly Or the ginseng is too young
Year 75 Month 5 Week 2
Yvon comes and beg for something again.
This time, for us to create grapes.
The [Harvestable crops : grapes], and the idea is that they will make wine with it, to raise enough money to pay the terms of the truce.
Good idea, really.
So what's the offer
I am marked for death anyway, so take my soul.”
Soul for a farm of grapes It's quite a good deal.
“50 grapes trees.”
“50 confirmed grape trees, and I will use my abilities to boost a dedicated patch of land of 4 acres for grapes for the next 10 years.”
“Your soul for a grape farm.”
One of her advisors shake her head.
Its too little.”
“How about 10 acres.”
“12 acres then.
But I get 10% cut of all wine sales.”
The deal is done.
[Spiritual contract - barter] completed.
The denizens of New Freeka builds the necessary grape trellis for the grapes to grow.
As agreed, 50 [subsidiary trees] designated under [harvestable crops] to produce grapes, in an area 10ac wide, the rest of it just ordinary grape vines, boosted by me and Trevor’s growth mojo.
A wine industry in New Freeka.
Fairly innovative of them, wanting to make high value items for sale.
[Level up! You are now level 123]
[Skill : Reinforce defensive structures obtained]
How is that supposed to be a skill I learn at level 123 Sounds like crappy.
Year 75 Month 6
The New Freeka peeps work fast, using the grapes produced from the [subsidiary trees].
The first batch of wines has been made, and undergoing testing and tasting.
One of the senior leaders, an old man is apparently a wine connoisseur and he has skills in [winemaking], [wine-ageing] and so on.
With his abilities, wines age three times as fast, and more resistant to spoilage.
The [timber farm] produces a few variety of fragrant wood types, which are usable as wine kegs, and apparently can imbue additional texture and taste to the wine.
I kinda feel sad that I am a tree now.
When I was a programmer I did drink occasionally, to feel better about my stagnant career.
Maybe I should get them to pour some on my roots.
I might still taste some…
Though I doubt alcohol has any effect on trees
Year 75 Month 6 Week 3
Thanks to the booming New Freeka now at almost 15,000 nonhumans, and more expected, there’s now a constant flow of merchants, and so, the first set of the wines are given to them free as “samples”, for them to bring back to their hometowns and cities, hopefully entice some nobles or wealthy merchants to support the products.
In either case, this burst in growth, means Jura can sell the loot collected, and the olive oil can be sold once ready.
Benefits of an active market.
But, we still don’t have enough money for the crystals.
To create the [root brain complex].
How does a Tree game or manipulate the economic system of this world anyway