Year 83 Month 9
The supercannon fired multiple times, and I believe the shots were aimed at the heroes, or at least, it tried to shoot them the moment the demons found them.
Many times, the network of magical sensors pick up the surge of the magical projectile, and after we concluded it wasn’t going to land anywhere near us, we let it zip by.
This, naturally, is a problem for the heroes.
The heroes want to fight the demons, and they do as much as they can to fight the demons.
They, and their ‘summoned’ magical army go out of their way to stop as many demons as they can.
Yet, fighting demons personally also meant they reveal their own presence to the supercannon.
The supercannon clearly has no concern for friendly fire and would not hesitate to annihilate any demons present in the area to get a shot at the heroes.
That said, the heroes does have some measures to protect themselves.
Harris, the shield-hero, have a massive absorption shield, and he is able to absorb one shot from the supercannon.
Based on the current firing patterns, the supercannons can fire 3 long-range shots consecutively every 5-6 days, so after the shots, the heroes actually have a short window in which they can advance as fast as they can, or fight as much as they can, since the threat of the supercannon didn’t hang over their heads after every volley.
The supercannon, is also a huge demon factory, and the nearest subsidiary tree near that area saw thousands to tens of thousands of demonoids sent in all directions.
It’s just a lucky thing that the supercannon usually won’t target conventional targets, since they seemed focused on the heroes...
or anyone that invoked a [blood ritual] against it.
Or so I thought.
Middle of the month, multiple smaller battles happened throughout the valley.
Some of these demons attempted to attack the volcano, some attempted to re-take the former snake dungeon, some attempted to just..
Well, punch through my line of trees.
It’s good combat practice for the Valthorns, and with the expanded ‘operating range’ around the [Giant Attendant Trees], I’m able to use these giant trees like ‘regional hubs’ for my beetles to operate it.
“Well, at least TreeTree sees things my way.” Lausanne said.
She’s been out fighting, and I think she’s using the fighting to work through her frustrations about levelling, and how insanely overpowered the heroes are.
“Some of these girls are too young to be fighting.” A captain complained.
Age shouldn’t stop them from seeing the demon war for what it is.” Lausanne shrugged.
“You watch them!” The captain complained.
Lausanne nodded, and she played ‘protector’ of the young Valthorn convoys.
Each ‘squadron’ of 100 soldiers play nanny to a group of 5 Valthorns, excluding Lausanne and the first generation Valthorns, who are considered regular soldiers.
There is usually a small beetle force of 1,500 that acts as the ‘bulk’ of any combat force.
The general consensus on the accepted age for a person to start fighting in this world, is about 14, but children younger than that have played ‘support’ roles, such as food handlers, helpers at healer-tents, tending to animals and stuff.
I mean, if one reaches age 14, they must have survived at least one demon king era, right
Children mature quickly in the face of death and destruction, though not by choice.
And then, we felt it.
A shot from the demonic supercannon, and this time, it’s aimed right at me.
I’ve been waiting for this moment.
I wanted to know how my shields stack up.
[Steelwood Barrier] x 5.
Five large wooden shields manifested midair, supported by roots appearing from the ground, And the magical projectile smashed through four of them.
“Oh.” It’s more of an ‘Oh’ of relief, really.
Honestly, this meant if the actual bullet hit my main boy, it probably won’t cause much damage thanks to all my perks.
But the rest of the subsidiary trees and New Freeka itself will suffer damage.
It’s not really me that needs protecting from demons, but the valley.
My fellow lovely, lovely trees and flowers, plants, herbs and crops.
Biodiversity of the valley is fragile, it must be so, so, gently preserved.
This valley is our prized garden, and we are it’s gardeners and protectors.
Ain’t no nasty demon gonna step on my field of herbs or crops.
It fired again.
Trevor quickly calculated it’s trajectory and alerts me to be ready.
Just as before, five [steelwood barrier] blocks it successfully.
And we blocked the third shot too.
The [Steelwood Barrier] is clearly a league above the previous wood shields, so that's a plus point.
Next time if a demon walker comes close I can have this right in it’s face.
Maybe I can use it as a weapon
“Should we retaliate, Commander” Stratreegy asked.
Or perhaps invent a weapon similar to the one used by Lady Meela.”
The strategic advantages of a weapon like that can’t be understated.
It’s capable of massive long range.
We could build a massive wooden bullet enchanted with anti-demon magic as a projectile.
Would be extremely beneficial with the Commander's superior anti-demon powers.”
“Huh.” Well, are there...
naturally occurring versions of the peashooter for my research, since the system isn’t so willing to give it to me
Maybe some other time.
I’ll need adventurers to get them, but with the demons running amok, most of them now find a ‘safe’ base of operations and work from there.
I hope the merchant networks get restored soon, all my artificial minds have pending upgrades.
Even with the merchant guild’s regional coordination center being here, trade routes are still unstable, and that means total value of trades is still way lower than pre-demon king.
“TreeTree! I got an idea!” Lausanne came to me one day.
“Can you animate wooden stuff for us to practice combat with I was thinking like...
moving wooden figures shaped like monsters, or other humans, and we get to fully simulate all kinds of situations.
If you can add weather effects that would be even better!”
Where’d she get that idea That sounds like the kind of training room Kung Fu Panda has.
should be possible”
“I saw a bunch of fighters out in the barracks using these wooden dummies as practice.
I’ve got no idea why, but I thought with your power, you could create a totally awesome version of those dummies!”
I could.” Well, that’s certainly worth exploring.
I mean, it is a natural extension of the current training rooms.
I think it’ll be a good experience for the younger kids to practice with dummies their own size, and gradually work up to larger and full sized dummies! I mean, we’re small!” Lausanne’s not exactly small anymore.
She’s 14, and at this age she’s about 85-90% of her full height.
“But think of it, if you could animate dummies that resemble all sorts of monsters, we could get similar combat experience before we even face the real thing! So the room should have like...
dummies for kids!”
That’s a good point.
“It’s totally going to be great.
It’s like your [dream tutor]! But because its real, we could build what Uncle Jura calls muscle-memory!”
essentially is wooden dummies resembling all kinds of monsters as practice.” Essentially a ‘VR’ for battle.
But fine, but the amount of variation is beyond what I think a regular [training room] can provide, so I decided to make an [artificial soul] merged with a [training tree], to form a [Tree of Learning].
“I’m your Treeiner, let us begin practice.” A wooden dummy appeared and he can speak.
He bowed to Lausanne like a kung-fu master.
He’s literally a wooden avatar that represented the merged Tree.
He’s level one, of course, but yes, I decided Treeiner sounds like a good name for a trainer.
I was contemplating between Treeiner, or Treetor, or Practreece.
But I suppose if I have multiple Tree of Learning, I can use all of those names.
Should a basic Valtrian version of the ‘Boot Camp’ be called Root Camp
The death of all the mortals in the region to the demons meant that I have a large supply of soul fragments to make artificial souls, and the Volcano also happens to help expand by artificial-soul capacity since it too, supplies a kind of ‘power’.
Lausanne looked impressed, and happily started.
So, she and the young kids busy with their newfound practice-toy, kinda like how athletes go hyper over their new practice equipment, I leave them alone.
Not that I have much of a choice.
Because the damned supercannon fired 3 shots at me again.
Like, I have the wonderful honor of taking so many shots.
Am I like, firing practice A wooden dummy for the demon supercannon to practice their aim
“Any ideas on how do we convert that energy from the shot into something usable Can we have magic-absorbent wooden shields” I mean, it is energy in some form....
I blocked all of the shots, of course, but one of them blew up extremely close to New Freeka, which freaked everyone out.
Everyone should be reminded of their mortality, every now and then.
Year 83 Month 10
The supercannon decided to change target.
I wonder if it's because it presumed I died, or, it just found something better to shoot at.
I mean, how does the demon even know whether it hit or not, right It’s not like there are eyes on the projectile...
My own suspicions are they have ‘spotter’ demons, but with my expanded trees and network, I don’t think so.
There’s not a single demon within 50 miles of me.
So, they decided to shoot...
And the capital of Takde.
And also the capital of Barsoom to the north.
It wasn’t hard to calculate, since the energy-signatures ‘movement’ gives a direction, and the travel of the magical projectile is something that can be pinpointed by using an array of magical sensors, then triangulating the route based on the time-gap different sensors detect the same energy signature.
But this raises a question.
How does the demon even know about the concept of ‘capitals’ Do they go by ‘population-density’ Or do they have some kind of ‘scanning’ mechanism which allows them to spot where exactly are the big cities I had the impression it can detect ‘heroes’, and the concept of a ‘retaliation’ could be easily understood, but if can deliberately target capitals, it meant the demons can understand the concept of what is a ‘human-capital’, being the political ‘constructs’ that they are, therefore is sentient and intelligent.
Or maybe it’s simpler
“Maybe it just detects the presence of a [King]”
Jura’s idea is that well, [King]’s actually have an aura-thing that spans their domain.
A demon in that domain, should be able to sense where the king is, if it has the right kind of...
If Alexis’s previous theory was that the demon king could sense heroes, what’s stopping them from looking for kings
“Doesn’t that mean the King can never run away or flee”
they can turn their ‘presence’ off and on”
I think it’s both.
News, about the attack, traveled quickly.
I happen to have the benefit of having a front row seat of the destruction.
Ransalah’s main palace suffered a massive explosion that vaporized the entire royal palace.
The King and the royal family...
Even from the [subsidiary tree] that I have in the Ransalah’s Forest Reserve, which is luckily spared from the projectile, I could vaguely see the destruction of Ransalah’s royal-district.
A very, very precise shot from the demon supercannon.
Seems like Jura’s idea that it detects a ‘King’ has merit.
This precision doesn’t make sense without it.
The news eventually arrived via courier and got to Yvon two weeks later, and as expected, she took this news the hardest.
In that, she was most...
The King, then the Prince, was the one that killed her previous benefactor...
and Roma’s father.
Eriz and Roma, and the former councillors that formed her inner circle quickly met up in her house to discuss the events.
“The King is dead You are certain about this” Yvon asked, and all of them, the ‘first-generation’ founders of New Freeka, in a sense, gathered.
The first generation are refugees from a civil war, after all.
“Yes, Lady Yvon.
I double, no, I confirmed with at least ten other sources.
The blast from the demon somehow managed to break through all the magical barriers protecting the palace and destroyed the palace.
Even the royal chambers, with it’s ancient magics, did not last.”
“But Aeon just blocked a few of those shots...”
“Perhaps those ancient magics have eroded...
But regardless, what matters is that the King, and the immediate family that lived in the royal palace is dead.
Even the King’s four sons, their bodies have been found charred and burnt.
The King’s own body was founded half-vaporised, his head and left hand partly protected by the protective magic of the royal crown and the ring of the hero’s throne.”
Two of the other men and women squirmed at the description.
The others let out a bit of a sigh.
Some just kept their mouth shut, and looked at Yvon.
“So, Lady Yvon, there will be a war soon, perhaps not an outright war because of concerns over the demon king...”
“For the Throne of Salah.”
“My duties and commitment is here, I am after all bound to Aeon under contract.”
“Pretenders to the throne will emerge.
And Roma, as the child of Prince Galan, has a claim.”
“All of you knew too...”
“We always did.
I’m sure many back in Ransalah knows too.
The pretenders will come for his life, whether he likes it or not.
He’s only 10, and may not be ready for such conflicts, but yet, the blood of the kings run through him.
And that means responsibility, Lady Yvon.
A duty to the old throne to claim his birthright.”
“I cannot leave.
And here, Roma is safe.
Aeon’s eyes and ears watches over all of us.
No one will be able to attempt to take his life.”
“Lady Yvon, if I may...
can you convince Aeon to support Roma’s claim”
“That is absurd.” Yvon shook her head.
“Why would a tree spirit even bother with the royal affairs of another kingdom! Aeon has shown no respect or regard for the thrones of mortal men.
It is but a flimsy thing to him.”
“But he can be bargained with.
A deal can be struck.
Just as you did.”
“Only when it is aligned to Aeon’s goals, whatever ephemeral and random that goal may be.
And Roma may not want to be king.
We should ask him.”
“I’m afraid his reluctance will earn him support.
Many of the old court prefers a puppet on the throne, someone who would just delegate the duties of a king to the royal court.
He cannot avoid this fight, lady Yvon.
It is infinitely better to take this fight on our terms, with a base of support that’s unshakeable.
Aeon, as a great spirit of the land, is clearly one support the citizens of Salah will respect and fear.”
They met in Yvon’s house, and there was tea on the table.
Some ginger biscuits too, made from the Order’s herbal gardens.
Yvon looked at the rest of the men.
“We owe it to the humans, our human friends who supported Prince Galan’s fight back then.
There are many who are forced to kowtow to the new King of Salah.
This is our chance to pay them back.
If not for Roma or yourself, do it for Prince Galan.
Prince Galan who would’ve been a better king than his brother.”
Yvon’s fingers were shaking.
My contract with Aeon is unshakeable.
But Roma is free.”
“There are many who would see you return.
Those of us who can return to support Roma’s claim will do so.”
“There are also many who would kill me and Roma without blinking an eye.
And there would be those who rally against us, the other pretenders will claim Roma’s a New Freekan and no longer has a claim on the throne.”
“No matter the naysayers.
The blood doesn’t lie, and the Crown of Salah is a magical artifact from the first Kings, and it will recognise any man who is a legitimate heir.
If Roma has the [pretender to the throne of Salah] title, he has a right to the throne.”
Roma came in with Eriz.
One of the councillors asked.
“So, my dear Roma.
Did you get a notification about your class”
Roma looked puzzled at the gathered group.
what’s this mommy”
“Roma, there’s a long and difficult conversation I need to have with you.”
The others let Yvon and Roma had a bit of personal space, as Yvon explained to Roma, who his father actually was, and what’s happening in Salah.
Roma seemed to take it quite well but perhaps he’s just too stunned to even react in any way.
At ten years old, maybe that’s a good reaction.
And when the conversation was over, Roma just ran out of the house.
Yvon walked out to the living room again, and looked at her compatriots.
“Didn’t go well”
“He said he needed some time to think.”
I was thinking...
Lady Yvon, how close are you to Lausanne”
“Lady Lausanne’s an amazing fighter, and if I may...
she has all that is needed to be a valuable protector of Roma.
convince her to go with Roma”
Yvon shook her head.
Roma has his own friends...”
Takde and Barsoom, strangely, didn’t suffer that badly.
The news from couriers relayed that Takde’s royal castle had an ancient magical circle that activated just in time, and it’s actually strong enough to absorb the magical attack.
Barsoom on the other hand, also had similar magical protections, and had so much reinforcement from Barsoom’s own council of archmages that the blast was deflected to somewhere else.
I suppose not all kingdoms are that helpless against demons.
Else a society like this wouldn’t have survived all that long.
Still, the blast, and the wars, meant refugee season again.
There’s a whole load of refugees, and thanks to the fear of the demon blasts, they travel in smaller packs, away from the heroes.
Even some of Ransalah’s citizens are running, because well...
if even the King with all his protections can’t protect himself, how could a regular citizen hope to even survive such a blast
New Freeka’s already massively populated, and the poop-issue is only thankfully under control due to my recent advancements in filtration and metallic concentration trees.
110,000 now after all the massive waves of immigration, comprising of about 50% elves, 20% dwarves, 10% centaurs, 5% humans, 5% treefolk, and 10% others such as beastmen, lizardmen, garudas or harpy-likes.
Anyway, with the [great attendant tree], this skill significantly improves my force-projection abilities outside my immediate range.
These Great Trees essentially function as mini-mes, with 50% of my abilities.
50% is still plenty, because with a few [great attendant trees], and with some support of higher leveled fighters, I think I could take on the supercannon.
In a way, it’s like a ‘carrier’ battlegroup.
It’s just so overpowered, because I could lose the great attendant trees, without much risk.
I can just add more!
Since the heroes are headed that way, I could strike at the supercannon at the same time, and that would improve my chances.
So, I map a path of [subsidiary trees] to execute that plan.
Meanwhile, further south, the heroes are now making their way back.
Their path will likely bring them through New Freeka.
“Say, do you think these trees belong to Aeon” Becky asked, she looked at one of my [subsidiary trees] that was on a hill.
There’s some bushes and other plants nearby.
“I don’t think so It looks quite different.” Ah, my intendent camouflage of tailoring the ‘types’ and ‘species’ of my subsidiary trees paid off!
“Doesn’t make sense that these trees somehow survive though...”
“There’s trees everywhere.
You underestimate how resilient nature is at reclaiming wastelands.”
“True, true.” And the the [hero-chat] popped up again.
“Hi guys!” Astra’s voice boomed.
“I’ve got a task for you all of you!”
“I’ve gotten my level 90 perk! And it’s a [telecommunications tower]!”
We haven’t reached level 90 yet, although we fought a demon walker!” Harris frowned.
“Anyway, so what’s the task Does it help us against the demons”
Yes it does! So anyway, this world used to rely extensively on a kind of magical [messaging] system, something like **S in our world, at least, before the internet took over.
So, so, the demon king arrived, and that messed up the entire [messaging] network.”
“Oh, it’s just [messaging], isn’t it What’s the big deal” Harris frowned.
“The guys I met all use couriers and scouts to deliver letters.”
“It **ing matters, Harris.
Instantaneous communication means real time targeting of spells, real time military coordination and cross-continental trade.
It means you can find out where the demons are instantly by just asking! So, so, my level 90 perk allows me to build [telecommunication towers], and this will restore the [messaging] function within the area.
All these [telecommunication towers] are magically linked so this will also allow the nations to talk to each other again.”
I don’t see the awesomeness, but sure.
If it helps us against the demons...”
“So, the task is, I’m going to send you five [deployment gems], via [hero cloudtrading].
These things will expand into the [telco towers].
But, catch is, you need to find a place that has some protection, perhaps a city with strong magical protection, or some ancient defensive matrixes left behind by the previous generations of heroes.
If the towers go down, the [message] function goes down with it.”
Can’t the tower just stay with us permanently I could protect it” Harris didn’t seem keen.
“Well, how about the rest of the world, then The range of each of these [towers] isn’t that big.
At most, one or two countries.
We need to spread it as much as we can.
If you can find places with some kind of magical supply, or leyline, even better, because the magical energies will amplify the [telco tower]’s range.”
“That’s not good.
The demons want those kind of spots too.” Becky responded.
Astra just chuckled.
“Well, if you guys get your level 90 perks, you’ll get some kind of structure too.
I think Helen’s level 90 perk is a [healing tower] that also has a garrisoned army of magical knights.”
“So you’re saying, we need to get our level 90 perks, then use our [towers] to protect your [telco tower]”
That’s part of the strategy we are going for.
Like Gerrard’s level 90 tower is a cannon tower that shoots stuff at any demons in range.”
Then, 5 gems appeared next to Becky.
“One last thing, it’s activated via star-mana.
Alright, gotta go.
Got a battle coming up in a few hours.” And [hero-chat] disappeared.
“Level 90 perks” Harris looked around.
They were camped near one of my subsidiary trees.
“I wonder why our levelling is slower...
We seem to be fighting just as much as them.” Becky asked, they munched over some barbequed rabbits.
“It’s just a few levels.
We’re already in our level 80s!” Mirei shrugged.
“Don’t think about it too much.
Maybe they kill more demon generals than we did.”
Becky stretched and yawned.
“Well, I for one, am very much look forward to going back to New Freeka.
I can’t wait to see Lady Mika again, there’s so much I want to ask her!”
And proper beds! I will kill a thousand demons for a proper bed right now.”