Chapter 320: Hello Forest my old…
On the morning of the third day after conquering the stronghold a caravan of almost 2000 people was ready to set off into the unknown. Despite initial estimations, the forest had already taken grasp of the outer courtyard and was creeping on the walls of the castle.
The mighty walls built by slave hands were already crumbling under natures advance. The previously deforested area outside the stronghold was already filled with lush big trees.
On the wide outer courtyard, a large fleet of carts was assembled, and they had to put up guard to periodically cut down any plant that came through the walls.
The servants and workers had used building materials to make these carts and carriages. Most were tied to pets and summons because there were not nearly enough draft animals to pull them all.
People like Evan were a great help in this situation, as they had numerous tamed beasts, and some had even managed to tame the animalistic chimeras to pull their carts.
While in normal caravans the vehicles would carry the goods and rations, these were filled with the servants and workers who had could not keep up with the walking speed of the ori huma. Overall, the carts would increase the speed of the caravan.
Rations and supplies were distributed to porters with an item box who would be in charge of building the campsites and the meals.
Seth sat on Puffles back who was perching atop one of the towers of the castle. Behind him were Lynri, Wedan, and Duhu. He had made a saddle for all of them to strap in and ride the centipede. All the people he cared about were with him. Evan would be among them, but he was needed with the caravan.
“Its a shame we cant just fly home like this…” Seth sighed
~ I am great and powerful, but I told you already, that I cant fly for a long time at once. ~
“Yeah, yeah, i know.”
“its still creepy to have someone talking in your head,” Lynri commented, as the Ivicer talked to everyone.
“I prefer knowing, that the giant beast I am sitting on, is a sentient being that can be communicated with. Also, that it prefers ale and cookies over dwarven flesh.”
~Have you ever tried raw meat? Let me tell you, you all taste disgusting. No one in their right mind would eat that if they didnt have to. ~
“I feel offended but reassured,” Wedan answered jokingly.
Soon the caravan got into movement. A group of adventurers made up of mages and warriors formed the head of the caravan. With magic and skills, they would cut a path through the thick vegetation.
The demons would have been a great help in this group, but many of them had gone through changes. As the desires they uttered during the pact were fulfilled most of them lost their powers to varying degrees.
Everyone with the
Seth would have joined them, but all leaders had unanimously agreed that he and Puffles should stay behind the caravan to help in case they were attacked by something the guards couldnt handle.
The guard was made up of adventurers, freed warriors, and chimeras who surrounded the carts on all sides. They were armed with weapons and armor from the castles armory. Seth and Wedan had spent the last three days making armors and weapons to make up the numbers.
Even the noncombatants were armed with crudely made axes and hatches, tools, and even clubs fashioned from wood, just in case they needed to fight.
The caravan set into motion with the spearhead flattening the shrubbery and the occasional tree. Like a giant snake, the row of carts unraveled and followed the spearhead into the thicket.
They came past the area where the workers were previously stationed and there was almost nothing left of the worker camp. Even the magnificent stone road they were building was broken apart by nature with only a few big stones visible between the trees.
When the end of the caravan finally left the gates of the outer courtyard, Puffles floated down and followed at the very end.
As creepy as the many legs looked, they made for a very smooth riding experience. The passengers and their mount could leisurely talk or even sleep during the travel.
“Im really glad to have you, Puff.”
~ Yeah, you finally see my greatness? ~
~The greatest troop transporter there is ~
“Dont be mean, Al.”
~ What is a troop transporter? ~
“Dont worry about it, Puff. “
The Ivicers head suddenly turned to the west.
“Did you detect something? Wait, dont tell me you also have overpowered detection skills?”
~ No… Just a weird feeling. ~
The west? Seth decided to keep an eye on that direction but didnt dwell on it any further. The caravans speed picked up a little once they got some distance between themself and the theocracys former base.
Here the forest was made up of big, unidentifiable trees. There was a lot of space thanks to their wide crowns and a lot less shrubbery in-between them. It brought up uncomfortable memories for Seth as he remembered his escape from Alpha.
Thinking back a cold shower ran down his back when he thought about the hanging tree. That thing had been barely a day old and covered a whole city. With over a years time… just how much bigger and more terrifying would it have become?
And then those terrible griffins. He would never forget that terrible cry like an eagle or a falcon.
It was as if he could vividly hear it. Yeah, just like…that.
He could really hear it! Seth looked to the treetops, just like Puffles and many others among the caravan members. Look and behold, it really was one of those disgusting creatures.
The muscles under its taught, leathery, black skin glinted in the light that fell through the leaves. Its razor-sharp beak just closed, and its sharp eyes were fixated on the caravan. The batwings were stayed folded while it held onto the tree with its terrifying claws.
Why didnt it move from there? Did it just cry to get their attention or…
“It called reinforcements! Get in formation!”
Others in the caravan had the same idea as him and already started to rally the guard. This was a really bad time for this. Since the forest had a lot more space here the caravan had spread out to move faster. Before they knew it the carts and wagons were spread in irregular intervals between the trees.
Had they stayed in a single file or the agreed-upon formation, they could have covered the caravan in overlapping shields. Now they had a hard time gathering and cooperating.
Long before the people on the ground managed to rally a bunch more beasts appeared in the trees around them. Their cries filled the forest with a headache-inducing cacophony.
It was literally and sonic attack and many of the previous servants fainted on the carts while weaker combatants and guards got terrible headaches. Lynri and Wedin behind Seth had almost immediately lost consciousness.
The adventurers didnt just watch, but only a few mages managed to cast spells while enduring the attacks. Among the attacks shot off from the caravan, only 5 hit their targets. One was a storm of light bolts that perforated the biggest and loudest beast together with the tree it stood on.
Another consisted of two pale blue fire lances that impaled the very first griffin and burned it to ashes within a moment. These two were obviously those of Puffles and Seth.
Three more of them were felled by a wave of ice needles, a bundle of lightning strikes, and a perfect headshot right through the eye respectively. Seth had not expected it, but it seemed like there was an extremely talented archer among the people of the caravan.
With half of the creatures dead, the attack weakened, and more people found the strength to attack and aim. However, it was too late as more and more had been summoned by the cacophony. The attack had simply been a means to stop them from escaping.
More and more of the newcomers simply rushed to attack the caravan, aiming to snatch the unconscious people. It was time for the guards to shine as they entangled the beasts in melee combat.
The battle looked more than just chaotic. The corrupted griffons as Seth liked to call him in his mind, with their bird heads, muscular lion-like bodies, batwings, and snake tails were one thing. But they fought not just humans and all kinds of different humanoid races.
On their side were chimeras with several arms or legs, not necessarily human ones. Some even head a monster had, or several. They were covered in various types of skin, scale, and patches of fur, sometimes all on the same body.
As varied as their appearances, were also their skills. Different kinds of breaths, cursed gazes, poison bites, or claws. The most normal ones were still those using weapons or mages like their leader Seth had met before. Her powerful lightning magic shot from her four arms kept causing tremendous damage wherever it hit.
While the recovered mages and archers concentrated on getting rid of the screaming griffins, the vanguard kept defending the caravan from the attacking ones.
After 30 minutes the beasts decided that this prey was not worth the effort and retreated. They left behind 23 rapidly decaying bodies and a slightly exhausted caravan.
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