WE STOPPED ILLEGAL LOGGING
The smell of intense fear and sorrow is covering the entire chamber. We appeared behind a giant root, giving us cover from the evil fanatics of Svartalfheim.
“That’s not what we have agreed upon Triandal,” a female voice said in a very sharp tone, I took a peek to see the people at the other side of the chamber. Aemilia was standing in front of Archdruid Triandal with a group of other druids and archdruids, she seems to be the one arguing with the Archdruid, “Darathros will be displeased to hear about your fraudulence.”
“Tell the fool he can go shoved his chains up his buttocks.” Archdruid Triandal appears a lot younger than he usually look, the effect of the magic pool is really fascinating.
“Watch your tongue, you arrogant fool,” Aemilia glanced in our direction, “you don’t want to invoke the wrath of the Lord of shadows. But I think he no longer needs to punish you for your arrogance, since you already have visitors who are planning to kill you.”
“Your king doesn’t scare me, he can visit me personally if he wants to.” The Archdruid smirked at the young lady.
“We’ll see.” Aemilia grinned and vanished into thin air.
Archdruid Triandal turned to us, “You are free to come out now. The rude guest is now gone.”
I turned to look for Ronald but he's already gone. He must be planning something, if that’s the case then I need to grab Archdruid Triandal’s attention. I got out of my hiding and went in front of the Archdruid. His companions are staring at me with cold and expressionless faces, yet they don’t seem to be brainwashed.
“Why are you doing this?” I asked Archdruid Triandal.
“You see child, the world needs some cleansing. People are becoming too chaotic and corrupted. They need to be enlightened.”
“But aren’t you the one corrupted?” I noticed that his druids are muttering something.
“Is that what they have told you?” The Archdruid shook his head in disappointment, “No, I am here to bring paradise into Alfheim, or restore it rather. It was already pure, but your filthy ancestors corrupted it with their abominable experiments.”
“Paradise? What are you talking about? And what about my ancestors—what do you mean by their experiments?” I frowned with confusion.
“The black elves of course. You think they just came out of nowhere? No, the crazy theory of the scholars that black elves came from dark rituals of the dark elves are actually a bit true.”
He pointed at the pool beside him, our reflections are starting to change into some sort of images—no, it turned into a series of events. People that look like Darcy are being tortured in dungeons.
“What’s happening? What are you doing to them?” I glared at the Archdruid.
“You misunderstood the scenery. This is nothing but mere projections of the past. And the people torturing those poor creatures are none other than your ancestors. Those greedy scumbags tortured them for power.”
“But I still don’t understand, I thought the light elves were the symbol of all that is good and pure. You told me that yourself.”
“Sorry I lied.” Archdruid Triandal said in a mocking tone.
“What about the Svartalfar—the black elves? How does killing innocent dark elves relate to them?”
“I see you haven’t changed, I think you should know the answer by now. Most of the light elves can’t pass the ascension process—you already know that right? I wouldn’t want to discuss the whole history of Alfheim—so some of them resorted to other ways of gaining power. The light elves were thrown into civil war between the light elves that follow the traditional ways and the corrupted light elves that seeks power through dark magic.”
The scene in the pool changed, “The corrupted light elves were at a disadvantage against the followers of tradition and their ascended demigods, so they thought of conducting experiments. They conducted rituals on other creatures, doing different things. But these creatures were not powerful enough to survive their rituals so they decided to use their dark elf brothers instead. They were originally planning to transfer their souls into those of the Dokkalfar—or dark elves.” The Archdruid grinned, “But one of the Thirteen had an idea, an idea to create an alternate version of the Catharsis spell. They used the spell on the dark elves, destroying their souls since the good effects of the Catharsis spell only works on light elves. The light elves consumed the fragments of the dark elven souls, becoming the evil counterparts of the ascended.”
“If they’re evil then why are you helping them? Shouldn’t you be protecting Faernwood as their Archdruid?”
“Because I am one of them.”
Sharp pain covered my body. I screamed in agony. I should have known, the druids must have been casting a spell so carefully crafted that it can avoid my detection. Darkness covered my body, tearing and compressing it at the same time. I dropped my hatchet. My soul is being crushed by the forces of darkness.
“These druids are actually descendants of the Svartalfar, and I am the Prince Rhovrairn of Griethrul, the kingdom of King Drulnieth, lord of madness and nightmares, god of Svartalfheim.”
I was going to reply but the extreme pressure in my body prevents me from doing so.
“I must thank you for making these things become possible to achieve. Without you, no one would have lifted the enchantments that protected the amulet for thousands of generations.” Triandal—or Rhovrairn—grinned with malice, “But I once again ask for your support. You see, we can’t really destroy the tree even if the protections are disabled. And I can’t use all of my powers in this realm due to the limitations of the body I am currently inhabiting, or Archdruid Triandal’s body to be exact.”
“You…” The pain is increasing every second that passes by.
“Are just possessing this body?” The prince of Svartalfheim laughed in an evil tone. You can mistake him for a villain in one of those fairytale movies. Wait, this is a fairytale, literally.
Thinking about fairytales, a small dragon soared above the ceiling. It has black scales—like that of charcoal—with large bat-like wings, a pair of long silvery horns on its forehead and sharp silver teeth, like knives. The dragon dives towards the druids around me. They started to panic but Rhovrairn kept his composure. One of the druids was slashed by the dragon’s fearsome claws and another druid was lifted into the air and was dropped back on the ground, the sound of his bones cracking terrified the other druids more.
The panic allowed me to escape the dark spell. I quickly picked up my axe and swing it at the dark prince. A dark force field appeared between us. He formed a sword made of pitch black energy. He thrusts the blade towards me but I parried it with my own weapon. We start exchanging blows. I tried to keep up with him but he is clearly the more experienced fighter. I can barely block most of his blows, and the strain from being drained out of magic earlier and the pain from the crushing spell gave me even more problems.
To add even more problems, the druids finally realized that the dragon wasn’t breathing fire, and there is only one reason why. I read that even if you shapeshifted into a magical creature, you can’t actually mimic their powers. So unless the dragon has a sore throat, I guess it must have been only a shape-shifter. And if I were to guess who the shape-shifter is, I would bet that it is Ronald. Now that the druids know, they will regain their courage to fight the fake dragon back.
My focus was thrown back to the dark prince after he stabbed my knee. I knelt down on the ground. The blade was poisoned and I would probably die if I don’t heal the wound sooner, but I doubt that the former archdruid would just let me heal myself. The former archdruid now the prince of Svartalfheim kicked me in the chest. I spurt out blood.
“I think you should just surrender now. Your friends are losing, you are losing.” A holographic screen appeared in front of me, showing the rebels losing the fight. Aeronwen is trapped inside the prison with the other huntresses and rangers, fighting dark creatures with protruding tusks and green blades—like the ones my grandfathers fought—swarming the prison endlessly. Gwydion is protecting the elf civilians from the horde of monsters, unable to escort them into safety. Uncle Sneg is fighting with the main forces, being cornered by the possessed Velaronian soldiers. The body of an unconscious Ronald fell beside me. It is decided, we are doomed.
“I commend your valor.” The prince said sarcastically, “at least you did you best right?”
He laughed, but his happiness didn’t last as the chamber is being filled with large doglike creatures with green fur and brown spots. I recognized one of them, Cookie the puppy. He still looks small but he is in a very aggressive state. A man walked out of the portal. Barathran Gilvyre is wearing a fur cloak and a necklace made of different kinds of fangs. Beside him stood two black dogs, as big as a car. Both are covered in flames, their blood red eyes show the wrath of hell. The hellhounds leaped on to the druids and started tearing them apart, one by one. The other smaller dogs rushed to help their extremely horrifying friends.
Prince Rhovrairn realized that the druids are no match from the beasts of hell and some cute dogs. He called his own allies. I turned to the screen. The monsters inside the prison with Aeronwen and the hunters vanished on the screen and are now inside the chamber. This might be a bad thing for us, but at least it's a good thing for Aeronwen and the others. They shook their confusion and went to help Gwydion. The table have turned.
The chamber is now in complete chaos. The hellhounds are far stronger than the creatures of Svartalfheim but their dog companions are not as much help. The dark creatures are slaughtering the dogs. Barathran himself turned into a hellhound and rushed towards Prince Rhovrairn. The dark prince enveloped his whole body with pure dark energy, matching the were-hellhound’s strength and ferocity.
I quickly healed my poisoned wound. I have never casted the purifying spell on myself, but I will surely die if I don’t cast it anyway. I healed the wound first, closing it to prevent blood loss, then I casted the purify spell. It is excruciatingly painful. I now know how the poisoned soldiers felt when I healed them. I tried to suppress the pain. I tried to wake up Ronald, he did, but he was far too injured to move.
One of the vile creatures headed towards my direction. I grabbed my hatchet and struck it at the jaw. The blade buried deep into the creature’s head, cracking its skull open. I looked towards the direction of the prince of Svartalfheim. He is still fighting Barathran in an even match. I saw a creature sneaking behind Barathran and threw my axe at its head. Great, now I don’t have any weapon to defend myself. I healed Ronald’s injuries. Another creature walked behind me but Cookie bit its leg. It tried to stab the dog but I shot it with a bolt of lightning and finished it with a beam of light directly through his head.
Ronald stood up. He is still dizzy but insisted to fight. He transformed into another hellhound himself, though we all know that he can’t copy their fire powers. I have gone to get my hatchet back. It was stuck on the creature’s skull so I decided to blast the head. I rushed towards Prince Rhovrairn, who appears to have gained the upper hand in his fight with Mr. Gilvyre. Barathran lies on the ground unconscious.
I stopped the prince from hitting Barathran with his poisoned blade.
“You don’t know how to give up, do you?” The prince is standing over seven feet tall with his armor made of dark energy, “Doesn’t matter, you are going to die anyway.”
I made an armor of my own, made of pure light. Now we look like a proper hero and villain in a fairytale. We began to exchange blows again. He still has the advantage of years of experience, but I need to stop him. He inflicted a bunch of wounds in my body. Poison is now flowing through my veins faster than before due to the number of wounds. I started to feel dizzy, my vision becoming blurry, but I insisted on fighting. There’s no way he’s going to win. I need to stop him.
I was thrown into the pool of Delphrius. It felt like I was drowning in the depths of the ocean. There’s something wrong, it shouldn’t be this deep. I thought of the memories of my grandfather and his friends dying. Maybe that’s my fate too. Maybe I am supposed to die and another one of their successors will take my place instead.
A girl about my age appeared in front of me. Aeronwen? No it can’t be. Aeronwen’s hair isn’t blonde. I don’t know her but this girl gave me a feeling of hope. Hope that I can still save Velarone. Yes that’s it, I need to keep fighting. I need to stop Svartalfheim. I am not those heroes in fairytales and ancient mythologies, in fact we are completely different. They are images of perfect people with no flaws, but a person can only be worthy if they can overcome their flaws. They may have saved princesses, but I will save worlds.
I gripped my hatchet tight. It started to glow with blinding light and changed its form. I am now holding a halberd made of pure white metal. I blasted myself out of the pool. The hellhounds were already covered in wounds, including Ronald. The dogs were either killed or knocked down. I am the last man standing between Svartalfheim and Velarone. My body is still covered in wounds, but the halberd is giving me an insane amount of energy. I was able to heal all the wounds in an instant.
I hardened my aura into solid blue light and rushed towards the creatures. I slaughtered all the creatures with ease. The prince of darkness was shocked but regained his composure. He himself started to transform. His skin is slowly rotting away.
“I never thought that I have to use this on you of all people.” Dark tentacles are sprouting out of his body, “Never worry, I shall throw your mind into madness with my form of pure chaos.”
His words were true. His body would turn a normal person into the brink of madness. A feeling of insanity and thirst for destruction filled my mind for a moment, but the halberd resisted it. Nevertheless, the body of what was once the grand archdruid of Velarone is now a monster that is continuously changing its form. Three massive tentacle went for me but I cut them with my blade.
I breathed deeply, inhaling all the magical energy I could muster and turned them into strength and speed. In a flash, I am standing beside the abomination.
I thrust my halberd but it blocked with one of the tentacle and struck me with the other two. I managed to block one but the other hit me in the stomach. Blood came out my mouth. It’s not enough, I need to go faster.
I used all the remaining magic out of my body to cast an even powerful speed enhancing spell. I moved around the monster while striking it with my halberd. It managed to block my attacks but it appears to be tiring out. Its movements are becoming slower but I’m getting tired too. This is getting nowhere, I need a plan. I used my magic senses and felt the source of the abomination’s magic. It must be its heart.
I forced my body to keep up the speed, slashing all the tentacles. When I got the opportunity, I immediately thrust the tip of my halberd into the monster’s heart. It started to scream, cursing in a language I don’t understand. Slimy tentacles wrapped around my body, slowly tearing it apart. My efforts are not enough to let it go of me. The halberd was still buried inside the monster’s heart, glowing with bright light. I tried to cast one last spell.
I closed my eyes and focused all my intentions into purifying the monster. I let the purification spell explode, covering both of us in pure white light. The monster slowly dissolved into thin air, dropping me into the ground. My head hit the floor and my eyes went blank.