Conquest Online Chapter 14: The False Pride in the Forest

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The sun had not yet risen, yet the darkness slowly gave way to the new day. Under an anguished uncertainty provoked by mysterious visitors, the longest night for the elven village was finally coming to an end.

As an attempt to measure the danger the visitors posed to the elves, a small expedition would leave the village towards the northern edge of the forest.

To farewell to those who would be exposed to danger, a small crowd gathered on the outskirts of the village.

At the head of such dangerous task was Erabel Sprout of Sun, the pride of the women elven of the village and the unattainable desire of the great majority of the male elves, and beside her was the bravest of the elves, the last blood Vieri, Libel Willow Bark.

In the eyes of the great majority, those two were the embodiment of perfection, and few were those who did not see them as destined for each other.

"Libel-sama, please take care of Erabel-sama" –with a certain blush on his cheeks, Olivel made that request to Libel.

The last Vieri Blood of the village are the platonic love of a great part of the young women elves and Olivel was no exception, however, like the others, she considered that the only one who could be next to Libel was Erabel.

"Of course, I'll protect her with my life if I have to."

That response provoked a number of sighs.

"There will be no need to go to such extremes, we will simply observe from afar." –Erabel was not very impressed by Libel's courageous words, to a certain extent, she was already used to dealing with courtship attempts not only by Libel, but from Hacel and many more male elves.

"Erabel-sama…"

Of all elves, none doubted that the mission would be a success as Libel was part of it, only little Lucel showed great concern.

"Everything will be fine" –Erabel's warm hand stirred Lucel's head affectionately to reassure her. "I will be fine" –Erabel repeated those words again with a radiant smile.

(The greatest danger is the one that even in front of us, we refuse to see) –those words resonated in Erabel's mind as she watched the crowd gathered there.

Such words had been given to Erabel by the elven who she considered the most courageous and strong, Nitel Sproud of Sun, her father.

The Elves were certainly afraid of visitors, yet they blindly trusted Libel and the supposed superiority of their race to face any danger. The Elves did not see themselves being defeated by simple humans regardless of their number.

To a certain extent, Erabel shared the feelings of her people, but her father's words did not allow her to feel completely at ease.

Several decades ago, a great danger grew within the forest itself, yet no one except her father was able to see it. On that occasion, the number of goblins in the Dark Forest had grown disproportionately, and yet the elves, confident in the supposed superiority of their race, ignored them until it was too late.

By the time the elves realized the danger, the number of goblins doubled the number of elven warriors. The confrontation was disastrous, the goblins were defeated but the price the elves had to pay was one that still affects their lives, all their warriors lost their lives and among them, Erabel lost her father.

Being Erabel the only one who had in mind the shadow of the past, she and Libel accompanied by a small group of Forest Guard began their journey.

"Such a large group could easily be discovered, I'd like you to accompany me only halfway" –as the group moved through the forest, Erabel suddenly made that statement.

"More than careful, don't you think you're being too careless, Erabel?" –Libel, who had not agreed with this plan from the beginning, did not hesitate to show again his disapproval for what he thought was yet another recklessness on Erabel's part.

"This mission has been entrusted to me by the Sage´s, if you do not agree with my decisions you can return to the village."

"You really are as stubborn as your father, fine, but I won't let you go alone, I will go with you" –once Libel mentioned Erabel's father, he noticed traces of anger on her face.

"As long as you don't do anything stupid, I'll let you come with me."

Even if Erabel was backed by the Sages, she could not completely ignore Libel, he was a Vieri and the last of them, his influence over the elves was too great to be ignored, so Erabel ended up giving up to some extent.

The exchange of words between Erabel and Libel did not go unnoticed for the rest of their companions, particularly the only other woman within the group strove to hide their irritation with regard to the attitude of Erabel. Sernil Spring Leaf, the only woman among the Forest Guard, and one of the few women elven influenced by Erabel that had taken a step out of the comfort of the home.

Admiration, envy and hatred, this singular mixture of emotions was what Erabel provoked in Sernil, and the cause of it was none other than Libel. Like many other young women elves, Sernil was in love with Libel, yet of all of them she was the only one who did not intend to step aside even if it was for the person she admired so much, Erabel.

The elven group ran fast among the trees, agility and dexterity were their greatest advantages over humans. However, if any asked an elven directly about it, it would undoubtedly add beauty and intelligence to the equation, so was the enormous pride of the elves.

Halfway to the northern edge of the forest, only Erabel and Libel continued the journey, the others waited as Erabel had requested.

"This is so careless, even a child could track them." –in a mocking tone, Libel uttered those words as he observed the visible trace left behind by humans. The passage of humans had practically created a wide path through the forest.

"I Doubt very much that, with such a number of soldiers, it might matter to them something like leaving or not a trail."

Physically, not even Erabel could deny that Libel was the most attractive elven in the village, yet what stopped her from accepting Libel's courtship was the limited vision and poor intelligence of him, plus the existence of an old grudge.

As for Libel himself, his pride was such that he came to think of himself that if there was something he could not do, then no one in the world could do it.

As a warrior there was nothing Erabel could question about Libel, but as a leader, the last blood Vieri left much to be desired.

(He's just a fool with a good face) -Erabel must have done her best not to laugh when she remembered those words Lucel had used to describe Libel.

"Is something wrong?" -Libel noticed Erabel's effort to avoid laughing.

"It's nothing, I just remembered something funny."

"That's intriguing, what could be so funny that you have to make an effort to avoid laughing?"

"This just isn't the time or place to laugh."

"Erabel, you can laugh wherever and whenever you want, I will always take care of protecting your smile."

When Erabel heard that, she turned to hide her face, the reason was not shame or blush, it was anger.

The other reason why Erabel was reluctant towards Libel, and perhaps the main reason for this, was that which made Libel practically a celebrity among thier people, his blood Vieri.

Erabel was closer to hating Libel than to accepting his courtship.

Before the incident that practically caused the decline of the Dark Forest elves, Erabel's father tried countless times to warn his people about the growing danger posed by the goblins. However, because of the rivalry between Erabel's father and Libel's older brother, at the time leader of the Vieri and the Forest Guard, Erabel's father's warnings were ignored.

That inevitably resulted in the death of all the Vieri except Libel who was too young to have gone to battle, and the death of Erabel's father. This was the insurmountable gap that existed between Erabel and Libel, although for the latter, this was of little importance and his apathetic attitude towards it often provoked Erabel's anger.

While Erabel tried to put aside that old grudge she herself knew was somewhat childish, both she and Libel had to stop abruptly.

The original plan to reach the northern edge of the forest failed, not because any of them had decided otherwise, the edge of the forest had changed, no… it had been changed. A large number of trees had been cut down.

Guided by instinct, both elves hid in the thick forest after observing a large number of silhouettes in front. A large number of logs were transported out of the forest.

"They really are simple humans" –thanks to their privileged elven eyes, Libel was able to prove that the invaders were human.

"They are human, although with regard to the simple, I would not be very sure about it" –just like Libel, Erabel found that the visitors were human, however, her instinct prevented her from classifying them as 'simple'.

Erabel as a user of magic, she was sensitive to magic and it was this sensitivity that caused a great concern in her about those humans.

"Erabel, we need to get closer to find out what they're up to."

Erabel's thoughts were interrupted by Libel's bold suggestion.

"No, you look" –Erabel pointed to what appeared to be small patrols made up of a pair of humans, who watched over the new edge of the forest.

"That inefficient, I can easily take care of one of those patrols with my bow and we can advance without problem" –confident in his ability and the supposed superiority of his race, Libel completely dismissed the human soldiers.

"We're not here to start a conflict" –Erabel did not hide her irritation about Libel's proposal, that was why she would have preferred him not to accompany her, Libel was a warrior not a thinker.

"I don't see what the problem is, it will happen sooner or later, so what's the difference between starting now or doing it later?"

"Are you really so naive as to think we'd have a chance against an enemy that outnumbers us?"

Even if Erabel spoke to the truth, it was true that, in her mind that was all, the disadvantage of her people in a conflict with these visitors was only in numbers. Erabel did not doubt that in equal conditions, the elves would easily beat the humans simply because as a race, the elves were superior.

Faced Erabel's words, Libel remained silent, he was no good in debating and no had arguments to deny Erabel's words. Today the total number of elves in the dark forest was about six hundred individuals, and most of them were non-combatants, and those who were combatants, the current Forest Guard were improvised warriors personally trained by Libel.
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