Han Shuo’s arrival resulted in a round of cheering from the forest trolls. The old priest trembled and knelt on the ground, crying out with hot tears in his eyes, “The mighty Datara and liaison, you’ve finally returned!”
Taking in the sights around him, the Han Shuo felt odd emotions in his heart. Logically speaking, these forest trolls were the greediest of robbers. Han Shuo should’ve had a distaste for them, but when he saw the forest trolls treat him like an oracle from the gods and listen to all his commands, Han Shuo suddenly felt that they weren’t that evil.
Raiding and looting was this race’s innate nature. Their actions were acceptable according to the rules of survival in the Dark Forest. Just like how some of the larger magical creatures would naturally hunt some of the lower level magical creatures, this was what the forest trolls did as well.
As he looked out over them, all the forest trolls, whether elderly or young, were all looking him with great expectation and yearning. It was the most pious and reverent sort of faith a religious follower would have that was present in their eyes. It was as if one of his commands would cause them to rush headlong into death without a second thought. This kind of feeling made Han Shuo feel a bit odd.
“Don’t’ worry, your mighty Datara would never abandon you.” After surveying the surroundings, Han Shuo opened his mouth gravely after remaining silent for a moment.
The old priest translated this sentence in a shout of celebration as hot tears filled his eyes. All the forest trolls raised up empty pockets and cheered loudly, as if a guarantee from Han Shuo was enough for them to forget their current difficult straits.
Han Shuo took out hemp sack after hemp sack of rations from the space ring, piling them on the stone floor that had been cleared of snow. All sorts of thick blankets and daily necessities filled the space in front of the forest trolls, dazzling their eyes. This caused the forest trolls suffering through the harshness of winter to all caper with joy.
“These items were prepared for you to make it through this winter. The several warehouses full of rations are enough for you to smoothly make it through this winter without having to go out and raid. The mighty Datara made this trip in order to ready these items for his people.” Han Shuo’s low voice carried out smoothly over the forest trolls’ village.
As the old priest led the way with tears of gratitude bursting from him, all the forest trolls knelt in homage. The old priest then gave orders and the chief of the forest trolls led the way in lifting up the rations and daily necessities, storing them in a cave towards the back of the village.
Han Shuo followed behind the old priest and arrived at the newly redecorated temple within the village. Not only had a small sculpture of the little skeleton been erected, but there was even one of Han Shuo. This made Han Shuo feel even more odd, as if he’d unknowingly truly become their protector.
“When I arrived just now, I saw the traces of battle outside the village. Did those annoying elves start a war again?” After he walked in with the small skeleton, he gave an order and the little skeleton flopped down into the head seat. Han Shuo sat down next to the little skeleton and looked at the old priest with inquiry.
“In response to the oracle, it was indeed those pesky elves who have once again come to start a war, but be at peace oracle, your brave people will never allow the elves to win. Beneath the splendor of the mighty Datara, the elves will surely retreat in great defeat again.” Light shone from the old priest’s face as he spoke with great confidence.
Waving his hand, Han Shuo halted the old priest’s continued boasting and thought for a bit before instructing, “The rations and daily necessities that I’ve brought should be enough to last all of you the entire winter. If any more merchants want to trade for the weird items in your possession, you can trade with them.”
“In addition, don’t go out raiding this winter without my instructions. If we’re going to rob anyone, we’ll do a big heist and none of those small jobs. The mighty Datara will inform you when he’s found a suitable target. You don’t need to worry that you’ll have nothing to do. How many did the elves bring this time and when did you start fighting? Tell me all the details.”
The old priest didn’t ask why after receiving Han Shuo’s instructions and agreed to his request. He immediately told the forest troll warrior beside him to convey Han Shuo’s two points to the chief.
The old priest then thoroughly detailed the entire battle with the elves to Han Shuo. From the old priest’s explanation, Han Shuo understood that the elves would always have a big battle with the forest trolls every winter. This was because it was only then that the forest trolls were likely to be short on rations, daily necessities, and weapons, and this was when the forest trolls’ fighting strength was at their weakest.
The elves had followed the same actions as last year and taken advantage of the fact that the forest trolls couldn’t raid in winter to make an attack. However, their numbers weren’t as great as the forest trolls’ and thus they couldn’t occupy at absolute advantage. They’d only just made a feint when they retreated to discuss next steps again.
From the old priest, Han Shuo knew that the forest trolls had many large and small tribes within the Dark Forest. Because this tribe had the duty of protecting the mighty Datara’s sacred ground and the fact that it had around five hundred forest troll warriors, the old priest’s tribe had a certain authority over the other forest troll tribes in the Dark Forest.
Because of the little skeleton and Han Shuo’s appearance, the old priest had used their name to issue an order and command all the forest trolls, scattered throughout the forest, to gather, intent on giving the elves a painful lesson.
Because the mighty Datara was the god of the forest trolls, the impact of the little skeleton’s appearance was immeasurable. More than three hundred forest troll warriors from four small tribes had rushed over in ten days, wanting to bask in the little skeleton’s presence.
According to the old priest, the forest trolls from various tribes within the Dark Forest would gather together within a short period of time. By that time, not only would the elves’ attack not have the anticipated effect, but rather they would even suffer heavy losses.
Han Shuo had been worried that the elves would kill a great number of forest trolls, but hadn’t thought that because of the little skeleton’s charisma, forest trolls that had been scattered throughout the Dark Forest, who normally had no relation with each other, were all rushing here as if for a pilgrimage. From the old priest’s words, Han Shuo understood that when all the forest trolls gathered, they would number more than two thousand.
As for the elves within the Dark Forest, there seemed to be only a few hundred of them. Although they had a few divine archers and mages, it was very possible that they would suffer such a thorough setback that they’d lose the shirt off their own backs.
Rubbing his head, Han Shuo had a bit of a headache. He thought for a moment and then opened his mouth, “It looks like it should be the elves who should be worried this time. Mm. It’s said that the elves are very rich, I think we should rob them all.”
“The liaison’s meaning is…?” The old priest started and asked, perplexed.
“Do you know where the elves live within the Dark Forest?” Han Shuo thought for a bit and then asked.
The old priest was stunned and then thought with a furrowed brow before finally saying, “We’re aware of the general location, but have never been inside.”
Nodding, Han Shuo smiled, “Alright, then when the forest trolls from the other tribes arrive, have them stay and keep the elves in check. Our tribe can travel to where the elves live and make use of this time to rob their homes.”
“But liaison, why don’t we stay and meet up with the brothers from other tribes and kill all of the elves’ warriors? These elves are truly wicked. They always make mischief and sabotage our operations. They also fight with us every winter and have killed many of our tribe over the years.” The old priest blanked momentarily and asked in confusion, not blindly following Han Shuo’s suggestions for the first time.
“The nature of us forest trolls is raiding and not killing. In addition, the elves within the Dark Forest aren’t the whole of their tribe. If we kill all the elves here, it will bring further trouble for us. There’s no need for that.” To Han Shuo, there really was no point in having the forest trolls and elves fight each other to the death. In addition, he didn’t actually want all the elves to be killed. What he needed now was wealth. He needed large amounts of gold coins to support his demonic magic and practice of magic. This was why he made this suggestion.
Although he still didn’t fully understand, the old priest didn’t continue his questioning. After a few more days in which more forest trolls gathered from all areas, Han Shou and the little skeleton received a tsunami of cheers and pious worship before leaving a portion of the forest trolls behind to contend with the elves. Han Shuo, the little skeleton, and the five hundred forest troll warriors from the old priest’s tribe left to visit the elves’ village.
On this chilly winter day, the five hundred forest troll warriors brought with them sufficient rations, thick blankets, and sharp weapons as they made for the deeper reaches of the Dark Forest.