Chapter 618 Finding Veins
Garan Continent, somewhere near the west coast.
The flying ship slowly flew above the clouds at an extremely slow speed.
The few adepts belonging to the Crimson Clan had already come on deck. They leaned against the bow and silently observed the mysterious continent below as it peeked in and out between the clouds.
With their strength and the enhancement of the Eagle Eye Spell, they could easily see through the thin layer of clouds and directly observe the amazing scenery of Garan's nature and its plentiful plant life.
Sadly, the elves that they were trying to find were not as easy to discover as humans. Humans liked to cut down the trees near their settlements and use them to construct high, sturdy camps and buildings. That was why it was easy to find human villages. All one needed to do was wait for night time and follow the light from fires.
However, the elves were known for their adoration of nature. They were a race that loved and cared for forests. They almost never cut down trees, preferring to place their villages and cities right up on those extraordinarily tall and thick ancient trees.
Treehouses. Those were the homes of all elves.
Elves also very rarely lit fires once night fell. Add to the equation the fact that they often lived in the dense forest and it was nearly impossible to find them with the use of a torch.
It was especially the case for Greem and the adepts. They were flying above in the blue sky and looking down upon the stretch of uneven, green sea of forests. It was hard to even find a color other than green. Trying to spot an elven village under such circumstances was no more than a dream.
As such, the only way to find elves here was to dive into the forest and traverse the terrain as the elves did. It was still searching for a needle in a haystack!
"Tymo, might you be able to recognize the geography here? I hope to hide this flying ship before starting a war with the elven court. You recommend a place!" Greem took a quick look at the lush green forest and turned to ask the half-elven guide.
Of course, Greem couldn't possibly place all his trust in this person that had joined them halfway. He silently brought out the map of Garan in his mind as he waited for Tymo's answer, and compared it to the long shoreline beneath them.
Half-Elf Tymo couldn't suppress his agitation, as if it had been far too long since he smelled the magical aura of the Great Fantasy Forest. He crouched upon the bow of the ship and silently evaluated the forest under them.
"If I didn't remember wrong, this place should be Whitecliff, slightly to the south of the west coast. The most obvious landmark should be a tall white stone cliff standing at the edge of the shore."
Greem followed Tymo's descriptions and found a speck of white on the distant shore.
"This is the area of the west coast where the currents are the most complicated and the reefs are the densest. It's the place least suited for large ships. Thus, the chances of us running into an elven empire patrol here is extremely small," Tymo pointed his finger in a certain direction of the forest, "Proceed forward in that direction from here, and we should be able to find an elven village after approximately seven days. Sorry, I was speaking about the time needed to walk through this sea of a forest. As for this…this big guy, we probably only need half a day to reach the village."
"An elven village," Greem contemplated for a moment before shaking his head, "It's not ideal for us to come into contact with the elves prematurely. We first need to find a suitable landing spot. Tymo, are there any large metal veins or mines in this west coast area?"
"Metal mines?" Tymo opened his mouth wide in shock, "There seem to be quite a few in the center of Fantasy Forest, but here on the west coast..."
The half-elf lowered his head to think for a moment before gesturing uncertainly, "There should be a ratmen mine sixteen days north of here. As for whether there are metal veins in there, I have no idea!"
"Then we will go there first!" Greem decisively gave his order.
A short moment later, the flying ship once again pulled up and disappeared into the cloud layer above. They quickly flew toward the north of the coast based on the directions given by the half-elf.
Once the gigantic flying ship had disappeared entirely, two elves draped completely in clothes made of green vines emerged from the top of a tall tree.
Two elves–one male and one female–looked in the direction that the metal monster had disappeared. Their eyes were still filled with immense and unconcealed shock.
"What is that? Is it another fearsome monster the witches created?" The female elf's voice was shaking. It was clear that she had yet to break free from her earlier horror.
"There's no time to think about what it is. We need to bring the news of the metal monster back to the village as soon as possible. Perhaps Grandpa Wenger can give us the answer we want." The male elf quickly made up his mind.
"Mm, let's go."
The two elves disappeared into the treetops behind them in the blink of an eye.
Strangely enough, their silhouettes merged into the forest in a single instant, making it difficult to track them.
One day later, news of the appearance of a terrifying metal monster spread throughout all of the elven villages on the west coast.
The sixteen-day journey that Tymo spoke of was no more than a day and a night for the flying ship.
If it weren't for the uncertainty of the location to the entrance of the mine, Greem and his crew would have arrived here four hours earlier.
As the name Ratmen Mine implied, a large ratman tribe lived in this black mine that was hidden within the forest. Only its slanted entrance was revealed for outsiders to see.
The elves were a race of individuals who placed tremendous importance upon their personal image and hygiene. They would sooner die than work in dark and damp mines. That was why the forest elves had come to an agreement with the ratmen inside the mine. The ratmen were to offer up a certain amount of ores on an annual basis to the forest elves in exchange for the right to live within the mine.
Consequently, one couldn't find a single elf within Ratmen Mine. The only ones living inside it were intelligent ratmen of one meter in height that walked about like humans and used all sorts of delicate tools in their work.
The frail bodies of the ratmen didn't allow for heavy armor. They usually only put a metal helmet on their heads and lit a thick candle above that for illumination. This dim light was what they relied upon to freely move through the dark, dank mine.
The weapons of the ratmen miners were usually shovels of some sorts. Stronger ratmen warriors could also equip iron swords, spears, and other powerful weapons.
Judging from Tymo's description, Greem figured that the strongest ratman here, their leader, was merely at First Grade. The other ratmen warriors and miners were either advanced apprentices or pseudo-adepts. Moreover, they were of the trash variety that had no elementium powers, with only small schemes and tricks to fall back on.
Greem couldn't be bothered to send out the valuable adepts against such trash. He merely ordered a goblin technician to charge in with five Archers.
Greem and the others found a flatter spot outside the mine and set up a table and chairs. The battle inside the shaft ended before they had even taken three sips of the hot tea.
All two hundred ratmen, including the rat king, had been dealt with and turned into sieves by the metal bullets of the magical machines. As for the metal crossbow bolts that the ratmen shot out from the dark ditches? Neither their strength nor power was enough to deal with the thick metal armor of the magical machines.
Thus, the Archers very easily massacred the entire ratmen tribe.
The goblin technician also brought back four or five ores that had been excavated from the depths of the mine.
Greem casually picked up one of the ores and weighed it in his hand for a bit. He then brought it closer to his eye for a more detailed inspection.
[Beep. Inspection complete. This is an ordinary ore. It contains 11% mineral components. The rest is scrap with no utilization value. Upon estimation, the mineral components of the ore are as follows:
[Metal content ratio lower than(unspecified)XXX%. No excavation or smelting value.]
The Chip gave a final assessment after providing a long list of mineral components.
The quality of the Ratmen Mine wasn't very high. Most of the minerals they offered to the elves were only low-grade magical materials that accompanied the ores, such as topaz, peridots, and agates. These things still had some value to the elves, but they were utterly useless to Greem, who only wanted to establish a foothold as soon as possible.
He inspected all of the ores that the goblin technician brought out of the mine and then waved his hand in disappointment. All of the crew boarded the ship once again, and the flying vessel turned and sped away toward yet another mysterious mine in the distance.
It could honestly be said that Greem was ignoring all other precautions for the sake of finding a suitable metal ore vein as fast as he could. At any rate, this was only the fringe of the Great Fantasy Forest. The military force that the Elven Empire could extend here was limited and insufficient to dissuade their operations.
The allied army of the Dark and Pale Witches would be arriving at Garan by boat in another five or six days. They would be an even more conspicuous target then, who would also be easier to catch.
It was inevitable that the Elven Empire would be more willing to surround and exterminate them with their elite armies instead of futilely chasing after a flying ship.
In truth, Greem couldn't be bothered with worldly mortal armies with his tough ship and massive cannons. The only things that would make him slightly concerned were the elementium users and fearsome powerhouses amongst the elves.
However, Greem was currently only circling the edge of Garan. He hadn't slaughtered or harmed any elves. They were also continually turning back into the broad stretch of forest. Even Greem himself wouldn't know what to do with this mysterious metal monster if he were placed in the shoes of the elven commander dealing with it!