Chapter 873: Perfect reward
Translator: Sean888888 Editor: TheAlliance
Melody was adamant not to absorb the power of the Golden Fruit. She wholeheartedly wanted to transport to Sheyan's world as soon as possible to live together with him, so her plan was to offer the Golden Fruit to Sin'dorei. The divine power of the Sun God Sin'dorei could influence dimensional teleportation.
On the other hand, Mr. Ferrell would gladly abide by Sheyan's request. The only reason he had not gone up against Treebeard himself before was because he was too weak. He would have been completely suppressed by Treebeard on a mental level. He might have even been controlled in turn. Not to mention that he had changed bodies a few times since entering Fangorn Forest, so his spiritual body was in a rather weak state and was in need of recuperation.
He peacefully absorbed the power of the Golden Fruit under the protection of everyone. However, after a considerable amount of effort, Sheyan discovered that the Golden Fruit had only shrunk by less than one-seventh! Mr. Ferrell already showed severe cases of vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and other irreversible symptoms. In contrast, the Stairway of the Sun could gobble down four Golden Fruits in such a short time. It's might was apparent.
Even after escaping Treebeard's threat, Sheyan's group still had a difficult time.
Because they were still being hunted by other Ents!
Although Treebeard couldn't catch up with them, when the fire in Fangorn Forest was put under control, Sheyan's group immediately became the primary target for the Ents to chase and intercept. However, since they had started running before the Ents reacted, and because the kings of speed among the Ents, the Leaping Ents, were almost fully destroyed, Sheyan and co. successfully escaped the hunt and reached Isen River.
Sheyan also laid out several sinister ambushes while they were escaping. With the strengthened Mr. Ferrell attracting firepower, they managed to kill a few pursuers. That way, they managed to collect enough [Shattered Ent Hearts] for the hidden main storyline mission, 'Isengard's Hidden Dangers'.
Despite that, Sheyan was in no rush to complete the mission because the time limit for mission completion was an ample 20 days. Even knowing that completing the mission earlier would bring additional rewards, Sheyan didn't care. What he lacked was time, not rewards.
But for the hidden branch mission, 'Saruman's Request', he must hurry. The time limit of 9 days was fast approaching. More importantly, they had completed the request to plunder the Golden Fruits, but they had nothing to bring back to Saruman! The old man was a cruel and heartless one, not to mention extremely strong. It won't be easy to fool him
However, seeing Sheyan's confident expression, the rest of them didn't want to bring his mood down. Sheyan asked them to wait outside Isengard while he meet with Saruman first. Sheyan didn't feel anything towards Saruman at the moment because he had already found Saruman's weaknesses, which were his greed and ambition!
Isengard was enveloped in a frenzied atmosphere.
A frenzied atmosphere motivated by money.
It was clear that the fires in the forest of Fangorn had stirred up the inhabitants and adventurers in Isengard. The fire would surely sweep through the forest. No one cares whether Fangorn Forest would remain after the fire - with 80 percent of Middle Earth covered in forests, who would care if there's one less? The crucial point was that if the trees with spiritual energies in Fangorn Forest were burned down, it would lead to two things.
One, Saruman would definitely increase the purchase price of the spiritual woods.
Two, the area that the angered Ents had to protect would decrease. It would become even harder to obtain the woods in the future.
Which was why currently in Isengard there was a phenomenon of hoarding the woods of Fangorn Forest in order to maximize profits. Under the guidance of the official governing power of Isengard, intentionally or otherwise, the woods of Fangorn Forest had become synonymous with valuable luxury items. It was similar to the sky-high prices of Clivia, golden beavers, lilies and antiques during their waves of popularity in the 80's and 90's in the real world. The price of spiritual wood had far exceeded its actual value.
From this, one could see Saruman's vicious intention. For example, in the real world, which item had a value that far exceeded its actual worth? Without a doubt, it's banknotes! Banknotes were made of paper. The cost of making a hundred dollar bill was almost negligible, but its purchasing power was strong.
Saruman's action of inflating the price of spiritual woods from Fangorn Forest created a situation so dangerous, it was akin to having a place in the real world where banknotes could be dug out. No doubt, after the price rose to a certain height, he could just sit back and watch as the Ents protecting the woods got flooded by an inexhaustible amount of humans who were blinded by greed.
In a timeline without Sheyan, the Treebeard that absorbed seven Golden Fruits was an invulnerable existence. The Fangorn Forest was as stable as Mt. Tai under his protection. But now, Treebeard had been severely weakened and had fallen into a deep sleep. There did not seem to be anything that could stop the adventurers from invading Fangorn Forest en masse and achieving the final victory.
Saruman had almost exhausted his wealth to achieve this, but it was completely worth it. He successfully swept away the biggest obstacle in his path to success. Although Saruman had not received any news from Sheyan yet, the magnificent fire in Fangorn Forest was clearly visible even from hundreds of miles away. The good news had caused Saruman to waste half an hour of his meditating time in the past two days because he couldn't concentrate.
When Sheyan once again met with the most insidious and evil ruler in Isengard's history, he was having dinner. The food he ate was not luxurious, but it was quite well-made.
The main dish was a half-done steak that seven teenage girls had tenderly massaged with their fingers for twelve hours before it was cooked.
(ED: This sounds so creepy for some reason..)
The bread for the side dish was baked with the fruit of a three-hundred-year-old bread tree.
(T/N note: Apparently that's a thing in the LOTR world.)
The dip was a ruby-like chum salmon caviar.
His drink was an ordinary red wine with a touch of unicorn blood.
Saruman merely spared Sheyan a glance before he dug into the tender steak in front of him, as if the steak was far more important than Sheyan.
Sheyan smiled, unconcerned. He saw a piece of decoration made of armour beside him. He pushed down the armour and bluntly sat down. Then, he looked at Saruman with relish, as if he was the one enjoying the food.
With a person gazing at him like that, Saruman only persisted for a few minutes. He slammed the table, making various dishes fall to a ground, and shouted.
"Did I ask you to sit down?"
Sheyan merely shrugged his shoulders.
"You didn't say I have to stand."
With a wave of his hand, the dishes and table in front of Saruman vanished.
"Have you done what I asked?"
Sheyan smiled as he replied.
"Not only had I done it, I did it beautifully. Treebeard will not cause you any more problems - at least, he won't for the next few hundred years. He has fallen into a deep slumber."
Saruman's raised his brow, but said emotionlessly.
"How would I know if you're telling the truth? I can't sense the aura of a Golden Fruit on you at all."
"That's because Golden Fruits do not exist in this world any longer," Sheyan answered in a serious tone. "You task was too difficult, so I thought of a way to destroy those damn fruits. I brought this back as proof."
Sheyan showed Saruman a bunch of wrinkled yellow things in his palm. They looked like bunched up old papers that were rubbed and put together.
"What is this?"
Sheyan did not directly answer him. Instead, he shouted to a half-orc on the side.
"Bring me a basin of water!"
In the clear water, the thing slowly showed its true form. Saruman was stunned speechless. It was a Golden Fruit's.... skin!!
After Sheyan's 'Stairway of the Sun' had sucked dry a Golden Fruit, it left behind a thin layer of fruit skin. The skin was brought back by the tendril of the Stairway of the Sun. Sheyan now used it to complete his mission with Saruman.
Saruman was caught in a mixed feeling of shock, anger and regret. He asked.
"Why is there only the skin? Where's the fruit?"
Sheyan pretended to be shocked as he replied.
"My lord! Do you expect me to be strong enough to snatch a Golden Fruit from Treebeard?! The few Leaping Ents he left in the central area of the forest was enough to kill me many times over. Anyway, I've proven that I've completed the mission. You're not going to go back on your words, are you?"
Saruman remained silent for a moment, then walked away in anger. He threw a small notebook at Sheyan before he left. Sheyan read the notebook which showed a series of supplementary notes made by Saruman on his mixing technique. Finally, Sheyan got the notification from the nightmare imprint.
[You have completed the hidden branch mission: Saruman's Request]
[Time limit: 9 days]
[Mission summary: Retrieve Treebeard's Golden Fruits before they fully mature, thus weakening Treebeard.]
[Mission objective: You have proven to Saruman that you managed to plunder a Golden Fruit]
[The following abilities are improved:]
[The buff of your gene-mix is increased from 8 attribute points.]
[The new increase will be 10% in all attributes. Furthermore, the increase in attribute will not be lower than 8 points.]
[Your Grown Creatures will gain an extra trait: Inheritance!]
[You can specify one base attribute of your Grown Creature to gain a bonus of 50% of your own attribute.]
(For example, the base attributes of an Uruk-hai grown by Sheyan were all 30 points. Sheyan could designate the physique of this Uruk-hai to receive the bonus. The bonus would be (Senyan's current physique of 49 points/2) = 24.5 points.)
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