"That's it?" Phillard whispered despite his frustration. He couldn't risk alerting the trolls.
"What are we going to do with just twenty stooges?"
"Twenty one." Reaper said, pointing at the Lindwurm. "I brought only champions. Weaklings would only be dead weight or food for the trolls. Besides, why so gloomy? We almost outnumber them two to one."
"Dream on." Phillard sighed. "There are sixteen now."
Trolls reproduced asexually. Whenever one of them was full enough, it would give birth to a new creature.
"Dammit!" Reaper cursed. "We have to move fast. Here's my plan."
Everyone nodded in agreement, except the Byks.
"We don't trust birds. They'll fly away like the cowards they are." Said Cormr, their leader.
"Shut up, Cormr." Reaper commanded him. "I know you can't stand Crons. I only asked for your help because Byks are the only ones beside the Rys that can use fire magic."
"One more thing, before I forget. Whatever happens, do not use darkness magic." Phillard chimed in, enraging both Byks and Crons.
"Why is that? It's the most destructive element!" They said in unison, leaving Reaper flabbergasted. It was the first time they had agreed on anything.
"I don't remember." Phillard shrugged. "Sentar told me so. She is a Cron too, so she can use air and darkness magic. I trust her and so does Boss Scarlett. She's the next in line to become Lord of the forest."
Despite being an Evolved Monster, Phillard lacked the imposing aura of a King, so both tribes refused to listen to his advice. Only Lifebringer and Reaper managed to stop their bickering.
"He may not seem very bright, but he fought them twice and lived to tell the tale." Said Lifebringer, the King in the south.
"I'd have liked to meet you in more happy circumstances, Phillard. These two are Guardian and Thunder, the two new Kings." He pointed at the biggest among the Rys and the Crons respectively.
"Everyone, get into position. If we fail, the woods will belong either to the trolls or the humans. We have to pick the lesser evil and cooperate."
The idea of losing their ancestral home was enough for all the clans to agree to a truce.
Reaper's plan was simple. A few gutted rabbits were enough to lure the trolls to a large clearing. The smell of blood was for them like a flame to a moth. They moved so fast that the magical beasts only saw a blur until the trolls stopped to consumed their meal.
At that point, the Gylads, Shyfs, and Phillard used earth magic to turn the clearing into a crater ten meters (33 feet) deep while the Rys and the Byks unleashed fire on the trolls.
The mad creatures ignored everything around them. They kept fighting among themselves until the last shred of flesh and bones was consumed. Only the four newborns died. The adults were too strong, most of their injuries healed so fast that even the magical flames couldn't keep up.
Only then did the trolls notice the magical beasts and rushed towards their new prey. The Crons attempted to hit them with lightning while the earth magic users turned the ground into quicksand and erected stone walls to protect their allies.
The trolls were too fast for the quicksand to be effective. They even managed to dodge most lightning bolts. The trolls reached the stone walls, tearing through them like they were made of paper.
One of the Byks was caught off guard, the troll's arm had pierced the wall and grabbed her by the neck. She didn't have the time to call for help, her throat had already been replaced by a gaping hole.
The maw on the troll's palm opened and closed repeatedly, eating its way to the spine. The other magical beasts didn't understand what was happening until the troll smashed through the wall, embracing the Byk.
The odd looking scars turned out to be more maws, consuming the poor creature in the blink of an eye. Cursing their bad luck, Guardian used a blast of air magic to send the troll back to the center of the crater, exploiting its feeding frenzy.
Then, she unleashed a pillar of fire that filled the whole crater and engulfed all the trolls, buying her allies the time they needed to adjust their formation.
"Dammit, I don't think we can make it. We have to call Lith before it's too late!" Reaper knew that only by swallowing his pride as a King did they have a chance of success.
"Phillard, what are you waiting for?"
Phillard sighed. Reaper had clearly gone mad, yet he obeyed nonetheless.
"LITH! WE NEED HELP!" He screamed at the top of his lungs, almost deafening his own allies.
Meanwhile hundreds of miles away, at White Griffon academy.
'I wonder why my ears are burning.' Lith thought while explaining advanced Body sculpting to Quylla's class.
"Are you insane?" Reaper was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Again.
"What was that for?"
"How the heck I'm supposed to call Lith? With our friendship power?" Phillard snarled, sending the trolls back in the crater with well timed swings of his tail. Despite being strengthened by earth fusion, the Lindwurm's body was covered with bite marks. Small chunks of meat were missing.
Reaper realized that Phillard had no communication amulet. It was likely that he didn't even know they existed. The only option left was fighting to the bitter end.
Even with their combined efforts and the higher ground, were the magical beasts barely able to keep up. It was only thanks to their perseverance and the trolls' lack of spells that they slowly managed to turn the tides.
The fire kept burning the trolls like candles, forcing the light magic coursing through their bodies to deplete their nutrients to keep them alive. One by one the monsters ran out of juice and died of starvation until only those who had eaten one or more magical beasts were still alive.
Only four trolls remained against fifteen magical beasts. The Crons were the only tribe with no casualties since they never touched the ground.
"Cursed birds! Come down instead of flying like cowards!" Cormr, the Byk alpha, got distracted in his outrage. The troll that had already tasted Byk's meat didn't miss the opportunity, grabbing him by the throat.
Cormr went into a panic, unleashing darkness magic against the monster to get rid of it. Contrary to his expectations, the creature emitted a moan of pleasure. The troll's body was now bulging with muscles, its eyes white no more.
Cormr could perceive the mouth closing on his throat, yet it didn't bite. Fear made him ignore the sudden burst of intelligence from the previously mindless creature. The Byk sent more and more darkness magic into his captor's body.
"You idiot!" Phillard reacted as quick as he could, piercing both the Byk and the troll with countless ice spears.
'Now I remember! Trolls are also known as the unliving. It's the lack of darkness energy in their bodies that makes them a Fallen race. That stupid Byk gave the troll enough darkness to regain its senses.' Phillard thought.
The troll roared in outrage. With Cormr's death, it could already feel its mind slipping away again.
The troll ate the Byk's corpse with its hand, before freeing himself from the ice spears by flexing his muscles. The hideous troll was quickly regaining its humanoid features, taking the appearance of a man with grey skin and four arms.
The creature now had gold colored eyes that glowed with mana, reminding Phillard of Lith's Life Vision. The troll charged at the Lindwurm, releasing small bolts of light when they were almost at close quarters.
Unlike darkness magic, light magic was fast, but its range was even worse. Phillard managed to dodge most of the bolts, but some struck him, making his body go limp.
'That's a watered down version of Boss Scarlett's offensive light spell.' Phillard thought while watching the troll's maws ripping through his flesh.