Published at 3rd of February 2020 09:15:10 AM

Chapter 454
The environment changed a bit as Noah's group entered its borders, leaving the mystical fog behind them .

More trees began to appear, they had barren shapes with sharp branches and they also radiated some kind of threatening aura .
Noah had gathered information about the Efrana nation before joining the mission, he knew that those plants were called Blood trees since their nutrient was the blood inside the terrain .
Every living being in this world fed on "Breath", they simply absorbed it from different sources .
Humans absorbed it from the environment while magical beasts could also absorb it from what they ate .
Plants were in the middle, they mostly absorbed it from the terrain or the air but some rare species could also actively seek prey to hunt .
The Blood trees belonged to the first kind, their nourishment came from the terrain and, since the blood absorbed mostly came from cultivators, they developed a strong and sturdy form .
The wood obtained by the Blood trees was a good material for the creation of inscribed weapons but it wasn't that precious, the entirety of the Efrana nation would be pillaged otherwise .
The group from the archipelago could also notice some poor-looking encampments in the distance, they didn't seem to contain powerful cultivators .
"Let's take a look . The strongest tribes should be at the center of the nation so we should be able to easily annex these . "

Noah ordered, the general layout of the Efrana nation was clear in his mind .
Creating a foothold in a nation constantly at war wasn't a problem, the issue was in creating a lasting one .
The battles between the Shandal Empire and the Papral nation had a great impact on the tribes living in Efrana, it could be said that only a few of them could manage to remain in a position of power for many years .
That was because both big nations preferred to hire them before going into battle, the mercenaries of the tribes were used as cannon fodder, leading to a high number of casualties .
Also, those few tribes that managed to grow stronger even in such a disadvantageous environment were ultimately annexed by one of the two big nations, simple mercenaries would never refuse that chance and both big nations wouldn't let go of experienced troops .
That behavior led to a constant exchange of the tribes in power, one battle was enough to make those tribes disappear .
The group quickly moved toward the nearest encampment, the situation of the cultivators there wasn't good, there were many wounded with blood tainting their bandages, it seemed as if a battle had recently happened .
"You are late, the Crow-head tribe has already taken all our food and women, only our lives are left but they aren't worth much either . "
An elderly man spoke as he saw Noah's group near the encampment .

He was missing an eye and his right arm had been recently cut off from his shoulders, there was still blood flowing out of the small patch that he had used to cover it .

Noah looked around him, there wasn't any woman just as the old man said and most of the cultivators there were wounded .
The strongest cultivators were in the second rank but there were even mortals wearing poor-looking armors in some areas .
"Why did you choose this place to set an encampment? The mystical fog is still quite close, it might reach this place and affect you all . "
Noah asked, he couldn't care less about their situation, he was only interested in the safety of that area .
Only then did the old man realize that Noah's group wasn't a mercenary tribe, their robes were intact and their power was incredible, only the tribes at the center of the nation could have that appearance but they had no reason to be in that place .
"W-we had no choice . Most tribes wouldn't venture here, we thought we would be safe . "
The old man answered and Noah nodded, that place seemed the area where they would attract less attention .

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He waved his hand and a huge mansion appeared behind him, the cultivators of the encampment released surprised cries when they saw the big structure appearing right in front of them .
"Treat their injuries and gather information about the nearby tribes, I'll speak with the elder to set up our defenses . "
Noah ordered to the cultivators behind him, they quickly entered the encampment and used their drugs to heal the cultivators in the poorest state .
"Kate, you will start to work on the teleportation matrixes as soon as the defenses are set . Many mercenaries will be willing to join the Hive as soon as the rumor about our presence here spreads, we can't risk being discovered before the defenses are ready . "
Kate nodded when Noah spoke to her, she had joined the mission since she was the most experienced human cultivator in the formation field, her role was to create a connection between the Efrana nation and the Coral archipelago .
The cultivators in the encampment were surprised but they accepted the help of the group from the archipelago without opposing any resistance, their condition was so bad that they would cling to any hope .
The Hive needed more cultivator, the war from more than four years ago had reduced the population of the archipelago by a lot .
A new wave of human assets was needed as soon as possible, the Hive couldn't just wait for the citizens to naturally procreate .
That's why many missions aimed to set up teleportation matrixes in specific points of the continent .

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There were many neutral nations like Efrana scattered throughout the continent, the Hive intended to create small footholds in each one of them .
The Hive was protected by the agreement reached by Chasing Demon, the three big nations wouldn't decide to destroy those footholds unless some of them were inside their area of influence .
Yet, some form of defense was still needed to scare away cultivators that were secretly under their command, the elder accompanying Noah had such a role .
'It will take a while for Kate to create a link with the archipelago but I can leave the recruitment part to the other captains, there is no reason for me to appear in public . '
The elder was going to take care of the defenses, Kate of the teleportation matrixes, and the captains of the recruitment of more manpower, only time would tell if that foothold would give the expected advantages .
'I guess I can seclude myself for now . '
It was after he was sure that nothing was left uncovered that Noah entered his mansion, something was telling him that his Earth Tribulation would arrive soon .