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“Even though I made it with so much effort, why can’t you appreciate it?”
Elder Sleigstar laughed out loud as my face turned extremely nervous.
“Ernea, calm down.”
Mistral tries to comfort me, but I can’t calm down even a bit.
“Hahahaha!! Do not reach such a hasty conclusion.”
“That’s right. Ernea is misunderstanding the situation.”
Uhh.. What is the misunderstanding here? Elder Sleigstar just told me that it was the little spirit tree that we had picked up earlier. On that small sampling, there were no branches that could be used to make this sword. I mean, it could only be done from its trunk.
“Kaka… Like I said, its a misunderstanding.”
Elder Sleigstar told us, and picked up the wooden sword a second time and pierced the mossy ground this time.
I couldn’t comprehend the meaning behind their actions. Thus I could only tilt my head and stare blankly.
The green light glowed brightly from where the sword had struck the ground,
As I watched, the hilt grew thicker, the branches around the cross-guard expanded, and the number of branches increased further.
Surprisingly, in front of me, the wooden sword turned into the form of the native spirit tree.
“The sword was not made by carving the spirit tree. I just changed its appearance by using an ancient secret art. So, if I pierce it in the ground, it will return to its original appearance correctly.”
“Uuu… I would like you to tell me that first.”
Looking at me getting teary eyed, Mistral gave a wry smile.
“No, I did not think hat you would be disturbed that much, neither Mistral nor I had foreseen that.”
“We should have mentioned it before. I’m sorry, Ernea.”
Elder Sleigstar and Mistral apologized while scratching their head in a similar manner.
The little sapling also seemed to sway its leaves and rustle its branches smoothly as if comforting me.
After the explanation and apology, Elder Sleigstar pulls the small seedling out of the ground. It takes root very neatly when close to the ground. The short root seemed to grab on to the earth. And when the sapling leaves the field, it returns to the form of a wooden sword like the one just before.
The secret art of shape morphing is indeed marvelous, as expected of the old dragon.
“Come on now. Thine should receive it.”
On being called, this time I received the sword directly from Elder Sleigstar.
“I grant this sword to thou. Take good care of it.”
“Yes, I will cherish it.”
Of course, it is important to me. A mysterious little tree, how cute.
“Well, let me tell thou about that sword a bit more.”
Elder Sleigstar who was satisfied by my reply told me about the sword in detail.
“As you can see, this sword is a young sapling of the sacred tree. A sacred tree grows with the pulse of the dragon vein as sustenance. However, as a sword, it cannot absorb the energy from the ground. Thus, it will immediately die if thou does not provide it with power from the dragon pulse.”
I know. Because I am alive, I need food to stay that way. In fact, it is probably best for this sapling to grow on the ground.
“From now on, thou should try to fuse the pulse from dragon vein into the sword while meditating.”
“Is it alright to directly combine the dragon pulse into the sword form of spirit tree?”
“That’s right. The soul of the little spirit tree sapling will grow by fusing with the dragon pulse fed by thou.”
“Wow, that is amazing! It will grow up with my strength. Though the responsibility is serious, it also makes me incredibly excited.”
Seeing my disposition, Elder Sleigstar smiled heartily.
“As I mentioned earlier, if you stab it to the ground, it will return to its former figure. However, to return it to the sword form, it will be difficult for thou to drill over and pull up each and every root. Especially when it grows up.”
Well, It is a young tree right now, and it was easy to get it out as it was the great dragon Sleigstar doing it. If I’m providing it dragon pulse from now on, it’ll surely grow up to a size where Mistral and I won’t be enough to handle it.
“Even in the sword form, spirit trees have no problem getting stronger by fusing with dragon pulse due to dark art usage. However, if you someday find a place where you would be willing to spend a lifetime, it would be good if you can replant it if possible.”
“Surely. Someday I will let this child find its proper home.”
I stroked the young sapling gently for a while until it had fully morphed into the form of a sword. Just then, I felt fluffy gentle signs of it like when the wind passes by the ear.
“Even if you say that it is a wooden sword, it was formerly a spirit tree and is much harder than any comparable weapon. On fusing it with dragon pulse, it becomes a weapon that can directly usable in battle.”
Mistral stooped down too and patted the wooden sword of spirit tree.
That’s right. I finally got a weapon.
The first short sword I bought with the money saved by my family was thrown away by Elder Sleigstar. I don’t want to recollect how many cold nights have passed since then, but for a long time, I was without a weapon. I am glad that I would no longer have to bear the sharp gaze of the teacher who was disappointed at me for having borrowed weapons when the training at the ruins takes place.
“Thank you very much!”
Naturally, I was greeting with the wooden sword. Elder Sleigstar and Mistral who saw it smiled in the similar fashion.
After that, it became usual daily routine.
I meditate and then practice the dragon sword dance. Before returning home, I walk hand-in-hand with Mistral.
Oh, it was a bit different from usual, though. The time of meditation increased, so as to provide enough dragon pulse to the wooden sword spirit tree. Strangely, while meditating while being seated, I feel a small life force from the wooden sword of the spirit tree that lies on my thigh. When I pour dragon pulse into it, a faint sign of happiness seemed to be dancing around me.
Also, I was told to carry the wooden sword in my left hand somehow.
Dragon sword dance is a basic dual wielding style, so why do I need to bring the wooden sword in my left hand? But, I was a right-handed person, I wanted to hold it in my right hand. So, while practicing Ryukenkai (Dragon sword dance) with Mistral, I found an affordable firewood branch to hold on my right side.
By the way, everyone from my classroom seemed to be confused as to why I was carrying around a sword if it was just exploring the ruins.
After obtaining the wooden sword of the spirit tree, I did not separate from it and carried with me at all times. At school, as usual, I was called a foolish child. Can’t help it, though, the weapon which I finally obtained is visually a branch sword of a rough-planed tree. Moreover, during martial arts training, I never had a chance to wield it since I was meditating as usual. There is no helping it.
As I had expected, the hero and his companions are getting busy recently and are mostly absent from school. Then, Kiri, the shrine maiden, and Serisu accompanied Ristia so much that Ruiseine who came along with them began to talk with me as well.
“And when will you tell me about that secret medicine in detail?”
One day, I was in a panic after running into Ruiseine. That’s right. I promised to Ruiseine to teach her a bit. I had still not discussed this with old Sleigstar beforehand, so I had been at a loss for words.
Ruiseine smiles while looking at me in such a confused state.
“Surely, please tell me someday.”
Saying so, Ruiseine no longer pursued that matter.
Ruiseine is gentle as expected, isn’t she?
Yes yes. Ruiseine was the only one who said that the spirit tree’s wooden sword was cute. Regardless, the three leaves attached to the branches of the collar and a thin vine entangled with the wooden sword seem very attractive. Ruiseine pretty quickly understood this cuteness.
That’s how I spent the summer, and soon, autumn arrived.
I received an invitation letter from the Elven tribe living deep in the dragon forest.
Come to think of it; I did not appear at all since the incident in the woods, however, Kari-dono seems to want to invite me anyway. Though it was ordinary, I completely forgot it while being busy every day.
“I will go together with you.”
Thus, it’s decided that I would go together with Mistral to visit the Village of the Elves. I was excited to find out what kind of community it was, and I went with Mistral to the forest.
It seems that we need to go through several proper procedures and have to advance in the woods to reach the village of Elves. Mistral proceeded while explaining so that I could travel alone if need be.
First is the forest of ancient trees. We need to go around the old trees for about three laps.
After this, we walk southwards.
Then a small pond will appear, we will go around the lake this time.
When we complete a lap around the lake, we find a road leading ahead, and then we just go down the street.
“Do we arrive at the village of Elves with this?”
I was surprised at the unexpectedly simple trick.
“It is easy if you know the procedure, but usually no one turns around the first old tree for three laps. The spell of the hesitation does the thing. Even if a person knows the procedure, a person who doesn’t follow the instruction of someone from long ear family usually wavers in the forest.”
“Umm… is that so?”
“Certainly, a person would usually not go three laps around the ancient trees and then further around the south pond. Besides, knowing the way is also meaningless because of the curse of hesitation being active. Even if someone circulates the procedure, they won’t be able to arrive at our village.”
While he was talking with Mistral, in no time, we were surrounded by colorful flower fields. And there was a village ahead of it.
A magical barrier surrounds it, and there is a gate at the entrance.
It is easy to understand that it is a village, seeing the flower gardens aligned alongside wooden houses.
The spacing between the homes is wider as compared to the housing in the kingdom, and some people could be seen going back and forth between them.
On noticing us closing in, a passerby hurried into the depths of the village.
This situation is stressful.
The stories that I had heard about the Elven tribe describe that it was closed off to the outside world, so there was some amount of wariness despite being invited to visit.
The person who rushed inside quickly spread the news of a human visitor visiting the Elven tribe.
A lot of people appeared from behind the village with tense footsteps as we approached the inner part of the community.
The community seems to be bigger than that I initially imagined. I was surprised at the unexpected appearance of so many people. There appear to be several dozens of individuals. All of them seem to belong to the Elven tribe.
I murmured while walking next to Mistral
“Huhuhu. A hearty welcome to you. I hope you have a beautiful day.”
Mistral smiles at me and goes through the flower garden.
“Please come with me.”
It was Kari-dono who greeted me at the front row of the villagers. They have a sharp face as usual, but with a smile hung on their face.
“Hello. I am pleased to meet you today.”
“Hello. Here is a small gift from Elder Sleigstar.”
I returned the greetings, and Mistral handed the vase that we brought along to Kari-dono. As for the content of the jar, it was drops of dew from the sacred tree. Very carefully, they gather the droplets of morning dew which roll down the leaves of the holy tree. It is very delicious though it looks like regular water.
I have always been drinking the morning dew gathered on the green bark of the sacred tree, but it seems that it is something valuable. It can be used as a souvenir for the Elven tribe.
“I am thankful for this. It would certainly be delicious.”
Kari-dono rejoiced and received the vase with pleasure.
“You see, today we are celebrating a festival. Please come here.”
And then they guided Mistral and me further into the village.
Today a festive atmosphere was spread around the Elven tribe village. What a grand festival.
I advanced while curiously glancing around the Elven village.
Every house was made from of wood. In the imperial capital, houses are mostly made of stonework, so a wooden house is very unusual. Unlike the stonework’s inorganic texture, these wooden houses give out a feeling of warmth. All the houses are single storied, and not particularly significant. However, they are very airy, and there is no outer wall, thus visibly exposing the contents of the houses. There is no stone pavement for the roads as well. The roads seem to have formed by people stepping on exposed soil.
There are also a lot of trees growing in the village. The placement of lush flowering plants and the houses is such that they do not become a disturbance to nature.
We can say that this village was in perfect harmony with nature. The fantastic world that I saw and heard only in stories was now spread out right before my eyes.
[Translated by Vitus at ExMachina.Asia]