It’s Ko-Fi’s Supporters’ chapter (106/119), enjoy~
As Chris had said, there were some interesting things to see.
After they passed the suspension bridge that was in the canyon, it could be said that it was another world.
The trees that greeted them were not only pillar trees but also ones that Ain had never seen before. While the foliage was similar to that of a broadleaf tree, the leaves were blue and wavy in a strange way that caught his attention.
The sunlight filtering through the many trees, tinted green and blue, was mysterious.
“…I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Hmm, are you enjoying this?”
“Well, I am. I wanted to come here for sightseeing too.”
The air was so nice. When he took a deep breath, his whole body seemed to be washed away.
Although his legs felt a little tired, he could still walk thanks to the cool, refreshing air.
When he closes his eyes, he hears the sound of a clear stream. Curious, he opened his eyes to see colorful fish swimming in the nearby water.
Every time he poked at the water plants, they would glow faintly in the water.
“Why are they glowing?”
“Oh, those fish are absorbing the magic dissolved in the water.”
“I’m starting to feel like I’m in a hidden world.”
“Haha, it’s definitely a secret place.”
That’s right; this place is like a secret world.
“We’ve come this far, and we’re already in Sith Mill. Now, all we have to do is get to the village where the Elves live.”
It was still early afternoon when she said that was all that was left.
“It seems a long way to the halfway point.”
“At this speed, we’re almost halfway. We’re doing very well. We’re walking as fast as the Elves because Ain-sama didn’t get tired at all.”
“I’m glad I’m not dragging you down.”
He showed he had enough room to say something light and increased his walking speed even more. He really wasn’t as tired as he thought he would be.
“I’m starting to feel nostalgic. Even though I’ve never been here before.”
“Oh, maybe it’s because you’re a Dryad, and you feel closer to it…?”
He nodded and looked around. It was strangely comfortable, and he could almost sleep if he closed his eyes.
The two of them continued through the forest without much talking. They didn’t need each other’s words, and it was comfortable to be quiet.
However, they took a break once along the way. But it was just for lunch.
After that, they walked in silence for a few hours.
Suddenly, Chris stopped and looked back at him with a big smile on her face.
“I’m beginning to see a special place in Sith Mill.”
From the dense forest of trees, they came to an open area.
A stream stretched right up to Ain’s side and a large spring upstream. A large tree towering in the center of the forest spread its branches, and the sunlight filtering through the trees created a shade.
There were many sights that amazed him today, but he couldn’t have been more surprised than this.
It’s truly a paradise. The colorful birds were flying around, and the large trees greeted them.
It was the fruit on the tree that particularly caught Ain’s attention. Because it was glowing, they were twinkling with a gentle orange light that colored this space.
The glowing fruit stood out well in the sunlight filtering through the blue and green of the trees.
But that’s not all.
At the bottom of the clear water that filled the spring, a water plant glowed slightly pale.
“It’s called the Sun Tree. The fruit contains magic power, and when it falls into the spring, the magic power dissolves.”
Then the magic power is combined with the water.
It travels throughout Sith Mill through the streams, creating a rich natural environment.
Suddenly ── ripples spread through the spring. One of the fruits had fallen.
“It seems to have just fallen.”
The fruit did not go against the water flow but flowed down to the two people standing by the stream. It seemed to be about the ripple size that Ain had made. Its appearance resembled a grape seed.
Chris scooped it out of the water, and it showed a firefly-like light in her palm several times.
“Is it okay if I take one?”
“Yes, one or two will be fine.”
Then Chris cracked the fruit with her rapier.
Inside was an orange pulp dripping with fresh juice. The scent that tickled Ain’s nostrils was sweet, and the flesh looked like it would melt if he bit into it, so Ain swallowed his saliva.
“Shall we eat it?”
Refusal was not an option that came to mind.
When he bit into it, he was surprised to find that it was more fragrant than he had imagined. The ripple that Ain had made was the same, but it was of a quality that was second to none.
(I didn’t know there was such a place.)
While marveling at the taste, he looked around again.
There were plants around the spring that he had never seen before. They came in various colors, from white to blue to bright purple, and their leaves were either spring-like or clinging to the trees as vines.
The roots of the trees exposed on the ground were covered with moss, where the brightly colored butterflies were perched.
There were many of the small fish that he had seen earlier along the water’s edge.
(Is much of the magic of this forest due to the presence of the sun tree?)
As he did so, he was also curious about the water plants.
“Can I go check out the water plants?”
“Sure, but… do you mean in the water?
“Yes. There are some places where you can just take them; it will be fine.”
“No. I’ll get it for you. Please wait.”
As expected, he was not allowed to go into the water.
Chris put the bag on her back on the ground. She put her hands on her pants, exposing her pure white calves, and put her feet into the spring.
“It’s a little cold.”
She exhaled, then grimaced as she looked for a handful of water plants.
Just in time, she found a floating plant that had been eaten at the base by a fish.
“It’s got a magic stone on it, so I think it’s perfect.”
He doubted his ears at the mention of magic stones in the water plant.
“The water plants in the Fountain of the Sun Tree have magic stones, probably because they store magic power.”
When he looked closely, he saw that there was a single magical stone attached to the tip of the plant, and it was glowing pale white. The surface is beautiful, like a polished crystal ball, and it glides smoothly in your hand.
“Thank you, so it’s a magic stone.”
He thought that he could absorb it.
“Ain… could it be that?”
“Okay, let’s absorb it.”
Then he took the magic stone from the water plant.
As soon as he held it in his palm and let the toxin decomposition and absorption take effect, he was enveloped in a cool sensation that rushed through his entire body. It was refreshing, and it made his throat watery. Although there was nothing tasty about the bounty of water that permeated his entire body, it was a magical power that seemed to condense all of the pleasant air of this forest… and the water of the spring.
In an instant, the tiredness disappeared from Ain’s body, and even his vision became clearer, and the colors seemed even darker.
“How was it?”
“It reaffirmed for me that this forest is amazing.”
“Geez, what’s that… I’m glad it was good, though…”
Delicious may not be the right word. But there are times when air is called delicious. In that sense, it’s probably correct.
“I can actually live here.”
“You can’t live here, so let’s move on.”
“…What a mean reply.”
“Yeah… Why do you look so unhappy…?”
“I’m just kidding. Anyway, I’m indeed glad I came to Sith Mill.”
He didn’t get an answer about the taste, but this reply was perfect. Chris smiled mildly at the praise of her birthplace.
“We should get going.”
He thought about having more fun, but he wanted to hurry up for now.
Hearing Ain’s suggestion, Chris nodded energetically, said “Yes,” and took Ain with her, pointing the way to the interior of Sith Mill, where the Elven Chief was waiting.
A few more hours passed as they continued upstream to the spring. They were now approaching a gentle slope surrounded by trees on both sides, and for the first time in a long time, they were stepping directly into the sunlight.
Chris, who was looking at the end of the hill, noticed something.
“Look, it looks like they’re here to pick up Ain-sama.”
Sierra was standing at the end of the hill, just as they had seen her the other day in the royal capital.
Today, she was accompanied by not only warriors but also women of her own people, making her even more lively than before.
“Welcome to Sith Mill, the ancient spiritual peak of purification.”
“Yes, I am here as promised.”
“I have been looking forward to your visit. Please come with me. We, the Elves, welcome you with open arms.”
A moment after she said that, the forest around them started to rustle.
But it was not disturbing. The gentle swaying and rustling of the leaves were like applause for Ain.
A gust of wind blew through everyone.
At that moment, he heard the girls’ voices mixed with the sound of the wind.
What he heard were giggling voices.
“It seems that the tree spirits are also welcoming Ain-sama.”
“It’s nice to be welcomed, but tree spirits?”
“We Elves don’t get to see them more than once in our lives; they are so rare that they are rarely seen in public.”
It seems that something is going on here as well.
Ain secretly let out a small sigh as the premonition of such a thing grew.