Chapter 114 - World Tree's Reward (3)
The mood got more relaxed after the first drinks. At first, the magicians had difficulty talking, but their mouths soon started opening under the power of alcohol, and the high elves showed interest in their words.
Alucard was showing interest in a Yellow Tower magician talking about mushroom growing, while Lumia ears pricked curiously as she listened to the conversations between the humans. Naia was still dozing, but she occasionally asked about topics she was interested in.
Among them, Alisa was the most active high elf.
"Hey, why are you wearing a mask today? Were you expecting a masked ball or something? Or is it for another reason?"
"It is because of a personal matter."
"I see. Then can you show it to me? Or tell me why! My curious nature won't let it go until I find out."
"It looks like it."
She seemed to be interested in Orta as the woodpecker-like conversation continued. In a sense, both of them were difficult to approach, so the area around them became quiet.
Moreover, there were many high elves for the magicians to talk to, and the main character of this banquet was sitting somewhere else. Theodore, the young man who led the mission against the legendary monster Laevateinn and created the opportunity for this mission to Elvenheim... he deserved to be at the center of this banquet.
'...By the way, what is this?' However, Theo was in an unexpectedly difficult situation.
On his left, there was Ellenoa...
"Theodore! This fruit called Zaoyan is delicious. It is a rare fruit from the northern forest, but this is a famous delicacy of Elvenheim, so you definitely can't miss it."
And on his right, there was Sylvia...
"Theo, take a bite of this. I sprinkled some spices on it, so it is much tastier."
"W-Wait a minute."
"What? Oh, it is because of the skin. I'll take it off, so just wait a minute. If I place the blade along here...!"
There was no room for Theodore to stop this. He didn't know who first started it, but the competition became increasingly fierce as he couldn't refuse and ate the piled up food. Unable to ignore the looks in those two pairs of eyes, Theodore kept on chewing.
There were empty bowls piled up in front of the three people, and the weight of his stomach was becoming increasingly dangerous.
'Uhh, how long do I have to eat...?' Theodore looked desperately for a way out. Was the heavens turning a blind eye to him...?
Fortunately, he spotted Vince sipping from a cup nearby. The moment that he felt Theodore's gaze on him and was about to ask what Theo needed...
Vince heard someone's voice from behind him, "Oh, my, is that wine in your mouth?"
The high elf, Lumia, who had been standing on the outskirts, approached Vince. She was a high elf, a survivor of a species from the myths, and an existence normally hard to meet. As a magician and one of the delegates, he had no choice but to respond to Lumia's words instead of paying attention to his disciple.
"Ah, yes. It is a strange but delicious taste."
"That is a relief. The wine is made from the grapes that my tribe grows ourselves, and it is highly appreciated for its fragrance and flavour. Would you like to try another kind?"
"Oh, it would be an honour."
"Huhu, I should be the one saying it is an honour. Come this way."
Vince moved away without thinking, and Theo looked after him with a devastated expression. Simultaneously, Lumia turned back to look at Theo and gave him a strange smile.
'Why?' Theo thought.
Then a whisper entered his mind through Ratatoskr. It was Lumia's voice.
-Well, try it yourself.
She didn't say anything beyond that as she led Vince away.
With that, Theo's way out had disappeared. There were two bowls set before Theodore, filled with more food that he couldn't eat. Perhaps he could endure if he used Battle Song to accelerate his metabolism?
Then a stupid idea emerged in his head. "...Alcohol."
He didn't enjoy it very much, but his eyes caught an unopened wine bottle. Among the Elvenheim specialties, there was a wine which couldn't be made anywhere else. Theo couldn't understand why they made it since it wasn't good for the bottle, but it was an elf specialty.
Ellenoa was the first one to notice his attention on the bottle.
"Oh, do you want a drink? I don't know the taste of it, but this wine is well-known in the forest. Perhaps Theodore will enjoy it."
"Hrmm... If you say so."
"Yes, then have a drink." As she nodded, a fragrant liquid emerged from the mouth of the bottle.
Ellenoa poured a cup for Theodore and for herself before putting the bottle down. Indeed, there was no cup for Sylvia. The subtle action caused Sylvia to mutter in a low voice, "...Why aren't you giving any to me?"
Ellenoa cocked her head and replied, "Based on the standards of the human species, aren't you not allowed to drink until you experience the coming of age ceremony?"
"I've had my coming of age ceremony already! It was this year!"
Maybe it implied that she looked young. Sylvia stared sharply at Ellenoa, took the bottle, and poured the wine into her cup. Her timing was a bit late, so the pouring wine barely came to a stop before it overflowed.
Then without waiting for a toast, she poured the contents into her mouth.
Gulp. Sylvia quickly finished the drink and turned triumphantly to the two people.
She fell face down onto the table.
* * *
Typically, the body of a magician was stronger than that of ordinary people, so they were more resistant to harmful substances such as alcohol. There was no statistically analyzed data, but it was natural since high density mana circulated through their body.
Therefore, Theo couldn't help feeling surprised when Sylvia became drunk on one glass.
He sighed slightly and muttered, "Ah, I'm glad I decided to drink water instead..."
"Ahaha." Ellenoa heard his words and laughed awkwardly.
She hadn't expected this to happen either. Consequently, the two of them were now left alone. As Sylvia, the biggest obstacle, had self-destructed, Ellenoa could achieve her purpose without any interference. She immediately used a pretext of a walk to get alone with Theo.
Regardless of whether he knew the meaning of the walk, Theo looked at the ground spread under his feet and exclaimed, "By the way, it is amazing to see. I never expected the banquet to be in such a high place."
"Is that so? I had a similar reaction to Theodore when I was first brought up here. There was a large tree in my hometown, but it didn't soar to the height of the clouds."
"I never thought I could touch the clouds like this..."
The clouds around his fingertips scattered like a torn spiderweb, leaving a damp feeling behind. He looked like an amazed child, causing Ellenoa to step toward him with warm eyes. The place they were going to now was impossible to reach without the ability of a high elf.
"Please follow within three steps of me." After saying that, Ellenoa moved slowly.
The closer they got to the world tree, the more the high elves could exercise a power which was close to that of their ancestors. It was possible for them to open a space door or jump some distance without using a knot hole. The foundation of this phenomenon was different from magic, but the result was similar.
Shortly afterwards, Theo's keen senses noticed the change. "Ah."
It was similar to the Shukuchiho method used by the White Tower Master. He took a few steps after Ellenoa, and their position suddenly changed.
Theo kept track of the changes. It wasn't so difficult when looking at the height of the clouds, the perspective of the landscape, and the density of mana. The problem was that the changes didn't happen just once or twice.
'The banquet hall is 350 meters below... No, it has just changed to 500 meters. Then we went down by 100 meters...'
It was at a pace much more than fast! Theo marveled at the rate of change as the map in his head was destroyed. They had gone up and down so many times that he didn't know where he was now.
After five minutes of walking, Ellenoa was able to reach the desired destination. When Theodore saw the destination, he spoke carefully, "This is...?"
The two of them stopped in front of a shabby cabin. The cabin's planks of wood were so rotten and the pillars were so old that it wouldn't be strange if the cabin collapsed immediately. It was too shabby compared to the magnificence of the world tree.
However, Ellenoa seemed to be rather solemn in front of it as she looked at Theo.
"This is a place where you can't enter or leave unless you have the consent of a high elf like me."
In such cases, the majority of high elves had to agree to let the person enter.
Ellenoa then started explaining about the cabin. It was different from its insignificant appearance. Her voice sank slightly when she said it contained the history and wisdom they had kept for thousands of years.
Then she gazed into Theodore's eyes with a serious expression while her golden eyes shone brightly beside her pale green hair. "Theodore. For the second time in the history of the elves, you have been recognized as a visitor of the Fountain of Wisdom."
"Fountain of Wisdom... this cabin?"
"Yes. It was called a different name during the ancient times, but it is now a legacy of a forgotten era. In the history of the human race, there were a few records of when they dealt with it in the Age of Mythology.
Theo gulped as he understood the value of this rundown cabin.
The Age of Mythology was an era when humans hadn't yet become masters of the continent. It had been thousands of years ago when gods, demons, dragons, and ancient species walked the world. Meltor was a kingdom which collected artifacts and relics more enthusiastically than anywhere else, but they hadn't been able to find any traces from that period in time.
If there was only one book or scroll in that cabin, it might be worth dozens of libraries in this age. However, Theo's surprise was only beginning.
"I brought Theodore to this cabin because a wise man foretold that you would come."
Theodore became blank at those words. Who would the elves refer to as 'wise,' and how could they have predicted this situation?
The appearance of the legend ranked grimoire, Laevateinn, as well as the powers of Andras and Meltor... This moment had occurred as a result of numerous causal relationships. Theo had no choice but to be astounded.
Then Ellenoa dealt the heaviest blow. "The wise man who predicted Theodore's visit was the first of his kind in the world, the first human to make a contract with an elemental ruler."
'No way.' The words entered Theodore's ears as Theo stared at her.
"Myrdal Herseim, the great elementalist, said that he left something for you in the Fountain of Wisdom."