Chapter 98 - Great Forest (0)
"Mitra?" Theodore looked dubious, but he accepted the seed for Mitra.
The seed glowed with a blue light. If this truly was a seed from Yggdrasil, the sacred world tree which stood at the center of Elvenheim, the value of it would be priceless. However, Ellenoa said to give this seed to Mitra.
Alas, it was doubtful that an answer would come just by thinking about it. So, rather than worrying alone, Theo decided to ask the person sitting before him, "Sir Edwin, do you know the meaning of this seed?"
"What do you mean?"
"What is the efficacy of the seed... or why did Ellenoa tell me to give it to Mitra?"
Edwin pondered for a moment before nodding and answering the questions, "I can't fully know her will, but I will tell you what I know."
His explanation dated back to the time of the birth of Yggdrasil and Elvenheim. It had been around 300 years ago, which wasn't that long considering the longevity of the elves. Elves had gathered from all over the continent to make a new home in the mountains of the north. Using the power of the elves, they then created a world tree. From then on, Elvenheim, the kingdom of elves, began.
Although incomplete, but Yggdrasil was still a world tree. Just like its name, Yggdrasil defended Elvenheim with its power. Its falling leaves cleaned the ground, while its roots extended to the surface to create a natural ecosystem. This was why the elves were able to secure a safe area in the northern great mountains, where all types of creatures lived.
The elves of Elvenheim were grateful and admired the world tree as the parent tree.
"The parent tree helped the elves thrive. The sap helped with conception due to its vitality, and the branches became the weapons of the warriors, while the petals and fruits had the power to heal the sick and injured."
"Yes, your thinking is correct."
Theo had noticed that many potions and specialties could only be made in Elvenheim.
This was because of the world tree, Yggdrasil. Since the potions and specialities were a byproduct of the world tree, they could never be reproduced by human technology. It was the reason why Elvenheim had the absolute advantage in trade.
However, Theo continued waiting despite his surprise. It was because the explanation about the efficacy of the seed still hadn't appeared. Edwin paused and finally pulled out the next topic. "The world tree produces many fruits in 100 years, but only a few seeds. I am one of those who have received the seed."
"Yes, according to old sayings, the seed of the parent tree is said to germinate the abilities hidden within the being who takes it. I took it and got on the path of a guardian."
It was indeed a byproduct of the world tree. Theodore marveled at those words before looking down at the seed. According the Edwin's explanation, the seed wouldn't be a big help to Theo. It was one thing if it gave a talent that didn't exist, but it wasn't meaningful since his innate talent was small.
His innate talent was far smaller than Mitra's. 'Mother Earth...'
In contrast to the god, Dmitra, who was larger than a mountain, the potential of a human was nothing. No one would've imagined it based on the small Mitra jumping on his knees right now.
[Wuong?] Mitra became aware of his gaze and made a questioning sound.
"Now, this is a gift." Theo handed the seed to her without any hesitation. Mitra stared blankly at the seed for a moment before jumping onto his palm. At first, she wanted to bite on the seed, but then she looked up at Theo.
[Deo! I eat it?!]
Mitra was drooling, so it seemed like she found it very appetizing. Maybe there was something which only elementals could feel. To him, it just seemed like a bead with a good fragrance.
Theodore nodded, causing Mitra to laugh and lift the seed above her head.
[Aam-!] She opened her mouth and swallowed the bead in one go.
* * *
The heart of the northern Great Forest, Elvenheim, was on the same continent as Meltor. It would take one month with express wagons to travel from Mana-vil to the Great Forest. Furthermore, transportation such as wagons would lose their functionality inside the large forests.
For that reason, a minimum of 100 days were scheduled for them to reach Elvenheim. However, the delegation's departure room was strangely empty.
"...You came," Orta, the man standing in the middle of the room, murmured as soon as the door closed tight. Behind him was Edwin who had a long talk with Theodore.
Theo stood beside Orta who asked him, "Are the preparations finished?"
"Then let's leave. It is a long journey, so we need to hurry."
Regardless of status, Theodore and the White Tower Master had the same authority on this mission. Orta obtained his consent and moved to the center of the circle, while Sylvia ran to Theo's side. However, before Sylvia could even say 'Hello,' something suddenly popped out of Theo's arms.
"Kya?" Sylvia caught Mitra reflexively. She had excellent reflexes for a magician.
[Hoing!] Mitra waved her hands around like she was saying hello. She peeked about at Sylvia and laughed. Sylvia placed Mitra on her hand and felt a strange sense of incongruity.
As she stroked Mitra's hair, she muttered with a surprised expression, "...A bud?"
It was as Sylvia said. A sprout of green grass was poking out from Mitra's hair
Sylvia looked at Theo for the answer, but he just smiled mysteriously. Theo and Edwin were the only ones who knew that the bud had grown after Mitra ate the seed of the world tree. Mitra was amazed, but she also didn't know what it was.
'Well, I will know if I ask Ellenoa directly.' It wasn't something Theo should think about while they were in a rush.
Having experienced teleportation before, Theo waited calmly for the space magic to be activated. According to the White Tower Master, he would teleport them near the border. The distance they were crossing would cause them a great deal of dizziness and side-effects.
The moment that Theodore was done preparing himself...
"Mass Teleport." Simultaneously, as the words were spoken, the magic circle under the party lit up. The space transfer magic circle, which was the symbol of the White Tower, swallowed up the one elf and nine ambassadors.
'Ah!' The three dimensional space folded up into a line.
The unrestrained bending of space wasn't something which could be perceived with human senses. Moreover, it didn't just end with dizziness. The matter wasn't solved with closing their eyes, but it was several times better than being stupid enough to look.
Fortunately, the distorted sensation soon ended.
Upon arriving at the destination, everybody calmed their dizziness in their own way. Some breathed in deeply, while others bit their lip. However, there were a few who looked around without a single stumble, and Theo was one of them. The only side effect he had was a slight headache, so he looked around carefully.
At that time, beads of light floated up in the dark interior.
"This place is an underground facility near the border. It is a place where we can't stay for long. Follow behind me," Orta gave instructions as he walked through the room with familiar steps.
After climbing numerous steps, he saw a wooden plank blocking the doorway. Regardless of whether it was a magical object, Orta pushed it with his hand without saying a word.
Kkiiiik. Simultaneously, light poured down from the ceiling.
Was it due to the light magic...? Strangely, nobody covered their eyes or groaned with pain. As the nine people climbed up, Orta closed the wooden plank behind them. He poured sand on the top, leaving no traces of anything being there.
Only then did Theo start looking around. "...This place."
There were no obstacles to be seen on the horizon. An open wilderness was all that filled the eyes of the 10 people. The red sand blowing in the wind was the only highlight of this wilderness.
'Is this wilderness the Red Plateau?'
This was the northern border of Meltor, the Red Plateau. It was a red soil which seemed to reject all life.
Why didn't the strong creatures of the northern Great Forest cross the Meltor border? The reason for that could be found in the Red Plateau. This was a barren land of several hundred kilometers which only rained once every couple of years. The number of hungry creatures who died here were too numerous to count.
Therefore, many preparations were necessary to overcome this wasteland. A lot of food, water, and supplies to withstand the attacks of the undead creatures were required in order to cross hundreds of kilometers.
Everybody knew this fact, so one person asked a question. "Tower Master?"
"Where are the carriages we are going to ride?"
The remaining eight people also looked at Orta.
Since he was a magician from the white tower, they thought he would've prepared carriages or gust wagons. Masters could use higher ranked elementals, but even Edwin had limitations. He didn't have the ability to carry the baggage of nine people.
However, no matter where they looked, they couldn't find any carriages or gust wagons.
"It is annoying to explain. All of you wear these rings."
Orta pulled out a box and handed out rings one by one.
The rings were made of silver and didn't have any decorative patterns, but the party put on the ring as instructed by the White Tower Master. Edwin hesitated for a moment, but he eventually put it on his index finger as well.
Orta watched them put it on with calm eyes. "Then let's depart. If I have to tell you one thing, it's to just stand in place."
"...?" The others all had puzzled expressions.
"Rather than explaining, it is quicker to show you directly," the White Tower Master spoke strange words before taking one step, then another step.
His steps seemed stagnant. His legs were obviously moving, but he didn't move away from the party. Was he showing them a trick? Some started to suspect that the White Tower Master was slightly strange in the head.
However, there were those who noticed the abnormalities. Theodore was extremely sensitive to supernatural sensations and the 'world changing,' so he was the fastest among them. Even Edwin's expression became one of shock as he understood that the landscape around them had changed skillfully.
The clouds appeared their heads disappeared into the distance, while the clouds on the horizon moved above them. Yes, the landscape changed every time he took a step.
'...How can we move so far in one step?!'
Was this a type of space magic? The group centered on Orta was jumping hundreds of meters, or maybe a few kilometers, all at once. It wasn't immediately noticed due to all four directions being a wasteland, but the rest of the group soon understood.
"S-Spatial distortion?! It is with every step?"
"Even if he is the White Tower Master, this..."
As Orta had instructed, the rest of them didn't move, but the party was astonished as they stared at the constantly changing sky. They were moving very quickly through the notorious Red Plateau. Indeed, there was no need for carriages.
The gust wagons were slow compared to moving hundreds of meters in the blink of an eye.
White Tower Master Orta, who was the peak of space magic, declared bluntly, "We will arrive at the Great Forest as the sun sets. Be prepared to stop and set up camp."