「What is it?」
「That corner over there looks a mite interestin’. Whaddya think?」
Frowning at the sudden question, Tatsuya observed the section that Hiroshi was pointing at. After a brief moment, he understood what Hiroshi had found so interesting, an expression of astonishment on his face.
「Yes, what is it?」
「What kind of crop do you have growing over there……?」
「Ah, yes, that’s our staple food, raas wheat.」
While a bit dejected at how simple the answer was, Tatsuya still wanted to press on.
「And what kind of crop is this raas wheat?」
「Umm, what kind, indeed……」
Archem pondered how to answer Tatsuya’s question. It was supposedly wheat, but was shaped differently from regular wheat when it was ripe. It would be difficult to explain without a side-by-side comparison.
「Ah, yes. The lunch that I didn’t get to eat earlier was a raas ball, so I’ll show you that.」
As she was wondering how to explain it, she had remembered her lunch from earlier, clapping her hands together. She then took out a leaf-wrapped rice ball from a preservation bag, opening it up to show everyone.
「I thought so!」
「It’s here! It’s finally here!!」
「No way……! I can’t believe this……!」
「They actually cultivated it here!」
Archem was taken aback at the reactions they made. But of course. After all, her lunch happened to be a salted japonica rice ball.
「Umm, is there something odd about this raas wheat?」
「See, that stuff’s called rice back where we live and is our staple food. But I ain’t never seen it cultivated in Farlane.」
「Ah, is that so. But you don’t refer to it as wheat?」
「Wheat ‘n rice’re crops with purty different attributes, so in our hometown they’re treated differently.」
Archem made a puzzled face. Apparently elves could not see a discernible difference between wheat and rice. They were both part of the poaceae family, though, so in that sense they weren’t wrong.
As they were having a heated Q&A, someone ran up to them along the path behind them, making a loud metallic noise as they did so.
Archem turned around with a puzzled look on her face in response to the voice of a young male elf she knew very well, wearing full-plate armor like that of Douga. He rattled on in a language that Tatsuya and Makoto couldn’t understand. His face was that of your typical handsome elf, but the neck peeking out of his armor was exaggeratingly big. He must have a massive body.
「Chett, we have guests, so could you switch to Farlane?」
「I-It be rude of me, noble visitors. Govejon-san say somethin’ about a hunter tree blockin’ the way from the village, so I be searchin’ frantically for you, Archem. I be glad that you’re safe! The hunters who went out searchin’ found only hunter tree remains and your bow on the ground, I was worried, worried……!」
The handsome elf spoke in a stiff Farlane accent. Especially when he said the word “Govejon”. That sounded to them like “Goblin” and they couldn’t unhear it. The moment he had finished speaking, Hiroshi and Makoto could no longer contain their suppressed emotions of shock, screaming.
「Apologize……! Apologize to……!!」
「I said shuddup!!」
Although their voices were simply stifled the next moment when Tatsuya silenced them like a pin needle.
「Oh? So you be wanting a talk with Aranwen-sama.」
「Yes. Hence why we’re seeking permission from someone in charge.」
Despite having yelled at him a moment earlier, Makoto was now conversing with Chett like normal. Whenever she would explain about things like the reason they came to the village or how they rescued Archem, the elves would express their gratitude again and again, making her feel strangely sweltering.
After Hiroshi and Makoto were forced to keep their mouths shut, Chett whistled, and then burly elves had surrounded the place. Their build was so massive that it was hard to believe they were elves, and they overwhelmed the place. Their faces did not match their bodies.
「But I be really grateful to ya!」
「Archem be the youngest girl in all of Alte Ortem. I-If I ever seen ‘er get swallowed by a hunter tree, why I, why I!!」
「Hey, it’s okay.」
Makoto comforted him with a grimace on her face, a bit fed up with all this tear-ridden elves. For whatever reason, she was the most popular girl with the elves. Her face was young and had beautiful form, in addition to how she spoke like an older person. But despite being surrounded by all these elves, she didn’t try and scream again.
「Oh right, you said that she’s the youngest in Alte Ortem, but are there any other children?」
「Aye. There be about a hundred o’them in the entire village.」
「It just be that the last child to be born be fifty years ago. And that child be now finally able to have children.」
「And that’s Archem? Wow, that’s been a while.」
「Cause elves be havin’ a long lifespan, eh? But that also ends up makin’ the body take a while to mature as well. Sure, ye can get pregnant at 12 years of age, but the body isn’t properly ready till much later than them humans or beastmen.」
Apparently there wasn’t any difference between elves and the other races for the minimum amount of maturation. Having a long period of weakness as a youth was a risk that affected the entire race. In that respect, it wasn’t all that strange to have secondary sexual characteristics occur earlier.
「So you could freely travel to and from the temple 30 years ago, right?」
「Aye. There wasn’t any funny grass growin’ at that time.」
The middle-aged, young-looking elf gave a curt response to Haruna’s new topic.
「Funny grass? So the reason you need permission to go into the temple……」
「Aye aye. Carnivorous plants started growin’ over there and ye can’t enter lest ye know how to protect yerself.」
「We tried expellin’ them but they reproduce hella fast.」
「We even tried usin’ weed killer on ’em an they just adapted.」
Everyone gaped. If these massive elves couldn’t even handle these carnivorous plants then they must be quite tough.
「Well, we’re almost at the chief’s house, so ye can hear the rest from them.」
They replied as their destination came into view. This house did seem a bit bigger than the other ones. If they were meeting there then this must be the house of the chief who ruled the village.
「I leave the rest to ye Archem.」
「We’re gonna let ’em know of yer safety and the safe arrival of guests.」
「Tonight’s a welcome party for ye’all.」
「Gotta tell Govejon-san as well.」
They all said, scattering in various directions with no apparent caution for outsiders.
「They sure are trusting……」
「It’s rare we get visitors, so it’s always fun when we do……」
「I notice you don’t really have an accent.」
「That’s because I’m in charge of outside negotiations.」
Or at least that was what she claimed, but sometimes Mio noticed her slip when talking to the elves.
「Anyhow, I’ll let the chief know about this. Could you wait a moment?」
「Okay, thank you.」
After about a minute, several figures emerged from the house.
「Apologies, my visitors. Feet just don’t work how they used ta.」
An aging male elf came out from the house. You could say his head resembled that of a kappa. His cheeks had excess skin to where it looked like they were dripping off. And what really set the deal was his beer belly, completely different from what they thought elves to be like.
「Give it a rest!」
Sure, he did somewhat agree, but Tatsuya once again shut them up.
「Sensei. That is unrelated to what we came for.」
「Right, sorry. Kinda just came to me.」
Hiroshi made a genuine apology while the people who had scolded him found themselves at a loss for words since they understood where he was coming from.
「Anyhow, gotta discuss somethin’ with ya.」
「And what be that?」
After Hiroshi had regained his composure and spoke, the elder who had heard the gist from Archem spoke back while giving him an evaluating glance.
「Y’know that raas wheat that we call rice? Couldja help us spread the cultivation knowledge throughout Farlane?」
「We’re not here to discuss THAT!」
Hiroshi suddenly diverted from the group’s original objective, and Makoto, who had generally been on his side, burst out at him. The elves simply looked at these foreigners in confusion.
Thanks for the new chapter!
HAHAHAHA, I hope Tolkien never Isekai in that world, he would have a heart attack.
Heh, he would have a couple revisions to his manuscripts for sure.
Tolkien would be a fantastic dungeon master or country builder thou.