Editor: Thor’s Stone
“You’ve got an interestin’ expression on your face, Boss.”
“Yeah, I know. Well, it’s not like I didn’t expect this anyway.”
Many of the local concoctions Nect-kun brought tasted like medicine. But some of them were kinda close, but still fell short. It felt like they were just a step away from that elusive sweet spot. But they still couldn’t reach the standard of real high-quality soft drinks that I was familiar with. If I had to give an analogy, it was like someone who only managed to slightly pry open a door, and beyond the said door was true greatness.
“It looks like they didn’t manage to satisfy you.”
“Uh, no, that’s not it. It’s not like that at all. I was just overwhelmed by reality for a moment. But these feel like they’d be really good with some tweaking. I did manage to get a connection with a major beverage manufacturer here, so would you like me to introduce these to them?”
“Fumu…… Let’s see. Let me consult with the recipe owners first.”
“That would be for the best.”
I’ll just give Nect the contact details of the product development chief of the beverage manufacturer we visited a few days back. In the meantime, I’ll have Mei contact him in advance. After all, he’d probably get the shock of his life if he was suddenly called by the son of the Minfa clan’s leader.
“So this is the seed of the Sacred Tree……”
“It really does shine. Is it due to magical resonance?”
“Amazing. I’ve only ever seen it in picture books when I was a child.”
Tinia and her two female attendants – Miza and Mam if I remember correctly – were excitedly fussing over the special-grade cursed item, which was now placed on top of something resembling a katana rack. As for the item itself, it was now blinking at a regular rate, as if feeling quite comfy. For some reason, I felt like it would be displaying a sloppy expression right now if the damn thing had a face, which was kinda annoying me.
“Even so, to think you would be able to stumble upon the seed of the world tree…… No, it was the seed of the Sacred Tree itself that found its way to you instead. How amazing.”
“Yeah, about that… People of this planet regard it as a supreme honor, but for me, it’s just an annoying hassle you know?”
“A hassle, is it? For people living on this planet, there could be no greater honor though.”
Nect displayed a bitter smile.
“No, I get that, okay? Even I would get fired up if I picked up some legendary weapon like the Holy Sword Excalibur or Magic Sword Gram. Heck, I’d probably geek out. But what am I supposed to feel when the one I managed to get my hands on was this mysterious object instead? I’d even gotten stuck here as a result.”
When I turned my eyes toward the seed of the Sacred Tree resting comfortably on its pedestal, it flashed in protest.
“In the first place, I have absolutely no idea about what sort of thing this actually is. I’m not familiar with elven folklore, so even if you tell me this is actually really incredible, it just doesn’t register y’know.”
“Ah, I understand. If that’s the case, then you’d better have Tinia tell you all about it.”
“Tinia’s really familiar with ancient legends and the like. Women of the Grado clan also play the role of storytellers and shrine maidens serving the Sacred Tree after all.”
When I turned toward Tinia who was still inspecting the Sacred Tree’s seed, she noticed my gaze and our eyes met.
“If you’re fine with me, then shall I tell you the stories about it?”
When I agreed, Tinia nodded and started narrating. It was a story about the ages-old battle between elves and monsters.
The story happened a long, long time ago, in a time predating the empire’s discovery of Theta. That meant it happened several hundred years in the past. Anyway, before the advent of the imperial forces, there was another intelligent race living on Theta aside from the elves. It was a group of creatures collectively known as monsters, which consisted of several different races that had a penchant for violence.
There were lots of attempts to try and communicate with them, but they all failed. The elves and monsters fought fiercely, like destined adversaries. The battles raged on for countless years. The one which had supported the elves all throughout this bitter struggle was the Sacred Tree. The leaves and flowers of the tree served to heal the wounds suffered by the elves, and they had also learned to use magic from it, which they employed to great effect against the monsters. Magic also served a great role in their daily lives. The Sacred Tree was an invaluable existence for the elves.
As expected, the monsters regarded it as their hated enemy as well. Some cunning monsters managed to sneak past the elves several times and proceeded to damage, pollute, and burn down the Sacred Tree in every incursion. Of course, something like that would have led to the elves losing a large part of their strength as a race, and the demons would take advantage of that to finally exterminate them.
However, each time that happened, the seed of the Sacred Tree would elect a chosen one among the elves, and granted him or her its power. The chosen warrior would then be able to directly use the Sacred Tree’s enormous magical powers. Furthermore, the Sacred Tree seed itself was a terribly fearsome weapon. Even the thick hides of the mightiest monsters that couldn’t be pierced or cut by normal spirit silver weapons were nothing before the Sacred Tree seed.
If the seed was used as a spear, its sharpness would pierce everything in its path, and once thrown, it would run through the bodies of dozens of monsters before finding its way back to the chosen warrior’s hands. It could be said to be the very symbol of hope for the elves.
“So this thing actually possesses such dangerous abilities……”
“It can drill through anything huh. I think that’s just an exaggeration.”
“Is it possible for that thing to penetrate ultra-compressed composite alloys? How about you try it, Boss?”
“You know, that does sound interesting. Okay, let’s try.”
The special-grade cursed item flashed violently as if saying ‘Heck yeah! I’m gonna show you what for, you damn bastard!’ or something to that effect. There ain’t gonna be time for regret later y’know? I won’t say sorry even if you fail to pierce through it and cry, okay?
“Anyway, I now roughly understand its history. So you’re saying the one who gets their hands on this thing will play an important role as a hero of hope who’d save the elves from great peril or something like that, right?”
“Yes, that is the case.”
“So, what eventually happened to those chosen heroes then?”
“Oi, what did you blatantly look away for?”
Or rather, it sounds like you’d be practically invincible as long as you don’t lose possession of the thing.
“The heroes end up pushing back the monster invasions and gain everyone’s respect and adoration. But in most cases, they would lose their lives after each war once they relinquish possession of the seed, or die through assassinations carried out by the monsters.”
“So this thing really is no good after all!”
“Oftentimes, the ones who wielded the power of the seed and those around them would fight as if they were still in possession of it even after relinquishing its power, overestimate themselves, and end up losing their lives in the process……”
“What the heck? Didn’t they learn from their predecessors?”
“Well, this is treated as an open secret, but there were many past chosen ones who did not want to relinquish the power of the seed after the wars, but that would lead to the next generation of the Sacred Tree not being able to grow. The ones who would be troubled the most by that were their fellow elves, so…”
“Um, does that mean……”
Mimi’s facial expression twitched. Mm, it’s probably that huh.
“So they’d get assassinated by their own kind!? That’s messed up as heck! I really don’t need this dangerous thing, so please just take it away!”
The special-grade cursed item flickered violently in protest again. Shut up, you! I ain’t gonna have my life targeted for something so unreasonable dammit!
“Or rather, whatever happened to those monsters then? We haven’t encountered anythin’ like them until now y’know.”
“The imperial military completely exterminated them.”
It was a very simple answer. I’m not sure if there were already translation implants back then, but I guess that when the Graccan empire arrived on Theta with the intent of colonizing it, they encountered the elves and monsters. And then, between the two groups, they ultimately chose to spare the elves in their capacity as the new rulers of the planet.
I’m not sure how long the elves and monsters have been fighting, but the elves suddenly found an unknown and extremely powerful force had arrived from the heavens. It then proceeded to exterminate the monsters they’ve been at war with for ages and demanded that they submit afterward. The elves would have had no other choice but to submit. If not, they faced the fate of getting exterminated like the monsters after all.
“But they went as far as exterminating entire intelligent species…… Was the old empire really that radical?”
“Isn’t it the same even now? If the higher-ups judge that we wouldn’t be able to coexist with a race, they’d move to eliminate them in a heartbeat, intelligence be damned. It’s impossible to coexist with races that view others only as food, right? Actually, the empire is already rather tolerant. They don’t pose a threat to us since we don’t share a border with them, but the Vuelzarus Holy Empire believes in extreme racial supremacy, and apart from those considered as pureblood Vuelzarians, all other races are considered as slaves.”
“The heck? That’s scary. We better not go anywhere near them…… Uh, anyway, we already got sidetracked.”
Afterward, I heard even more tales about heroes and the special-grade cursed item, but after all, it seems most of its previous owners met with very gruesome ends. Yeah. I’ll definitely dump this thing when I get the chance. It seems that I’ll have to keep this guy with me for a while cuz of magic and whatnot, but I’ll definitely give it back to the elves after my care is no longer required. That’s something I definitely have to do.