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Chapter 150: Bough


「So you’re saying you finally decided on your weapon, huh? 」
「Yup. 」
Dinosso asked me as he climbed up the stairs. The three of them arrived almost at the same time.

「Don’t take it out here, alright? I don’t want to fall from the stairs. 」
「Please do it once we’re inside the room. 」
Retze and Butler, that’s assuming you’re gonna be surprised, you know…

I climbed after them, and came face to face with the three of them. Butler still has that subtle smile plastered on his face, Dinosso crossed his arms with his lips tightly pursed, and Retze looked as if he’s already resigned for some reason.

「Well then. 」
With great airs, I took out X-Stick.

「Bough? 」
「A stick, huh? 」
「Is it a stick, perhaps? 」
When the spirit’s presence is removed, X-Stick will seem like it’s a 40cm long stick, and it doesn’t resemble a bough. It’s emerald green — or should I say a bright ash color with muted green shades if referring to the bark of the tree — and it is a smooth bough, similar to the branches of an oak tree.

Usually, it has a bud that looks like a bundle of leaves on its tip, so that’s a tell-tale sign for me that it’s anything but normal. That’s a weird thing considering the form of the branch.

「Did you pick it up somewhere? 」
Dinosso commented, looking like this whole thing was a let-down.

「Care to introduce it? 」
The moment Retze’s eyebrows furrowed, the gray parts turned white, and the thin branch at the tip of the stick suddenly sprouted leaves, which then wrapped themselves on to that tip like a flower bud.

「Hey! I’m Pokey Stick EX! Just call me X-Stick, okay! 」
The leaves popped open with such vigor that it’s almost audible, and a grinning X-Stick appeared.

「… 」
「… 」
「… 」

「I can see it, can even hear it… 」
Retze squeezed those words out after a few seconds.

「Yeah! That’s because I’m a high-ranking spirit, you know! 」
「It’s so hard that all the swords I’ve created won’t be able to cut it. 」
『Zanzenken』probably can, but I won’t test it out; I got this from the Tree of Pokey Stick, after all.

「I am Noth. It’s a pleasure to meet you, X-Stick-sama. 」
「I’m Dinosso. It’s quite strange, but no one in their right mind will probably risk their lives to get that. By the way, it can also be the cover-up ‘reason’ for Jean’s ability. 」
Both of them seem relieved.

「Spirits that possess powerful attributes but are not desired by the majority also exist, after all. The most important thing is that Jean-sama seems pleased with it. I’m glad for you, Jean-sama. 」
「Our heart’s peace lies on you, we’re in your care for many more years to come! 」
「Ou! 」
X-Stick answered energetically and even striked a victory pose for some reason.

「I’m Retze. By the way, can I ask where you met? 」
Retze belatedly introduced himself.

「In the Northern East, at the foot of a mountain with sharp pointed peaks across a frozen lake. Just beyond that fog thingy surrounding a white forest. 」
「Master, you’re the only one who thinks that’s an ordinary fog, you know? 」
「Hm? 」

I was puzzled, so X-Stick gestured at me to lean my face closer to him.

That foggy place was apparently teeming with monsters that were as countless as the spirits that were eaten. And if you do anything to that unicorn, either the ground beneath you will turn into a poisonous swamp, or you get caught in a poisonous fog. Terrible.

「Oy, Noth! 」
Dinosso was shocked when Noth suddenly collapsed on the ground.

「Hey, don’t tell me you got that ‘Pokey Stick’ from a tree that glows white and grows in the middle of a lake? 」
Retze’s face was twitching as he smiled at me.

「Ou! The one blooming with gold flowers that shine with a white light, ah, no, white blossoms that glow gold. 」
「Arghh, what the heck, isn’t that the Tree of the Spirits!? 」
Retze stared at the ceiling when I answered him. He looked like he was on the verge of tears.

「… The Bough of the King. 」
Noth mumbled while hugging his knees and pressing his forehead on them, still sitting on the floor.

「Wait, wait. Calm down, it’s a disaster if this is the King’s Bough! 」
Dinosso was covering his face with one hand. His face is beat red for some reason.

「King’s Bough? 」
「Ou! I’m the Bough that all the kings want!! It’s only granted to those who pass the test! 」
Is that why his ‘yeah!’ is ‘ou!’ — it rhymes with ‘King’s Bough’?

「When the King’s Bough is present, spirits are easily born in that place, and they’re easy to gather. It’s the reason why Shurmtus, the empire that summoned the heroes, is unshakeable. They have that. 」
Retze sat down beside Butler.

「Oh~ So that’s why the spirits won’t move away despite the heroes apparently using magic recklessly. 」
I understood one thing.

「Allow me to explain while we are on the subject. The number of『Fae’s Bough 』might be few, but officially, they are the places where a twig bestowed from the King’s Bough is enshrined. 」

「Twig? 」
「Ou, I can stretch, you know! 」

The leaf stalk turned out to be a thin twig, and when X-Stick said that, it stretched right on cue.

Eh, the shrinking feature is pretty handy, so I thought it’s there because of my wish, but does this mean he already had that ability even before? Come to think of it, my wish wasn’t explicitly granted, I guess.

「 Legend says there’s a question that will be asked for those who wish to become the king, or else want that bough for their own king. So, what did you say? 」

「Question? 」
「 It is said that the Spirit of the Tree will pose her query, and the aspiring individual will then have to utter their oath. The King’s Bough will vanish if the pledge isn’t kept… 」
Butler followed up, his head still on his knees.

「Er… Diameter 4cm, length 3 meters… Does that mean you’ll disappear if I think it’s better if you’re shorter? 」
I became worried so I asked X-Stick.

「I got that 4cm body, so isn’t it fine? But let me stretch from time to time, alright? Aren’t you doing good up till now, so don’t you just need to continue doing that, no? 」
X-Stick grinned.

It seems that keeping at least one of whatever you pledged is good enough. I got the feeling that he’s insinuating that he’s not satisfied about how I handled him, but yeah, let’s just let that be. The grip is already perfect, so I don’t think I’ll be changing that.

「No, wait a sec, what the heck did you pledge, huh? 」

Dinosso’s taking a jab at my convo with X-Stick, but is it something you can say so bluntly?



T/N: Trio: Oh, it’s just an ordinary branch. What a relief. High-ranking spirit? Okay, still seems to be fine. Thank goodness.
Also them: Pops a vein few seconds later because it’s anything but ordinary XD

Poor Butler, Dinosso and Retze, always having a mini-heart attack because of Jean’s revelations 😀 At this point, I wonder if Jean is confidently revealing this to the others because he has 【Cut Ties】, or just because he considered them friends. Editor Marky also thinks this isn’t like him, given his overly cautious nature.


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