Chapter 1 ──── The Night Before the Death Battle
While the people of SaiWest were leaving for the Land of Sleep, among the four Demon Gates in the northern part of SaiWest, Georg and his four horsemen were gathering at the northernmost Demon Gate.
The gate had a shape of a rectangular black door fitted into a metal frame with countless faces with decisive expressions on them.
Georg and Geren stood in front of the gate as if they were the gatekeepers, and countless demon soldiers were moving around them. There were no trees in the vicinity, and the ground had turned a deep purple color, bubbling and popping in many places.
Every time the bubbles popped, a stench filled the air around them, as if they couldn’t help but vomit out everything in their stomachs.
The area around the demon gate has been eroded from the demon world, and the forest was no longer the life-filled forest it once was, but only the moonlight was still pouring its cold, beautiful light.
The scene seemed to be filled with nothing but silence, but a roar that seemed to echo in the pit of one’ s stomach continued incessantly.
Gheorud was wounded by Doran and Christine, and was taking it out on the demon soldiers.
Every time the lance was swung with a tremendous sound, the earth that had been gouged out of the demon world flew through the air along with the five shattered demon soldiers.
Furthermore, even Rafarasia was taking it out on the demon soldiers who are supposed to be her pawns, and there was a pile of dust around that is the remains of the demon soldiers.
Rafarasia, who sat like a queen on a rock that could hardly be called a throne, her face was devoid of any emotion from beginning to end, and it was clear that she was storing up all her emotions and strength for the time when she would encounter Diadora and her friends.
“Haah, Gheorud and Rafarisa are too much. It’s not like demon soldiers are born out of thin air.”
It was Geren who said it bitterly. He thrust his partner, the battle axe into the ground and leaned against it in a comfortable position.
Because of the helmet-like shape, you can’t see the expression on his face, but if he were a human being, he would have stuck out his lower jaw and made a disgusted face.
Georg, standing next to Geren, had his arms folded, silence was his friend, and he seemed unfazed by his companion’s disgusting behavior, to the point that Geren wondered if he was sleeping. He wanted to check.
“Hey, Georg, any word from Lord?”
“Both of them are probably in high spirits for the next battle. Let them do what they want. And Geren, you and I both know that you are looking forward to fighting with them.”
Fortunately, there was a reply from Georg. Apparently, he hadn’t just decided to doze off.
“That’s true, I suppose. That Christine girl was a very bold and capable person, even if she is someone of super-race. Well Lamia girl is still a baby snake, her scales have not yet hardened, but she is quite a sight to behold.”
“Hmmm, you sound like you’re having fun. I also like this Doran guy. I’m sure I’ll have a battle I haven’t seen in a long time.”
Perhaps it was unusual for Georg to make such an assertion, but Geren let out a sincere exclamation of admiration.
He’s been with Georg for nearly a thousand years, but he’s never been this attached to a particular person more than a couple of times in his life.
“That’s good to hear. I thought I would never be blessed with a fight that I could enjoy unless it was in the Demon World or the Divine World, but to be able to enjoy something like this on Mortal World is an unexpected pleasure…….”
Nearly thirty demon soldiers flew through the air with a particularly loud explosion, interrupting Geren’s words.
And so, he roughly threw off the mask of good mood that he had been in, and he pulled out his battle-axe and went towards Gheorud, crushing the ground with it.
After a brief argument, Geren struck Gheorud in the head with the flat side of his battle axe, knocking him unconscious and finally curbing his consumption of magic soldiers.
As he watched his friends, Georg saw something completely different.
That human man, who called himself Doran, had shown his fighting ability during the battle. And the magical power and fighting spirit that supported it. If Georg’s memory is correct, that was definitely ……
“The power of an ancient dragon that once laid waste to the evil gods and people of the demon world, slaughtering them and making them shudder. Maybe that dragon changed into a human being, or maybe it was a reincarnated individual. Either way, it will be a bloody battle. Come on, come on. It’s been a long time since I’ve looked forward to a battle.”
After finishing my conversation with Diadora, I stopped by the Elder Tree to complete another wild task. There are still other things I can do to prepare myself for tomorrow’s decisive battle. If I can reduce the danger to Serina, Christine, and the people of the Entete Forest, I will spare no effort.
When I returned to my room after finishing my business, I was greeted by Christine, Serina, Fio, and the fairy girl Marr.
There were two beds on either side of the door, decorated with vases of flowers and openwork lanterns of fairies dancing on the flowers.
On the wooden floor, Serina and the others were lying on thick carpets with intricate embroidery, and resting on cushions made of cotton and fibrous stems of plants.
“Fio and Marr both came, huh. I heard that staying up too late is bad for your skin.”
Fio had changed into a loose, light green nightgown. The beautiful fabric with a smooth sheen was probably made of silkworm threads indigenous to this Forest. The sleeves and collar were decorated with many layers of fluttering thin fabric.
It might fetch a very high price in the city, where there are many enthusiasts.
Fio answered my words by lifting the wooden cup in her hand.
“It’s fine. If you drink this flower tea with Faalena honey, your skin will stay beautiful as ever.”
As she had mentioned, there was no sign of stains, dirt or acne on her skin.
It’s not only the Wood Elves, but all Elves are beautiful to look at, and what they eat and drink on a daily basis is an important factor in supporting their good looks.
“Fumu, I don’t think you’ re old enough to care about your skin yet.”
“Girls want to be beautiful from a very young age, Doran.”
I was amused by Fio’s clear-eyed expression and replied with a small shrug.
“Well I guess that’s one thing I learned.”
This wood elf is probably over three digits in age, but she is a girl. Well, in terms of appearance alone, she looks no different than me, and I don’t think I can deny what Fio said.
As I sat down on a vacant chair, Serina thoughtfully handed me a round tray with a cup and two steamy soup plates on it.
Looking closely at the cups and soup plates, I could see that they were carved with intertwining ivy and tree branches, various fruits bearing on them, and birds and flowers pecking at them. All of them are probably the result of the skillful work of master craftsmen with great skills.
I suddenly felt that I was in touch with a small part of the art and aesthetic sense that the Wood Elves had cultivated in the course of their forest life.
“Here, Doran-san. Your dinner for today.”
“Thank you, Serina. Wonder if it’s from Fio.”
“Yes. It’s not good when the people you’re fighting with are hungry.”
“It’s very delicious. Cristina-san and Serina-san both said it was delicious.”
Marr, who was sitting on Fio’s lap with a handkerchief that I thought was made of leaf veins, was holding a half-eaten cookie in each hand and smiling at me.
The innocence of the little fairy naturally brought a smile to my face.
“Since I have Marr’s seal of approval, I have nothing to worry about. I’ll take it with pleasure.”
The plate was filled with a clear soup with lots of vegetables and a sweet smelling milk porridge, and my stomach, which had only been filled with dried meat and bread for lunch, growled with hunger.
Both of these are probably the daily diet of the Wood Elves, made from the unique ingredients of the Etete Forest.
Looks like others had already finished their meals so their plates were empty.
The soup seemed to have little seasoning such as salt or pepper, but the sweet and savory flavors of the vegetables intertwined with each other made for a simple yet truly delicious soup that I could drink every day and never get tired of.
The milk porridge had the lightness of barley stewed until it was thick, and the sweetness of honey added just a hint of fragrance to enhance the gentle taste.
With just one sip, the flavor of the barley and the sweetness of the honey instantly spread, filling my mouth with a taste that made me breathe a sigh of relief.
“It’s a soothing taste. I can eat as much as I want.”
“Fufu, I’m glad you like it. Christine-san ate it in a blink of an eye. Even though she had a noble appearance, she ate it up so quickly.”
“I showed something embarrassing,”
Christine-san said. She has a little shy smile on her beautiful white face.
Until upon arriving at the Entete Forest, I had been eating only simple preserved foods, so I agreed with her that I would have to eat more, but I was beginning to understand that she was a very fussy eater, despite her appearance.
“Christine-san seems to be a big eater, but I’m amazed how you can keep your figure so toned.”
“It’s hard for me to gain weight. I’ve never missed a workout. I think I burn what I eat, and I’ve had a good workout today, so I need to nourish myself.”
“But Christine-san, you have a really tight waist, but you still show off your curves, don’t you? I envy you as a woman.”
“If you put it that way, I’m sure Serina is the same.”
Christine-san replied to Serina in a somewhat reserved manner.
Christine-san doesn’t seem to be accustomed to this kind of conversation, or perhaps she hasn’t talked to many people of her own age before, but her tongue was sluggish.
“I’m more of a spirit consumer, so it’s hard for me to have extra meat on my stomach and arms.”
“From my perspective, Christine and Serina both have big enough breasts and look like they have beautiful hips. We elves have a very slender body, so even though we can build up some muscle, it won’t show as much as the two of you.”
Fio began to flick his waist and chest. It was somewhat immodest and unprotected behavior to do in front of a man.
Looking at Fio’s body, it’s true that her breasts are modestly raised in her nightgown, but they don’t have the mountainous curves of Christine’s or Serina’s.
By that amount, her limbs, covered with fine skin, stretched out in flowing lines and looked so slender that they could be easily broken if you applied the wrong amount of force.
The impression of being as pretty and fragile as a flower blooming in the wild is another form of beauty, but Fio would have preferred to have a body that was a little more buxom.
As I unceremoniously stared at Fio’s thin, nightie wrapped body, I noticed a faintly accusing gaze penetrating my entire body.
I wasn’t looking at her out of lust, but apparently the ladies didn’t see it that way.
“Doran, could you please stop staring at people? I don’t think it’s very polite.”
“You’re a grown man, and I understand your interest in such things, but there’s a better time and place for it. ……”
Fio had a teasing tone with me, and Christine’s eyes wandered awkwardly as she rebuked me softly.
Serina, who did not move her mouth, puffed out her cheeks a little and gave me a piercing look with her vertically constricted pupils.
Marr was the only one who didn’t care about our interaction and bit into the rest of the cookie with her small mouth.
” I wasn’t looking at you like a lecher. I was just thinking that Fio doesn’t need to envy anyone else.”
“Hmm. Well, let’s just leave it at that. A single guy vs 4 girls sounds like we’re bullying Doran.”
“Eh, Fio was bullying Doran-san?”
Marr, who had not been part of the conversation so far, looked up at her best friend’s face above her head.
“It’s not like that, Marr. Just a figure of speech, you know. I wasn’t really bullying him or anything.”
Marr smiled hearing those words, and we talked for a while about the world outside and inside the forest.
The conversation was in full bloom, deepening the affection between us who had just met for the first time today, but it had to fade when the conversation turned to Christine-san.
She told us that she was a student at the magic academy in Galore, a city south of the village of Berne, that she lived there, that she stayed in Berne during the long spring vacation, and that she had a blood relative with close ties to Berne.
However, when we talked about her background in more detail, Christine-san’s red lips hesitated to open.
I guess the identity of this silver-haired, red-eyed swordswoman with good looks was not yet ready to be revealed.
Fortunately, there was no one here who wanted to force her to tell her story.
Seeing Christine-san’s expression clouding over, Serina shifted the focus of the conversation to herself. She is a thoughtful girl.
“I, you know, came from a Lamia settlement called Jarura, located in the mountains south of the Mores Mountains!”
“Is that so? There are snake people near Sai west, but no Lamia, so I was curious.”
Fio took advantage of the flow of conversation that Serina had changed, and Christine-san let out a small sigh at their concern.
In the meantime, Serina’s story continued. It was still unclear to the outside world what kind of society the Lamia had built as a group to live in. Fio seemed to be completely intrigued by Serina’s story.
“So Lamia lives with a man of another race, and his children. There are many other subspecies living in the Mores Mountains, so we sometimes barter with them. There are Arachne, whose shell is a different color than Argenne’s, slime, harpy, and recently, Lizards have moved into the nearby lake. I don’t know all of them because the mountain range is very large, but I do know that there are water dragons that live in the lake, wind dragons that sometimes fly in the sky, and earth dragons that slumber in the depths of caves.”
Arachne, slime, and harpy, all of which sometimes consume humans as food in their stomachs, are considered to be communicable species.
If I could ask Serina to act as an intermediary for Lamia and the others, I might be able to open a way to communicate with these races in the Mores Mountains. In my mind, I envisioned the beastmen and wood elves of the Ente Forest, and the Arachne, harpies, slimes, and lizards of the Mores Mountains gathering in the village of Berne, exchanging friendly words with each other from different races, cultures, and histories.”
Well it’s not the right time to think about it, but it’s not a bad idea to keep it in mind.
“Jarura has been ruled by the Queen of Lamia for generations, but this is not hereditary. Other people choose the queen by casting lots for those who have been nominated or recommended.”
“Oh, an election. We Wood Elves of the Entete Forest have a council of priestesses who listen to the voice of Yggdrasil and tribal chiefs who assist the priestesses. The priestess is Yggdrasil’s spokesperson, so she rarely gets involved in political matters.”
And so the unexpectedly fruitful conversation continued until the moon dipped beyond the horizon.
The heated conversation, which would have gone on all night if it hadn’t been for the battle with the demon world, ended regretfully, and we went to sleep.
–Part III end—
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