Chapter 102 - Even if We Look Different from Each Other (5)
It was hard to travel around, while hiding the fact that they were heroes. On the other hand, it was very easy for Artpe and Maetel to prove that they were heroes. They just needed to use at least two skill. Each skill had to be from a different Class.
“Oh oh. They really are a hero!”
“I should have realized it when humans willingly helped us.”
“So why isn’t Sienna a hero?”
After the Elves confirmed that Artpe and Maetel were heroes, they let go of every bad feelings they had against Artpe’s party. This is what being a hero was all about. Their mere existence allowed them to be welcomed by everyone, excluding Demons. They were cheat-like existence that received absolute support from everyone.
In certain aspects, it was a lonely path. Everyone had a preconceived notion of the heroes even before they met the heroes. They looked at the heroes with enviable eyes, and they stipulated rules that the heroes had to follow. They expected the heroes to act within their ideals. The individuality of the heroes were ignored. The only thing left to the heroes were their duty and achievements. It would be a lie to say that he didn’t find it annoying.
“Oh, heroes. Please come this way. The current situation is a bit…. We’ll prepare some tea for you.”
“Mycenae has a contract with us as a merchant. Treat her well.”
“M...mmmm. We planned on doing so. You should come with us, Mycenae.”
However, Artpe didn’t care what other people thought about him, and he didn’t care for their rules. Artpe’s motto was to use whatever he could exploit.
He hadn’t revealed their status as heroes before, because he didn’t want to become entangled with the Demon King’s army. However, he was about to start his activities in earnest. There were plenty of goodies he could eat by using his status as heroes. He had no plan on passing upon these opportunities.
“Are there any more injured Elves?”
“Aside from the heroes, all the humans have left the forest. Moreover, all the trace of the curse was erased…...”
“Since the heroes have made their appearance, I’m sure the Demon King’s army is on the move somewhere. It seems all the Elves should start getting ready for war. ….yes. We’ll do so with the Dark Elves.”
The situation was pretty much wrapped up. Aside from Artpe’s party and the elders, the Elves dispersed to go do their work.
The remaining group moved to a nearby home. It was the home of an elder.
“This is a tea brewed from leaves that are periodically dropped by the World Tree.”
Artpe’s party was served the world’s greatest tea, which couldn’t be purchased even if one had money. Artpe used his Read All Creation to look into the tea cup. He watched as the liquid let out a soft blue light. He let out an exclamation when he confirmed the tea was truly made with the World Tree’s leaves.
“Wow. I can’t believe these survived that mess.”
“If the odd emotional amplification status had continued, this village might have be wiped out…
Fortunately, the heroes appeared before that could happen.”
The Elves had aged the World Tree’s leaves with great care. Its clear, sweet and refreshing taste was secondary to the effect it had on a magician’s Mana. It permanently cleared up one’s Mana. It was a treasure that all magician’s wanted to drink in their lifetime!
However, these leaves never exited the Forest of Eternity. Even those that lived within the Forest of Eternity didn’t get many opportunity to drink it. This precious tea was served to them, because they had revealed themselves to be heroes. At this moment, Artpe had never been so happy for being a hero.
“Artpe, this is bitter. It isn’t tasty.”
“All right. I knew you would say that. Just eat the candy I prepared for you.”
Artpe wanted to seal Maetel’s mouth, so he put a candy in her mouth. He pushed Maetel’s tea towards Mycenae.
“Ah. This is······.”
Mycenae was blameless, yet she was self-conscious as she looked towards the elder. Like her, the elder possessed dark brown skin color. When the elder nodded her head, Mycenae’s ears moved slightly as she took up the tea cup. When she took a sip, a smile of delight appeared on her face.
“I heard the Dark Elves aren’t liked by the humans..”
“It was caused by the attitude of the Elves. The humans followed the example set by the Elves. They looked down on the Dark Elves. However, I hate being prejudiced against someone based on their external appearance.”
“You are saying that the difference between Elves and Dark Elves are only superficial….. Do you perhaps know the difference between an Elf and a Dark Elf?”
“Even if I do tell you the difference, will you be able to go against the preconceived notion you guys have kept for hundred of years?”
“Our preconceived notions have already been flipped, so we’ll be fine. If we stick to our preconceived notions, the Elves won’t be able to avoid our own destruction.”
When Artpe heard the elder’s word, he realised the elder was right. Maybe, this elder was trying to borrow the power of the heroes to settle the current situation.
“All right. I’ll give you a simplified explanation.”
This was something Artpe had wanted to do, so he nodded his head. He gladly gave an explanation.
“It is true that the Dark Elves were created by the World Tree. I’m sure you guys have already realized that this didn’t happen through an internal power.”
“Yes, that is why we thought it was a punishment meted out by the World Tree.”
“So why do you think it is a punishment to develop darker skin and an inclination towards fighting?”
The elder was silent. This was a common perception that was set in stone for couple hundred of years. It was something they considered to be obvious, but when one looked at it through a new perspective, they realized that it was a prejudiced view that didn’t make any logical sense.
In this aspect, Elves weren’t too different from humans. The had preconceived notions based on aesthetics. The humans valued light skin over dark skin. It was the same for the Elves. This was why they considered it a ‘problem’ when an Elf’s skin turned dark.
“However, the World Tree views the world through different eyes from you guys. It isn’t a punishment. It is a blessing. You have been turned into a Dark Elf. You can probably feel this now. The benefits you gained from the forest has decreased, but in turn, your battle capabilities were boosted. Isn’t it so?”
“That is…. You are correct.”
“In an attempt to protect itself, the World Tree chose aggressive and lively Elves to be turned into Dark Elves. The predominant opinion that Dark Elves are fallen beings came to be, because they are more active. This is why the probability of them getting into accidents is higher. You probably all know what I’m talking about, right?”
Mycenae had been meekly drinking her tea from the side as her ears twitched, yet she received splash damage from his words. It seemed she truly was a troublemaker during her stay in the Forest of Eternity.
“I just told you that this was all done to protect the World Tree, right? Of course, the number Dark Elves would increase when the World Tree is in danger. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
“······I see. That is why earlier…...”
“That’s right. It seems you have a complete understanding now.”
It wasn’t an exaggeration to say that the World Tree had faced a danger that would have killed it. This was why it had went nuts in giving out Blessings to create the Dark Elves. There was almost a 1:1 ratio of Elves to Dark Elves now.
“How can this be······.”
His explanation sounded very plausible. There was a casual relationship, and she couldn’t use logic to dispute Artpe’s explanation. The elders were at a loss for words. It was so simple that the elders wondered why they couldn’t have come up with it. That was how foolish they had been. She let out a sigh as she mumbled to herself.
“I just wanted an excuse I could tell everyone.”
“You finally revealed your true intent.”
Since events had turned out like this, it was necessary for the Elves and the Dark Elves to live together. However, they might ostracize each other without realizing it.
What if Artpe’s words were spread through the elders? If everyone believed the words of a hero……. They would be able to preemptively prevent the misapprehension between the Elves and the Dark Elves.
Artpe was satisfied with achieving just that.
“Hero, how do you know all of his?”
“That is my ability. I can see much more than others.”
At his words, the elder automatically nodded her head.
“Innate Ability······ I knew that there was a unique Mana gathered in your eyes, so I knew it was something extraordinary. I never expected it to be a hero’s Innate Ability. This generation’s hero is amazing.”
“This generation’s hero······.”
Artpe suddenly had a thought. The Elves were a long-lived race. There were information that Artpe didn’t know about. Maybe they knew about it.
“Do you know about the hero that was my predecessor.?”
As expected! Artpe made a fist as he asked the question.
“So you met him? What kind of a person was my sunbae-nim?”
“He was a very confident man that was full of drive. However, if you were to ask me if his skills were absolute…. I do not think so.”
Artpe’s party had encountered two altars, and the hero had written his own praise on these altars. It was unexpected to hear a negative appraisal of the past hero. Artpe nodded his head inside, then he gestured for the elder to continue.
“He was an extremely normal man. Of course, he held the title of hero, so the Elves treated him with utmost respect….. I didn’t get close to him. Somehow, it felt as if he had bad intentions towards me.”
“Mmm. I think he was just a playboy…....”
“That is all I know about him. At the time, the war between the human realm and the Demon world didn’t reach the Forest of Eternity. The hero said he didn’t want the war to spread, so he went to the Demon world. Afterwards, he really ended the war.”
He said he would end it by himself by entering the Demon world, and he had done what he set out to do. It seemed his power was indisputable. Moreover, he was able travel around leisurely afterwards, since he had left traces of himself behind. It was clear as to who had won.
“Do you have any other information? For example, do you know where he visited before?”
“I do not. He wasn’t that friendly with the Elves…..”
She wasn’t that helpful. Artpe clicked his tongue as he changed the subject.
“All right. I’ll find that out by myself. I want to propose a course of action for you guys. It is one of the reason why I came to the Forest of Eternity..”
“Since we’ve spent time with your predecessor, I know what you are going to say. It isn’t just the humans that will have to fight against the Demon king’s army. The Elves will fight too, and we will get ready for war…...”
“No, that won’t be enough. That is why you guys weren’t that helpful to the previous hero.”
Artpe didn’t want to see the catastrophe from his past life repeat itself. This was why he had come to the Forest of Eternity. The next most important reason was to awaken Regina. (Regina was standing next to Artpe as she played with the Demite.)
However, Artpe didn’t think like a humanitarian.
“I need you all to get ready for war in earnest. You’ll have to push harder. Let me see if I can put it in a different way. I want you guys to ‘cultivate’ yourselves. I think that’s the right expression.”
All the elders answered back with the same question. Artpe had a serious expression on his face as he made the request.
“Give me the map to this forest. Now.”
In some aspects, the Elves put more trust in a hero’s words than humans. Humans couldn’t let go of their greed even when the threat of the Demon king’s army was right in front of them Elves weren’t like that.
They were able to think logically, and they were able to sacrifice for the greater good. The heroes had made their appearance, and the presence of the Demon king’s army was exposed. Artpe knew what they had to focus on right now.
“What is this······?”
The Elves gathered in the elder’s house were focused on the map within Artpe’s hand. The map had been clean when it left the elder’s hands. There were dozens of circles drawn on the map.
“There are many Dungeons in this forest. This place is known for having one of the highest concentration of Mana in the human realm. Of course, there are Dungeons here.”
“We haven’t found that many Dungeons…..”
“It’s because you guys aren’t heroes’ Anyways, each circle represents a Dungeon..”
This was something he had provided Silpennon in the past. It was the hero’s Dungeon map! Artpe kindly separated each Dungeon by levels. When the elders received the Dungeon map of the forest, they were struck dumb.
“His Innate Ability could even see that..”
“My god. Our forest had so many Dungeons.”
“Kyaaa, Artpe-nim! How can you just give away a map containing such precious information!”
“You dork. You should be on the side of the Elves.”
Artpe flicked Mycenae on the forehead as he spoke.
“The Dark Elves are more suited towards battle. I want you to create parties centered around the Dark Elves, and I want you to send them into the Dungeons. I want you guys to fix your lazy way of thinking. I want you to cultivate your levels and battle capabilities.”
“T...the Dungeons are full of the unknown. If casualties occur…...”
“It is better than being wiped out by the Demon king’s army. Moreover, I’m the one holding back the humans right now. What are you going to do when I’m gone? What if humans become tempted by the Forest of Eternity again? You should prepare for that day in advance. It won’t be a bad choice to cultivate the Elves.”
Artpe’s explanation was eloquent! It felt wrong, but the elders accepted his words as they bit their lips.
“I’ve labeled the level of the Dungeons. If you want a more safer Dungeon run than this, you are better off working the fields. Well, what do you want to do?”
“We’ll have to ask the opinions of the other Elves…..”
All the elders were showing caution except for the elder that was turned into a Dark Elf. She firmly bit her lips as she shook her head from side to side.
“If we are of one mind, the rest of the Elves will follow. This might be a good opportunity. The invasion of the humans and the Dark Elf-ification of the Elves have created confusion amongst us. We should let them focus on battle and growing their level. I believe that will allow the Elves to overcome the confusion.”
“There is no downside to this. The hero was kind enough to tell us the level of the Dungeons. We'll be able to minimize the risk. Moreover, we have to grow. That is the best way not to be threatened by the humans. The hero is correct. If we don’t accept this, we’ll stagnate. In the end, we’ll disappear into history like the Ancient Mermaid race…..”
“Koo-hoo. You are right······ However······.”
The Ancient Mermaid race, which the elder had just spoken about, had been revived. However, Artpe didn’t feel the need to tell them that.
He asked them a question.
“So what are you going to do?”
The Elves and Dark Elves exchanged gazes. The Elves exchanged bitter smiles.
This was only the beginning to the wave of change that swept over the Elves.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hey guys. This is the regular chapter for this week. Enjoy~