“W-Why is Captain holding a hand plow?”
“Piaro is a farmer.”
Amelda had experienced firsthand over the past decades about how terrible and precarious the life of a fugitive was. Broken limbs were a common occurrence, and she had crossed the road of death many times. Piaro was the main traitor, so his life must’ve been more terrible than theirs...
‘He would’ve been seriously injured. He can’t hold a sword again...’
Tears welled up in Amelda’s eyes. She resented Mercedes’s good-will lies in which she had said Piaro was well. Mercedes should have been honest, no matter how harsh the truth was. Then she would’ve been mentally prepared.
Amelda temporarily lost her mind in the midst of this absurd situation. She was shedding tears like chicken poop when the rafflesia on Piaro’s shoulder moved. It started to struggle frantically.
The rafflesia glowed as it screamed, and Grid’s face paled. The scream tore at his ears, and the horrible stench caused all sorts of status abnormalities.
“He woke up surrounded by ugly people, so it is natural for it to be frightened.” Noll clicked his tongue like he understood the rafflesia’s reaction.
By then, Noll had already fled far away. The vampires were a race with well-developed olfactory senses, and he simply couldn’t stand the stench of the rafflesia. Grid and Mercedes were at the forefront of the group. A black-haired man with fierce eyes and a white-haired woman with calm eyes pulled out their swords at the same time, looking strangely well-matched.
“Devote yourself to recovery. Teruchan, you retreat as far as Noll.”
“Grruk. A warrior doesn’t run away... Kweek.”
“Teruchan has fainted!”
“My Liege, leave him to me and concentrate on the enemy in front of you.”
“I will trust you, Asmophel.”
Grid stared at the rafflesia and left his confused colleagues behind.
‘This is our chance.’
Piaro had said it. He had dug at the ground while the rafflesia was sleeping. Noll had spoken about how flustered it would be to see the handsome Grid after waking up. That’s right. The rafflesia was relatively unprotected. Now was the time to decide the winner and loser.
Mercedes nodded when she read Grid’s gaze. They recalled their fighting sense and were about to jump forward at the same time.
“Huhu, you are surprised.” Piaro smiled graciously and stroked the head (?) of the rafflesia. Then something amazing happened.
-Purah...? The rafflesia stopped screaming. The mouth full of sharp teeth dropped open, and it cocked its head (?) in a puzzled manner as it was stroked by Piaro.
“Cute guy. Don’t worry. No one will hurt you. Huh?” Piaro’s expression stiffened. He found that the thickness of the rafflesia’s stem wasn’t uniform and that one part was swollen. “Oh, did you eat something wrong?”
-Pura? The rafflesia was baffled by the warm touch it felt for the first time and shook its head. This fellow couldn’t understand the human language at all. Still, the rafflesia could feel it for some reason. This human being was worried about it... No, he was trying to kill it.
-Kieeeek! The vigilant rafflesia screamed. It was because Piaro suddenly squeezed its neck (?).
“Just put up with it a little bit. Kuoong!” Piaro whispered to the frantically struggling rafflesia while holding its stem, putting strength into his arms and back as he squeezed to the point of turning red. Piaro folded his waist backward and put the rafflesia upside down on the ground. It was an impeccable German suplex.
Piaro had treated the rafflesia kindly, so Grid and Mercedes stopped their attack in a baffled manner. Doing a German suplex after assuring it that no one would hurt it...?
‘Is this a new monster-hunting strategy?’
Of course, this method worked because it was a plant-type monster. Piaro was a legendary farmer and could interact with plants, so he might’ve used this ability.
‘Is it efficient?’
Grid should also try it. The moment that he thought this...
Waves started to occur in the stem of the upside-down rafflesia. A foreign substance in the stem moved little by little and reached the petals of the rafflesia.
“Good. You’ve endured it well,” Piaro praised the rafflesia and once again embraced the stem, pulling it out of the ground. Then the stem tightened and something amazing happened.
-Purururururur! The rafflesia screamed and started to vomit. A foreign matter emerged from the stem and along with a rancid essence. The identity of the foreign matter was just as Grid expected.
Beniyaru of the 12 Te had been eaten by the rafflesia. She was covered by a sticky white liquid as she woke up.
Piaro took off his clothes and covered the naked Beniyaru. He then placed the staggering rafflesia, who had lost its nutrients, onto his shoulder and supported Beniyaru at the same time.
“Are you okay?”
The smell of warm soil, a strong voice that was like the roots of a giant tree, and eyes as gentle as the sun in the sky...
Beniyaru naturally knew this person’s identity.
A ‘real man’ who was unlike the weak and despicable elf men... A person who showed things through action, not words—he had saved her once again. Beniyaru was embraced by Piaro’s wide chest and started to cry. She wasn’t ashamed that a member of the 12 Te had been saved by a human. Rather, she just wanted to lean on someone at least once.
“...” Piaro silently patted Beniyaru’s back. A woman who had repeatedly suffered pain over the years—she had been pretending to be strong, but today she was exceptionally pitiful to Piaro.
Meanwhile, Grid was facing a notification window.
[The quest ‘Search’ has been cleared.]
[Affinity with the world tree has risen slightly as a reward for clearing the quest. There is a feeling that it won’t be long before you receive a new blessing from the world tree.]
[You have reached the maximum affinity with Beniyaru as a reward for clearing the quest. Beniyaru will listen to all your requests. The only exception is a proposal.]
‘Is this good?’
Who was the one proposing? Maybe she was overly conscious because of her looks. She was slightly less pretty than Mercedes. Grid inwardly grumbled due to his pride before bursting out laughing.
‘Why would I go after Piaro’s girl in the first place?’
Grid saw the way Piaro was holding Beniyaru tightly in his arms.
‘Now it is really... It is good now.’
There was a warm smile on Grid’s face as infinite emotions and happiness filled his heart. Piaro, who had been bound by vengeance in the past, wanted to start loving again. Grid would support Piaro as his king, friend, and disciple.
Grid looked up at the blue sky. It was to hide his flowing tears.
‘Are you watching?’
They were living with the warmth of the heart Khan had left behind.
In the elf village, the always barefoot elves hugged Beniyaru, who had returned safely. In particular, a female elf with a round face was crying with a runny nose. It was Deruyaru. Unlike the other members of the 12 Te, she didn’t care about her dignity.
“The reason the rafflesia only appears in the world the moment it catches its prey is because it is dangerous to be exposed to the air for a long time. They are forced to live deep in the ground. Their hunting opportunities are few, so they spend as much time digesting the prey as possible. It is safe to say they are always in hibernation apart from when capturing prey.”
Deruyaru explained why Beniyaru was able to survive despite being eaten by the rafflesia.
“It hasn’t gone extinct for a long time due to its caution and habit of hibernation.”
“Huh, poor child.”
Grid was convinced by the new facts while Piaro looked relaxed. He stroked the rafflesia on his shoulder.
...No, was it going to die? Grid noticed that the leaves of the rafflesia were noticeably withered. A monster dropped experience and items after death. This was good for Grid but what about Piaro? The moment that Grid thought this...
“My Liege,” Piaro spoke with a serious expression, “I have a request.”
“A request?” Grid snorted like a bull. This was a request from Piaro, who was always sacrificing himself. Grid was happy and excited because he took it as proof that Piaro had completely opened his heart. “Just say it. I’ll listen to all your requests.”
Gulp. Beniyaru didn’t know why, but she swallowed her saliva. It seemed she was expecting something.
Piaro hesitated for a long time before saying, “I want to take this child to the Overgeared Kingdom and raise him.”
“...” Beniyaru’s expression cooled down.
Grid was flustered. “A man-eating plant?”
“He is a very intelligent child. He won’t hurt people if I educate him well.”
“Why do you want to raise it?”
“That... Hum hum, he is a tough child who lives in the ground. This child obviously has the ability to adapt to the soil he is rooted in, and the change will surely be positive. The fact that the World Tree’s Forest is called the largest and most fertile land in the world is evidence of this.”
“Isn’t the land here fertile due to the world tree?”
“...Additionally, if I educate this child, it can act against intruders. It will be the protector of the farmers.”
“C-Can Captain really raise a monster?”
“Won’t you educate it thoroughly? I believe in you.”
Piaro’s real intentions had already been revealed. So cute. That’s why he wanted to raise it. This was sufficient for Grid. To be honest, Grid couldn’t understand this person’s taste, but he wanted to listen to Piaro’s wishes. He wished for Piaro to be happy from now on. Just then...
-It might seem ugly from a human point of view, but the rafflesia is a good child, unlike his appearance. In the first place, he guards the forest against evil-minded intruders, the world tree's voice echoed. Her (?) warm voice restored the spirit and stamina of Grid’s group that had gone through many incidents. -He has been lonely for a long time, but it is good that he has now met a kind master.
This was why the world tree wanted to find the rafflesia rather than killing it. Grid was feeling enlightened when the world tree spoke.
-Thank you. The Hero King saves my children every time. I have many expectations for you.
The words that would’ve been a compliment in the past just added a burden on Grid’s shoulders. The Goddess of Light had built the land above the roots of the world tree. How happy would he have been to be praised by the mother-like being involved in the creation of the world? However, today’s Grid was calm.
“My dear colleagues almost died.” Grid had something he wanted to say. “I know that you cherish the elves with a mother’s heart. I am naturally grateful to be able to help Mother and the elves. Despite this, I refuse to be sacrificed by the elves’ actions.”
“...” All the elves shouting about the disrespect to their mother fell silent.
They noticed what Grid was trying to say.
“The elves occupied all the forests in the continent, and the human forces started to fight back, sweeping us up in it. Of course, I know why the elves occupied the forests. You wanted to defend the nature that has been exploited by humans for human years and to call out the rights of the elves. You wanted to create a place for conversation with the humans. But what was the result?”
Violence called for more violence. The elves’ lack of sociality was something that should never be overlooked.
Remiyaru, one of the 12 Te, stepped forward. “Our hero and benefactor, what is it that you want to say?”
The question came from pure curiosity rather than antipathy. Grid’s answer was simple. “In the future, the elves should report to me before they do anything.”
“What...” The elves were agitated. This was no different from a subjugation. It was similar to the attitude of the Saharan Empire in the distant past.
“Are you going to set the policy of the elves?”
“No, I just want to give you some advice. There are many smart people around me. They will be able to give you a better direction.”
The elves had experienced working with Grid once and knew it instantly. The current Grid wasn’t speaking falsehoods. There were no pretensions. He was doing this for the elves. Furthermore, he was just giving them a suggestion.
Deruyaru nodded in response. “I think it is good!”
Beniyaru agreed. “We can’t act like this anymore.”
The other elves had similar reactions.
“We don’t know humans.”
“Wouldn’t it be better to establish formal diplomatic relations?”
“I wish to reside in the Overgeared Kingdom for a mutual exchange.”
“Yes, that is what I wish for.”
Grid had a hunch that he would gain new colleagues.Previous Chapter Next Chapter