The result of my and Rorono’s trip to the [Mine] was that we found out that the Mithril deposits there had increased and also that orihalcum could now be mined.
In exchange for those though, the amount of silver had declined but that was probably inconsequential.
Upon our return, Rorono said she was going to shut herself in her workshop and begin on making new weapon designs.
According to her, because our stock of orihalcum before was limited, she had to compromise the performance of the weapons she had made for Kuina and Aura. It seemed she also had to consider about the spare parts for when the weapons break down.
None of that mattered now though; the only consideration she had to keep in mind now was their performance.
Anyway, I had other work to take care of today. For the next one, I was walking out of our residence together with Aura the Ancient Elf.
“Well then, master, shall we go?”
The day after tomorrow, the soldiers from the next city was going to be dispatched. That being said, that didn’t mean the operation of the city had to stop.
On the surface, we were business as usual. Beneath the surface though, we were advancing our various preparations.
And so, we were on the way to see the new fruit Aura had grown.
That fruit was similar to the apples in the way that it didn’t exist in this world.
“Fufu, master’s sleeping face was so cute.”
“Well, I can’t see myself while sleeping so I really wouldn’t know.”
The night before last night was Aura’s turn to sleep beside me. Just like how she was the only who didn’t who cling to me while sleeping, she was also the only one among them to wake up before me, taking then the opportunity to look at my face.
Sleeping beside her sure was enjoyable but unlike the others, I could feel some kind of distance.
“This has been in my mind for a while now but you’re the only one that doesn’t refer to me as father; is there some kind of reason?”
Kuina always did so while Rorono calls me father only on special occasions like when she’s excited about something. However, Aura only ever called me master.
“Do you want me to?”
“No, not really.”
Aura then placed a finger to her lips and smiled. It was strangely so charming.
“I also like master but my like is different from the others. Anything beyond this is secret.”
She said so as though that was the end of that conversation and then hurried onto our destination. Just like with Rorono, Aura and I held hands as we walked but the way we did so was a little bit different: with the palm of our hands facing outward.
“Alright, I won’t ask any further. Let’s go then.”
Like that, we arrived at the orchards. The High Elves were busily moving about and tending to the apple trees.
There were many human farmers too though they tended to their own crops and not the apple trees.
The apples were Avalon’s precious specialty product. Since the apple trees were showered daily by the [Water of Life] made by Aura the Ancient Elf and were also raised by the blessings of the High Elves, the fruits could stay fresh for several months. Additionally, the apples could also satisfy one’s hunger, thus making them popular among adventurers headed to dungeons. Other effects included its ability to relieve fatigue, strengthen one’s recuperative abilities, and help in the treatment of curses.
The regular apples’ effects weren’t as overwhelming as those from the First Tree but they were still on par with low-grade magic potions. Rumors of the apples and their effects had spread like wildfire and they became popular items. So popular in fact that they vanished from stores the moment that they appeared.
And so, many customers from other cities came to Avalon to buy apples. They stayed the night at our inns and thus became a lifeline for Avalon.
“As usual, it’s a splendid sight. They’re so full of life.”
“Naturally. They are after all grown with love by me, an Ancient Elf, and several High Elves.”
Ancient Elf aside, High Elves by themselves were superior beings. There probably wasn’t any orchard as plentiful as ours.
“Seeing all these splendid apple trees like this made me want to see the First Tree again after a while.”
“Okay, let’s now go see the new fruit ahead, then. I’m sure that child will be glad to see master too.”
Aura informed me so and we moved to the inner part of the orchard.
Upon doing so, I noticed that the trees surround us became twice as large.
The surrounding atmosphere changed and I felt a cool but powerful aura.
And then, I saw a lot of fruits that looked like they shined, only to realize that they literally, really did shine a golden glow.
“Aura, what’s going on? I’m sure pretty sure fruits didn’t glow like that.”
“I believe it’s an effect of me becoming a [Monster of the Covenant]. I have been giving the First Tree the special [Water of Life]—which I made by pouring half of my entire magic power—almost daily. So to cope with all that power, it made changed itself and became a very splendid tree. However, when I became a [Monster of the Covenant], the effects of my [Personification of the Planet] became stronger too, so the fruits this little one bears is now comparable to the fruits of the heavens.”
Aura explained so and then stuck out her tongue playfully.
I on the meantime was at a loss for words.
Just by looking at it, I could feel the terrifying power emanating from within.
To begin with, just the fact that it received half of an S rank Ancient Elf’s entire magic power was ridiculous. But for it to receive an even more potent nourishment, well, that was beyond comprehension.
“May I eat one?”
“Yes, please do.”
I drew near the First Tree. Upon doing so, a large, white silhouette appeared from the tree and bared its fangs.
“Ah! Kohaku-san, wait!”
Aura shouted so and Byakko halted his advanced with a twitch.
“Now that I look closely, It’s you, [Creation] Demon Lord. I thought you were another apple thief. Sorry.”
Upon saying so, Byakko lied down and yawned. He then took out a golden apple from his magnificent fur and munched on it. It was an immensely surreal scene.
“What the heck’s going on?”
I asked Aura.
“Instead of a watchdog guarding the apple trees, we have a watchtiger! You have entrusted me with Kohaku-san’s recovery, right? So after I had purified the miasma’s curse, I brought him here. Kohaku-san’s wounds and curse have been cured but Wight-san’s miasma attack has seeped deep into his body and has considerably contaminated his soul. So I’ve determined that prolonged treatment through exposure to the life energies that became holy around the First tree and through the consumption of the apples was necessary.”
“Just one blow injured even a monster as strong as Byakko that much?”
I began to fully realize just how strong the black dragon of death Siegwurm was.
“Yes. Honestly, if it weren’t for the First Tree’s apples, there was nothing that could have been done to help Kohaku-san. Even I couldn’t purify him completely. So the only option for now is for him to slowly recover.”
I gulped down. The new golden apple was already proving to be extremely reliable.
That was great and all but…
“What do you mean watchtiger?”
“Exactly that. Look, it’s written on that sign over there. It says whoever is found stealing an apple will be eaten alive by a tiger. Originally, many humans had come to steal the apples, right? After the apples started glowing like gold, even more came. Plus, first-class adventurers who cooperated with everybody and fought to the death also appeared. I and the High Elves could handle them individually but the golems on the other hand were too slow so apples were stolen from them. But then, after Byakko came, we were all able to relax!”
I was momentarily stunned.
Certainly, the apples by themselves were worth risking one’s life, what more were the stronger gold apples.
“You shouldn’t have made Byakko the sentinel. He still belongs to the strongest class of monsters. Moreover, he’s our great senior.”
The Byakko was a long-serving warrior and deserved a certain level of respect.
Upon hearing me, Aura grew smaller.
In response, Byakko spoke.
“I don’t mind. I have to stay in this place overflowing with holy life energy and eat these fruits to recover anyway. This is the least I can do to thank these girls who raised these very valuable recovery items.”
He said so and joyfully laughed, kakaka!
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. This place is quite comfortable and the apples are more delicious than anything so I don’t really mind.”
“Alright, then, until you’ve fully recovered, please stay here.”
“You don’t have to request it; be more overbearing. You are my true master, after all.”
In exchange for pledging his allegiance to me, he had one condition: to not be asked about his master before [Steel].
Even though it was already his former master, making him divulge his former master’s secrets went against his sense of loyalty. If I were to forego his pride, I better be ready for the consequences.
I accepted that condition, thinking if I were to gain the loyalty of man like him, that condition was tolerable.
“Aura, inform me beforehand of things like this. Byakko didn’t mind but there may be instances where the other party would be offended.”
“Forgive me, master.”
“Don’t get angry at her, now. I’m the one that suggested it. She even refused at first but I insisted. It pains me to see my benefactor being blamed for my imprudence. She did well; she’s a good monster.”
At that, I smiled.
“Okay. Aura, I’m sorry I had it wrong. It seems you accomplished your role fully.”
“I am not worthy of such praise.”
Aura and I looked at each other’s eyes and smiled.
It was great that she did not harbor ill will toward me.
Byakko watched us be like that and spoke.
“To further repay the girl that helped me so much, let me offer an advice to you. It’s about Wight who has been reborn. Do not be overconfident; he is not the strongest monster ever. If you make a mistake on the way you use him, he will pointlessly die. If he and I were to fight again one on one and I have completely recovered, I can surely win.”
“Really? Even against his speed, strength, and powerful special abilities? He doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses.”
Byakko laughed, kakaka, before he continued on.
“That great man has often visited me to wish me better health but during those times, I noticed something. It’s that he uses considerably large amounts of power just to hold [Berserk] down. While he’s doing that, his overall strength is dipping down to maybe a rank lower. His special ability would also be completely unusable in that state. Like that, I as well as that girl there can defeat him.”
“And if he releases [Berserk]?”
“That’s fine too. There’s a time limit on how long he can release [Berserk] before being unable to turn back. That time limit isn’t particularly long but during it, he becomes nothing but a mindless brute devoid of intelligence and reason. If one is able to parry and avoid his onslaught, dealing with him is easy. And when the time limit for [Berserk] comes, he would be exhausted and easy to defeat. I and that girl can deploy this tactic. Perhaps other top-tier A rank monsters too. If faced with a dilemma, with his personality, he might choose to rather continue using [Berserk] and become unable to turn back all so that he can fulfill his role.”
What Byakko said was quite right.
That being said, even if his strength falls a rank lower, he would still be comparable to an S rank monster. I doubted that there were going to be many enemies that could keep up with him and the ones that could do so when he’s in [Berserk] mode would be even fewer.
“I’ll keep it in mind. I’ll stop relying on him too much. I’ll make his primary role be as a tactician. But if the enemy chooses to push with just numbers, that might be a good time for [Berserk] to shine.”
“I approve. Losing such an honorable man would be a big blow so do take care.”
As soon as he finished talking, he circled around, lied down and began to sleep.
Nevertheless, as expected from a long-serving warrior; he’s very reliable. He was a great addition to our forces not only for his fighting prowess, but also for making up for our lack of experience.
I planned to assign him to more important tasks after he has fully recovered from his injuries. In place of the watchtiger, I intended to post the new golems Rorono currently had under development. If those were lightweight, high-speed type golems, they wouldn’t fall behind even against first-class adventurers.
“By the way, what do you do with the apple thieves?”
“Kill them and bury their corpses. When Wight comes to check on me, he uses his Enhanced Resurrection and turns them into undead. The high leveled adventurers become undead with high intelligence which always pleases Wight.”
…It seems that these two really got along.
Also, even without my knowledge, it seems my fighting force has been growing little by little.
And so, it was finally time for our real task for today.
Aura guided me and we arrived at a location with many trees that had fascinating fruits.
And yet those fruits were not apples but peaches.
Prior to these ones, peaches too were gone from this world. However, there existed overly similar fruits called Pinal (ピナル). It seems Pinals were grown in an isolated village founded by the elves that were former monsters of a Demon Lord.
“Is this the new fruit?”
“Yes! And they’ve ripened a little bit more now.”
“…….won’t these trees become like the First Tree?”
“That tree’s special. It’s the very first tree to grown in this city so it became spoiled like that. As expected, I can spoil only one tree like that but even so, I’ve got a lot of love to give to the others.”
I then plucked out a peach.
They had ripened well. A sweet smell also drifted from it.
The apples’ refreshing aroma was good but the peaches’ strong, concentrated aroma was superb too.
I took out the knife I got from Rorono, peeled the fruit, and sliced it in half, and gave the other half to Aura.
She smiled as she received it.
“I feel bad for Kuina and Rorono but let’s taste this before them.”
We bit into the peaches.
In my mouth, fruit juices overflowed. My brain seemed like it would melt with the peach’s soft texture and sweet juices.
“Yeah. It’s really sweet and delicious.”
Just like with the apple, this would probably become one of our special products.
Originally, every single legend I knew that involved peaches presented them to give longer life. Perhaps these peaches somehow exhibited similar effects.
“You did great, Aura. Not surprisingly, eating just apples would make one grow tired of it. But with these, more humans would flock to Avalon.”
“I hope that happens.”
“Yeah, right? But it seems I can never have too much DP. When I have enough, I want to add another floor, increase the B rank monsters I have, and other various interesting things.”
Afterwards, we plucked some peaches to give Kuina and Rorono as our souvenirs and then headed home.
This new specialty product would surely play a big role.
I then decided that I would meet with Wight the following day.
I wanted to get an understanding of my new undead fighting forces like the former apple thieves. Also, as his superior, I would like to comfort my broken-hearted subordinate.
Most of all, I needed to meet with Wight to get advice on our measures against the humans.