༺ Resurgence (2) ༻
A week after receiving the fruit of Aidrin.
Renee questioned Vera as she felt her entire body reverberate in response to the loud roar.
“Vera, is everything going well?”
“Yes, it seems Aidrin is collapsing.”
“Nobody was injured.”
A smile bloomed across Renee’s lips.
The audible resonation was Aidrin collapsing following the extraction of her essence. It was the result of their efforts in clearing the surrounding vegetation to plant Aidrin’s new seeds.
According to Friede’s explanation, Aidrin’s corpse would become the material for the homes where the elves will live, and the bows the elves will use.
Renee recalled Friede’s words, ‘We will make a house by trimming Mother’s corpse,’ and felt strangely uncomfortable, forcing an awkward smile.
“…Elves are rather fascinating.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s just… using their mother’s body indifferently like that.”
“It’s a cultural difference. What they worship is not the tree, but the soul of Aidrin.”
Renee nodded, and thought to herself as she took notice of Vera’s indifferent attitude, ‘Am I the only one that’s too sensitive?’
“How long will it take?”
“It seems they will complete the tasks by the end of today. The elves are very fast at their work.”
Vera watched the elves digging up the Aidrin’s roots with minor admiration for their work ethic. What remained of Aidrin now was merely a stump.
It was truly remarkable how they nonchalantly moved the barks of a being that held such significance in their hearts, or removed the roots with magic.
What caught Vera’s attention, in particular, was what Friede was doing.
‘The mystery of the wind, they said.’
A unique power; the ability to attune oneself with nature, an ability only the chosen one could wield.
Friede was using that power to control wind for their tasks.
As the work progressed, Friede continued to conjure wind. They cleaved the entire upper half of Aidrin and trimmed the fallen canopy before carving out the roots. The speed in which they worked was truly phenomenal.
“At that speed, I imagine they’ll be welcome as a worker anywhere if they venture out of the Great Woodlands.”
Indeed, there was something he was now convinced of.
The reason the elves were able to construct such a prosperous society despite having a population of at most 300, even inclusive of the Neuters, was due to their exceptional work ethic and efficiency.
While Vera and Renee were chatting about the ongoing work.
“Everyone, let’s eat food, finish the-!”
Marie’s shout echoed throughout the vicinity.
Renee suddenly cried out.
Vera couldn’t help but feel a sense of unease upon seeing Renee’s starved complexion, brightening at the word ‘food.’
He couldn’t comprehend how Renee could stomach the most vile meal he has ever encountered. He couldn’t even force himself to eat it, yet Renee ate it as though it was the greatest delicacy in the world.
“Vera, let’s go too.”
Of course, he couldn’t just voice his concerns.
Vera just hoped that they would quickly depart from the Great Woodlands so that he didn’t have to lay eyes on that vile soup ever again.
“Oh, even the way the Saint eats is elegant!”
It was Marie’s words.
Renee blushed in response to her statement of praise.
“Haha… no way…”
Renee felt self-conscious for some reason. She just really enjoyed this delicious food, but receiving praise for the way she ate induced a sense of embarrassment.
Renee lowered her head in shame and fidgeted with her spoon. Suddenly, she remembered what she wanted to ask and questioned Marie.
“Oh, Lady Marie, are you returning to the Holy Kingdom now? All the work here is completed, correct?”
“Hmm? No, I’ll stay here until the seeds I planted blossomed. After that, I’ll go visit my family for some time.”
Renee’s head tilted in response.
It was due to the uncertainty regarding the presence of Marie’s family in the Holy Kingdom.
As Marie noticed the puzzled look on Renee’s face, she replied with an energetic tone.
“My husband works as an inspector in the Empire.”
“Haaaah, I haven’t seen this man in ten years, so I’m very worried he may have cheated on me!”
Although Marie was just joking, Renee couldn’t help but feel anxious for some unknown reason.
“Ch-cheating isn’t allowed!”
“Hmm? That’s right, cheating is bad.”
“Yes! Absolutely no cheating! Absolutely never ever allowed!”
They were words with the underlying cry of ‘please,’ with Renee’s concern directed at Vera.
Marie couldn’t help but laugh at the clearly visible emotions on Renee’s face, and then interjected.
“Well, I doubt anyone out there would accept an aristocrat who can’t even stand.”
Flinch. Vera’s body trembled in response to those words. Vera squinted his eyes at Marie, urging her to stop.
“Oops, I’m being silly.”
It was a remark she made with a surprised expression while covering her mouth, but the look on her face was full of mischief.
“Aren’t you standing right now? What do you mean?”
As Renee was unfamiliar with common lewd jokes. She couldn’t comprehend the meaning behind Marie’s words, and her doubts continued. Vera groaned, and uttered an excuse.
“Lady Marie was just joking, it is a needless concern. .”
Renee’s head tilted in response.
Vera glared fiercely at Marie who was spouting nonsense, and once again ruminate over his previous belief, ‘Nobody is normal among the Apostles.’
The day of departure arrived.
Aidrin’s seeds were buried in well-chosen land, submerged in soil and enveloped by Marie’s divinity. The entire process had at last come to a conclusion.
Vera watched as Friede approached him after completing their work. He suddenly felt a slight irritation upon recalling the moment when Friede decapitated Gillie.
He had to learn more about the dagger, but they immediately severed their neck because of a feeling of discomfort within them.
Vera’s face displayed an irritated frown. He soon sighed and rid himself of such thoughts.
‘…No, I wouldn’t have found out even if they hadn’t killed that individual.”
Their life hung by a thread, and half their body had already disintegrated. They showed no signs of revealing anything, even until their very last breath.
Vera knew that there was no point in dwelling on past events of irritation.
“Are you leaving now?”
Renee replied to the voice she heard.
“Yes, we’re indebted to you for taking care of us all this time.”
“We elves are the ones indebted to you. Thank you for saving us.”
“No. I did it because it was within my capabilities.”
Renee lowered her head out of embarrassment.
Receiving sincere gratitude from someone was embarrassing. She felt a ticklish sensation within her.
“Where are you heading now?”
“We’re going to visit the Federation of Kingdoms.”
“Ah, the Land of the Beastkin Tribes.”
Friede nodded their head slightly in response to Renee’s words. Their concerns continued before they finally began to order the elves to perform a task.
“Could you wait just a moment? I want to repay you.”
“I just happen to have a suitable gift.”
After some time, the elves who had left their seats returned with well-trimmed wood and a fairly heavy bundle.
Vera stared at Friede and inquired.
Friede smiled faintly in response to Vera’s inquiry and explained what they had brought with them.
“This is wood that has been trimmed from Mother’s strongest and healthiest branch. That bundle is called Froden.”
Vera’s eyes widened at the word ‘Froden’ that Friede referred to.
It was often called the Flower of the Snow Garden, Froden.
It was also one of the most valuable minerals on the continent, the cost of one small bundle would be equivalent to the price of a mansion.
“A visitor from centuries prior gifted us this mineral … As you know, we elves can’t handle minerals ourselves. On the other hand, your sword was also broken, so I prepared this for you as I thought it would serve as an excellent parting gift.”
Friede glanced at Vera’s surprised face and continued speaking.
His expression became slightly bitter.
“I’m sorry about the matter with Gillie. I know you wanted to investigate something, but I acted too emotionally.”
Emotion. Why is this word so awkward?
Friede laughed softly at the thought that emerged in his mind as he spoke, then continued.
“If you head to the Federation of Kingdoms, search for Dovan in the Kelloy Mountain Range. If anyone could handle Froden, it would be him.”
Vera nodded his head in response to Friede’s words. He swallowed the confusion that had plagued him until then.
“…I’ll use it well.”
“If you do, I’d appreciate it. Oh, and.”
Is there more to say?
With those thoughts in mind, Vera watched as Friede retrieved a small package from their bosom and handed it to Renee.
Renee felt the weight of what had been placed on her hand and questioned Friede.
“Mother’s flesh. We only required the seeds, so wouldn’t it be right to offer the flesh to the Saint who helped the fruit bloom?”
“Eat it, the taste is delicious, and Mother’s flesh is as effective as an elixir. I assure you that you will not be disappointed, as it’s a fruit that sprouts only once in a millennia. ”
Renee’s body trembled in response.
It was because the thoughts she had while waiting for Aidrin to be chopped came to mind.
Mother’s flesh. So… Renee felt strange as she awkwardly laughed in response to being told to eat their mother. She lowered her head into her arms with a trembling motion.
The thought emerged in Renee’s mind that she would never be able to understand the culture of the elves, no matter how much she tried. Marie subsequently bid her farewell.
“Saint, take good care of yourself, alright?”
“Oh, yes. Stay healthy as well, Lady Marie. And… will we meet again in the Holy Kingdom?”
Marie emitted a sound as if pondering for a moment, then retrieved a notebook from her arms and wrote something down. She then gifted it to Renee with a few parting words.
“Well, that may be the case, but… For now, if you ever drop by the Empire, would you like to come and visit us on First Street?
Renee received Marie’s note and recalled their conversation from the previous day.
“Oh, is this Marie’s house?”
“Correct. If I’m home, then I’ll welcome you to come visit me.”
“Thank you. I’ll definitely visit.”
“Alright, take care.”
At last, all the farewells came to a conclusion.
Renee turned towards the outside of the Great Woodlands, smiling deeply at the farewells from the elves behind her.
For the first time since being deprived of the light of this world, Renee felt a surge of emotion at finally being able to do something on her own.
In a carriage headed to the Federation of Kingdoms.
Renee fiddled with Aidrin’s fruit that she held in her arms until then. She extended her hand out to Vera and spoke.
“Vera, would you like some?”
Although Renee contemplated for a long while, as expected, she couldn’t bring herself to eat it.
It wasn’t for any other particular reason. It was just, she was unable to bring herself to eat it because of the words she heard while receiving it.
If she was just told to eat it, then she would’ve eaten it, but of all the words uttered, ‘mother’s flesh.’ Wasn’t it indicative that she’d be eating someone else’s mother?
It was purely a matter of feeling! Nevertheless, Renee couldn’t muster up the courage to eat this due to the surfacing repulsion.
Vera stared at Aidrin’s flesh held out to him by Renee, and questioned her with a hesitant tone.
“Thank you for offering, but will you be fine with this? If the elves are confident in their elixir, the effect will most certainly be extraordinary.”
A firm reply.
Renee shoved the flesh towards Vera’s direction once again, urging him to take it.
“Please eat it.”
It feels weird when I’m holding it.
Renee remained in the same position with her hands outstretched until Vera picked it up, firmly swallowing the words that would have followed.
Vera hesitated slightly in response to Renee’s firm attitude, but eventually gave in and received the flesh.
It may have seemed that he was hesitant to accept it, but… Vera was also just human.
After all, there is such a thing called greed.
Vera’s lust for worldly desires or power had already been sated by staying at Renee’s side, but his desire for training and strength hadn’t changed.
In such a situation, how could he possibly refuse the divine elixir being offered to him?
Vera struggled to suppress the guilt that arose within him, and examined the flesh given to him.
Exactly half of the flesh was wrapped up in cloth.
“Please eat. Hurry.”
After responding to Renee’s urging, Vera removed the cloth. He extracted the juicy, overflowing flesh, and plucked it into his mouth.
Aidrin’s flesh tasted like an apple.
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