Leaving the Elf Forest
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In front of a pile of parchment piled up, Joseph was exhaling a sigh unexpectedly.
It was inevitable. Even though there was a great deal of what needed to be reported, this was only a part of it. Given how long it took to go through all that, it was natural to leak one or two sighs.
“I can’t let someone else do this, right?” (Joseph)
Perhaps Joseph should say that instead of asking others to do it, he had to confirm it with his own eyes. But, in that case, there was no meaning to stay here.
“Hmm… If I have time to think about something trivial, I should do it quickly, I guess.” (Joseph)
When he took one of the parchment papers properly as he murmured such a thing, he looked at it roughly, and opened its seal. He didn’t read them thoroughly, and he already knew most of the contents. Speaking of confirming the content, Joseph could ask the person in charge to take care of it appropriately.
Then, he processed the document one after another, but most of them were as expected. The most frequent content was about the matter of the Forest God the other day, and there were many who were worried.
Joseph still clearly remembered the shock at that time. It wouldn’t be irrelevant since he was at close proximity, but it might not be much difference even if he was in a distance away. When he thought about forgetting the fear he felt that came together with the dreadful presence, he couldn’t forget it easily.
“Hmmm… well, that’s all there is to it. It’s not something that you can feel relief even if you are told that the God had been destroyed.” (Joseph)
Luckily… or oddly enough, the Elves didn’t lose their dominance in this land, but the presence that they had felt from the time they were born could still be felt. If they could feel a strong presence, it would be strange if they didn’t feel anxious. On the other hand, there were many of them said that they felt anxious just because they could no longer feel it. Everyone seemed to need some time to get back to the way they used to be.
“If I have to say conversely, it’s hard to solve the matter this time, yes? It may be better if they are shown that scene, but this time… hmm, I’m starting to feel different anxiety.” (Joseph)
Anyhow, that feeling was only for Joseph himself. The shock when he saw the Forest God was worse than just feeling its presence when it awakened… Surely, he would never forget that.
Severe shock, and thunderous roar. It made him thinking that the world had been shattered, and when he went there… his eyes became wide opened to the sight that was spreading there.
The ground was shattered that couldn’t be compared to anything, and about eighty percent of them had disappeared. There was a fissure at the bottom of the space, and it looked like it was about to collapse. If he wasn’t in an isolated world, he didn’t know how much damage had occurred.
It might be thanks to that, there was no damage on the side of the real world. It was also more convincing if he claimed that the Witch had also died, and it wasn’t all that bad.
“Hmm, I guess I can’t use that world anymore, and I have to move out to this side. Oh well, there should be no problem. It was a waste anyway. After all, it’s better since it’s not inconvenient to meet later.” (Joseph)
In the case if they had to leave for other country, it would save his time if he showed his people the disastrous scene. However, since it was too risky, he destroyed the concealed world within his house. He could have used it for other purposes if he could repair the world. Unfortunately, that place was similar to the Witch Forest. It was created by their ancestors rather than the magician of the early age. Considering the risk, the ancestors didn’t pass the method and it had disappeared. So, it was impossible for anyone to rebuild it.
It was a pity, but it couldn’t be helped.
“…I would like to claim compensation if possible, but as long as it is supposed to be a scene that the Witch created in exchange for that life, it is not too bad. Hmm, well… aah.” (Joseph)
Then, when he sorted out what happened here recently, he found a report worthy of concluding the matter.
It was written by his sister, Sheila, telling that she would leave this forest again.
“With two other companions, is it…?” (Joseph)
He muttered and sealed the report. Then, he tossed it away. Joseph looked up the ceiling. While rubbing the still aching cheek, the edges of his mouth lifted up slightly.
“I’ll forget the compensation, but… if you let both of my younger sisters cry, you better prepare yourself, alright?” (Joseph)
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Soma felt someone’s gaze, and he stopped there.
When he turned around, there was only a thick forest. It was perfect for hiding, but there was no sign that someone lurking in the dark. He tilted his head, thinking whether it was in his imagination…
“Soma-san? What’s wrong?” (Felicia)
“..Yeah, what is it?” (Sheila)
As a result of being reprimanded by the two people who had been walking a bit further ahead, Soma shrugged his shoulders and replied.
“It’s nothing. I felt like I was watched by an older brother who was thinking of his younger sisters, but it must be because of mind.” (Soma)
“I don’t understand what you are saying…” (Felicia)
“…Perhaps, it’s his way of being carefree.” (Sheila)
“Ooh, as expected of Sheila. You understood well.” (Soma)
“You could at least not end it with a question mark. That makes me feel better.” (Felicia)
Even without confirming what he meant, they resumed walking while trivial matters. They had no reason to rush, and they were about to go out of the Elf Forest. Since they couldn’t see anyone else in the forest, it would safe to leave at least a bit more.
“By the way, I heard that we are going straight out of the forest, but will that be fine? I don’t see anything in particular that could be a landmark…” (Soma)
Sheila didn’t know how Soma had jumped directly into the Elf Forest, or rather the Witch Forest to be exact, but the area around the Elf Forest was a meadow. It seemed that there was no such thing called the main road, and even if he was told to go straight ahead, he didn’t know where and when to turn. They came out here by the guidance of Sheila. The fact that she was still walking as the lead meant she knew it…
“…Yeah. …Maybe, it will be alright?” (Sheila)
“I suddenly become worried.” (Soma)
“…Sheila? Are you sure it’s going to be alright?’ (Felicia)
“…I can’t say that I’m confident since I have never been here.” (Sheila)
“Aah, I see. Did you come to the forest from the Radius side?” (Soma)
This was the story he heard, but there were three main ways when going out from the Elf Forest to another town or to a country. Of course, it was possible to travel from one country to another, but there were two ways to go to Radius.
One of them was the way Sheila had been heading for. However, it was also a long way to get to Radius.
Originally, he was going to Radius. As for Sheila, or rather Doris, they were heading there for two reasons. Doris intended to show Sheila various places, and the other reason was to pass through the Demon territory. To be exact, the direction where the three of them heading now was through the Demon territory. It was a direction that Sheila had never been before.
“Well, even though it’s a little further away, there is no reason to go to such a dangerous place. …Are you sure we will be alright?” (Felicia)
“Hmm? Why is that?” (Sheila)
“We’re going that way… because of me, right?” (Felicia)
“Well, I won’t deny that. Even though your face hasn’t been known, they will say you are suspicious when both of you are coming along with me.” (Soma)
“…Yeah, suspicious.” (Sheila)
“Although this is about me, please don’t just agree to it, Sheila. But…I certainly look suspicious.” (Felicia)
As they exchanged such words, the attires of the two, who were walking near Soma, were dubious.
It meant that Sheila was wearing familiar attire, a robe that covered the whole body and the hood covered her head. With that kind of attire, it wasn’t possible to know who she was. In addition to that, Felicia was having a similar appearance as well. If Soma was going to bring these two people to the border checkpoint, it was almost as if he was asking them to be suspicious.
As a matter of fact, even when Sheila was alone with Doris, she had been suspected and confirmed her face. It was understandable since she was an Elf, but… this time, they couldn’t use the same approach.
When it came to Felicia’s outward appearance, she was a Witch with gray-colored hair. To begin with, since she was an actual Witch, even if they say it was a misunderstanding, there was a limit on how much they could deceive people. This could happen many times before they reached Radius. In that case, it would be normal to reach to the conclusion that it would be safe to go through the Demon territory.
Certainly, Soma did this because of Felicia, but of course, he couldn’t say why.
“Well, it would be better if we can return back soon.” (Soma)
They were heading to Radius was primarily due to Soma’s circumstances. Since he was taking his own sweet time, he would have to show up to the Academy or people related later and told them that he was safe. It was better to return as soon as possible. So, even without Felicia, Soma would probably have chosen this path.
No, while saying something or other, it was possible for Soma to find more about magic if he chose the long way. So, it could be said that he chose this way because of Felicia.
“…I think that’s sophistry.” (Felicia)
“…Yeah. But, if it’s Soma, I’m sure he will do it.” (Sheila)
“Of course, right?” (Soma)
“Why is Soma-san so proud about it? That is not something to boast. I wanted to say that, but… in the first place, I don’t have to go with both of you… No. Do you think that I should come together with you?” (Felicia)
“Well, I am here, you know? So, it’s my fault that we are going through this way.” (Soma)
This was the extra part of the story, but the reason why three of them left the Elf Forest and went to Radius was because Soma made the Forest God surrendered by force yesterday.
First, this was about the Forest God. While it had been helping the Elves until now, they weren’t aware of that existence. In other words, the Forest God was dead. The reason it did that was to help the Elves and at the same time, it made them to pay the favor.
Its power was a lifeline to the Elves. While continuing to help them, it saved the people. Thus, it became their benefactor.
Therefore, Soma used the fact to negotiate with Joseph. Just for the sake of bringing Felicia out of that narrow forest.
It wasn’t only Joseph, but Felicia herself asked him why. However, as for Soma, he was wondering why they both asked him that question. It was obvious that Felicia didn’t wish for that situation. No, if anything, no one would wish for that situation.
However, Joseph had no choice but to force the plan of sacrificing Felicia because of various factors. Then, Soma ignored everything, and got a position that enabled him to do what he wanted. Basically, Soma was taking advantage on the situation.
After that, they were talking about a few other things. Most of them were normal stuff. In the end, that was what Soma was going to do without having to decide too much. In particular, Soma had all the responsibility for bringing Felicia out. Of course, there was no room to argue.
In the original plan, the Forest God should be sealed in exchange of Felicia’s life, but it was overpowered and destroyed. But for some reason, its power remain as it was. Honestly, it was hard for Joseph to conceal that fact for now, but there was no problem even if the Elves noticed it. At any rate, that was the arrangement until the fact was exposed. However, until that time, Joseph’s public stance remained the same.
The only thing that matters was there was a Witch in the Elf Forest, but she had already been killed, and it would be good if this news was spread to people other than the Elves. The final conclusion was Felicia would return when everything had cooled down.
At least, Soma planned to do that. So, if the Elves wanted to get in his way, he wouldn’t give a face. Soma thought that he owed Felicia a lot. Anyway, it wasn’t a big deal for him.
That was why–…
“Well, Joseph was asking for it. I don’t think it’s bad to punch him, but… well, I should hear since he asked for it.” (Soma)
And if Soma could be selfish to a certain extent, there was no other choice but to go to Radius. After all, the Academy of the country held the extraterritorial right. If Felicia was there, it would be possible to protect her. There was also another reason to bring her there, and… that was the main reason.
“He was the main cause, and since he was asking for it, I couldn’t just ignore him.” (Soma)
“…Yeah, it would be impossible for a younger sister to abandon her older sister.” (Sheila)
“…I think that the two of you are pampering me too much. I’m not a girl who has been sheltered from the world, and for starters, I’m older than you guys, you know?” (Felicia)
“Do you mean that with your current appearance?” (Soma)
Although her face was covered under the hood… well, that made it even more unconvincing. No matter how they looked at her, they could see nothing but a child.
Well, there was no difference especially the characteristics of the Elves weren’t shown.
“I’m still concern about my appearance, so please don’t say too much. This is mostly not because I am a Witch. It is probably because of the blood of the Elves.” (Felicia)
“…Yes. Does that mean Nee-san is a Lolibaba?” (Sheila)
“…Soma-san, could you not let my sister learn strange words?” (Felicia)
“I want you to wait for a moment, but why are you blaming for that? I have no memory of teaching her such words.” (Soma)
“…Certainly, I haven’t been taught. …It’s just that I listened when you said it to Hildegard, so I learned it.” (Sheila)
“Hmm? I said that to Hildegard?” (Soma)
Did he say that? Soma thought he did… but, he didn’t feel like admitting it. When he talked with Hildegard, he didn’t have to worry about so much details, so he talked with her at a relative level. For that reason, sometimes they said things that they didn’t remember. Well, the fact that Sheila remembered meant that he actually said it.
“Hmm, I’m going to withdraw the previous statement, and it seems to be my fault. I’m sorry.” (Soma)
“It’s a waste to be manly… goodness.” (Felicia)
Having said that, Felicia exhaled a sigh. Soma knew that she was smiling even though he couldn’t see her face. So, Soma smiled while shrugging his shoulders. Even though it was only from the sign, Sheila also was slightly smiling.
Then, together with a smile, the three went toward Demento, the area controlled by the Demon.
- This chapter is the last chapter of fourth volume. The next chapter will be the first chapter of fifth volume.
- Translating the conclusion of each volume is really difficult. I have no choice but to improvise by adding details which aren’t available in the raw. If it doesn’t make sense, please let me know.
- Can anyone help me find the map of the Ex Strongest? Thanks in advance.
- I can only imagine that the Elf Forest is located next to Radius and the Demon territory. A part of the border of that territory is where Soma’s house is.
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