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When we returned to the village, Hugging Bear came running up to me.
Huh? Mumuroot-san wasn’t on its back anymore? Was he no longer paralyzed? Or, was he simply resting somewhere?
Once Hugging Bear reached me, it happily began rubbing itself against me. I got off Swaying Bear and began to pet Hugging Bear’s head.
「Thanks for carrying Mumuroot-san back to the village for me.」
Hugging Bear happily cried 「kuun」, closing its eyes while enjoying the pats.
「Sanya-san, where is Mumuroot-san now?」
「He couldn’t move, so we carried him back into his house. Also, Yuna-chan, did you really not do anything to Grandpa?」
When she had asked me earlier, I had been able to divert the topic using the Cockatrices, but I was unable to do so now.
「Well, he seemed like he planned on staying even in his worn out state, so I used a tiny bit of magic on him.」
「What do you mean a tiny bit…?」
Sanya-san looked at me with inquiring expression but did not pry any further when I didn’t answer.
Next to us, Labilata explained to the villagers that the Cockatrices had been defeated then gave out orders to retrieve the bodies of the subjugated wolves and Tiger Wolves.
I wasn’t sure how many the elves took down, but he was right: the bodies shouldn’t be left alone as they might attract other monsters towards the barrier. Not to mention that the wolves were a good resource of food and money, so it was quite important for the village to collect them. I just hoped I could get some of the Tiger Wolf pelts for myself.
「Labilata, Yuna-chan. We should head back to Grandpa and report the situation.」
I kind of wanted to say, “Me too?” but I knew there was no way I could avold going.
I unsummoned Swaying Bear and Hugging Bear and headed towards Mumuroot-san’s house together with Sanya-san and Labilata.
「Grandpa, we’re coming in.」
As always, we entered the house without even knocking or waiting for a reply.
I sure hoped Mumuroot-san was okay. I had paralyzed him using lightning magic, so he might still be stuck in bed.
We headed to the usual room and found Mumuroot-san lying down. The instant he noticed us, however, he sat up.
Was he still feeling numb?
「Young lady! Thank god, you’re okay.」
Mumuroot-san immediately began fretting over me.
「Sorry for making you worry.」
It wasn’t really my fault he worried, but I still though it was right for me to apologize for making an elderly man like him worry about me.
「I know you are quite capable, young lady, but please don’t ever do something like this again. If you had died, I would have blamed myself until I stepped into a grave myself.」
It seemed like he really was genuinely concerned about me. Good thing he hadn’t passed away from the stress he was under; people could actually die from worrying too much.
「Sanya, Labilata, what happened to the Cockatrice? Is it gone?」
「Both Cockatrices are dead, Grandpa.」
「I see, that’s good to hear.」
Mumuroot-san looked relieved after hearing that.
「Good work, you two.」
Mumuroot-san must have thought that Sanya-san and Labilata were the ones who had subjugated the Cockatrice. That was perfectly fine with me. Also, if he had assumed I had done it, then he would have come out looking like a straightforward idiot.
「When we got there, Yuna-chan had already beaten them. We didn’t really do anything.」
Labilata explained without even blinking an eye.
While I hadn’t specifically told them to keep quiet about my victory over the Cockatrice, I would have prefered him to be able to read the atmosphere a little bit better.
「Young lady defeated it … Is that true?」
Mumuroot-san’s voice was filled with doubt, and he couldn’t help but ask Sanya-san and Labilata again.
「I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. Yuna-chan may look like this, but she is an exceptional adventurer.」
I got the urge to comment on what she said about my looks or me being exceptional but held back. It was especially hard to do for the looks part.
「Chief, it’s the truth. All of us that were there can confirm that she indeed took down the Cockatrice herself.」
「Young lady, is this really true?」
I nodded since I had no other choice. People already knew I that defeated the Cockatrice, so I couldn’t really deny it at this point.
「I see, so young lady is such an excellent adventurer. I realized you were quite strong when we fought together, but I had no idea you were strong enough to take down a Cockatrice all by yourself.」
I wasn’t sure how strong exactly he considered me now, but at the very least he believed that I was strong enough to subjugate a Cockatrice myself.
「I was only able to take down the second Cockatrice thanks to you taking down the first one, Mumuroot-san.」
「All I did was cut off one of its wings, though.」
「Yes, but because of that, I was able to finish it off quickly and easily.」
「Still, seeing how much trouble we had with the first one, how exactly did you defeat the second one?」
As expected, he was curious about the method I had used against to defeat it on my own.
「I can’t really reveal to much as I used a secret technique.」
「Could it be that I was actually in your way, then?」
「Of course not. For the first Cockatrice, I only helped you, Mumuroot-san.」
「Still, if I wasn’t there, maybe you would have been able to take them down more easily?」
「Maybe, but even if I had told you that I could take them on myself, I’m sure that you wouldn’t have believed me. That’s why worrying about that is meaningless at this point. There was also no time for us to plan when the first Cockatrice suddenly appeared, so if I had somehow explained to you to leave it to me out of nowhere, would you have done so, Mumuroot-san?
「That… I would not have been able to, I think.」
「In that case, you would have ended up fighting it either way. You would have pressed on to fight it yourself Cockatrice and wouldn’t run away once things got dire, right?」
「I had figured it would have been best if I cooperated with you to beat it, and in the end, we really did manage to take the first one down together. Still, we did not expect for a second one to appear, and you had already exhausted all your strength taking down the first one. The only way to defeat the newly-arrived one was for me to deal with it on my own, but how could I possibly explain all that to you? There was no time for me to even try and convince you. That’s why I told Hugging Bear to forcefully take you back to safety. I was being selfish, not willing to reveal my secrets, so please stop worrying about the whole ordeal.」
「I never once thought you were in the way.」
I added, trying to put up a poker face.
Actually, I had thought that he was a bit of a burden, but I had to keep that to myself.
「I see… In that case, please let me thank you again. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for slaying the Cockatrices and for protecting both the village and me.」
Mumuroot-san genuinely thanked me with a bow. It was quite embarrassing to be thanked so straightforwardly.
After we were finally done, Sanya-san and Labilata reported about their monster subjugations.
There turned out to be five Tiger Wolves. I was quite envious, as that meant they had gotten their hands on five beautiful pelts.
「Mumuroot-san, what would you like to do about the Cockatrices’ materials? If you need them, we can split them.」
Sanya-san and the others had said it was fine for me to have them all, but it was still better to check in with the Chief, especially since he had subdued one of them himself.
「We have no need for them, so you can keep them, not to mention you were the one who defeated the Cockatrices. As for the Volcrows, Wolves, and Tiger Wolves, we can trade their materials with merchants, so they are more than enough for us.」
The Cockatrice materials were now officially mine.
「You can sell the Cokatrices’ materials at the Capital’s Adventurer Guild, Yuna-chan.」
I had asked Sanya-san where I should go if I were to sell the materials, just in case. It wasn’t about money, but if I couldn’t find a way to put them to good use myself, it was better to at least sell them, rather to have them rot in my Bear Box.
「Sanya, we will head to the Sacred Tree again tomorrow. Tell Arthur for me, okay?」
It seemed like Arthur-san was still patrolling in the village vicinity. Well, with so many monsters having appeared today, the same thing could happen again.
「Grandpa, is your body okay?」
I was also curious as to whether he was resting here to recover his magical power or because I had electrocuted him.
「I will be fine. The villagers forced me to rest since I wasn’t able to move earlier, but I’m doing better now. My magic should recover by tomorrow as well. We really have to head to the Sacred Tree and do something about it as soon as possible.」
He said, standing up to prove his point. If he was still feeling numb, he wouldn’t have been able to get up so easily, so it looked like there were no traces of paralysis left at all.
「In the worst case scenario, we might have to cut down the Sacred Tree. Please keep that in mind when we go there tomorrow.」
「If monsters are coming because of the Sacred Tree, we will no longer be able to live here either way…」
True, if the Sacred Tree had transformed into something that kept calling monsters to it, living in the village was going to become too dangerous. Even Cockatrices were starting to appear, so it was only a matter of time before the monster problems would become too much to handle.
I wanted to help them deal with the Sacred Tree, but I couldn’t do anything if I couldn’t enter the inner barrier.
Hmm, could I maybe attack it from outside? That way, I might be able to help. Well, if something like that was plausible, Mumuroot-san and the others wouldn’t be so worried about dealing with the Sacred Tree. After all, that would mean the other elves could have done the same. The barrier could most likely repel all sorts of attacks. If even my Bear magic couldn’t work, then there really wasn’t much I could do.
「Mumuroot-san, is there any way I could help? Maybe by using magic from outside the barrier?」
If at all possible, I really wanted to help out.
Yet, Mumuroot-san simply shook his head.
「I appreciate your offer, young lady, but that’s not possible.」
「Is that because I’m not allowed to be there?」
「That too, but there’s another reason.」
「Yuna-chan, the Sacred Tree is inside a rocky mountain. You won’t be able to reach it using magic from outside the barrier.」
Yeah, even using magic from outside was impossible, as there was no way I could try a place I couldn’t even see. Hmm, maybe my last resort could be to destroy the mountain it was in? My Bear Golems should be able to level a mountain, but I probably shouldn’t do that.
In the end, it was decided that Mumuroot-san, Sanya-san, and Arthur-san will go, with Labilata joining them as a bodyguard.
「Can I come along as a bodyguard, too?」
I asked, expecting them to refuse.
「It’s possible that another Cockatrice will come after the Sacred Tree.」
「That’s true, but it might appear at the village, too.」
「Grandpa, isn’t it fine for her to come with us?」
Just as I was sure all hope was gone, Sanya-san stepped in to help.
Mumuroot-san was clearly surprised to see Sanya-san vouching for me like that.
「I owe a lot to Yuna-chan and also think monsters are more likely to appear at the Sacred Tree. I think we should let her come with us.」
Mumuroot-san still seemed a bit concerned and unsure but agreed in the end.
We finally got to the Sacred Tree part.
With this, the end of the Elf Arc is in sight. For me at least. w
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