Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Trader Doesn’t Bargain」 (think it’s an idiom help if you can そうは問屋が卸さない)
By the time we got back to the mansion, Dylan and Ariane had already returned from Maple.
Ariane wasn’t wearing her protective gear or her long-sleeved dress with the modest length hem. Today, she was wearing the elves’ traditional wear and a haori coat that hung off her shoulders. The smooth lilac skin of the dark elves that made up her ample cleavage was exposed without shame.
It was perfectly fine if she wanted to enjoy a different look, but my brain capacity will probably be cut in half tonight.
While discussing the meeting with the elders, Ariane and the rest of us made our way to the second-floor dining room. Seems like this room served as the regular place for eating meals.
Glenys vanished into the kitchen, saying that she was going to prepare dinner, and before long the sound of cooking and humming could be heard.
At Dylan’s recommendation, I took a seat while he sat at the head of the table and Ariane on the other side.
Ponta sat on my lap, (lazily) placing her front paws and head on the table.
“As I’ve already told Ariane, the information that was gathered from the human sale contracts will help us find our brethren that have been sold. That was what we discussed at the great elders’ meeting. We are mostly ignorant of the human world, so it’s impossible to dispatch a large number of warriors. So I thought that we could continue to rely on you, Arc, to help Ariane with her missions.”
Without averting his eyes, Dylan calmly spoke about the future with a sincere expression.
I myself am not too informed on the human world as well, but it would be difficult for a large group of elves to sneak into a human town.
Next to Dylan, Ariane was also looking at me with a serious expression. There can be no hesitation in deciding to board a ship I planned to take……
While I was a little troubled, Dylan offered a reward for his request.
“There aren’t many rewards we could offer to you, since most of the gold coins have already been transferred……”
Dylan pauses for a moment to offer a wry smile.
“So, how about I provide you with information instead? In fact, there is a spring that is rumored to dispel every type of curse, it might be able to remove the one placed on your body. Still, nothing can be guaranteed at the moment……”
“Is there really such a spring?”
Hearing Dylan’s story, his daughter Ariane tilted her head in confusion. Dylan shrugged his shoulders at his daughter’s question.
“According to a reliable source, the spring is located near the Dragon King’s Tree. ……Since it is very dangerous to reach that place, there is no guarantee you will be able to return alive……”
“The Dragon King’s Tree, that’s in the hinterlands……No, that would still be impossible.”
Ariane was going to say something, she gained some insight on her own and remained silent. The hinterlands were probably a place that the humans nor elves could gain control over. As for my staying in this village, it will be decided by my next choice.
The only worrisome aspect was……
“What’s the Dragon King’s Tree?”
I voiced an honest question about a name I never heard, so after clearing his throat, Dylan began to explain what the Dragon King’s Tree was.
The tree called the Dragon King’s Tree, is a large type of tree that only grows in the Dragon King’s territory. The presence of the Dragon King’s enormous magical power has caused the tree’s spirit to be altered.
“As a result of the tree’s altered spirit, the leaves and root of the tree have been blessed with a variety of abilities. The deeply set roots also began to affect the surrounding area. In fact, I’ve heard that the branches and leaves of the tree can be sold for a considerable price among the humans.”
“Simply put, the spirit of the tree dwells in those parts and bestows those abilities. However, since the tree is within the Dragon King’s territory, it’s unlikely that the spring’s gift will be given for free……”
Following up on Dylan’s explanation, Ariane mentioned this with a sigh.
According to what they told me, not only was the journey perilous, but the destination itself was dangerous as well. Even with the high-spec body, you’d have to pardon me from taking on the dragon king alone.
I told Ariane that my skeletal body was the result of a curse, instead of the character editing that I did to make it look like this, so the part about breaking the curse was really my personally crafted role-play.
However, the elves say that all undead are characterized by the impurity that surrounds them, but it seemed that I lacked said characteristic.
This body still hold many mysteries────
Then, in this case it might not be bad to help people searching for a treatment for this body──── at the very least it wouldn’t be a bad purpose in life.
Though there is something I have to hear first.
“Hum, would it be safe to enter the Dragon King’s territory?”
Let’s say that, for the sake of lifting the curse, I enter the Dragon King’s home and am unable to defeat him, in that case I would be unceremoniously eaten. Well, considering that I only consist of bones it is unlikely that I’ll end up being eaten……
However, it seems that my fear was unfounded.
“It’s alright. If a human suddenly entered, it would be bad, but if we elves gain permission to do so beforehand there should be no problem.”
From what I heard, the Dragon King was capable of human speech and he was willing to listen to reason. Canada Forest was also the place where the Dragon King decided to settle and was under his protection.
The elves were said to be a race with low numbers, but it seemed to me that their military might wasn’t inferior to other countries.
“When you go to the spring, we can go together Arc.”
“Well, Arc? Are you willing to lend the elves your power for a while more?
The elder of Raratoia, Dylan, was sincerely lowering his head to a human like me.
While it was a groundless expectation, it still would be nice to travel the world helping people. However, while I thought things over, Ariane leaned forward, making her abundant chest stand out more.
“Could you please do it for me, Arc?”
“Hum, I see.”
……While I had the bad habit of being unable to turn down a woman’s sincere request, it also certain that I would really enjoy traveling with Ariane.
Even though I am nothing but bones, I’m still a man on the inside.
“As long as it is within my modest abilities, your humble servant will gladly help you Ariane-dono.”
“Thank goodness. Elves tend to stand out in human cities…… so I was worried asking this of my daughter.”
Dylan lowered his head again before he offered his right hand after hearing me accept their request. I take his hand and shook it.
“Are the difficult talks over yet? Supper is ready.”
With these words, Glenys brought back some dishes from the kitchen and proceeded to put one in front of each of us.
Ponta, who had been stationary ‘til now, stood on her hind legs as her nose twitched upon smelling the dish.
Tonight’s meal consisted of bread, salad, bean soup and the odd inclusion of hamburger steak as the main dish.
An already cooled plate of hamburger steak was placed before Ponta, and she happily wagged her tail while taking bites out of the meal.
“Well, should we continue the small talk after the meal is finished.”
When Dylan put an end to the conversation, I take a look at the plate in front of me. I took off my helmet, and placed my hands together above the meal.
Though I didn’t know the source of the steak, the meat was rather juicy and the blend of herbs and spices made for a sufficiently delicious hamburger. Thought there was a faint hint of nutmeg, it wasn’t that much different from the hamburgers on earth.
There weren’t any meat dishes with nutmeg in the human cities, so the elves might own a monopoly on the spice.
I thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic taste of the meal, we began discussing the details of our plans for tomorrow before bringing the meeting to a close.
When I returned to the room I slept in last night, I took off my armor and placed it besides the bed.
The magic tool that the elves made acted similarly to an oil lamp and illuminated the entire room.
Ponta blocked out the light with her tail by curling up in a ball beside the bed, and before long the sound of soft snoring could be heard. Seems like she had a full stomach.
Placing my hand on the light and calling 『Lights out』, and the room darkens as the lights shut off without a sound.
Once my eyes adjusted to the darkness, the outline of the room became faintly visible thanks to the moonlight seeping in from the window.
While I was looking at the scenery visible through the side window, I sat quietly on the bed in order to avoid waking Ponta. Since this mansion was made of a tree, the sky above was shrouded by the leaves and branches, so the moonlight seeping in from the window was unreliable.
Illuminated by the faint moonlight, I raised my arm and looked at its bony form.
─── was this body really the result of a curse?
If this really was a curse, shouldn’t I at least consider a way to break it?
In order for humans to capture elves, a magic eating collar that prevented the use of magic was attached to them, and the solution was to have me break them with a magic spell.
The spell 【Anti-Curse】belonged to the intermediate bishop class. There was the possibility that the curse would be lifted if I tried to cast that type of magic on myself.
The high-level pope skill 【Holy Purification】has the ability to remove all curses, but it simultaneously dealt massive damage to undead.
Even though I lacked the characteristics of the undead, I still couldn’t bring myself to try it.
The act of casting magic on oneself required an unexpected amount of courage, especially if one doesn’t know the source of that power. However, if I thought about it carefully, transfer magic moves me to an entirely different location. It should be the same as submitting myself to magic, because if something went wrong, it wouldn’t be that strange to end up “trapped within a stone”.
I should at least give it a try.
I place my right hand over the left one and target the spell on my left index finger.
When I calmly invoked the spell, a magic formation appeared beneath my palm before releasing lights that were absorbed into my targeted finger. The bone of my finger took the form of human’s above the first joint.
“Oooh! …… oh?”
The results were contrary to what I expected, causing me to let out a surprised yelp; however, it lasted only for a moment before it changed to a questioning one.
My left index finger, only retained its human appearance for several second before it disappeared. With my skeleton hand raised under the moonlight, it was as if what happened before was merely a dream.
Trying to expand the range of the spell, I cast 【Anti-curse】on my left forearm. When the light was absorbed, a flesh and blood forearm appeared.
The arm that was once bone was right before my eyes; the forearm was rather muscular and a shade of brown. Though, it was possible that it was just a tan since the moonlight was rather unreliable. Was the fact that this body was more muscular than my original body a result of my level?
There was a strange feeling of discomfort when I faintly brushed the arm, and before long the flesh dissipated again; returning to its bone-like state.
I grasped my skeletal left arm repeatedly to check its condition, but the strange feeling was already gone.
After that, I cast 【Anti-curse】on my left arm several times, but each time the flesh would return back to its skeletal form. Every time the flesh and blood arm returned, so to did the discomfort, but that feeling disappeared again once it reverted back to its bone form.
The time I spent experimenting gave me an understanding that this body can be affected to a certain extent by the spell. However, the effect was only temporary, as if the curse was persistent or something?
I laid my body down on the bed.
I wouldn’t find any answers even if I thought about it with my literally empty head. It best to take a rest when all you have are bad ideas, and hope things get better.
To prevent another invasion from Ponta, I wrapped the blanket around my body. I probably looked like a mummy from the side, was the last thing I thought as I shut my eyes.