C271: The Senior’s Judgment

Elzariel, the first-generation leader of the elven bandits’ visit, is like a calamity for the elves on our farm.

“Very well! Let us see how you live your lives on this land!” she says as she greedily stuffs her cheeks with sausages. “If I find any of you slacking off even one bit, I will mercilessly take you with me and discipline you myself!”
“Sure,” calmly replies Maelga. “Witness how much we contribute to the saint’s farm and how much he needs us. That way, you can leave with peace of mind.”

What a bold statement.
Moreover, her last sentence sounded a lot like trying to get rid of an irritating superior.

As I brooded the situation, Elzariel began to observe our farm.


Then again, she’ll only be looking around the elves’ workshop.
Touring anywhere else is meaningless.

“The job we’ve been assigned here is to make tools and crafts,” says Maelga, who volunteered as a guide. “This workshop is where we work hard every day.”
“I see, making tools is important for forest survival indeed,” agrees Elzariel.
“Currently, we are divided into four groups, each specializing in different crafts.”

Maelga is the leader of the leatherwork group, Poel is the leader of the glasswork group, Mieral is the leader of the woodwork group, and then there’s one more…

“All our crafts have been sold to the capital for high prices. The profits we made are what we used to fund the afforestation project.”
“Hm… Now that you mention it…”

Yes, the work of the elves here directly contributes to their forest’s revival.
This fact was powerful enough to shut down Elzariel’s objections.

“I will now take you to the most active person in our workshop.”
“Most active?”
“Yes, it’s the former Thunderstorm Stonecutters’ leader, now in charge of the pottery group, Aileron.”


Aileron is the second-generation leader, right?
And Elzariel is the first.

Nowadays, Aileron is more apt at kneading clay and making plates now.
Today, she and her groupmates are scrutinizing the latest batch of plates.

“…The green looks dull,” she says.

What are you, some kind of pro?

“The main color of our pieces today is green. The green I’m looking for is deep and vibrant, like the leaves on a summer tree. This shade is no better than an evergreen tree in winter.”
“Should we add more ash to the glaze?”
“No, the existing materials aren’t enough. To achieve a deeper shade, we will need new material.”

She’s making it sound so complicated.
Again, to reiterate, they are trying to make a green plate, but they don’t like the shade.

“It doesn’t make that much of a difference to me…”
“?! What are you talking about, Lord Saint! Do you not understand the abstruse intentions behind this plate?!”

Oops.
I struck an annoying chord of an annoying person.

“Today’s theme is recreating the experience of eating on a leaf while traveling, thereby adding a touch of rustic beauty to an otherwise boring meal! For this reason, the green must be as deep and vibrant as a real leaf!”
“As you can see, the former second-generation leader has become an uncompromising pain in the ass from baking so many plates,” says Maelga.

Quite the way of speaking she has toward her former leader.
Then, a voice from another character:

“Hmph, for an elf to pretend to be a craftsman is plain vanity.”
“?! Who said that?!”

That comment came from none other than Pops Edward, the dwarf.
You’re still here?

“There’s no better race than the dwarves when it comes to making things. A shame that the demon connoisseurs have fallen so far behind to be paying high prices for the crude work of elves.”
“Say what?! Dwarven works are nothing but clumsy, ready-made items! You don’t have appealing themes; just decorate the exterior to swindle people!”
“What are you talking about?! Our decorations are a result of our dwarven finesse backed with over a hundred years of history!”
“You have to realize that finesse needlessly distorts the essence of the work! Real art begins by eliminating deliberate artifice!”
“You cannot call something art without finesse! An artisan’s value lies in whether or not they have exerted effort to hone their skills! If you exclude finesse and say that nature is the best, you’re just running away from your own ineptitude!”
“When compared to real natural beauty, artificial items are nothing but a sham! If you want to recreate the beauty of nature with your own hands, you must first abandon finesse!!!”

Two troublesome people have crossed paths, which made things even more problematic.

“You two seem to be having fun arguing, so we’ll leave you alone.”
“Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be involved either.”
“Same here.”

Me and Maelga both thought that this was bothersome.
At the same time, Elzariel, the supposed star of the show, has become one with the air.

“Aileron has changed…”
“Yes, mainly in a troublesome direction, though.”
“No, I don’t think she used to be able to generate this kind of overwhelming drive.”
“That’s because she’s no longer a bandit; she’s an artisan.”

I know, right?
She can overwhelm anyone with her overflowing artisan spirit. Truly troublesome.

“Now, let me show you the farm’s marvel that has made our beloved leader behave in such a way.”

Huh?

“Aren’t you going to show the other elven workshops? Like Poel’s glassworks or Mieral’s woodworks?”
“It’ll probably turn out the same way. Poel and Mieral have also become quite troublesome artisans.”

Uh-huh.
You sound like none of this concerns you, but haven’t you become troublesome in your own way, Maelga?
I still remember the time you forced me to make three sewing machines for your leatherwork.

…All right, I’m pretty sure we’ve had enough trouble from one elf today, so let’s just introduce Elzariel to some other place instead.
But why do I feel like she no longer has this aura she had in the beginning?

“I’d say this farm has a dense character. Unless you’re Sensei or Lady Veil, you’ll be overwhelmed.”
“You’re exaggerating things again.”

She laughs it off, but Maelga pays no attention to this and leaves.
Huh? Seriously?

“I’m going to let you experience first-hand this farm’s extreme life. First of all, the food.”

It just so happens to be lunchtime.

“You may not be hungry since you just had sausages earlier, but…”
“Tasty, tasty, tasty, tasty, tastyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

She’s wolfing down the food like someone on the verge of starvation…
I made sandwiches for lunch today. I’m glad she liked them.

“Senior! That’s my portion!!!”
“It’s too delicious; I can’t help myself! What’s wrong with a bandit stealing from others?!”

Everything.

Next, we showed her the bathhouse.

“Ah… That felt great!”

Elzariel’s body is steamy from the hot bath.
Obviously, I couldn’t accompany her to the women’s bath, so I couldn’t see what had happened inside.
It took about two hours before she came out.

“And the fluffy beds in the bedroom! Once you experience its comfort, you wouldn’t want to sleep on the ground ever again!”

You were sleeping on the ground before?

After Elzariel had a general experience of life on our farm…


“No! No, no, no, no, no! I don’t want to go back!!!” she whines. “I’ll live here too! I’ll eat delicious food every day, take a bath in the hot spring, and sleep in a fluffy bed!”
“Senior! Please don’t be selfish!”
“Yeah! You’re going to help with the afforestation project, aren’t you?!”

The elves’ cooperation is indispensable to revive the elven forest in the old Human Kingdom, so if Elzariel doesn’t go, we’ll be in big trouble.
Our elves ganged up to send her off, but Elzariel refused to budge.

“Noooo! You’re all unfair! You get to eat delicious food every day!”

Eventually, we somehow managed to get rid of her by giving her a sausage filler as a souvenir…

“The biter has been bit…”

I wonder if there is something about this farm that enchants elves?
Anyway, I hope that her cooperation will speed up the elven forest’s revival.

Then…

“No, no, no!!! I don’t want to leave either! I’m staying here forever!”

Edward the dwarf also refuses to leave.

No, go home.
Aren’t you the king of your people?
If you don’t go back, the other dwarves’ work will be delayed.

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