Today, we left the farm and headed for the Elven Forest, home to the elves.
“It’s so… desolate.”
We’re just at the entrance, standing between an area of lush greens and barren land.
If we went any further, countless arrows would fly at us without mercy.
But what bothers me more is how desolate the forest is, both inside and outside.
Not a single blade of grass can be seen growing in the wilderness.
The soil is dry and loose, and there are rocks everywhere.
A river must have once flowed through the belt-shaped depressions that stretch straight across the ground.
Now, there’s no sign of it left.
Such a desolate landscape stretches as far as the eye can see.
So, this is the result of extracting natural mana by thaumaturgy magic…
“Now that the Human Kingdom has been overthrown and their magic has ceased, mana must slowly return to the earth. This land is recovering.”
That’s why we decided to plant trees to aid its revival.
A battle is inevitable to get the local elves’ approval in this area.
“If we proceed with the project, we will be severely delayed by the loc-els interference. It’s essential we deal with them first,” says Elzariel seriously.
On the other hand…
“No!!! Let me go! I’m going back to the farm; my heart’s home!” cries out Aileron, who was half-forced to come with us.
She believed that once she was taken out, she’d never be able to return to the farm under Elzariel’s authority.
“Don’t worry; I’ll take responsibility and take you home with me.”
“Huhu… I’ll never leave your side even for a moment, Lord Saint!” she says, clinging to me.
“Don’t go any closer to the forest, you two,” says Elzariel tensely. “The loc-els have already set up camp near the entrance.”
But I don’t sense anything.
The forest before me is filled with tranquility, giving off a still impression.
I can even hear the birds chirping through the trees.
How could bloodthirsty elves be lurking in such a peaceful space?
“With the elves’ cloaking skills, not even the birds would notice. Only we, fellow elves, can. At least five of them are armed with a bow and arrow.”
“No, six,” corrects Elzariel. “Your senses have dulled. One person in the vanguard is an expert at masking her presence. If you were alone, you’d be dead by now.”
“That’s why I said ‘at least’!”
The first and second leaders are arguing.
I don’t feel anything, so I can’t join them.
But the elves are amazing.
No one can find them in the forest, so they can’t be attacked.
Still, they can see their prey aimlessly wandering.
With the forest on their side, the elves are invincible.
I think we were able to catch Aileron’s group so easily before because we encountered them outside their domain.
“In general, there’s only one way for other races to defeat the elves: to burn the entire forest down.”
“That’s too reckless!”
Aileron’s sudden proposal took me aback.
But to defeat the elves, who have absolute terranean support, we must eliminate their guardian.
“The forest shrank to this extent not only because of mana depletion but also because the forest was burned down in numerous conflicts with the Human Kingdom.”
“It’s the only reliable way to subdue the stubborn local elves. But we won’t resort to that method today.”
The original idea is to revive the forest, but if we burn down what little of it is left, we’d get our priorities backward.
“That’s why we have to find and capture the elves without damaging the forest.”
But is that even practically possible?
It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.
It seems to be a difficult task, even for Sensei and Veil.
Especially Veil. She’d get bored and burn the entire forest in a heartbeat.
“Isn’t that why we brought the perfect ally with us?”
I look at Gobukichi, one of the two leaders of my farm’s monster team.
Today is his big moment.
“If My Lord commands so, I’ll do anything to execute it,” he confidently declares.
Although Orkubo usually outshines him, his ability is nowhere inferior to his. In fact, he’s more capable than him when it comes to missions like this that require precision and accuracy.
“If it were Orkubo, he would certainly mow four or five trees out of overenthusiasm…” says Gobukichi with a wry smile.
“We’re counting on you on behalf of the elf team, Gobukichi!”
“Are you sure about this? If you’ve only brought one goblin, does that mean he can solve everything alone rather than all of my former subordinates?”
Elzariel seems skeptical about Gobukichi’s abilities.
“You’re not a good judge of character, Sis. I can vouch for his power!” arrogantly says Aileron.
Ignoring his companions’ buzz, Gobukichi walks haphazardly toward the forest, which now looks like a monster with its mouth agape.
“Wait! If you enter carelessly, you’ll immediately be targeted!”
I stop the panicked Elzariel, and in the meantime, Gobukichi continues on his way into the forest.
We can’t see him clearly because of the trees in the way.
But it wasn’t long until we heard something—eight arrows were immediately shot at the intruder.
Weren’t there six elves, according to Elzariel’s assessment?
Those eight arrows flew precisely toward Gobukichi.
At this rate, he’d end up looking like a hedgehog with so many arrows.
But that didn’t happen.
Gobukichi knocked off all the arrows with his trusty scythe!
“Huh?!” exclaims Elzariel, baffled. “He knocked off all incoming arrows, including those from blind spots!”
In addition, the elves’ arrows have been imbued with magic that can pierce through barriers and armor.
However, none of them landed a hit on Gobukichi.
“…I, Gobukichi, was blessed by the gods.”
That was when the deities feasted on our farm.
Many of our residents were blessed by them.
“Orion, the god of hunting, blessed me with the ability to hunt many preys. With it, I gained precognitive ability.”
Apparently, he can see two or three seconds into the future.
This ability allows him to read the enemy’s movements ahead of time, making it the perfect way to deal with them.
“There’s no arrow I cannot strike down with the divine gift of precognition and the mana metal scythe My Lord gave me. And…”
Gobukichi disappeared from our sight.
He must have moved at super speed.
“I can determine the archer’s position from the arrow’s angle of incidence. They can change positions between shots, but I think I would’ve caught them before that.”
“Eek!” “Gyah!” “Ack!”
I hear the screams of three elves at once.
I’m sure none were in the same place, yet they screamed almost simultaneously!
“Nothing’s impossible with his speed!”
He, who mutated into Takehaya Susano-o Goblin, is faster than the speed of sound.
This was proven in the previous mock battle with the students.
No one can probably surpass Gobukichi when he has the “speed” he acquired as a mutant goblin and his precognitive ability!