Thus, we gained total control of the Elven Forest.
We’re not here to conquer.
We’re supposed to ask for their cooperation in the planting of trees.
Why did this escalate into a bloody war?
“Are you still not over that?”
Elzariel lets out a sigh.
“They won’t listen to us. Not only did they refuse to cooperate, they even interfered. We had to beat them up,” she says, looking at the captive elves.
It was easy to subdue them, but if it weren’t for Gobukichi, both sides would’ve claimed victims.
Among the captives, one elf is still in high spirits—the High Elf.
Her name is… Nope. I don’t wanna say it.
“I, Elelelelcy, will never accept your tyranny! I’ll continue to resist even if I’m the only elf left!”
“Like I said, your name is hard to pronounce!”
I discuss with the two about what to do.
“…Hey. It’s hard to call her by her name. Can’t we give her a nickname or something?”
“How about L4 since she has four of them?”
“Okay. And since her name ends with -cy, let’s shorten it to L4C.”
We successfully came up with an abbreviation on the spot.
“Hey! Don’t just shorten my sacred name on your own accord!” angrily interrupts L4C.
Her rebellious spirit is so intense that I want to believe it’s in her genes, but if we don’t reestablish negotiations, we’re no different from trespassers.
Even if we finally decide to release her, we have to somehow get her to cooperate with the project before then.
“Okay, let’s get down to business,” says Elzariel. “We will cut off their fingers individually until they agree to cooperate.”
“Hey, hey, HEY!!!”
That’s not negotiation; that’s a brutal kind of torture!
“Can’t we have more of a discussion where we can share our opinions?! Let’s try to compare our ideas and conclude that’s in everyone’s best interest!”
“I know, but both sides’ arguments are completely parallel…”
There is complete resignation in Elzariel’s eyes.
Incidentally, Gobukichi is cutting grass, saying he’s bothered by the shrubs.
Perhaps it’s an occupational disease after cutting grass for so long that he can’t help but cut it when he sees an overgrown bush.
I’ll just let him do as he pleases.
“Um, L4C, will you please listen to us?”
“Stop calling me that!”
I bravely try to negotiate, hoping to keep things peaceful.
“We’re not trying to harm this forest. In fact, we’re trying to help it.”
We’re trying to make the Elven Forest, which has shrunk to a considerable size, grow again.
Hence the project.
“In addition, we’d appreciate it if the local elves could help… or at least refrain from interfering…”
“Hmph. You talk like you know what the forest is like.”
L4C looks down at me as if I were an idiot.
“…Listen. A forest is nature’s gift. It springs, sprouts, flourishes, and withers away naturally. That’s what makes it meaningful.”
“But what arrogance is it to manage these activities with human hands? Isn’t that what you mean by ‘afforestation’? This is unacceptable to those who have lived and breathed with nature!”
Er, well… You do have a point.
If she puts it that way, maybe farming itself is also against the laws of nature.
Then does this mean naturalistic elves are forever incompatible with other races?
“In that case…”
Just when I was about to give up, a savior appeared.
“I’ll do something about this.”
She felt unwilling to be here since our arrival, but now she’s making her move?
“Lord Saint, Sis, can you leave this to me? I’m sure I can convince the head elf.”
“Okay…” “Go ahead, I guess…”
Elzariel and I were both overwhelmed by her mysterious confidence.
Then, Aileron kneels in front of L4C.
“…What, are you one of the elves who left the forest? You have no right to call yourself an elf if so!”
“Lady L4C, no words can be understood by the stubborn. That’s why I won’t say anything. Instead, I want you to see this.”
Aileron lowers the bag strapped to her shoulder and opens it.
Come to think of it; its contents intrigued me. What’s inside?
Why a plate?
“What is that idiot doing?”
Even her sister figure, Elzariel, looks stunned!
But as for L4C…
“What a splendid plate!”
“Did you make this plate?”
Aileron makes pottery on our farm.
She bakes dishes, pots, jars, and other necessary tools for daily life.
That plate must also be one of her works, but…
Something about it is avant-garde.
A regular plate would be circular in shape, but the one she presented is distorted.
Moreover, it’s dark green, like matcha.
Is that what attracted L4C’s attention?
“This plate’s color makes it seem as if it were mossy. Moreover, the color is not spread uniformly, just like moss growing on a rock…”
“I’ve often experimented with this green glaze to get as close as possible to the natural color. As a result, you can experience nature while preserving its pureness.”
“And its shape… It’s not a perfect circle. It gives a similar feeling to wood or stone—like something ubiquitous in nature…”
L4C is highly admiring Aileron’s work.
But to me, it just looks like a normal plate.
“I brought it with me so that you, a High Elf, could appreciate it. I have put my heart and soul to express nature’s beauty into this plate,” says Aileron.
“That’s what she’s devoting her time to now? What a fool.”
“She even has heated debates with Pops Edward the Dwarf…”
You’re ruthless, Elzariel.
But why are L4C’s eyes still glued to that plate?
“You said anything created by human hands is not natural, which may be true. But I have created this plate to recreate the beauty of nature! With my own hands!”
She had such a grand concept in mind?
“Of course, I had many setbacks and failures, but completing this plate was worth the effort. It’s still far from perfect, but I think I captured nature’s beauty.”
L4C is nodding in agreement!
Is this bizarre persuasion perhaps working?!
“Nature’s beauty is never lost in something that has passed through human hands. After all, mankind is one of the things born from nature. You can’t separate the two!”
“In other words, trees planted by human hands can be a part of the natural forest…”
“You’re a cheeky girl to teach a High Elf a lesson!”
L4C stands up with Aileron’s distorted plate in hand.
“Very well, the forest-dwelling elves will help you in your endeavor.”
Elzariel and I were astonished by the outcome.
“It seems I had a narrow perspective. People are indeed a part of nature. Just as nature creates nature, human hands also create nature. Like this plate…”
It was a world beyond me and Elzariel’s understanding.
“Do I have to live another hundred years to understand that too?”
Huh? What do you mean a hundred years?
What? That High Elf is two hundred years old?! Isn’t she what you would call a loli hag?!
Thus, the problem was solved with various surprises, and the Elven Forest Revival Project was back on track.
Incidentally, Gobukichi continued to cut the bushes and created a clear path connecting the Elf village deep in the forest with the outside.
“This should make traveling more convenient.”
“Ahh! What are you doing in the secluded village of the elves, you gobliiiiiiiiin!”
To the elves, Gobukichi is considered a natural enemy.